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


  1. What a great tute! I definately need to work on my hexie skills.

  2. Hi Sarah, thanks for the awesome tutorial! Don't worry, mine felt like a marathon, too!:) It'S better be long and easy to understand than just short and missing steps. Thanks for putting it together!

  3. Great post and tutorial Sarah! I'll have to check out that kid's book - I've only read The Gruffalo by her but it is one of our favorites. And I like all your tips! Your hexie mug rug is adorable - I love the hand stitched details.

  4. I enjoyed reading your post! That's a very sweet mug rug - love the fussy cut hexies!

  5. Fab tutorial Sarah! I have never done hand quilting but it does look do-able for a little project like this.

    PS your book list looks very much like mine - when I have time to read!

  6. Nice to find out a bit more about you. I like your mug rug - the hexies are great, and the handquilting makes me want to have a go:-)

  7. Well done, Sarah. And I love the little mushrooms you hand sewed as extra quilting. The mug rug is gorgeous!

  8. What a cute mug rug - too cute to cover with a mug:)

  9. Brilliant tutorial.
    I can't wait to get making one of these little cuties.
    Well done darl.

  10. Great post and lovely to meet you! Your mug rug is very cute!

  11. Wonderful - I'm inspired! Attending first quiliting day on Monday - perfect timing! (ordering air-erasable pen now for friends from UK to bring over!) Well done-great tutorial x

  12. Sweet little mug rug to be sure!

  13. Hi Sarah, nice to meet another one! I love EPP too, the mug rug is so cute :-)

  14. Nice to meet you! Pretty project. I haven't done any hexies by hand but I did do a quilt by machine.

  15. So cute!!! Great to learn a bit more about you as well!

  16. Cute post - and lovely tute, thanks Sarah!

  17. So nice to "meet" you Sarah! I just love your mug rug too. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  18. You did a fabulous job on this post, Sarah. I absolutely love your tutorial -- adorable project and perfect fabric!

  19. Hi Sarah, nice to meeto you. I love your tutorial and your fabric choices. I just did some hexies for the first time last weekend and I love it! I want to do more and your tutorial is great inspiration.

  20. Lovely post, Sarah. I'm becoming obsessed with hexagons too! And hand quilting.

  21. Gorgeous, gorgeous mug rug, and great tutorial

  22. Nice to meet you - that mug rug is gorgeous!

  23. Hey Sarah,
    Nice to meet you and I'm excited to look around your blog some more. I'm really interested in the School of Stitched Textiles and I'm going to pop over there in a min. I love your mug rug!! It's super cute and I love the Hexies :)

  24. Hi Sarah! Thanks for sharing this! I've been looking to try out hand-quilting and EPP, so this might be the project for me! Especially since it's on such a small scale. :) Nice to meet you!

  25. Hi Sarah - nice to get to meet you, and thank you for the lovely tutorial. I haven't tried EPP yet but would like to.

  26. Very nice to meet you, your mug rug is great!! I'm really in love with the hexies

  27. Hi Sara, nice to meet you, such a cute mug rug! Love the little mushroom!

  28. Hello! Lovely wee mug rug!

  29. Hi Sarah, so nice to meet you. Your blog is lovely and you do beautiful work. I don't think we have anything like a guilds certificate here in America, but I wish we did. It sounds impressive! Thanks so much for sharing, I shall enjoy following your blog :)

  30. Sarah! Wonderful post - I'll be back to visit again.

  31. Nice to meet you from Plum and June's blog hop. Love the colors and fabrics in your tutorial.

  32. Nice to meet you Sarah. Very cute little mug rug. I just finished up 2 projects using Tradewinds. Love the collection.

  33. Lovely tutorial! Thanks so much. :)

  34. Your mosaic is fab and your tutorial is lovely :)

  35. Love mug rugs for gifts and this one is soooo darling ! Thank you!

  36. Great tutorial! I love anything with scraps (I'm a scrapaholic) and I really liked seeing your hand-stitching. It's nice to meet you!

  37. Though I've been following your blog for a while until I read your blog hop post I hadn't realised you were in the UK but then the C&G course, air erasable pen and choice of music, TV and books gave it away :) My air erasable pen which I've had for 2 years has just leaked the last of its ink into the lid and I'm so upset; I've only just returned to the States from England and didn't think to pick one up when I was there - I'm going to have to make do until I go back again in September.

    Lovely tutorial and great to get to know you better :)

  38. Such a sweet project Sarah! Love the hand quilting around the hexies and the little mushrooms. Adorable!!

  39. Hi Sarah ... just catching up on the blog hop. Nice to get to know a little more about you. Your hexie mug rug is so sharp and cute. And... I agree... saving scraps is essential!

  40. Neighbours used to be one of my favorite shows when my son was a baby. Now thats quite a few years ago and I havent seen the later seasons of it. I watched the seasons with Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan and them in it. Nice post and thanks for sharing. ;)


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