Thursday 29 November 2012

Knotted Celtic Neckwear

So remember this sneak peek of my current project? 

Well here it is in all its glory - my contribution to the Ring your Neck Challenge organised by Rikka.

I have wanted to have a go at Celtic-style applique for a long time, so I am delighted to finally have used the technique. Beth Ann Williams' book Celtic Quilts has been on my bookshelf for years, so it wasn't difficult to know where to look when I finally decided that this was the technique that was going to be my challenge.

The background of the scarf is a purple dupion silk and I have backed it with some purple linen that I just happened to have bought on a recent linen shopping trip to Lithuania! The batiks for the applique were some of the first FQ's I ever bought, when I went to a patchwork and quilting evening class many years ago. It feels good to have finally done something with them.

Although the applique is far from perfect, I had trouble with remembering my "unders" and "overs" at times, I am so delighted with how this turned out that I will definitely be tackling some of the gorgeous cushions in the book in the not too-distant future.

This is the first of Rikka's challenges that I have taken part in and it really spurred me on to tackle something different so I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her challenges in the future.

There are some fabulous scarves already posted but there are still a couple of days left until the entry deadline on November 30th, so if you were quick you could still enter :)

Linking up to Make it Wear it and Threading my Way

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Old/New WIP

A couple of weekends ago we visited a local antiques fair and market. The market is held every weekend in a local overground rail station and is always a nice morning out.

To my delight one of the first stalls I came across was selling vintage linens. Not only that though, as the stallholder had had such a good day at a big antiques fair the previous week she was keen to offload her remaining stock so was slashing her prices with gusto! Now that is my kind of stall :)

It would have been wrong not to help her destash wouldn't it?

 I have bought some jewellery for Christmas presents for my SIL and DIL so will be using the linen napkins to make jewellery rolls for them. No plans as yet for the rest of the linen but it was too good a bargain to be passed up!
I also bought this vintage embroidery transfer for 50pence! I am a member of the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr group but have never had anything to upload. Hopefully, this will be my first contribution, although I think I need to do some research to make sure it is out of copyright first. If you have any idea where this might be from I would be delighted to hear!

My final purchase was the Old WIP referred to in the title. These abandoned EPP hexagons were calling to me.

They look like they have been a WIP for considerably longer than I have been sewing, and they are now my latest WIP. The fabrics are a bit of a mix but I am sure I will be able to do something with them!

It has been a few weeks since I last updated my WIP list so here is how it is looking at the moment.


  • 7 blocks of In Color Order HST BOM ( 4 blocks behind schedule)
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted
  • Teatime quilt pieced, backed and basted 
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks
  • 14 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (3 months behind schedule) 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks completed and sent (on schedule)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (on schedule just!)
  • Travelling Pic Stitch Blog Hop project (not going to make Nov 30th deadline!)
  • Modern Scrappy Bits Swap item to be sent by Dec 5th
  • Ring your neck Challenge scarf completed 

  • Indigo and violet rainbow cushions
  • Last block of Sampler quilt
Hoping you have had a productive week.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Random picks a winner!

Thank you for all your comments on the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop it has been a pleasure to read them.

The Random Number Generator has done its' thing and picked

True Random Number Service

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2012-11-27 19:41:49 UTC

And the winner is:-
 Bea Lee

great pillow, I don't think I've quilted with unusual fabrics. hmmm I once long arm quilted a customer's quilt that had minky on the back, it turned out great! you didn't see the threads on the back but your saw the pattern of the quilting.

I'll be popping these in the post as soon as you let me know your address.

I shall certainly be looking at more items around the house for their potential in future quilts, there is no end to the creativity in blog land! Speaking of which check out today's Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hoppers, there are some amazing interpretations of the pattern today.

Tuesday November 27
Insanity Defense ) not up yet

I shall just leave you with a sneak peek of my current project, no upcycled fabric there (yet!).

Thanks again for taking the time to comment and follow, I really appreciate it.

Monday 26 November 2012

Polaroid Post

A few weeks ago I was allowed to be an "honorary Aussie" to participate in Quiet Play's Say Cheese, Polaroid Block Swap. I think my devotion to the cause of Australian wine was a crucial factor in the decision:)

I sent my 50 blocks off and on Saturday my return blocks arrived.


There is a lovely mix of fabrics in the blocks, which are destined to become a doll quilt for my niece. Fortunately her birthday is early in the year, so if this doesn't get finished in time for Christmas to accompany the doll I have already bought for her, then it won't look too tardy to be giving her the quilt for her birthday!

Don't forget there is still time to enter my Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop giveaway for 6 Christmas FQ's here. The giveaway closes Tuesday, November 27th at 18.00 UK time.

Check out today's stops in the Blog Hop too

Thursday 22 November 2012

Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop and a Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop.

This is the first time I have taken part in one of Madam Samm, Sew We Quilt's Blog Hops, but from what I have seen she is definitely the Queen of the Blog Hop! This is the last one of 2012 for Madam Samm, but she has some exciting Hops already lined up for 2013, apparently, so keep your eyes peeled :)

The Cheerleader for this Blog Hop was the lovely Pauline, otherwise known as Quilt 'n Queen. Poor Pauline has been fending off the flu bug and coping with a laptop in its' death throes, but still managed to keep everyone on track, that is dedication!

The Hoppers on track today are

Thursday November 22
In all there are 95 Hoppers taking part, that is a lot of pillows (or cushions for we Brits!). 
As ever, and despite my best intentions,  I took this project right to the wire. The photo for the Blog Hop didn't really give me an idea of the actual size of this pillow - it is big! The pattern is by Jill Finley of Jillily Studio and is available here, but be warned this pillow eats up stuffing :)
The original pattern calls for a black background, but as regular readers will know my plain black fabric is currently skulking in a storage unit. So, yes you have guessed it, the son's shirt came into play again for the applique door! Instead of a night scene then I went for a dazzling blue Northern sky, just like the ones we loved in Latvia. Although you can just see a sprinkling of snow in the air with some quilted snowflakes dotted around, as it wouldn't be Christmas without at least a little snowfall :)
Now if you would like to make your own Holiday Lane pillow, today's Giveaway might just help to get you started. 
To win 6FQ's of Holiday themed fabric, all you need to do is leave a comment telling me what unusual fabric you have used in your patchwork. If you are a follower leave a comment telling me that too for an extra chance to win. 
The winner will be drawn randomly on Tuesday 27th November at 18.00 UK Time. If you are a no-reply blogger please make sure you include your email address in your comment, so that I have some way of contacting you should you win. International entries are, of course, welcome!
Giveaway now closed, Congratulations Beaquilter!
I shall look forward to seeing what other things I can requisition for my sewing until I am reunited with my stash :)

Monday 19 November 2012

Storks and Scenery

One of the bonuses of being back in the UK is that we can nip down South to visit our boys whenever we like. Another bonus is that they might just happen to live near charming fabric shops like this one!

Of course it would have been rude to take a photo without making a purchase, so a few FQ's might just have found their way into my bag :)

Our trip wasn't all shopping themed though, we manage to fit in a riverside walk at Henley on Thames, scene of the renowned Henley Royal Regatta, too. (There was an excellent fabric warehouse there too but I will tell you all about it in a later post!).

In the lovely village of Wallingford in Oxfordshire we had fun poking around an antique and vintage arcade. We were amused to find that free cereal bowls that our boys collected when they were younger, and still use when they come home, were for sale on one of the stalls. Perhaps we should have a look through our cupboards to see if there are any hidden gems!

I came across these vintage needlecraft magazines at one of the stalls too.

The Good Needlework was tempting but it didn't seem to have the embroidery transfers listed with it so I thought better of it. My knitting skills are not up to attempting any of the patterns just yet.

I did though attempt the paper-pieced Stork pattern that my lovely, blogging friend Kristy drew up for me for this month's Star of Africa Bee block. Nicky, whose month this is, asked for blocks based upon fairytales or folk tales. The pattern was really straightforward, any mistakes are entirely down to me! You can check out more of  Kristy's fabulous patterns in her Craftsy store

As my stash is still hidden away at the back of the storage unit I had real trouble finding some black fabric for the wing. In the end I resorted to cutting a piece out of my son's shirt! I am hoping he doesn't read this blog :)

In Eastern Europe storks are considered very lucky and people go to great lengths to ensure that storks return to the same nests year after year.

We were always delighted in our drives through the Baltic States to spot stork nests, especially in the Springtime with hungry chicks peering over the top.  The nests were often surprisingly close to the roads, so stork-spotting was never that difficult.  There are apparently black storks in Latvia but they are much more elusive!

Nicky has also asked for a signature block made to resemble a book spine so that is next on the to-do list.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend too.

Linking up to BOM's AwayMonday Link-up and  Sew Modern Monday

Monday 12 November 2012

Squares all round

I am gradually getting my sewing supplies back together although my stash aka "various cloth pieces" are still hidden away in the storage unit! I have, however, uncovered my scrap bags so I was able to sew the purple blocks for this month in the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee.

I have fallen way behind on my Craftsy and In Color Order HST  BOM quilts, both of which were intended to be Christmas presents, although that is looking less likely as each day passes! In a quiet moment yesterday though, whilst the men of the household were ensconced in front of the rugby I did at least make a start of cutting out the squares for the HST BOM.

It is not much but at least it is a start!

Although I haven't yet come across my stash my fabric cupboard is not entirely bare.

These are the fabrics I received from the Christmas Layer Cake swap, one of which has already been put to good use in my project for the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop.

Check out the remaining posts in the Blog Hop if you have Christmas fabric waiting to be used too!

12th November: Megan from Jaffa Quilts & Jane from QuiltJane 
13th November: Gemma from Pretty Bobbins
Just in case my stash remains absent for too long I treated myself to some fabric bundles too. An almost bare fabric cupboard makes me twitchy :)

 I am having a bit of a purple month! This bundle has been on my wish list for a while so when it was reduced at Fabricworm, it was too good an opportunity to miss.

These fabrics are destined for gifts for my eldest and middle sons. The eldest works in the fine wine trade and my middle son works in publishing so they were too apt to pass up. Well that is my excuse anyway.

Hope you had a more productive weekend than I did.

It is the last week of the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop so Beth has a bumper crop of bloggers lined up. Check them out below. There will be plenty of inspiration there I am sure!

         Cynthia from A Quilter by Night
         Stephanie from Smalltown Dreamz
         Cynthia from Quilt Doodle Doodles
         Diane from From Blank Pages
         Laura from Waffle Kisses
         Mary Ann from Rocknquilts
         Angela from Angela B
         Jaime from Stitches to Sprinkles
         Allegory from {sew} Allegorical
         Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts
         Lynne from Bouts Choisis
         Nat from Made in Home
         Francine from Mocha Wild Child
         Lyanna from Purple Panda Quilts
         Stacey from The Tilted Quilt

Saturday 10 November 2012

Sew Seasonal Blog Hop

Welcome to another stop on the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop organised by Kristy at Quiet Play and Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts.

Between them Kristy and Alyce have designed 25 pieced or paper-pieced blocks that can be used in such a variety of ways for great Christmas projects. They are also making the patterns for each block available free throughout November so now is the perfect time to try them out! The paper pieced patterns are available here and the pieced patterns are available here If you need any further incentive though they have also lined up some fabulous prizes for the link party on November 30th where you can link up any projects you have made with the blocks. Full details of the prizes up for grabs are here The full FQ bundle of Kate Spain's Joy collection would look so good in my stash!

If you need to stock up on Christmas fabric for the Blog Hop projects well Kristy and Alyce have thought of that too! Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabrics has set up a special discount code on Christmas fabrics in her shop. The code is "sewseasonal10" and is for 10% off all Christmas fabric (Joy, Blitzen, and Sentiments) through November 18th. A charm pack or layer cake will work perfectly for the patterns but, of course, it would be a shame to restrict yourself to just one :)

Today I am sharing the Hop with Juliet who blogs at the Tartan Kiwi, pop on over and check out her Christmas Tree potholder, it is lovely.

Whilst Juliet was busy paper-piecing I had the much less onerous task of piecing an Ornamental block designed by Alyce. The block instructions are given for two sizes, 5" and 10" blocks, so I chose to make a 5" block.

The block was so quick to put together that I initially had grand plans of making lots of them for this post, but naturally life, and more specifically unpacking got in the way. So I only ended up with time to make 1 block, and then had to think of something useful to do with it for the Blog Hop!

I don't know about you but I always feel a little guilty about the lack of effort involved in handing over money or vouchers to my teenage nephews at Christmas. I know that as far as they are concerned both of these things are much more welcome than anything I might pick for them (definitely out of date and categorically "uncool")! So with that in mind I decided that this year although there will still be money involved it will be presented in a decidedly handmade manner.

With my Ornamental block I have made a Money/Voucher Gift card to add a little touch of handmade to the usual Christmas exchange of cash.

To make your own you will need

1 small Ornamental block. I increased the size of the borders to 1.5"
1 - 6.25" x 6.25" square of contrast fabric for the Gift Card back
2 - 6.25" x 12.5" plain red fabric for the lining and interior pocket
1 - 1.25" x 12.5" patterned fabric for the pocket binding
1 - 6.25" x 12.25" stiff interfacing. I used pelmet interlining but you could also use stiff fusible interfacing 

Join the Ornamental block to the square of contrasting fabric to make one large rectangle. 

Take one of the lining pieces and fold it in half length ways and press. This is the interior pocket piece.  Fold the binding strip in half length ways and press. Open out the strip and fold each length ways side into the middle. Press. Sandwich the folded edge of the interior pocket piece in between the folded sides of the binding strip. Pin and stitch the binding strip to the pocket along the edge of the binding strip, making sure that you catch both the front and the back of the binding strip in the stitching.

Layer the pieces in the following order - Gift card exterior right side up, pocket piece right side down matching up along the bottom and side edges of the exterior, second lining piece right side down, interfacing.  (If you use a fusible interfacing instead of the stiff interlining fuse this to the exterior piece before layering). Pin and stitch round all edges of the layered pieces leaving a gap at one of the short ends to turn the Gift Card right side out. It will help turning out the corners if you leave a big enough gap to fit your hand through.

Turn the Gift Card right side out through the gap. If you are using stiff interfacing this will need to be manipulated through but don't worry about scrunching up the interfacing as any creases will be ironed out.

Once the Gift Card is turned right side out use a knitting needle or similar to push out the corners, then turn under and slip stitch the opening closed. 

Fold the card in half  width ways and stitch down the crease line to reinforce the card shape.

A final press and you have a handmade Gift Card for that money gift. So much nicer than a plain envelope! 

I think I will have a go at Kristy's paper-pieced present for the next one, what about you?

Check out the rest of the stops on the Blog Hop at

11th November: Taryn from Pixels to Patchwork & Anorina from Samelia's Mum
12th November: Megan from Jaffa Quilts & Jane from QuiltJane
13th November: Gemma from Pretty Bobbins

Lots more inspiration still to come!

Friday 9 November 2012

Hoops and Hops

One of the reasons I started blogging was to join in all the fun of swaps, and so far I have swapped Christmas and Novelty fabrics and made 50 Polaroid blocks for Quiet Play's Say Cheese swap, but until now I had never taken part in a swap of finished items. This glaring omission is why I rashly signed up for Sew Allegorical's HoopLaLa swap even although I knew I would be moving right in the middle of it!

As a secret swap this was also my first time trying to second guess the likes and dislikes of a swap partner, very nerve-wracking! Aside from knowing that my partner was not keen on pink and yellow fabric, which wasn't that onerous a restriction, the rest was up to me. As I find it difficult to decide on fabrics at the best of times, deciding for someone else meant even more dithering than usual.

In the end I came up with two choices and my partner went for these

So with one decision out of the way there was lots more indecision before I finally decided upon a plan for these fabrics, but in the end this is what I came up with, I hope my partner likes it!

The deadline for posting out the hoops is today, so I have just managed to get it done in time, and fortunately in time to link it up as a finish to TGIFF at Quilt Matters too!

Another deadline awaits me tomorrow for my post on the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop but check out today's posts at Plum and June and Finding Fifth

Thursday 1 November 2012

Various Cloth pieces

The title of this post is the description that the removal men put on my fabric stash! I thought that was a tad dismissive of the hours of Internet shopping not to say lots of ££'s involved in acquiring the various cloth pieces. We had to put a monetary value on my stash for the insurance and I probably underestimated the figure. Well, I wasn't too keen on my husband knowing just how much money that box represented :)

Said stash is now perched on top of numerous pieces of furniture and behind several boxes in a storage unit, I have no idea when I will see it again :(

We left Riga in this

which, fortunately, had changed to this by the time we reached Stockholm

The bit in between was not quite as calm as we had anticipated! Fortunately our North Sea crossing a couple of days later was.

Not surprisingly, with our move at the end of the month, October was not an especially productive month for me. I did though manage to keep up-to-date (just!) with my Bee blocks

and my swaps and Blog Hops and fitted in a couple of Halloween projects too.

So it could have been worse!

Here's hoping for a more productive November.

Off to catch up now on all the posts I have missed whilst on my travels.

Linking up to Fresh Sewing Day and

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