Thursday, 30 June 2016

A bean bag .....

It is as the title says ... a bean bag!  

Although I have to admit it has been a long time coming.  I used the tutorial over at Project Nursery that promises you a bean bag in 30 minutes ..... and it actually does only take 30 minutes - it's wonderful.  So why oh why has it been on my to do list for sooooo long?!

I know it's not a very inspiring picture but my daughter, who is soon to be 12, was still in her pyjamas and did not want to get dressed and be in a picture!

Initially I made both daughters one each out of calico because I wasn't sure if they would be big enough for them or that they would actually use them.  My girls are 9 and 11 and tall and this pattern still works really well for them.  The fabric choice took a fair while and quite  a lot of negotiation!  The fabric ends up sideways and so a very obvious directional print would look funny .... to me, apparently not to my daughter.  So a compromise was reached because whilst this bird fabric is directional it does not scream at you that the birds are sideways.

So that is another finish from my 2016 FAL List - hooray.  The link ups for finishes opens today and runs for a week so I'll be sure to link up all my Quarter 2 finishes over the weekend. x

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Farm Girl Vintage

So despite the weather (think torrential rain and actually it's cold too!), family illness (my youngest daughter has a summer cold and very sore throat) and the general unsettled feeling in my country (for that read it's like we've gone down a rabbit hole and nothing is as it appears) I am feeling rather sociable today so will be linking up with Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts.  

Just to take a while to sit and visit some of the other people's blog who link up is a very relaxing and enjoyable way to spend some time .... and if there's coffee and brownies thrown in then I am there!  I also have a big thank you to Lorna for her flanged binding tutorial which I used yesterday on my Shakespeare challenege mini quilt.  On that note, yesterday I said:

 "Although looking at the top picture it's really annoying me so I may well unpick and restitch!"

Having been woken up VERY early by my daughter who is ill I had a few hours laying in bed thinking .....  Which, of course led to some seam ripping before breakfast .... but now I am very happy that I did.  Hint:  it was the join on the left hand side, which now whilst a little wavy, is at least even in the two colours!

Last week I offered up a Pay It Forward on my blog and the person whose name came out of the hat was Sue from Sevenoaks Street Quilts.  At some stage, before the end of the year, Sue will get a little something through the post from me.  Hopefully it will make her smile and brighten up her day.  In turn she will Pay It Forward with a little handmade love of her own.

Patchwork Pumpkin Block
I haven't yet shared any of my Farm Girl Vintage blocks on this blog.  I got the book for Christmas and really enjoyed making a few blocks at the start of the year.  I decided I wanted to make all 48 blocks and opted for the 6 1/2" block to make the full quilt.  

Fresh Pears Block
My, self-imposed, timeline was to make at least one block a week, so that all the blocks were done by the end of the year ready to be sashed and quilted in the New Year.  I have never had such a long term project as this but it sounded doable. In week 1 I made the pumpkin - which I loved doing, week 2 were the pears, week 3 was the strawberry ....

Scrappy Strawberry Block

and week 4 the canning block.  So far so good - one block a week was definitely doable, until ...... 

Canning Season Block

other commitments crept in, Home Ed activities started up again, plus swaps plus show quilts and then the completed blocks came off my design wall and then the book got covered with piles of other things ........ until last week.  I already had some pieces cut so one night I thought I would just sew these together and a little chick (still legless) was hatched ....

Baby Chick Block

and then the milk churn was made.

Milking Day Block

So not quite the 26 blocks that 'should' have been made by the last week in June but hey ho!  The number is increasing and they are looking really cute on my design wall.

Farm Girl Vintage Progress report: 6 blocks of 48 made x

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Mini Quilt Challenge :: Shakespeare ....

My local quilt club has a show on this weekend and they issued a challenge to their members, to be hung en masse at the show. The title of the challenge was Shakespeare and could be interpreted however we liked, the only restriction was that no side of the quilt should be more than 16".

I had loads of ideas over the weeks since the challenge was issued but, as is always the way sometimes, I only got round to physically doing anything this last weekend.  Whilst I still liked some of my initial ideas they were not going to be able to be completed in time (like a mini quilt of Shakespeare's birthplace!) so I went with stars ........... Do you know the play this could relate to?

If you can read the quilted words you will see that it is Romeo & Juliet:

"Two households, both alike in dignity
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life 
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife."

The background fabric is a navy cotton which I bought for my flag quilt, but I can't remember the brand. The stars were from 3 greys/silvers I had in my stash.  The batting was some leftovers joined together!  So all in all this is from my stash.

Romeo    Boy    Montague

The lines are freehand quilted which means a certain wonkiness creeps in .... but that's OK!  I used all Glide threads for the quilting in Navy (32965), Medium Grey (10424) and Cool Grey (10CG3).

Juliet    Girl    Capulet

I love the look of flange bindings but have never tried one before.  I thought this quilt would be perfect with a flash of silver on the edges before the navy binding comes in.  I used a tutorial from Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts  and it worked like a dream!  The only changes I made were the width of the fabric strips.  I like narrow bindings and always cut my binding fabric at 2", so for this technique I cut the navy fabric at 1 1/8" and the silvery fabric at 1 3/8".  This gave me a finished width of 2" once they were sewn together with a 1/4" seam.

I also did a mitred join for the binding which is a new technique for me.  I did not match the two colours that well on the join but I guess this will come with practice.  Although looking at the top picture it's really annoying me so I may well unpick and restitch!

EDITED 29/06/2016:  Of course I was going to unpick and restitch - head over here if you want to see the final finished version!

This also counts as a completed finish from my 2016 FAL list - OK so I thought I would do it in rainbow colours and white background but this was the layout I wanted to try with stars after I made this mini quilt for a swap.

I am also linking up with Quilt Story for the first time in their Fabric Tuesday link up.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Any bookworms amongst you?!

As you may well know it was my stop on the New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop last week and I asked people to let me know their favourite book or author.  Thank you so much for all the book/author recommendations.  As so many people seem to enjoy reading I thought I would collate that list here in case you are looking for some new reading material and/or some new blogs to go and visit!


All Souls Trilogy / Deborah Harkness from Velda at Granny can Quilt

The Kitchen House / Kathleen Grisson from Heide at Heide's Quilt Hugs

Mudbound  / Hillary Jordan from Heide at Heide's Quilt Hugs

Gone with the Wind / Margaret Mitchell recommended by Needled Mom

Rosemary Rogers recommended by Anna Brown

The Graveyard Book / Neil Gaiman from Ruth at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner

Outlander series / Diana Gabaldon from Kate at Smiles from Kate

World Without End / Ken Follett from Kate at Smiles from Kate

Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow / Orson Scott Card from Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl

Cutting Stone / Janet Burroway from Rilene

Armand Gamache Series / Louise Penny from Ann Petersen

The Passage Series / Justin Cronin from Ann Petersen

The Grapes of Wrath / John Steinbeck from Stephanie at quilt'n party

Outlander Series / Diana Gabaldon from Amista at Hilltop Custom Designs

The Heritage / John Grisham from Rosa at Rosa Patch - the love of sewing

The Lightning Thief / Rick Riordan from Sandra at mmm! quilts

A Man Called Ove / Fredrik Backman from Sandra at mmm! quilts

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises / Fredrik Backman from Sandra at mmm! quilts

Vintage Kitchen Mysteries / Victoria Hamilton from Holly at Lighthouse Lane Designs

All The Light We Cannot See /  Anthony Doerr from Lisa at Sunlight In Winter Quilts

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children / Ransom Riggs from Sharon at Yellow Cat Quilt Designs

A Prayer for Owen Meany / John Irving from Diana at Red Delicious Life

Cider House Rules / John Irving from Diana at Red Delicious Life


Ursula le Guin from Ruth at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner

John Scalzi from Ruth at Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner

James Patterson from Jennifer at RV Quilting

Lee Child from Jennifer at RV Quilting

Dana Stabenow from Jennifer at RV Quilting

Margaret Attwood from Amanda at This Mom Quilts

JK Rowling from Laurel at Quilts By Laurel

JD Robb from Quilter

Jeffrey Archer from Sue at Sevenoaks Street Quilts

Bernard Cornwell from Sarah at 123 Quilt

John Irving from Diana at Red Delicious Life

Picture Books from Emily at The Darling Dogwood

Wide Mouthed Frog / Keith Falkner

Caps for Sale / Esphyr Slobodkina

The First Tulips in Holland / Phyllis Krasilovsky

Click, Clack, Moo / Doreen Cronin

Obviously I could not have a post without any pictures so these are pics of a mini quilt I made yesterday.  It's currently on the frame being quilted and will hopefully be finished in the next couple of days. x

Friday, 24 June 2016

Rainbow Rose .....

My Rainbow Rose has bloomed ...... and so I can today link it up to Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  I will also be linking it to the linky party over at Modern Quilters Ireland who are hosting this QAL, designed by Ruth at Charly and Ben's Crafty Corner.  All the instructions are still up there if you are tempted to join in the fun!

Week 3's instructions were to piece the 4 corner sections.  I only managed to make one corner peice in Week 3 but finished sewing up the rest yesterday.  I love how these four blocks look when they are placed together - I think I might make up some of these blocks in other colourways.

I wanted to make this quilt only using fabric from my stash so overall I am happy with the colour gradations.  There are a couple of changes that are more abrupt than I would like but I was not going to go and buy new fabric ..... much as I would have liked to.

This has been a really enjoyable exploration of colour and I learnt other things besides:

::  I had never made HSTs by cutting triangles in the first place - I like this method and it means that you don't have to have two squares made up of the same fabric triangles and, because I will use the leftover triangles there was very little waste

::  I had never used starch in my patchwork or quilting before  - I am not sure that I would use it again because I really dislike the smell and how it clogged up my iron's surface

::  I used grey as the background for the first time instead of white - sadly I am not sure I like it that much!  I'm not sure if it's because it's grey or whether it's because it's this marbled fabric .... whichever, I think I would have liked it more in white.

I started this project with red at the top of the rose and have always looked at it this way ....

Now it's all joined together it's fun to see it with the other colours at the top ....

This is currently 32 1/2" square.  The assembly instructions are coming next week but I was too impatient to wait!  I am not quite sure how I am going to finish this up yet so still have some playing to do.

There were lots of points to join and whilst they are nowhere near all perfect I thought I would share a join that I was very happy with!!

On Wednesday, I offered up a Pay it Forward on the blog, so if you fancy playing along with one, receiving a surprise something from me and in turn sending something to someone else then please do head over there and leave a comment.

Wishing you all a great weekend. x

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Let's Bee Social .... spreading the love!

Well I am having a very social week this week seeing as it was my turn on the Blog Hop for the New Quilt Bloggers group.  If you missed my introduction post then click over here if you fancy learning more about me and a host of other great new bloggers.  Pssst .... there are prizes on offer too!  I also have a little something on offer at the end of this post ... so keep reading!

I appreciate each and every comment I get on this blog and love visiting other people's blogs and reading about their adventure in quilting and life in general.  I think we quilters are quite a unique breed.  We may be separated by many thousands of miles but we still find things in common and we all pull together when needed.

I am sure you have seen the call out from the Orlando MQG for #quiltsforPulse and the Leeds MQG for #quiltsforjo and so it felt only right to get some made .......

For those in the UK Esther Moorey, IG @esthermoorey, at Squeeze Quilts, is collecting blocks for #PulseOrlando, so you can send them to a UK address.

Some of you will know that I am a local co-ordinator for Project Linus and last week saw lots of finishes for them.  Over the weekend I pulled out another quilt for another cause, Siblings Together.  I 'met' Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow over on instagram and loved the idea of these quilts.  She was recruiting mini bee members earlier in the year so I jumped at the chance,  My Bee mates made me single colour scrappy blocks bordered with white.  I even got a whole load of blocks from people who weren't in my Bee!

I have another example of how lovely quilters are .... at the beginning of the year I signed up to the Bee Hive and so had 11 Hive mates.  Through swapping blocks and various chats on IG you get to know some of your Hive mates quite well.  One of mine headed off to the States for work recently and just before she left she messaged me and asked if there was anything she could bring back for me!!  Of course I could have had her fill a suitcase but I decided to ask for something that I was finding impossible to get in the UK - a printed version of the Fancy Forest pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.   I wasn't holding out much hope but look what arrived yesterday ....

I have never met this lady, although we plan to meet later in the year, but she was kind enough to do this for me.  Like I said, the quilting community is very special.

To celebrate this wonderful community, both online and in real life, and to mark my 150th blog post (this will happen on Friday) I would like to spread some quilty, bloggy love around the place.  Back in February I was lucky enough to be chosen as a recipient in the Pay It Forward Ruth, from Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner, had up on her blog.  As Ruth says, the premise for a Pay It Forward:

was based on a book of the same name about a kid who comes up with a social experiment to make the world a kinder place. He decides on the Pay if Forward principle - I had heard of this before the movie, paying the toll for the next person coming along behind, buying someone a cup of coffee unexpectedly. Giving without the expectation of receiving in return, only asking the next person to do the same at some future date, when they have an opportunity to make someone's day easier! 

Actually I have just realised the book is by my bedside but I haven't started it yet!  It is now my turn to Pay It Forward.  I want to offer something to people in my quilting community and so will be picking someone who reads my blog, someone who follows me on IG and someone from a Facebook group that I am part of.  It's called UK Quilters United, if you're interested, and it is a really active, friendly and supportive group.  So three people will receive something from me at some stage before the end of the year ..... hopefully it will be a lovely surprise for those people.  In turn they will offer a Pay It Forward into their quilting community.

If you would like to receive something from me, then please just leave a comment below and a person will be picked at random at the end of the week.  If you are on instagram you have another chance by commenting on my IG post!  If you are going to leave a comment please state your favourite colour/s and also just for fun what do you think the collective noun for quilts should be?!

Linking up to Let's Bee Social with Lorna today. x

Monday, 20 June 2016

New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop - Week 2

You may have noticed that a little thing called New Quilt Bloggers has been going on recently!  Hosted by three very talented bloggers, Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs and Stephanie from Late Night Quilter, it has given a chance to people new to blogging to connect and learn from each other and, of course, our talented hosts.
Last week saw the start of the Blog Hop and there were some fantastic introduction posts, click here to see a list from last week.  There are also some fantastic prizes on offer through giveaways ....
So where should I start?  I guess with some quilts - it is the New Quilt Bloggers group for a reason!  Almost a year ago I got a longarm quilting machine and that has certainly altered the course of my quilting ..... I have also been a lot more productive since acquiring it!  There was something about basting a quilt on the floor that had the tops sitting on shelves for rather a long time. 
The first quilt of mine that I quilted on the longarm machine was Straight Line Bow.  It was also my first entry in a quilt show, The Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate in September 2015, where I was delighted and rather surprised to be awarded a Judge's Merit ribbon!  I love the texture on this one.  You can read more about it on this post.
Also last year saw me participate in my first ever Blog Hop, run by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts for her Dog Gone Cute Quilt Along.  My daughters had seen me looking at the really cute pictures and my youngest loved the design.  Her birthday was coming up so I thought I would make the quilt for her.

I also really love the pieced back on this one.  For more information head over here.

Just last month I finished my oldest quilting WIP, which was such a wonderful feeling.  It had been 6 years in the making and I am absolutely delighted with the result.  The motivation to get it finished was twofold - I could now quilt it as I had always envisioned (I really couldn't get FMQ on my little vintage Bernina!) and I had entered it into the Group Quilt section of Quilts UK, in Malvern.  Yet again, if you want to know more about ANZAC Hearts then click on over here!
The last quilt I would like to share with you is entitled Should I Stay or Should I Go?  This was made for the Theme Category at Quilts UK, which this year was Where the Heart Is.

My statement for the show was:

I was born in the UK; married a Kiwi; one daughter born in New Zealand and one born in the UK; home has been moved back and forth numerous times over the years.  My heart lives in both countries and, no matter which country I am living in at the time, is always there at the back of my mind - should I stay or should  I go?

For more on this quilt head over here.
Why cut&alter?
In short because that's what we do in so many facets of our life.  We take something, whether that be fabric, wood or food, we cut it, we do something with it and it is altered!!  The wood comes from my husband who is, at times, a picture framer and a furniture designer/maker.
Snippets about me
::  I have been sewing in some shape or form all of my life.  I learnt to quilt 6 years ago but sadly had a 2 year period when I did not sew at all, due to injuring both my wrists - let's hope that never happens again.
::  I have made over 50 pairs of curtains - we move a lot!
::  I am a Pisces.
::  I now realise that I will never make all the quilts that are in my head.  As soon as I have made one then 10 more possibilities come into my head, not to mention all the inspiration I see on the great www!
::  Favourite book - too hard to say!  I am an avid reader and have recently discovered goodreads.  Here you can make lists (and I am a list girl!) - read, reading, to read .... get recommendations, read reviews etc, etc.  If you are a reader too then head on over. 
::  Dream holiday spot will always involve the coast.
::  I am the youngest of 5 children.
::  I have had hypothermia and my youngest daughter has had hypothermia!
::  I now truly appreciate living in the UK having lived in other countries.
::  How are you? in Māori is Kei te pēhea koe?  (Pronounced Kay tay pay he are kway?) to which you can reply I am good or Kei te pai ahau (Kay tay pie a hoe) - just in case you ever need to know that!
Blogging Tip
To post regularly and then it becomes a habit and much quicker.  I find the hardest thing is get to back to blogging if I have taken a break, intended or otherwise. 
Quilting Tip
Never be afraid to try anything and go with your gut instinct if something feels right.  There are lots of people out there with their own opinions, but that is exactly what it is theirs.  Some will work for you and some won't - don't be afraid to mix and match.  It's all about enjoying it at the end of the day and if a certain technique is not making you happy try another!
And a question for you ......
Books ..... The last couple of years I have tried to expand my reading horizons and have been taking recommendations from all manner of places and then reading the books .... to the end!  Some I have loved and some I have not but all have been interesting.  I am now on the lookout for more - so my question is twofold:
what is your favourite book or who is your favourite author?
Here's the schedule for the rest of my Hive:

Jennifer @ Inquiring Quilter

but please do go visit the others too .....

there is the Sewcial Network over with Yvonne

and Hive Sewciety over with Stephanie

There are also lots of lovely prizes up for grabs in a giveaway!!  Talking of prizes .... there will be something up for grabs on my blog later this week.  I am approaching 150 posts which is definitely a cause for celebration.  I had hoped it would coincide with this post but it was not to be.  It just means that you will have to pop back later in the week if you are interested!
Many thanks for reading and hope to see you again. x

Friday, 17 June 2016

The House Quilt ....

Last year at the Festival of Quilts I picked up some of the house blocks that were donated to the Project Linus stand.  They have been on my FAL list a fair few times but I was determined that this quarter they were going to be finished.
I pieced them together with some other donated star blocks and broke it up with some plain green squares.  It finished at approx. 36" x 36".

I had my second attempt using a pantograph on my longarm machine and I have to say it didn't feel quite so strange this time!  Further to comments from my last post about pantographs, a friends is sending me 3 pantos in designs that I actually like, which will make the process more enjoyable!  I have a couple of tops which I will try them out on and of course I will report back my findings here!

 The quilting is definitely smoother this time and I am quite pleased with the result.

So I am finally managing to tick items of my list this quarter - 12 done from 25.  In fact it's been a finish a day this week over here - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thrusday - phew!  I think that qualifies me to link up to Finish it up Friday this week!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Another quilt for Linus ....

This finish is another one to tick of my 2016 FAL list - get the feeling that I know the end of quarter is just around the corner?!!

Again, this was made by a child for a child at a local Home Ed co-op I am part of.  Whilst I had cut various size squares prior to the session, the children had free rein choosing their fabric and putting it together.  This was made by a 9 year old boy and I think he did admirably seeing as he'd never used a sewing machine up until a few months ago.
This quilt finished at 30" x 30".

I freehand quilted it with a geometric design of straight line boxes and rectangles of varying sizes.  It was the first time I have quilted this design and I really like how it has turned out.

The backing was cotton from IKEA and the scrappy binding was made up of binding leftover from all my recent quilts!
I am going to the group again tomorrow and will take all the finished quilts to show the show the children.  I am very proud of their work and hope they will be too. x

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Let's Bee Social ....

This week I am all about finishes - more specifically trying to get some items ticked off my 2016 FAL list before the end of the month!  Currently I have ticked 10 projects off the list - but there's still 15 remaining!
On Monday there were two pairs of pyjamas trousers, yesterday was a small quilt for Project Linus and today we have another quilt for Project Linus.
Not only is this a FAL finish, it is also my #BraveQuilter challenge for June.  I got my longarm machine last July and I have never attempted to use a pantograph with it so that's what I did yesterday.
This was the pattern that came with the machine and 11 months on it was still wrapped in plastic!
I didn't get any progress shots because I was too busy concentrating.  Basically you use a laser light to follow the lines on the paper which in turn quilts the pattern on your loaded quilt.
My thoughts on the process:
1.  It felt very strange to stand behind the machine and operate it from there.  The handles are at a different height, there's not that much room for moving around there but the biggest thing was that you can't see the quilt .... it felt very weird to be quilting blind as it were.
2.  I don't like the pattern on this pantograph very much which meant I didn't really enjoy doing it.
3.  There is no point in using pantographs for small quilts.  I could have quilted this size quilt freehand with just one advance of the rollers but using the pantograph I had to advance every row - so 5 advances in all!
4.  Always advance with the needle in the correct position - it takes a lot longer to figure out where to start quilting the next row if you don't.
4.  I think I would get far smoother curves and points by doing this freehand.
Ok, so here's the results ... visually!

The texture is gorgeous and I admit I quite the uniformity of the design.  In fact I think I like the back more than the front!

I applied the binding in the same way I did yesterday, by joining the binding with an angled join.  Perfect again - and this time I didn't even need the tutorial up.
Would I do it again?  I think it would be a good skill to master, especially if you are going to do customer quilts.  Some people like to see exactly what design is going on the quilts and pantographs give this option very well.  However, I don't think it will become my thing - I love freehand guiding the machine and seeing where it takes me!  Although I do remember saying something similar about ruler work and I now quite enjoy it!
Linking up with Lorna at Let's Bee Social today.
I will be linking up to Pink Doxies when the link opens at the end of the month.


I am so pleased to announce that my new website has been launched.  It's taken me some time to build and it's not all finished yet b...