Monday, 30 January 2017

The Weekend - 28/29 January

It felt strange heading off for a workshop on Saturday when the girls were home from school, but I had booked on it before they decided to go to school.  One of my local club members had made a Swan Confetti Quilt which hung in our show last July and the workshop was to make one.


It is still at this rather precarious stage but I hope to get it quilted one day this week.

A new ripple blanket was started on Thursday and so the evenings were spent enjoyably working on this.  The evening lighting has really not shown the colours correctly.

And some baking was done - these are kumara (sweet potato), bacon and onion muffins and they were delicious.  The chocolate cup cakes, baked by my eldest, were very tasty too!

And then there was some post.  Two blocks for my month as Queen Bee of Stash Bee Hive 8 - one from a Hive mate and one from a Hive Crasher!  I still a couple of blocks to receive and then piecing this top is top of my list.  These blocks make me so happy and I am going to love, love, love this quilt!

I also managed to spend some time on EQ7 but that's for later! All in all a good, if busy weekend, the downside being my youngest has been off school today with a temperature and sore throat.  Although it has been rather pleasant to sit snuggled up with her this afternoon watching a film! x

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Where has January gone?  It's already the 25th and I am just coming to grips with the New Year!  This January we have had big changes in our family.  After years of home educating our two daughters they both started school at the beginning of term!!

Sewing on name tags took a lot longer than I thought!
What a change .... for us all.  They have gone into Year 7 and Year 5 and, fingers crossed, things are going really well.  In fact I have been astounded by their attitudes, their ability to get organised and their all round acceptance of school life.  They are both really enjoying it - long may that continue!

A very quick make-up-the-pattern-as-I-go pencil case for my youngest

My first finish of 2017!
For me of course it means I have more time, although truth be told I spent the first two weeks of term in an exhausted, zombie like state.  I finally feel that we are adjusting to our new rhythms. although having to wake by an alarm for the first time in well over 13 years is not something I am enjoying!

The final blocks for Bee Hive 2016
I am slowly going through the house and decluttering (6 months of receipts anynone?!) and have been mentally planning over the last few weeks.  I really wanted to join in with Yvonne's Planning Party but realistically I had no idea how school was going to turn out and I restrained myself from overcommitting, although I have been sorely tempted with a couple of things.  

After learning about Epiphany in Spanish my daughter made El Roscon de Reyes - it was delicious! 
So rather late to the party but I still want to state my intentions for the year.  I have never chosen a word for the year before but after lots of pondering it has to be ORGANISATION.  In the hubbub of HE and the resulting 'things' you need for it I don't think I have had a really good clear out since we arrived back in the UK.  So that's 4 years of things to sort through.  It also applies to my studio where I have a lots of ideas to streamline things so that I am not needlessly looking for things or repeating myself with tasks.

To that end, I have joined in an IG challenge #organizedsewingspace2017.  On 16 January my studio was still full of Christmas wrapping paraphenlia, projects half done and had become the general dumping ground over the holiday period.  The first challenge was to clear and organise your sewing area.  My before shot ....

and after .... So much better - I now don't have to worry about the chair toppling backwards every time I move it! 

The second challenge was your pressing and cutting area.  After an accident involving an overloaded ironing board a few years ago my 'pressing area' is always kept clear and tidy.  My cutting area on the other hand not so much.  I am lucky enough to have two areas I can cut in and, ashamedly, I could not cut on either ....

But after is a different story all together!  Whilst the back table still has some piles on it, these are piles that consist of all the correct bits and are projects to be worked in the near future.  The difference in my mind once I had done this was unbelievable.  I have vowed not to let it get in that state again!

So that's a start!  The other thing I have done was to sort out my projects, WIPs and UFOs and make my Quarter 1 FAL list.  I was delighted to be invited to be one of the global hosts this year but almost missed the deadline of entering my own list .... see I really need that word 'organisation' in my life!  In my organised, tidy studio I can now get on with these projects.  I have already completed 3 and have been working on two more these last couple of days.  More of that later along with other commitments and plans for the year.

Another goal I have set myself is to start blogging regularly again and visiting other people's blogs. I really do miss it when I am away from this wonderful community.  So with that in my mind, I am going to link up to Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts today for the first time this year.  I am looking forward to getting a cuppa later and popping over to visit other people and generally being sociable!  If anyone has any tips on how to get in the blogging groove again I would be most appreciative! x

Sunday, 15 January 2017

2017FAL :: Meet the Hosts - January

There is a global community of blogger hosting the 2017 Finish-A-Long and the organisers thought it might be fun to introduce them to you.  First up for January is Nicky who blogs over at Mrs Sew & Sow.  In her own words .....

Hi !  My name is Nicky Eglinton and I'm one of the global 2017 Finish-A-Along hosts.  This is my second year as co-host so I should know what I'm doing.  

I live in the South of England but was born in bonnie Scotland and after a few years studying in Aberdeen and Glasgow, I came to London to get my first job!   I loved the theatres, cinema, restaurants, walking across Waterloo Bridge and looking one way at the Houses of Parliament and the other way at St Paul's.  Life was good!

Houses of Parliament to the left, 

the dome of St. Paul's to the right

Since then I have moved even further south and out of the hubbub of the City to the quiet more rural life of Sussex to raise a family with hubby.   It has suited us well and we have three lovely children and a cat and a dog!   Here are the pets in portrait and 'helping' me quilt!

Saffy and Maddie

In my childhood I learnt to stitch from my mother - first toys, and cross stitch, then clothes in my teens and twenties (back then it was actually cheaper to do that). 

Meet Dandelion - I still have him!

She also taught me knitting and crochet.  She loved passing on her skills though we struggled at times as she was right handed and I was left handed.  Every thing I did looked wrong to her as I was doing it in what seemed an awkward way....and there were very few lefthanded tools to help!  So I now prefer right handed scissors - in fact I cannot use lefthanded ones!!

Jumping forward a bit, to maintain my sanity after kid no 1, I went to an evening class about patchwork and quilting.  My chance to talk with grown ups!   I was completely in love with applique!   It was all I did!  And then I ended up on a course at  The Quilt Room to make this quilt in 2005!  

Friendship's Garden Quilt

by Alma Allen & Cherie Ralston

The applique was easy for me but would you believe I was terrified of the HST border round each block and the quilt remained in pieces, and on several FAL lists.  Carolyn Forster taught me piecing and introduced me to blogging!   Wow has she got a lot to answer for!   I started blogging as I wanted to record my stitching and gardening - hence my blog name Mrs Sew and Sow!

The sewing has taken over somewhat but this year I will be back in my garden and bringing lots of flowers into the house!  Wonder if a flower bed can count as a WIP or UFO??   What do you think?
Well back to that quilt I started in 2005 I kept moving it from one FAL list to the next!  I have joined up with the FAL since the beginning - though I may have missed a few quarters - and it has helped enormously - mainly from all the encouragement I received from commenters who have become friends.  

Suddenly it became the time to finish that quilt!  I even had to learn FMQ in order to do it !   

And here it is!  So all of you who have longterm WIPs/UFOs do not despair!

Finishing that longstanding UFO was like a release - it had been a block hanging over me!   I started actually finishing more stuff.
Since 2012 I have been keen to meet up with people, and join in the quilting  community.  I went to the Fat Quarterly Retreats in London and learnt about the Siblings Together charity.  I have been making quilts for the charity since then - one or two to begin with, then I joined a bee to make more, helped others finish quilts and finally last year Maria and I were leading the campaign to make 100 quilts for the charity.  

The charity helps children in the UK social care system retain bonds with their siblings at holiday camps.  They are given a quilt to remind them of the fun times together.  

We will be aiming to make another 100 quilts in 2017 with help from a generous community of quilters !   Would you like to join us?  You can find more information here and here!

I love scraps and have been running a monthly link up, #Scraptastictuesday, on the second Tuesday of every month, with my co host Leanne (who also hosts FAL).  We like to celebrate the origins of patchwork, though Leanne uses scraps in more of an improv way than I do but you will find all sorts of inspiration there! 

I am a scrappy quilter for ecological and economical reasons!  I like to hang onto those pounds and pence and keep my scraps out of the landfill sites! And I just love cramming as many different fabrics as possible into one quilt.  We would love you to join us with your scrappy projects (they don't need to be finished), plans, and storage systems.

I try to make a scrappy sampler quilt each year with tutorials showing you how to make your own!  2015 is finished and 2016 is basted ready for a finish this quarter I hope!

Liberty Sampler 2015 & Karen Lewis Sampler 2016

And now I'm setting up a local group of stitchers in Sussex with my friends and co-founders Kelly and Jane and we are actually going to meet up and stitch together in a room!   And eat cake!   With no children!  It is starting this month!

I seem to have made lots of quilts.  I find the creative process both stimulating and therapeutic.  I do tend to make up my own patterns though on occasion if I love something I will try to make my own version of it.

Here are some of my favourite quilt finishes:

Top Left : Nordik Quilt; Top Right & Clockwise:  Double Sided Welsh Blanket Quilt in Karen Lewis Textiles, pattern by Mary Emmens;  Hand stitched and quilted scrappy clamshell quilt;  Vintage Squares quilt; Stingy Bee Row Quilt  (both this and Nordik were made with help from members of Bee a Brit Stingy )

And here is one I hope to finish this coming quarter!  It is my take on the traditional Double Wedding Ring (my own variation) - a lot of it stitched by hand!  I used acrylic templates made by Marti Michell to help with the cutting and designing of these blocks.

Hoopla! Quilt

My FAL list is always a long one (yes I am a member of Archie the Wonder Dog's #ridiculouslylongFAList ) as when I used to choose a few items for my list I always wanted to work on something else!  Much easier to keep everything out in the open I found!

I hope you will join us on our journey to complete those listed projects and I look forward to seeing your finishes!  Remember to cheer on the rest of the community - it really does make a difference!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long Quarter 1 - my list

Just in the nick of time I have managed to clear and tidy my studio and make my list for Quarter 1 of the Finish-A-Long.  Some are rolled over, some are new but all I would like to finish.

1.  Moving this right to the top of my list because I want to make one for me - a Caravan Tote.

2.  A Happy Birthday bunting - it's my birthday next in the family and I would love a bunting up having given away our other one.

3.  Turn these crocheted hexagons into somthing - the item in the background is very rigid interfacing because I am thinking a bucket/basket type thing!

4.  Radiance Wholecloth design challenge - everything about this is new to me and rather scary at the moment but hopefully it will all fall into place.

5.  My Bee Hive quilt from 2016 - all pieced, backing ready just need to get it quilted.

6.  My daughter's Feather Quilt - quilting and binding to be done.  Need to work our quilting design and get this done ..... hopefully first or second up.

7.  My Christmas Quilt - which I was sure was going to be keeping me warm right now but with the change of plans our family had this went by the wayside.  Quilting and binding to be done.

8.  Quilt this gorgeous quilt made by Susan at Canadian Abroad for Siblings Together.  UPDATED - this is finished and can be seen here

9.  Back to Front quilt - finish top, quilt and bind.

10.  Turn these spare blocks from my Polaroid cot quilt into a small quilt for Project Linus.

11.  Quilt this sample from a Gillian Travis workshop I took last January :(  UPDATED 21/02/17 this is now finished and if you head over here you can have a look!

12.  Make another Lighted Houses piece from an Anne Hellyer workshop - it didn't get made in time for Christmas so I had to gift the one I made for me!

13.  Turn this sample from the Cloud 9 New Block Blog Hop into something - wall hanging or cushion.  UPDATED 22/02/17 - this is now finished and you can read all about it here!!

14.  Turn these two blocks from the Bee Hive into a cushion.

15.  Turn this sample from the Cloud 9 New Block Blog Hop into something - wall hanging or cushion.  UPDATED 23/02/17 - this is finished and blogged about here

16.  Decide what to do with this!  It was a jelly roll race quilt I started making for my daughter, before she changed her mind.  The top is actually finished but as she doesn't want it anymore I'm not sure whether to cut and re-use the fabric in something different - any ideas?

17.  Make this block into a cushion cover.

18.  Make this block into a cushion cover - I am either super early or rather late!  My tutorial to make this block can be found here.  I felt rather ashamed because other people who used this tutorial had their cushions all finished and in use for Christmas whilst mine languished in my studio.

19.  Christmas Tree wall hanging - do you see a theme here?!!  I am going to be well prepared for this Christmas!

20.  Finish making these samples from trying the Quick Curve Ruler into pouches - one down, one to go.

21.  Fabric pull and design inspiration for a Charley Harper themed mini swap.

22.  Rainbow Star Mini No 2 - to re-create a mini I made last year for a swap which I loved, and begrudgingly sent to my partner!!  I've thought about it for almost 12 months so figured I need to scratch that itch!  UPDATED 16/02/2017 this is now finished and blogged about here 

23. Rainbow Star Mini No 3 - whilst playing around with EQ7 I came up with similar but different design and I would like to see how they compare in real life.  I am sure I can find a recipient for one of these once they are made.

24.  Finalise my Union Jack flag pattern and get it out there!  It is so close, what's really stopping me is the technical side required to convert to a .pdf but hopefully I will now be able to concentrate and get this done.

25.  Quilt this Beatrix Potter embroidery quilt for my Mum.

26.  Back this quilt for Stratford Hospice for Project Linus.

27.  Make pyjama bottoms for my youngest - I am hoping that the pattern I drafted last summer will still fit and I just have to make the legs longer.  NO LONGER REQUIRED!!

28.  Liberty and linen Easter/spring bunting to be made.

29.  Actually finish this Granny Square blanket - it is sooo close, it just needs ends darning in but it's been at this stage for over 4 years ...... admittedly it was packed up in a box when we returned from New Zealand and I have only just unearthed it!  UPDATED 20/02/17 - finished and in use!!!  Blogged about here.

So that's it.  Not exhaustive but a pretty good reflection of my WIPs and UFOs.  I still have other projects to work on this quarter and some learning to do on EQ7 so I would say that I will be rather busy!  Hope you have linked up all your unfinished project and I look forward to seeing your progress and finished over the next three months.


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...