Thursday 28 January 2016

The Hexy Cushion Kit

I am happy to finally introduce the newest additions to Sewmotion’s collection of pre-cut kits – the Hexy Cushion Kit. There have been glimpses of these two cushions on Twitter and Instagram over the last month, but I now have the kit together and available to buy. Yay!

These craft kits are a great introduction to the wonderful world of hand-sewn patchwork. English paper-piecing is a traditional skill that harks back to the very beginning of the history of quilting, where quilters would sit for hours cutting out their shapes, then thread basting them onto papers before sewing them together. They would then unpick all that basting before the quilting even began! Phew!

Thankfully, these days new techniques and clever short cuts make this method a lot quicker than it used to be... not that you have to rush it of course, this is a project you can take with you wherever you go - a long car journey, to your quilt group, or even on holiday, anywhere where you can relax and enjoy this slow(ish) and therapeutic craft.

Each of these kits are £20 with (with free UK postage!) and include:
* 10 fabric strips - four in Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen, four in Kona Pomegranate & two in Kona Heliotrope (this includes two binding strips)
* 80 paper hexagons
* one Sewline Glue Pen
* one grey Aurifil 50wt thread for piecing
* one 20" square of wadding
* full, easy-to-follow instructions.

I have included the square of wadding in these kits for those who haven’t yet got a stash of wadding off-cuts, and would need to buy a ridiculous amount just for one cushion. 

However, I haven’t included the panel backing that you need when you come to quilt it as it depends on which method you use. If you choose to machine quilt, I suggest using a square of calico as your backing, however if you choose to hand-quilt, I would use a square of butter muslin or something equally as thin so you can stitch easily without putting too much pressure on the needle, or your fingers!

I have also left it up to you as to which backing you would like, though I do have a tutorial on inserting a zip here. For the invisible zip method I used one piece 7” x 16½” and one piece 14” x 16½”, with a 18” zip. I trimmed any excess fabric before attaching the binding which I did in exactly the same way as I would on a quilt, you can learn more about this in my Beginner’s Quilt – The Binding tutorial.    

I'm really excited about these new kits, and what better way to spread my excitement than to host a Giveaway! So if you would like to delve into the joyful and highly addictive world of English paper-piecing, or if you're like me and just can't get enough, simply enter by leaving a comment below telling me which craft you find the most addictive.
For an extra chance to win, you can subscribe to our newsletter to hear all about our latest products and special offers. 
As it's my birthday week, I've decided to extend this Giveaway offer - a winner will now be picked at random at midnight on Friday 5th February!

This week I'm linking up with Lorna's Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts, and Crazy Mom's Quilt's Finish It Up Friday

If for any reason you are unable to comment on here, you can leave a comment and enter on my Facebook page.

Thursday 21 January 2016

The Tricky Issue of a Zip

Over the years I’ve become addicted to making cushions. They come together much faster than quilts, and they're also a good way of trying out a new technique. However, one thing I’ve never really enjoyed is inserting the zip at the end - I’ve spent a few happy hours designing, sewing and quilting my cushion front… only to then have to finish it off with a backing and a closing of some sort, which I find so tedious!! 

Recently however, I have come across two fantastic tutorials that have made my life easier and that give my cushions a more professional finish. The first is by blogger Veni Vidi Vicky, I love this method and have used it on my T-T-Teesssider and Geometric cushions. I particularly like how the coloured zip adds extra interest and becomes a part of the design rather than been hidden away.

Vicky’s blog is full of gorgeous projects and great tutorials, though sadly she doesn’t seem to have written anything for a while. Anyway, you can click here for her very clear tutorial on how to insert a zip into a fully quilted pillow. 

For my latest couple of cushions, which will hopefully be available as kits soon, I wanted to try something different, and started looking at how to insert a covered zip. Thanks to our wonderfully generous online sewing community, I soon found this gem from S.O.T.A.K Handmade. Svetlana is another of my favourite bloggers with amazing taste in fabrics, many of which feature in her free tutorials, including beautiful quilts, cute little pouches, and funky coasters. She also shares her method of installing a zipper in a pillow cover – I found this method so quick and easy and finished off my Hexy cushions in no time at all. I will show you more about these cushions soon, but don't you just love the difference between machine quilting and hand quilting? I used Aurifil of course, with a 50wt in the machine, and a lovely 12wt for the hand sewing which was new to me and worked really well!

So if you’re looking for a smart finish to your cushions or pillows, check out these lovely ladies for easy-to-follow tutorials, as well as some gorgeous inspiration. 

Elsewhere in the quilting world… 

I just had to share this free Arrows Quilt pattern from Emmajané of Stitch and Pieces, featured on The Village Haberdashery’s blog, The Daily Stitch, this week. Not only is this a gorgeous quilt, but the planning and mental arithmetic that has gone into working this baby out is amazing! I thought my Bargello was bad enough, but looking at the cutting instructions and the layout plan, I imagine this took many hours to come together, so offering the quilt pattern for free is incredibly generous, thank you Emmajané!

Doughty’s latest special offer features one of my favourite ranges, the linen-look cottons. As you may know, I use these versatile fabrics quite a lot in my projects and handmade gift items, and find them to not only add extra strength to pencil cases and purses, but they also add lovely texture to quilted cushions and hand-embroidered panels. I stocked up on some cute elephants, and just couldn’t resist these cute polka dots!

Don't forget, as well as these weekly blogs, we also send out a monthly Newsletter. Subscribe here to hear news of our latest products, pattern releases and special offers. 
This week I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts, come and say hello!

Wednesday 13 January 2016

Quilting by YouTube

Like many quilters, I’m often asked “where did you learn to quilt?” Unlike many quilters, I wasn’t taught by a wise matriarch in the family. My nan knitted a lot, and sometimes embroidered, while my mum made clothes for me and my sister when we were young, and then later on knocked up the odd pair of curtains… both miles away from quilting! They did however teach me the basics in sewing, from hand-embroidered tapestries to sewing dolls clothes on mum’s old and extremely heavy Jones sewing machine.

I was introduced to quilting in my teens by a friend, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that this new addiction took hold, the more fabric I saw, the more I wanted for my stash, the more techniques I heard about, the more I wanted to learn – hence the size of my book collection! 

However, after all a while, buying a book for every new idea soon becomes expensive, so where else could I go? Then I discovered YouTube!

Now for the uninitiated, rest assured YouTube is not just videos of kids being drunk, or nutters doing strange stunts of their bikes, or weird music videos by performing arts students. Yes, there are plenty of those, but YouTube really has developed into an amazing teaching vehicle, and what’s more, it’s totally free! So these days you can learn anything, from how to apply your make-up, and get into (and out of) a million yoga poses, to how to play a musical instrument - and even how to make enough handmade quilts to keep you stitching for a lifetime.

If you visit and enter ‘quilting’ into the search box, you will come up with nearly 200,000 videos - that should keep you busy! Let’s face it, no quilter has the time to trawl through all these, so try entering ‘quilting tutorials’, or ‘quilting for beginners’. With still so many to choose from, I thought I would share some of my favourites, starting with the Missouri Quilt Company.

Those of you familiar with Twitter or Facebook may have come across these short and concise films already, click here to view their YouTube home page. Owner and master quilter Jenny takes us through all kinds of quilting projects, including beginners’ classes, simple quilt blocks, tutorials on different skills and techniques, and features on the latest tools and gadgets. These mini-lessons are well filmed, easy to hear and understand, and are the perfect length for a coffee break!

Another company that produces similar film tutorials is the Fat Quarter Shop.

Again, there are so many tutorials to choose from, including using short-cuts to create beautiful quilt blocks, and how to use new notions on the market. Quilting expert and presenter Kimberly is often joined by guests from the quilting world to show off their patterns, techniques or to just chat about their creative lives, so if you’re looking for some inspiration from the experts, this is the place.

Another of my favourites is Cozy Quilt Designs, in particular their monthly ‘Strip Club’ . Addicted quilter Daniela Stout owns the Cozy Quilt Shop in San Diego (where I plan to visit one day) where she developed this great idea of making up strip packs from her bolts, and then designing patterns to go with them. Once a month she presents her latest pattern to her group and films the demonstration. Not only is Daniela pretty inspiring, but she’s also entertaining to watch!

So if you have exhausted your book collection, and that of the local library, why not have a browse on YouTube, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

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If you're up for even more quilt inspiration pop over to Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Be Social and Linky Tuesday over on Freemotion by the River and say hello.


Wednesday 6 January 2016

New Year... New Plans

January is a funny month, it seems to last forever, the weather’s dank, and no where near as exciting and colourful as December was. But I always like this month for its optimism, the start of a new year, a new beginning, and a time to make new plans. And for Sewmotion, this is no exception. Having had a decent rest over Christmas – apart from the growing to-do list in my head - I feel ready to really make something of Sewmotion this year.

I was so encouraged by the amount of Beginner’s Quilt Kits sold over the Christmas period, so I’m definitely going to work on more pre-cut kits this year, starting with a visit to Stitches, the trade show for the craft industry in February… so excited!! By the way, if you were one of those lovely people who bought a quilt kit, I now have the backing and waddings packs available to help you finish off your quilt.

I’ve also been working on a couple of hand sewing projects - I know I said I was going to work on my Millefiori quilt this Christmas, but these pesky hexagons just called to me! These pre-cut kits will include all the fabric, paper pieces, and instructions to make each cushion, and not only do they include my current favourite fabric, Robert Kaufman’s Grey Essex Yarn Dyed cotton linen, but they make great portable projects, perfect for any English paper piecing addicts!


I’m also pleased to announce that we are now stocking basic colours of Aurifil’s wonderful 50wt cottons. I can't recommend these threads enough, their superior fine quality makes them almost disappear in the most intricate piecing, and makes them ideal for complex quilting.

Currently we have Black, Navy,Grey, Silver, Ecru and White, on 1300m reels at £8.25 each. And don’t forget we still have FREE POSTAGE to the UK!

As well as new kits, there will also be more quilt patterns, helpful tutorials, and inspiration from across the quilting world. To keep up with everything, why not subscribe to our Newsletter, not only will you be the first to hear about our new products and services, but you will also receive special offers and giveaways, only available to our subscribers.

Other news from the quilting world;  


Lorna over at Sew Fresh Quilts has launched her new pattern Jungle Friends - for those who loved the panel I made for Lorna's Dog Gone Cute QAL, you will love these cute animal blocks, and her instructions are so easy to follow. That lion is adorable!

One of my current favourite shops is The Village Haberdashery in London. I was so happy to hear they have reached their target in their recent Crowding Funding venture, and can't wait to visit their new shop which promises to be amazing!!!

Back to the present... they have just started stocking Free Fall, Tula's Pink first collection of extra wide (108") fabrics, and rather then cotton, they are on a gorgeous cotton sateen. Not only would these make beautiful backings, but just think how many cushions you could get out of half a metre! 

The wonderful people over at the Fat Quarter Shop are sharing their Top 10 Videos of 2015. For those who haven't yet discovered this fantastic website and Kimberly's great video tutorials, I suggest you take a look. Not only are these mini films so easy to follow, but the fabrics and quilts they create never fail to inspire.

Right, as I've given myself all this work, I best get on with it! I hope you have a lovely creative week, and thanks for visiting. As always, I love to read your comments, so please share below.

If you're looking for more quilty fun, why not pop over to Sew Fresh Quilt's Let's Bee Social and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and say hello.