Sunday, 30 April 2017

Where did April go?!

Following up from my 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop post I was really interested to read how quilters get their dinners made.  There were some who prepped ahead and made double batches for the freezer - mostly pasta sauces, lasagna and casseroles.  There were those like me who end up at tea time with no idea what to cook, takeaways and ready bought meals also featured.  What came as a surprise to me was how many many husbands do the cooking in a quilting household!!

Made at sewing day for a member of a travelling bee group

I was very lucky to win a prize in Week 2 of the Blog Hop - a 6 month subscription to Make Modern magazine.  My first edition is released on 06 May and I am really excited to have won this.  There are two more weeks on the Blog Hop so be sure to visit some of the bloggers and the three wonderful hosts who are running the giveaways!

This week features my Hive members:

Diane at Cwilt

April has gone very quickly indeed.  Of course, 2 weeks were Easter holidays and it was strange getting into the rhythm of having the girls home every day - it just shows how quickly we adjust to new situations!  I didn't get much time in the studio - I think I have been spoilt by having uninterrupted time whilst they are at school that I didn't want to make do with the odd 10 minutes here and there!  I had one day sewing with a group of local ladies.  We have only just recently started to meet and I have missed the last 3 months so it was such a pleasure to sit and sew and share food in wonderful company.

I learnt how to spin/pop seams aswell - which I have tried several times with no joy.  I used this tutorial from Adrianne from On the Windy Side which I read about in Snowy Days Quilting.  This was a new to me blog when I started the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers group and it's been wonderful getting to know Bobbi.  And the resulting pinwheels ....

 There is something very good for the soul to sew with others and make for others. x

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Crochet and baking ....

I haven't crocheted for a few months now due to the fact that my hands and thumbs have been very sore this year.  However, when I saw Helen's (from Archie the Wonder Dogpost on IG this morning I felt compelled to make some flowers.

There was a call out for #aflowerforjenny on Instagram a couple of days ago .... if you click here there's a great blog post relating to this.  It broke my heart reading about what this family has gone through and the courage 19 year old Jenny is showing whilst planning her own funeral.

So if you crochet or knit or can make pompoms maybe you will consider making some very soon and send to Jenny.  I have just read an updated IG post and they are already inundated with pledges so do not now need anymore!!  How awesome is this community?!!!

Today is also ANZAC Day when Australians and New Zealanders around the world remember the fallen in Gallipoli.  My girls will be happy when they come home from school to find ANZACs in the tin!  It was very strange to be baking on my own and not have the girls asking for a 'lollipop' - ie a spoon full of raw biscuit mixture!

This is the recipe I use (posted to a very old blog of mine!!) and I did just have to try one that broke as I transferred them to the cooling tray - delicious!

Life can be so fragile and can be ended way too soon for some people.  I often tell people I love "I love you!" and I will continue to do so a very regular basis.  Lots of love heading out from me to you aswell!!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

2017FAL :: Meet the Hosts - March :: Throw a Wench in the Works

Continuing the introductions of the 2017 Finish-A-Long global hosts this month we have Ella from Throw a Wench in the Works. (If you want to see who has gone before then there was Nicky from Mrs Sew and Sow in January, Jess from Elven Garden Quilts in February and me in March).  Without further ado .....

Hi, I'm Ella, here at throwawenchintheworks. *waves hello* Welcome to a Meet the Maker Finish-A-Long instalment, featuring me!

If you're new to the my blog, let me tell you a bit about me.

I'm a teacher in Atlanta. (Still trying to wrap my head around the recent bridge collapse on I-85.) I've moved around a lot in my life, but I think Atlanta is home now. (I do miss the fall in Upstate NY, but I don't miss the winters.) I love Atlanta. It's extremely diverse. I love the blend of big city and neighborhoods. I love The Center for Puppetry Arts (and its huge Henson collection).


I love the Botanical Gardens.


I LOVE Dragoncon!


I live here with my husband (commonly referred to by me as The Pirate...because Pirates are awesome), a smooshy senior cocker spaniel (who has ruined me for all other dogs and who I need to clone into an army of lovey dogs), and a slightly evil tuxedo kitty (think Brain from "Pinky and the Brain").

Obligatory animal pictures:
IMG_0282      IMG_0298

(Sorry, the tongue is a bit disturbing, but I still find her forcible grooming, usually limited to his floofy hair, HILARIOUS.)

I'm new to hosting the Finish-a-Long, but I've been a long time participant (and overachieving list maker for a long time). I started blogging back in 2011. A bit of trivia about my blog name. I'm also a bellydancer (although my knee issue has me a bit sidelined right now), hence the wench part. I tend to throw myself into things whole-heartedly, but I'm also a, um, the wench in the works. I didn't think about how often folks would read it as "wrench" and have trouble finding my blog. Ah well.

Ironically, I used to teach photography and now most of my pictures tend to be taken in my poorly lit living room at odd hours of the night. I *can* take better pictures; I *should* take better pictures; I'm just mostly working on things in the night-time. I apologize for that.

I started blogging the summer I decided to officially learn how to quilt. I've been sewing and knitting since I was little. (My mom taught me how to sew, by hand and by machine. My aunt taught me to knit when I was in third grade.) I made a quilt for my dorm room in college, but I don't count it as a quilt that was completely mine because my mom hand tied it. It didn't survive many washings.

I don't actually have most of my first quilts any more from back in 2011. When I started sewing again back in 2011, after many years of hiatus, I was initially obsessed with disappearing nine patches. I gave most of them away. The one below went to a friend going through chemo.
batik quilt

In my first foray into non disappearing 9 patch quilts, I made a HORRIBLE quilt. I used crappy fabric that did NOT stand up to being washed, which was probably also a product of my seams being totally inconsistent. Ahem, I was in a horrible Hawaiian shirt theme for the quilts.

Rockin Robin completed top!

It was part of a Row Robin that was launched online. I loved the community that I found there. Folks were supportive and kind. That led to swaps and lots of groups on Flickr. (Remember when Flickr was awesome? *Sigh.*) I did a ton of block swaps, even ran the 4x6 for a while. I admit, I have not been blogging as much as I did in the past. Now, I tend to spend time over on Instagram, but the online community is still HUGELY important to me.

I felt like, as I had with the bellydance community, I found a "tribe" to which I belonged.  I had space to learn, people were so generous with their knowledge, and I could let my geek flag fly.  I got to meet folks in real life from my first do.good.stitches group visiting Atlanta, Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, Sewtopia here in Atlanta, Sisters in Oregon, and many years of The Stash Bash.  I'm kind of a spazz and feel incredibly awkward in big social groups.  Going to new places feels like a big deal.  (If you ever meet me, this won't necessarily feel true.  I TALK A LOT.  I TALK MORE when I'm nervous.)  I feel lucky to have met so many awesome, amazing women who remain important to me.

Charity is still a fundamental part of my sewing.  I run the Serenity Circle as part of do.good.stitches.  My circle makes quilts for hospice.  I do this to honor my grandmother.  She was a maker her whole life, making dresses for mission work, mittens in the winter, newborn items for hospitals.  When she died, I saw how much the crochet blanket a stranger made impacted my mother.  I'd love to do that for someone I will never meet with my quilts, to give some comfort in a really difficult time.  I try to make as many as I can each year.

I've started doing a kindness project this year.  I was feeling overwhelmed by how mean the world was seeming.  I was constantly stressed.  Sewing helped me deal with that.  So far, I made over 40 infinity scarves to give to women I know to let them know they are amazing and loved and seen.  My next project is pincushions.  This lets me do at least something small to impact others, to spread a bit of love.

I've grown a lot as a quilter in the last 7 years.  I still have a long way to go.  (I still mostly straight-line.  FMQ is still my nemesis.)  I'm still addicted to QALs.  I seem to have to have AT LEAST a dozen things spinning at a time.  I can't seem to walk away from a challenge.  I have only put 2 quilts in shows (the poppy below and the hexy garden).  I'm trying to get braver about that.  Quilting is still my least favorite part.  I want to learn how to use a long arm this year.  Goals!

Here are some of my favorite finishes:

batik challengeBubbles

quilt show!Zelda quilt

Death Star

I have another mahoosive finish-a-long list for Quarter 2 (I'm a card carrying member of Archie the Wonder Dog's #ridiculouslylongFAList)!  

Here are a couple of WIPs that I will hopefully complete this quarter:

sugar skull topViolet Craft lion

I'm looking forward to cheerleading this year. Y'all are amazing!  Thank you to the amazing women of the Finish-A-Long for letting me join in the fun.

Monday, 10 April 2017

2017 New Quilt Bloggers - Blog Hop

If you read or follow Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl, Leanne from She Can Quilt or Beth from Cooking Up Quilts you will have noticed that they have been involved in the 2017 New Quilt Bloggers Group.  This is a group, hosted by these three wonderful women, which gives a chance to people new to blogging to connect and learn from each other and, of course, our talented hosts.  I joined up last year and learnt so much and met so many great people that I wanted to do it again this year.

So today is my stop on the Blog Hop.  Hello and welcome if you are new here!!  My name is Abigail and I blog here as cut&alter and am active over on instagram.

This year I was delighted to be asked to be on of the Global Hosts for the 2017 Finish-A-Long.  As part of that I recently did a Meet the Host introduction post and so rather than repeat myself I thought I would cover something different in this post!  (By the way if you do want to know more about me then click on over here to have a read!)


1.  My Latest Finish

This is my latest finish and my first all solid quilt - and I'm not sure I really like it!  I haven't yet done a post about this as it was literally finished last week to hang at a show this weekend just gone.  There were issues with it at every stage but hopefully, after a period of reflection, I may grow to like it.  It grew on me a little when I found out it had come 2nd in the Modern Category!

2.  My First Show Quilt and First Longarmed Quilt

I bought my first FQs at Festival of Quilts in August 2015 and along with fabric from my stash I made this quilt to enter into the Great Northern Quilt Show in Harrogate in September 2015!  I made it in 3 1/2 weeks - you can read more about it here.

3.  My First Quilt

This was the first quilt I ever made and I still love it.  It is made with Laura Ashley leftovers from the houses we grew up in as children.  It was a constant companion on the many long haul flights I took with little children.  It is now called the Peanut Butter Quilt, after it was christened thus by my youngest daughter.

4.  A Patriotic Quilt

I am from the UK and my husband is from New Zealand - this quilt came about because of that!   Should I Stay or Should I Go? was blogged about over here.

5.  My First QAL Quilt and First Blog Hop

Soon after I started quilting again and blogging, I came across Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts and she was starting a QAL for her Dog Gone Cute.  She had put a call out for people for a Blog Hop and so I put up my hand.  My daughter sleeps under this quilt every night, even in the summer - for the full story click here.

6.  A Quilt for Me

I love, love, love this quilt to pieces, although technically it is still a quilt top!  Last year I asked for this block from my Stash Bee Hive.  When the blocks started arriving I loved it so much I knew I wanted it bigger.  I made a couple of extra blocks but realised I didn't have enough variety of scraps to get the look I wanted.  I was Queen Bee for my Stash Bee Hive this January and so asked for this block again.  It was recently pieced whilst on the Jersey Modern Quilt Guild Rainbow Retreat.  I have the wadding and the backing ready - now I just need the time to quilt it!

7.  My Longest WIP

I was so happy when I finally finished this quilt last year and very relieved when I still loved it!  It was wonderful to take on retreat and sleep under it.  You can read more about it here.

8.  A Swap Mini Quilt

I was so sad to see this quilt go when I had to send it to my partner.  At the start of this year I decided to make it again after designing it in EQ7.  One quilt derived from this has been made, see here, and another is on my 2017FAL list.

9.  A Quilt as a Present

Not sure what to get your mum for her 80th?  Why make her a Scrabble Quilt of course!  Read all about it over here.

10.  A Quilt Using a New Technique

At the beginning of the year I attended a workshop to make a confetti quilt.  This was a new to me technique and whilst I wasn't quite sure if I liked the technique, whilst I was doing it, I do like the result.  The other satisfying thing about this quilt is that it was made, from start to finish, in under 3 weeks!  Further details can be found here.

Quilting and Blogging Tip

I thought for quite a while about these tips and whilst I could have come up with two separate ones I have decided that my tip works equally well for both - ASK QUESTIONS!  If you are not sure how to do something, if you see something someone is making and would like to know more, if you need some advice on fabric choice .... ask, ask, ask.  I have never been afraid to ask for help and since joining the online community I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I have received.  I had a problem with tension a couple of weeks ago and so many people responded which meant that I could continue my quilt and get it finished in time for the deadline.  Without that help it wouldn't have happened.

Another tip that works well for both categories is to do what you love - make what you love, blog about what you love.  I know it sounds simple but it is surprisingly simple to get caught up in the 'should make, could make, want to be part of' pysche of social media that sometimes you end up sitting there wondering what on earth you are doing.  Stay true to what you love and not only will you enjoy doing it more but you will still find your people!

And a question for you ....

Last year I asked what/who your favourite book/author was and I had an amazing response.  If you are interested I collated the list over here and have been happily reading many of the suggestions.  This year my question is do you have a go to recipe to bulk cook and freeze ahead of time?  I quite often find myself close to dinner time with no dinner prepared and no plan as to what's for dinner.  I would love to get more organised and bulk cook and freeze so that we can still be eating healthy home made meals even when I don't want to be cooking (because you all know where I would rather be don't you?!)

For Week 1 of this Blog Hop you may also like to visit these other members of my Hive:

Abigail of cut&alter - that's me!
Amanda of Quiltologie
Rachel of Making a Be

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

there is Yvonne with her Blooming Quilters

and Leanne with her Let's Bee Quilt'n Hive

There are also lots of lovely prizes up for grabs in a giveaway!!

Many thanks for reading and hope to see you again. x

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

2017FAL Quarter 2 :: My List

Quarter 1 saw a list of 29 unfinished projects drawn up.  Only 7 projects were finished in these three months, but I also did start and finish some projects that weren't on the list, and 6 projects were worked on but not completed - that's got to count too right?!!!  So the question is how many do I roll over?  And how many more do I add to the list?!!!

Here goes:

Projects with a time deadline:

1.  Churned to a T - finish quilting, bind and add hanging sleeve

2.  Pools of Blue - I have an challenge mini quilt to make for Cottonopolis at Festival of Quilts.  This fabric pull is from all my old scraps and remnants and I hope it will make a good improv (if not I have some Kona cotton standing by!)

3. 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. 

4.  A Study in Triangles - this is a piece for the Art with Fabric Blog Hop  UPDATED 16/05/17 this is finished and blogged about here

5.  Cot Quilt - this is the fabric choice for a cot quilt and I have a design ...... somewhere!  I drew it up on a loose of paper so who knows where that may be?  I remember what it was and it was a loose plan with a lot of make it up as you factored in!

6.  Riley Blake Challenge - the challenge is I have had the fabric for over 2 months and I still don't know what I am going to do!  UPDATED - this was not done in time - sadly I was uninspired by this challenge but having seen other entries I wish I had thought harder!

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

Almost done - so these really should get finished this quarter!

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

9.  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.  This is now bordered and quilted only the final step to go!

10.  Turn these two blocks from the Bee Hive into a cushion- these are now quilted and just need making into a cushion

11.  Make this block into a cushion cover - this is now quilted and just needs making into a cushion cover.

12.  Charley Harper mini quilt - whilst the one for the swap has been made, sent and received I was making one for me alongside.  This needs quilting and binding.

Ready to be quilted:

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

14.  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.

15.  My Christmas Quilt - quilting and binding to be done.

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

Rolled over projects:

17.  A Caravan Tote.  I have now got all the interfacings required for this - this has been on my list for ever ......

18.  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.

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

20.  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.

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

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

23.  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!

24.  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?

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

26.  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.

New projects for the list!

27. Sewing Machine

28.  Stash Bee quilt - these are blocks from Stash Bee 2016 Hive 5 and Stash Bee 2017 Hive 8.  I recently pieced them whilst on retreat in Jersey and now have to quilt and bind.  I love this quilt so it will be a pleasure to do!

29.  Union Jack - this is a small Union Jack piece from the pattern I designed last year.  Not quite sure what I had in mind with this one but I think I will finish and make it into a cushion.

30.  Italian Houses - started in a workshop with Gillian Travis 18 months ago .... enough said!

Wow I guess I stuck with my habit of making a long list!  Have you linked up yet?  There's still time if you haven't - grab a photo of all your WIPs/UFOs and then do a quick blog post and link up here - the linky party is open until Saturday 08 April.

I am going to be linking up with Let's Bee Social today aswell!


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...