Friday, 3 July 2015

Building Blocks Quilt

The boats quilt was well received in Norway, so much so that a second one was needed for my great nephew’s step-brother. After some discussion about what is popular these days with eight-year old boys, I decided to go with a Lego theme. Using Moda’s Blockhead baby quilt as a starting point, I planned a pattern using Quilt Assistant for a bigger rectangular quilt with no borders.

Apart from the backing, this quilt was made entirely from stash. The Lego blocks were made from FQs (including some left over from the boats quilt) and the background is some Timeless Treasure black/rainbow rain fabric found in the bargain baskets at Abakhans a few months ago. I backed the quilt with fleece and added a narrow binding in bright red.

An advantage of making a two-layer quilt with fleece is not having to worry about the distance between lines of quilting. I simply stitched-in-the-ditch around the Lego blocks using Aurifil 40wt in black, adding in a few “ghost” blocks where there was a large area of background. For these ghost blocks, I drew a template on freezer paper, ironed it on, stitched around it and then it was just a matter of peeling it off and ironing on in the next spot.

I’m pleased with how this Lego quilt turned out and I really enjoyed the design part of it, especially working out how to piece the blocks together with the minimum of seams. The Timeless Treasures fabric was a generous 44” for WOF so I just need to work out cutting instructions for slightly narrower fabrics before putting this pattern in my tutorials/project section.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Found - a new, local(ish) sewing shop

This weekend started early for me as I was off work on Friday afternoon for a little trip over to Heswall for afternoon tea in a sewing shop.

Love Stitch are based in the centre of Heswall and although the shop and cafe have been open since January, this Friday saw the launch of afternoon teas in the cafe. Through a Twitter giveaway, I had won afternoon tea at their launch event. Unfortunately I was so busy chatting and enjoying tea that I forgot to take any photos, but the lovely ladies at Love Stitch have kindly allowed me to use some from their Instagram and Facebook pages.

The official ribbon cutting was done by Paul Clarke (whom many of you will recognise from series three of the Great British Sewing Bee) and Betty Pamper, a local blogger and crafter.

(Photo credit: Love Stitch)
After we had enjoyed a glass (or two) of fizz, it was time to sit down for afternoon tea. Much to my delight I was seated at the same table as Paul (hark at me on first name terms!) who was more than happy to answer our many questions about GBSB, but conversation soon turned to fabric and yarns. An hour quickly passed filled with chatter, cups of tea, dainty sandwiches, delicious cakes and fresh-from-the-oven scones with cream, jam and strawberries. Too soon it was time for me to head home, but not before I had made a quick purchase of a couple of fat quarters of Liberty fabric to add to my Liberty stash.

(Photo credit: Love Stitch)

As well as a carefully curated selection of Liberty lawns and silks, Love Stitch have a range of dressmaking and patchwork fabrics, haberdashery and yarn. They also run various sewing, knitting and crocheting classes in the upstairs studio. More details can be found on their website, Facebook page and blog, or on Twitter and Instagram.

(Photo credit: Love Stitch)
It is always nice to find a new fabric shop and it is even better when that fabric shop sells Liberty and is short trip from home. I expect this first visit will not be my last, especially I am tempted to make an apron for their Apron Festival and am trying to resist signing up for their amigurumi workshop.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Sail Away

After starting this quilt at the beginning of the year, it is now on its way to Norway to my relatively recently arrived great nephew. 

I initially planned this to be a square quilt and found an ideal sea-like background fabric in the bargain baskets at Abakhan. Somewhere along the planning the process I added in an extra row which meant that when it came to cutting the background fabric, there was only just enough.

The quilt is backed with fleece and the binding is a rainbow dotty print (both from the bargain baskets at Abakhan). It is quilted with Aurifil 40wt - the boats are outlined with stitching in the ditch and I used preset wavy line stitches for the waves. 


The pattern is available for free from Quilt Mag, should you wish to make one.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Flying the Flag (a Pattern for an EPP Union Jack)

A few posts ago I blogged about my competition entries for the Uttoxeter Quilt and Stitch Village. The Union Jack made of EPP hexagons was for the special category of British Royalty celebrating the longest serving monarchs, hence the inclusion of the royal cyphers for Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.

By the magic of Photoshop, I can show you how the flag would look without these cyphers (much easier than making another!). 

If you would like to make one yourself, details of the number of hexagons, finished sizes, and the pattern for this English paper pieced Union Jack can now be found in the projects/tutorials section of this blog. The pattern was designed so that it remained as true as possible, when using hexagons, to the correct aspect ratio of the flag and also to the relative widths of the various sections (if you want to know more about this, click here). You may wish to modify the pattern so that is is more suited for snuggling under than flying from a flag pole.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Fast Fabric

This is just a quick post to share with you the excellent service shown by Oakshott Fabrics (and the Royal Mail). After seeing some Oakshott fabrics at the quilt show in Uttoxeter, I decided it was better to bite the bullet and order some sample swatches rather than try to guess colour matching from online images. I placed my order yesterday and the swatches arrived this morning!

As Oakshott have shimmery effect which is difficult to photograph, the swatch packs will be very useful and are really rather good value. Most, I think, come with a money off voucher for future purchases and some include a mini charm pack. To find the swatch packs on the Oakshott website, just enter "sample" in the search box.

(Please note, this post is written purely because I am so pleased with the service from Oakshott and not because I have received anything other than my order from them.)

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A grand day out

I mentioned in my last post that I had a couple of entries in the British Quilt and Stitch Village show and on Sunday it was time to go to the show and collect them.

We decided to make a day of it and first went to SudburyHall which is only a few miles from Uttoxeter. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours there, got some lunch and, given the weather was so much better than forecast, sat in the sun by the lake. I even managed to do some fabric shopping, spotting these rather P&Q appropriate tea towels in the shop (I have plans for a sewing caddy for these). At only £8 for two I thought these good value, especially as they were wrapped with ~1m of gross-grain ribbon.

Then it was on to Uttoxeter for the last hour or so of the quilt show. Arriving at this time meant the crowds had been and gone and there was plenty of room to do some shopping and view the competition entries. I was quite focussed with my shopping, but surprised myself at how much I could spend in a short time. First in the bag was some Oakshott cottons, quickly followed by some more shot cottons, all for the quilt for my husband. Then it was time for some bargain hunting - I found lace zips at 5 for £5 and a rummage in the thread baskets resulted in 12 reels of silk thread for £10 (I used the same thread for piecing and quilting the rainbow pouch and wanted to add more colours to my stash). My final purchases were a reel of 40wt Aurifil and very small quilting ruler which will come in handy more for measuring that cutting.  

Then it was time to wander around the quilting displays and it was great being able to view the quilts without having to worry about bumping into people. The work on display was stunning which was only to be expected given there were entries from professional textile artists and full-time quilters. I must admit to a little bit of excitement at seeing my own entries on display, though if I ever enter another show, perhaps I should roll not fold a quilt for packing.

(I’ve put more photos of these at the end of this post.)

It was rather like report day at school when I got the comment forms but I packed them in boot of the car and had to wait until I got home to read them. Given the calibre of the other entrants, it was no surprise that my entries did not get placed but the judges’ comments were very fair and it was nice to see a few excellents on the report sheet. 


This is my third time visting this show and I must admit to liking it for its size and location - it is not at every quilt show that you can sit in the sun on the grandstands looking over a racecourse. I’m sure I will be back again next year, but I’ve yet to decide whether it will be as competition observer or a competition entrant.

Quilt (Special Theme Category- British Royalty)

Rainbow Pouch (3D Category)