Fabric trays and a riveting experience


I mentioned in my blog post a week or so back that I had tackled my sewing room, well more specifically my WIP drawer and made a batch of see through project bags – 19 no less. I’m afraid there are still more drawers to sort and the bookcase, but a start is a start. One thing that struck me when I was making my production line of WIP bags was how disorganised my sewing process was as well as storage. Sewing was fraught with trying to find things all the time. Essential tools like rotary cutters, markers, scissors  etc would get caught up in fabric and the general mess so I seemed to spend as much time looking for things, than actually sewing. Then there were the heaps of scraps that were generated when cutting, some for scraps, some for the cushions for the cat home – I needed a better process.

When I’m sewing, the tray at the front of my bionic gear bag serves to coral things like seam rippers,  pin cushion etc and I try hard to make sure I put everything back in the tray so it’s easy to find.


I needed the same for when I’m cutting and assembling. This, in the absence of a big enough standing height cutting bench (in my dreams…), is done on the floor. For big cutting jobs I use the island unit in the kitchen but for the odd pieces for blocks, assembling things etc it’s down on the floor. I struck upon the idea of fabric trays. A quick google search and it was a toss up between Aneela Hoey’s zip up tray, her stacking trays or the free pattern by Sotak Handmade for Robert Kaufmann. I settled on the latter.


These were fun and quick to make.  It’s a very clever design and I presume given that  the pattern piece refers to Kaufmann’s Essex line, its a showcase for that product. This is a linen cotton mix so a lovely texture and with some heft to it. So for the first couple I stuck with linen mixes including the Essex Yarn Dyed range and this gorgeous screen print on that fabric from Carolyn Friedlander’s Euclids range.


3CD35679-4257-491F-9141-45E80807D730I’d found a very helpful post on making these by Sophie of Luna Loves Quilts. I enjoy her blog, she has a lovely fresh take on quilting and she writes it in both French and English….. bilingualism isn’t going to be happening any time soon on this blog I’m afraid given that I barely scraped through my French ‘O’ level much to the surprise of my French teacher and me! Sophie gave some excellent tips on changing up the construction which worked very well. I don’t want to steal her thunder and repeat them here so suffice to say the only change I didn’t do was make bias binding. She’s right it would be easier with those curved corners but I hate taking a lovely half yard of material then slicing it in two on the diagonal then having two awkward pieces left.


I made a number of sizes. The one in the pattern is on the small side made from a pattern piece 8.5” by 11”. I increased those sizes by 10%, rounded down to the nearest 1/4”, to get a set of three stacking trays.


Using Essex yarn dyed fabric and other linen mixes in my stash worked very well. Couldn’t decide whether it was better to put the stiff fusible interfacing on the exterior or interior piece. Pluses and minuses to both.

I then tried with quilting cotton…. not so successful.


Fusing this onto the stiff interfacing made it very wrinkly when folded up as the inside of the tray, it was better as an exterior but not much.  I presume the much greater wrinkliness (is that a word?) is because the fabric is a tighter weave than the linen mix even more so as this is an AGF fabric.  But I had a play and came up with the fact that if you add a fusible wadding to both pieces of fabric in addition to the stiff interfacing then it seems to work but only if the stiff interfacing is on the exterior piece. This tray features Helen Steele’s lovely new screen print designs, as I know her in real life I’ve left her name on there.


786096BB-4F38-4E4B-9766-0E1B93542FC7The riveted leather pieces have absolutely no purpose other than being decorative. I’ve been putting off learning how to do rivets despite the fact that I think they look very slick and make a totebag look professional and well finished. I just knew it wouldn’t be easy. And having bought leather, a hole punch and a variety of rivets this very much proved to be the case! I had a success rate of around one rivet per 4!  It looks very simple on YouTube videos and I think the knack is doing it in one hammer blow.  I had to order more rivets as I quickly worked through the relatively small number sent with the sample pack. But aside from gnashing teeth when they didn’t work, when they did they looked good.

And have these trays helped with organisation?  Well let’s put it this way as I made successive trays I used the finished ones  to help me be more organised with the latest trays  and a lot less things got lost.

They will also make great gifts so at watch  out family and friends…..

So for future reference

1. In terms of sizes an increase of 10% but then down to the nearest 1/4” makes them stack nicely.

2. With linen mix fabric I found the stiff interfacing can go on either the exterior or interior pieces.

3. With quilting cotton the exterior needs to firstly have a low loft fusible wadding like Pellon 430 fused on to it and then the stiff interfacing. The interior also benefits from a layer of low loft fusible wadding.


Linking up with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts 


Quarter Log Cabin Quilt


This might be my favourite Siblings Together quilt I’ve made yet. Mindyou I always say that! Many of you will know that Siblings Together is a charity that brings together siblings separated in the UK care system. The many events they run include camps and the highlight is being gifted a quilt, often the first handmade item the children have ever received.


We have been having a recruitment drive and there are now 4 Bees up and running full of keen and generous quilters who make blocks and some of whom then take them and make them into quilts. We need a 100 quilts a year…This beauty is the work of Bee 2 although many of the new volunteers who went on to form the new Bee 4 also made blocks. Altogether I reckon there are over 20 contributors to this quilt. There was even a block making ‘factory’ down at Hever quilt show where Heather Hasthorpe and Jackie Norris were manning the Modern Quilt Group section of the Quilters Guild and brought with them a vintage sewing machine and were sewing blocks. Always a good ruse I think to draw people in  because who can resist seeing what someone else is making!

I had seen the Lake Cabin Quilt pattern on Rachel’s Stitched in Color blog in the Summer and thought it would make a good charity quilt using up blue and green strings.  With Rachel’s kind permission I shared the quarter log cabin design with Bee members but of course the tricky  bit with this pattern is the sashing and the fact it is set on point. But of course that’s what makes it different and attractive. I hadn’t  quite appreciated how much extra work there would be taking into account those two features but it was well worth it.

I went with a dark greeny blue solid having done an IG vote. Democracy ruled that a blue background was required but the initial choice was I agree a bit loud. So I toned it down from the girl guide blue of the bottom of the picture to Mineral, a Free Spirit solid, which is this lovely greeny blue.


When I’m sewing something big I tend to do that in the kitchen and when I’m sewing at the weekend the children moan slightly less than if I’m tucked away in the sewing room. I couldn’t work out why every time I returned to the sewing machine my thread had become unthreaded. Dreadful mother that I am I began to suspect the children of playing a joke until I caught the culprit red handed! Felix loves playing with a full spool as he can flick it up and chase after it so a proffered empty spool was ignored.


Skye played her part in delaying progress by curling up and going to sleep on the quilt mid quilting. Any cat lovers out there, I’m ashamed to say she was pushed off and offered another quilt but that wasn’t good enough! She hopped straight back on…



There will be more quarter log cabins in my future as I had a bumper crop sent by Bee members. I pulled out all the plain masculine blocks and will make up another quilt for an older teen. The rest went on the back.



Linking up with aLorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, Kelly My Quilt Infatuation and Amanda Jean Crazy Mom Quilts



Project bag Kondo style

One blogger, Rachel of Stitched in Color I think, mentioned she’d reviewed her annual plan recently to see how she was doing against what she had set herself for 2017. It made me recall I’d done some targets for 2017 and thought I’d amuse myself and review mine knowing full well there’d be some New Year enthusiasm in there. Yes some targets have been met, but others have fallen dramatically by the wayside. One such was to be more organised  both in my sewing room and sewing process. This has been a major fail.

My sewing room had become an absolute mess, to the point of disorganisation and chaos. I can live wth mess provided there is some method to the madness. Now when I say chaos I am not talking teenage boy room disaster zone of which sadly I have a great deal of experience but just dust, bits and pieces on the floor and heaps and heaps of random stuff.

So what to do. It needed more than just a tidy and clean, it needed a rethink.

In theory I’m lucky with storage. I have  a lovely chest of drawers, another less lovely but perfectly functioning set of drawers and a large book case. All of course absolutely rammed full. Some sort of vague organisation at the heart of it but generally a mess.


The main culprit was the innocent Hobbycraft tote. The sun may be shining down on it but it is evil…..


I use these to hold projects  either WIPs or material bought for a specific project in mind. They are great in the sense they are cheap, they squash down and are sizeable enough for even the largest project but they look ugly but worst of all when you are searching you have to open each bag and when they are squashed with loads of other identical bags that’s easier said than done.  I did experiment with a clear vinyl window but they just looked tatty as you can see in the picture below


My bottom drawer not a pretty or particularily well functioning drawer

As the drawer was full these bags were everywhere, hanging behind the door, dumped on the bed and floor, snooked into corners. In fact rather worrying all the tricks of the trade my children use to hide mess.

Then I remembered my foray into Maria Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying. I had throughly embraced this in a major sort through of my clothes and bedroom storage ahead of a refurbed bedroom last year. I know her style is not for everyone ie the concept of only holding onto things that give you joy but the ruthless approach worked for me  as did storing things vertically which seemed to create so much more space.

So to apply that to these project bags as they most certainly did not give me joy but the contents did. I just needed better project bags. I needed to be able to see into them,  be different sizes  and crucially they needed to be able to stack upright. I knew there were vinyl project bags out there. I couldn’t find any patterns for what I had in mind. I could find flat project bags and pouch types but not cube see-through bags.

So to do my own….

I started with this version. I did a straight copy of a see through bag that held toiletries I use for air travel. Oh what a disaster and so difficult to get that binding on. Ugly ugly….

Rethink needed so went for prototype 2…. a box construction with zip on top…… better…


It then dawned on me if I wanted to stack them vertically then having a see through side wasn’t very clever so why not make the same construction but put the vinyl on top so to prototype 3.


Functional but the zipper sewn directly to the vinyl wasn’t attractive and needed fabric strips either side so to prototype 4.



Success!! This was just what I was after….. so a cottage industry was born and I churned these out. They were surprisingly quick to make once you got into a rhythm and what a difference so much more space efficient let alone convenient.


and look at that drawer now….


If you fancy making your own I’ve done a tutorial

This project bag is a simple construction but I should make it clear at the outset that it is unlined and floppy which works for me in that there is less bulk for storage. If you want a lined box pouch with more structure then another pattern is probably the answer.

As a see through bag I used vinyl. If you’ve not sewn with vinyl before here are just a  few tips.

  1. flatten the vinyl by a gently pressing under a piece of fabric (can’t empahsise that enough) and then let it cool for a couple of minutes under the fabric overlay so its nice and flat
  2. do a few practice pieces on scraps just to see how your machine/machine foot behaves. I have a Pfaff with a built in walking foot and although I used a teflon foot it didn’t make any difference. I found it relatively easy to sew through, less easy to position hence….
  3. use glue if you find it too slippy to use
  4. Try and sew with fabric side down.  If you can’t do that then lift the fabric/vinyl up so that the only sticky bit is under the needle and being pulled along by the feeddogs

For a finished project bag size bag 9” length, 3 1/2” deep and 7” then the fabric requirements are listed below. This is a medium size bag but will hold a fair amount. The one I’m making in the tutorial holds pieced blocks and spare fabric for a lap sized quilt but not the backing. For that you need the largest size. Dimensions for a large and small size bag are given below. But the beauty of this design is you can make them any size to fit your storage. The height of my drawers is 7” so that’s why mine are that height. All seams 1/4″.

you will need

1 x 11” by 6” clear vinyl                                (large size 14″ by 7″, small size 8″ by 5″)

2 x 10” by 7” large side panels                    (large size 13″ by 7″, small size 7″ by 7″)

2 x 4” by 7” narrow side panels                (large size 4.5″ by 7″, small size 3.5″ by 7″)

2 x 1.75” by 11” strips                                  (large size 1.75″ by 14″ strips, small size 8″ strips)

1 x 10” by 4” bottom panel                         (large size 13″ by 4.5″, small size 7″ by 3.5″)

1 x 12” zip                                                      (large size 14″, small size 8″)


Fabric glue

Non permanent fabric marker pen

Prepare the strips and  zip

1. Prepare the strips by folding and ironing in half lengthwise. Starch for crispness. Then fold the long sides to meet at fold line. Finally fold in half to make a strip, iron and glue it to hold it together.





2. Glue the vinyl piece to right side of zip but not too close to zip itself.


3. Glue one of the strips onto the vinyl/zip unit so it sits on top of the vinyl close to the zip teeth and then sew down both sides of the fabric strip using a zipper foot (or not I never bother!). It should look like the picture under 4. below

4. Cut the vinyl by placing the zip teeth on a line on your cutting mat and cut 2” from the zip teeth


5. With the remaining strip of vinyl repeat on the other side of the zip and then sew down the fabric strip and trim as above.

6. Move the zip pull to midway on the zip and then trim the zip to 10”.


7. Sew across the ends on the zip to ensure the zip pull doesn’t get pulled off the zip. I’ve done this so many times 😢. You now have the zip unit.


Sew side panels onto zip unit

8. First mark all the pieces 1/4” in on all corners of side panels and the bottom. The gauge below is a lie , I just eyeballed it and it was fine !


9. Sew the long side panels rightsides together to the zip unit. On the sewing machine put the fabric on the bottom, you will easily be able to see the 1/4” marks through the vinyl and ONLY sew between your 1/4” marks.

Repeat on the other long side panel.

10. Now sew the shorter side panels by placing them rightsides together with the short side of the zip unit again fabric side down and only sewing between the marks. It should like this when you’ve sewn it.



11. and when all panel sides have been sewn on the rightside should look like this.


12. Now turn it over so the underside of the zip unit is showing and then trim the vinyl from the corners to reduce bulk. .  52AAB2B6-D522-496E-9835-04FCBE0EA11C

13. Next we need to sew the side seams rightsides together again sewing between the 1/4″ marks. Undo the zip (important!) and now by pinching the corner of the zip unit, position the two sides rightsides together and sew down to the bottom of the bag but only up to the 1/4″ mark  and repeat on all 4 sides.  6AB8C867-2A73-4EE7-B95F-6A5340AB4143C74B71E1-635A-45E5-A826-5CE16A3E9726

13. The bottom of a side seam should look like this.



14. Place the bottom piece right sides together on the bottom seams, matching the 1/4” marks and sew from 1/4″ mark around the bottom swivelling at each corner by leaving the needle down.  Make sure that the rest of the bag is tucked away while you are sewing.




14. Turn it inside out and press the fabric seams.  Finger press the seams with the vinyl and finish off the inside seams if you like a neat finish.


Now fill with your project…


Do let me know if you try this and if there are any glitches in the instructions or a better way.


Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts 

Q3 Finish Along round up and Q4 targets

A brief catch up on what I’d hoped to achieve over Q3.



Not too bad…. 5 out of 6. In summary the finished projects looked like this…

1. IMG_67952. Fail but I’ve gone off this project for the moment.

3. IMG_66944. IMG_64345.



IMG_6307Now to the next Quarter. Here’s the usual montage….

BAE741C4-F8FF-4D24-AE59-C50F33D5C9AA.jpegSo in order…


1. These are Bee blocks from Bee 2. These need sashing and then putting on point. Quite a bit of work is involved but I want this done by year end so it’s ready for me to take to the Threadhouse Retreat so I can give this Siblings Together quilt to Nicky who collects them all in.

2. I’ve purchased this book with the intention of making some of the sewing organisers in there. Not sure this really counts as a proper FAL item but as something I’d like to finish this quarter then it counts fo me

3. Another Siblings Together quilt, the first block for the newly formed Bee 4. Again I want this ready to take to Nicky.

4. Hopefully this beautiful Soulful  fabric by Maureen Cracknell  quilt for the lounge will get finished. Cold weather, well what classifies for cold weather in mild temperate U.K., is coming and this will be lovely to snuggle up with!! I’ve already bought a flannel backing, cream not the disastrous  deep red flannel  used on another quilt here

5. These will hopefully become see through project bags to contain my WIPs. This one is started but I have a lot of WIPs so need a lot of bags….

6. Another hourglass quilt for ST -see the pattern here so I can hand it over in the New Year

7. A beautiful ombré screen print from Karen Lewis to be made into something but can I cut into it ?

I’m cautiously optimistic of at least a 50% success rate……but don’t hold me to it.

Linking up with FAL 2017 has



Welcome to Siblings Together Bee 4


We had a great response to the recent appeal for new Bee members, not only sufficient to bolster Bees 1, 2 and 3 but enough to start another Bee. This is very exciting and it’s been wonderful to see everyone’s enthusiasm and so rather than wait until the end of the month to post this I thought I’d get this up a couple of days earlier. You’ve still got to the end of October to send them to me but for those who want to crack on then here it is.

I’m acting as coordinator for this group and whilst everyone settles in I thought I’d kick it off and set the first month’s blocks. So here goes…. something reasonably straightforward for people to cut their teeth. The bow tie block… which when you put four of the blocks below together make the blocks above in the top picture


I try to be reasonably prescriptive not to tie you down (oops pun there!) but stop the agonising – what colour did she want, is this what she meant, how low a volume does she want etc etc!! But equally I don’t want to be so prescriptive that no one has that colour of fabric in their stash. For this block I would like quite a strong contrast between the background and foreground colours so saturated or strong colour please but any colour would be perfect. It doesn’t have to be the same print in each block but they do need to be from the same colour family and the same sort of strong tone like my yellow and pink blocks. They’ve each got a couple of different prints but read the same tone of colour. With the background fabric I’d like white or very light grey again the lighter the better so the contrast is good. The background fabrics can be scrappy too as in my blocks above or all the same. Hopefully my example blocks give you an idea of what I’m after.

Each block needs four bow ties blocks. I’d ideally like 2 large blocks so that is 8 bow tie blocks. When you’ve sewn up the four bow ties blocks into one block can you please trim the blocks to 12.5″- these are the unfinished size and when I sew them together to make a quilt top they will be a 12″ finished

So how to make them. I will show you how I made mine but as we have many experienced and talented quilters in this bee do feel free to make them your way as long as the final block is made up of 4 bow tow blocks and equals 12.5″.  As I’ve said this is the unfinished size  and I used a scant 1/4″ as I normally do for all blocks as I often need wriggle room when trimming

Cutting for 4 bow tie blocks to make 1 larger block

From background fabric cut

8 x 3.5″ squares

From coloured/patterned fabric cut

8 x 3.5″ squares

8 x 1.75″ squares


Taking a 3.5″ background square place a 1.75″ square right sides together on the corner and then sew across the corner – you can just make out the stitch line in the photo below.  You can if you wish draw a line  on the back of the small squares but perfect accuracy is not the issue here it’s more about effect and I just eyeballed it. But then again imperfection  comes very naturally to me!!



then cut off the corner



and iron back the corner so it’s now a 3.5″ square, trimming if necessary



Now lay out your blocks and sew together  to make a bow tie block and then make 4.


By putting 4 of these bow tie units you get the larger block as shown below


Now please repeat the process to make a second large block. Any questions please don’t hesitate to call me or email me.

I try but don’t always succeed to get these quilts finished within 4 months. So hopefully if you can get them to me by the end of the month and there aren’t too many extra to make then we should have a finish in January. I will make sure you see it.

Don’t hesitate to shout up if it doesn’t sent make sense or the maths gremlins have crept in!

Project Caddy and the mysteries of interfacing

0AE30DB4-D289-49E3-BC81-BF51FCBAD671There’s is nothing I like more than  to make something I need and will be in constant use. Being able to make it to a design I like, a design that will be functional for me and then with the fabric of my choice is one of the joys of creating. I imagine dressmakers feel exactly the same.

I do a fair bit of hand sewing. Nothing like as much as many sewists but I’ve a long term Glitter project on the go and there’s always someone wanting badges sewn on or labels etc. So in response to this last year I  made myself another bionic gear bag to hold hand sewing stuff.





This is a fab design and I’ve made a number blogged if you’re interested here.  I love the zips, the fold out tray and it’s a good size but as a hand sewing caddy that’s on display (because it’s used so much) it’s blue which doesn’t go in our living spaces and floppy! It’s deliberately floppy as it’s really a travel bag so it can be crushed down in bags etc and take as little room as possible. To this end it is a boon on flights where much to the horror of my children I sew.

So I was on the look out for a hand sewing bag/caddy that was smart enough to have on display but crucially functional. And I found it in the Project Caddy of Aneela Hoey. This lady is a very talented designer both of fabric and bags/pouches. This is the first of hers I have used and it certainly won’t be the last. The instructions were clear and comprehensive. Perhaps choosing to do it at the weekend and in the kitchen so I could use the island unit for cutting out wasn’t  the best idea because of all the disruptions from teens wanting feeding, lifts, more feeding, more lifts  etc. It’s a pattern that needs careful thinking through not least because I was using a rather unusual, for me, fabric.

I’d seen this fabric in blog land and immediately had to have some. It took some tracking down but when it arrived I discovered it was rather more yellow than I had anticipated having been drawn by the rich reds and oranges. Nonetheless it needed to be used and I thought given this project might not be particularly successful it was worth a try. But of course it meant cutting the pieces to make the most of this large scale pattern and no bird or butterfly got cruelly cut.  282AD7D0-31DF-43CC-955B-FDD9258B2942

As a consequence the cutting took hours….. This was in part because of the frequent interruptions as mentioned above but also many of the pieces for this had to be cut in fabric and then again in various types of interfacing. In fact if you do the sturdiest version of this bag then you’re using four different types of interfacing. I can’t speak highly enough of my local quilt shop The Cotton Patch who went through with me the pattern and from which I could source at least three of the interfaces needed. The other one I got from Sew Hot with their usual lightening service.



The actual sewing was relatively quick up to getting the base done but the lid was more of a trial. If I do this pattern again I must hand baste more to check neatness etc particularly around the top. But that aside, in the main, the combination of careful cutting and marking definitely paid off.


I am really pleased with it. And it’s vast. I’ve covered a couple of boxes in the fabric to make containers. And enjoyed myself putting everything away.


Sky was fascinated by it as you can see and was constantly head-butting it hence the cat hairs. If I were doing it again I’d make the side lining seam at least an inch not 1/2” as the lining is a bit puffy and  ill fitting. But other than that I would make it just as the pattern suggests.


I use this blog as a ready reference for me. So if there are tips along the way or specific issues then I try to record them so I’m not left scratching my head knowing that I once had worked this out but for the life of me have forgotten! So as this was an interfacing dominated  project which introduced me to three new to me interfacings I thought I’d list out what I’ve learned and then use it for reference.

This is particularly so as interfacing has been quite a mystery to me given how many types of interfacing there are and yet they all look vaguely similar, so it’s very confusing. What further adds to the confusion is that you can combine different types of interfacing so for example in this pattern you are required to use up to 3 different types of interfacing on one piece of fabric.  But in reality my most successful finishes have often been because of using a combination of interfacing on one fabric piece. So based on some experience of using a number of different types of interfacing in various bags and pouches with varying degrees of success I have listed what I’ve found albeit I’m far from expert and do please share any interfacing experiences or favourites you have.

Thick interfacing for items that typically need to stand up

Annie’s Soft and Stable. This is thick, foam covered fusible  interfacing. It has a spongy feel to it. It worked very well with Anna Graham’s Noodle-head’s  Divided basket


Peltex 71F. This was new to me but recommended for the Project Caddy. It’s fusible and firm but can be bent and springs back. Useful when you need to turn the bag inside out to pull the lining through. It’s rough though so needs at least a couple of fabrics covering it  to feel nice. It gives a more rigid structure than Soft and Stable.

TIM Ted – this was also recommended for Project Caddy. It’s very firm, firmer than Peltex and doesn’t spring back easily. It is sew in type interfacing. This was slotted into the caddy between the exterior and interior lining. Perfect for something that needs to stand upright

Medium interfacing

Vilene or their new name Visilene (why bother changing their name?) H630. This is quite a thin fusible wadding and on its own it’s rather insubstantial I find . Being fusible is helpful although it doesn’t fuse well but maybe mine is old. With Project Caddy I used it to soften and smooth the exterior piece which definitely gave it a nicer finish.

Vilene H640. Thicker and with more substance this gives more heft than the H630. I like it for larger bags and totes. For larger totes I nearly always use upholstery fabric. It’s often cheaper and sturdier or I will use a linen type quilting cotton like that used here.


Lighter weight interfacing.

I have a few of these which I’ve used to basically make the fabric stiffer and less floppy. This is a good complement I’ve found to the fusible waddings  above.

Pellon Craft Fuse. This was new to me. It’s fusible and fuses well unlike the Vilene H630 above. But it has a tendency to ruck and it’s very difficult to remove once that’s happened. You can see an example of that here.


Vilene S320 is is similar to craft fuse in all respects in terms of function. Fuses well but can ruck. I have found this is a good combination with Vilene H640 for bags to give them structure and a professional look.

SF101 This also helps give cotton weight quilting fabric a much firmer feel. This was recommended by Aneela for the caddy. It’s woven whereas the other two listed are more like paper. I’ve tried to capture the difference in the picture below, the SF101 is under the scissors. It’s fuses well and didn’t ruck.  In fact this may be a new favourite of this type for that fact alone. I would have used just this interfacing for the caddy but I ran out and had to switch to craft fuse for a couple of pieces.


I don’t think I’ve cracked it when it comes to interfacing and I will keep trying others.  But what I have done is put each in separated plastic bags all labeled as they still look very similar.

Of course now there is no excuse but to crack on with those glitter block pieces in the caddy!

img_4543Linking up with Lorna of Sew Fresh Quilts and Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts

Bloggers Quilt Festival entry 2 – the scrappy one

Thinking about my second choice as an entry for The Bloggers’ Quilt Festival run by Amy’s Creative Side  I went for  the polar opposite of my first entry which was a quilt that was planned and scoped out to a millimetre of its life. This time it’s  a quilt that was easy and quick to make, pretty much thrown together and yet one of my favourite quilts today. It’s another quilt that lives with me and gives me pleasure every time I see it or sleep under it. The original post is here.


This quilt also celebrates the wonderfully collaborative, generous and inspiring quilting community of which we are a part. I first came across this simple but oh so effective design on the IG feed of Poppy @cuckooblue. Poppy was making a multi coloured version seen here on her blog. What I loved about it was the colour contrast with the scrappy neutrals in fact Poppy has done another similar styled quilt using the drunkard path blocks. Well I had  plenty of scrappy neutrals. So I blatantly copied her and she cheered me all the way.

I wanted a bed quilt for our spare room that doubles as my sewing room so blues/greens were going to work in there. I had plenty of blue/green scraps of course. So an evening with a rotary cutter, a cutting mat, my accuquilt and a couple of Sherlock Holmes episodes (which I had to watch twice as the plots twist and turn so much) I had a large pile of 2 1/2” squares and another of 4 1/2” squares. Then a couple or so sessions of fairly mindless chain stitching to get the units sewn, then some vague matching of blue/green tones to get the actual blocks. It really was that easy.


I was pleased with the quilting which was fast FMQ in a lazy figure of 8 style. The density of quilting was right for a bed cover as opposed to one that gets draped over shoulders and snuggled up in.

Probably best of all is that it is like a memory quilt with all the fabrics (well the bluey green ones) I’ve used since I started quilting each with its own history and reminder of other quilting projects around the house or gifted

And it appears I’m not the only one that loves it …..




Bloggers’ Quilt Festival entry – Division’s Judgement Day!

It’s time to link up with Amy of Amys Creative Side for this year’s Bloggers’ Quilt Festival, a chance for bloggers to feature a couple of quilts they’ve made in the last year. It must be a huge undertaking for Amy although this year it’s gone back to basics, Amy’s words not mine,  and there won’t be the frisson of voting. That’s no bad thing in my book but it is another chance to catch up with quilts I’ve admired over the year and see some new inspiring quilts of all shapes and sizes.

So to my first entry…. no surprises here


This quilt, called Division, was a quilt specifically made for the Festival of Quilts, the biggest quilt show in the UK. Its not the first time I’ve made a quilt that has been in an exhibition at a show but it is most certainly the first time I’ve made a quilt for a competition and where I’d get judges’views. These are shown in all their glory at the end if you want to cut to the chase….  It’s a long time since I’ve had feedback on my performance other than staff appraisals so I have to admit I was a bit daunted…..

That nervousness translated into obsessive attention to detail trying to make the quilt as perfect as possible. That is very counter to my normal style which is laissez faire. What this meant in practice is that normal tasks got squeezed out,  cats weren’t petted, children pretty much neglected and my sewing spread round the house in order to meet the deadline. Of course the quilt isn’t remotely perfect but it is good enough and everyday I see it hanging on our landing it gives me pleasure.

The full blog post is here.


I got some lovely feedback and it featured in the blog of one of the quilt magazines  describing it as being on trend as mid century modern! Well I’m certainly mid century but even my dearest friend wouldn’t call me modern! And my teens would be hysterical at the thought of  their mother being on trend!

Here are the judges’ views for good or for bad.  Whilst I’ve yet to see anybody else’s posted which suggested it is not de rigeur to do this, my blog is my sewing record and you can be very confident if they are not  committed to electronic record these bits of paper will disappear in no time!


I think 3 handwritten notes giving quite a bit of feedback is pretty good value for an entry cost of £12 (I think).  I presume they had more than 3 judges as there were 100s of quilts in the competitions.

I was rather pleased with such kind comments. It didn’t win anything but I genuinely had no expectation of winning.  It reminds me when a rather pushy mother at school asked me whether I thought no. 1 son had done well enough in his first year exams to get into the top set the next academic year. I answered that being realistic if they put him in the top set then something had gone horribly wrong for a number of children. Similarly with my quilt I hoped it would ‘wash its face’ but it wasn’t in the league of some of the top quilts.  Not that I liked every winner I hasten to add but you never do do you.

The reference to it ‘meeting the remit’ is that it was judged as being modern. According to the judges, this section contained the most misplaced quilts that  should really have been entered in other sections. Mindyou it is confusing in that they have a Contempory quilt section and because you can only enter one quilt per section that also blurrs the line. I  think at QuiltCon, the Modern Quilt Show, they switch your quilt if you’ve got the category wrong and of course under the generic heading of Modern Quilt  there are a number of categories.

I picked up the quilt at the end of the quilt show and got the judges slips which I read on the way back to the car.  I was so pleased with them that I wasn’t too aghast at my car being missing from where I’d left it in the car park. By the time I’d got back the car park was pretty much deserted and I could see from a distance that the car had gone.  I really can’t imagine what possessed me to walk the entire length of the car park to look at an empty space. But on that long walk  I did reflect on whether car thieves would really want a large, dark grey estate car, the sort of vehicle owned by someone who wants safety and size to fill with children and clutter over excitement and glamour. I was right of course, I’d got the wrong car park and my car was waiting for me fortunately ignored by the criminal classes of Solihull!!


Sunday Stash

I haven’t done one of these posts for some time but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been shopping for fabric. So if it seems a bumper crop of purchases  it is spread over some months and if I’m brutally honest not every fabric purchase is included. I don’t want to alarm my mother!!


So to start with these gorgeous Soulful fabrics by Maureen Cracknell. I’ve wanted a new quilt for the lounge so there are more quilts to throw over each other than just the one existing quilt. My lounge and indeed whole house has warm colours, we have more shades of cream than you can possibly imagine and every room has muted warm colours.  The lounge is dominated by a beautiful terracotta Indian rug and I’ve been looking for a fabric range that would complement it for ages. Someone suggested Fig Tree fabrics and some of the earlier ranges would have worked but not the latest. The Soulful range, particularly the Soft and Gentle colour way which focuses on caramels, apricots and  terracotta but not the plums, looked perfect.  The only problem was finding it in the UK. I think one shop now has some but not the full range so I had the bright idea that I would order from America but have it delivered to our US holiday address.  So whilst the children chose western riding boots and hoodies  for their holiday presents I choose fabric. Be honest it’s exactly what you would have done!


With that haul I’ve also ordered this Galaxy print of the Encyclopaedia Galatica range. One of the many quilt designs I would like to do is the mariner’s compass as a wall hanging and I thought this would make a rather splendid central circle.


I had been lusting after a particular  ombré screen print that the very talented Karen Lewis had shown on her IG account. But I wasn’t the only one as they sold out very quickly. But when Karen said a new batch had been freshly printed  I very selfishly nabbed three. Whether I can bring myself to cut them up is another matter.


And another screen printed fabric by new printer on the block Helen Steele which I nabbed at the Festival of Quilts. These are beautiful as well. I’m waiting for inspiration.


And yes you do spy black/grey batiks in the background, not my normal fabric purchase, but these have a very specific purpose of a cat portrait and their variability and stiffness will work perfectly for that.  I hope because if not they are unlikely to end up anywhere else!

linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday stash


Yes another plus quilt!!


I make no apologies for another plus quilt. It’s such a very versatile design and for an older teen  for the charity Siblings Together quilt is perfect.


My wonderfully generous  bee 2 members had together sent me over 85 blue hourglass blocks when I was the monthly mama last May. I love being mama all that happy mail and all to my design!

The first quilt I made from these blocks was a very clever and effective design by Trudi Wood in a copy of Quilt Now.


But as you can see with all that negative space it is a block efficient design so I had plenty left for quilt 2.  I didn’t want to do the same design all over again so played around with Quiltography.  This is a cheap app circa £10. Very easy to use and intuitive it is good for designing a typical matrix quilt made up of blocks. It’s not so good if your blocks or quilt are non standard but then TouchDraw comes into its own, another cheap app I rave about in this post.

I came up with a range of ideas and picked my favourite


It was a quick make helped by simple quilting. Albeit not helped by the cats who were living  dangerously …..



In fact I still have some 15 or so blocks over for quilt no. 3. This will be a nice holiday project for my mum and me when she comes up in October.  She did offer!!!

On Bee news you may have seen our appeal for more Bee members for Bee 2  which had got a bit on the thin side. Well it went very well, so well not only have we filled the gaps in Bee 2 but started a new Bee 4 more on that later in the month when that kicks  off. If you are one of them welcome on board.

This is a finish on my Q3 FAL list first blogged here

Linking up with Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation and Amanda Jean for  Crazy Mom Quilts