Monday, April 30, 2012

At Last

I have quilt tops (yes plural!!!) to show you
I started making an hst quilt a while ago but didn't get to work on it much but since I've moved the sewing machine into the house I've managed to finish it and get another one done

Now in my excitement I photographed them before I pressed them so they look pretty dodgy but I think they are ok really (the grey isnt really gathered like the photo makes it look!)

So there is one each for my boys, big hst's for my big boy (he insists he is a big boy and there is trouble if anyone says differently! 3 yr olds definitely know their own mind!!!)

little hst's for my little Buddy

In our new house their bedroom is going to have a bit of a 'travel' theme, the orange in these reminds me of the colour you find in vintage maps which is why I chose it, and then mixed it with earthy browns, greys and a couple of blues.

I think Buddy's has ended up looking a bit 80's but I like it anyway. Now I just need to find the time and space to quilt them!

I do love hst's, do you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Well I think todays post is an example of how I am more productive under pressure! Today I entered 2 competitions as the deadline looms for both

Here is my entry into the Fabric8 design competition
Elegant 20

This is what a fat quarter of my fabric would look like so its a pretty big design

And here is my entry into the Sew Out Loud QAL competition (just 1 entry but with a choice of wording)

I just had a lovely detailed post written about these and how I did both of them today, right at the last minute but then the internet crashed and lost my post so im now keeping it brief as im off to bed

Wish me luck and goodnight x

Monday, April 23, 2012

Leave it til the last minute!!!

Today is the last day to enter the Sew Out Loud QAL
Have you entered yet? I just designed mine this morning, I'm desperately hoping they are going to be allowing entries until the end of the day otherwise my entry won't make the deadline! Fingers crossed for me (the prizes are unbelievably good)
Here's a sneak peak of my fabric choices

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sundays Sewing Space - Hadley from Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle

Im back (got to get this internet thing sorted, im writing this from an internet cafe) and this week I have the lovely Hadley from Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle, if you havent met Hadley then you should head on over and say hi, she really is lovely, very friendly, always has a kind word to say and makes beautiful things

Hadley took some persuading to show us her space but I think you will agree she has done a great job of making the most of what she has. I have so far always had to make do with sharing my sewing space with the rest of the family (in our last house I spread my stuff between the dining room and sitting room) and I was never as neat and organised as Hadley is.

Lets have a looksee

Where is your Sewing Space?

Now this is not meant to be a sob story, I am so jealous of all the Sewing Spaces that have come before me, but I don't have a proper space, just the dining table in the conservatory and one low wall with all my sewing paraphernalia.

What 3 words do you feel best describes it?
Meagre, Wanting, Mine-between-meals!

What are your most important things in there?
My Denyse Schmidt FQs and yardage!  Shallow, but most other things would be easily replaced by our insurance!

How is the room laid out? (machine, cutting table ironing board etc)
Um, it's either 'out' or put away; actually there's usually a pile of current stuff, and everything else is tidy(ish).  I have just started using small baskets for current projects to cut down on the searching-about time.  Well, the ironing board is kept in the garage, although I picked up one of those little sleeve ones at a charity shop and that is really handy.  Cutting table?  Are you joking!?

What sort of sewing machine do you have and how do you feel about it?
I had a real basic Brother from Argos that I bought years ago, but my husband bought me a Janome QXL605 last June for my birthday and I love it!  It has all the gadgets like 'needle up/down', thread cutter and things my old machine hadn't even heard of like a walking foot and a million (60) stitches!  It is brilliant for what I need it for, and does loads that I haven't tried yet.

Do you have anything in the room for inspiration?
Basically no - as it's a glass conservatory on 3 sides and an opening to the kitchen on the fourth there is no wall space, I do have a Martha Stewart calendar and usually a mini quilt or my current project hooked on the blinds to one side - So the rest is in my head, on my MacBook or from my books and magazines that are all over the rest of the house.

Where do you keep your fabric stash and how do you organise it?
My wonderful IKEA unit houses all my prized fabrics and scrap bin; the rest are in a couple of other plastic tubs.  I keep new purchases together, solids in one bin and things I've pulled for specific projects in another.  The rest of the drawers have thread, buttons, scissors and other crafty bits.  'Organised' is a bit of a strong word, but I know where things are, usually.

Do you have any top tips to do with work spaces? 
Try to keep it tidy!  I love it when I do; I cope for a little while when its starting to look like mayhem, then I have to stop and get it all in order before I lose the plot!  I like knowing exactly where everything is - I don't have the time or energy to be rooting about; my sewing time is so limited it would be non-existent if I had to search out all the things I needed.  Also, seeing as it is the place we eat everyday, my sewing time is worked round mealtimes!  I also have to keep it relatively nice looking, otherwise I wouldn't have a leg to stand on making demands on the kids to tidy up their toys!

 What would your ideal workspace look like/be?
It would be a room, with a door!  Anything over and above that would be idyllic!  We have a cabin at the end of the garden which is currently used as a shed - I would love to convert this; but then I would probably get paranoid about leaks or fabric thieves in the night.  My top priority would be a design wall.  I have to make do with quickly spreading things on the lounge floor, taking a photo or two, and then packing up again before the 'young assistants' try to get in on the act.  Not ideal.

Thanks Hadley, I for one think you have a great space, and you have done a much better job at sharing your space than I ever did. Thanks so much for sharing x (I do adore your sewing machine mini quilt)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fashion Designer Of The Year - Sew Hip

Do you remember that a while ago I mentioned I had entered a competition Sew Hip magazine was holding? Well it was a competition to find the 'Fashion Designer of the Year' and the 1st and 2nd prizes were amazing.
I decided to enter right at the last minute, the deadline for the initial sketches was 15th November, so on the 14th Nov, I posted in my entry (guaranteed next day delivery postal option!).

Mid December I found out I was through to the next round and I had to make up my dress. My sketch then appeared in the next issue of Sew Hip
(mine is in the top corner)

I had to make the dress and get it to Sew Hip by the 15th Jan! now this was hard work as I had seriously lots to do over Christmas, but manage it I did.

And then we waited....
We were told that the winners would be announced in the May issue of Sew Hip, which came out on the 29th March.
Subscribers issue come out earlier though and so on the 22nd I woke up, checked my twitter and found that someone had announced the winners.

I knew I wouldnt win, the competition was stiff, there were some really lovely entries, including a wedding dress! But I had been dreaming of the prizes

1st Prize

2nd Prize

I love my sewing machine but these could do so much more! Just look at the size of the throat on the first prize

Anyhow it was with utter amazement that I opened the link on the tweet and saw this

OMG I won, I actually won! I woke hairy up by shouting Oh my god, oh my god and shaking him, boy did he have a fright, he had no idea what was happening! I immediately phoned my mum and sisters in the UK and tweeted my sheer joy. I still dont believe it and have waited until now to blog about it because my Prize arrived at my mums yesterday and so I finally believe its true and I am the owner of a Janome Horizon 7700! (did you know Lynne of Lily's Quilts has one of these and says its amazing?)
I just need to get it shipped over to Oz now so I can start playing!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Desperate Housewives Quilt-a-Long

Have you heard about Quilt Jane's Desperate Housewives QAL? Im guessing some of you have come over from there today so a big hello to you and hello to my lovely followers too.

The QAL is really fun, for those of you that may not have heard of it then Jane is doing a block a week of her own for 50 weeks and each week she is also featuring a guests block. This week the guest is me! The great thing about this QAL is that you can just dip in and out and chose as many or few blocks as you want

Regulars here will already know my block as its my Katherine Wheel block

The great thing about this block is its versatility, it can be made as large or small as you want by altering the size of the centre or the width of the swirling strips or both. the Katherine Wheel is made and then sewn onto the background so you can place it centrally or off centre and it looks cool in all sorts of colours

And why limit yourself to hexagons, this technique would work for all sorts of shapes, triangles, pentagons, octagons....

So on that note I will send you over to my Katherine Wheel Tutorial
If you are following the QAL you will need to know the following things first -
Background block cut to 8.5" square
6 fabric strips cut 1" by 18"
I used a ladder stitch to stitch the Katherine Wheel to the background in the top block but just machine stitched the other 2 on so its up to you which you prefer

If you do make this block then I would love to see it, you can add pictures of anything you make from one of my tuts in my flickr group

Thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Happy Mail Day

I know I have no sewing to show you once again, but hopefully my fabric purchases are enough to wet your appetite until some finally gets done (I promise as soon as I get the chance I will be sewing like a mad woman!!!)

So it was a very happy day when this lovely purchase arrived from Pink Castle Fabrics

Lots of stash builders

Can you ever have enough stash builders? I guess seeing as my stash is still in England then its ok to re-stash, Hairy (my hubby) doesnt seem to agree!

The upside of not sewing (because my MIL's sewing room is not child friendly and is in a separate building where I cant keep an eye on the boys!) and not blogging often (the internet connection here does not agree with my laptop) is that I am doing some reading instead. I love, love, love reading but never seem to find time as normally I spend every spare minute sewing or on tinternet!
Here is what im reading
Just finished (in 2 days, couldn't put it down!)
 Just started
And an upside of living with the in-laws at the mo is that me and hairy get to go on the odd night out together!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Winner

The winner of my DS fat quarter bundle goes to the lovely Kathy, I will be in touch by email shortly Kathy, well done

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Do First - April

Can you believe it's April? I can't!

Ok so March did not go well in terms of sewing for me, in fact there is no point even doing a mosaic as all I got done were a few bee blocks, I didn't even manage to get all my bee blocks done!

here they are though:
Block for Piece Bee With You (not quite finished, needs eyes, mouth and whiskers!) and I still have not done Febs block!

 Sew Bee Joyful Feb block

 Sew Bee Joyful March blocks

And I did manage to make this London mini quilt for myself at the start of the month before I left England

Ok so I didn't manage to get everything done this month, but I did move, quite a long way! so Im forgiving myself. Also my To Do list for this month is going to be a small one because I know that until we have our own place I wont get much done :-(

To Do April -
Must Do:

Bee Blocks
Piece Bee With You - Do Febuarys block - Tropical Fish, I have started but may have to scrap and start again!
March's block - finish cat by embroidering on the details
Aprils block - not sure what this one is yet

Sew Bee Joyful - Aprils block - tea related blocks, this is going to be fun, I love tea (cant drink it in Australia though as the water tastes so different here, im really missing a good cuppa!)

Might Do:
Commissioned baby quilt - I have started this, its going to be pretty cool (loads of hst's and some surprising details!) definitely not your typical baby quilt. Its not needed until I go back to England in November though so there is no rush

My quilt - Another hst quilt, I have bought the fabric and started cutting and sewing but as its for me then there is no rush

Ok so what about you, have you written a to do list? are you hoping to be more productive than I am? Link em up and let me know

Sunday Sewing Space - Laura from Needles, Pins and Baking Tins

Hi everyone, Today we have the lovely Laura from Needles, Pins and Baking Tins sharing her space with us. For any of you that have dealt with Laura or read her blog, you will know what a sweetheart she is, funny and kind and generally lovely. She has a great space that she has really made the most of. Im loving her wall hanging storage and she has provided some lovely work space inspiration at the end!

Ok so here is Laura

Where is your Sewing Space?

Sewing Space
I live in a teeny tiny terrace house Ö. It is knocked through on the ground floor, so its really just one large-ish room plus the kitchen. The front part is my dining room and this is where I sew. I do have an attic conversion, which I would love to turn into a studio, but access is via a slightly wobbly ladder, and not all that practical! I also like to be in on the action. If Im downstairs I can flop on the sofa, make a cup of tea, watch those crazy cats or nip outside, should the mood strike.

What 3 words do you feel best describes it?
Really hot mess.
I am a messy person. Very messy. No getting around it. Im of the "let it build up until you are sick of it, then clean like your granny is visiting!" school of thought. Since my granny rarely visits, it's rarely tidy ;-) I made a concerted effort today so it looked acceptable in the pictures!

What are your most important things in there?
My Sewing machine. I've had it since I was 16, doing a textile course at school. She's a trooper (although prone to the occasional tantrum).

How is the room laid out i.e. Sewing machine, ironing board, cutting table etc.
The room has a natural alcove at the front, created by the chimney breast. This Christmas, my parents helped me create a little craft nook type thing on the wall above the alcove. So, moving from left to right we have:

Sewing Space
Big crafty chest. I seriously donít know what I would do without this storage. I have 2 knitting drawers, one for actually knitted items (hats, shawls etc. things I grab on the way out the door), and the rest is quilty stuff. You know, the not so pretty stuff that doesn't need to be out on show. Batting, insulbright, interfacing, UFO's I don't know what to do with, cross stitch stuff, miscellaneous untidy items. I also iron on the top here.

Sewing Space
Dining table, with cutting matt and sewing machine pretty much always out. I remember buying the biggest cutting mat I could afford at the time, and don't regret it! It's just bigger than a FQ, and I wish it was bigger still although; I'm kinda limited by the size of the table anyway.

Sewing Space
Left hand side of alcove where I hang my rulers and embroidery hoops.

Sewing Space
Top of the window seat. I have 2 file holders here, one for patterns and sheets of paper with various scribbles, the other for my go!baby dies and basting spray. Then we have the go!baby cutter, and my sewing box. I like to use this area to take photographs of small items, because it's the only light place in the house!

Sewing Space
Above this, on the wall, is the piece de resistance! My hanging space. I have all sorts ram jammed into these pots, one for zips, pens, scissors, ribbon etc. (I wanted white tubs but they only had blue at the time. I'm going to change them next time I go to Ikea).

Sewing Space
2 little hanging racks for pin cushions and pins, stamps and tape measures etc, and a further one for buttons up top.

Sewing Space
Probably my favourite thing is the spool rack. I can't get over how cute it is!

What sort of sewing machine do you have and how do you feel about it?
I sew on a Brother NX400. My parents bought it for me about umm... 7ish years ago now and in my opinion, she still competes with the big boys. The throat space is sadly lacking, but I have managed to wrangle a king size quilt through it, and what it lacks in girth it makes up for in know-how ;-) It has an automatic needle threader and thread cutter, can stop with the needle down, does FMQ and came with a walking foot.  It can do all kinds of fancy schmancy stitches (approximately none of which I ever use), and is really more than adequate for my needs!

Do you have anything in the room for inspiration?

I'm kind of holding off on filling the walls with mini quilts and other stuff, just because this is the first thing you walk into when you enter my house and I worry it would look a bit odd. I do have my tiny squares quilt, and my Perv Bird quilt that Susan made for me up on the walls which make me smile. And a mini swoon block hiding under the plant. And a couple of quilts on the sofa. And a quilted pillow. Okay. There's no denying it. It's taken over my house.

I also have all my craft books on a shelf here, which I always find inspirational.
Sewing Space

Where do you keep your fabric stash and how do you organise it?
My fabric is stashed in one of 2 places. The first point of call, for anything bigger than 5" square is a shelving unit at the other end of the house.
Sewing Space

I try to keep these relatively tidy and pretty, as they are in my 'lounge' space. They are not looking their best at the moment, I do have to say! but it's a constant battle to keep everything folded up all nice. I don't have a massive stash, really. I buy what I like, when I can afford it, and tend not to hoard stuff.
Sewing Space
Although, that stack of FMF might not get used just yet ;-)

The top 2 shelves have my knitting projects and spare batting (and scrabble weirdly), followed by 2 shelves of fabric, and another for random bits like pre-cuts and blocks waiting to be sewn into quilts, or sent out for Bees.

Sewing Space

I store my scraps in ziplock bags in the bottom drawer of my big crafty chest. I have a bag for each colour, and one for selvedges. This has worked well for about a year, but recently I've been thinking of other solutions. The bags aren't really big enough any more, and they are starting to look kinda dishevelled. I'd like some sort of freestanding plastic drawer affair, but floor space is at a bit of a premium and I don't know where it would go. Does anyone else have a better scrap storage plan?

Do you have any top tips to do with work spaces?
Just find something that works for you and stick with it. Make the most of the space you have by going up! look at walls and ceilings as viable storage options. Don't worry too much about what the actual storage furniture looks like, as long as it works for you.

What would your ideal workspace look like?
I have neither the budget nor the space for something like this, but aren't they lovely?!

Karen Lewis AKA Blueberry Park

Anna Maria Horner

Monica Solorio-Snow AKA Happy Zombie
My ironing center
Thanks so much Laura for showing us around, you have definitely given me a few ideas for setting up my own space (fingers crossed it will be soon), I only hope I can be as organised as you are (never going to happen!). Head over and check out Lauras blog, she always does lovely things, im loving the paper pieced peppers she has been doing recently.