Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A birthday present

One of my daughters wanted to make a Welsh flag pillow for my LSWH (long suffering Welsh husband) but we decided that initials were easier than a dragon.  Made from Oakshott shot cottons for a luxurious feel.

I backed the shot cottons with a new product Julia at Gone to Earth has just got in.  It's a fusible wadding.  Fusible on both sides, you press the fabric onto it and, once washed, the glue washes away and you are left with my favourite wadding Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.  Much easier for a 10 year old to use than fiddling with basting pins.  I bought a cot sized pack and will be using it for any upcoming pillows but would also imagine it would be wonderful for a cot quilt as, one pressing and it's fused on both sides.

Katy is a very clever girl

You know Katy Ginger Monkey, well did you know that she was a very clever girl?  She made this pillow which I tried to steal from her when she came to my house last week but failed.  

And then she used the same pattern to make this baby quilt top.  Don't you love those bits falling off the bottom?  Genius. 

Both are English paper pieced and, if you fancy giving these a go, why not invest in a set of her acrylic templates which you use to cut your fabrics for this pattern.  You can cut around them using your rotary cutter or draw around them and scissor cut.  Since they're acrylic you can see through them for perfect fussy cutting.  And you can download the paper templates for the paper part of the English paper piecing from her blog. 

You can buy the templates here but they're selling like hot cakes so, if you like hot cakes, get on over there quick before Katy eats I mean sells them all.  Go here for more information and here to snap up a set.  

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I'm such a dunce

I emailed the creators of Touchdraw to say I had found out how to make a circle but not a half circle and how to make a diamond.  What a fool I felt when they emailed me back to tell me there is a library of shapes and half circles, quarter circles and diamonds can be found in there.  Doh.  Anyway, I got so carried away playing with all the shapes that I re-designed my header.  ALL BY MYSELF.  Thank you Touchdraw, I love you. 

Advice please

I'm still making these Cosmic Burst and Oakshott triangles and am going to add in some bigger ones and some smaller ones too, possibly scatter them randomly over a background but I don't know what background to use. 

I don't want to use a solid for this, but something with more texture than that.  I'm thinking non-directional because I'll have a piecing nightmare otherwise.  Here are some fabrics I've been perusing at Sew Fresh Fabrics to come up with ideas.  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Ideas?  

Monday, 27 February 2012

12 trees quilted

I made this quilt from the Oakshott 12 trees kit which in turns uses the sunrise fat 8th pack which has the most glorious mix of colour as you can see from the photos.

After much umming and ahhing about quilting, I decided (i) a lot of the suggestions were fabulous but too hard for me; (ii) I am too lazy to do anything too intricate; (iii) I like to quilt at top speed so the design had to be simple; (iv) I love overall quilting and so I just wanted one design and not to divide the quilt up into sections; and (v) I was also too lazy to change the thread multiple times so chose one neutral thread (Aurifil 2326 in 50wt).  

And now it has been packed up in a box and sent off to my Mum for her birthday.  Fingers crossed she likes it.  If not, I wouldn't mind having it back.  Maybe I need to make one for myself too.

Copa Cabana Triangles III

Having made your templates, here is how you make the triangles.  For each one, you will need a 5" scrap for the central triangle, a couple of 2 1/2" WOF strips for the background and a couple of 1" WOF strips for the skinny strips.  And do you like my little graphic I made?!  Touchdraw for iPad again.  I'm like the technology queen now I have this app.  I'm graphically unstoppable.
1.   Press the smallest triangle freezer template to a 5" square of fabric (or other scrap).  I am using charm squares of Cosmic Burst by Mark Cesarik.  Trim by aliging the 1/4" line on your ruler with the pencil 1/4" line on the template and trim.  The reason for the aligning with the 1/4" line is that, without it, you trim to the edge of the template, often take a little slither off accidentally and, by the end of the project, the template is smaller than when you started.

2.   Cut a couple of WOF strips of background fabric 2 1/2" wide.  I am using a selection of Oakshott shot cottons for the background and skinny strips.  Sash the triangle and trim.  

3.   Take the 10" template, press onto the triangle at a wonky angle.  Hold up to the light to check that the edges of the new triangle remain at least 1/2" away from the edges of the first triangle.  

4.   Trim, again aligning the 1/4" line on your ruler with the 1/4" line on the template.  

5.   Cut a couple of WOF strips 1" wide of the skinny strip fabric (here dark purple).  Sash the triangle and trim.  

6.   Sash again using the background 2 1/2" WOF strips. 

7.   Press the 15" triangle template on at a wonky angle, again holding it up to the light to check that the edges of the new triangle are at least 1/2" away from the edges of the previous triangle.  

8.   Trim again aligning the 1/4" line on your ruler with the 1/4" line on the template.  

9.   Sash once more with the skinny strip 1" WOF strips and voila you have finished one of your copa cabana triangles.  

What you do with them is up to you.  I have yet made no specific plans for mine - I'm just going with the flow.  If you do make any, let me know and add them to my Flickr group so I can see them.  And any suggestions as to what to do with mine would be great please.  

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Modern Quilting Magazine

Two years ago, when I started quilting, I never thought I'd make something which would appear in a magazine and yet yesterday this plopped into my letterbox.  Issue one of a brand new modern quilting magazine, called Modern Quilting Magazine.  You can subscribe here and get 10% off your subscription using this discount code S5IE4PYF.   This code has now been fixed and make sure you choose free postage for the subscription option!.  It is ram jam wham bam packed with wonderful projects, articles, information and ideas.  There are Amy Butler projects (yes, plural):

Articles about fabric designers including one about our very own Aneela Hooey:

All sorts of sized projects, from little mug cozies to full sized quilts and everything in between including this fabulous bag designed by Sara at Sew Sweetness (which I tried to persuade the editor to send me but annoyingly Sara wants it back):

And last but not in the least bit least a scrappy tiling pillow made by me.  Eeep.  Yes, me.  This now resides with my Granny Smith (I can't now remember if she was named after the apple or vice versa but in our family we call her HRH because she tells us what we did wrong, like having the wrong hairdo or wearing the wrong jumper or not putting the jam in a little bowl at breakfast).  Anyway, after it had been to its Britain's Next Top Quilted Item photoshoot, I sent it to her for Christmas, fully expecting the gift to be a darn nuisance as most of our gifts have been deemed to be over the past few years.  Like the ready decorated Christmas tree we sent her which she opened upside down so all the soil fell out onto the carpet.  That was a darn nuisance.  But apparently she loved the pillow and it was quite the talk of the nursing home for a few days.  She wasn't quite sure who'd made it but did think it was made either by me or by one of my sisters (who can't sew for toffee) but that's fine too. 

And I just want to take a moment to congratulate Vick who edits the magazine and Kerrie whose idea it was in the first place.  You have put together a wonderful magazine.  It was all that I hoped it would be and more and it is so exciting to think that one day I might stroll into a shop where a magazine is being sold and someone might open it and say - ooh look at that lovely pillow and I might casually say - oh gosh yes, that is a pretty project, I imagine someone very clever must have come up with that idea.  OK, I live in some kind of crazy fantasy parallel universe but I shall be hanging out in my local WHSmiths all next week next to the magazine section.  Say hi if you see me there. 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Copacabana Triangles II

If anyone is interested in playing along with me and making copa cabana triangles (shown here in Cosmic Burst and Oakshott shot cottons, I should give you a heads up that first of all you will need some freezer paper and you will need to know how to draw an equilateral triangle.  You will need to draw and cut out three equilateral triangles, one with 5" sides, one with 10" sides and one with 15" sides.  Instructions on how to draw equilateral triangles follow below.
Draw a baseline as long as one of the sides.  Here, it is 5" long.

Draw a long line up the middle at 90 degrees (i.e. square) to the first line.

Take your ruler and put the zero mark on the left end of the baseline.  Swing the ruler over and line up the 5" mark with the vertical line.  Draw this side of the triangle.  

Draw a line from that point to the other end of the baseline and voila, you have an equilateral triangle.  Incidentally these diagrams were created on Touchdraw, a £6 iPad app (apparently it will soon also be available for macs) which I am head over heels in love with because it is making me look so fancy and professional.  Expect many diagrams on this blog from now on. 

Instructions on making the copa cabana triangles will follow in a day or two once you have had a chance to get hold of some freezer paper and make some triangles.  You can make your three triangle templates from template plastic or ordinary paper but I like freezer paper the best since you can iron it onto the fabric, cut and then peel away.   Once you have made your three triangles, take your ruler and draw pencil lines on the non-sticky side of the freezer paper 1/4" from the edge of each side of the triangle.  I will explain why in the next tutorial.  

Copa Cabana Triangles

Thank you for all your ideas about what to do with the mix of Cosmic Burst and Oakshott I put on the table to play with the other day.  Triangles kept being mentioned over and over and so that set me off down a path to play with triangles.  I have no plans here.  Will this be a quilt, a pillow, a table runner, wall hanging, I don't know, I'm just playing and seeing where I end up which I haven't done in a long time and is what I love doing most of all.

So here is block one straight on.  An equilateral triangle (my favourite kind of triangle this week.  Is that weird to have a favourite kind of triangle?  Maybe), then some sashing, then a wonky cut, then another equilateral triangle, then some more sashing and then another wonky cut so you start and finish with equilateral triangles but they dance about a bit in the meantime.  If you lay the Oashott on the floor, lie down next to it and take a photo, (i) you get a cold tummy because the floor is cold; (ii) your husband rolls his eyes again; and (iii) you get a little glimpse of the fact that, as you walk past this fabric, different parts of it show purple and chartreuse.  A photo does not do this fabric justice.  In my mind, the Oakshott is saying to the Cosmic Burst "yes you may be the star of this show, but don't we make you look good".

What with the fruity colours and all that dancing, I think this quilt or table runner or wall hanging or whatever it might end up being will be called Copa Cabana.  Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there.  She would merengue and do the cha-cha and while she tried to be a star, Tony always tended bar.  Across a crowded floor, they worked from 8 till 4.  They were young and they had each other. Who could ask for more?   Oh and if you fancy sewing some Copa Cabana triangles along with me, let me know and I'll post a step-by-step.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Oakshott Colour Box Winner

Without further ado, the winner of the Oakshott colourbox is...drum roll...bread roll...casserole...

My comment numbering system only goes up to 200 and then starts again so I had to pick the 75th comment within the 800-1000 comments band and that was...

Congratulations to "Daisy and Jack".  Thank you all of you for entering.  And for those of you who were wondering, Oakshott is for sale in the US at Pinwheels or you can buy direct from the UK site, get your 20% VAT returned if you are outside the European Union and, for those of you in the US, there is a £13 shipping charge and the fabrics are delivered by one of those superfast courier services.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Happy Birthday LSWH

My long suffering Welsh husband is away this morning but may just have a minute to pop into the blog and so I will just take a minute to wish him a happy birthday.  Your presents are waiting for you at home. XXX

And in other news, I have been mixing and matching some charm squares of Mark Cesarik's new line for Freespirit Fabrics, Cosmic Burst, trying to decide what to mix them with and what to make with them.  Here are the pinks, chartreuses, oranges and purples playing with some Oakshott shot cottons. 

That grey background they're on is difficult to photograph and you really have to see it in person to get how beautiful it is.  It is an Oakshott shot cotton called (I think) Thistle or Lavender or Heather or something like that and is lavender shot with a kind of pale grey/green.  In the photo below, you can kind of get a feel for the mix of the colours catching the light.  It is my current fave Oakshott colour and mixes fabulously with the Cosmic Burst although the top photo doesn't really show it off well.

So how about throwing my some fun suggestions for what I might make with this mix.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Thread investment

Many moons ago, I told you I was trying out Aurifil thread, having heard so much about it around the internet. Well I have tried it and here is a quick up date of how I use it, what I think of it and what my recommended purchases are.  I now use Aurifil 50wt (orange spool) for all my piecing, both hand and machine and it is faultless and in a different league to all other threads I have ever used throughout my 30 something sewing years.  It has almost no lint and almost never tangles.  It is strong but fine and smooth.  If I were someone who did a lot of applique, I would invest in an ultimate box of 48 spools of 50wt but I am not.  So my investment is in the Basic Designer Collection of twelve 50wt neutral threads (see pic below).

For machine quilting, I use 40wt (green spool).  I like that it shows more clearly on the quilted surface but that it is light enough to fly through my machine at the speed I FMQ.  And so my other recommended investment is the Ultimate Collection of 48 colours in 40wt (see pic above).  For a more defined quilted look, I would recommend 28wt (grey spool) or even 12wt (red spool, comes in cotton or wool).  I am not a hand quilter, cross-stitcher or embroiderer but, if you are, Aurifil 12wt is worth trying.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Unfeasibly excited

Having been a total technical dunce since forever and a day and having made my templates by drawing with pen, tippexing out errors, printing out text, cutting it out and sticking it onto the templates and then photocopying, I made this this morning.  Yes, all my myself.  It's not an actual template for an actual Union Jack block but will be once I've tweaked the measurements.  And will form the basis of my lesson at the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat in London in June.  

It occurred to me yesterday in a Eureka moment that these days the best and cheapest new software(s) are apps.  So I hunted around and downloaded TouchDraw for iPad for £5.99 and drew this within the first half hour, from a standing start.  I have NEVER used any of this kind of software EVER before EVER, that's how easy this was to use.  So all your appaholics out there, are there any great apps I need to know about?  I'd like one for my macbook which will replace Piknic when that vanishes soon - some kind of photoshop-type programme but not trillions of wonga.  So I can tweak my photos, make mosaics, add text, re-shape them into blog headers, buttons etc.  Just a bit more than what iphoto does really. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Quilting Advice

A couple of weeks ago, I asked you how I might quilt the Oakshott 12 trees quilt and I got lots and lots of great ideas, advice and suggestions from you.  Angela Walters is a frighteningly talented long arm quilter who quilts for Tula Pink, Katy I'm a Ginger Monkey, John Quilt Dad as well as quilting a significant number of the fabulous quilts that the fabric manufacturers and designers bring to Quilt Market each spring and fall market.  Today she has taken quilting suggestions for my quilt from Tia Camp Follower Bag Lady, also a talented long arm quilter, as well as giving her own suggestions which you might like to read here as part of her weekly series "Deciding What to Quilt".

Embarrassingly, she has also asked me to come back and show her when it is finished which, given how I feel about my quilting skills, has me feeling a little anxious.  I have now decided how I am going to quilt it and will show you when it's done and just hope I don't make a right Horlicks of it.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Keep Calm and Quilt Like Lily's Quilts

One of my sons got a "Keep Calm" app for his iPod and made these three pictures for me.  The first has a picture of a block from my Amitie BOM quilt on the top.

The second has a picture of my Moda Bake Shop Union Jack on the top (which hangs on our sitting room wall). 

I have this one all ready for when I start my next Quilt A Long. 

And this one is my favourite. 


No, I didnt make this block.  I don't have those kinds of skills, or skillz or skillage (as my 12 year old son calls it).  This was made be Charlotte over at Lawson and Lotti and I am showing this because it's about time I showed you some decent sewing after yesterday's sorry block and because today she is featuring me on her weekly "Sunday Sewing Spaces" feature.  So hop on over there to find out more about my sewing room.  There is no sewing room quite like it, that much I can say.  

SOL QAL, block 1 - Zipper

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Thank you for guessing

Urban Block for Marianne by Lynne @ Lilys Quilts

Thank you all of you for the wonderful, sometimes accurate, sometimes kind, sometimes funny guesses.  The background to this block is that I am in a bee and this month Marianne has asked for urban inspired blocks.  Ethne made this very cool block.  
Titanic Belfast block

Inspired by this photo.


 Marianne made this very cool block.

Free Bee February 2012

Inspired by this photo.

Montreal Metro

And I made a power station cooling tower which I am not proud of because I think it looks like amateur hour but I tried my best.  On the plus side, I made it from Oakshott shot cottons so the fabrics are beautiful and I made it using Jenny Pedigo's curve ruler so the curves are perfect and were quick and easy to do.  So please make me feel better, have you ever pictured something really cool in your head and then, when you'd made it, you just thought - well that's rubbish.  If so, please leave me a comment!

Friday, 17 February 2012

What have I made this time?

Urban Block for Marianne by Lynne @ Lilys Quilts

OK so occasionally I make a block and I know what it is and then, when it's made, it looks like something else (if I ask my husband, his usual response is some comedy body part in the nether regions). So I'm going to give you no clues as to what this is supposed to be and hope that everyone single one of you sees what I was trying to make but will laugh very hard if you all see something completely unrelated as happened with my post-box-that-looked-like-a-penis.

Have you ever done a BOM?

I confess that a BOM (Block of the Month program where, for a monthly fee, a quilt shop sends you fabrics and patterns for a block each month until you make a whole quilt top) does not really appeal to me.  Why would I want to make a quilt someone else designed in fabrics someone else chose.  Well I tried one out and I was proven wrong.  I absolutely loved it.  The quilt I made was from the Amitie Textiles Circle Game BOM and ended up looking like this.  If you love this quilt, I have a feeling a second round of this BOM is under way right now but I don't know if it's all sold out.

I missed their previous BOM, Green Tea and Sweet Beans (although I always think of it as Green Beans and Ham), a wonderful BOM which my friend Katy bought, never got around to doing because she has been so busy being the pied piper of the quilting world, and has passed to my friend Mandy who is doing it absolutely beautifully and I might even get some pics of it when she come here for our sewing day next week.  Here is a Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt top finished by my mate Lil.  

Green tea, sweet beans

And now there is a new BOM starting right now (go to Amitie to sign up) and I confess I signed up even before I saw a picture of the quilt itself but Jenny has just shown a glimpse on the Amitie website. You can hand or machine piece this one, which is perfect for me because I don't have the patience for hours of hand sewing whereas some people just love it.  This newest BOM is called the Gipsy Wife and is as whimsical and quirky as the previous two and I cannot wait for my first month's package to arrive.  I will squeal.  I know I will. 

What sets Amitie's BOMs apart from the rest for me are both the wonderful designs of the quilts themselves but also the fabrics they send. If you have a bored moment, pop over to their website for the most incredible selection of fabrics you will find in any shop anywhere in the world right now.  Take a look at this little trio of Liberty fabrics just to get an idea of what I'm talking about (that price is AU$ BTW and not US$ since the shop is situated in Melbourne Australia). 

So tell me, have you ever signed up for a BOM?  Did you enjoy it?  Did you get the quilt finished?