Tuesday 28 February 2012

Take a Letter Miss G

You may have to indulge me a little, a squillion quilt pics in this blog post.  This quilt is 'Take a Letter Miss G', a present for my sister's birthday- she has happily received it now so I can share it with you!
My sister is a 'writer' in the same way that I am a 'sewer'.  It is her creative outlet and she is good, award winning even!  We are a creative family- my brother is a digital artist working in below the line advertising- it hasn't lead to riches but not bad for three state school kids.  
My sister's breakthrough poem was 'Imperial 58', inspired by our dad's vintage typewriter.  
The fabrics all relate to her- candy colours, lots of pink, text, typewriters, recipes, pretty things.
The design was a simple tile quilt from Jane Brockett's The Gentle Art of Quilt Making.  I made it as a quilt as you go project- that but did seem to take forever with an unforgivable amount of hand stitching- but worth it.  
The backing is a mix of Amy Butler's Organic soul blossom prints, very soft and silky plus random greens that fitted in.
Aurifil 50/2 for piecing, quilting and hand sewing the binding.  Hot pink is not a good colour for machine binding I found out!
And a beautiful day on Sunday made for a great photo outing.  Lula is crouched behind the quilt below, just making sure it doesn't fall into the stream.

One special square for the top right, stamped with Versacraft ink.
sib blog

Sunday 26 February 2012

The Material Lady

Today you can find me at the very lovely Lawson and Lotti's blog Sewing Space feature.  My sewing room is called the 'back room' in this house, what a glamourous name you are thinking, right?  It is a messy and chaotic place, piles of things everywhere, piled in some sort of order but there are a lot of little heaps- my creative brain is a busy place!    
Lawson and Lotti
I had a lovely Sunday car boot sale moment today, a regular trader asked me if I was "The material lady?"  Don't you just love that?  He had some great vintage treasure for me, what a great start to the day.  I need to get on with hand sewing a quilt binding, gotta be ready for tomorrow!
Enjoy your Sunday x
sib blog

Friday 24 February 2012

Happy House, Happy Two Years

So tomorrow is the official date for my second blog birthday, I am jumping a gun the little today but hey, who is going to stop me?  Blogging has bought me such great friendships and opportunities, I could not love it more!  So to celebrate, as many of you guessed, a little house block for anyone who wants to make one!

I made mine as little gifts to a couple of kind people.   The block is 4.5" unfinished, 4"finished, perfect size for lavender bags (as below) or pincushions or a for sewing on a bigger scale to make quilt block houses.

All the pieces are a perfect size for scraps so I went for a mix of vintage and modern and used some of my tiniest pieces.  The tiniest of all was the little ducky- it was an umbrella rather than a noose, no ducks were harmed in the making of this lavender bag.

For both houses  I used the freezer paper template method for piecing and Y seams for the roof chimney area.  The square blocks were rounded off and I added a light woven interfacing to make the blocks suitable for lavender bags.  

Now I know some of you fear the Yseams or prefer to foundation rather than freezer paper piece, so I have a multi option pattern for you.  If you want more details on how to paper piece, check out my paper piecing page for lots of online resources, and if you want to learn the very basics of foundation paper piecing where you stitch through a paper pattern, visit Katy's Foundation Paper Piecing for the Terrified Quilt-a-long

 Click on your choice below for your piecing preference! Both freezer paper pattens could be hand sewn- a great way to learn a Y seam- as well as machine sewn.  And when you have made your creation, please add to my Flickr group so I can see it!  I fancy nine little happy houses sewn together to make the centre of a cushion!
Freezer Paper {no Y seams} PDF
Freezer Paper {with Y seams} PDF
Foundation Paper PDF

 sib blog

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Sneaky Peek

Thank you for the well wishes, I am just starting to get back to normal!  This week I am using all spare time to complete my sister's birthday quilt- less than 6 days to get  it done and it is a busy week.  It is also my 2 year blog birthday on Friday and I have a little free pattern prepared for you, a sneak peek below!

I have written three versions:  foundation beginner, freezer paper template beginner and freezer paper template advanced- for those who can rise to the challenge of a Y seam.   In the words of Rolf Harris, "Do you know what it is yet?"  I will reveal all on Friday x
sib blog

Thursday 16 February 2012


This is ending up being a bit of a lost week, I am under the weather so not much is happening here, sewing progress is slow and most of the time is spent unpicking mistakes- let's draw a veil over that and instead I would like to share the work of a couple of friends.
Looking for a quick scrappy project?  After a gentle nudge from Penny, Leila has her first pattern for sale

Scrappy Leaf Key Fob Pattern
You can buy it here .  
And, if you are feeling  like a little more paper piecing, Amy has made her stunning Vintage Skier block into a pattern on sale here
Vintage Skier Pattern Cover
Amy has great attention to detail in this pattern with notes on suitable fabrics and the most wonderful shaping that makes the skier jump out at you!
And Julianna kicked off the Sew Out Loud Quilt a long with this stunning graphic block
Block 1 - zipper {Sew Out Loud QAL) 
Details and free pattern are found here. You can join this quilt a long at any time, dip in, dip out whatever you fancy- Flickr group here
Proud of my talented friends!  Back when normal service resumes here x

Tuesday 14 February 2012

A Little Love

Stitches courtesy of Lula,  month 2 of Dessert of the Month Club 
a little love to you all, happy Valentines x
sib blog

Sunday 12 February 2012


Charise has the last month in 318 Patchwork Bee and she chose baskets.  I restrained myself from making the sewing basket, I am designing a sewing basket block for Sew Out Loud quilt-a long so I went for knitting, just in case Charise feels she wishes to take up a new hobby.
This is 6.5" with tricksy Y seams to make the handle at the top.  I used my new favourite tiny ruler to add a generous 1/4 inch to my freezer paper pieces, the block is template style piecing rather than foundation.  
I do love the designs in this book, the simplicity and boldness of them is a constant reminder to me to keep it simple, less is more.  The basket is made with Kumiko Fujita fabric, possibly my favourite all time text fabric as there are so many great words and motifs to fussy cut.
The blue yarn is Suzuko Koseki fabric- currently available at Kit's shop The Happy Elephant on Etsy, an excellent source of text, Japanese fabrics and general loveliness.  The needles were bias strips and the tops are buttons cut from a Kaufman print 'Vintage Couturier' all sewn on with needle turn applique.  I used to be a ferocious knitter.  When Lula was born I made her cardigans, hats, jumpers all from beautiful yarns.  Moderation is not in my vocabulary, all or nothing and I did way too much!  My hands and wrists can't take that any more and I sold all my knitting supplies a few years ago but I do love seeing yarn projects pop up over Flickr and Twitter and a small part of me aches just a little to be able to knit again.
Now, back to completing a quilt, I am trying a quilt-as-you-go technique and will share next week.   At the moment it is proving to be tedious but effective.
 Meanwhile the Sew Out Loud QAL starts tomorrow at Julianna's blog!  Details of the final block competition can be found here- start preparing now, the judge is Suzuko Koseki, yes I know, I can't believe it either!
sib blog

Friday 10 February 2012

Spring Swoon

So yesterday was cold but sunny and my little pot of hope started to flower...
there is a little more light in the day.  This week I have been working on Swoon block 2 and I went for spring colours, fresh light prints. I used a mix of Amy Butler Soul Blossom voiles and Anna Maria Horner Little Folks.  The cream is Kona Snow.
I also bought a big A2 industrial cutting mat from Creative Grids.  I was a little nervous buying this online, I had one very badly mailed in the past but this one arrived well packaged and is excellent quality!  I also ordered the mini ruler you can see in the pic above, perfect for adding 1/4 seam to little pieces when freezer paper piecing.  I cannot recommend Creative Grids rulers more highly, they grip the fabric so reduce slippage when you cut, easily my favourite rulers.
Today, there is no sun just rain and cold but even late in the afternoon it is light enough to take photos .  Swoon is a bit of a palette cleanser for me, all I have to do is systematically follow instructions, arrange pieces into piles, chain pieces and make assembly lines.  It all fits together like magic
Half term next week so a week off work, time for us all to get over colds, coughs and laze around.  And whilst lazing, finish a quilt for my sister, make a dress for a wedding invitation and make a few bee blocks, plus a few other things to design and plan.
Enjoy your weekend!
sib blog

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Pippi Block Process

In Cocorico Bee, Muriel chose Pippi Longstocking as her theme.  She put a lot of inspiration into a gallery and initially I thought stripy tights and boots was the way to go, but I could not see it working with piecing, and you know I like to piece, I like the challenge.  So instead I was drawn towards hair.  I didn't want the desgin to be too tight, Pippi is a carefree character and I wanted to sew her in a improv free pieced style.
I like the spirit I have captured in this, but it is reminding me a little of a rugby ball!  This is how the process went.  First I sketch the basic shape on to quilt block graph paper and tidy up the lines.
Then I use permanent fine liner and label the sections, add some tick lines for matching up.   I trace this onto the reverse shiny side of freezer paper with pencil.  I use reverse tracing so that the freezer paper sticks to the back of the fabrics, easier when piecing.
I free pieced the hair in two halves and two plaits and then cut it to shape using the freezer paper.
Then it is all pieced together.  The tick lines help a lot when sewing the curves and but I also just have to wing it some of the time.
This was a kicking and screaming block, I had to drag it into existence out from wherever it was hiding.   I could not see it until I was well into the construction and I was prepared that I might have to abandon it and start something else.  
The jumper is based on Pippi's jumper, Muriel managed to find one for herself! 
To tell the truth I am more than a little relieved  that I managed to finish this, I was getting an imagination funk on what to do for this block.  Off you go Pippi! 
sib blog

Sunday 5 February 2012

Ginger with Pockets

A skirt to compensate for last week's disaster, another Ginger,  pattern by Colette, pockets by me.
I liked these pockets but didn't want binding,  just a simple pocket, lining, joined at the side and bottom, top stitch details and stitched in to the skirt side seams and waistband.  I drafted a shape using the skirt pattern as guidance and made a tester before making the real thing.
The fabric is the uber soft wale corduroy  by Amy Butler,  Soul Blossoms 'English Garden' in Bluestone I bought mine from Julia at Gone to Earth.  Highly strokeable.
I lined it with a cheap thin cotton, corduroy has a tendency to bag out, espcially around the booty and if I am going to all the bother of making a skirt for myself I like the extra touches like lining and natural fibres and pockets big enough to have purpose.
I made this a size up from my last- size 6 in the Colette sizing.  I don't like tightness or restriction, and this is perfect, no gaping but just a little wriggle room.  I sewed the waistband facing just a little further away, about 1/8" from the invisible zipper stitching line- if you have made Ginger you will know what I mean-this zip slides up beautifully.  I do love the shaping on this pattern, the pattern pieces slope in at the back to allow for the small of the back, and also a little at the front to allow for a little belly!  It is A line with added A, very clever simple design.
  Definitely plan to make this one again.  And as you can see from the pics, taken today, no snow here but feverish media coverage of snow elsewhere in the UK.  It was a touch nippy standing outside in the road without a coat and Damian trying to take pictures of my behind without me seeing- cheeky monkey
sib blog

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Paper Piecing Help/Quilt a long/Sew a Long

Maybe you are new to paper piecing and want a bit of help, support and community as you find your way around the different techniques, there are a couple of Quilt-a-longs coming up.
First we have Sew Out Loud {Quilter's Word Play}- I don't know what the fancy brackets do but they often come up in crafty projects and blogs- anyway here is the button

the code can be found along with all the other starting info at Kirie's blog and also at Julianna's blog.  There are great prizes and a design competition for the 12th block- as for the judge, it will take your breath away but I am sworn to secrecy!  Flickr group is here
Looking for something at beginner level?  Bought a copy of Fat Quarterly 8 Paper Piecing Issue?  Dolores at A Labour of Love is planning a sew-a-long using the projects from the ezine!  The idea is that you can support each other through the different techniques.
Issue 8 - Paper
And, thinking ahead now, I will be at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in June teaching a class or two.  I will be doing a technique class on paper piecing using the freezer paper template technique but with a twist-it will be hand sewing, no machine needed.  This will include stitching an inset Y seam- if you can learn it by hand it will be a breeze by machine! And if you can't wait for more help, check my pages link on paper piecing resources!

sib blog