What with holidays and the mad rush to get ready for that and dealing with  the aftermath on returning of putting everything back again combined with a bit of lost sewing motivation after doing the quilt for the Festival of Quilts, there’s not been masses of sewing going on.  But yesterday the urged itched and having a completely empty day (which was wonderful) I decided to just play with fabric and try something new. OK meals had to be prepped for the children but I’m one down as no. 2 son is on camp this week, and he’s the messiest one, particularly when he has free time, so the stars were aligned!

I’d seen this stunning quilt by Laura of Slice of Pi on IG and couldn’t work out how it was made. Normally I have  a fair idea but this one stumped me.  Laura however had revealed all in her blog about the quilt and refers to an excellent tutorial by Lorrie on how to make an interleave quilt. It looked the perfect technique to play with on my ‘day off’.

I needed a table mat for the small table I use for hot drinks in the lounge. In the absence of a coaster I use an old newspaper or magazine. Not very attractive and over time the dreaded white rings have appeared.  And as a quick and easy project this seemed the perfect thing.


First the fabric. I wanted warm colours to go with the room’s decor.


As I was playing and not sure of the outcome first stop was my drawer of large scraps. They also include ugly fabrics I’ve bought on a whim but now can’t abide. The dark bronze fabric there in the centre above is a perfect example, I liked the colour but then when it arrived with a pattern of spider webs on it this arachnophobic was suddenly less keen. I thought using this method the pattern wouldn’t be noticeable.

As as aside and an example of my fear of spiders we had a whopper the other day which had both myself and my daughter clutching each other with horror. Of course neither son was nowhere to be seen. If we’d been hyperventilating less I would have put something alongside it to give it scale but the birthday card below gives you some idea.


Now I’m sure readers in more exotic locations will be tittering at how pathetic  this is compared to their native spiders but for the UK it was big. I’m not sure what any passer by would have made of a middle aged woman running out of the house clutching a vast quantity of paper towel wherein lay the offending spider and then barely holding in her screams throwing it to the ground and dashing back in!

Anyway back  to the technique. I won’t replicate it in detail here but basically you sew strips together then after making a tube you cut out a curvy shape so you are left with pieces like this. Lorrie’s tutorial gives all the necessary information. She emphasises  that contrast between fabrics is important.


Then basically you cut off strips which then get sewn directly onto batting in a ‘quilt as you go’ fashion. I chose to use Annie’s Soft and Stable which is a relatively structured wadding (hence the name). I stretched out the wadding and the cats always love it when this happens and it became an impromptu tunnel and they were having such a great time playing with it. But before I managed to get a picture of the fun they’d  started fighting! Just like children…


This product while pricey is perfect for projects like this where you need some firmness like in this divided basket I made for a gift recently. This proved a good choice as it has given the mats some substance and the texture of the quilting is wonderful.


It was fun to watch the curved gradually appear. As you will see I wasn’t bothered by being too perfect, this was playtime after all and after the FoQ quilt where I tried so hard for it to be as perfect as possible doing the same here was too much like hard work!!



The first mat turned out too big for the small table so I did a second. I’d got into the swing by then.  I was very pleased with the finished products and they will be practical as well as looking good.


It’s certainly worth doing again perhaps for a new mat for the kitchen table. Whether I do an entire quilt is another matter, but a few tips for next time.

1. I used .75″ inch strips for the larger mat but these were very time consuming and didn’t show the curve as quickly. The smaller of the two mats had slices of 1 inch which worked well.

2. Lorrie has some excellent curve templates. I cut my curves  freehand and although I don’t regret that decision if I were doing it again I think I would use one of her templates. I’d also think about making the curves a bit more curvy certainly for a smaller project.

3. Using Soft and Stable was excellent. It is pricey but gives the real feel of substance.

4. Copying Laura’s quilt I think I would make my columns of fabric narrower so there was more variation. I would also go for solids or patterns that read as solid so the contrast is greater.

Linking up for the first time with Fiona of Celtic Thistles 


Festival of Quilts 2017

I made my annual journey to the UK’s largest quilt show, and some say the largest in Europe this week. A positive feast of ideas, inspiration and talent. But what stood out for me this year is the sheer hard work on the part of the traders who come to do business. Maybe because my energy levels were a bit  low having just come from Colorado and I was still suffering from jet lag but you have to admire people who pack up their shops, load it into vans, drive for hours then unload it all, grapple with tables, furniture and stock to set up an attractive stand….. and then pay a small fortune for the privilege. Oh and then to top it all stand all day…..

This is Viv’s Purple Stitches stand with Helen Steele in front debuting her new screen printed panels.


Helen Steele with some of her lovely screen printed panels.

But having said that I didn’t buy masses of stuff. If you could see my sewing room you would appreciate that I’m not exactly in need of fabric. But I did get some spoils of war.

You may see some batiks lurking there, not my usual cup of tea. But I’ve been meaning to have a go at a cat portrait of Minty who we lost earlier this year. Batiks have the variations which make it look more natural than solids. Well time will tell but I knew a big show like this would get me the variety I needed.


But of course the main attraction were the quilts  I was looking forward in particular to seeing the Quiltcon exhibition. Quiltcon is the modern quilt  show in the world.  The best overal winner and a selected few are sent on a world tour of quilt shows.

Rarely do I think the judges’ winners are the one I would have chosen but this year the winning quilt by Cat Jones of Tasmania was totally deserving of that accolade. How you begin  to conceive let alone construct it is beyond me. I loved everything about it even it’s name Bling! But for reasons I don’t know, but presumably a simple admin error, there were no names or acknowledgement for each quilt. They really need to do something about that and quickly.



Back to home grown quilts. There were some of my favourites that I’ve watched develop on IG.

Jo Avery’s


Two from Abigail de Graf’s studio 


Some new ones for me of various genres but just caught my eye

I like a quilt that has a powerful message…. this by  Kate Crossley  called Dreaming of Europe


This was the winner of the Modern category by Judith Lynch and was beautifully executed……

IMG_0420But if I had  been picking this was my favourite… it is by Anna Galvin and was given a Highly Commended.

IMG_0381Other Quilts that caught my eye in order were River by Jenny Haynes, the group quilt by the Modern Quilt Group as part of the Cottonopolis exhibition and Fraction by Lou Slough


And then coming to the Quilts I had in the show.  Firstly the couple I did for the Cottonopolis exhibition (top left and the raindrops one towards the bottom respectively)  I’d wish I’d got a better picture but the one I really would have liked to have made was the one above mine!!!



And finally the proper show quilt I entered Division which caused me such agony… there was at least one quilt I saw with the name Never Again.  I sympathised.

I have to say the quilt was in pole position and was the first quilt you saw as you entered. This comes about when you enter your quilt with minutes to go….


If and when I get the judges’ comments I will share them in an update….then again if they are too awful….

UPDATE….. well they weren’t too awful it fact the judges were very kind. There were 3 judges, each indidually marked your quilt against criteria such as design, piecing accuracy etc. The majority of marks were excellent and the rest good. Do you know I may do it all again!!!

Cats on quilts


The link up organised by Snoodles of Lily Pad Quilting has got to be the most fun of my quilting year. Many of you will be familiar with this link up but for those for whom it’s new, it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate, unashamedly, our quilting pet companions and share them with like minded quilters. For those with a more quilty purist approach this post will probably not be your cup of tea.

You get two bites of the link up cherry, one entry based on a picture of a pet on a quilt and the other an entry of a quilt of a pet.  This is my entry for the former. Sadly I’ve not done another cat portrait since this one which I entered last year.


My entry’s a bitter sweet one as Minty, the grey cat, sadly came off worse in a collision with a car earlier this year and we lost him.  So sad but letting him go outside was a risk we had to take as he was deeply frustrated and unhappy if kept in and would take out his irritation in the most obvious of ways  which was not good for my carpets!

Now the normal approach to these type of entries of pets on quilts is like that of last year’s cat winner Rocky.  Aside from some lovely photos of this very beautiful and characterful cat on quilts and generally helping in the sewing room there was a heart warming back story of how Rocky came into his owner Teresa’s life as a cold, bedraggled young cat in Coyote country. Clearly a cat and owner who thoroughly deserve each other. So you get the idea, sweet pictures of pet on quilt, lovely warm loving account of said pet and you have a potential winner…

Well I’m afraid against those criteria  I have no winning entry. What follows is an all too familiar exchange between my two cats, who whilst individually were/ are lovely and together mostly enjoyed a friendly companionship but at times, well they had their moments …. on this occasion they chose to have these moments in a small wicker basket, really a one cat basket, with one of my earliest quilts made for Skye the lilac cat, when she joined us as a kitten.  Note loose binding. It’s been well used, well washed and loved. As you can see the jeopardy for what unfolds is increased by the basket being precariously balanced on a bar stool…..













Minty was not blessed with brains. Beauty yes, brains no. Each and every time this would happen. He would position himself in the basket by the fire or in a patch of sunshine and then along would  come Skye. She would tentatively climb in and  licking him round his ears which he loved.  He would reciprocate and briefly there would be harmony then she would stiffen and a cold glint would appear in her eye. ‘He’s still here’ she seemed to say and then she would lash out….poor Minty would give a mixed look of surprise and hurt. Minty was bigger than Skye and he could quite easily have retaliated and held his ground but he never did and she always got her wicked way.

What has been rather entertaining is to watch how our new grey  kitten Felix and Skye interact as these roles have completely  reversed. Before it was Skye who would be the agitator, pouncing on a placid Minty as he strolled by, muscling in if she felt he was getting too much attention but now the tables have well and truly turned. She now has had to put up and deal with the youthful boisterousness of Felix. Skye’s the one being pounced on as she goes about her day, now it’s her that gets pushed out if she is getting too much attention particularly if she is curled up on someone’s lap. Skye retaliates more but senses she’s on a losing wicket and gives up in disgust. Suddenly she’s the mature one and Felix has the exuberance of youth.  There’s a moral here – what goes around comes around!!

Linking up with Lily Pad Quilts.



Heat exhaustion!!