Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Agony and the Ecstacy

I haven't posted in over a week - I've been in blogging limbo land.  But I do have good reason. 
Sadly, the agony part of this title relates to my daughter, who, just after I took the photos that are about to follow, fell backwards her chair, strapped into her booster seat, and cracked her head open on the side of the kitchen unit.  Thankfully she is fine, but it did require a trip to the hosptial in the ambulance and a few stitches and very large doses of TLC.  As you can imagine, all thoughts of quilts and blogging went right out of the window for some time afterwards!

So moving on,  the 'ecstacy' part of my title is a finished quilt- a cot sized quilt for my friend Sarah (who is giving it to her friend who is about to have a baby.) 

Here is a little collage:

The fabrics were chosen by Sarah and sent to me in the post, and she decided on the design and helped me decide on how to hand quilt it. 

Here are a few more photos so that you can see it in more detail.

If you look closely you can just about see my quilted star


It's nice to have another project finished, and I can't wait to give it to Sarah when I see her next month (yay!)

I also have another finish to share with you but I think I shall save that for another post ;-)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Quoted in Handmade Living Magazine

I love it when I see my name in print.  I am lucky enough to say it's happened a few times over the years for various different publications, both national and local, but I love it even more when it's about quilting. 

So I was very excited to be quoted in an article for Handmade Living Magazine. 

The article is written by the lovely Vicky Guthrie, all about the resurgence in craft courses and workshops, and it looks like this:

Quite cool to be mentioned on the same page as Kirstie Allsop!

I am mentioned and quoted because I am doing the City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting via distance learning.  I know it's small but hopefully you can read my paragraph!!   

I also have a few other irons in the publishing fire as it were, which is very exciting.  As soon as I'm in print again I shall let you know ;-)

In other quilty news, I have finally finished hand quilting the quilt for my friend Sarah, and I just have two sides of the binding left to stitch, which I am saving for craft club tomorrow night. 

I also helped my friend Emma baste a single bed sized quilt for her daughter.  My large kitchen floor was perfect for the job and it was a great team effort, as Emma is now 34 weeks pregnant.  That bump was getting in the way a bit!   Once she has quilted her quilt (she is going for diagonal cross hatching by machine) hopefully she will let me take a picture to share with you. 


Thursday, 16 August 2012

From Rocking Horses to Sea Horses

It has been an exciting week on the craft front for several reasons. 

The first being that I was able to finish my Rocking Horse Cross Stitch commission, as the baby was born, and I was able to personalise it with the name and date of birth.

The recipient (a friend of the mother) was thrilled with it, and I am hoping the new mum will be too. 

I have also started attending a craft club at a local ladies house.  It  was a lot of fun to meet like minded people, who were making things such as a teddy bear, bracelets, photo frames, knitted booties (beautifully made by my friend Suzy - I must share a pic soon) and hand made cards (also beautifully made by my friend Emma).  It was wonderful to see such different projects progress and I really think we are going to be inspired by one another.  (Not that I need much more inspiration, my head is bursting with ideas of things I want to make, and I can't make them fast enough!!) 

Anyhow, I took the quiltop that I am making for my friend Sarah (see this post) as I am about a quarter of the way through hand quilting it. 

It was great fun and I can't wait to go next week, although progress was possibly a bit slower due to all the chatting and admiring of one another's work ;-)

My daughter has also shown lots of creative flair this week, as she made this little masterpiece with very little help:

Aren't those sea horses adorable!  I found the idea on pinterest (click here to see my 'education ideas board)

As for the weekend, I am going to be working on some pink bunting using my Walk in the Woods fabric (do you get the impression I love this line?!) and I will also carry on with the hand quilting. 

I shall leave you with my favorite line from Toy Story 2:

You. Can't. Rush. Art.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Let's Get Acquainted :-)

Hi there and welcome to all my fellow blog hoppers and followers :-)  Thank you so much to Beth at Plum and June for organising this fantastic hop and for the opportunity to connect with so many talented people!

Please do take a look around my page, I hope you find something that you like.  I originally set up my blog at the beginning of 2011 to record my progress as I work towards a City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting.  I was new to blogging and so it was all a bit of a learning curve, and I didn’t have any idea that such a wonderful, inspirational, friendly quilting community even existed!  It’s only been in the last few months that I have really started connecting with people and ‘putting myself out there’ as it were, and I have learnt so much and *met* so many fabulous, like-minded people.  Now I really don’t know where I’d be without my quilt/blogging friends.

Anyhow, I shall attempt to answer some of the questions that Beth posed, before moving swiftly on to a little tutorial that I have put together.  But first a little mosaic of some of my 2012 finishes.

Clockwise - 1. Walk in the Woods Quilt 2. Easter Bunny Bags, 3. Kukla Dolls Quilt, 4. Siblings Together Cards x100 5. Ed Emberley Happy Drawing Quilt, 6. Rocking Horse Cross Stitch, 7. Quilt for Baby William 8. Chocolate Stash Bag

How long have you been quilting?

I have sewing for most of my life, but it’s only in the last 18 months that I have really focused on patchwork and quilting.  I spent many years doing cross stitch but I always wanted to make quilts, and that’s why I started the City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting.  It’s via distance learning with the School of Stitched Textiles and it’s going to take several years to complete it, but I love it, and I also try to find time to work on my own projects as well. Somehow!

Favourite quilting tip(s)
This would have to be to keep scraps.  I made a gorgeous mini quilt for my son’s teddy bear using left over pieces from the quilt I made for him.  It was completely unplanned but the idea just came to me when I saw those teeny tiny bits of fabric! 

Favorite blogging tip(s)
Use lots of photos to break up the text.  Busy blog readers won’t necessarily have time to read large blocks of text, it’s much easier and more enjoyable to read a post that is full of pictures, even if it’s just pictures of lots of lovely fabrics.

 Favorite fabric (or wish list fabric):
Oh so many!  I have just bought the Trade Winds collection by Lily Ashbury, and also French General.  I love anything with a vintage feel.  Conversely, I also love Mona Luna’s Taali collection, which is also waiting in my stash to be made into something beautiful.

Favorite craft book:

Anything by Sarah Fielke.  Her books and quilts are amazing and I am completely inspired by her.  Most of her quilts are lovingly hand quilted, and so I have been largely doing the same, using perle cotton threads to quilt with, I just love the finish and the heirloom quality it creates.  I can’t wait to get my hands on Hexa Go-Go, as EPP is my latest sewing craze, (and yes it features in my tutorial!) and anything by Kaffe Fassett.

Favorite book (or book you are currently reading)

I am currently reading The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O’Farrell – it’s great but my progress is very slow because I spend almost all of my spare time quilting!  As for my favourite book, how long have you got.  The 44 Scotland Street Series by Alexander McCall Smith, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, Small Island by Andrea Levy, The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon, Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant…I could go on…

Favourite children's book:

Again a tricky one.  For my 3 year old daughter I love reading Room on the Broom, or anything by Julia Donaldson in fact.  When I was a child I was completely obsessed with anything by Enid Blyton, but in particular the Far Away Tree series and when I was a bit older Malory Towers.  And of course anything by Roald Dahl.  But I think I love Matilda most of all.  I love that she reads so much and can outsmart her crazy parents and headteacher.

Favourite quilting tool:
I would not be able to survive without my air erasable pen.  I do not know how people get by without one, particularly for hand quilting.  I just draw my lines, sew along them and within an hour the line is gone.  It’s amazing. 
 Favourite music to listen to while quilting:
It has to be Adele’s album 21.  I listen to her album over and over again, particularly in the evenings. 

Favourite TV show while hand stitching:

I don’t watch a lot of tv but I do have one guilty pleasure – Neighbours!   We no longer have sky plus, and I can’t watch it during the day because I have 2 small children (trust me it would be no fun, and I like to watch it in peace) so I watch it on the laptop on demand.   I am often hand sewing and gripped by the latest Neighbours plot lines.  My idea of a perfect evening!

Binding - by hand or by machine? 

Both.  I machine the front and then hand stitch the back.  Best of both worlds. 

If I'd only known - what you wish you knew about blogging before you started your blog:
I wish I had known that there was a wonderful blogging community out there!  I never expected blogging to be this much fun, and to meet so many like minded people.  It’s just been great.  And I have learnt SO much. 

Right, so on to the tutorial!  (Which I will also put on a separate ‘tutorials’ page at a later date, so that it can be found more easily.)

Please join me to make a…

You Will Need:

Mug, Spoon, Card, Paper, Glue, Quilting Ruler, Hexagon template, Scrap fabrics with motifs, Air Erasable Pen, Top Fabrics, Backing fabric, Binding fabric, Perle cotton thread

1)      So first of all you will need some fabulous fabrics to work with.  I used scraps from my Walk In the Woods bundle, hence the name of my mug rug ;-)

2)       Next you need a template.  I just looked one up on the internet, printed it off and cut it out and stuck it onto card to make it robust.  Draw round 7 different fabrics and cut out.  Remember that you need to allow for the ¼ inch seam when choosing your hexagon size.  I also ‘fussy cut’ the little girl, ensuring that she was in the centre of the hexagon as I wanted her to be in the middle hexagon and the main feature.

3)      Next you need 7 paper hexagons.  I just trimmed ¼ inch from my original template all the way round and then drew around it on paper 7 times. 

4)      Now to the paper piecing.  First pin your fabric wrong side facing, to the paper.

5)      Next, fold the fabric over the top of the hexagon, tie a knot in the thread and secure at the top of the hexagon like so.

6) Then make a small stitch, folding each edge as you go round.

7)      When completed, it should look like this:

8)      Do this for all the hexagons.

9)      Now to sew all those little hexies together using a whip stitch or ladder stich.  Start with the centre hexagon and sew each outer one to it.  NB. In this picture, the outer hexagons are not sewn to each other.  That’s the next bit!

10)      So now, yes you guessed it, use a whip or ladder stitch to sew all the outer hexagons together and remove the basting and paper.  Iron for a lovely flat finish, completing the EPP part of the project.  Yay!

11)      So to the next stage, the background.   Take a plain piece of fabric, measuring 8” x 8 ½” and a patterned piece of fabric measuring 3” x 8, ” and machine stitch together, using a ¼ inch seam with the patterned piece being on the left. 

12)      Next,  appliqué the hexagons onto the backing fabric. 

13) And so to quilting!  First you need a backing fabric, larger than the top.
  Say 12” x 10”.


14)      Create your quilt sandwich and baste by hand, in preparation for hand quilting.  Don’t panic, there’s not too much hand quilting involved, and it looks so pretty, it's well worth the extra effort!

15) Use a hoop to stabilise the fabric.  I used my cross stitch hoop, it did the job perfectly for this little project.

16)      Using no. 8 perle cotton thread, quilt around the outside of the middle hexagon and then around the outside of the outer hexagons.

17)      Add additional details, for example quilt along each side of the join in the fabrics and why not add some little shapes.  I attempted some cute little mushrooms!

18)      And finally to the binding.  Cut 4 strips and machine sew on the front and hand stitch to the back.  Well that’s how I like to do it, but I think everyone has their own way ;-)

And eventually your Tea in the Woods Mug Rug should look like this:

Now all you need is a mug and spoon, oh and some tea, and it’s project complete :-)

Well done if you have managed to read this far, I think it's my longest post ever!

Don't forget to check out January from Sew Sew Go today too.

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope that you are all enjoying the hop as much as I am.

Sarah x

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Battle of the Flowers

There is an unbelievable amount of creativity and talent in Jersey, and it's showcased every year in the annual Battle of the Flowers procession.

The blue skies and seafront of St Helier were the perfect backdrop for the parade...

Which was an amazing spectacle of floats, made entirely of flowers. 

There were some large snails...

Pirate ships...



An Indian elephant...

A bit of Moulin Rouge...

And check out this floral Big Ben!

It really was a sight to behold and a wonderful atmosphere to boot, with old and young alike enjoying the festivities :-)

In other news, there has been some quilting progress; I am currently starting the quilting for the quilt for my friend Sarah.  The backing arrived in the post on Tuesday, and hand quilting is well under way.  But more about that and photos in the next post.

I hope you are all enjoying the sun and watching the olympics!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Fresh Sewing Day

Seems like yesterrday I was linking up for last month's Fresh Sewing Day...where is the time going??! 

Lily's Quilts

Well it's all been happening here in Jersey this month.  We've had a visit from the Olympic Torch, Prince Charles and Camilla dropped by for their Diamond Jubilee tour and now everyone is caught up in Olympic fever.  Oh and we even had a visit from the sun, with temperatures soaring up to 30 degrees at one point.  (It didn't last long, but hey, it was good while it lasted!)

July also saw my daughter turning 3, we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and my father turned 60.  A quiet month then!

I have managed to fit in a bit of sewing in between all the celebrations and festivities.  Here is a little collage of all my July makes.

Top Left, clockwise: A little Rocking Horse Cross Stitch that I was commissioned to sew for a new baby; My Ed Emberley Happy Drawing quilt finally finished; Flower Fairy Bunting for my daughter's birthday party; quilt top commissioned by my friend, stillt to be quilted but waiting on the backing. 

I also had another finish this month, my secret project for the Plum and June Blog Hop.  I would just love it if you come and check out my page and project on my day, Tuesday 14th August!!!  

Plum and June

So what does August have in store?  Well it's my lovely husband's birthday next week, so more celebrating, and I also have some old uni friends coming to Jersey for a long weekend, which will be great fun.  And there will be more Olympics watching.  Of course. 

Sewing wise, things will be a little quieter.  I am returning in full swing to my City and Guilds coursework that I have shamefully neglected for almost 2 months now.  I am working on a little project all about the Histroy of Quilting and the history of different quilting techniques.  It's fascinating stuff and just marvellous how the traditional techniques are being revived and are so popular today.

Anyhow, I shall finish now with a picture of me with someone I interviewed back in 2005 ...

You may have seen him on the telly recently ;-)

Thanks for stopping by x