Tuesday, 28 July 2009


I guess Curly Boy doesn't think my sewing machine is worth much.

Although, was it Curly Boy who did it, or Cousin It!

Here's the back view.

I love being married to a boy who has better hair than Carol Decker!!

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Guilt free sewing

The upside of being unwell is that i get extra time to sew without the nagging guilt that i should be vacuuming or cleaning. Obviously WAY to unwell to do any house chores so for the last 3 days I've had a lovely time stitching to my hearts content!!

First thing i made was a doll quilt. I sat for 2 days and hand stitched the pinwheels like a woman possessed. I did break for the loo and for food but that's more or less it.

I also made the next set of blocks for the Around the World Quilting Bee. They seem to be coming thick and fast but i do get very excited every time the postman knocks on my door with another lil package.

I bottled out of piecing the circles and just appliqued them on but at some point I'd like to have a good go at mastering circles. I used Park Slope fabric and I had forgotten just how gorgeous these fabrics were until i dug them out for this block.

The next one is my first ever wonky star and it makes me smile. I really enjoyed making it so I see many more wonky stars in my future. Maybe i'll add it to the list of about 20 quilts that i want to do someday!

The last one i made from strips pieced onto a paper foundation. This one was a maths nightmare and i really though i'd messed it up when i trimmed one smaller than i intended. But luckily when it was done i was amazed that it was exactly the right size. For that to be the case my maths must have been way off to begin with!

Thursday, 23 July 2009


You may or may not have noticed but i have been changing my banner as often as my underwear! That's because curly boy is on a mission to make me the perfect banner - bless him. I love this one a lot so i think it may stay a while - thanks sweetie pie!

I am not very well at the moment so am home from work. so, loads of time on my hands, but no energy to do anything...ggrrrrrr.

I did want to show you this though. I was inspired to crack on with it by
this and was really quite astounded by just how quick it all went together. Shame on me for not getting my lazy butt into gear earlier.

I have been debating whether to quilt it myself or send it to the long arm quilter, but as she asks that you sew 1/8" around the edge to stop the seams pulling apart and i have already done that, i think my sub-conscience has already decided for me!!!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Stash Strategy.

This post has been written especially for LauraJ who wanted me to share my fabric shopping strategy. She asked me eons ago but I have only just got around to this.

The first thing I should say is that I'm not sure 'strategy' is the word…..I'd say it's more like 'smash and grab' at times!!

I hope no-one minds, but I have used the questions that came from Sew Mama Sew ‘Tell us about your stash’ event back in February.

What do you usually sew?

My favourite things to make are quilts – either machine pieced or hand pieced.
I also make bags, purses, clothes and other bits of nonsense

When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (I.e. if you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

I never usually have a use for fabric right away. I buy for my stash.
When i first started quilting I used to buy fat quarter packs, mainly so i could increase the variety of fabrics I had. These days i pick the ones i like out of a range and buy a bit more of them as I know now which fabrics will get used, and which won't.
As I am in the UK I generally can’t get the nice fabrics here at a reasonable price,
I buy my fabric online from the US and more often than not buy 1/2 yard of each fabric. I buy fabric for backings locally when I need them.

Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?

I generally buy on impulse. I decide that I need a fabric fix, go to my favourite sites and pick some gorgeous stuff, or when a new range comes out and I want to bag myself some. I tend to only buy what I know I’ll use which is usually small prints and geometric patterns. I have a tendency to make quilts will small pieces and large prints get lost.

Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?

I LOVE washing my fabrics and do it immediately. I machine wash them in with my clothes and tend to tumble dry them – I find that the pieces get a bit distorted by hanging them on the washing line. I also like to dry them to get the maximum shrinkage so I don’t have to worry about being able to machine wash my quilts.

Do you iron it?

Hate ironing with a passion but LOVE to stand and iron all my new fabrics. I iron them and cut off the selvedges (I have serious selvedge love!) It’s one of my favourite things to do as I love how they look when they are folded and stacked.

How do you sort it? (Colour, print size, collection, etc.)

I used to sort by collection but I now sort by colour as I find it easy to find what I’m looking for.

Do you have any special folding techniques?

I had my own (flawed) method that was ok if the pieces were 1/2 or a full yard but once the pieces had been cut into, the size of the folded pieces went to pot.
I am in the process of re-folding it using the Happy Zombie Fabric Folding method as i go along, but at some point I will drag it all off the shelves and refold it.

How do you store your fabric?

On Ikea Expedit shelving (or the floor, or the sofa arm, or in a washing basket at the bottom of the stairs.)

What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?

Figure out what kind of things you are likely to use and stick to those when buying fabric! I now try and only buy what I know I’ll use which is usually small prints and geometric patterns. I have a tendency to make quilts will small pieces and large prints get lost.

Fabrics I use lots of:
Small prints
Medium to light colours/tones
Prints with a maximum of 3 colours in them.
White on beige
Unbleached calico

Fabrics I know I don’t use very often:
Large prints
Dark/murky colours
Fabrics with dark backgrounds even if the patterns are light coloured

When do you say enough is enough?

My (self imposed) limit is when the shelves allocated to quilting fabric are full and scrap drawers won’t close, but don’t think I’ll reach my max as my stash is actually going down at the moment.

What are some of your favourite stash-busting projects?

I have worked hard to get my scraps down (from 2 large drawers to a 1 drawer).
I have been making strippy scrap quilt blocks and mixing the fabrics I’m less keen on in with the good stuff. It's amazing that some of the fabrics look WAY less ugly now!
Also, When I am cutting out for a quilt and end up with a piece 2” wide or less, I cut it up at into 1” strips and throw it into a freezer bag with other strips of the same colour. That means that I am not adding too much back into the scrap drawer and makes it much easier to put another block together when I have a bit of spare time.

What’s your definition of the perfect stash?

I think my stash is perfect as I love just about everything that’s in there.

Do you have a current favourite print in your stash?

My all time favourite fabric is Heather Baileys Freshcut range and i adore most of those prints. When I heard it was going to be discontinued it almost sent me into a major panic buying frenzy, but I have resisted as I already have 2 large quilts, 2 small quilts and all sorts of other bits made from it. I figured it was to be brave and let go!!!
I've grown quite attached quite attached to my American Jane and Katie Jump Rope fabrics and i have a pile of Lecien My Folklore fabrics that i'm not sure i'm ever going to be able to cut into!!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Go slow....

My new post-holiday pace is ‘go-slow’. I’m going so slowly that if you saw me you would question whether I really was moving at all - but I’m liking it very very much!!

After successfully diverting attention from the lack of crafting with my holiday stuff and my new (ever so lovely) sewing machine foot, I finally have some crafting to show you.

I’ve hand pieced some shoe bags using the half hundred weight of hexagons left from my grandmothers flower garden quilt. Clearly i got carried away when cutting out!

I have only made 2 so far which is a laugh considering the number of pairs of shoes I’ve got and the numbers of pairs I usually take away with me but hey, it’s a start!

I also now have 110 granny squares for my blanket. I have to say that I am also fast approaching my boredom threshold with this so am going to stop while the going is still reasonably good.

I have finished all the yarn I had so I will join them together, sew the flowers on, crochet some kind of edging and then it will be finished and ready to snuggle under.
I think it will end up about 125 x 125cms (50" x 50").

And finally I have made some more progress on my hexagon pinwheel. I think I only have about 90 pinwheels left to make. Only...
I need 19 rows of 13 pinwheels and so far i have 11 (5 all sewn together) and i am so excited to see this finished!! I think it will end up at about 175 x 200cms (70" x 80").

Notice that I have cunningly combined it all into one post to make it look like I’ve done all this in the last 2 or 3 days?

Saturday, 11 July 2009

I think i'm a bit slow on the uptake.

I am going to admit something now. You have to promise you won't laugh.

*deep breath*....here goes...

I didn't know that 1/4" sewing machine feet existed until 3 weeks ago!

Yes. Just in case you were wondering you did read that right. I have been making quilts for about 5 years ish and I never knew they existed. No idea at all.
I have been blissfully going about my business guessing what a 1/4" seam allowance looks like when I could have made life MUCH easier for myself. How the hell did I miss that??

Anyway, you'll be pleased to know that I ordered one, and I now have it in my hot little hands. I haven't used it yet but is it not a thing of beauty? I think I’m already in love.

Also, am I the only person who didn't know how jaw dropping this magazine is?

I paid a visit to my local fabric shop last weekend and they've started stocking them. There was a huge pile of them and after an age of flicking through all of them I managed to narrow it down to 3. I had to limit it as I was in fear of bankrupting myself in one foul swoop!
WAY more gorgeousness than a girl can cope with in one sitting. Has anyone ever been known to have suffered from eye candy overdose? I think it might be wise to ration time spent looking at them.

Are there any more life changing snippets of info that I don't know that I don't know???

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

I thought you might like to see my holiday booty.

Although the hotel we stayed at in Thailand was in the middle of nowhere, my cute-stuff-radar was definitely fine tuned so I managed to get some good stuff!! Thailand is also fairly cheap so I got a lot for my money.

My absolute first love is shoes (think Imelda Marcos!!) and I managed to bag myself 2 lovely pairs of sandals. These I already posted a picture of, but in my eyes you can't even get enough pics of cute shoes!!...

And these pearly coral flowery beauties...

Down a back street in Hua Hin town we found (well actually it was Curly Boy who spotted it as I’ve managed to also fine time his cute-stuff-radar!) was a little shop full of handmade goodies.
The lady who owned the shop is a serious crafter - which she tells me is quite rare in Thailand - and she has even published her own crafting book.
We had a lovely chat, I admired some things that she showed me that she made for herself, and then I swept through the shop like a tornado!!
I got flower hair bobbles that will become something else at some point, and 2 zip pouches.

I got a Thai silk bed cover that I put it on my bed the first night I got home and the cats have already clicked it, so I have taken it off and pondering what else I can do with it…

Silk and cotton scarves….so soft….

And finally twig pens and coloured pencils!

Good eh??