Monday 30 June 2014

The Lowest Form Of Wit?

Small Makes - Day Six

I made a hoop. It's been a while since I had embroidered one and I felt the urge.

I started this last night shortly before bedtime, and I posted a sneak peek of what it would say on Instagram, but just the top two lines. The guesses/suggestions on what it might say are hilarious. Here is just a few of them.

Sarcasm - Because it is...

... the best thing to indulge in.
... completely lost on half my colleagues.
... essential.
... impossible to resist.
... my only pleasure in life.
... available at Tesco.
... appropriate for any occasion.
... healthier than chocolate.
... ignored by my cat.
... my only form of communication.
... who I am.

Two people got the deadly tone of my hoop. All in all I now have a plethora of ideas for future hoops and I thank everyone for the inspiration. Especially Nicky, as she had a whole bunch of suggestions!

I used floss to do the embroidery. Two strands for all the letters, and a single strand for the green outlining the purple 'Sarcasm'.  I used stem stitch everywhere except the running stitch around the edge which is done with perle.

I'm not sure of the technical name (if there is one) for the way I finished the back but I prefer to think of it as mob cap. And as you can see the back of my embroideries are not the neatest of places to be (a bit like my house), and therefore the reason I always put wadding behind my fabric because then I don't have to worry about those threads showing through at the front.

One more Small Makes day. I wonder what I will make?


Sunday 29 June 2014

Small Makes - Day Five

Which begs to question what happened to Small Makes - Day Four? Let's just say that the 0230 yesterday wake up kind of rendered me incapable of coherent thought for the rest of the day. Helen is now in Germany and it sounds like she is having a great time - yay! That makes the god-awful wake up time worth it. But sewing was not happening yesterday as I would have done myself an injury. 

Today was super busy for other reasons but I was determined to accomplish something on the sewing side of things. I made this little quilt as you go panel.

And turned it into a needle book.

It incorporates bits and pieces of my favourite fabrics in my favourite colours. And inside, my most favourite fabric ever. So the make may be small but it packs a punch for me. 


Friday 27 June 2014

DS Diamonds

Small Makes - Day Three

You might recall that I had a whole lot of ready made HST off cuts from the DS quilt I made. All they needed was trimming. Well, I did start trimming them ages ago but quickly lost interest, as you do. Today I put a new blade in my rotary cutter - and what a difference that makes to HST trimming! - and finished the job. Then I scooped up 64 of them and made a cushion.

I pieced the colours together fairly randomly to make the diamond shapes. Added on a narrow border in white, and quilted it to highlight the diamond shapes created. I'm almost shamed to admit it but I went back to my trusty green corduroy and blue zip combo for the backing. What can I say, it goes with just about everything!

This cushion will go on holiday with us to be given to one of the family members who is hosting us while we are away. Now, I must go and figure out what I shall be making tomorrow.


Thursday 26 June 2014

That's More Like It

Day Two, Small Makes.

Another pouch, done the correct way this time. Wide Open - all the way.

My photo shoot was in fading light, and the rain had started to fall for the first time in about forever (not complaining mind you). But I finished another of my small makes and have gifted it already. All I had to do was bellow upstairs to the eldest to come and get it. She's off to Germany very, very early (stupid early) Saturday morning and she asked for a larger pouch to use.

Just a very simple pouch she asked for. With some daisies mind. It took longer to embroider the daisies than it did to make the pouch, but she is thrilled with it and that's what it is all about.

I can tick that box on my mental list of things to do. Yay!


Wednesday 25 June 2014

Perfection Is Over Rated

I made a not quite Wide Open pouch today. It was supposed to be completely wide open but I failed to put the zip facing in the right direction when I installed it.

When the pouch is open the zip pull is supposed to be at the other end of the pouch. But you know what? I do not care. Because it still opens up plenty wide and I really like the fabric pull I did for this.

Things like this usually upset me but obviously someone is slipping something in my chocolate here because I am so not bothered.

This is one of a number of small makes I need to make in a short time frame so I have set myself the goal of seven small makes in seven days. One down, six to go.

Also, a quick reminder, if you were interested in winning the sewing machine cover and accessories I made for the last issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting the give away is still open and can be found here.


Tuesday 24 June 2014

Low Tide

As I made this table runner I started thinking the colours, and then the pebble quilting, reminded me of the beach at low tide. Maybe that is a bit of a fanciful thought, but this table runner is now named Low Tide in my mind. I might be channelling my memories of more tropical regions from my days of travelling what with the aqua blues though. Not quite the blue of the seas around England usually.

The runner measures up at 36"x14". It is made using aqua and teal scraps from my stash & Stof linen, bound with ombre fabric from Color Me Happy, and backed with the number fabric from Lucy's Crab Shack. I had to buy the thread locally so I had it right away, so unusually the thread used for quilting is Mettler in shades of aqua/teal. It sewed beautifully but I did find it gave off more lint than I have been used to using the Aurifil. I cleaned the bobbin area three times quilting this small project.

This table runner is going to be wrapped up and sent somewhere as a gift. I do hope the recipients like it as I have no idea what their home is like nor what their colour preferences are. This is just being sent on a wing and a prayer that they like these colours and modern quilting. Eeeeek!


Sunday 22 June 2014

Guest Post by Emily

* Emily has requested to write a post today to show you what she has been up to this weekend. So I am handing over the keyboard to allow her to show you. 

I wanted to do today's blog post because Susan isn't the only person around here who makes stuff! Susan makes quilts, Helen makes (writes) stories, John makes things from wood and I make polymer clay charms (I use a brand called Fimo)!

This weekend I have been making charms; I hadn't used my Fimo for quite a while but I saw some videos on kawaii charms and I instantly got stuck in. I watched lots of videos by aCupOfCakeTV and I most of the charms I have made are following tutorials from her.

Yesterday and so far today I have made 8 charms (9 if you include the charm that I am currently making) and here they are:

In order top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right I have:
Ice cream Sundae

In order top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right I have:
Paint Pallet

Also I am currently working on a charm for one of Susan's sewing friends who put a request for it on instagram, it is not yet finished because I still need to add eyes and the gloss varnish. As you will see in the picture it is currently in a bowl of ice to cool and get additional hardening.

Try to guess what it is (hint it is for Rhonda)

I am a very happy Emily as the other day John ordered me some Fimo effect, Beige Fimo (I am very low on this and I desperately needed some more) and a Fimo tool to help me make my charms - can't wait until the next package arrives (I have already got 3 out of the 5 items) as then I will be able to make even more cute charms.

I hope you enjoyed my first ever blog post, thank you for reading x

-Emily =D

Friday 20 June 2014

Feeling A Little Ombre Today

This morning I pulled some fabric, came up with an idea and had one of those happy times where you cut and sew, doing the maths in your head - and it actually works out.

Another gift is being made and coming together nicely. This will be a table runner for a host family. I'm hoping that I make something that will suit their home as I have never met them nor seen their home. Therefore it is a bit of a daunting thing, making this for them.

Once I had it pieced and basted I came to the conclusion that none of my threads were in the right shade of aqua for quilting this project. That led to a trip to my LQS after the school run. By happenstance, when I got my loyalty card out there I realised I had earned £20 off fabric purchases. Far be it for me to avoid buying fabric, so I came home with the thread, and some much needed basting spray, and an assortment of FQs.

The quilting has commenced, but has been rudely interrupted by the need to make dinner. Apparently they don't have appetites that are suppressed by the joys of pebble quilting like mine is. How inconvenient!


Thursday 19 June 2014


This must be an all time record for me. I started cutting this quilt 12 days ago. I popped out to London, and made a cushion to add variety to my days - but otherwise I stayed focused.Today I finished the DS quilt while sat at Ange's house, nattering away a mile a minute (as I am prone to do).

Finishing it at Ange's house had several benefits. (a) I had someone to hold up the quilt for me so I could take a photo And she is taller than me so it wasn't dragging on the grass, nor did we have to bring out a chair for her to stand on. (b) Her garden provides a myriad of photo opportunities. I may aim to finish all my quilts there just to take advantage of this in the future.

This quilt comprises of 42 9" Shoo Fly blocks. All fabrics used are by Denyse Schmidt, mostly the reprint of Flea Market Fancy, but a few others thrown in. The background is Kona White. The thread - as per usual - is Aurifil 50w 2600, which is the soft dove grey. I used this for the quilting as well as the piecing.

I backed it with Spot On in Chartreuse, the wide cut so no piecing occurred to make up the back. The binding is scrappy, all DS fabrics to go with the blocks.

The finished quilt measures up at 60" x 69". It is off to Canada in a very short time as our wedding present to my niece.

By the time I took to stuffing the quilt in the nook in the tree I decided I probably had enough photos. But as you can see Ange's garden does offer up an ideal backdrop, and the various benches and children's play equipment are all suitable photo props. I encourage you to get friendly with Ange and take advantage of her lovely garden. She also makes yummy bacon sandwiches and ever so good lemon cake.

Thank you, Ange, for a lovely day as well as the use of your garden.


Wednesday 18 June 2014

... and Around, and Around...

... and I'm finally finished going around in circles.

This picture is the sum total of my day. Quilting in circles and Fruit Mentos. I forgot to have lunch. A very unusual occurrence.


Tuesday 17 June 2014

Round, and Around, and...

... around.

Quilting wonky, uneven spirals. I keep telling myself that when it is done it will look fine. Washing it will help.

Serioiusly, I forget each and every time that I love quilting small projects and I hate quilting larger ones. I need a machine with more harp space than the Bernina 440QE. (Now, if I could only luck out and find an almost new one for less than half price of brand spanking new like I did with the Bernina!) Meanwhile, I keep shoving this quilt through and taking deep calming breaths. It will get easier as the circles get bigger. Good thing, as I have a heck of a long way to go still.


Monday 16 June 2014

A Very British Gift

Today was a cold and grey day. A bit of a shock really as the temperatures have been very nice the past little while. But it made for a good day to run errands, do the neccesary and - eventually - sew. Which means that I got my latest quilt as you go cushion finished just before I sprinted off on the school run. (I may have pushed my leaving time just a little but!)

As I showed the other day, I pulled all my fussy cuts with a British theme that were in red, white or blue. I then supplemented these with scraps in the same colours and stitched away. The centre qayg panel measures just under 12" square.

A narrow border of navy Kona was then sashed with some white Stof linen. I did a double row of quilting on the white with some red thread to add some interest. The urge was to break out the perle but time constraints dictated otherwise. I backed it with some Metro Living in a lovely red and used a slate grey zip on the closure. The cushion finishes about 18" square.

I love that I had several different fabrics that featured 'London' on them. It is a very British cushion and will be travelling abroad with us to be given as a gift. Now, just a number of other gifts to make and the host gift list can be ticked. Meanwhile there is still the DS quilt to finish, a baby quilt to make, another commission to do, and life to live. Ah well, it all keeps me out of trouble, most of the time.


Saturday 14 June 2014

Not Much To Report

It's been busy around here in a social way, and in a food way. Therefore sewing took a back seat temporarily.

But today I had to start thinking about the fact that I have a whole slew of host gifts to make before school lets out. I started doing a fabric pull for the first one.

There might be a slight theme with this one.


Thursday 12 June 2014

A New Place...

... to hang my quilts outside.

The decking is finished around the shed and I can hang my quilts along the side. I'm thinking that I will request some strategically placed nails hidden under the overhang so I can avoid that shadow at the top. I don't think it is too much to ask.

It's a gorgeous summers day here. Long may it last. Lying on the grass to take photos of a quilt top with the sun shining through it is a rare occurrence.

I'm waiting on some more Kona White to add a simple border and then the basting will commence on this quilt. Meanwhile, there is a tonne of other stuff to get on with.


Wednesday 11 June 2014


I'm still playing with layout but this is the quilt top to be, all warmed up.

It looks like a big bag of sweets to me. This is no bad thing.


Tuesday 10 June 2014

Warming Things Up Around Here

I did an unscientific poll on IG by posting this photo -

- of the first 29 blocks I had made and asking if I should stick with this colour scheme or add in some of the warm colours.

The vote went overwhelmingly to adding in some warm blocks. I always intended to add in some pinks and oranges but when I laid out these blocks together I liked them on their own more than I expected. Only the touches of warm colours in some of the fabrics still pushed me towards sticking to the original plan. Then I got that helpful opinion poll and therefore I proceeded with cutting. I don't have that many DS in oranges and pinks but I think it should be enough. The plan is 42 blocks in total.

The above photo was supposed to be of completed blocks. I got distracted today and failed to achieve as much as planned. Hate when that happens!

I do, on the other hand, have the backing fabric for this quilt already. Go me!

It's not often that I am that organised.


Monday 9 June 2014

Food Glorious Food

I forgot to tell you that I was in London (yes, again) on Friday, to spend the day with Terri. Terri loves her food as much as I do so this time we met up at the Borough Market. I'm faintly surprised that I didn't chain myself to one of the food vendors and refuse to leave.

We started with hot chocolates - chili for her and hazelnut for me - and chocolate coated popcorn (way better than it sounds and it had popping candy in it) to reinforce energy levels before diving into the market. We may have sat for an extra an hour just talking a mile a minute and Terri charmed the waiter - a Portuguese Australian - to the point they were exchanging recipes!

Once in the market the question of what to eat was mind boggling, mostly because we would have liked some of everything. We wandered and nibbled samples so much though that we ended up sharing some chili squid and gyoza dumplings and were full.

That didn't stop us from buying a whole load of food to take home and feed our respective families.

It was a brilliant day, with the company I was in being the best bit. Plus Terri had some fabric for me from her recent trip to Australia. (I may have mentioned to her that she could be my fabric mule.) She loves fussy cuts as much as I do so here is what is now added to my stash.

Plus Terri and I share the same sense of humour so she knew I would find this fabric hysterical too.

Just have to decide what project to use it in now! Anyone know any butchers in need of a quilt?


Sunday 8 June 2014

It Doesn't Look Like Much...

... But it took a long time to accomplish this much.

First 29 9" blocks almost done. Not sure how many more to go. Keep losing count.


Saturday 7 June 2014

Something New

I started a new quilt. I've been cutting all day, when I had free time.

And there will be no sneak peeks. Because this isn't a secret. I can just show you as I progress. This is going to be a nice change. Woohoo!


Thursday 5 June 2014

Today Was A Good Day

Today was a good day for many reasons. The sun was shining. Good post arrived. Good food was enjoyed at lunch out with my father and his partner. And more productive sewing occurred. All these things add up to a very good day indeed.

First up, the post. In the morning I got a delivery from Love Patchwork & Quilting returning some of my projects, and my Aurifil thread that was used on the Oakshott cushions. And in the regular post I got a lovely package from Jennie of Clover & Violet fame. Jennie and her mum make wonderful things, and create some gorgeous patterns. They also use some beautiful fabrics, some of which Jennie knew were in my all time favourite list of favourite fabrics. She sent me some, just because. A huge thank you was sent, needless to say.

I've no photos from lunch, but I do have sewing photos. Go figure! Trina had asked for two 12" blocks with a lovely colour palette (which I hope I got right) for her month in Stitch Tease. All she asked for was stars of any sort. Obviously I have a paper piecing phobia so am always the person who turns in the simplest blocks when it comes to these requests. I made this block.

But I decided there had to be a way I could make a more impressive star without loss of sanity - which would be the direct result of me foundation paper piecing. So I had a play on Touchdraw and came up with a plan, using freezer paper instead.

I have never chain pieced freezer paper piecing before. And I have never, ever had four corners match up as well as I did today. Seriously, I couldn't believe how precise they came out. Not every corner sewn was that good but I was so proud that I had to take a photo. Sad git that I am.

Here's the resulting star.

It wasn't so difficult, the 'Y' seams cooperated and, for once, I managed something that looks more impressive than half square triangles.

Today was a good day.


Wednesday 4 June 2014

A Barn Raising

I continued the efforts to tick boxes today and get things done. First up was the next round in the Brit Bee medallion quilts. I had two 6" borders and two 6" stars to add to Trudi's quilt top. Once again, as we are keeping progress a secret from each other I can only show you sneaky peeks so that Trudi doesn't get much of an idea of what fabrics we are using, etc.

Next up was Cindy's barn block for Stitch Tease. I really enjoyed making this block. It was the first time I had done one and Cindy had given us links to some great tutorials so I didn't make up the block myself; just chose which quilt block to put on the side of the barn and what fabrics to use. Cindy had told us that we didn't need to stick to traditional reds and browns. I took her at her word. I hope she doesn't regret it.

We were also instructed to put our name and state (or country) on the block. So I sucked up my courage and concentration skills, and did my with FMQ. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be to do and I am really pleased with how it came out. A little bit wonky but I seem to spend my life wonky, particularly my photography skills, so maybe I did it just right.


Tuesday 3 June 2014

Back to Routine

The girls went back to school yesterday and I resupplied the house with food. We were badly depleted. We shall skip the other inevitable things like laundry, etc. It happened. I survived. Enough said.

Today I got to sew. And pattern write. I did take my computer and sewing machine to my mum's but, really, the tiny kitchen table is the only surface available for sewing on in the flat and that was in pretty much constant use, plus my computer got shanghai'd by the eldest. To be fair to her, I didn't fight for it at all very hard.

But today, out came the machine and I actually concentrated. Will miracles never cease?!

Sorry, sneak peeks only.
90 2.5" squares later I had added my part on this Brit Bee medallion doing the rounds. I've another to do. (Playing catch up here.) Then there is a May bee block to do, and I might as well do June while I am at it. A few other things are on the list, and don't let me forget I need to make a quilt as a wedding present before the month is out. Think I better practice more of this concentrating thing!