The Guilt Quilt…..



Someone commented recently how quick I am at turning round quilts. But the truth of course is I have these wonderful Siblings Together Bee members (see tab above for more info on this charity) sending me blocks otherwise my finish rate would be soooo much lower. And although the blocks we choose for these quilts are usually selected for impact over complexity nevertheless from start to finish they will take a minimum of an hour to make. So assuming you need say 20-30 blocks for a typical quilt then you can see the time saving. Mind you I spent well over that doing some blocks for another mama yesterday but that quilt is going to be so stunning…..

The comment touched a guilty nerve though as I had some much overdue blocks left over from this quilt made last October that needed to be in a quilt.


I had an absolute bumper crop of these scrap quarter log cabins. I’d bought Rachel Hauser’s Lake Cabin quilt pattern and with her permission used it for the first quilt. It’s quite block intensive but Bee members from both Bee 2 and the new  Bee 4 people who were waiting for their official start came up trumps.  I received 75 plus blocks which I then sorted  into those that were more gender neutral and those more flowery and used the latter to make the quilt above.  I had quite a few left over for another quilt but not enough so they languished in a drawer…..

But once spurred on it is surprising how quickly I get motivated by something I’m going to enjoy because first and foremost I am a selfish sewist. I only sew what I want to sew. One of the children in desperation sewed the seams of his own school trouser legs, having taken them off I hasten to add, to narrow the legs. He was lucky the machine had dark grey in it!!  And his twin has a droopy school skirt because I’ve yet to take in the waist.  Oh and there’s a vinyl tablecloth in my sewing room that a friend asked to me to hem months and months, ok well over a year ago, and because it will be fiddly and a pain that 45 min job has just languished. You get the drift?

It didn’t take too long to make up another 8 or so blocks and my blue and green scrap drawers are really quite thin. I decided against the same quilt design as before as there was a lot of sashing involved with the original design.  It was a bit fiddly so I decided to do it on point again but insert plain white squares. I wonder whether I prefer this layout as being more graphic and fresh.


Sewing the top together took way longer than it should have done. I used my Singer Featherweight and whether it’s the old motor or whatever it’s not a quick machine. It’s perfect for piecing blocks but long seams are a bit of a pain. Also I got throughly muddled by the on point setting but lets be honest those block layouts on my lounge floor are hardly precise.  Oh for a full design wall.  So lots of unpicking was involved.


You will notice I haven’t quilted this one yet. Our target for Siblings Together is 100 quilts which we achieved this week and given how many quilts get finished around now that number will get higher. So the 6 or so quilts stacked on my spare bed that I was going to send I’m hanging onto for next year and will hand them to Nicky who coordinates this amazing effort when I see her. To save space I’ve decided to just keep the tops and quilt them later.



…and  because I’ve been mama for two bees this month and these gorgeous blocks have been arriving, so there are more tops to come



Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF


The Royal Wedding Quilt



Jacq  who commented  on a post I wrote earlier this year about quilting and watching Netflix and TV etc, made me laugh when she said she often associated the quilts she’d made with the programme she’d watched at the time she made it. So last year’s Sewcial Sampler was The Crown and the Swoon 2016 quilt was Breaking Bad. So on that basis this is the Royal Wedding Quilt. I suppose these wonderfully zesty and exciting colours rather suit the latest royal bride who looked stunning and brings some much needed energy and difference. Meghan is a big hit here!

I normally get some time during the week to sew but not last week so I wanted to devote some free time this weekend. I was one child down which always helps in terms of freeing up time. She was away getting thoroughly  lost on her Duke of Edinburgh trek wearing my fitbit so 56,000 steps later I’m on a mega 102k for this week! Once the lounge had been emptied of teenage boys who’d stayed over night I settled down to watch the wedding with a bit of basting on the floor. However I think the royal couple look slightly disapproving of me using spray glue in the lounge…..but I have to say it worked very well.


I was onto the quilting by the end of the wedding service and during the cello bit, popping out to make a cup of tea, I heard Felix meowing loudly outside. This is a worrying sound when you have indoor cats. Sure enough he had managed to leap from an upstairs window onto next doors flat roof. This is trickier than it sounds as you have to jump up and across.


I retrieved  him from the roof by accessing it via our neighbours window.  Back home I then covered the window sill with sticky tape specially designed to keep pets off. Clearly either the distress of being trapped on the roof or the sticky stuff didn’t deter him because 45 minutes later I was back round the neighbours hauling him through their window again so I’m going to have to think more. He has more brawn than brain.

Once I’d got back to the wedding they were now in the horse drawn carriage surrounded by a mounted escort which for me is the best bit. I love horses and these were magnificent creatures but I’m a sufficiently experienced observer of these events to know that there is nearly always one naughty  horse. I regularly ride and the slightest thing can spook a horse even down to an innocent plastic bag in a hedge so when it comes to cheering crowds waving banners and flags I’m surprised there aren’t more problems. I know they train them but you can’t recreate the scale and noise of those crowds.  Well one of the front grey horses was decidedly troublesome and it was impressive how the rider just about kept the horse in check as it cantered on the spot and at one point veered into a policeman. The rider must have been pleased to get back!

Back to the quilt, it is made from a whole bunch of blocks made by the Siblings Together Threadhouse Retreat Bee. It’s a great block, little wastage and very quick. I received easily enough for two quilts.

I’d asked for warm colours and crudely divided those with slightly more analogous colours from the really zingy ones .  Here’s the first quilt for comparison.


Whereas you can see with the second the colours take it up a notch.


I chose a simple FMQ quilting design highlighting the verticles as opposed to an all over design. Kate @chilternweb had very kindly sent me some Pfaff feet and bobbins as she’d just received a beautiful Bernina. They were in a really sweet pouch with a flex frame which intrigued me. I’m going to explore those more.

397428B1-DEA7-4E67-9D83-28B96CC878A7Amongst them was the 6D Dynamic Spring quilting foot, so I thought  I’d give it a try. Well what a great foot. I much preferred it to my usual FMQ foot which is the open toed. Fine for detailed work but fast all over design seemed to make the stitches easier. OK it doesn’t help get my spacings between my quilting  lines anymore even but that is too much to ask for! Thanks Kate.

I have a sneaky suspicion their first night as a married couple Harry and Meghan weren’t sleeping under a cotton patchwork quilt but how sad for them!

This is a Q2 QAL finish and covered here 


Fold up pouch – vive la difference


There’s another sew along for Aneela Hoey’s book Stitched Sewing Organisers run this time  by Stacey @craftylilmouse and Zena @mycreativelypottylife over on IG

Stacey was my swap partner for the #Saturdaynightcraftalong and since then I’ve hugely enjoyed watching what she makes and her posts both on IG and blog. I was really pleased  she embarked on this and it plays perfectly for those who didn’t get caught up in the previous sew along which ran a cracking pace over the winter.

I dipped in occasionally to that sew along and made these items from the book.


And aside from the triple pouch which is the second picture and involved a lot of fabric for a multi pouch, they are designs I will do again  and are perfect for gifting. In fact the last item, the see through pouch with the mice,  was for Stacey as an extra.

But this Sew Along is a different. For a start it’s at a more genteel pace of making an item a month rather than every week.  And if you don’t fancy that item then you can simply choose another.

The monthly project for May was the fold up pouch. Now I didn’t make any of these last time but they looked sweet and functional so I decided to have a go.

I’d got some leftover strips of the Amy Sinibaldi Dollhouse fabrics and these were perfect.


I had lots of much smaller scraps of these beautiful fabrics from the quilt I made last week  and inspired by a chain of tiny flying geese by Sam @samanthamackie31 I thought they were the perfect candidate for making a feature out of the band that holds the flap down.


In fact I’m not really a fan of these flaps and bands as a way of securing a pouch  so decidedly perversely to make a feature of them. In terms of tips I made the band stick up quite proud of the front of the pouch as you can see in the picture to accommodate the flap.


I also tapered the flap seams – see below. The problem I had with pouches 1 and 2, despite the bands sticking up slightly, the flap itself was still a bit  crumpled when in the band because it was the same width. The tapering on the big version worked a treat.


I had the tapering idea after I’d sewn it up normally so that’s why you can see two lines of sewing. The inside ones are slightly tapered.


I always enjoy birthing these bags so to speak and seeing the final thing….


To this….. well after a bit of pushing out and ironing!


And that brings me onto the other main difference between these two Sew Alongs is this time you can play with the designs. I took full advantage of this with making a larger version and the tassels. They are helpful to pull the flap through the band but the jury is out whether they are a big naff!! There’s also wadding in the bigger one as well.

With the first Sew Along they had prizes and everyone who’d entered their creation had a chance of winning so I can quite understand why they had to be strict on this point of sticking to the original design. But for a free ranger like me, and I suspect a lot of other people, the pattern is just the start. I’m not alone in wanting to make things differently, to tailor it to my needs or I just want to make it more individual. Either way being constrained didn’t work for me. It didn’t stop me making the items a bit different where called on but I just didn’t submit them and you felt slightly disloyal not sticking to the pattern! Anyway no such scruples this time!


I’m sure having  prizes and giveaways for these sorts of things ups the anti but I have slightly mixed views about these. A topic for another day and whilst I’ve never had a giveaway myself I am sort of venturing into that territory today but it has strings attached, metaphorically at least!

You may have heard of ‘paying it forward’? The principle is that a maker makes and sends a small sewn gift to say up to  3 people but, and here is the condition, once each has received their gift they then have to pay it forward by finding another 3 people to send a gift to within 6 months. These new recipients also need to be prepared to find and then make for 3 others who agree to do the same and so on.

If everybody stuck to this over a 5/6 year period, assuming a turnaround every 4-6 months, then over 60,000 people would have received and made. I suspect life will get in the way but let’s get this ball rolling. So if you’d like to receive something I’ve made over the next few months and on receiving it within 6 months you are willing to find 3 others to make for but they also in turn agree to make for someone else on receiving your gift then do let me know below. I will post something on IG as well and will randomly select 3 names, 1 each from my blog and IG and then the third from either. I won’t pick anyone until this post has been up for a week. I’m happy to ship internationally.

And just to manage expectations I think we can rule out a king sized quilt being sent but something hopefully attractive and functional with a modern vibe.    Indeed Aneela’s book just might be useful inspiration! Oh and if you are deathly allergic to cats best not apply because any new item is subject to a cat inspection whether asked for or not….

405434E9-7C5E-456B-B6FB-8A0B7D5787D3Linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts

Simple and Sophisticated?


Well that was my intention…. I’m not entirely sure that has been achieved. Perhaps quilts  lend themselves to looking more homely than sophisticated? Discuss (it’s exam season!)

What I was aiming for was a modern baby quilt for a friend who has just had another grandchild. Whether the quilt stays  at Grandma’s for visits or is handed to the new parents is up to them.


Its the grey background I’m not so sure about. It just looks a bit drab to me.  The pinks prints are all Amy Sinibaldi designs mostly from her most recent collection Doll House.


Now these are lovely and I think these stylish prints perfect for a baby girl. This is the first girl in the family for a couple of generations so pink seemed obvious. I remember  being so thrilled to have a baby girl after two boys, one of which had only born 5 minutes earlier, and to celebrate this she wore pink exclusively for years!! Of course it’s taken until she is 15 years for her to face wearing pink again! And incidentally although she is wearing a NYC top she’s very much in the garden of a middle England house and of course is wearing surgically attached ear phones.


But back to the grey it just maybe I’m a cream/off white sort of person but I thought I’d give leaving my comfort zone a go….

Grey seems to be hugely popular amongst my friends when they redecorate. A friend has just had to remodel their new to them house. You know, new house beautifully presented by previous owners but as you peel back that superficial outer layer you find all sorts of fundamental problems. They’ve become inured to the typical tradesmen comments of ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before…’. Anyway they’ve gone for a palette of greys and it looks fab; really modern and fresh. But colour aside this quilt was just what I needed. A simple straightforward bit of mindless chained pieced sewing…..


My mum had recently bought got me Bonnie Hunter’s Essential Triangle Tool. I enjoy Bonnie’s daily blog and she promotes this tool regularly and from the demo she did on YouTube it did seem to be a useful time saving tool.


And this is a woman who needs to save time! Bonnie is a very talented quilting phenomenon, she is prolific and hugely popular. She writes books, designs quilts and travels across the US running workshops with suitcases of quilts for her trunk shows. I have traveled a lot for work over the years and perfected the art of carry on luggage only but with so many checked in heavy bags it must be hard work.

Bonnie’s quilts are usually scrappy and made up of triangles/square/flying geese etc blocks with a more traditional flavour than mine. She runs a mystery quilt each year where you don’t know what the final design is but the next step of instructions are given on a weekly basis. I’ve never done one but the instructions are staggering, not in their complexity, but quantity. So for example complete 250 flying geese units or whatever. And people follow with almost religious  fervour! But now I’ve used this tool and Bonnie’s techniques I am beginning to understand their amazing productivity. This tool and technique  are very effective and saves a lot of time. I’m sure there are others that do the job just as well but it worked for me.

I think the trick is that you are cutting from strips of fabric. Cutting is not my favourite part of the process and if you are cutting from small individual scraps it takes time. But cutting from strips of fabric which have already been paired makes it sooo quick. And then because they are in pairs they are a doddle to chain piece. You iron them en bloc and then by magic you have, an hour or so later, 25 finished  blocks!  You can also do half square triangles and flying geese. Now I accept quilting isn’t a race to the finish but I do like efficiency rather than tedious processes.

The only criticism is that the ruler doesn’t have  1/2” increments so I actually wanted a finished 4.5” hourglass block but it only makes a 4” or 5” block. Obviously it’s not beyond the wit of man, or woman in this case, to use a piece of washi tape to mark off a half increment.

I also tried Bonnie’s technique of webbing when you come to assemble the entire  quilt. She explains the technique on her blog but essentially it’s where you chain piece everything and you end up with the blocks all connected by hanging threads. I’m sure she’s right that it is quicker but I just need practice.


This quilt is not going to go down as one of my favourites and I shall be rushing back to my comfort zone of off white.  But I do love the back, another Amy Sinibaldi design, rushed to me in under 24 hours by the ever efficient Saira. That’s the benefit of a quilt – its two sided!


Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation

This is a Q2 QAL finish and covered here