Friday, 20 December 2013

It's been how long!

I've just checked and am a bit embarrassed that my last blog post was 5th October. I didn't plan to drop out of blogging, it's just been hard to keep up.

What have I been doing with my time? Well mainly it's my studies and the placements, I have two different ones name and am seeing 7 clients a week. Along with the rest of the course, that is taking up a big chunk of my time.

I did create myself a sewing room in my smallest bedroom and bought a new machine and frame to go in it. The frame is from Martha at, I went for the 6ft one as that is all I could fit in my tiny room.

Here it is being used for the only quilt I've quilted since I got it, a little one I made for charity and a close up of my quilting.

Martha gave me a really good workshop on how to use it when I collected it.

A few weeks later, I had the chance to visit the East Midlands Modern Quilt Guild - their flickr group can be found at This was a great day of sewing and chatting with a lovely bunch. If you are in the area and haven't discovered them already check them out.

While I was up North (yes I think they are north) I was able to see a version of my new frame in the hands of a superstar. Trudi at has the larger version and achieves the most wonderful things on it. Just to watch her in action was an amazing experience. I also got to explore her collection of quilts - and what a collection. I was in quilty heaven.

I have managed to finish a new quilt top, one that I would have been too scared of a few years ago. Yes, I have conquered the Y seam!

This was all pieced by machine, I found a kona solids roll up when I had my sort out for the sewing room and I just decided with no planning to go for it with the tumbling blocks.

I've also made a few scarves, for myself and as gifts.

And finally, I am working on a quilt for a friend who is going through the most horrific time. He had cancer in his hip which was undiagnosed for 18 months, by the time they realised, the only option was hindquarter amputation, which basically meant they had to chop is leg off to remove the hip joint.

So eventually he is getting this.

And yes, that is my design wall. I have one of those now! Check me out!
I have a bit more news on swaps I've been part of but I will do a separate post on those.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

3rd quarter FAL

Woohoo! Surprisingly I have a couple of finishes this time to enter in the FAL which you can find more details of here

Back in July I listed again all that I have outstanding in the hope it would get me motivated..

And it did a bit.

I haven't yet posted the pics of my 2nd scrappy trip along which I finished a while ago so here it is.

It's orange isn't it! It finished up around 72 in square.

I also completed a couple of others quilts that had been hanging around as well which I've already posted about.

On top of that I made a few baby quilts that weren't even on the list and started another new quilt. Not bad for me lately, but then it was the summer holidays.

Please check out more of the finishes using the link at the top of the list.

Sunday, 25 August 2013


I've been working on one of my scrappy tripalong quilts this week and getting used to doing free motion on the new juki. It's so much faster than I'm used to so it's been a bit hit and miss in terms of stitch length but the bigger throat space made it very easy to handle this 64x80 inch quilt.

I'm still working on getting the sewing room sorted in advance of the arrival of the frame so the house is all topsy turvy. Therefore I haven't been able to find the space for a full sized quilt pic. These are the best I could manage.

The front

The back and binding

What is even more exciting is that of the remaining 6 tops I have left, only one is too big for the frame so I only have that one left to do the job I hate most and baste it. Yippee. The rest can wait for the new baby. I've been auditioning backing fabric for it tonight.


Sunday, 18 August 2013


Since I exhibited a quilt in the Sandown show earlier in the year I've been thinking about what to do for next year.

I saw two kona solids together and just had to get them.

I know chartreuse and coral aren't a usual combination but I had in my mind something shocking and uncomfortable for the quilt.

I played around with the touchdraw app and came up with a design that reflected what I was looking for. Something that hurts the eyes - I even named the quilt before I ever cut into the fabric.

Today I finished the piecing. For some reason I can't get a photo that shows the green in all it's real vivid glory but you get the idea

I am waiting to get the frame before I try and quilt it, but I already have ideas how I want to do that as well.



Thursday, 15 August 2013

More baby quilts and a lot of spending

Firstly, I apologise if this post goes a bit wonky but I am trying blogsy for the first time to post with.

I've been busy working on small quilts for the charity that the LMQG is sponsoring. I'll post more later on, but here are the latest two.

This is all four together.

I've been using up scraps on these, I love the way they have turned out.

Last weekend was the festival of quilts and I may have had a major brain fart and spent a lot more money than I intended! I've been looking at quilt frames for years and finally bit the bullet. When it gets here I will give you more details but it does mean I am finally going to clear out the little bedroom for a sewing room.

Then yesterday, it was a trip to The Village Haberdashery - Knitting, Embroidery and Quilting supplies to have a chat with the lovely Tula Pink and I ended up spending even more money on a couple of her needlepoint kits. I really wanted all four, so I could have spent more!

I've just started the stitching..



Saturday, 3 August 2013

Warning - lots of waffle in this post

I know I have been going on a lot about the Fat Quarterly Retreat in my last few posts, but there is just one thing more I wanted to talk about in more detail and that is the community element.

The last year has been tough for me, mentally and emotionally. I have juggled part time working away from home with my counselling studies and then added voluntary placements for counselling into that mix as well.
Working with clients, particularly the young people has been very moving and I feel I have experienced every emotion possible in there with them.

Apart from the academic aspect of the counselling course it’s also necessary to re-examine ourselves and dig deep into our own wounds. This is so that we are really sure we have come to terms with them in case our clients bring stuff that are triggers for us so it is totally necessary. But, I have a lot of very deep wounds going back into my early childhood and it’s been a difficult process.
By the end of the school year, I was feeling exhausted and drained, physically but most of all emotionally. I was full of doubts about even carrying on with the course next year. All I wanted to do was hibernate – I really thought that was what I needed. But the retreat was the next weekend. To be honest, there was a part of me tempted not to go. I didn’t think I could “put on a happy face” and deal with it.

The thing is, I was so very wrong. There was no need to “put on a happy face” as being with such a great bunch of people, friends I already knew and friends I made that weekend was the greatest therapy I could have.
From the minute I arrived, the energy of the group nourished my soul. I know that sounds a bit flowery and fanciful, but that is what I experienced. The whole weekend was joyful and that sense of fun and being with great people replenished something in me that was running empty.

My course focuses a lot on the here and now. But for me that is a hard place to stay. I can brood on the past or try and anticipate the future but I struggle to stay in the present. To really experience it as it is happening.
After the retreat I spent some time reflecting and realised for the whole weekend I was truly present and by being there completely I experienced the people around me in such a fulfilling way.

This feeling was only possible because of the great community quilters have - I want to thank you all for being part of that community.

And if you are still reading after all that fluffiness, I’ve also been sewing up a storm this week with all that fantastic energy and finished three quilts!
Firstly, this is a scrap string quilt that has been on the go for a couple of years.

These next two are only little for a charity, roughly 30x40 inch each and also use scraps etc.

Friday, 2 August 2013

The classes

I meant to write this post earlier this week, but I've been in a sewing frenzy which meant no time for blogging.

At the Fat Quarterly Retreat I took a number of enjoyable classes.

Firstly the one I was most keen to do. Sewing PJ Pants with Kerry. I've had a bit of a mental block about dressmaking for years even though I've wanted to do it and felt that this would kick start my attempts.

I decided to make some for my Mum, mainly because she is half the size I am so I thought it would mean less sewing and fabric wasted if they were awful. I don't know if it was a good or bad thing that I was sat next to Moira in the class. Talking and laughing hysterically is great fun, but it does mean a lot of mistakes get made. I unpicked as much as I sewed.

Unfortunately I haven't got a picture of the finished product, mainly because they aren't finished. Even though I did the S size, when I got my Mum to try them on they were still huge. I found that so funny I totally forgot about the camera. I will try and remember after I reduce them a lot and try them on her again.

But the class did inspire me. I had a top that I really liked the fit of that was wearing away and so I unpicked it to use as a pattern and made this.

Its not too shabby for a first effort. It fits for example and the darts in the front and the back are nice and smooth. The neckline is a bit wavy when on, I could have pulled the bias binding a bit more when sewing it. I might unpick it at some point.

My second class was also with Kerry and it was the fantasy fabric shop. Again, no pics, but I did enjoy the way this made me think differently about fabric. Particularly around storytelling which isn't something I ever do. I might try this one day with my stash.

I then did a trapunto class with Ruth Singer. This is one of those techniques that I've always thought, one day I might try that but never got around to so I was really pleased to get the chance at the retreat. Again, no photo (can you spot a theme) of my little sample but if I ever turn it into anything I will post it.

My final class was on another technique I have thought about a lot over the years but never tried. Cathedral Windows. This was with Brioni and I have to admit my output in the class was hampered by two things. It needs a lot of ironing (on an extremely hot day) and it was the morning after my second night drinking!

I did a little bit by hand but was really struggling to use the needle. However it was nice to sit around with a few friends and have a calmer lower key ending to the retreat.

When I got home though, I persevered. I could only do a little bit at a time because it was just too hot to do the ironing. I also cheated and gave up on hand sewing and went for the machine instead. I ended up with this panel which will probably end up as a cushion cover one day.

All in all, I really enjoyed all the classes, they all had me trying new things and challenged me to think about things differently.

Friday, 26 July 2013

The Goodies

Sorry to make those who didn't attend the FQRetreat but the Liberty goodie bag on arrival was bursting.

It wasn't until I had some free time the next morning I starting having a good rummage and it was a bit like Mary Poppins carpet bag, it just kept giving.

Eventually I got them all out on the table - some of the new Aurifl floss, lots of habdash, some silk threads which I've never used before from, fabric from Moda, Makower and Riley Blake.

I got this great fat quarter from Eternal Maker

And then there was this lovely scrap bag from Pat Bravo. She is probably the first fabric designer I got obsessed with when I first started quilting and so when she commented on this picture on instagram I may just have squeaked with excitement.

At the quilt market on saturday night, I was relatively restrained until I hit the Oakshott stand armed with my discount voucher that was also in the goodie bag.

I left with some of the new impressions range and a bundle with a silver shot that I can't find on their website. Its gorgeous though.

Next time I'll tell you about my classes - I've even finished something I started working on there as well.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Where to begin

So much has happened in the last week - its been so much fun I don't know where to begin.

On Wednesday I went to Hove to a workshop with Lisa Lam and a few members of the LMQG and made this little purse.

We also got to have lunch by the seaside in boiling hot weather and I didn't burn! Yippee.

Then on Thursday, the quilters arriving for the were hitting town.

I met up with Leanne and Krista for lunch and then in the evening met up with Helen, Claudia, Lizzie, Aylin and Sarah at a meal organised by Amy.

Friday was the first day of the retreat and it went on until Sunday. I'll post more about my classes and goodies next time, but I laughed so much at one point I couldn't breathe. Fun and laughter with the best sort of people (i.e. quilters) really truly is the best therapy. I could feel the tension just fading away.

The hotel bar in the evening was also hilarious, especially the face one of the male guests pulled when he saw we were there for the second night. I guess he had enough of us the first night!

One of my biggest treats for the whole weekend was meeting one of my oldest blogging friends Marg in the flesh. I don't mean she is old, I've just known her a long time. Please note, for all us in the UK we've been pronouncing her name wrong and its a hard g. She thought we were taking the piss at first!

I spent the day with her and her lovely daughter (not at all like she is portrayed on Marg's blog) yesterday.

We chatted and wandered around a bit and then met up with Susan and her girls.

It was yet again another roasting day, so we went for afternoon tea by the river and chatted a lot more. By the way, this was only some of the food - it wouldn't all fit on the table in one go!

It was the perfect end to a perfect week.

Even better, unlike some poor people, I'm still on holiday - until September! Yippee. My work contract ended. My first year of the course ended and my school for my volunteering is closed. So I am going to enjoy every bit of the next few weeks.

And I've done some sewing - happy days!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Q3 finish a long - please let me do better than Q2

As I totally failed in Quarter 2 to finish anything at all on my list, I’m just going to repeat it.

Scrappy tripalong no 2:

Not so Scrappy Tripalong:

Tufted Tweets top:

Scrappy hexagons: Made using my 2.5 inch scraps, still waiting to be made into a quilt.

I made this FMQ sampler last year and still don't know what to do with it.

Fragments top:

Loving the love top:

Timber top:

String quilt :

AMH top:

Girl on a swing:

EPP quilt:


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Scrap fun

I decided it was time to start tackling the carnage that is my dining/sewing room. There was bits of fabric everywhere.

The first task was to tidy up all the scraps. As I've said before, I love saving my scraps and have all sorts of sizes organising but I realised I had just been stuffing them willy nilly into every corner I could find for the last year - whoops.

So I started sorted and the triangles in particular were so out of control I couldn't stuff them all into my container (old take away plastic box) so something had to happen with them.

I picked out my Oakshott cotton bits and sewed them together without any thought and had enough to make this mini. I used some Kona solid for the sashing and binding - also scraps along with bits of left over wadding so this is a true scrappy project. It finished up around 10x13 inches.

I quilted using my favourite Aurifil and here is the back to show the design more. Its one that I learned from Angela Walters Craftsy class.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Finally some sewing

I ended up with a free day today as a couple of appointments got cancelled.

I could have used the time to finish my last assignment, I could have used it to give the house the deep clean it badly needs - but instead I ran the sewing machine for the first time in ages.

I wanted to practice curved piecing which I have a real mental block about. I cut and made a lot more crap seams than I made good one but in the end had enough to turn into this mini. It's around 15x19 inches.

I've no real plan for it, but it was just great to sew. I have to confess in my impatience to get to the quilting I hardly basted it so ended up with a huge pleat on the back but who is going to see that right?

I went to the sandown show at the weekend and there wasn't a lot modern as expected. But we have to keep entering to give a more balanced picture of what is happening in the quilting world. It doesn't have to be all batiks and art quilts. I can't remember if I saw any designer fabric used at all. When I think about the variety that's on show on-line compared to a real life show it is very disappointing. More of us need to take part. I don't know if it is the same anywhere outside the uk?

Anyway, last pic of this quilt hanging up for the first time. The lighting was poor so sorry about that.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Out of assignment hell!


I've got one left, but that doesn't get marked so I feel like I can relax again.

It's been a tough couple of months, but I'm looking forward to focusing on my quilting over the summer.

I wonder if any of you remember last year I went to the Sandown quilt show and wasn't too impressed? Well I was challenged by Ferret to put my money where my mouth is and get more modern quilts into it.

Lucky a few of the members of the London Modern Quilt Guild took pity on me and have entered. So I had to put in one myself. 

I made this for the show but hesitated before going for it. The show is next weekend so if you are in the area try and give it your support and see if you can spot the modern quilters quilts! I hope people enjoy them.

Even though I haven't been sewing, it was my turn in the Fqr Kinky Bee. I was very mean and asked for flying geese blocks in whatever configuration people wanted to make using the fabric I sent them. So far these are the ones I've had back and I absolutely love them. The variety of how my brief has been interpreted is amazing.

The next retreat is in July, but I doubt I will get a top ready to show the ladies.

I hope to become a more regular blogger and commentator now I have less pressure, I've missed you all.

Wish me luck for next weekend. I hope they aren't too mean In their feedback!