Friday 20 December 2019

My Latest Free Pattern & Christmas Wishes

For December's free pattern to my Newsletter Subscribers I have returned to my favourite EPP to make these adorable Star Pincushions. I made one for myself years ago which you may have seen on my video tutorials. This is also when I first discovered crushed walnut shells, not only does using this as stuffing give them added weight, but the shells are also a great abrasive so they keep your pins nice and sharp.

You can subscribe to the Newsletter here to receive this free pattern and you can also purchase 200g bags of crushed walnut shells in the online shop here.

I have also put together three kits to make these star pincushions, each includes the fabric, pre-cut paper templates, two buttons and full instructions. You can find out more here.

So we're coming to the end of yet another year... I have no idea where this one has gone, yet a lot seems to have happened, my TV appearances on Sewing Quarter for one. As you may have seen on social media posts and the TV Channel, Sewing Quarter is sadly closing at the end of the year. It was been a wonderful opportunity to work on such an inspiring project with a team of amazing people, and I'm sure this will be the start of many creative ventures and collaborations to come, so watch this space - you can also follow my fellow guest designers' latest news on the new Facebook group SQ Designers Chat 

This year has also seen many new pattern and kit releases, my Curved Motion Medallion BOM is still going strong - you can join this at any time by the way - not to mention the house and business move - and through it all I am still loving what I do. 

I still wake up with amazing plans for each day, and can't wait to get up and get on with making. I know I am very lucky, but I also know this takes damn hard work as well as the love and support from my loved ones and my wonderful customers. So thank you so much, thank you if you have bought something from Sewmotion this year, if you have subscribed to the Newsletter, if you have left a lovely comment on social media, or even if you have just read my (ir)regular blog posts, every one of these is so much appreciated and I know I couldn't be living my best life without you.

I wish you all a very happy and loving Christmas and a peaceful and creative New Year. xxx

Linking up with Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday and Let's Bee Social

Friday 6 December 2019

Small Business Saturday SALE

As I mentioned in last week's post, I am avoiding the unsustainable discounts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year, and instead celebrating Small Business Saturday.

Not only is there Free Postage (UK only) all weekend, but you can have £5 off when you spend £35 - just use the code SmallBizSat at checkout.

I am also offering a few extra treats to my Newsletter subscribers, including 3 for 2 on pre-cut papers and patterns, so why not subscribe now to get the codes!

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Avoid Black Friday and Shop Small Instead

This year, I have decided not to hold Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. For me, this has been a difficult decision having had a successful weekend in the past. Well, I say successful, the orders have come in, but when I dare to look at my profit margins a week later and find out if it was worth it, I have found I have more or less given some products away for free!

I know these annual sale events are great for some items, TVs, furniture and the like, and for huge shops with even bigger profit margins, it works very well, though even that's questionable sometimes when you look at the mark downs. 

However, when it comes to small businesses, and especially craft businesses when the mark ups are very low indeed, this just doesn't make sense. I try my best to keep my products' prices as low as possible for my customers all year round in the hope of encouraging them to take up this amazing craft, or to feed their pre-existing sewing addiction. This makes it harder for me to offer such huge discounts.

As you know if you subscribe to my Newsletter, I do offer introductory discounts on kits and other products nearly every week. I also hold a couple of sales through the year and often offer free postage weekends. I would much rather offer my customers discounts throughout the year, rather than trying to compete with large organisations' ridiculous discounts over this one weekend. 

So this year, instead of offering knock down prices my business is unable to sustain, I am going to celebrate Small Business Saturday on the weekend of December 7th - 8th. I feel this event does much more for us small businesses, encourages customers to think before they buy and to support small and local shops. We do live in uncertain times at the moment, and while the big firms are doing their 'thing', I believe it will be the small independent businesses that will shine through all this mess. 

While a growing amount of people are thinking more carefully about what to spend their money on, I encourage you to also think about where your money is going... to a huge multi-national who cares very little about their customer or the quality of their product? Or to a small company who carry their passion for their business all the way through to their customer service and final product. We care what about our customers think, what they feel and appreciate every penny spent with us!

So when you think about your gift shopping this year, please help support your local shops and those small online businesses who, while they can't compete with the big corporations of this world, can instead offer you a much more genuine, friendly and caring service while being thoughtful in what they offer to their customer. 

During this weekend, I would like to offer, a much more sustainable discount of £5.00 off when you spend £35 or more on the Sewmotion website. This offer will run over the weekend of Saturday 7th until midnight on Sunday 8th December. Simply use the code SmallBizSat at checkout.

There will also be some extra offers available to my Newsletter subscribers over the weekend - so why not click below to sign up now and not miss out.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday 21 November 2019

New Kits and my Next Big Show

Where has this month gone, where has this year gone come to that? I can't believe it's nearly Christmas again! It's been all go at Sewmotion HQ lately where I have taken delivery of the beautiful new collection of quilting cottons from Liberty of London, Summer House. I have the Purple and the Pink colourways, and started off with a making up a couple of strip sets (aka jelly rolls), aren't they pretty! You can see my whole collection of quilting fabric pre-cuts here.

I then decided to make up a new Diamond Star Cushion using a couple of these fabrics, and I especially love how the fussy-cut centre star has come out. I do love this cushion design, and with enough fabric to make one of three different layouts, this kit really does make a lovely hand sewing project. You can find out more about my cushion kits here.

My latest project in these fabrics is my All Squared Up quilt kit - this design has always been a firm favourite, and was originally designed as the next step in skill level after my Beginner's Quilt kits. However, it has proved popular with both beginners and the more experienced quilter as it shows off the fabrics so well, and these Summer House prints are no exception! 

I have hand-cut all the 2.5" strips in both the Liberty prints and the grey background, as well as the borders and binding, though you will still have some cutting to do to piece the blocks. The kit also comes with thread and full instructions. I have added my favourite pieced backing to this quilt - I do love a pieced backing, not only can you use the fabrics used on the front, but you also get two quilts in one! This backing set is also available on the website.

I am also busy preparing for my first Knitting & Stitching show which takes place at Harrogate's Convention Centre next week. The four-day event is huge and attracts all types of crafters as well as quilting, so it should be a really interesting show. You can find out more by clicking here.

Before all of that busyness however, we are celebrating my lovely Justin's 50th birthday with a weekend in Newcastle, which promises amazing food, sampling his favourite IPAs and a visit to the amazing Biscuit Factory gallery

Wishing you all a happy, warm and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday 17 October 2019

Mammoth Kit Production and a Handmade Christmas

This week I have been buried in cutting, folding and packing fabric into kits for upcoming shows. It seems since moving into my new unit, I just haven't stopped, not that I'm complaining of course, it's all great, but rather stressful!

My next show is next week's Autumn Quilt Festival in Duxford, one of the more interesting venues of the year as it's held in one of the hangars at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford Airfield. So once visitors have had their fix of fabric retail therapy and inspiring quilts, they can have a wander around the huge aircraft on show, read about aviation history and may even see a Spitfire taking off, it really is a great day out! The Duxford Quilt Show runs from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th October - you can out more details here.

I have also released a new Christmas Wreath Table Mats kit, this time in Merry Christmas prints from Makower. This design features curved English paper-piecing to make up the wreath, which is then appliqu├ęd onto the background, add the borders and side panel, and then machine quilt to finish. Each kit includes fabric, pre-cut papers and full instructions to make two mats.
There is also a new Scandi version which you can see below. 

If you are making a start on your Handmade Christmas, I also have my Picture This Table Runner kits to match the mats - you can see the whole collection here.

One last word on Christmas, one of my lovely Newsletter subscribers sent me a pic of her version of my Strippy Circles Table Runner, isn't it lovely, and I'm sure will take pride of place on her festive table, thanks so much for sharing Maureen :)

Don't forget, you can receive your own free patterns every month, including this one, by subscribing to my Newsletter - click here to find out more.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Brag About Your Beauties

Thursday 3 October 2019

My latest free pattern - Strippy Circles Table Runner

Well, I think we're finally settled into our new home and my new workshop. There are obviously things we'd like to do to the house, but nothing's urgent, although the boiler does make some very loud bangs now and again! We've also had fun with some very cute mice who decided to bed down in a house plant my in-laws were looking after during the move, they got the shock of their lives when they were moved into our kitchen and given a good water - the mice that is, not the in-laws... Thankfully we've moved them into the warmth and safety of the garage now.

After a mad month, I am now back on track with my free Newsletter patterns - if you are new to Sewmotion, I send out a free pattern every month to my subscribers, generally based on the use of fabric pre-cuts, but to be honest, it is anything that inspires me at the time! You can find out more and sign up here.

This month, I have returned to the jelly roll strip to make up this very easy and fast table runner project, in which I have used strips from my Royal Blue strip set, an Edyta Sitar favourite.

I have also being frantic trying to get my projects done for my next shows on Sewing Quarter, this Monday (7th Oct), which include this improv-ish Strong Ties quilt. You can catch these shows on Sewing Quarter channel in the UK on Freeview 73, Sky 687, and worldwide online and on their YouTube channel.

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday 19 September 2019

It's been all go!!

Well, it has been a while since my last blog, but I do have a very good excuse... we have moved house!! What's more I have also moved Sewmotion into a nearby unit - though it's only 4mins walk away, so not too far :)

We have moved to the beautiful seaside town of Marske-by-the-Sea on the Northeast coast. We have lived near the sea before in nearby Redcar, but 10 years on I think we're now more likely to appreciate being so close to the beach for long evening walks and strolls to nearby Saltburn. This was the first move (and we've done a few) when we have used a removal firm, and my word, what a difference that made! 

Mind you, we still moved all my fabric and 'stuff' the week before into my new workshop - so exciting. As you can see, I've just about got all the fabric off the floor and onto shelves, I just need some more shelving for the kits and stash, hopefully a trip to Ikea this weekend should sort that out, and then I can get back to doing some sewing...

Last Sunday I was also on Sewing Quarter again - I had to be ultra organised to get these quilts prepped before moving! This was also the first time I have worked with presenter Natasha, who was very lovely indeed. In my first show I made the Stonehenge quilt using gorgeous Anna Maria Horner fabrics - this quilt was a joy to make, once you have labelled all the cut pieces, the blocks come together really quickly, and even better, there were very few seams to match up. In my second show, I demoed Lynne Goldsworthy's Patriotic Log Cabin quilt, as featured in the current issue of Today's Quilter. This was another quilt that came together really quickly thanks to good sized pieces and liberal labelling. If you missed these shows, or would like to see them again, you can catch them on Sewing Quarter's YouTube channel here - the Stonehenge quilt is in the second hour, and the log cabin in the fourth.

Right, I'm off to unpack some more boxes... wishing you all a lovely and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday 22 August 2019

Playing on my Sewing Machine

Well, a week back and our holiday in glorious Kefalonia already seems like months ago! We had a very relaxing time, if a little too hot at times, still the town of Skala was as beautiful as ever, and one day we may even retire there... 

Meanwhile, back to reality - the next few months look crazy! With Harrogate Quilt show next week, then hopefully a house move, Duxford Autumn Quilt show at the end of October, my first Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate in November, not to mention a few Sewing Quarter shows slotted in, I think I'll be sleeping through Christmas :)

It is good to be back in the swing of things though, I definitely needed a break after Festival of Quilts, and now I'm full of ideas again, the first of which is my monthly free pattern to my Newsletter subscribers, I know it's a little late, but better late than never right? For this month, I have gone back to an old favourite that I used to make as finished gifts back when I used to sell at craft fairs - the Patchwork Glasses Case. 

This is a great little project with some simple machine sewing, but the best thing is I get to play with some of the bazillion stitches on my sewing machine that I just never get the time to explore. As you can see, I needed to add an embroidered accent down both sides of the case, so I had a little play to find the appropriate stitch, noting down the stitch number and size as I went, so when I came to make a decision I knew what to program into the machine. I also found that unplugging my foot and using the start/stop button when sewing the embroidery stitches made it so much happier tension-wise.

As well as the free pattern - you can get yours by subscribing to the Newsletter here - I have put together three kits that contain fabric, wadding, elastic and button, plus full instructions. These are priced at £8.50, and if you're a subscriber you can get 10% off before next Wednesday.

I will be at Harrogate Autumn Quilt Show next week - Friday 30th Aug - Sunday 1st September, at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Hall 1, Harrogate, HG2 8NZ - 10am - 4.30pm. I hope to see you there!

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers 

Wednesday 7 August 2019

The Festival of Quilts 2019

Well, the Festival of Quilts is over for another year, and I can't believe it swept by so fast! One minute we were heading down the motorway hoping my pallet had been delivered to the right stand and that I'd made enough stock, and then before we knew it, it was Sunday and we were pulling our weary bodies together ready for packdown! 

Having worked quite a few Festivals, this was only my second with Sewmotion, and I have to say, it was my favourite so far. There seemed to be such a friendly smiley atmosphere in the room, with so many people coming up to the stand just to say hello. Much of this was down to my appearances on Sewing Quarter of course, but also the many friends and customers I have made over the last year.
Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

I was also quite pleased with how my stand came together - after so many shows, I think I may have cracked it :) I love the cute stand I bought from Daisy Moon Designs on Etsy to display my pre-cut EPP papers, which were a firm favourite.

We were also often joined by Sewing Quarter's John Scott, who I have to say, provided a true masterclass in genuine hospitality. He seemed to be constantly smiling throughout the whole four days, presenting live shows when he wasn't giving out free hugs and selfies, I don't know how he did it! You can also see my Justin photo-bombing above, I couldn't do any of this without his love and support, he's also now a master at packing walnut shells and knows his fat quarters from his jelly rolls!

Having said that it was my favourite Festival so far, I am also very annoyed with myself! Yet again, another year has gone and going from others visitors' posts on IG and FB, I seemed to have missed half the quilts on show, including the Modern category. It goes to show how much brain work and emotion go into running a stand at these events, that I forgot to make time to see the quilts and actually do any shopping! Some did catch my eye on the way in and out which you can see below, I particularly liked the Mind the Gap London underground map which reminded me of my hometown. 

From the top: Cum Et Iris by Sandra Ruano Navarro; Slightly Blue Christmas by Joanna Holomiej; Moving On and Byzantium both by Liz Jones; and Mind the Gap by Cecilia Slinn.

We're off to a much needed week in the sun, wishing you a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday 11 July 2019

Wonky Hexies Free Pattern

Did you know my Newsletter subscribers receive a free PDF pattern every month? So far this year, we have been enjoying my block-of-the-month Mystery quilt which came to an end in June. So we are now returning to my beloved pre-cuts and stash-busting patterns, starting with a variation on a theme... 

My Wonky Squares Wall Hanging pattern proved very popular, especially when I made it on Sewing Quarter, so I started to wonder which other shapes would work - and of course, I had to have a go with the good ol' hexy! I also returned to my partially-seamed hexies, a tutorial for which can be seen here. Add in the freezer paper technique used for the wonky blocks, and hey presto, I have a new pattern.

Now, I have to admit, I think there is a little too much white/negative space in the wall hanging for me - you may love the space to create beautiful free motion quilting designs, or maybe embroidered motifs. If it's not for you, then you can simply decrease the size of the sashings and borders as below, just taking an 1" off the width of the strips makes such a difference.

As the wonky blocks finish at a 9" square, there are so many possible layouts - I have had a play with a few below... 

In this one I have bordered the 9" blocks with blue strips to add a little more interest, then added white sashings and borders.

Who says the wall hanging has to be square, or this would make a gorgeous table runner. Add light blue sashings and inner border and then a wider white border.

Finally, my favourite, which I think I will just have to make into a quilt when I get a minute! I have added the layout below so you can see the white strips that offset the blocks to create this circle. 

You can obviously also play around with the colours - what about using all black and whites for a monotone quilt? Maybe different tones of the same colour? If you would like to receive this free pattern, subscribe to the Newsletter today - these patterns are free to my subscribers for a month before going on general sale.

On to something completely different - Sewing Quarter have been holding their Christmas In July event and I appeared last Thursday to make my EPP Snowflake cushion and a gorgeous Scandi quilt by Lynne Goldsworthy - you can watch these shows and catch up on my past appearances here.

Wishing you all a happy, sunny and creative week! Linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday 4 July 2019

Quilting Concentric Circles Tutorial

As many of you know, I send out free monthly patterns to my Newsletter subscribers, and for the last few months we have been working on a mystery block-of-the-month, the Birds of a Feather quilt. 
Well, last month saw the grand reveal, and then I thought I would add a bonus email with instructions for a pieced backing, and then ideas for quilting. 

I then one step further and made up a quick video on how quilted my own version in a concentric circles design using my walking foot on my home machine.

Even though this design does take a while, especially on a domestic sewing machine, it is still possible (though I strongly recommend an extension table and quilting gloves) and the time and patience is well worth the effort! I love the texture this design creates and I think it accentuates the idea of the birds flying out of the centre nest. I'm hoping to put this quilt together as a kit soon, so watch this space!

Elsewhere at Sewmotion, I'm in the middle of Festival of Quilt prep madness, surrounded by kits, papers and patterns that all need sorting into boxes! I also came across some tickets for this year's show, so I'm holding a little competition on my Instagram page for a chance to win not only two show tickets, but also one of my new Hoop Art kits - visit my page for more details here.

Wishing you all a fun and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday 20 June 2019

Valuable Lessons Learnt Making the Lisbon Tiles Quilt

For my latest appearance on Sewing Quarter, I was asked to make the gorgeous Lisbon Tiles quilt by Jo Avery of My Bear Paw, which was featured in a recent Today's Quilter. As you can see below, Jo made her quilt in rich red and yellow scraps from her stash. 

I was asked to make the quilt in pretty floral prints from Moda, so I sorted out the colours according to the brief, the yellows and greens were like for like in the quilt which was fine, however, the pinks and blues were to replace the reds in the original quilt, which is where my quilt went in a different direction.

Once I had cut all the fabric pieces, I got stuck into a few hours of foundation paper-piecing, surrounded by the usual mess, am I alone in this? With all the trimming and different pieces, I soon find myself getting very untidy! Anyway, as Jo suggested, I made a few blocks at a time - the whole quilt is actually made of just one block, four of which make the star. As I made each block I laid them out on the floor beside me, and soon realised this was going to be even more scrappy that Jo's. 

Even though I tried to go for some pattern and had the red stars in the centre and four corners, with the blue stars filling the rest, I still think something was lost in having so many very similar prints close to each other, in some cases the star is lost completely. I realised that this came down to fabric values...

Fabric values, along with hues and saturation, are all interlinked in colour theory, and come in very handy with planning a quilt design. Hue is what people mean when they say 'colour' - red is a different hue than blue. Value refers to the lightness or darkness of the hue, so you could have reds of the same hue, but one is of a lighter value than the other. Whereas saturation is the intensity of the colour and is related to the hue and value. Fully saturated colours appear brighter and clearer, while less saturated colours are milky or greyer. A fully saturated yellow has a much lighter value than a fully saturated red. 

So if we apply this theory to my quilt, you can see that there is one red hue that stands out more than any other as it is the most saturated, while the other reds used to make up the star design are less saturated and very similar in value to the neighbouring yellows, making the overall star design less distinct.

When preparing for the Sewing Quarter show, I decided to make up another block using identical red and yellow prints for the four blocks to make up a full star to show how being less scrappy would give you a whole different look. As you can see above, I used the same strong red and yellow prints for the star shape, but still went scrappy for the smaller pieces. While I prefer this layout, I also still love the scrappy version I made for the show, and of course, just had to quilt it in wavy lines!

If you would like to watch the Sewing Quarter show with the riotous John Scott, you can catch it here on their YouTube channel

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, Oh Scrap! and Needle & Thread Thursday 

Thursday 13 June 2019

Completed Mystery Quilts & New Hoop Kits

After last week's grand reveal of my Birds of a Feather Mystery quilt, I've seen some lovely completed tops - I have a few prompt quilters who have religiously kept up with my monthly posts, one of which had saved them until the end and then made it during her last five weekly quilt group meetings!

The first of these quilts is by Justine, who had actually got ahead of me and finished the quilt before the grand reveal, clever girl!! ;) I was so happy to see the quilt made up in the luscious grey and purple fabric bundle - doesn't it look so rich and sumptuous! Justine tells me she plans to add a couple more borders to increase the size, which will look amazing!

You can see the close up centre of this colourway in Ann's quilt - made over five weeks in her quilt class, she also loves how the purples and greys work so well together.

Ruth was wonderful throughout this process and more or less made up each block on the same day she received the pattern, which was why she was the first to tell me of any hiccups! Thanks again Ruth :) In her version she used the Flora Pop fabrics, similar to my own, however, if memory serves, I think she bought two or three of the curated fabric bundles, so I can see her making at least one more quilt!

Finally, Jan went for her own choice of fabrics, and purchased some Linen Textures from the Sewmotion shop - I love these soft pastel shades, and it really does look like such a different quilt compared to the grey and purple. Next month I will be sharing quilting ideas and a free pieced backing design.

This free pattern will be available to my Newsletter subscribers until the end of June, sign up now and join in the fun - you will also receive subscriber-only offers, more free patterns and the latest Sewmotion news.

Meanwhile, in the Sewmotion shop, I have released two new EPP Flower Hoop Art Kits - these projects are mounted into 12" hoops and come in two designs. The first is in lovely 1930s-inspired vintage fabrics, while the second features Makower's Woodland range in soft blues and greys. Each of these kits include the fabric and wadding, embroidery thread, pre-cut papers, 12" wooden hoop and full instructions - the perfect holiday project! What's more, if you subscribe to the Newsletter, you can get 10% off these new kits today!

Wishing you all a happy and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers, Oh Scrap! and Needle & Thread Thursday