Economies of Scale

I came across this great poster and slogan at the bottom of a blog post recently of Cindy of Live a Colorful Life.   I’ve taken the liberty of anglicising it…..


I’m sure I’m not the only person who sews or crafts generally who acknowledges that penny for penny we are not usually saving money when we do our thing. OK the end result is unique, exactly to our taste (if it goes to plan) and usually satisfying and pleasurable to make although, those crucial matters aside, is it value for money?

I was reminded of this when I made some quilt blankets for our new kitten and a couple of quilts for the dogs of a friend. Altogether the cost of these quilts came to something like £95 for the fabric and batting. At our local  pet store these £8 blankets are for comparison.



Do I begrudge the extra expenditure?  Not one bit of it. I love seeing hand made articles around the house and it gives me pleasure to create and gift items even if it is to a cat or dog who would probably be just as happy with an old jumper or manky  piece of fleece

Mindyou on this occasion it is for a very special cat, our new kitten Felix.


We haven’t got him yet, just a few more weeks to wait but finishing his quilt was my One Monthly Goal with Patty at Elm Street Quilts.

I managed to get some lovely soft flannels although they are much harder to get than in the US. The rather purply pink colour was a bit of surprise compared to the online picture of the fabric but I hope Felix will be in touch with his feminine  side. I went for straight  forward half square triangles but flannel is quite stretchy and slippery – I should really have used more pins but I’m always impaling myself on them so try to avoid them as much as possible. But getting this in perspective it is a quilt for a cat who is hardly going to mind the misaligned seams and the odd point missing. After a bit of a break from sewing because of Easter travels and essential gardening which eats into spare time, it was good to make something that didn’t require a great deal of thought.


Skye staking her claim 

Of course despite the c£30 cost per quilt I was left with a load of scraps both of the backing fleece, wadding and flannel. Perfect for a bonus quilt.

I rather indiscriminately sewed all the scraps together but it looked frankly rather inspiring so I decided to slash and resew to break up the large blocks of colour. I got the idea from Chrissie of Made by Chrissie D who had won the block lotto of her quilting guild which is where those who want to participate bring a quilt block of the theme for that month and somebody wins them all and has the makings of a quilt. That month the theme was low volume but boy did that confuse people because Chrissie got a very odd bunch of blocks. She was far too kind to say so not least I suspect because her quilt guild members are probably readers of her blog. But she had the brilliant idea of sewing them altogether and then continually cutting and resewing to get a better distribution. In the end the final quilt was beautiful albeit much smaller. So I’d thought I would have a go …

This is stage 1


Stage 2…..


And stage 3 the finished quilt. I think it is certainly more interesting that at stage 1.


As you can see I tried to get some wonkiness in to add to its improv look but not too much as I didn’t want to make it too small. Overall I think it’s quite effective. And it of course reduced my cost per item to c £22!

So just waiting until there’s a sweet kitten sleeping on it…..



Linking to Kelly at My Quilt Infatuation, Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts and Patty at Elm Street Quilts. Post Scropt


Post Script

I couldn’t help showing you a picture of Felix’s litter. Look at the one on the left sleeping on his back. He obviously had a good lunch.


Sunday stash – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly….

What with one thing and another I’ve been doing some fabric purchasing. I never need much of an excuse. But I’ve been yet again caught out by colours on websites versus real life. But in the order of the title above….

The Good


I’m bravely going where I’ve not trod before doing a quilt for a competitive show.  It needs to be in various shades of yellow to fit the decor of the space it’s due to hang,  a rather dark but largish space at the foot of the top floor stairs. So I ordered a bunch of yellows from Duck Egg Threads. They were the largest stockists I could find of Pure Elements in the U.K., the solids brand of AGF. I’d been recommended them by IG friends and they don’t disappoint. They have that lovely soft silky hand of AGF fabrics and while they don’t have the range of colours as Kona they have a nicer feel and if I can’t find a yellow from that collection well I need to think again.


The Bad

Another good thing is the excellent labelling. This is in contrast to a similar bunch of fabrics from Oakshott where I’d ordered a chunk of satsuma and it’s rather more orange than the online picture. I really should have realised from the name!! But ‘the bad’ is no labelling and I’ve no idea of the two paler colours which is which. I didn’t ask them to be labelled but I did rather assume they would be. I did order a colour swatch (which covers their autumn colours not these neutral ones ) so I can order some yellows with confidence. Although whether I need to now I’m not sure.



The Ugly

Now for the ugly. We’ve all done it….. adding to orders to ‘make the postage worthwhile’. I needed some Makower cream linen fabric for a planned project so I threw in the basket a few extra FQs for good measure. I’m very low on purples and although not my go to colour it is often asked for in charity blocks. And for various reasons I have on occasions needed a brown. Anyway I bought these. The Jen Kingwell Gardenvale fabric  is OK but the rest……yep ugly.




Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash

Quilting for dogs

I have a dear friend who has recently added to her family by the addition of a new puppy, a black Labrador rejoicing in the name of Elvis.


Elvis joins another dog they own, a golden Labrador called Lincoln.  (And yes Lincoln is named after one of the US’s finest presidents and they really wanted another President name but couldn’t find one that had the reputation they wanted and sounded good as a dog’s name so went for another US icon). My friend sweetly bought me matching baby quilts for my twins 14 years ago which are still tucked away somewhere so I’ve been meaning to return the favour with this new addition.

The plan had been to make a couple of flannel quilts similar to the ones I made our cats but  in golds/creams and the other blue/black to match their colouring. But I found it really hard to find flannel in the U.K. that wasn’t child oriented or pastels. I could find grey/blue flannel fabric but not yellow or cream that is until yesterday.

I went to the Quilt and Stitch show in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. If I’m honest I didn’t find it very inspiring with the notable exception of a couple of modern quilts and a textile art display by Eclectica, a small group of textile artists in the West Midlands. Abigail of Cut and Alter had entered a quilt I’d been watching coming along on IG.  It was absolutely stunning and was attracting a lot of interest (and won a ribbon). As the quilt is hot off the press (or the long arm more accurately) I didn’t think it was right to include a picture ahead of Abigail doing that but here is a pic of her other quilt that has been shown and won ribbons elsewhere and picked up another well deserved first yesterday.


But the rest of the quilts?  Well they didn’t do much for me, beautifully and very skillfully executed but too trad for my taste as were the trade stands. But I did find some flannel. This is the grey mixture. These are Moda Primitive Gatherings and were perfect for my purposes.



I suspect that flannel is more popular in the US not just because of the size of the quilting market there, many multiples of ours, but simply the harsher climate in large swathes of that country. I accept visually it’s not as attractive but oh the comfort and softness. Perfect for pets and quite possible me!

I went for a very simple 9″ square patch work design backed by fabric cut from fleecy blankets. They  make a very practical, warm and cosy quilt. Ideal for covering furniture or lining baskets or carriers.


These were simple quilts and quick to make even with the dreaded fleece backing which I hate using because of the mess but does make for a lovely cosy quilt. This is my attempt at styling these as if you would find quilts draped over trees but the blossom is pretty.


Skye as ever cross that I’m not petting or feeding her makes her protest clear…



The quilt show is a bit unusual as it’s spread across a number of buildings. Trying to work out where to go I spied  on the map a Men’s Crèche!! It reminded of this rather entertaining  blog post by Abby Glassenberg of While she naps  about a similar set up at a quilt show in the USA.  There  the issue was the gender stereotyping around the existence of  a Husbands’ Lounge – the inference being that quilters are women, heterosexual  and married.  Now I strongly suspect  that yesterday the vast majority were exactly that. There were a few men in tow. I am always impressed by this as I’m sure my late husband would have found any excuse not to join me. But if I were an accompanying spouse/partner  I’d rather have a ‘lounge’ to retreat to than a ‘creche’ with its demeaning baby connotation !! But it was  interesting when I went to check it out it was locked and empty. Somebody else perhaps had realised that it wasn’t quite the right tone.


Another quarter, another Finish-a-Long (Q2) and One Monthly Goal

Time to review progress on outstanding WIPS over the last quarter and set the next set of targets.

This is the photo montage for Q1.


Four out of five, I will take that. The one unfinished project is a tricky one so I can understand why I’ve left it out and it isn’t making an appearance for Q2…. One day the muse will take me on that WIP but not soon I doubt…

They are blogged here – 1,  2, 3 and 4.

So to the next quarter. I’m being ambitious but also listing a few ‘must’ finishes. Here is the next montage …


And in more detail…

1. IMG_5547

Now this where I’m being very brave.   This is my attempt, and I’m making no guarantees it will come off,  at a quilt to be entered in the modern quilt section of the Festival of Quilts, the quilt show in the UK.   I have made a couple of mini quilts to be shown in the display area the modern quilting group have been given but they won’t be judged officially at least but when entering a quilt into a show you are rather putting your hand up and saying look at me and give me your opinion.  It was only last year that the Festival of Quilts introduced a modern quilt section; the U.K. has taken time to catch up with its US, Canadian and Australian cousins.  But the entries were wonderful and absolutely made  the quilt show for me and I would say for a lot of other people as that section was very busy. So it is quite a brave step as I’m not technically the most proficient.  But I was much taken with Abigail’s approach of Cut and Alter who regularily enters quilts (and wins ribbons) which was along the lines of why not!!   So to that end I am doing a quilt with circles using a technique I’ve done a fair bit and based on this quilt but in a different colour way and bigger. It will be an original design but heavily influenced by quilts and quilters I admire. Wish me luck!!


2. And 4.

These will be a table runner and bag  for the forthcoming visit of children from the Chernobyl area of Belarus and Russia to Wales for the annual holiday event. Jennifer of Glinda Quilts does the organising and a lot of work behind-the-scenes. It will be the second year we’ve done this.

3  IMG_5542

These are 8 inch pink squares leftover from overzealous cutting of thquilt I did last year. They are perfect for a scrappy cot quilt for new baby girl due in July.

5. IMG_5501.JPG


This is another scrappy quilt to try and manage the scrap mountain that would otherwise exist in my sewing room. I have blatantly copied a great quilt design by Katie Pedersen of SewKatieDid. This will be a light relief quilt something to do when I just want mindless sewing.

6. img_5434 I made this quilt which now hangs in my room above one of my bedside tables. It struck me that it would be good to do a similar companion piece to sit above the other bed side table on the other side of the bed as a touch of symmetry would look quite effective.  I don’t want to do an exact quilt but I have plenty of fabric from the silk ties of my late husband and a enough of the same neutral to do something similar but different. I’m looking at this design.



No rush on this one so it may not happen.

7. IMG_5556


The baby girl mentioned for the cot quilt above has a big sister. There will be a 10 year gap between them and I’ve been wanting to make a quilt for this child for some time. This seems a perfect opportunity and I think this cotton and steel fabric is a good fit for a pre teen girl. I hope she agrees!


And finally a new quilt for the lounge where there’s often a  resident slumbering teenager in need of a comfort quilt and the existing quilt in there is in most people’s opinions too small and too thin. This will remind us of our wonderful holidays in South Africa in what I like to think as Downton Abbey in the bush minus formal clothes and British aristocracy.

Last but not least is my One Monthly Goal for Patty of Elm Street Quilts for the month of April. This is a very special but very simple WIP.  After the sad death of Minty our grey cat we wanted to get another cat quite quickly as Skye, our lilac cat,  is really missing having a feline companion. We wanted another grey cat and this is Felix who we will collect mid May.  And of course new kitten, new quilt…