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! 

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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

Stitching with love

​I love the idea of creating a quilt for someone you love. As it develops you are holding them in mind and wondering if they’ll like the pattern, the colours, the texture and the design. With every stitch you are piecing together some sort of memory, thought
and emotion that is linked to that person and it is forming something tangible: a handcrafted quilt. That quilt then acts as a physical representation of the love and care you have for that person. I also feel this process of stitching for someone you love
echoes something of John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory as you are holding that person in mind during the making of the quilt even when they are not physically present. Also, through the process of making a quilt for that person there is so much love, care, attention and focus being put into it and the recipient can then envelope themselves in that quilt and that tangible representation
of the maker’s love for them. That way even when the maker of the quilt is not physically present the recipient can still feel their presence, care and thought as it is embodied in the quilt as the tangible representation of their love. 

I love this notion of creating a quilt and stitching for someone you love whilst incorporating shared memories into the texture, the colour and the pattern of the fabric. SO…with this in mind I am making a special 2016 quilt for my mum for Christmas! Each
time Mum and I have gone away or done something special during 2016 I have bought 2 fat quarters (a pre-cut piece of fabric) to commemorate it! I am using a pattern called Penny Tiles which was designed by
the fantastic Messy Jessie at Sew and Quilt (http://http://www.sewandquilt.co.uk/shop/jessie-fincham-penny-tiles-quilt-pattern-pdf/ ).
Mum and I both buy our English Paper Piecing templates from Sew and Quilt so it seemed like the perfect place to get the design for the quilt.

So I’ve recorded the memory behind each block here (also to partly help me to remember them when it comes to writing them down for the card to accompany the quilt at Christmas!

Block 1: Mum and I went away to Cornwall just after Christmas 2015 and we visited The Sewing Studio in Redruth which is where the first 2 fat quarters were bought!


Block 2: In February Mum and I went to London to see the exhibition Liberty in Fashion at the Fashion and Textile Museum. I bought 2 Liberty fat quarters from Alice Caroline to make this block: 

Block 3: At the start of March Mum and I had a girly day trip to Cardiff for Mother’s Day, pizza and shopping! We also went to Busy Bees Patchwork in Newport which is where I bought the 2 fat quarters to make this block: 

Block 4: Doughty’s came to Shirehampton! Reading through the local paper we saw that Doughty’s was visiting Shirehampton Village Hall and wow did they bring a lot of fabric! I also came across a local stitching group called Shire Stitchers (who had organised Doughty’s visit) so March was definitely a good month and I couldn’t resist adding these 2 fat quarters to the stash and to make block 4: 

Block 5: At the end of March/start of April we went back to Cornwall. We couldn’t travel all that way without visiting The Sewing Studio again so another 2 fat quarters were bought from there to make block 5: 

Block 6: For May Bank Holiday we went to Center Parcs with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin. Mum and I went into Warminster and I bought a fat quarter from Think Outside the Box which I used to make the centre of the block. We then went into a charity shop which had several metres of fabric including some by Andover and Makower so I used one of these fabrics (called Dimples) for the triangles around the edges. 

Block 7: This block was made using 2 fat quarters that I bought from Pins and Needles in New York: 

Block 8: This block was made using 2 fat quarters from The City Quilter in New York: 

Block 9: This is the most recent block made using fat quarters from Amsterdam. The centre of the block was made from a Robert Kaufman fat quarter which I bought in Birdblocks and the outer triangles were made from a Dutch Heritage fat quarter bought in Den Haan and Wagenmakers: 

Edit
So I’ve made 9 ‘blocks’ so far and hope to have 12 ‘blocks’ by the end of the year…I just hope I quilt it and bind it in time for Christmas!! 

Ps. I’m still going with the New Year’s Resolution of learning a new patchwork block each month! This is my August block: 

Sewing in Amsterdam

It’s beginning to sound like I am a little jet setter! I’m really not – I’ve just been lucky to have these opportunities towards the end of term when the uni workload is lighter!
I arrived in Amsterdam with my Mum 2 days ago and I have fallen in love with this city all over again!

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Everywhere is just beautiful, the buildings are stunning and the people are friendly! As well as having been to the Van Gogh Museum yesterday and the Anne Frank House today we have also found some knitting/quilting/bead shops!!
We first went to De Afstap (12 Oude Leliestraat) which had a range of wools and threads and an even greater range of books and patterns. It isn’t cheap but it is definitely worth a visit just because of all the gorgeous things that they sell! I was tempted to buy lots of gorgeous wool but I had to keep reminding myself I don’t actually knit often! Maybe one day….

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Afterwards we went to Birdblocks (99 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal). Now this shop is fantastic! A wide range of fabrics, threads, needles, patterns and an absolute must-visit! The lady who served us was really friendly too and that makes all the difference!

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I bought a pink fat quarter for my special 2016 quilt (which I will blog about next month) by Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman:

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They also had a range of fabrics from the Kaffe Fassett collective and whilst they weren’t cheap I just couldn’t resist!

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Then right next door to Birdblocks is Den Haan & Wagenmakers B.V. (95 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal). Again, this place was beautiful and the lady was very friendly.

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They had such a beautiful range of Dutch Heritage fabrics and I couldn’t resist these two for my 2016 quilt:

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Then after a long day of walking (and shopping) we passed Copenhagen Kralen Beads (54 Rozengracht):

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Thousands of beads that have been meticulously colour coordinated and ordered in jars that line every wall in the shop!
Now we have arrived back (or rather collapsed back) at our Air bnb apartment (an apartment which is up 68 stairs and a mean feat in itself!)
Time for a well-earned cold drink I think!
Speak soon.
N xx

July – New York Stripey Quilt

Happy July!! It was my birthday yesterday and I was treated to lots of new, yummy fabric so I am feeling like one very lucky girl!! I am also on the home stretch of my dissertation with only the final draft left to do. It’s coming together nicely so I treated myself to a day of sewing whilst watching Wimbledon!! Using the fabrics I bought during my trip to NYC last month I played around with triangles until I reached this design:

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I am really pleased with this and it is made using 1/4 yard of 9 different fabrics all bought from The City Quilter in NYC.
Ps. If following the pattern you might want to grab a pencil and paper to help with labels and keeping track of the order they go in!

The pattern:
I used the sizzix bigz die for a triangle
measuring 4 5/8inch (height) by 8 1/2inch (width) but it is probably much easier just to cut them!
Fabric A: cut 7 triangles –

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Fabric B: cut 7 triangles –

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Fabric C: cut 9 triangles –

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Fabric D: cut 12 triangles –

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Fabric E: cut 12 triangles –

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Fabric F: cut 12 triangles –

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Fabric G: cut 12 triangles –

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Fabric H: cut 12 triangles –

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Fabric I: cut 12 triangles –

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Then make the following pairs from the triangles to form squares:

Pair 1 D with 1 A to make 1 square = A1

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Pair 1 A with 1 F 5 times to make a total of 5 squares = A2

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Pair 1 F with 1 B 3 times to make a total of 3 squares = A3

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Pair 1 B with 1 G 4 times to make a total of 4 squares = A4

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Pair 1 G with 1 D 5 times to make a total of 5 squares = A5

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Pair 1 D with 1 E 6 times to make a total of 6 squares = A6

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Pair 1 E with 1 I 6 times to make a total of 6 squares = A7

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Pair 1 I with 1 H 6 times to make a total of 6 squares = A8

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Pair 1 H with 1 C 5 times to make a total of 5 squares = A9

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Pair 1 C with 1 F 4 times to make a total of 4 squares = A10

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Pair 1 A with 1 G 2 times to make a total of 2 squares = A11

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Pair 1 G with 1 H to make 1 square = A12

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Then I joined these squares together to make rows (a total of 8).
So in row 1, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A8, A9, A10, A2, A11, A12:

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In row 2, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A7, A8, A9, A10, A2, A11:

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In row 3, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A6, A7, A8, A9, A10 and A2:

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In row 4, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A5, A6, A7, A8, A9, A10:

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In row 5, from top to bottom, join thesquares in the following order: A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, A9:

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In row 6, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A3, A4, A5, A6, A7, A8:

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In row 7, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A2 (rotated 180 degrees – see photo below), A3, A4, A5, A6, A7:

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In row 8, from top to bottom, join the squares in the following order: A1, A2 (with the 180 degree rotation as in row 7), A3, A4, A5, A6:

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Then join these rows together starting with row 1 on the far left through to row 8 on the far right:

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Now just the quilting to do!! And I’ve bought myself a walking foot which I am keen to try out so that’ll be my next task! Enjoy the rest of your July! 🙂
N xx
Ps. For the eagle-eyed of you…this is what happens when you don’t double check before cutting your fabric – you end up with the selvedge showing in your quilt!! Oops!

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Pps. I have made the July block too so I am still going with the NY resolution of learning a new patchwork block each month!! For July I made the ‘Staircases’ block from the Amy Butler 20 Simple Block Designs booklet that came with issue 4 of Love Patchwork and Quilting:

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