Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Mount Rose

...alternatively titled: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

This month, Rosie's class were set geography homework. They had to do anything they liked on the topic of mountains - the teacher suggested a model, a picture, or a project. Rosie flew out of school that day, already firmly decided she was making a patchwork quilt ;-) 

She had already googled and discovered that there really is a Mount Rose, in Nevada. Best of all, it lends itself well to a quilt design, being a fairly straightforward mountain, snow capped, and with pine trees round the base.

The design was therefore easy, though I quickly realised I have very little sky blue and grass green in my modest stash! Rather than have to buy twenty fat quarters, we sent a quick email out to three great bloggy friends, to see if they could possibly send a few scraps. They each responded immediately and equipped us wonderfully well. Thank you so much Julie, Maria and Jennifer!

Rosie sewed each and every one of those triangles herself - pretty good for a ten year old! First into rows, and then she put the rows together. She even pin basted, and then quilted some horizontal lines. It amused me when she sat back, sighed, and announced: you really need a long arm!

We finished late last night, and were out in the garden early this morning for a photo shoot before she took it into school. Does this look like a happy face?!?

I'm such a proud mummy!

Friday, 20 March 2015

The week of small things

This week I finally made a mug rug, using Julie's fabulous pattern...

Taking the photo in the garden makes it look like a huge quilt! However, it is only a 7" by 10" finished piece... Admittedly that is sufficient for a mug and a very big slice of cake ;-)

Being genetically incapable of following a pattern (or a recipe!) I did go with a few tweaks of my own. My background squares are 4", partly because I already had some, but it also worked better with the cat square. I loved Julie's straightline quilting, but didn't fancy having to deal with all the ends created by avoiding quilting over the appliqué. So, I quilted my background first, but only to the wadding. I then added the appliqué, and finally joined the whole front to the backing fabric - which didn't really need quilting. Thanks, Julie, for a great design! 

I then set to work on my next Artist Trading Card. If you haven't come across this swap yet, it is great fun! Ali has now organised this six times, and it's my third go at joining in. The theme is 'Home, sweet home' this time around. For the uninitiated, that little card of mine is a mere 2.5" by 3.5". Some people create stunning pieces that size, there is a whole gallery of them on Flickr. 

For where I'm at, simple tends to suit me best. With the little beads as blossom and flowers, this one is more ornate than the others I've done, but I'm still wondering about a second attempt, creating something more complex... At least I have one in the bag if time runs out!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pillow talk

Back in January, I had one of those evenings when you just have to sew something... No energy, no inspiration, but needing the quiet, gentle therapy of stitching.

See that pink pillow in the middle? I basically cut a load of charm squares and stitched them together. However, the end result looked so dull, I never even took a photo, and it was only last night that I got round to quilting it...

Then somehow, the finished product ended up quite nice after all, especially when it joined the others on my bed :-)

Isn't it funny, the stages a project goes through?

This little bag is a birthday gift for a wonderful friend, the sort who tells you to call her day or night, and is always there. It was a nice combination of some of the fabrics from the set I received.

After making a duffle bag recently, I started to play around with the leftover pieces. This zipper bag came together easily. Part way through the process, I needed to find my triangle template... After a long hunt, I realised the bag was a perfect way to store all my templates :-)

So now I'm all set for the next sewing retreat! Let's plan one soon :-)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Weekend sewing

Happy March everyone! I've had a lovely weekend: Rosie went away and, although I missed her, I took the opportunity to do things for me :-) Yesterday I felt like I was on holiday - going for lunch at a fabulous Spanish tapas bar in London, followed by the Goya exhibition at Somerset House. Goya was born in the region of Spain where I lived for a year, so the whole day was really refreshing.

Before we left Wales, Jennifer gifted me this wonderful boxed set of 20 fat quarters... It had been on display in her sewing room for a few years, ever since she bought it in America. Thankfully, I don't share her restraint, and opened it up this week!

Jen also gave me this magazine, and I did wonder about using the fabric to make the quilt shown on the front. However, we really don't need another quilt in this house, and I couldn't go shopping for the other supplies.

So, I whipped out my favourites from the set, and blended them with some low volumes from my own collection...

Half a day later, and I'd finished a drawstring bag :-)

I love the end result! No idea what I'll use it for, but it brightens up the door handle to my sewing cupboard... Thanks, Jen :-)

Have a great week!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Wales :-)

Last week was half term, so Rosie and I went off to Wales for three days. One of my special blog friends, Jennifer, moved to a beautiful long barn there last year. After a few months of renovations, it is beyond perfect - a wonderful retreat! We sewed, we lazed in front of log fires, watched films, ate and drank too much, and were generally spoilt rotten :-) 

Rosie bonded with Auntie Glinda in a nano second, and immediately they set to work making one of the famous pants bags to be used for Rosie's PE kit. The Scottie dog was our gift to Jennifer, and it now stands guard in her gorgeous sewing room. Last summer, Jen had donated a complete quilt kit to Rosie - even before meeting her - and Rosie just had the binding left to finish. She was thrilled to come away from her first sewing retreat with a completed quilt, PE bag, and endless gifts.

Scottie dogs have been my theme of the month, and I've just completed this latest one, a commission from a friend. I just may be almost at the end of my Insanity Quilt too, which has been a mere eight years in the making...

Sunday, 25 January 2015


... has increased dramatically this month!

First to be finished, was this simple scarf for Rosie. Made with just one ball of variegated wool, it took a mere 18 months to complete ;-) Knitting is not my forte, and it began as a holiday project... Thankfully it has been worn every day this week, and much admired!

My cat quilt, using the Plus design, also reached completion! It measures 60 square inches, and was quite a challenge to quilt on my small domestic machine. I got there in the end, backing it with the adorable Windy Day fabric, for those who like to mix up their puppies and cats on the same quilt...


I'm thrilled to have finished this one, and am now down to one top waiting to be quilted, and one unfinished top - not a bad waiting list!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

In the pink!

After the craziness of December, I am totally loving January, and the opportunity it brings to hibernate peacefully and hide away in my sewing room... It's been a very pink month so far, as Rosie wanted one of the Scottie dogs, just like the blue one we gave my godson. They are such a great project, and a very satisfying use of scraps. 

A good friend came round and spotted the cushions I'd made Rosie for Christmas. She liked them so much that she commissioned one for her daughter's birthday, only a little smaller...

Hopefully this will fit the brief, otherwise it will join the original two on the bed!

Lastly, I have wanted for ages to make something with flying geese. I'd seen a no-waste method, but opted for using up scraps for now. I still went for no waste, as the tiny corners were also put to good use...


In the end, to be completely honest, I found making the geese really boring and was thankful I'd only ever set out to do a wall hanging! On reflection, and having looked a bit more at what other people have done, I think flying geese work best in groups of identical ones. I'm not sure the four different sections here, flipping low volume with strong colours, and changing direction, really stand out. However, it is happily in place outside the sewing room:

 Yes, my sewing room even comes with a guard dog ;-) Hope you are having a happy and peaceful start to the new year.