little apples

squishy

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If you are a seasoned visitor around these parts, you will be assured of the knowledge that every few weeks or so there will be a post about cushions.

I'm quite partial to a project which involves covering up something with fabric to make it look all brand new and shiny and pretty.  When that task also involves utilising quilt blocks or patterns I want to try but can't justify making another quilt (I think I have enough of those ((for the time being at least))) for me it's a win/win sitch.

Despite recent posts and this one, believe it or not there is still a way to go before I make enough cushion cover's to go round and so on the pre - assumption that your not bored already, here's another installment of 'cushion covers I have made lately'.

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CC no.1 - Dresden plate, I came excruciatingly close to starting up a new quilt with these but stopped myself just in time to realise that my daughters are home for the holidays and this could be a bad idea right now. I managed to quell the urge (just) and kept to making the cover.

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RE: dresdens - I have always made my own dresden templates from card or template plastic although I'm so addicted to this quilt block I think I will have to cave and go buy a proper ruler soon.

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CC no. 2 - Gigantic pineapple, this one was tough going to begin with but I loved making such a simple, repetitive block in only two fabrics and huge proportions.  My 'technique' did waste a ton of fabric though, so I would want to do more research before attempting this again.

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CC's no's 3 & 4 - Hexagons, these were started in time for my trip to Whitstable and allowed me to have a handy on the go project so that I was never far from my paper pieces and needles whatever we were up to.

I made these by starting with one hexagon and stitching six others to each side of it.  I then continued by adding more hexagons in the same way until I had a piece of hexagoned fabric big enough to make the top of my cover.

I cover making paper pieced hexagons in this tutorial if you are interested but don't know how.

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Four brand new cushion covers that are making me V. happy indeed today.

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As you can see, I am partial to a particular fabric to use for my binding, a definite creature of habit and pattern.

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red snowballs

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I started making this table runner on Friday with the idea to use shades of just one colour.  The colour decided on was red, which was quite a good choice because there isn't much variation within the spectrum of shades of this hue! (unless you are going from orange through to purple).  

For this piece though I wanted RED red and luckily it worked out pretty well.  I was able to find lots of prints with different textures - bold and graphic through to fine detail and the contrasts are what I notice the most when I look at the finished runner.

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I think this is the same way that redwork style embroidery works, red really is a colour that can stand alone.

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I must be in a rouge frame of mind right now because these asters I brought home from the shops on Saturday are perfect to stand up on the runner.

The only thing tricky about asters is that they have pretty weak stems considering the hugeness of their heads and thus are prone to drooping (my neck hurts just looking at the poor things) and snapping.

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I couldn't bear to throw away the poor little snapped off heads, they looked far too pretty to go live in the bin.  So I found this glass bowl which held the unusable remanants of a Christmas candle from last year, placed it in a plastic bowl of hot water for a few minutes and then managed to easily scrape out the residue wax.  After the bowl was filled with water, in popped the snapped off pretty heads to make a nifty little pond style/floaty flower table piece.

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Table runner made from 4" squares, pieced into four patches and then made into snowball blocks*.  I stitched together two rows of six blocks to make the runner and then added a narrow 2" border.

Finished size of table runner - 45" x 17" 

*Edited to add - For each snowball block, I cut two 2 1/2" squares then cut each square on the diagonal to give two triangles.  Sew one triangle onto each corner.

Fabrics used are from Sherbet pips and little apples as well as Picnics & Fairgrounds and Katie Jump Rope by Denyse Schmidt, Bliss by Bonnie & Camille and some Kei Honeycomb Dots.

Binding is Sweater Check in Lollipop from Little Apples. 

Hmmm I think a few red cushions may be in order??


pink bubble

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A while ago I finally convinced my husband that he needed to paint the girls' bedroom. 6 years of gentle persuasion is all it took.

The girls' picked their colour of choice - Sorbet, my husband got out his painting gear and I set about making them some new bedding (my idea of helping out).

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Now I won't tell you that my husband has actually finished the paintwork (there are a few forgotten corners and other bits behind curtains and so on that he thinks I can't see), or that its perfect (there are a few air bubbles trapped in the wallpaper that he insisted on putting up first to get a really smooth finish) BUT it is as done as it will ever be and my girls are both happy (a rare occurence - agreement).

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Yesterday we hung up a few of the pieces they each selected to hang on 'their' walls.  A picked this Heather Ross mini quilt that long time readers of my blog may remember was actually made for a swap but miss A decided that it really should belong to her instead (no point in having a mum that sews if she gives away stuff all the time).

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This is miss C's side of the room, as you can see she has gone for the pips n apples look for her wall.

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The Little Apples doll here is the first version of the one I made for market, her head is extremely floppy because someone didn't make her neck thick enough to support it properly.

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I made matching patchwork pips duvet covers for the girls to go in their new room.  To make them more durable for all the washing and wear to come, I used 1/2" seams to piece the fabrics together and then topstitched them 1/4" from the seam line on the right side (seen above on the wrong side).  

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I think it's curtains next for the room, red ones maybe???


Hexagonally

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Just in case you didn't see enough hexagons around here yesterday, here are the ones I've been busy with recently.  These have been to Whitstable and back with me, stitched on the train and on the beach (thankfully I didn't lose any needles in either of those places..).

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Do you know the bit in one of the Harry Potter films (part 2 I think?), Harry and the Weasley family transport themselves to Dyagon Alley to shop for the new school term by saying 'Dyagon Alley'?  Only Harry get's it wrong and says 'Diagonally', consquently ending up somewhere else instead?  Anyhow the word that keeps coming up in my head (and swimming around for a bit with no purpose particularly whatsoever) whenever I work on hex's is always 'hexagonally'.  Kind of like I am being transported to some kind of nice place called 'Hexagon Alley'.  I like this (fictional) place, it is perfectly my kind of alley..

Back to the sewing, I used prints from both pips and apples so it was fun to see how they all played together kind of sweetly.

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One thing I just wanted to point out for when making hexagons is the occurence of thread melt mishap.

Thread melt mishap happens when certain (usually cheap mulitpack) threads melt when ironed on high heat.  This is what happened this morning as I pressed my pieced hexagons, the green thread (the one I showed yesterday) melted and turned into thin hard plastic.  This can be picked off but sometimes melts and hardens right into the fabric.

To minimise thread melt mishap - Use cotton thread (the best you can afford).  If you don't know the content of your thread be careful when ironing at high heat (perhaps cover patchwork with a light cloth) and maybe think about using a thread colour that is close to the colours of the fabrics you are using (i.e. not clashy bright green as I did here).

Thankfully the damage was minimal and there was none in the centre of this whole thing which I have just spent days handstitching together (phew!)

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So it's back to the hexagon's I go.  I need to remove all the threads n' papers out of here and then stitch them up into a little something.

Hooray for hexagons!!!!


designing fabric - strike off's

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Now that 'Little Apples' is readily available for a short slice of time, I thought it might be fun to look some of the colourways that didn't make the final cut.  The 'could have beens'

When I submit a new fabric collection, I also send in a sheet of colour swatches.  This is used by the mill in the initial printing phase, otherwise known as the 'strike off's' phase.

This is a very exciting time in the fabric designer's calender, as it is the first glimpse at your new designs on actual fabric in a multitude of dazzlingly different colour combinations.  After lots of oohing and aahhhing (often for several hours) some very tough decisions need to be made.

The pictures in this post are just some of the rejected colour ways for apples, the top photo shows a pretty pastel colour scheme which would be idea for spring but all wrong for fall.  

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 This picture shows some of the rejected co-ordinates, again these are just too light and summery to fit in for fall so these too have to go and live on the 'no' pile.  Can you start to see how hard this is?

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Now this colourway would be perfect for fall/autumn (sorry the colours are a little bleached out in this pic due to my camera's inadequacies).  I love how it looks so grown up compared to the other variations but even when colours fit in perfectly, they still may not make the final selection.  A colourway may just not 'play' well with the other definites or it might just make the collection too big.  In an ideal world, we would love to print all the colourways we liked but that line just has to be drawn somewhere.

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And finally we come to the fabrics that 'made it' became stars and went to live happily ever after in a selection of precuts (before all of you start slicing into them with your rotary's that is).

I hope you have enjoyed today's lesson in how these quilting collection's come to life.  Of course I find anything to do with fabric design, development and production infinitely fascinating so I hope you like the insight too!


hula hoops and bookworms

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Right before market, here in the UK we had a burst of 'not-seen-very-often' unseasonably brilliant warm summer sunshine weather.

It was glorious, from what I could see indoors, stuck as I was sewing for market.

As soon as professionally possible I hatched a plan to get outside and sit in the sun with several iced coffee's update my embroidery patterns with some new apple varieties.

These are what I came up with, a hul-lula-looping girl with a pink jacket on. Modellled on both my daughter's and their hula hooping ways.

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And a little girl with curly hair reading a book, who I have now decided looks like she should be named Bella.  Modelled on my littlest daughter who is a bit of a book worm and used to have curly hair that grew straight (but is not called Bella).

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As well as some clothes (modelled on some of my youngest's favourite satorial styles).

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This little lady you know already from last week.

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This is how I spent most of last week, lightbox and pencil sharpner at the ready putting the finishing touches to some new patterns.


sweet

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As you may know if you have been here before, I have a complete and utter devotion to embroidery.  I have stitched up a good number of pieces over the last couple of years but I have a confession.

Most of them are lying about here, there or somewhere else still waiting to be stitched up into a little something.  Stitched and then neglected.  Sad isn't it.

So, it's time for things to change, I'm going to start to give these stitchy bits homes to live in.  I've begun already with this cushion I stitched up for market which makes me so happy everytime I look at it because I get to SEE all the fun little details instead of them being hidden away.

I'd love to hear your idea's? what do you do with the embroideries you stitch up? I'd love a few suggestion's for things to make them into.  

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In case you fancy stitching up a similar cushion, I wrote up a pattern whilst I stitched and finally managed to cook it up into a PDF.  The instructions can be used with any embroidery pattern and go through piecing the cushion front, quilting and assembly, you can find it here.


from seed to fabric

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Everything has a starting point, a particular flashbulb moment when a seed is planted and an idea is born.  In the case of 'little apples' that moment occurred when prompted to design a new fabric line, I began to look for that starting point.  Looking involved flicking through my sketchbooks, most of which are notebooks really, where I jot down my idea's in picture form quickly before I forget them.  Most of the time, these idea's occur when I am busy washing the dishes or meant to be doing something entirely different, so if I don't do a quick squiggle somewhere, the idea is lost as soon as it has been found.

The above detail from one of my sketchbook pages is a real case in point because I do not even remember drawing these little trees with apples for eyes or scribbling down the phrase little apples but when I came across it on the 'flicking for idea's to design a new line of fabric day' I was immediately drawn to it because my mind started coming up with idea's and images galore.

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I started sketching a little more whilst I narrowed down the idea's and formed a theme in my mind.  Almost mindlessly I turned an apple upside down and turned it into an a for the word apples. I think this was the exact moment I knew I HAD to call this group little apples because I knew that this little mindless doodle would make a great little selvedge.

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And I know I am very heavily biased but I kind of think it does.

So now I had a name, I just had to come up with the actual designs!  The stories behind which will have to wait a day or two.  


little apples pre-cuts

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I don't think I have ever sewed as much as I have these past two weeks.

Been getting some quilts and other stuff ready for my little corner of the Moda booth.  Quite how I have managed to sew with both girls at home for the holidays and possibly the hottest Easter break I can ever remember I don't know.

I need a break before I actually break, so I'm taking a little time to show you a first glimpse of the precuts for the new line.  The layer cake above has already been made into a quilt(!) the top print you can see is the lead design this time 'round and round' in lollipop.

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There's the charm packs,

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Jelly rolls,

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Fat quarter packs and all new super cutie patootie fat eighth stacks! (my girls call these mother and baby).

If you are going to sample spree at quilt market (I think this is on Thursday?) or know someone who is, a little heads up for you - you will be allowed to pick up one of each of the fat 1/4 and fat 1/8 stacks (ie. both).

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Time to take my seat back at the machine, I'm hoping to share some of my projects with you this week as well as a little story with a royal twist on Friday.

Hope you are all enjoying some sunshine wherever you are, catch a few rays for me please.