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project of the month
Over on the Sizzix website you can download and make this cute and useful round placemat designed by me!
There are loads of fantastic project ideas for you to try over o the quilting pages, so be sure to check them out!
charm pack cherry quilt
Fat Quarter Shop is one of my absolute favourite quilt shops online. I use them a lot and I absolutely love the free quilt patterns they provide for using pre-cuts.
The latest in the series is the charm pack cherry quilt, which uses 5" squares. You can buy pre-cut charm packs, or make your own using the 5" square die!
Watch the video tutorial or download the free pattern and get making some quilts!
greetings from stitches!
Yesterday I took a flying visit down to the craft hobby and stitches show at the NEC in Birmingham.
'Stitches' is the largest trade show for the crafts and hobby industry in the UK so it's a great place to see new products and ideas before they hit stores.
Usually I'm working shows - doing demos for Sizzix, but this time I got to visit and have a good look around. Angela was busy working the Sizzix stand which I have to say was my favourite of all - it was huge and looked absolutely amazing. I'm sure she'll have lots of photos and be able to tell you all about it when she's back.
I got a sneaky peek of some new applique dies designed by Nel Whatmore. These will be in shops soon (I'll keep you updated!) but for now, here's a little glimpse
There is so much new and exciting stuff coming from Sizzix and it was absolutely brilliant to see everyone working so hard and doing demos constantly to interested buyers. I overheard some ladies talking about how excited they were about getting new dies in their shop when I was sat having a cup of tea. It made me feel really proud to be a part of the company and how the quilting and applique lines have grown over the past year.
Stitches is still on today and tomorrow so I'm sure the whole team will be utterly exhausted by the end of it! If you're going be sure to pop by the stand (you can't miss it!) and say hello to everyone.
thinking outside the box with half square triangles
Quite some time ago now I cut out a whole heap of triangles that I wanted to piece into some cushions and possibly a small quilt. Those poor triangles have sat on my desk ever since I cut them, and I finally gave in to their cries for attention and started piecing them together.
Matching up 2 fabrics and making a small pile of half square triangle units.
The die I'd used to cut my triangles wasn't one that had the little dog ears cut off, so I knew I'd have to trim all of these down which put me off a little bit (I've gotten so lazy since the big shot made cutting a breeze for me!)
And I got to thinking, how could I play around a little and end up with something that looked completely different?
I trimmed my half square triangle units with a square die - laying the units on at angles (I cut up to 5 layers at once - you could maybe try at least another layer)
I really love the effect you get when you start arranging the wonky half square triangles units together. It looks so different to regular half square triangles, doesn't it?
(excuse the pics, I was too excited to get my camera and used my phone instead!)
I know you get a bit of waste this way, but I think it'd be a fantastic method for using up scraps. You should give it a try!
a look at Dashwood Studio
Good morning everybody! Are you ready for a new week?
Instead of showing you something I've made or I'm making, this week I thought I'd draw your attention to a relatively new UK based fabric company that are producing some really lovely fabric collections.
Dashwood Studio currently have 6 different fabric collections in shops, each one designed by a UK designer. I love this concept, because there is such a fantastic wealth of home grown talent in this country of ours, and it's not easy for a UK designer to make it in the world of fabric. It's not easy for anyone, but with most (quilt fabric) manufacturers being based in the US or Japan, having one company solely focused on the UK is wonderful.
photo credit Dashwood Studio
You can find a list of stockists on the Dashwood Studio blog, see all of the collections on the website, and become inspired by the projects made (and get to know the designers) on the blog also.
My Christmas stocking tutorial from the Sizzix Christmas Blog Hop late last year was made using Flurry by Dashwood Studio. This collection of dots in different colours is so useful for so many projects and a great collection of fabrics to have in your stash.
photo credit Dashwood StudioI hope you'll check out Dashwood Studio, and be proud of this UK company championing our homegrown talent!Have a great week!
safari moon 9-patches
Hello everyone! Are you ready for another week?
I had a very busy one last week, and this week looks much the same (and my email inbox is out of control - I have to spend a whole day getting on top of emails and replying to people that have been waiting on me! That is my project for the day I think)
One of the projects I'm working on involves 9-patches in one of my favourite fabric collections for a long time.
9-patches are great for using up all your odds and ends of scraps. I'm making 6" finished blocks, which need 2.5" squares.
Safari Moon by Frances Newcombe for Art Gallery Fabrics is a gorgeous mix of colours and prints, and because it's Art Gallery it has a wonderful drape and softness to it that sets it apart from other manufacturers.
Just look at that zebra!
Because I'm mixing these vibrant colours with a white solid I pre-washed them. I don't usually pre-wash fabrics unless there's a big contrast between colours. Once fabric has been washed it loses that crispness that brand new, off the bolt fabric has. I must admit, though, these fabrics washed up really nicely and still had a good 'crispness' to them after I'd ironed them.
I'm off to make a start on my emails. Wish me luck! I might not be seen for some time!
I was certain that I'd get this hexagon piece finished by the New Year, or at least by the end of the first week of January, yet still it sits getting mostly ignored because I've become distracted by reading on an evening. Last year I didn't read a single book, but so far this year I've read 5. Granted, none of them are war and peace or anything, they've all been quite light and easy but I think I need an intervention!
Someone stop me reading and get me back to my hexagons, I'd really love this to be a big floor pillow before too long! Maybe I'll set myself a new target - it's my birthday in march so let's get this completely finished by then, that seems realistic doesn't it?(I'm using the 1" hexagon die for the papers and the 1.25" for the fabrics)
squaring up half square triangles with a square die
I'm running a little late today thanks to some internet issues, but I'm finally here and I have a great little tip to share with you that I got from my friend Laura. She's a clever girl!
Instead of using the half square triangles die to rely on precise half square triangle units, you can square up your blocks with a square die.
In this block (the scrappy bear paw) I'm using a mixture of 3.5" squares and 3.5" half square triangle units. I made my HST units using a 4.5" square cut in half along the diagonal, and then used my 3.5" square die to trim them up to perfectly match the 3.5" squares in my block.
Draw a line on your square die diagonally, from one corner to the opposite corner of the square. Line up your stitched line with the marking
Run through the big shot....
...and you get a perfectly trimmed half square triangle unit!
There's a teensy bit of waste, of course - just as you would get if you were trimming the half square triangles up normally with a rotary cutter and ruler. I do my units one at a time, it doesn't take long and it's really precise!
I hope you can find a use for this little cheats tip!!!!
still hexing along
Today it's the first day back to school for my kids, and I'll be the first to admit it was tricky dragging any of us out of bed to get ready! The Christmas break seemed to fly by and school came round far to quickly.
But on the plus side, back to school means back to work and I'm looking forward to getting a few things finished.
over Christmas I did a bit more work on my hexagons quilt, which I'm now considering making into some large cushions instead. I'm going to fill out the edges of this piece and square it up and make a really large floor cushion, because I spend a far amount of time sitting on the floor and it's a little uncomfortable!
I used the 1" and 1.25" hexagon dies to cut papers and fabrics for this small cushion project that I'm just finishing up as well. All of the fabrics came from my scraps, including the wadding and the backing. I find it so satisfying to make something entirely from scraps, and I'm hoping to make more scrappy quilts this year because of that sense of satisfaction.
I had to show you the reverse of my hexagons, don't you just love how tidy they look? That's all because of the hexagon dies cutting nice and precisely and absolutely nothing to do with my sewing!
Hopefully next week I'll be able to show you a more finished hexagon piece, if I get the big shot into action and cut some more fabrics!!!
Have a great week, and if you have children back to school this week, or if you're returning to work after a Christmas break then good luck! I'll be thinking of you!
Oh Christmas tree!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, relaxed and with lots of love (because love is the most important thing at Christmas, isn't it?)
Way back in July I made a Christmas quilt that has now been published in an Italian magazine called Cucito Creativo. Want to see what I made?
I used squares and half square triangles for the tree, and kept things in a traditional red and green colour scheme - with red as the background (because white is never a good colour for my family, and I'm sure ours isn't the only slightly messy household. Christmas involves lots of eating and chocolates and things - a white background wouldn't have held up well here!)
...I appliqued stars onto the points of the tree and quilted really simply, just following the lines of the squares.
As with most of the projects I make for Sizzix, this now lives with head office so it can be used as a sample at shows and so on. I rather miss it, so maybe next year I'll make another one for me.