Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some present fun!

I have 4 little nieces and nephews that belong to my lovely sisters. We don't do big presents so I decided to make them some pencil cases, well the older ones anyway. I have some crayons to go in these. My two older sons and my husband all saw the aeroplane one and now want one too!

One niece also celebrates a birthday three days before Christmas so I made her this cuddly toy. My two year old wants one and is now going around saying, "me have one for Christmas!" So I may need to make another one of these too.

All I have left is the baby's present, and the rest of the sewing for that is hand stitching, I'm going to try and finish that tonight. I might even get them all posted tomorrow so they make it too Australia before Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunny Sunday

So there was actually real sunshine here today! It was a glorious day. We went for a walk into town and there were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine.

I finished my second circle of geese mug rug today too.  I really enjoyed piecing this one, having had the experience of the other one. The other great thing about all these mug rugs is that I am getting lots of practise at machine binding. This one is the best I've done, not that you can see it very clearly in this photo, you'll just have to trust me :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I've been making progress on the teachers' gifts. Although we now have 15 teachers to make gifts for so the goal post is moving. I've finished 4 more for a grand total of 6 (out of 15).

They are a little more square than what I was aiming for. I have one more flying geese one in progress and then I am going to try and get some more rectangular ones!

FMQ Challenge

Free motion quilting (or FMQ) is not easy. Letting yourself go and trusting that you are going to sew in the right direction at the right time on a quilt top that you have spent a long time constructing is very hard.  That's why I need to practise my FMQ and that  is why I've signed up for the Free Motion Quilt Challenge. At least this way I will practise one FMQ pattern a month!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I spent a considerable amount of brain time today trying to figure out this block.

Only to realise in the final pressing that it really did matter that I didn't completely follow the instructions! I rescued the block several times along the way but because I was mostly using 2.5" strips, I don't think it is salvageable. However, on reflection, I almost like it. It is far to large for what I intended it to be anyway, it was going to be a mug rug but it is more of a pillow size.

I did make progress on the mug rug front but I'll quilt them first before I share. I've been piecing with my Aurifil threads which I won from Lynne over at Lily's Quilts. I really like it, it makes a nice flat seam.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Little Retail Therapy

I needed to go to Ikea today to get some new shelves for my sewing room. I've been envious of the red hippo fabric that I've seen other people using but haven't been able to find it myself. Today I found it, not only in red but also in lime green!

We also went to a new patchwork shop in Bristol, Poppy Patchwork wasn't there last time we went fabric shopping in Bristol. The shop is lovely and they run a lot of workshops. I found this fabric there. It's so hard to find good fabrics for older boys and these are perfect! Cricket and football (sorry, soccer for the Australians). My boys will love these.

The reds are destined for a quilt I am going to make for my parents-in-law. The blues are going to make a teacup or two, similar to the one I made yesterday.
I also got some heat-resistant wadding so I can make some pot-holders for my daughter for Christmas. All-in-all a very successful day, I even remembered to buy some shelves!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UFO No Longer

Way back in March when I started quilting I thought I'd make my son a cushion for his birthday. In the end I gave him something else and the front of the cushion has been sitting around ever since. Quilted (before I got a walking foot) but unfinished. Today I pulled it out and, after breaking a needle putting the zip in, I finished it off.

Also, today I made a start on the gifts for my kids teachers. Between the four of them they have named 14 teachers they want gifts for this Christmas.  I made the first two this afternoon. Each teacher will also receive a mug and some chocolates.

All in all, a very satisfying day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The long drive

The only sewing I got done this weekend was this.

We drove to Edinburgh for the weekend, 7 hours each way. Unfortunately, I forgot what my layout looked like so I only did the one block, and I did it wrong! I'm leaving it as is though.

Edinburgh was beautiful! I definitely want to go back again, for longer than 2 days this time though.

Today was much more successful in the sewing department. When we arrived home last night I had my latest block from the Civil War Tribute Block of the Month quilt on the doormat. Today I whipped up 4 of these blocks

 It's the first time I've made a bear paw block and I'm not completely sold on it. They've gone in the finished pile though. The blocks that I've made so far for this quilt are heavy. The finished quilt is going to weigh a tonne!

 Finally, what self-respecting quilter could by-pass this?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Missing Number 7

In an unusual burst of energy and enthusiasm I put together block 7 of the Sewsweetness QAL after the kids were in bed. My tree shrank a bit as I tried to get seams that wouldn't lose the corners but it was a nice easy block to finish the day with.

A Little Bit of Christmas

My Christmas sewing list is long, very long. That is the only reason I'm listening to Christmas songs in the middle of November, I promise. The music gets me in the mood to sew Christmassy things.

Today was block 8 of the SewSweetness QAL. I haven't done block 7 yet, I ran out of time today. Today's block was supposed to look like this. Only I couldn't access the template so I decided to do my own. Please bear in mind I've never done one of these before so I had to improvise as I went along. I also decided that I wanted the word 'Joy' instead of 'Noel'.

After drawing the design out on a piece of paper I chose my fabrics and set to. The result is this.

It worked well enough but my fabric for the lettering probably have been a solid or at least less patterny. I am quite proud of how well the patterns lined up in the 'y'. I don't often think of things like that until after I've finished. I may remake this block at a later date.

This is the other Christmas sewing I've been doing. I tried bagging a quilt, for the first time. Maybe not the best time to try something new but it really worked well. I'm happy with the effect. I have two more of these which I just need to stitch the edges of. I'm not sure about the quilting, it may need a little hand quilting, depending on how much of my niece's quilt I get done this weekend. The box pleats in the joined pockets was super fiddly too. I burned my fingers a couple of times.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Christmas Gifts for Quilters

At  the risk of diluting my chances of winning, have you seen Lynne's Christmas Gifts for Quilters posts? Lynne has selected gifts over three price ranges that quilters would like. This week's post is post 7, if you click on the icon on my blog it takes you back to the first post in the series. There are some very yummy suggestions in these posts, if you are looking for a Christmas present for me a quilter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Nothing Day

I spent most of the day tidying up. After our visitors left, my husband took anything that looked remotely crafty and put it into my sewing room (was the spare bedroom). As a result I have piles of things everywhere, with no order in the chaos.

And apart from a little hand stitching and some pressing I did no actual sewing related activities today. I did read "Little Red Tractor" several times though!

Monday, November 14, 2011

All caught up!

Today I finished the last block I needed to catch up with my Civil War Tribute Block of the Month. This was block 4. Amazingly it went together like a dream. I didn't have to unpick a single seam, and I cut the right number of pieces from the start. So without further ado, here are the blocks.

 One 12.5" block.

And one 18.5" block.

For completeness sake here are the blocks from months 1 and 2.

This quilt is going to be huge!!! The top row has 3 18" and two 15" wide blocks and there is a border on the quilt as well! Quilting it is going to be interesting to say the least, I don't think it will fit on my frame so I may need to quilt it in pieces.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Block 3 of the Civil War Tribute Quilt

I started this block when it arrived but shelved it when life got busy. I pulled it out this morning hoping to have a quick finish. Only to find that my triangles looked like this.

 Ooops! A little while spent unpicking 48 (remember that number) triangles, and I had these instead.

 Only I didn't have 48, there were only 46, I don't know where the other two went but I had to make up two more from the scant scraps that remained. The fabric given for this block of the month is not generous. I already had to beg some extra blue from my friend (luckily she has an amazing stash!) for the pinwheel triangles.

The final result is 2 18.5" blocks.
 And 2 12.5" blocks.

Despite the hassles this is my favourite block so far.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Process

There have been lots of fabrics and patterns this year in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the US Civil War. I joined a block of the month for the Civil War Tribute Quilt. I'm up to month 5 of this BOM, actually, I've now done months 1, 2 and 5. 3 and 4 are languishing. I thought I'd share some of the process with you.

This is what I had after cutting out all the pieces, see all those triangles! I had to make 4 identical blocks. It always looks daunting at this point.
 After the first round of stitching and pressing I had this.

 Then this, it starts to look a lot less daunting at this point.
 Nearly there, you can see the shape of the block now, this is where I often stitch a row on upside-down!
 The finished block!

Friday, November 11, 2011

More Sweetness

Now we're halfway through the Christmas QAL over at Sewsweetness. Block number 6 is a snowflake block.

 You'll have to excuse the photos. We haven't had much sun this week and this is the best I can do for natural light.

This other block is from a Fat Quarter Shop Block of the Month. It is called Love Letters. There are actually two of these blocks and they measure 17.5" square. I love the result although they did take a long time to make. I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening making these (in between getting the kids home from school and into bed!) I can't wait to do the rest of these blocks.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

This block was fiddly! The little ribbon pieces are 1" square. And yes, I do realise I made a mistake! However, it is done and I am caught up. I also had to improvise because I didn't cut the smaller blocks properly. Tomorrow I might put my sewing area back together, it has been used as a bedroom for the last 3 months by our two sets of parents.

More Christmas blocks

We sadly said good-bye to our visitors today. We've been busy for the last few days so I haven't got much sewing done. I have completed blocks 3 and 4 of the Sewsweetness QAL.

 Block 3 was straightforward. All the detail is in the applique and the embroidery. The stockings are made from scraps from the quilts I have made for my children this year. The bow is crooked, this was the second attempt, I had to pull the first one out. The fire was supposed to be applique but I wanted to try it in embroidery. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Block 4 was a straightforward 8-point star that went together very easily and quickly.

I'm going to try and put block 5 together tonight so that I am all caught up for block 6 tomorrow!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blue and Orange everywhere

For our do.good stitches block in November we were asked to make two blocks using aqua and orange shades. I thought this would be easy because I had fabric left over from this quilt that I made earlier this year.

When I pulled out my scraps they were the wrong shades of blue and orange. Luckily I had some other fabric in my stash that was the right colour. I had a couple of blocks that I wanted to try out. I've never made a log cabin block before. The result was this.

Next up was this block. Every seam on this block was a Y-seam. I got better as I went on but this technique still needs some practise.

As I was addressing the parcel I realised that these blocks were staying in the UK and I didn't have to rush to post them after all! Oh well, on to the next task. Back to Christmas blocks for the QAL.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Surprise Gift

As soon as I saw the panel for this advent calendar I knew who it was destined for. I've finished putting it together now and I'll get it into the post this week. Someone is going to get a nice surprise soon!

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Little Christmas Spirit

I've been admiring this fabric for months.

I ordered it a couple of weeks ago, and nearly re-ordered it last week. It arrived yesterday. I'm not going to make it up in that pattern though. I'll use the fabric there to do something else, maybe a log cabin quilt. Then for the backing I think the red spots in flannel would be best. Unfortunately, this quilt is sitting about 25 on the list of things I need to get made :(

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Last day of the school holidays

Yesterday was the last day of half term for my 4 bigger munchkins so we decided to head to Wales and see Cardiff Castle, after replacing the GPS which I managed to break on Monday! There's no way I'm going to do a journey like that on my own with 5 children and no navigation system! It works so well that Mum and Dad were able to follow us there and back.

The Castle is lovely from the outside and interesting from the inside, disappointing though because not much is open to look around. The highlight for us was the WWII air raid shelter that they still have set up - inside the castle walls. I didn't take any photos but I do have some that the children took, this is the reason why you shouldn't let children loose with a camera.

 The next one is inside the keep. It was a really interesting building, even though is was destroyed nearly 400 years ago it is in pretty good condition!