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February 2011
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April 2011

March 2011

scrappy trees and houses quilt

Last week I sewed my heart out.

My hubby and daughters were in Ireland for the entire week and I was home alone with my doggie for company.  I had thought this would have been a fun week for me, no meals to prepare, no bedrooms to tidy, no 30 miles of walking to get my girls to school.  Sounds like bliss, was in fact one of the worst weeks of my life.

It felt like all of the life had been sucked out of my life, it was deafening in its silence.

So I did the only thing I could do, I sewed away my blues.  I sewed so much, I think I have about 3 weeks of blog posts ready and waiting.

I even started a Christmas quilt.

Correction - I started two Christmas quilts.

Today, I'm starting with showing you my Ten make two bee quilt top.  I had originally placed all the blocks together without sashing but I decided I just didn't need another lap quilt. I went completely bold and flew against the wind of all caution to go with red sashing and white posts.

I'm not sure if this was a brave move or an entirely stupid one but I do like the end result.

I'm a bit stuck with what to call this one?

Any suggestions??????

lots and lots of pieced trees and houses

Warning : If you are not fond of pieced tree and house blocks or itty bitty pieced blocks please look away now.

Almost a year and a half ago it was my turn to be queen of the month in the Ten Make Two bee.  It just so happened that all my fellow bee-ers were ladies of enviable talent in the block making department, so I decided to put those skills to use and came up with my idea of making blocks made up of - pieced trees and house as well as mini versions of any quilt block (modern or traditional)all added in together any way they pleased.  I showed them my blocks (above and below) and then sat back and waited to see what they would come up with.


This bee was made up of ten members and we all created blocks from our scrap stash.  Below are all the amazing blocks I received, perfectly pieced and far exceeding any expectations of the brilliance I had hoped for.

I have to quickly just add in here that I still to this day, never received blocks from two members of this bee (even though I still subsequently went ahead and made their blocks for them when their own months came about).

I don't bear those two members any ill will at all, I know things can change and sometimes your plans along with them.  However, I got the blocks I had received out the other day and realised I was doing them a great disservice by not making them up into a quilt.  Each member made two blocks, so in order to keep the length of this post in check, I am showing just one each here.

Made by Tacha


Made by Louise

Made by Shanna

Made by Katy

Made by Katie

Made by Beth

Made by Sarah

Aren't they all scrumptious??  

While I get on with how best to piece up my little beauties, I'd love to know what your own experiences of being in a bee have been like?  Have you ever had blocks that just didn't turn up?  or blocks inadequately made?  or have all of your experiences been only positive?

sherbet pips 'pups'

Today seemed a good day to bring you the third instalment of the design story behind 'Sherbet Pips'.  I have already told the tales behind 'Scoot' and 'Girl on a tree swing' and today I bring you a bit of background to the 'Puppy dogs tails' print.

Once I had completed the two lead prints, I began to think about turning elements from those designs into co-ordinates that would work with them. The idea behind creating co-ordinates is to create designs that work in their own right AND work well with the lead prints.  Co-ordinates need to contrast well with the leaders in terms of scale, colour and simplicity and also to continue to tell the 'story' that began in the main designs.

When designing these simpler patterns, I think about how I would use them in my own quilts.  For co-ordinates, one of the functions would be that they could be used as sashing, border and binding fabric when putting together the quilt,  so I try to create designs that work well here.

Going back to using elements from the main prints, of course, it seemed more than obvious to take the little pup from 'Scoot' and give him his very own design.

In the Scoot print, my fictional puppy is seen hitching a ride on the back of the girl's scooter (which originated from my scoot embroidery) and also running dashingly alongside the scooterers.

For the new design I wanted to show a bit of action, puppies as we all know are always up to something and I wanted to bring across a bit of puppy personality into the pattern, something the viewer could look at that would remind them of a pup they knew. I took the running puppy idea and changed it up a bit to turn it into a pup chasing a ball.  Then I drew up a second pup and this one just had to be walking along leaving muddy foot prints.  I was very concerned whilst drawing up the design, that the footprints did not come across as resembling dog poo!   So I put a lot of effort into those footprints.

For puppy number three, I went back to an older spoonflower design of mine also called 'Puppy dog's tails'.  The idea behind this print came from a reader of mine at the time who suggested I try my hand at a few spoonflower 'boy' prints along the theme of 'slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails'.  The above pic shows the original illustration I scanned to make the design and some scraps of the fabric it created.

This design shows a puppy whose tail is shaking as he has come across a bag labelled 'puppy dogs tails'.  I thought this was a far less squeamish way of illustrating the rhyme than drawing up a few chopped off tails...

For the 'Sherbet pips' version, I decided to leave out the chopped off tails idea altogether and decided to add in something that has startled mr puppy in some way.  I thought a cat seemed too obvious, so with my thinking cap on came up with the idea of a clockwork or wind up mouse whizzing around and intriguing the puppy.  

One of the 'KEY' things I love about how this design turned out is that it can be easily cut into strips and squares and will almost always have one whole pup or more in there.  This is something that pleases me greatly as it means you don't have to waste time 'fussy cutting'.

Something else I absolutely love is how it involves a kind of trickery because there are only three different pups in the design but because of the way they are repeated it seems like there is a lot more going on than there is.  This illusion is key to making the design looking action packed whilst still having the look of a simple co-ordinate.

So, I hope you have enjoyed today's little tale and have learned something you didn't know before!  

Back soon (with more little stories to tell).