Thursday 27 April 2017

Show Preparations

It's all go here this week, with two weeks to go before the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show in Harrogate, followed closely after by Quilts UK in Malvern (eek!) I'm sewing and cutting like mad!! As well as some gorgeous fat quarter bundles, strip sets and charm packs...

I'm been finishing up the instructions and packing for my Red Brick Tile quilt. I decided to wash it, it being red and everything... and with a couple of colour catchers, it came out fine.. thank goodness, you know that heart in your mouth feeling... thank the world for colour catchers!! I include a note at the end of all my kits recommending these babies, they really do work. This quilt is so big, it nearly filled our little garden! The kit will be available on the website after the shows in June. 

I've also been working on a couple new Quick & Easy / Beginner's Quilt Kits, one in that gorgeous Coonawarra Red collection and another is this ditsy Confetti range from Dashwood. The Harrogate show is my first one of these Hobbycraft shows, so I'm hoping it attracts new quilters as well as the more addicted, sorry experienced.

So if you're in the Harrogate or Malvern areas in May, why not visit to one of these wonderful quilt and craft shows, details as follows;

Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycraft Show
11th - 13th May, Harrogate Convention Centre 
10am - 4.30pm (5pm on Saturday)

Quilts UK
18th - 21st May, Three Counties Showground, Malvern
10am - 5pm (4.30pm Sunday)

If you're looking for more quilt fun and conversation, why not pop along to these links parties and say hi.
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Thursday 20 April 2017

Concentric circle quilting for my new Snowballs Around the World Quilt Kit

For my second new quilt kit of the month (!) I decided to develop one of my existing patterns, Snowballs in Spring, this time using these gorgeous Papillon fabrics from Makower. I've named this kit Snowballs Around the World as the blocks are laid out in an off-set Trip Around the World - can you see the centre snowball five rows down, three in? This quilt finished at approx. 52" x 61" so will sit comfortably on top of a single or double bed.

Each of these kits contain 104 pre-cut 5" squares, plus 2.10m of solid ivory for the corners and borders, so you'll have some cutting to do yourself! The kit also includes a 50wt thread, six binding strips in that cute stripe and of course, full colour instructions.

To accompany this new release, I thought I would do a quick tutorial on quilting concentric circles to accentuate the off-set Trip Around the World layout. I know Twiggy & Opal wrote a similar tutorial last week which you can read here, mine is more or less the same, I just start differently.

To create my first circle, I use freezer paper as a guide. Draw around something circular - a cup, glass, use a compass - onto the paper side of the freezer paper and accurately cut out. Use a hot iron to press this into place where you would like your circles to grow out from, in my case it was the centre square of my Trip Around the World pattern.

This quilting is done with a walking foot and with the machine's teeth up as normal, so no clever free-motion business here! The trick is to just take it slowly and to gently manoeuvre the quilt around to create each circle. This gets easier the larger the circles become.

When you wish to start quilting anywhere on your quilt that's not off the edge into the wadding, you need to bring up your bobbin thread to the top so you can move both top and bottom threads out of the way before you start stitching. So, holding onto your top thread, place your needle down where you want to start sewing, bring the needle up and pull up your bobbin thread, tuck both threads under your foot and out of the way.

How you secure your threads is up to you, on my Snowballs in Spring quilt I left all my ends long and like a good girl, stitched each of them into the wadding at the end - hard work! Luckily my Janome machine has a 'locking' stitch so I decided to use that this time at the beginning and end of each row. This basically just sews a few tiny stitches on top of each other to secure the thread, which you can still do yourself if your machine doesn't have this function. Just take the stitch length down to say 0.6, sew three or four stitches, then take it up to your chosen length for the main stitching, I think I had mine on 2.8 - you don't want them too long else you'll lose the smooth curve in the circle. 

Moving slowly, stitch around the outer edge of the freezer paper, when you come to where you started, Jayne of Twiggy & Opal had a great tip, if you hold your starting thread ends in front of the foot, you will be able to see your starting point and where to stop sewing. Secure and break thread, and remove the freezer paper.

To start your second row, move your quilt so the left edge of your walking foot is sitting against your first line of stitching which you're going to use as your new guide. Secure your threads as before, and slowly sew your second circle. Try to move your quilt round in small increments to avoid getting sharp angles in your circle.

Carry on sewing circles - when you get to an edge you'll be able to start and end your threads into the wadding which makes life so much easier! As long as you keep that edge of your walking foot against the preceding line of stitching as a guide, your concentric circles should be nicely evenly spaced.

This is a great quilting pattern for so many quilts and always looks impressive!

If this quilt kit takes your fancy, get 15% off by subscribing to my Newsletter 

I'm also having a fat quarter bundle sale this weekend, with all these new fabrics flying in, I want to share the fun! Use the code Bundle20 until midnight on Monday (24 April) and get 20% off all fat quarter bundles.

This week I'm linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek MakersNeedle & Thread Thursday and Main Crush Monday

Thursday 13 April 2017

Tiling inspiration

As I may have mentioned, we've recently moved into a new house, well an old house really by today's standards, a 1930s semi complete with artex ceilings and wood chip wallpaper! Joy! We're slowly making progress on the wood chip - eucalyptus oil works wonders - but after a day of stripping I was really missing a bath. The house came with a large walk-in shower, which while nice, didn't come close to a long hot soak. So this week I'm very pleased to say we now have a bath! Yay! Originally we planned to try and fit it ourselves, however, one look at the pipework and weird boiler, we soon decided to get help. While they did all the complicated stuff, we thought we'd at least have a go at the tiling, I've done a bit before, though they were large tiles with a normal layout... this time, we went for the small 'metro' tiles in a brick formation... hey, I'm a quilter used to lining up seams and points, how hard can it be right?? Famous last words...

Wanting to get the plumber back to finish the job before he forgot us, we were under a little pressure to get the tiling done, so I decided to start on my own - let's just put it this way, everything I could get wrong, I did wrong - I was so paranoid about getting the verticals lined up with every other row, I forgot to check the horizontals - you would think I'd know better! Then we'd picked the wrong spacers, way too big! When I realised I'd gone wonky, I tried to readjust, so we have a nice curve now! Justin helped finish tiling the second wall that night, then I went on to the grouting... into those huge spaces! Thank goodness I didn't go for the grey grout in the end. Having pulled and strained every muscle in my body, I left Justin to grout the second wall. I suppose with the white tiles and white grout, it doesn't look too bad.. but never again!

Anyway, why should I mention this in a quilting blog you may ask. Well, it seems that the brick-like design crept through the pain and into my subconscious and while I was struggling to come up with a design for some new directional prints, this one sprang to mind.

My original plan for these Coonawarra Red prints from Red Rooster Fabrics was another version of the All Squared Up quilt kit, but I thought the directional patterns may cause problems, so thought they would be better kept in one largish block. I then added some simple sashing between each one and laid them out in this brick pattern. I then worked out how to make sure the horizontal sashings all lined up and I think the effect works really well! This will of course soon be a quilt kit and is much larger than my other kits - I had so many people at recent shows ask for double or king size quilts! 

Today I've been sewing a meandering free motion design over the whole top, and hopefully I'll get the binding on tonight in front of the tele.

I've also uploaded these pretty Coonawarra Red fabrics into the Sewmotion shop to buy by the metre, as well as some additions to the lovely P&B Blenders collection. Why not go and have a mooch - while you're there, you could treat yourself in my Easter sale! Simply use the code Easter20 at checkout to get 20% off everything in store (offer ends at midnight on Monday 17th April).

I do hope you all have peaceful and creative Easter weekends, I have a feeling mine might involve painting the bathroom... Happy Easter to you all. xx

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

Thursday 6 April 2017

Pre-Cut Party Pattern and a New Kit

Doing these monthly free patterns certainly makes the year seem to fly by! April - sunshine and showers, and flying geese? This cushion is inspired by the ever useful fat quarter, though you can also use long quarters for this one. If you've been tempted by a gorgeous FQ bundle at a show, brought it home, then thought what on earth am I going to make with that?... then this is the project for you. Or of course, you could go for brights as I did - these Spectrum Solids from Makower are now available on the website.

The PDF pattern includes a quick and nifty way to make four geese blocks at once - it did make me smile to see Angela Walters using this same technique in her latest Midnight Quilter episode (total coincidence, promise!) If you've missed these YouTube shows for Craftsy you must watch them, totally hilarious, and definitely my kind of quilter!

Anyway, for your free pattern, simply subscribe to the Newsletter where you'll find the link for your free download, plus news on latest products, events and special offers.

Talking of new products, here is the latest version of my All Squared Up Quilt kit, this time featuring these glorious Sun Prints fabrics by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. I've paired these with a lovely dark rich grey that I think makes the fabrics shine so beautifully! 

The kit includes all the pre-cut 2.5" strips, border and binding strips you need to complete the quilt top, plus a reel of 50wt thread and full instructions. I have also put together a fabric pack to make the back pictured above. The layout and instructions are included in the kit anyway, so now you can also grab these fabrics, which include a grey blender from P&B Textiles' Bear Essentials collection and nine Sun Prints strips.

Fancy a 15% discount off this kit and backing? Subscribe to the Newsletter now for the code!

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