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Hello everyone and I hope that you are looking forward to a lovely weekend.

I have lots of me time planned and some finishing of kit which I shall be able to show you next week. Things have been going very well with the surcoat that I am making which is a relief as it is quite a complex make and it is always a bit nerve-wracking when you are making things for someone else.

I have also managed to whip up a new linen shift for me in an afternoon, that just needs the hand stitching on the hems finishing which will be done tonight.

My lovely friend Helen from knitting group has just gifted me these hexis, she was having a de-stash and decided that she was never going to finish the rainbow quilt she had been planning to make with them so they are now mine! They are fabulous and such pretty fabric.

gift hexis 1

I can’t decide which one I like best but this might just be my favourite.

gift hexis 2

Although these ones are pretty lovely as well.

gift hexis 3

gift hexis 4

gift hexis 5

I think they would look very nice as part of a small lap/cuddle quilt for one of my younger relatives and again hexis are a great travel project for the many trips I have planned over the next few months!

In other exciting news it is the end of teaching for me, yippee :-) and my students very kindly bought me these gorgeous flowers. Aren’t they so beautiful?

flowers and hexis

I love having flowers in the house and I am particularly fond of gerberas as they just look so perfect, almost too good to be real, and it is rare to be able to buy them on their own.

So the summer stretches ahead, lots of marking to do along with working on my doctorate and planning for next year but I am feeling very relaxed and happy.

Ofsted, (the government education inspectors for those of you outside the UK), have not arrived so far this term and probably won’t come now which lessens the pressure on everyone.

I will have much more time for crafting as now do not have to work until stupid o clock on teaching days and with the lighter evenings I feel I am able to get so much more done.

Life is very lovely at the moment and I hope that you are all having a good time too.

Thanks for visiting.

Well hello there, back in lovely Marsden now having had a very nice time and got lots of work done! Just thought I would share with you the fruits of my labour last weekend.

This month’s block did look like a bit of a challenge when Helen originally posted it – a Nine Patch Frame so she had the first go and very kindly supplied the measurements.

BOM March

It turned out to be not too bad, as you can see I have not really got my frame far enough out as it was a tricky devil to sew with those corners so my outer white triangles are not as good as they could be and have lost some of the points on the inner square but I like the fabric combinations.

BOM March 2

BOM March 3

Here is the Jan block Dutchman’s Puzzle which uses most of the same fabric. I am trying to vary each one a little due to running out of large pieces of stash and hoping that April is going to be a scrappy block :-)

BOM JAN 15 Dutchman's puzzle block

Here is the Feb block Union Squares – the right sized one!

Feb BOM Union Square 3

Will probably try and get the next 3 in these fabrics and make this into a small quilt, each block is 12 inches so will be cot sized with borders and can go to local hospice or Project Linus. Then do the next 6 in different fabrics.

Sharon jokingly suggested this might be our next block challenge. This is work by Danny Amazonas using fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett Collective – wow, just wow!

Danny Amazonas Kaffe Fassett Collective

Can’t believe it is nearly the weekend already – how exciting! It is very lovely and sunny here today so hope that continues and I can get some walking done as well as stitching.

Hope you have a nice time planned and thanks for visiting.

I am having a lovely week so far mainly working from home which was fortuitous as a long-awaited Amazon order arrived today and I was in to sign for it :-)

Hexalicious book

I ordered this title, The New Hexagon by Katja Marek, as I saw a review of it in one of my quilting magazines and am very excited. I love the fabric choices which make the front cover blocks look like one of those kaleidoscope toys I had as a kid.

Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a hexagon addiction going on at the moment and have done lots of things with ordinary hexagons.

I am now experimenting with diamonds making some little pin cushions and needlebook gifts and was looking for more things to do now that I am more confident with this English Paper Piecing lark!

I bought this other book below, Quilting on the Go by Jessica Alexandrakis,   for my Mum as a Mother’s Day present and it is a very good basic introduction to the craft with lots of useful templates and ideas for small and large projects.

Quilting on the Go

However I wanted something a bit more challenging for me, well just look at all this deliciousness ;-)

Hexalicious book 5

Hexalicious book 2

This is actually called the Hexalicious Wall Quilt hence the post title and I love the bright colours and the border fabric!

Hexalicious book 3

The patterns work equally well with more subtle fabric though as in this example.

Hexalicious book 4

So happy! Am taking this to knitting group tonight to share with my friends, I am sure Helen the premier quilter amongst us will be very impressed.

Right back to work now, coffee break over ;-)

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

 

Well sadly my friends couldn’t make it this weekend – probably a good thing as I have still got the tail end of the nasty cough and cold bug I have had for a month so I have been snuggling up under a fleece on my stitching sofa watching TV and hand piecing.

Much better for me than wandering round my beautiful but below freezing Yorkshire!

I have recently discovered the joys of quilting videos on You Tube, as we have been doing the Block of the Month challenges and I find it difficult to follow written instructions so I thought a would share with you a few of my favourite channels in case you have not discovered this marvellous resource, it is like having a Quilt Guild in your very own home.

Firstly the McCalls Quilting Channel. I have really enjoyed watching this Quilt Along learning loads of new techniques.

 

Next is the Fons and Porter Channel, I have seen Mary Fons in lots of magazines and this channel has useful basic tips videos as well as interviews with quilters like this one.

 

I found this Missouri Star Quilt Company Channel today and they have some brilliant videos on all types of blocks and whole quilts. Wouldn’t this one make a great quilt for a gift!

 

I have always loved watching videos about quilting and have been a fan of The Quilt Show but didn’t realise that there was so much free stuff out there as well.

Another thing I am a bit late to the party with is Craftsy, I have signed up from some fab free online classes for Block of the Months.

There has been great excitement here on TV this week as it is the start of series 3 of The Great British Sewing Bee! If you missed it here is a link to it on BBC iPlayer.

I would not like to participate (my sewing is far too slow for that) but would love to have day in the workshop with all my sewing friends.What a fab venue for a day out surrounded by all that lovely fabric – and the little café with all-important cake nearby!

Here is a picture of one of the contestants Deborah Simms with the beautiful fabric she chose for her final garment of this episode.

Deborah Simms Sewing Bee

Little Black Duck Blog is following the series with useful tips and tutorials for each episode – this is the post about this week and making trousers.

This blog by Angela Kane also has some great tips of techniques from Series 2

Hope you find these useful, back to the sewing now- must spend equal time doing as watching or nothing will get finished ;-) ! See you in a couple of weeks and thanks for visiting.

So I made the one with 3 1/2  inch squares on Saturday and that turned out at 8 inches finished size. So on Sunday I tried making one with 4 1/2 inch squares and that turned out to measure 10 inches finished size.

They do both look very pretty though and I am pleased with the finish.

Feb BOM Union Square 1

The block pattern is called Union Square and again it is from the Quilter’s Cache website. I found this useful video (which turns out to be a variation of the block which is known as Union Squares ) but the girls have kindly let me off for this deviation ;-)

It came together quite quickly – especially the second time around and the method I was using gave me lots of practise at making half and quarter square triangles. And my joins are not too bad though getting every single one to be perfect is beyond me, they definitely look better certain ways up!

Feb BOM Union Square 2

Feb BOM Union Square 3

I have now made a third one – not exactly the same but almost, I ran out of the swirly pink fabric so have done the half square triangles in a co-ordinating solid. This one hit the magic 12 inches and was made with 5 1/2 inch squares.

The first two will be put to good use, I am going to frame the littlest one for my quilt room and use the other to make a pillow for my sewing chair. I have some hexagons in the same fabric that I was already putting together for a pillow so will make it reversible.

Am really enjoying this challenge, there are 5 of us from the knitting group doing it now and we are all supporting each other through Facebook and have planned a couple of get togethers as well for help with certain aspects.I love how crafting is so social, both virtual and face to face!

Will not have much time for crafting this week as work is very busy and have friends over at the weekend so things are going to be slow on the posting front for a couple of weeks. Then am off to Spain for half term (those lovely embroidery museums are calling!) so will see you all when I get back.

Take care and enjoy yourselves. Thanks for visiting.

Last weekend as well as the hand stitching on the hexagon car quilt I decided to go and have a play with some other quilt blocks, inspired by how much I enjoyed making the Dutchman’s puzzle block for our block of the month challenge.

I don’t know why but whatever craft I do I always choose very small-scale projects, my cross stitch is on small count fabric (so small I usually need a magnifier now!), I knit little arms and legs for bunnies and nothing bigger than a baby cardigan. It seems I am going the same way with quilting as most of what I have done so far is baby quilts and hexagons.

Partly it is lack of time, as I have limited time to finish things because they are usually gifts small means achievable so less WIPs hidden away.

But I do like small-scale so I thought for my practising last week I would use one of the Moda mini charm packs that I bought a while ago from Simply Solids. I have used up the other two already in the wash bag I made for an Xmas present and the hexagons I pieced from the Printemps pack (see kids I do USE the fabric in that room, it is just sometimes more sneaks in somehow!)

Simply Solids shop -mini charm packs

I have two of these ‘Playtime’ 1930s inspired prints and I thought if I keep making a few blocks every so often I will eventually have a small quilt at least!

I wasn’t following a specific block just wanted to practise my half square triangles and stitching accuracy for those 1/4 inch seams but I have ended up with something that looks a bit like a Pinwheel block – albeit a bit random in terms of the fabric placement.

Quilt blocks Moda charm squares 1

Quilt blocks  Moda charm squares

Quilt blocks  Moda charm squares 3

I also decided a 9 patch would be good (God alone knows why) which involved cutting an already small 2 1/2 ” square into four pieces so excuse the slightly wonky finished article!

Quilt blocks  Moda charm squares 4

The miniaturising effect must be rubbing off as yesterday afternoon I rushed up to the sewing room to start on the Feb block of the month challenge, this is my only free weekend in Feb so I wanted to get a good start.

It must have been my haste that led me to create a pretty well pieced (only one triangle lost its point) but rather small block, the target was 12 inches and mine ended up as 8 inches. Turns out when you divide 12 by 3 the answer is 4 NOT 3 – who knew? Well supposedly me as I do actually teach Maths – oops.

However it will look lovely with an extra border to cover up the missing points and I am going to try it again this afternoon WITH 4 INCH BLOCKS!

My lovely Ellie sent me a fabric care package this week with a beautiful card, she is so kind. I had not been feeling well when she spoke to me a couple of weeks ago and work had been a bit stressful so she sent me this to cheer me up.

Look at this beautiful print, in three colourways! With matching solids! Thank you so much, you are a wonderful daughter as well as a great friend :-)

Care package fabric 2

Care package fabric 3

Care package fabric 4

Care package fabric

While browsing Justine’s blog (she of the marvellous Simply Solids shop) I saw this 2015 bucket list that she had found on this blog Whip Stitch by Deborah.

Sewing-bucket-list-2015

I like lists and it is nice to have a focus and extend your skills so I am going to add that to my challenges for this year, some of them can already be fulfilled by things I have planned (Number 2 by all the medieval kit I have planned for friends) but others on the list I have though about doing but not done (Number 12 I want to make a bag for me).

So it is going to be a busy and fun year, 26 books, 17 plus sewing projects and 12 plus quilt blocks. And we are just sorting out our re-enactment events for 2015 and so far I have 10 events! 2015 is going to be a very good year :-)

Right better get off the laptop and on with the actual stitching now then if I am for achieve all this. Take care, have a nice week and thanks for visiting.

Helen, Sharon and I decided while on our way back from the Harrogate show that we would like to extend our skills a little so then arranged to have a Block of the Month Quilt Along. Several other people from knitting group have also joined in. So that was yesterday afternoon’s little project.

Helen is co-ordinating it and after discussion we decided to use this Quilter’s Cache site run by Marcia Hohn which has a huge number of patterns all at the same size and a random number generator to choose blocks.

We thought this was a good way of extending all our skills as then we would avoid just choosing easy blocks. Helen has been quilting for a long time, Sharon has just started and I am in the middle in terms of experience (and fabric stash lol!).

This month the block is Dutchman’s Puzzle which involves Flying Geese. I remembered that I had seen some videos on how to make these so being better at visual rather than written instructions used this very useful McCall’s Quilting video on You Tube to make them using the ‘no waste’ method.

It was great having the video as I took the laptop up to the craft room and did it step by step along with the tutorial (mind you it did take me about 1 1/2 hours rather than the 10 minutes of the video!)

That did include choosing the fabric though which took a while. I tend to buy fabric in small amounts and as we will be making 12 blocks of unspecified patterns had a bit of difficulty with what to choose.

In the end I went with a colour palette that I have used for previous things with the addition of some of my new stash from Harrogate (the Cath Kidston look-alike flowers on aqua in these pictures).

BOM JAN 15 fabric

BOM JAN 15 fabric 2

The solids are far more pink than they appear here (winter light upstairs not good for pictures!) and I do have a few more options that I can add. The white on white fabrics are really too subtle to see in this picture but they show up better in the finished block.

It was a good experience though as I tend to buy either fabric for specific things or stuff that I like the look of but not much of it co-ordinates with anything else apart from my lovely Simply Solids stash.

I have to think about the fact that future blocks may be more scrappy so that ruled out lots of larger prints and that as I am trying to do it all from stash what am I going to use for binding, sashing and backing?

What I may do is make 6 of the blocks from this set of stash and six from another set if I run out. These will probably become donated quilts as I have plans to make others for family this year.

I was very pleased with my end result and the process was very simple to understand, good practise as well at sewing 1/4 inch seams.

BOM JAN 15 geese

The finished block has turned out a bit big but am pleased with the points at the centre and have only lost the nose from one of the geese!

BOM JAN 15 Dutchman's puzzle block

BOM JAN 15

BOM JAN 15 geese point

It was an easy block to make and the video was very useful. Our aim is to make as many of the blocks as we all can (given busy lives) so no-one will be penalised for missing a month and we can use our regular meetings for knitting group to help each other out. There will then be a couple of quilting bees I should think when we tackle basting, binding and machine quilting.

After all that snow yesterday I awoke to this beautiful view – sunshine on the sparkling hills, if I wasn’t just getting over a yucky cough I would be out for a wander but I will stay in the warm and admire the views from here.

snow jan 15

Hope you have also had a nice weekend, thanks for visiting.

 

The productivity yesterday paid off and I have now have  completed bag to go with the books I have bought for my cousin’s daughter Alice.

Alice's bag

This is one of the fabrics that I bought from the scraps bin at a stall from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show for £1, solids and buttons from stash so a very bargainsome gift!

I also used my new marking tool – the one that looks like a little pastry wheel with metal teeth to mark the lines for the quilted interior. I found it very easy to use and am proud of how symmetrical the quilting looks.

Alice's bag lining

I attached the strap with a large button and then used some others to decorate.

Alice's bag close up

Am very pleased and hope she will like it!

Now an afternoon of bee quilt and Netflix – and watching the rain, just another Sunday in Yorkshire :-)

Thanks for visiting.

 

How did I get to this ripe old age without discovering the joys of hexis or mini charm packs?

I suppose previously I thought that I had enough fabric to play with and didn’t need to buy themed collections but since I discovered the joys of English paper piecing (and my addiction to hexagons) they have come in really useful being just the right size for the creation of endless hexi flowers.

I have put them to good use though. I could cheerfully just sit here making hexi flowers and watching Netflix while it rains but feel I need to be purposeful in what I do ;-)

So I have made a couple of aprons as Christmas gifts with the mini charm packs I bought from The Quilt Cabin in Hebden Bridge.

hexis heaven

hexis apron 2

I added little patched pockets as a contrast to the hexagons.

hexis apron pocket close up 1

hexis apron close up 2

hexis apron close up 1

hexis close up 3

These will go with some mini baking sets that I discovered on that trip as well. They are for the smaller cousins in the family (previous recipients of rabbits).

I have made lots of flowers out of a Moda mini charm pack from Simply Solids.

This is from the Moda  Printemps fabric range which is lovely and very good value at £4 per pack.

hexis Printemps set close up 1

hexis Printemps set close up 2

That has made all these and enough for one other that I need to add some of my solid stash to. I think these will be turned into make-up bags for other Christmas presents.

hexis Printemps set

I have also been using the mini charm packs for patchwork to make a wash bag for another relative. I used up most of the squares in this pack but added some plain ones from stash rather than the flower patterned ones as I wanted to personalise the bag.

Elan's patchwork bag charm pack

Elan's patchwork bag

Elan's patchwork bag 2

Elan has an Israeli name and so does not get much personalised stuff so thought I would try out my applique skills. Since I couldn’t find any letters the right size I also drew these myself and am pleased with the way they have turned out. Just need to line the bag and add the drawstring this evening.

Elan's patchwork bag 3

Elan's patchwork bag 4

All of the above flowers have been made with 1 inch hexis but I am also doing some more work with the tiny 1 cm ones. This is from stash fabric and will be a pincushion – am intending to make a matching needlebook, again for a Christmas present.

hexis small aqua

Since this is my year of patchwork and quilting I am going to spend a lot of my time thinking of ways to use up the hexis. Thankfully I have Pinterest and the whole of the world-wide web to help me ;-)

I may just buy a few more charm packs at my visit to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show – which is exactly a month today !!!!! Not that I am at all excited.

Hope you are all well and happy and have had a good weekend, I am off to Spain on Friday so will be back in a couple of weeks. Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

Hope you are having a fun weekend, I am having a very lovely textilicious one and have just returned with my friend Sharon from visiting a new quilt shop that has opened up in the next but one village from us!

There has been great excitement at our knitting group waiting for this shop to open as it is a real live shop with classes and fabric and everything owned by Justine and Lisa from Simply Solids.

Simply Solids shop

Simply Solids shop 2

Simply Solids shop 3

Simply Solids shop 4

Simply Solids shop 5

Look at this loveliness with all of the displays of cushions and quilts as well as the beautiful fabric and a cosy sitting area. Plus they have a Gamill quilting machine that I think they will be renting time on (if I ever learn to machine quilt).

There was far more fabric than just the displays in the middle of the table, a whole wall of bolts that in my excitement I forgot to photograph!

And it is only a short bus ride away, and they are doing sit and sew groups in the evening :-) I am very happy about this as I did really enjoy going to a quilting group before I moved but that one is quite a long way from where I live now whereas this one will be on the way home.Fits in fantastically with my desire to do more quilting this coming year!

I have been buying from their online shop for a while now and had previously subscribed to their solids stash club. They also have lots of lovely prints as well in the shop and are going to offer classes so it is all very good. If you live near Huddersfield go and check our their website for class details.

I did of course buy a little something from them (it would have been very rude not to!) and the first things I will show you are these little mini charm packs.

Simply Solids shop 12

I have not had charm packs before I bought the one a few weeks ago but like how it gets you to use different fabric that you would not maybe have looked at. Just playing around with one of the sets while I was taking pictures I put together this which also features one of the fantastic lacy zips I bought from them – so pretty!

Simply Solids shop 14

Simply Solids purchases and freebies

I spent this morning using the previous charm pack to make these two hexi sets for some more of the children’s aprons that I am making as Christmas presents which will be using up more of my solids stash.

Hexi charm pack

Simply Solids shop 7

The very loveliest thing though was a fantastic goodie bag!

Simply Solids shop 13

Not only is it a fab bag and that is such a true saying but there were lots of goodies inside. Look at all this stuff, free fabric and thread and hexi papers (Sharon is going to start doing hexis once she has finished her current bunting project).

Simply Solids shop 10

Simply Solids shop 11

Also have bought (and subscribed to the first 3 issues for £5) to Quilt Now magazine  which they had for sale.

Simply Solids shop 8

Will leave you with the fruits of my week’s work – not much stitching time due to having a very lovely new group of teacher trainees starting but have managed 3 more flower brooches.

Fabric flowers

Sharon gave me the idea of making rounded petals by just folding the circle of fabric in half rather than in quarters. All of this fabric comes from stash and the pale pink and pink/brown flower patterns are from 2 charity shop blouses that I repurposed.

Now for a lovely evening of stitching, wine and lighting the candles, nights are drawing in but I have my fabric love to keep me warm :-)

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my giveaway post, I will be drawing the winner tomorrow. Thanks for visiting.

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