Friday, 28 February 2014

Free motion fun

Last week I went to my first ever Free-Motion quilting class at Stitchin Heaven, which was taught by the aptly named Lucie, the Happy Quilter. As well as introducing a bunch of complete novices to the joys of Free-motion quilting, Lucie was also encouraging us to throw some raw-edged applique into the mix, very brave :)


This was my practice piece, lots of haphazardly appliqued scrappy hearts and a few swirls.

I stuck with the heart shapes for the applique in the final piece but decided that haphazard wasn't really working, so drew out a circle shape on the linen background with the Hera marker.

FMQ wallhanging

This is what I ended up with!

I really struggle to see the Hera marker indentations when the fabric is under the lights of the sewing machine so the circle wobbled a bit, but other than that I am quietly pleased with my first FMQ piece. I was even confident enough to have a go at FMQ'ing my initial in the middle, and surprisingly it is recognisably an F!

With the addition of two corner triangles at the top corners on the back when I added the binding, this is now ready to be hung above my sewing machine to remind me of a fun day out and, hopefully, to inspire me to greater things as far as FMQ is concerned :) All I need now is a dowel for the back and for my husband to deliver on his promise to hang it, I am still waiting for the shelf that was bought months ago to be hung so I am not holding my breath!

Lucie is running a FMQ sampler class in a couple of months, I am very tempted to give it a go!

Whilst we are on the subject of quilting I couldn't resist taking a photo of this very comfy looking chair, seen in a design gallery window in Prague!

Quilted chair

Isn't it just perfect for a quilter?

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Weekend Doings

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

New to Me in February

It's the 25th of the month, which means that it is time to look back on February to see what we have tried that is New to You this month.

Maybe it's because February is a short month but it feels that I haven't tried out very much that is New to Me this month. I have, however, a big (to me anyway!) new activity to report!

Visit Celtic Thistle's Craftsy Pattern Store »

I have opened a Craftsy Pattern Store!!! At the moment there is only one, free pattern in the store so I am certainly not going to be making my fortune from it :) Still, I have wanted to write up a pattern for this Luckenbooth applique for a long time, so I am thrilled to bits to have finally done it. I am even more thrilled that 90+ Craftsy members liked the look of the pattern enough to download it too :) I already have plans for the next pattern, I just have to get my head around the technology to get what I have in my head into pattern form!

Prague in Winter

When you read this I will be experiencing my second New to Me activity this month as we have headed off to Prague for a few days. We have never visited Prague before so we are looking forward to exploring this beautiful city.

Now, it's your turn to link up what you have been trying out this month.

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Grab button for Celtic Thistle Stitches

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Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on February 28th, so if you have been inspired by the Winter Olympics or trying to escape the snow, floods or heat there is still time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

There is still time to link up to the Ho,Ho,Ho and on We Sew link party too

So, if you have made a start on your Christmas/Holiday gifts or decorations this month check out February's post and link here

All links will be entered into the random draw to win this great addition to your Holiday sewing library.

An eBook of Christmas patterns from Bustle and Sew, the perfect start to your organised Christmas crafting :)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A little bit of FMQ'ing going on

If you are looking for the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew February Link party you will find it here

Have I mentioned that I modified the foot of my Free Motion Quilting machine foot? Maybe just once or twice :)

Well, I don't know whether it is all in the mind, but suddenly the fear is gone and I have been FMQ'ing away to my heart's content.

Leaf quilting close up

So there has been hearts,

Coffee Lovers set complete

Holly leaves

And Sew On BOM quilting

and now stippling!

I can't claim to be a master of any of them, but I am enjoying myself all the same. I have taken the opportunity of Quiet Play's And Sew On BOM quilt to practise all sorts of weird and wonderful FMQ (to me anyway!) , and will, hopefully, be able to share them all with you soon. Forewarning though, some are definitely better than others :)

Tomorrow I am going to a full day FMQ class at my LQS, so perhaps by the end of the day I will actually know what I am doing!

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew - February Link Up and Coffee Lovers Set

Paula and I are delighted to welcome you to the second of our monthly Ho,Ho,Ho and on We Sew Link Parties. With the Winter Olympics in full swing and the first snow of the winter here last week, it doesn't seem so strange to  be planning a Christmas project :)

Thanks to the lovely bloggers who linked up last month with Paula at Mud, Pies and Pins, and thanks especially to Kristy and Alyce who provided the great pattern giveaway for January, which was won by Karen

This month's giveaway is another wonderful prize donated by Helen of Bustle and Sew, if you win this prize you will have plenty of inspiration for this year's Christmas and Holiday gifts. Helen has very kindly donated a copy of her Handstitched Christmas eBook!

There are 15 great Christmas patterns for you to try in the eBook, and with patterns ranging from Carol singing mice to Reindeer Tote Bags, there is bound to be something to take your fancy :) You can find details of all the patterns in the ebook here

To be in with a chance of winning the eBook, all you need do is link up below a Christmas project that you have completed this month. A random winner will be picked from all of the entries linked by the end of the month.

If you are struggling to think of a project to make how about this Coffee Lovers gift set?

Coffee Lovers Gift Set
The set comprises of a Place Mat, Mug Cosy and Cafetiere/French Press/Coffee Plunger Cosy and would make a lovely gift for a Coffee-loving friend or relation. This one is destined for my Sister-in-Law!

To make the gift set you will need the following supplies;

1FQ Christmas fabric for the exterior of the Cosies and star of the placemat
0.5yard fabric for the backing of the placemat and lining of the Cosies. (You will have enough fabric to use for the binding and button loops if you wish)
1F8th of 2 contrast fabrics for the placemat front and binding
Scrap of ribbon (optional) for button closure
0.5yard Insul-Bright heat-resistant wadding/batting
3 red buttons

The Cafetiere/French Press/Coffee Plunger and Mug Cosies are made in the same way, the only difference is in the dimensions.

Creating the quilted fabric

Measure the width and height of your Mug and Cafetiere and cut pieces of your exterior fabric to match these dimensions plus 0.5" all round. Cut pieces of the wadding and exterior fabric to the original dimensions plus 1" all round. Layer up the pieces in the following order;

  • Top          - Exterior Fabric
  • Middle     - Heat-resistant wadding, shiny side down
  • Bottom    - Backing Fabric
Pin baste the fabrics together and quilt.

 I quilted a FMQ holly design using Aurifil 50wt shade 2892, can you tell that I am having fun experimenting with the modified FMQ foot??

I found it helped to draw the motif out on a notepad beforehand and refer to it when I was stitching.

When you have quilted your fabric pieces, trim them to the dimensions of your Cafetiere and Mug. For information my pieces were trimmed to the following dimensions;

  • Cafetiere - Height 6" Width 11"
  • Mug        - Height 3.25" Width 9.25" 

Button Loops

I made two different button loop closures, a ribbon loop closure and a fabric loop closure. If I was making the set again I think that I would make both closures fabric loop closures as it seems sturdier. If you choose to make a ribbon loop closure you will just need a length of ribbon that is twice the gap between the edges of your cosy plus 0.5" and thin enough to fit between the handles of the mug or Cafetiere.

If you are making a fabric loop closure you will need a piece of fabric 1.5" wide and to the same measurement as the ribbon loop given above.

Fold the fabric strip in half lengthways wrong sides together and press, then open out the folded strip and fold the raw edges into the centre fold and press again. Fold the strip in half again lengthways giving you a fabric strip that now has one closed folded edge and one open folded edge. Topstitch along the length of the open folded edge.

Fold the topstitched strip in half widthways and with the raw edges side by side flatten the top fold to make a V-shaped fold. Stitch across the bottom of the V

You can see this more clearly in the photo above.


Cut and piece together sufficient 2" binding strips to bind your Cafetiere and Mug Cosies. Fold the pieced strips in half lengthways and press.

Mark the halfway point of one short edge and pin the button loop or ribbon closure to the backing, matching the raw edges. Stitch the loop closure to the cosy using a scant 0.25" seam to ensure that the stitching will not show when the binding is attached.

With raw edges together pin and stitch the binding strip around the exterior edge of the cosy, mitring the corners as you go.

Fold the binding over to the back of the cosy and handstitch the binding, catching the button loop closure or ribbon closure as you go.

Attach a red button to the middle of the opposite short edge on the exterior.

Wrap your cosy around a Cafetiere and Mug and enjoy a long, hot mug of coffee!

To finish off your gift set though, how about a quilted placemat to match?

Piecing a block for the placemat

From your fabrics cut the following;

Christmas fabric
  • 8 x 3 and 7/8" triangles
  • 1 x 6.5" square
First contrast fabric
  • 8 x 3 and 7/8" triangles
 Second contrast fabric
  • 4 x 3.5" squares
  • 2" x 54" binding strip
Join the Christmas fabric triangles to the First contrast fabric triangles and then join the resultant squares to another pair to make 4 pairs.

The Christmas fabric triangles will only be joined at the points to make the points of the star as shown above.

To two of the pairs join a second contrast fabric square at each end of the pair.

Join the remaining pairs to opposite sides of the 6.5" square, making sure that the star points are facing in the right direction to complete the star.

Quilting the placemat

Layer and baste the placemat pieces and quilt. I outline quilted the star shape just for a change :)


Square up the block and then bind the placemat in the same way that you bound the cosies except without the incorporation of the button loops.

Admire your work then squirrel the set away for Christmas and congratulate yourself on ticking a gift off the list so early :)

If you are looking for some Christmas-themed fabric for your makes, the 50% off sale is still on at The Fat Quarter Christmas Cloth store, just saying :)

I plan to add a bag of Christmas Coffee and maybe some handmade truffles to this set when the time comes!

This is also one of my finishes for Q1 of the FAL!

Finish Along 2014

So, now it is your turn. Link up your Christmas/Holiday/Gift projects to be in with a chance of winning this month's giveaway.

The Link Party will remain open until 23.59GMT on February 28th, so you still have lots of time to make and link up a project. As ever, grab the button from the sidebar and spread the word, the more projects linked up the more inspiration there will be! A comment here and there to your fellow linkers wouldn't go amiss either :)

Linking up to

Sew Cute Tuesday

Fresh Poppy Design

Saturday, 15 February 2014

After the storm

Is there anything better than walking along a beach after a storm?

Beach finds after a storm

Finding lots of sea glass for when I finally get around to making more jewellery :)

Linking up to

at Kettleboiler and Weekend Doings

Friday, 14 February 2014

A Quilted Pouch

This week has all been about practising with my new (and modified!) Free Motion Quilting foot.

Completed quilted pouch
 And here is the result of my practice - a quilted zipper pouch!

My daughter-in-law to be's favourite colour is purple, so this is destined for her.

Leaf quilting close up

Here is a close-up of the quilting from the interior of the bag, appropriate don't you think for today :)

A tutorial for the pouch is available here

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday, 13 February 2014

An unusual decoration

Giddy with the rather rare sight of sun at the weekend, we ventured out to explore a new to us stately home in our neck of the woods.

Seaton Delaval Hall, has had a rather chequered past with a great fire in 1822 all but destroying the main Hall. Historically the Hall is important as the last masterpiece of the architect, Sir John Vanbrugh, who is probably better known for designing Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard

The Delaval family who owned the house for several generations until they passed the ownership on to the National Trust, were an unusual bunch. One heir groped a chambermaid and died as a result of the hefty kick in the groin that he received from the object of his affections! Another became an MP after shooting guinea coins from a cannon to help "persuade" the local electorate, whilst another died after a drunken fall down his own steps.

Naturally, the Hall is reputed to have a resident ghost, the White Lady, who was apparently a chambermaid who died of a broken heart after a son of the house went off to war and never returned. A stately home isn't worth its salt if it doesn't have a resident ghost :)

We weren't quite sure what to make of these items hanging on the walls when we discovered that they were man traps. They looked fairly intimidating before we discovered their true purpose but looked entirely evil after. Not such a quaintly comic heritage after all.

Linking up to

Really Random

Friday, 7 February 2014

Putting my best foot forward!

Martha at Weekend Doings has launched a new Friday Link up to encourage us to capture one moment of our week and blog about it. If you haven't come across Martha's blog before, she takes the most wonderful photographs, which are always a joy to see and definitely worth checking out.

This is my photo of my week!

Some time ago I signed up for Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting class on Craftsy but have only recently actually started to watch the class. Straight away I discovered that the generic sewing machine foot that I had been using for my tentative attempts at FMQ'ing wasn't even the right one! (It was close but not close enough) So, I ordered the correct foot for my machine and waited for it to arrive.

When it arrived did I take it out of the packaging and attach it, oh no!! Leah recommends that you attack your foot with a pair of jewellery pliers and a rubber band, to improve the performance ???

So, as you can see that is what I did.

It felt very strange apparently ruining a perfectly good (and not so cheap!) sewing machine foot, all sorts of thoughts about warranties and returns were flitting through my mind as I wrestled with bending back that bar, I can tell you :)

Still it is now modified and has it made any difference? Well, you will just have to wait and see for that but the signs are good!

Linking up to

Weekend Doings
Really Random

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