Thursday 24 November 2016

Christmas Craft Fair & Etsy Gift Guide

A couple of week's ago I promised to share some of my handmade gift ideas from online marketplaces, so I'll start with Etsy - for many the go-to place for everything handmade.  To help you find that special gift, Etsy helpfully provide Gift Guides for everything from Gifts for Mum and Secret Santa Gifts to Gifts for Pets and Pet Lovers. While there are some truly quirky items on sale, there are also many beautifully crafted gifts that you will be hard pushed to find anywhere else.

The following items are all available from shops in the UK and are gifts for the creative people in your life, not things to make themselves, but items that reflect their love of craft;

Going clockwise from top left; Sewing Machine Blueprint Embroidery Hoop, Stitches of Anarchy, £21; Funny Craft Mug, The Mug Hermit, £7; Rainbow Hand Embroidery Hoop, PixieCraft Handmade, £43; Sewing Needlebook Set, Stitches & Stuff, £11; Material Girl Print, Red Postbox, £8; Vintage Sewing Fabric Pencil Case, Song of the Seam, £13; Compact Mirror, 2 Green Monkeys, £9.50; This is My Happy Place Print, Snowdon Prints, £12.

If you would rather something crafty for the creative in your life, such as a quilt or cushion kit, or maybe some gorgeous fabric, why not check out my Etsy shop

Prefer to shop in 'real life'? If you're local to the Teesside/North Yorkshire area, why not come and see me this Sunday at the Rainbow Plant Centre Christmas Fair? As well as my quilt and cushion kits, I'll be selling my collection of handmade gifts and homewares - the perfect opportunity to pick up a unique gift for someone special! I'll also have Christmas Special offers on some of my items, so come and say hello!


Wednesday 16 November 2016

Have you ever joined a BOM club?

For those new to this term, BOM stands for Block of the Month and are groups or clubs that provide a great way to learn different techniques and designs used in quilting. Many of these are based on Sampler quilts, and in return for your monthly subscription you receive a block pattern and instructions for you to complete per month, and then at the end, learn how to quilt them into a finished item.

As we know, Sampler quilts are a great starting point to learning to quilt and are the mainstay for many classes and workshops. However, not everyone can get to a class, but thanks to the digital age we can now learn from the comfort of our own homes while still enjoying the sense of community on social media – these BOM projects will have groups on Facebook and Instagram for participants to share their work and discuss any issues. And of course, you’ll make lots of new friends!

So as we are about to embark on a new year, why not start 2017 with a creative bang and join one of these BOM subscriptions? Below are a few that have caught my eye...

AnneMarie Chandy at Gen X Quilters is running this gorgeous Chocolatier Block of the Month. As the designer describes;

Enjoy piecing traditional skill-building blocks set in a LeMoyne Star destined to look like shiny wrapped chocolates.  An argyle compass emphasizes the star's beauty and it's all framed with a beautiful bracelet border.” 

This BOM is available in both paper form ($28 per month) and in PDF form ($25 per month) and starts in January 2017. There are three colourways in three different types of fabric – solids, traditional and batiks. Each month you will receive the pattern for two blocks (sometimes more) to work yourself around the LeMoyne Star. As well as using traditional piecing techniques – half-square triangles, hourglass and flying geese – you will be challenged with skill-building blocks featuring foundation piecing, curves and applique. 
You can read more about this club on AnneMarie’s blog post.

Some BOMs are based on books, one of which sits on my bookshelf forever looking at me, begging to be used - the Dear Jane quilt. Made in 1863, this 225-block quilt was designed and completely hand sewn by Jane A. Stickle and really is a thing of beauty! In the book, author Brenda Papadakis has lovingly created all 225 patterns for the blocks, but does not include the actual building instructions. This is where this BOM comes in… British company Simply Solids have teamed up with US firm Paper Pieces to deliver this 18-month programme (thus avoiding any nasty customs tax) based on English paper piecing. For £25 each month (includes postage) you will receive all the papers needed for a certain section, plus a modification booklet – as these blocks are based on EPP, certain changes have been made to the designs, with Brenda’s consent. You will need to use your own fabric and purchase the book yourself. You can read more about this BOM on Simply Solids’ website.

Another great EPP BOM is Perpetually Hexie by Katja Marek, author of The New Hexagon and the New Hexagon Perpetual Calendar on which this BOM is based. Free to anyone who owns the calendar, Katja will take you through each block, while papers and acrylic templates will be available to purchase from Paper Pieces. Keep up to date with this BOM on Katya’s Instagram feed and on her website

In other news...


I am very chuffed to share the news that I'm now sub-editing (and contributing) for Popular Patchwork magazine! Subbing used to be my job in a previous life, and it's so funny how life goes round in circles! The difference now is that I'm writing (and learning so much) about an industry that I love and feel very passionate about.

I've also contributed my Vintage Charming Rose quilt pattern to the December issue, or if you would prefer to purchase the pre-cut kit, click here.

Also, keep an eye out next year as I'm also contributing projects to Love Patchwork & Quilting and Quilt Now magazines! To say I'm busy would be an understatement, but I'm loving it!!
As promised last week, my Christmas Gift Guides are coming soon! 

This week I'm linking up with;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday 10 November 2016

A Handmade Christmas

I love giving handmade gifts at Christmas, though I do tend to give them to people who I know will appreciate the love and work gone into making them. I remember when I rang mum on Christmas Day a few years back so she could open her handmade quilt over the phone… there were tears, which was wonderful! Last year I made my nephews some very bespoke cushions – they’re both Games Workshop mad – and they were over the moon to say the least… I have no idea how I’m going to beat that this year!

When you give handmade, you’re giving much more than the item, you’re also giving the love and hard work that went into making that gift. You chose the colours and the design and always had the recipient at the forefront of your mind while making it. Isn’t this what gift giving is all about?

I know we’re not all makers and creatives, but I think the same could be said about buying handmade – with so many one-off beautiful gifts available on Etsy, Folksy and Notonthehightstreet, it’s much easier to find the perfect gift that will be treasured for what it is – and what’s more, you can shop from the comfort of your sofa! I’ll be sharing some of my favourite finds in weeks to come.

But for all you sewists out there, there’s still time to make something unique and beautiful for that special someone, so below I’ve listed some of my go-to blogs for inspiration and free tutorials for small weekend or evening projects that you should be able to get done before the big day.

I think I love every project on Svetlana Sotak’s blog – from cute zip pouches, to plant pot cosies and drawstring bags, these are great small projects for last minute makes – perfect for stocking fillers or Secret Santas.

Another great source for larger makes such as these gorgeous bags is Noodlehead. Anna is a fabric designer, teacher and blogger and I just love her fabric choices in her beautiful designs. Why not make yourself her duffel bag for your trip to see family this Christmas?

My final lovely blog and a new find to me is Sew Delicious. Ros, like me is mostly self taught and I like reading about her new adventures and discoveries in her sewing life. This HST pouch would make a great gift for a teenager!

And of course, there’s always YouTube for some great tutorials, such as this one by the Missouri Star Quilt Co. Perfect for those gorgeous fat quarters in your stash, these pouches always come in handy for something!

I hope these projects have inspired you to get creative. However, if sewing isn't your thing, and you just love buying handmade, I'll be sharing some of my favourite gift ideas with you next week.

This week, I'm linking up with;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrications
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation 
Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts

Thursday 3 November 2016

A Christmas Pre-Cut Party

We're celebrating the Fat Quarter this month with this free pattern for a fun and quirky Christmas table runner. Made using partial seams and HSTs (half-square triangles), this pattern includes a list of fabric requirements, cutting and piecing instructions, plus ideas for quilting your finished top. To get your hands on this fun festive free pattern, simply subscribe to our Newsletter, and you'll get a link to this and past pre-cut patterns you may have missed. 

As well as these free patterns, as a subscriber you will also hear about our latest products, events and news, as well as our subscriber-only offers. This month's offer is £5.00 off this complete kit to make this month's free project

The kit includes fabric from Dashwood Studio's Festive Friends range, including binding, plus wadding and backing, in fact everything you need to make this runner, just in time to adorn your festive table on Christmas Day. Priced at £35.00 (free UK p&p) you can purchase the kit here.

Click above to subscribe to our great Newsletter and get your £5.00 off discount code for the table runner kit!

In other news, we had a great time at the Autumn Quilt Festival in Duxford last weekend. Housed in an aircraft hangar next door to the museum itself, you can't help being in awe of the huge planes and jets hanging from the roof. Can you see the fighter jet in the background? It's always nice to meet new people, and also to talk all things quilty! Can I also add a big welcome to my new Newsletter subscribers - thank you all for signing up!

Looking for more quilty inspiration? Check out these great Linky Parties;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts 
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
Mid-Week Makers at Quilt Fabrication