Wednesday, 25 March 2015

A Prickle of Hedgehogs

When my kids were little we used to play a game whilst they were in the bath. I would quiz them on the name of animal young and collective nouns. It must have stuck in the memory of my youngest as he bought me a print for my birthday last year with many animal collective nouns on it.
When I started making this quilt for Siblings Together, I looked to see what the collective noun for hedgehogs was, and it said a prickle!! Now, I didn't really believe this so I checked it out, and as far as I can see it's true. There is an alternative, which is an array, but I'm going to stick with a prickle. It makes me smile!
So my prickle of hedgehogs is complete. There are 12 of them and I had enough scraps of the fabric left to make a co-ordinating border. I think it adds a nice finishing touch. 

I pin basted it yesterday.

Those poor little hedgehogs. I felt bad putting pins into their faces!
So now it's the quilting. I'm torn between haphazard elongated wavy lines running from top to bottom and a tight zig zag line using one of the decorative stitches on my machine. The second option would be a lot slower, but its the one I'm leaning towards. I'm hoping to test them both out in the next day or so before I finally decide.
The pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman and you can buy it here

We are hoping to get 100 quilts for Siblings Together before the summer camps start this year so that they can be given out to the children as a reminder of their time spent with their siblings. As you can see from the "Quiltometer" in my side bar we are a quarter of the way there! 
If you would like to know more about the charity or to help in any way, please take a look at this post by Mary Emmens

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Passacaglia Progress

My Passacaglia quilt is progressing well. It's all hand stitched, english paper piecing. It's slow stitching, happy stitching, calming and relaxing stitching, the best sort! When I know I can't rush something, that I'm  not going to get in finished in the next week, month or whatever, I just slow down and enjoy the journey, take time to gather my thoughts and unwind. I'm sure it's good for the soul.
Part of the reason I've been working on this quilt is that my sewing machine is being serviced this week. It made me wonder what life would have been like many years ago when everything had to be hand sewn. Being without my machine really does make me appreciate having the choice to hand or machine sew!!
The top photo is where I'm at now on the second large rosette. These are BIG and take a long time. I couldn't resist trying out the final round of stars before I'd finished the round of pale pink pentagons. 
This is a close up of the first large rosette. (None of them are complete as they all have to interlink when the quilt is put together). The pattern is from Millefiori Quilts by Willynne Hammerstein.
And this is all three together! Although there is one more large rosette in the quilt, I'm going to work on some of the smaller ones next. A little (almost!!) instant gratification is needed!

Linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday     Let's Bee Social   and Work in Progress Wednesday

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mother's Day Mug Rug

Today I'm happy to say that I'm a guest blogger over on the Simply Solids Blog
When Justine asked me to make something for the beginning of March, I realised that it was only a couple of week"s away from Mother's day, so a gift for a Mum seemed to be the obvious choice.
I love making Mug Rugs. They're bigger and therefore more useful than a simple coaster, but not so big that you only bring them out of special occasions. They're the perfect size for a cake and a cuppa!
The background is a simple 2x3 grid of low volume fabrics. I've provided full scale pattern pieces, ready reversed which you can trace onto iron-on adhesive  (I used Bondaweb) 

Cut them out

Trace the wording ready to embroider

Iron them onto the background

Sew around with a zig zag stitch and add a little embroidery.

And finish as you would a normal quilt.
I went a little over the top with the quilting...straight lines, just over a 1/4" apart! Yes, I was having fun. There were of course a lot of ends to sew in, but with a Clover Easy Thread needle where you just pull the thread in at the top rather than having to thread it, the job wasn't too bad.

Of course you don't have to embroider the word "Mum" you could  make one for a friend., or even for yourself! You can trace any name onto the mug band. Just make sure there's a nice edible treat to go with it!

Do pop over to Simply Solids Blog for full details of how to make it. You can also download the instructions  with full size pattern pieces as a printable PDF HERE

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Hazel Hedgehog Quilt for Siblings Together

So last week I finished my Siblings Together Bee quilt and started to think about a new project. But then I saw THIS PATTERN by Elizabeth Hartman for the cutest hedgehog quilt that I have ever seen! I tried to ignore it, after all, I had other plans, but an idea took hold and wouldn't let me ignore it. This pattern would make a wonderful quilt for Siblings Together. It could be made from scraps. A wide age range of children, both boys and girls would love a hedgehog quilt. Siblings Together are having a quilt drive to try and get 100 quilts before the summer camps start. I really ought to make this quilt for them!
So, the deed was done! Pattern purchased and my weekend spent with hedgehogs breeding like rabbits!
To be perfectly honest, when I made the first block, I wondered what I had got myself into. 

This was not a quick make. Just cutting out the pieces took quite some time. It was very good fun t make though.
To speed things up, I set up a production line. The pieces for 8 Hazels were cut out and each stage of sewing the block repeated 8 times.
It made things go much faster, and I thoroughly recommend this method to anyone considering making this quit. No planning went into the colour choices. I just grabbed pieces of solid fabric that looked to be big enough. I'm very pleased with the results though and love each and every one of these little Hazel Hedgehogs. I still have quite a way to go, but it's fun project for a good cause.

As you can see from the Quiltometer in my sidebar, we now have 13 finished quilts for Siblings Together, and I know a good few are in process of being made. If you want to help out in any way, or find out more about the charity, hop over to Maria's blog at Sew Love To Sew for more information.

Linking up this week with Let's Bee Social and Work in Progress Wednesday

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Siblings Together Quilt - A Finish!

Siblings Together is a charity which works to keep children  who have been separated by the care system in contact with their siblings by arranging, among other things, residential camps where the siblings can meet up and enjoy precious quality time together 

I belong to a quilting Bee which makes quilts that are handed to the children at the end of their camp as a reminder of their time spent with their sibling. January was my month and I chose these simple blocks to make a bright quilt that would suit either gender.
Over the past few weeks I've been sewing all the donated blocks together and quilting it.
Yesterday I finished it. Yay! I'm really pleased with the outcome.
I like to use Quilting Bees or charity quilts in general as a chance to try something new, so I chose a new (to me) quilting design. I quilted an offset diamond and then echoed around it at about 1" spacing using my walking foot. If I was doing this again I would use narrower spacing to make the diamond more prominent, but at least it was quick to do.
I have another quilt that I'm in the process of finishing, hopefully in time to be sent off along with this one.
The Siblings Together charity are hoping to be able to donate 100 quilts at this year's summer camps. I have a "Quiltometer" in the side bar of my blog, and as you can see, we still have a long way to go!
If anyone reading this would like to help, we would be enormously grateful.
You could help by:
  •  Donating a quilt
  • Donating one or two blocks to a group quilt
  • Offering to put together a group quilt 
  • Donating some unwanted fabric for someone else to make a quilt if you have fabric but not time
  • Offering to make a quilt with donated fabric
  • Donating fabric for backing or wadding.
  • Spreading the word on social media or to quilting friends or guilds.
  • Any other way you can think of.

If you think you might be interested, Maria who blogs at Sew Love To Sew has written a lovely blog post giving more details about the charity and how to get involved.
It would be lovely if we could meet this target and we would love for as many people as possible to get involved!

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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Cosying Up With Needle and Thread

I think I should have been a hedgehog, or a squirrel ! I almost hibernate in winter ! I slow right down  and I'm perfectly content with quiet pastimes. Even my sewing takes on a slower pace. I've been happily hand stitching my english paper pieced Passacaglia quilt. I'm working on the second rosette which is quite a lot larger than the first. When I've finished the orange section there are still two more layers to go.
I'm really enjoying playing with colour whilst working on this. I have to admit to making a few new purchases last week so as to have more variety to play with. It's funny that, no matter how much fabric we have, we still can never quite find "the one" in our stash.

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I'm also thinking that as this is such a long term project, I could do with a design wall. I normally lay blocks out on a white sheet on the floor and then roll it up when I'm not working on them. But, it would be nice to be able to look at these rosettes often during the day and be able to swap them around as I pass by a design wall. I have an old lightweight board lurking in the garage that was once the base for a train set when my kids were young. It would make a perfect design wall, so it may get dusted off and de-spidered in the next few days and brought inside to take on a new role. 
I'm also in dire need of  decent thimble! All this hand sewing has resulted in permanent perforations in my fore finger. I can't work with one if it's too bulky. I thought I had the answer when I bought a neat little leather one. But it stretched within a matter of days and now it's constantly slipping off my finger and I'm spending more time picking it up and replacing it than I am sewing! If you know of a good one, please let me know.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Passacaglia with Mr Penrose

Woah, where did the last couple of months go? In my defence, I have been having a wonderful time with family over from Canada for Christmas. That involved lots of culinary preparations etc and then we all had a little family holiday in Yorkshire and, and, well to be honest, my little blog just didn't take priority! But things are back to normal now. My sewing room has seen some activity at last, and among other things I've started a new project!
It is a hand sewn, English paper piecing project. Perfect for sewing whilst enjoying a quiet evening in front of the TV or for snatching a few moments to work on without having to set a block of time aside (or clear enough space in the currently very disorganised sewing room!)
It's a biggie though, and I've set myself the challenge of completing it this year...yes, by the end of 2015!
The project is the last and most complicated quilt in this wonderful book that I purchased before Christmas.

The Passacaglia quilt that I'm making is the one shown on the front cover. Isn't it wonderful? Passacaglia is apparently a musical term. (I had to look it up.....I've also got to learn to spell it without checking each time!) I can certainly see lots of music in this quilt. The eye waltzes around it following the circles. I just hope my version does justice to the name.
Here is a close up of the first rosette that I've completed so far.

The pieces are tiny, and as far as I can tell, they are not a standard size, so there are no pre-cut papers available to purchase in this country. (You can buy them from the US). I've traced the templates provided in the book, and then photocopied them. I'm also basting the templates rather than using fabric glue. That may change as time goes on!
Hopefully I'll have the second rosette to show soon.
I hope you have an exciting project for the New Year too!


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