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playing with scraps
I've been tidying up my sewing room, or at least I made a start on tidying and then got somewhat distracted by some scraps of soho solids by timeless treasures. I was supposed to be tidying away a lot of my big shot dies that were all sat in a pile too, and before I knew what was happening I'd cut the scraps into hexagons using the 1.25" hexagon die and had english paper pieced a few diamond flowers.
At least my lack of tidying produced something pretty, even though I'm still surrounded by piles of mess and my dies still aren't put away properly! I love the colours in this, it's making me think about starting a quilt in just solids. Which will probably mean my sewing room stays messy for a lot longer!!!If you fancy getting distracted from jobs you should be doing, take a look at the new quilting and applique page on our website. There are loads of downloadable project ideas and tips for you. It's definitely worth a visit, just make sure you have a cuppa with you because you might be there for some time!
another quick gift idea
Hello everyone! It's December already - which means we are so close to Christmas now I can smell it. Maybe that's the Christmas scented candle I've got lit, though? Now is the time to start the Christmas shopping panic, and maybe for some of you the local craft fairs and school fetes. One of my friends had a Christmas fair last week and I made her a heap of drawstring bags using my tutorial from earlier in the year. Instead of patchwork I just cut squares using my big shot pro (6.5" square die). Of course, if you don't have a big shot pro, you could cut these yourself. I managed to make 12 bags in half a day, which she was then going to fill with sweets and chocolate coins. They're a great quick gift idea, perfect for teachers or school friends, or as stocking stuffers.
You can find the original tutorial for these bags (which I made with 2.5" squares) by clicking here.
Christmas blog hop round up
Last week was our Christmas blog hop, and we had a week of really lovely patchwork and quilted projects. If you missed any of them I've got some pictures to remind you and you can head straight to their tutorials.
There was so much inspiration, and projects to suit every taste.
You can still find plenty of Christmas fabrics in stores (button up and stitch and Fabric HQ both have a good selection of modern Christmas fabrics still in stock), so it's not too late to stock up and make some great Christmassy projects (can you believe Christmas is just one month away now?!)
And here are the projects;
Table runner and placemats from Angela.... (click on each person's name to go direct to their tutorial)
A Christmas tree cushion from Hadley (this is my favourite from the week, I love it!)...
A simple mug rug (or coaster) from Carolyn...
A fun banner from Kerry...
A Christmas stocking from me....
There's still time to enter the giveaway! It closes this coming Friday at 10am (November 29th), and all of the details can be found by clicking here.
Christmas Blog Hop - day 1!
Today I'm over on my personal blog, Monkey Do, kicking off a week of fun blog hopping. Every day visit a different blog and get a different Christmas themed project idea. Today's project is a patchwork stocking....
Win a Big Shot and Dies! You can enter the competition by clicking on the link here. (UK and EU residents only)
a little Christmas crafting
It's now only 44 days until Christmas, but don't panic - that is still plenty of time to get yourself prepared.
I'm busy beavering away with some Christmas crafts and next week from Monday 18th there'll be a Christmas blog hop here on the Sizzix blog, so you're bound to pick up some great ideas for the coming holiday.
Can you guess what I've been making this week?
More on that soon!
There's a great offer on at the moment on the Sizzix website - up to 75% off dies. There's quite a few bigz dies included in the offer, most are more suited to papercraft but some are perfect for using with felt and fabric for applique
Dies such as the raccoon
a Christmas tree
and flower layers
There are loads more dies in the offer, but hurry - stock is limited!
have you signed up for the newsletter?
If you're a fan of the big shot (and you must be if you read the blog, right?!) then you will probably be interested to learn that we have a newsletter. It keeps you up to date with all of the latest dies and offers and has some great free project ideas. You can sign up here.
And here's a few project ideas to get you started with applique. You can make a peg bag, a tea cosy and an apron, simply enter your email address in the sign up field here, and get the project downloads and the newsletter all at once!
I spent the weekend in Duxford doing demonstrations for Lady Sew and Sew. I have to admit doing 2 shows back to back was hard work, but it's always a lot of fun and it's so great to meet people (especially when I spend most of my days alone sewing in my craft room). I cut out lots of Christmassy half square triangles for a couple of projects that I'll be spending the next week or so on. I'll be sure to show you once they're finished!
Have a lovely week - I'm going to take a very long soak in the bath today and get myself unpacked and raring to go for another busy week sewing!
lots and lots of half square triangles
I spent the weekend in Malvern at the Autumn Quilt Festival doing demonstrations for Lady Sew and Sew and this morning I am absolutely exhausted! I've been sat at the computer trying to think of something to blog about but all I can think of is how I need to unpack my bag and sort out all my stuff. My brain might still be in one of my bags!
I will also be doing demonstrations this weekend at the Autumn Quilt Festival in Duxford so if you're thinking of going make sure you come and say hello!
Last week I finished off the zig zag quilt for my friend's baby, and I'm happy to say she loved it. I always worry a little bit about making quilts for people. They're quite personal, and what I consider to be gorgeous fabrics the recipient might not agree. I tried to stay safe using soft blues and greys, with a little bit of aqua. Colours that are good for baby boys.
When I was in Malvern I decided I'd bring along fabrics to cut into half square triangles to make a scrappy quilt. I now have a small mountain of pieces, that I will gradually sew together in between other projects. There's no plan or pattern I intend to follow, just lots and lots of half square triangles, maybe it'll end up a zig zag, maybe it'll end up less structured. We'll see! All of the fabrics I cut were from different collections by Art Gallery Fabrics. I still have more to cut up, which I will most likely do this coming weekend. I get through so much fabric when I'm doing demonstrations that I like to have a plan for them, otherwise I end up with bits and pieces that end up in my scrap bin. This way it'll be a lovely reminder of the time I spent with Lady Sew and Sew.
What did you get up this weekend? I hope yours was as fun as mine, but maybe a little less tiring!
a quilt for a boy
A friend of mine has just had a little baby boy. In my house there seem to be an awful lot of quilt tops lying around ready to be quilted that are perfect for little girls...but not for little boys. So this weekend I set about making a simple zig zag quilt using the tutorial I posted a while ago for a 2-hour quilt top. This 6" finished square die is for the big shot pro, which I know not many of you own. The biggest half square triangle die for the normal big shot machine is the 5" (which when sewn into a quilt makes a 4.5" square). You would need to make your quilt 8 rows of 8 squares to make one the same size (mine is 6 x 6).
I used 7 of the prints from this stack below, because I wanted a small, square quilt that would be useful as a playmat and small enough to use in the car or pram. It will finish at 36" square once I've got those blocks sewn together, which is a really nice baby quilt size.
I'll get this finished today and sew the binding on tonight so I can take it to my friend tomorrow and meet the little baby for the first time. I think it'll be the last baby any of my friends have, most of our children are older and we're all done with the baby stage. That's a little sad, isn't it?
cotton reels quilt
Today I want to share a quilt I made over the summer that is now in a magazine (Love Patchwork and Quilting, you can find more details on how to get a copy here). The blocks in this quilt are made from strips - strips you can use your big shot to cut. As you already know, I love the 2.5" strip die and I use it an awful lot. This quilt is also made with 2.5" strips - so you know I used it to speed up the cutting process!I love to be able to save as much time as possible with my cutting, because it's the boring bit. I'd much rather be piecing a quilt than cutting out a gazillion bits.I have a baby quilt to make this week, I think I'm going to use either the chevron or a half square triangle to make a simple zig zag from this pretty stack of fabrics (they're all from Art Gallery Fabrics - various collections). Not sure which will win...but I could make things really fast and use the 2 hour quilt top tutorial I posted a while ago. That would be fast, wouldn't it? I'll keep you posted and hopefully have a finished quilt next week!
a christmas quilt
This week I've been really busy with a whole pile of projects, and it feels great to get things to a point where they're well underway or almost finished.
One for the almost finished pile is my Christmas quilt that I made using Bonnie Hunter's scrappy trips pattern and cut all of my strips with the 2.5" strip die.
This is the second quilt I've made using these fabrics - the first was for my friend's birthday
I cut the binding strips using the 2.5" strip die too (and followed my binding tutorial)
and now I'm just finishing of the last edge of binding, hand stitching it onto the back of the quilt. It's taking me a little while longer than usual because I backed the quilt in a soft cuddle fabric - like minkee. It has a short pile like a fur and is perfect for a wintery quit because it's so soft and snuggly. It quilts up beautifully, but it does take a little more work to hand stitch into, so I've had to take a few rests to ease my hand as it cramps up a bit every now and then
As Christmas is fast approaching and we start to think abut what we'd like to put on our own Christmas lists I can really recommend the strip dies - they are a little more expensive than regular size dies, and you do need the extended cutting pads (25") too, but for a Christmas present they're perfect. The 2.5" strip is definitely one of the dies I use the most day to day, I would be lost without it these days!