February Valentine’s scrappy hearts

So this has been a really positive (although really long) week for me! I’ve had three days of lectures exploring further qualitative research methods which has been both fascinating and tiring all in one! I’ve also received the marks on two of my essays (which were really challenging…quantitative research…need I say more?!) and received marks which surpassed my expectations! Cue celebrations!

I also received some scraps from Creative Quilting in Surrey ( http://www.creativequilting.co.uk/ ). They have incredibly beautiful fabrics and were so friendly and lovely. There is so much negativity and division within our world at the moment and yet they reminded me the power of ‘random acts of kindness’. It was so lovely to experience someone demonstrating such kindness and generosity to make someone happy with no hidden agenda. So a massive, massive thank you to Creative Quilting!

So this weekend I have celebrated by sewing with scraps!!

I ironed some bondaweb onto squares of felt. Then I placed (and ironed) some of the scraps onto the bondaweb. I made 3 squares using straight lines and one square with a more random placing of the scraps  (but even then, my random is pretty planned – that’s the nature of being a list/ordered girl I guess!). 

I then loaded my machine up with Gütermann Sulky Rayon 30 and free-motioned on top of the pink squares until I knew each edge was incredibly secure! 

With Valentine’s in mind I wanted to try some hearts out so I cut out a total of 18 hearts from my 2 pink squares and laid them onto white cotton! 

Now to hand stitch them into place…!

N x

January #1yearofstitches 

Happy January 31st! I’ve definitely upped my blog challenge by trying to do a stitch a day! I probably did this anyway with my English Paper Piecing but there is something different about having some linen in an embroidery hoop waiting for something creative and beautiful to be embroidered upon it (maybe it doesn’t need to be creative or beautiful – these are probably the limits/pressures I have placed upon myself!)

So here is a collage of my January embroidery for my year in stitches challenge: 


 There are varying shades of greens and turquoises and I keep being drawn to DMC 907 so I might have to restock soon! 


I have also kept a diary each day of the thread I used, the stitch I made, and any accompanying thoughts/feelings. These include things like stitching a heart for my Dad’s birthday on January 5th, stitching small circle using a running stitch because I had started a new kantha circles piece on January 15th, and using a DMC Jewel Effects thread because I was feeling a bit blue and wanted something glitzy to brighten my day on January 17th!

Here is a closer photo of my January embroidery for my year in stitches: 


See you next month!

N x

A new year…a new challenge!

So I have seen a few groups on Facebook encouraging ‘a stitch a day’ and as much as I love my English Paper Piecing, hand stitching will remain my first love. So,inspired by this, I have joined the group ‘1 year in stitches:2017’. 

Cross stitch was the first stitch I learnt (aged 7!) and for many, many years I found respite in cross stitch. It enabled me to feel creative whilst also feeling held and secure through following the structure of a specified pattern. It allowed me to get lost in the continuous rhythm of simply going up and down to form a repetitive cross. It also allowed me to feel constructive during times of passivity. So I felt a cross stitch was the perfect stitch for starting this new year’s challenge!! I chose the colour green after seeing it is the Pantone colour of the year 2017 (plus I am also biased as it is my favourite colour!)

So for January 1st I did a small row of cross stitches on linen:

For January 2nd I did a straight stitch over each cross: 

 I am excited to see how it progresses but don’t worry, it won’t be daily updates!

I hope you all had a lovely new year!

N x

December block

Well I can actually say this is the first time I have EVER completed a new year’s resolution right until the end!! I have stuck to my challenge of learning a new patchwork block each month!

The boyfriend also had a great suggestion (I know I am biased but he does have a good eye for colour and design!) of embroidering the name of the month onto each patchwork block before piecing them together! So that shall be my next challenge!
So for now, happy new year to all of you! Thank you for following my progress over the past year as I learnt a new patchwork block each month! I hope 2017 is a fantastic year for each of you!

N x

Ps. Mum loved her 2016 memory quilt which I gave her for Christmas! 

The bf also got an EPP cushion for Christmas with penguins  (that were fussy cut) as they’re his fav animal! 

November sewing!

I find it so hard to function in this horribly cold weather! So this month has been a bit of a ‘finishing off’ month as I have mainly stayed indoors!!

I finished the quilting and binding on my Christmas epp quilt (which I blogged about last month). This cold, cold weather has meant that the Christmas quilt has already had a LOT of use already! 

I also managed to do the final 3 blocks for Mum’s quilt (which I blogged about in August) which gives me just under a month to quilt it and bind it! 

This block was made using the 2 fat quarters I bought after our trip to Festival of Quilts in August: 

This block was made using the 2 fat quarters I bought after Mum and I went to the West Country Quilt and Textile Show at the start of November: 

The show was utterly fantastic and it was great that it all took place so locally!! I bought lots of gorgeous new fabrics and threads (the threads in particular I cannot wait to start using for a Kantha piece which I will blog about in the new year)!

The final block for Mum’s quilt was made using 2 fat quarters that I bought from Social Fabric when Mum and I went to Totnes:


Then, finally, I have also managed by November block for my 2016 blog quilt where I have sought to learn a new patchwork block each month! 11 done…1 more to go and then I can piece them all together! 

I hope you are all well and staying warm in this horribly cold weather. I am off back to hibernation with a cuppa and a hot water bottle! Speak to you soon.

N x

beginning to feel Christmassy…

Another busy month – especially with being back at uni! So I needed a welcome distraction from reading about the philosophy of social science research and what better distraction then Christmas?! I’ve been amassing Christmas fabric but haven’t actually made anything with it so I decided to crack out my pens, papers, and English Paper Piecing (EPP) templates!

I’d bought some 2 inch EPP octagons months ago with no particular project in mind. Then, in a burst of festiveness, I decided to try them out with some new Christmas fabric that I had bought from Make and Do (photo 1)!

 http://www.mymakeanddo.co.uk/ourshop/prod_4040051-Treelicious-by-Maude-Asbury-for-Blend-Red-Orange.html

This Christmas fabric lended itself beautifully to being teamed up with the Flurry Dots range by Dashwood Studio (photo 2). 

So I quickly sketched out the order of octagons I wanted for each strip (photo 3) and the fabrics I was going to use (photo 4). Then, I started to sew strips of these octagons together with a total of 9 octagons per strip. 

 

Then, when I had drawn out and made the 7 strips, I could see there were square-shaped gaps between these joined octagons! Luckily, I happened to have the right size squares (2 inch) in my EPP template stash (and it was definitely more luck than forward planning!)

So, I returned to my sketched ‘plan’ and mapped out which fabric squares would go inbetween each strip.

 When the octagon strips were joined with those squares inbetween, all that was left was to fill in those gaps around the edges!
These needed 2″ EPP Half-Square Triangles (which, again, I luckily had in my EPP template stash)! I was a bit unsure what fabric to use for this bit but after a trip with a sewing friend to a Doughty’s roadshow I found the perfect fabric! It’s called ‘Cool Yule Snowflake’ by The Henley Studio, Makower UK.

All that was left was to fill in each of the four corners. To do this I cut a 2″ EPP Half-Square Triangle in half and this was the perfect shape.And voila! My first EPP Christmas Quilt laid out ready to quilt.

Then, through one of my late night Pinterest surfing sessions, I found a really similar design known as a snowball quilt! What an apt name eh?! If I’d only found that before I’d started my own EPP Christmas quilt!

Hope your October has gone well. I’m off to machine quilt this piece and handsew the binding – I’ll share the finished photo next month! See you soon 🙂

N x

Ps. My September block (albeit late). It is INCREDIBLY wonky but I still like the colours!! Just need a bit (or a lot…) more practice matching my seams…! 

Pps. My October block! Much straighter seams with this one! 

Finding inspiration in everyday objects…

So I’ve had a really busy month and unfortunately, due to ill health, I haven’t been able to use my sewing machine or do my usual patchwork block of the month. I have to admit that I’d started to draft this blog post in August when I was able to use my machine and had made a new block after a trip to my Aunt’s house (I’ll expand more in a bit!). Luckily, being super eager/keen bean/organised paid off as it means I can keep up my NY resolution with my blog posts but just with a slightly different block than usual for this month. I am really hoping things will continue to improve and I will catch up for lost time by doing both the September and October blocks together next month! 

 I went to the Festival of Quilts during August having entered my first EPP quilt into the competitions. It wasn’t until I’d arrived and hunted down the quilt that I found a sign next to it saying “Highly Commended”. Cue the Mum taking lots of photos with me by the quilt, me by the sign, of the sign alone, of the quilt alone etc etc! Although it was a very long and tiring day (with lots of walking, shopping and photos) it was hugely exciting to have that recognition and to make the Mum proud! 

I have found that once you start doing patchwork (or even textiles in any form) it is really hard not to see inspiration in everyday objects! 

My boyfriend and I recently went to Italy and went past a beautiful old church but what really caught my attention was it’s roof…to me it looked like lots of mini hexagons – almost like an English Paper Piecing roof!! 

Maybe that subconsciously filtered through and influenced the 500+ 1/2″ hexagons that I basted whilst I was there…! 

Even the hotel logo had me thinking about the Tumbling Blocks pattern that is so popular within patchwork. It left me wondering whether I would have the right colours to replicate it myself once I got home…if not then I’m sure I could justify buying a bit more fabric for the ever-growing stash 😉 

This ‘inspiration in everday objects’ (or maybe just obsession) went one step further when I stayed at my Aunt’s house last month. I found myself looking at the pattern of her dressing gown and wondering how I could replicate it in patchwork! 

So I started to challenge myself to make a patchwork block based on the dressing gown! I tried to separate out sections of the block into more manageable pieces before working out the sizes for each piece (including seam allowance). 

Then with fingers crossed  (and breath held!) I translated this from paper to fabric to make my Dressing Gown block (in my own colours). 

So whilst it isn’t an exact replica of the dressing gown I hope you can see this progression from object to paper to textiles! I hope to make several more of these blocks over the coming months and I can’t wait to show the photos as they come together to make my Dressing Gown quilt.

I guess this notion of finding patchwork patterns and inspiration in everyday objects means I am well and truly hooked!!

N x