sherbet pips

shells

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Yesterday I got on with pin basting my Skip quilt.

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I haven't free motion quilted a quilt for a long time now.  I keep meaning to try some different quilting designs and even bought Angela Walters'  Free Motion Quilting book last year to give me some idea's.  But every time I get to the quilting stage I chicken out of trying something new and go for easy styles that I go to time and time again.  And there's nothing wrong with that except I really really want to try branch out and get quilting more creatively. So that is how I came to quilting this one in Clamshells, using an idea from Angela's book.  

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And despite feeling a little anxious I am really REALLY enjoying it.

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I love how doodle-y they look, they fit perfectly with the playful nature of this quilt.  I am already three quarters done and can't wait to show you the finished quilt!




slicing

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This is what I am up to today.  I've finally sliced up a little time out for myself and have been busy cutting and chopping up fabric.  Bliss.

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I'm doing something I've been itching to get on with for a while.  Making a quilt (or two or three) using a mix of fabrics from all of my lines.

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It's fun to see the fabrics all mingling and hanging out together, it will be interesting to see them in new combinations.

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These two pictures are what I have been up to the last couple of days - making kitty blocks!  I thought up this idea a while back to make out of hello petal but since fabric is a long way off from arriving, I thought I'd make one up from my current fabrics for now.

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I'm loving how the blocks are looking together, so much fun to make too!  More details coming soon.


step inside

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As promised last week, I'm back to show you around a little of my new home.  Unsuprisingly it was my sewing room most of you wanted to start with so here we are.  As expected there is a ton of fabric.  In fact there is a whole wall of fabric ;) 

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It's nice to finally be able to have it all out displayed on shelves instead of shovelled into many drawers.  The shelves are Billy Bookcases from Ikea and they are ideal for storage because only the middle shelf is permanantly fixed, the rest are easily adjusted, which is good if like me you are always chopping and changing your mind.  Annie at The Village Haberdashery very kindly saved up the bolts for me and it only took me about a week of ironing and pinning to get things done.

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In complete contrast to the colour explosion belonging to the wall of fabric, the opposite side of the room is stark in it's whiteness.  I intended to add some colour in the form of accessories but I kind of enjoy the plainess over here.

(Cupboards and desk are Expedit, drawers are Alex, from Ikea)

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Next to Alex is my sewing table (at least it will be soon, I haven't sewn a stitch in over two months).  The table is Liatorp (again from Ikea) and I have it at the full extended width.  I am revelling in it's hugeness, which will be a welcome relief after years of coffee table quilting.  The chair is Ingolf.

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See what I mean about the whiteness (even matches my radiator).

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Which takes us over to the big window (still no curtains after two months, although we have got around to ordering them at long last).

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Over the other side of the big window, more shelves, more fabric and more colour.

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And another little window.

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And more fabric

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And back to the wall of fabric.

And that's it.  Kind of turned out exactly as I'd planned in my head all those months ago.  I'm sure it's pretty much what you expected too?


starring

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On Monday, I decided I really wanted to make a new winter-y quilt.  I don't have time to make a quilt, so I thought I could control myself, stick to making four quilt blocks and make them into a pillow instead.

That's how it started in my head, anyway.  Somehow I managed to make 6 blocks by accident and then mistakenly cut out more squares when I wasn't looking and now it looks as if this quilt is making me make it whether I own the feasible quilt making hours or not.

So I guess it seems this quilt is going ahead.  (It would be kind of nice to have a little company if anyone's interested.  I'm using this tutorial and these are fun blocks to make).


star

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Today seemed a perfect day to pull out this star quilt I made last year.  It's one of my most favourite quilts and I love it because it's wintery without being too Christmass-y so perfect for right now.  I love it because it has prints from my first fabric range Sherbet Pips - which already seems like it came out forever ago.  It makes me feel nostalgic for that time and nostalgia is part of the love of a quilt.  Don't they go hand in hand? the yearning of the time that has past and the quilty goodness that is winter warmth and cosiness (that makes you want to hide away and think about all the things you want to do and not those you have to do).

That's me today - hiding under my quilt, trying not to think about all the things I have to get done later and feeling starry eyed for the future and all that it holds.

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Well that and a little knitting.  

I can't do this all day but while it lasts I'll be the happiest girl that ever made her own quilt and sat under it.

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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???


making fabric from pineapples

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A few months ago I became intrigued with pineapple quilt blocks.  It was the look of the blocks, the 'how the heck to you piece one of those?' look that was the cause of said intrigue.

So the other day, I set about pineappling my life a little - I picked out two fabrics that played nice together, did a bit of online research and began.  The outcome of this story is best explained in a little tutorial I have put together for you entitled....

The beginner's guide to how NOT to make pineapples from fabric

  1. Research how to make said quilt block online.
  2. Decide you would like to try the paper piecing method from one 'how to' but the block size (and pieces) are too small(and fiddly looking).
  3. Enlarge paper piecing template and cut strips to whatever size appeals in the hope that you can just 'wing it'
  4. Get increasing fluxommed because you can't see the lines you are meant to be stitching on as they are hidden under your oversized strips.
  5. Realise that you have now spent 5 hours doing all of the above and your so called pineapple actually resembles an aeroplane.
  6. Pull fabric off paper piecing template and attempt to wholly 'wing' the rest of the block.
  7. (The best bit) Act accutely surprised when life suddenly appears to spring from the ashes of your fabric aeroplane and it curiously begins to resemble a pineapple quilt block after all.
  8. Thank the fabric fairies that sit on your shoulders who must be the ones responsible for making said turnaround happen.

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Actually once you get the fiddly first few rounds done, the rest is not too difficult and I'm still in love with the end result of this block.

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Although eating a pineapple will never be the same again..

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I'm turning this one into a cushion and have begun by hand quilting some of the white triangles but I think I need to add a little machine quilting too to really 'anchor' the cushion top to the batting and backing.  Cushions are heavily used in our house (big time sloucher's here) and I think the machine quilting will stop this developing that attractive 'baggy' look too quickly.

Pineapples today, what will tomorrow bring????


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!!!!