Saturday 31 December 2016

2016 Review and 2017 Plans

2016 has been a year of learning, from blogging and website construction, to pattern writing and kit building. And this has been the intention. At the beginning of the year, I had some idea of where I wanted Sewmotion to go, but didn’t really know how to start getting there, but now I do. My quilt and cushion kits have had some great feedback with happy repeat customers, the couple of quilt shows I’ve done have been a great success (though still much to learn) and my recent foray into magazine submissions has been a lot of fun! So all in all, I think 2016 has been pretty good, if a little skint!

So what may 2017 have in store? From this year’s experience, I know I have to be more proactive, be it booking myself into quilt shows, submitting my work to magazines, or even running the odd workshop.

I also want to take the guilt out of reading blogs… there are so many great reads out there, but I never seem to find the time to stop ‘working on the business’ and just sit back, relax and indulge. I miss out on so much! I love joining in Linky Parties on blogs from around the world, which is why I'm linking up with Quilting Jet Girl's 2017 Planning Linky Party - I'm loving reading other creatives' plans for the coming year...
As far as work goes, I obviously have a very long list of things to do, but here are a few;

- continue my free Pre-Cut Party patterns (available to my Newsletter Subscribers) – and launch a Linky Party of my own to work alongside, for those of us who love a good pre-cut!

- write more patterns, and develop some into kits, this would also help to use some of the scarily growing shelves of fabric I seem to be buying!

- exhibit at more shows, I’m booked in at Harrogate, Duxford and Malvern so far…

- Learn more about and practice curved piecing, in particular developing my curved hexy block. I also want to do more fabric weaving using the Wefty Needle, my first try was a lot of fun!

In my non-work life this year, we've got a new house to settle into, a much-missed bath to install, exercise to contemplate (and try to keep to) and maybe a little yoga... 

To keep up with Sewmotion's news and events, you can subscribe to my Newsletter, you'll also receive a free pattern every month, plus subscriber-only offers in the Sewmotion shop. Click below to subscribe.

I'm also linking up with;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts  
Can I Get A Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Merry Christmas from Sewmotion

Wow, what a year 2016 has been! This year was all about developing my collection of kits and patterns, experimenting with sales and finding my market. This started with working on my range of quilt and cushions kits, which now include eight quilt and five cushion kits, one table runner, as well as seven quilt patterns!

I’ve also loved playing around with gorgeous new fabrics to make up my quilting pre-cuts, then coming up with designs and patterns to use those fabrics. This led to me launching Sewmotion’s Pre-Cut Party, offering free patterns to my Newsletter subscribers - you can see some of the patterns below. If you haven’t done already, you can join for free and get a free pattern every month, straight to your inbox, the Newsletter also includes subscriber-only offers, plus Sewmotion’s latest product news and events.

And here's a sneaky peak at next month's free pattern, this time based on the good old 2.5" strip. 

In the second half of the year, after a couple of disastrous craft fairs, I decided to try exhibiting at quilt shows, and did Harrogate in September, then Duxford in October - I loved every minute! Not only were these my kind of people, we could ‘talk quilting’, but my kits and fabrics seemed very popular, and I met some really lovely people!

So I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and Sewmotion over the past year. I know how very fortunate I am to be able work in this craft I love so much and to get up and design or sew every day. This is partly down to my wonderful Justin who works hard to pay the bills and never complains, and also to my amazing mum who is forever supportive and encouraging. But all of this couldn’t be possible without my lovely customers and newsletter subscribers, from those who have taken the plunge to learn a new craft and bought my beginner’s kit – I love seeing your progress – to the more experienced quilters looking for their next projects. Thank you all so very much. 

And as a thank you and a festive gift to you all, I would like to offer you a 20% discount on everything in my Sewmotion shop, simply use the code above at checkout, though please note, I am now taking a much needed break over the Christmas period, traveling to see family and friends, so won’t be posting anything out until 3rd January. This offer will run until the 31st December, so plenty of time to browse, and hopefully get inspired!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful creative New Year.

Linking up with;
Main Crush Monday on Cooking up Quilts
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication 

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Christmas Gift Sale & Folksy Gift Guide

A few weeks ago I remember promising a round-up of my favourite handmade gift ideas to be found in online marketplaces, and I seem to have got as far as Etsy… and then we moved house. I completed underestimated how much time this was going to take out of my month, and now I fear I’ve missed the Christmas shopping bubble. Hopefully there is still time for last minute purchases, and where better to look in the UK than Folksy.

For those of you who are new Folksy, this online marketplace is very similar to Etsy, but only sells hand crafted or designed work from UK designer-makers. This is a great opportunity to support British makers, and also handy for last-minute gifts! Folksy provides handy Gift Guides 
which have been curated by some of the talented makers over the past year. These include ‘British Printmakers’, ‘Gifts for Makers’ ‘Eco Friendly Gifts’ and ‘Gifts for Music Lovers’ – there really is something for everyone! Here are just a few of my favourites...

Going clockwise from top left: Mouse Bookmark, Earth & Air Jewellery, £18; Sycamore Yarn Bowl, Bluebell Woodturning, £31; Thread Storage Wall Organiser, Laura ter Kulle, £34.99; Lampshade in Forest Green, Justine Ellis, £46; Wooden Heart Stud Earrings, Ivy Lace London, £6.50; Felt Coin Pouch, Song of the Seam, £6.

If you're still stuck for last minute gift ideas, why not check out my own sale in both the Sewmotion shop, and my Folksy shop - with up to 30% off selected gifts and cushions.

Folksy is also running a great campaign to celebrate everything handmade – use the hashtag #celebrate_handmade on social media to find some beautiful items. They also have a wonderful article on their blog by Tash Goswami who explains why buying and giving handmade is so much better - why it's more sustainable than mass production, how handmade is forever, not just for now, and how, by buying handmade, we are supporting local businesses and keeping craft skills alive.

I think the last point Tash makes about keeping craft skills alive, which also demands education in these skills, is something I feel very strongly about. I could go one for days about how wonderful, relaxing, therapeutic, and just so good for you, crafting is, whether you are sitting at your sewing machine all day sewing endless half-square triangles, or in front of a roaring fire with an EPP project on the go, the repetitive action of crafts like patchwork and quilting is what slow craft is all about. Being able to unplug, for even just an hour, and concentrate on one thing, is as beneficial for many as a good night’s sleep. This is why through Sewmotion, I aim to introduce as many people as I can to my wonderful craft, be it through my free online tutorials such as the Beginner’s Quilt series, or through one of my Quick and Easy Quilt Kits. These would also make great Christmas gifts!

I hope this blog has helped you out with any last-minute gifts, before I go I just wanted to share this fantastic video. As you may know by now, I’m a great fan of star quilter Angela Walters, and I was so happy to discover she’s just started a new quilting channel on YouTube for Craftsy called the Midnight Quilter. In the first episode Angela makes this gorgeous Variable Star Quilt and shares some great tips along the way, at the same time raising a glass of red wine – she is my kinda girl!

This week I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social on Sew Fresh Quilts and Midweek Makers on Quilt Fabrication. If anyone knows of any UK linky parties out there, please let me know - otherwise, I'm thinking of starting my own in 2017...


Thursday 1 December 2016

Moving house means Sale time!

After five long months we're finally moving into our new house! I'd be lying if I said it's been an easy process, I always forget how long these things take! Anyway, we're moving into a 1930s 3-bed semi in the lovely area of Linthorpe Village in Middlesbrough - complete with wood chip wallpaper and the most expressive artex I have even seen. It's strangely growing on me, much to Justin's annoyance! One thing we do agree on though is the beautiful log burner in the front room and these wonderful door knobs - aren't they cute!

With no time or budget to tackle the wood chip, for now I've decided to just whitewash the second bedroom which is to be my studio, I'm sure once I've got shelves of fabric adorning the walls and some pictures and hangings up, I'll forget all about what's lurking underneath.

While packing up my room, which seems to be taking forever, I've realised how much stock of handmade items I actually have... and I really need to make room for 2017's creations. So I'm having a little pre-Christmas sale, it is now December after all. I've reduced my Teessider Cushion Collection by 30%, this is a great opportunity to grab a one-off gift for someone from, or maybe living away from, the North-East. Maybe you've got a homesick student who would like to be reminded of home now and again. Click below to see the whole range.

Amazingly moving house has made us get ahead with our gift shopping just to get it out of the way, and I know I'm not alone! So I've taken 20% off selected smaller gift items in the Sewmotion shop, including coin purses, pencil cases and make-up pouches, perfect stocking fillers, gifts for school friends, or secret santas. Click below to see the collection.

This month's free Pre-Cut Party pattern is for this cute Bargello Make-up Pouch which uses 2.5" strips and a clever tube technique to create this staggered squares pattern. I also show you how to make up your quilted panel into this pouch to hold all your everyday essentials - also great for last minute gifts!

For this free pattern, just subscribe to the Newsletter for the link to this and past patterns based on quilting pre-cuts.

For more quilty fun and inspiration, why not pop along to these linky parties
and say Hi!
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts 
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication 

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