Monday, 14 August 2017

Dear Jane: F-6, H-6 and H-7

So, my Dear Jane is probably the slowest project on the planet but I do have three more little blocks to show you.

This is F-6.  I'm being a bit cheeky to call this one complete because I haven't quite finished it.  The original block has four melons (or orange peels, if you like) appliquéd to the centre red square.  Mine did too, but it looked so awful that I unpicked the appliqué and am still mulling over whether to re-stitch them.  Ultimately, I do want to, but the pieces are so very tiny (the red square is 1.5" just to give you an idea of scale) that I'm not sure I will ever get them neat enough.

So, for now, I've added the block sans melons and have made a wee note to come back to it at some stage and decide how to finish it.  Perhaps there's scope for me to do something different in the difficult spots, thereby stamping my own mark on Jane's design?

I loved piecing the H-6 block.  At first I wasn't looking forward to those quarter circles but they weren't that bad at all.  Have I mentioned before how much I adore red and white?

H-7 is a bordered Ohio Star and came together without any fuss.  Even though these 1930s fabrics aren't my normal style, I am enjoying them immensely and dipping into my stash for different colours and designs for each block is a lot of fun.

It's growing!  Slowly, but still growing ...

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

FAL 2017: Meet the Host #9

Ready to learn a bit more about another of your Finish-a-long Hosts?  This month we will have two Host introductions.  First up is Lucy who you may have come across on all sorts of quilty media. She's everywhere, and today she's here!

Hello! I am Lucy, Charm About You blogger and one of the Finish-A-Long hosts, here to share a little more about myself.

I come from a creative family, everyone is an artist or crafty type - whether it's by profession or a hobby. My creativity and love of art was encouraged as I was growing up but it wasn't until I was at university when I made my first quilt. It was really, really bad. I used the type of wadding meant for furniture, it was nearly impossible to quilt and it put me off for a long time. Fast forward and after breaking my elbow in a roller derby accident, with two small children to look after at home, I needed a safer hobby and I returned to quilting.

Eager to learn, I got some great advice and support from the two women in my family that quilt, I read lots of blogs, tutorials and quilt books and then went for it. I made simple quilts and a sampler quilt, building up my skills trying out new patterns and techniques. The addiction gripped me and the more quilts I made the more I discovered which elements I was good at, enjoyed and wanted to do more of!

I live in Manchester, UK with my husband and our three kids. They are wonderfully supportive of me and put up with the piles of fabric and works in progress that have filled the house. During the evening I love to do hand sewing, whether that be English Paper Piecing, hand piecing or quilting. It's my time to relax and I find it really hard to sit without sewing now!

I was lucky enough to get a job at Patchfinders, a local quilt shop, where I also began teach quilting classes (and still do!). It was brilliant to be able to 'talk fabric' with so many people - I learnt a lot about style, colour, print etc. from being in the shop and witnessing the whole process of how people chose fabrics for their quilts. The same sort of inspiration and delightful insight into creativity comes from the people in my classes and is one of the many reasons I enjoy teaching.

Then this year I also started doing demonstrations on the Sewing Quarter shopping channel. It involves travelling to work and train journeys equal sewing time! One of my recent finishes was the Everything In It's Place Bag, which I wanted to make to hold all the sewing 'stuff' I can't live without. It feels so good having my supplies with me and there's such a buzz that comes with using handmade. 

The tangible products we create, the snuggly comfort of quilts and the fact that they are enjoyed and used is a big part of the joy of making. I am also drawn to all the possibilities of patchwork and quilting, the various techniques you can use, the choice of fabric - prints / solids / colours and all the patterns. Machine sewing is my choice for quick sews, the precision of foundation paper piecing and meditative chain piecing. More recently I have had to hone my skills at machine binding because I just don't have the time to hand sew binding on the quilts I make for work. Hand sewing would generally be my preference for patchwork and quilting, though I really love being able to switch between the two and do machine sewing when I have that need for speed.

Having insatiably explored various patchwork and quilting methods I share tutorials and tips on my blog, from cross hatch quilting to cleaning your cutting mat;  free patterns and fun things to make.

Visit my Etsy shop for patterns like the popular Stitchy Pie needle case and my most recent A Piece of Me pouch. Later this year I will be adding quilt patterns too, all being well!

I have a 'to sew' list, along with a notebook of design ideas - making them into patterns is my intention and my goal for the next few months is to make time to do that. I would love for you to come and visit me at Charm About You or jump over to Instagram and follow me there, I share all my finishes and everything I'm working on.

So how is everyone getting on with their Finish-A-Long list? Any finishes checked off yet? If not, don't fret - there's still about 7 weeks before the link opens... just remember that time flies when you don't stick to one project!

Hope you all have a great week! 


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Around the World - start of the trip

It's been a while since I told you about my plans for the Around the World quilt on my Singer 99k.  Since then, I have actually managed to start stitching on it and am slowly adding rounds of squares and my progress has gotten me this far -

Ignore the pink and yellow post-its which are marking my row numbers
and spoiling the effect of the Around the World colour ways for now.
It's quite the learning curve working with the hand-cranked Singer and figuring out how to grow this pattern sensibly, even if I am doing it without using handy strip piecing techniques.  The Singer is lovely but I didn't realise how hard it can be to hold fabric single handed while using your other hand to crank the handle.  Small pieces are grand, but as that block has grown bigger, it's heavier and harder to support with just my left hand.  Also, no matter how hard I try, my foot is still looking for a pedal to press EVERY time I start sewing. It takes my brain a few seconds to stop anticipating a power surge ;-) 


I should have listened to my own plans to only select and cut fabric for a row or two at a time.  I got a bit carried away one evening and it took a LOT longer than I had imagined to press and cut fabric for all these rows.  I think I just got excited about choosing the next colour and then the next, and the next.  Those B&C fabrics are just so inviting!  Not happening again though - max two rows at a time.

So far all those many squares have only reached about 36" square.  Feels quite small for all that piecing, but that's the result of using 2.5" squares instead of bigger ones.  (The rationale for which is on my first post here.)  Anyway, no hurry on this and no definite idea of finish size either, so I'm not committed to anything I don't want to do.  The cut fabrics for rounds 12 to 19 have yet to be added so I think I have plenty to be getting on with for now.

Hope to do a little more Around the World travel again soon!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Secret Sewing

Let me be honest. There are a whole list of things I really miss about not having so much time to sew these days.  One of those things is the ability to respond to and contribute to shared projects. From my days in Bees and of course, my contributions to Bee Blessed and Siblings Together, sewing for others has been a large part of my journey and I often wish I still had the freedom to do that.

A few weekends ago, at just a moment when I had two child free hours to myself and no list of other things needing tackled, I was able to say a snap 'yes' to a request and pulled these pretties to work with.  Oh I do love a fabric pull!

I spent a very happy, unpressured hour of cutting, pinning and stitching, enjoying the red, pink and yellow colour palette immensely.

And behold, I have secret sewing in all its loveliness to slip in a mailing bag!

Happy, satisfied sewing!!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Around the World with my Singer

I've been trying to decide what I really want to make as my first project on my vintage Singer.  I want it to be pretty, to be fun and to be for me.  How very selfish!

Of course, this beautiful machine has sewn before I came along.  She's a 1939 Singer 99k hand cranked machine (and my Christmas gift from hubby last year). I wonder what she has been used for in her lifetime?  Wouldn't it be nice if she came with a little video montage of her work?

Anyway, I digress.  I've found it surprisingly difficult to decide what I want to make on her first.  So, I narrowed it down.  Yes, I want it to be a quilt.  I want it to be with really pretty fabric, so my Bonnie and Camille fabrics it shall be and I just want to sew simple squares.

My B&C stash, except for one layer cake.  I promise I'm not hiding any elsewhere.

All of that sounds pretty good to me.  I don't need complicated right now, especially not as an extra, new project on top of the list of WIPs I already have.  It will allow me to get used to the machine and find a consistent quarter inch seam, I hope.  And, it's going to help me with my plan for 2017 to sew from my stash and reduce what I'm storing.  Yes, my B&C fabrics are my absolute favourites but you know, I feel that now is the time to use them not keep them all neat and tidy in a box.  I've also noticed a lot of folks destashing fabric this year because they have too much or no longer love fabrics they once couldn't wait to buy. I don't want that to happen with my B&C collection and, after all, I bought it to sew with, didn't I?  It's not like there won't be further collections to come, is it?

High tech planning. (That's washi tape, not a quilt border!)

So, a quilt of squares with a mix of whatever B&C lines are in those boxes?  I think it's time to make an Around the World quilt, or is it a Trip Around the World Quilt?

I've been calculating.  Not exciting, but it was an interesting exercise that proved to me that because most of my stash is fqs I will probably get a more varied range of fabrics in my quilt if I work from 2.5" squares. It also showed me that as the rounds of the pattern get bigger, I will be needing to buy more whole metre cuts (a considerable number) if I plan to keep each round a single fabric.  So, because I want to use up what I already have, I think I'm going to work on my rounds in a single colorway, rather than a single fabric (i.e. a green round will have several different green prints in, not just one).  I'm sure that's all clear as mud, but it makes sense in my head.

Squares on the starting block!

I know there are clever ways to speed up the making of this quilt pattern but I plan to do it the slow, hard way.  Just because.  I'm in no hurry and I don't particularly enjoy that strip piecing and unpicking method anyway.

I want this to be a relaxing/de-stressing project. So, I will choose and cut fabrics a round or two at a time and sew slowly and prayerfully.  Did I ever tell you how my sewing time is often my prayer time?  I want to sew more prayerfully again because there is so much in this world, in the lives of my friends and in my life that I need to chat through with my Father.  I look forward to that quiet time immensely.

Sounds like a plan for getting acquainted with my Singer, doesn't it?

Sunday, 16 July 2017

FAL 2017: Meet the Host #8

It's time to meet another of your FAL hosts.  This time Izzy shares with us some things you might not have known about her.  I have to say, I love how her quilting journey has been chronicled in her pics here. Read on to find out what I mean.

Hi - I'm Izzy from Dizzy Quilts and it's my turn to tell you a little about myself!

I'm a mother, step-mother and foster mother to six children, grand-mother to one gorgeous little girl and wife to my soul mate. During the day, I manage a team of e-Learning designers/developers at a global financial company.

All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I've always made time to be crafty - when I was a little girl, my mom taught me how to knit and I made all my teddy bears knitted sweaters!

During my teenage years, I was a little too busy with school (and with boys!) to craft, but a few years later, when I had my first child, I started sewing.  I made some baby clothes and I made curtains mostly. I even took a sewing class to learn how to make garments for myself, but I never got the hang of that - nothing ever really fit right.

About 9 years ago, I walked into JoAnn's to get fabric for new curtains and spotted the cutest little quilt kits. I bought one, put it together and haven't looked back since! I was completely and totally hooked.

The first few quilts I made were very traditional - lots of small pieces, small florals, etc. I really had no clue what I was doing, but learned so much with the making of these quilts.

A lap size log cabin quilt made for my step-mom

I started making these quilts for pretty much everyone in my family.  And pretty soon, every bed in the house had a quilt on it.

Quilt I made for my sister-in-law - this is Bronx testing it.

I even made quilts as curtains!!
Around 2010, I discovered quilt blogs and the online quilting community.  That literally changed my quilting life!!  I started my own blog, met some amazing people and a couple of years later, found the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.

Through the members of this guild, I learned about modern quilting and I fell in love with quilting all over again.

I started making modern quilts and building a stash of really colourful fabrics and solid neutrals.

When I first started quilting, my least favourite part of the whole thing was the actual quilting. My sewing machine was pretty small and wrestling with a big quilt in that tiny little space was painful and I very often ended up with puckers on the back of my quilts.  And then I changed two things: my sewing machine and my basting method.

I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q. It is literally a dream to quilt with. Lots of room to the right of the needle and super consistent, fast stitching.

I also learned how to board baste my quilts - which has saved my knees, my back and to a certain extent, my sanity!  :-)

And now quilting is actually my favourite part. I look forward to finishing a top just so I can get to the quilting. My dream is to some day own a long-arm machine, but I would need to get a much bigger house before that could happen!

Last year, I became the Vice-President of the Montreal MQG and that has been a lot of fun. The group is growing and we have such amazing people and quilters.  Each meeting is a great source of inspiration and I'm learning so much.

When I was approached to become a FAL host last year, I was so flattered and so happy. I love hosting these link-ups - so much inspiration and so much talent every quarter.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, please leave a comment!  :-)


Sunday, 2 July 2017

2017 Finish-A-Long: Quarter 3 Proposed Finishes Linky Now Open!

It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q3 of the FAL. I am looking forward to seeing what you are planning to be working on over the next quarter.

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q3 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):  

As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ3yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q23link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!! Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q3 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, July 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...