A rather late review of 2019

No I’m not going mad! I know I’ve just done a review of 2020….. but this was in my draft posts but it never got published! This happens so many times with emails, the phone rings or I get distracted so drafts sit in my emails/texts never to be sent but with me having the very firm conviction I have sent it. Anyway as this blog is as much a personal Crafting diary indulge me and let me post this, for the record albeit out of sequence! So casting myself back a year…..

‘While the blog posts haven’t been that regular, sewing continues……. and looking back over the past years, I’ve got into the habit of reviewing  the previous year under the headings of the good, the bad and the ugly. There is always more good than bad or ugly but a bit of reassessment of what has gone well and what hasn’t is no bad thing. Nor is having a plan, however vague, going forwards.

So to the good of 2019

The items I have enjoyed making the most



Oddly enough the things  I’ve loved making and have proved so useful in keeping me on track are these scrap pouches. All credit to Tori Smith #cloudtori for the inspiration, hers  are far more exquisite but I love these bags which are quick, easy and effective. A blog post to come….


The quilt I’m of which I’m most proud


Now this quilt would miserably fail under the heading of ‘the quilt I most enjoyed making’ but I loved this design idea and thought it doable with templates etc.  I mocked it up on TouchDraw and it looked good.

But in reality the template curves weren’t precise enough and there was much resewing to get the quilt top to lie flat.  And letting you into a secret, this quilt is currently sandwiched between two sheets under a heavy Indian rug going through more flattening!

The idea for this unusual treatment was when I received a quilt back from the Modern Quilt Group. When I sent it in for exhibition, it was less than perfectly flat, but thanks to it being kept in a box weighted by all the other quilts on top, it arrived back beautifully flat!

But that aside I like the colours  and design. I might enter into it the Festival of Quilts.


The quilt I most enjoyed making



I love curves, that is no secret. So when the Modern Group Challenge announced that the theme was to make something inspired  by a 19th century coverlet I was delighted to find it had curves. Needless to say curves had to feature and  I did improv curves which are easy and quick.

What was interesting about this year’s annual challenge was that it was thrown out to all the sections of the UK Quilters Guild and was shown at the Festival of Quilts.

It made for an interesting display, they were all so very different. I think mine was the brightest of them all! It was also the first time I had entered a juried competition but in saying proudly mine was selected this must somewhat tempered by the fact they had very few from which to select!



The Bad


My organisation skills

My sewing room continues to be messy and disorganised. Having said that the pouches mentioned above mean that crucial things like Siblings Together  Bee blocks are safely kept under control but the sewing process is a mess. And my large working surface cluttered and inefficient. Oh dear maybe the new year will inspire me.


My calendar management


Nicky Eglinton with the Group Siblings Together quilt to which we all contributed 

I spent the entire year thinking that our holiday clashed with the Festival of Quilts, the UK’s biggest quilt show. So I didn’t bother to enter anything and put it out of my mind. A blog post literally the week of the FoQ mentioned the dates and to my amazement I’d got it wrong, I had one day that I could go.  The problem was we were asked, after we’d booked the holiday a year before, to move it back 2 days and there was my window of opportunity. I could only for a few hours but go I could and did. The best thing was seeing Nicky Eglinton above with the Group Siblings Together quilt


The rising tide of Siblings Together Quilts as WIPs


I hang my head in shame here. I think  I have some  9 sets of blocks, some of which are quilt tops I hasten to add! The problem is, in respect of my motivation, we have been a bit of a victim of our own success. There is no desperate need for quilts  in the here and now as we have enough for this year’s camps. So that vital push isn’t there. But some will be 2 years in my possession by this summer and that isn’t good enough. So this will be the spring and summer of assembling quilt tops and quilting them.


And finally the Ugly


It has to be this little pouch tray, looking in particular at the one on the far left.  In a vain effort to be more organised and to combat a work surface that’s slopes ever so slightly so everything rolls off, I like having trays to put essential things like seam rippers, pin cushions  etc. by the side of my machine.

Bonnie Hunter, one of my favourite  bloggers, mentioned this pouch as being similar to a shop bought one she had. I made it from  scraps and as you can see whilst it’s OK as a small tray, once zipped up it doesn’t sit squarely and has openings so things can slip out. And let’s be honest it looks plain ugly!  I made two others to slightly  different dimensions and not so scrappy and they are better, particularly the end one on the right but I’m still  on the hunt for the perfect side tray….

Ugly but much loved

In my review of two years ago the item that one the ugliest award was this.  This was entirely because my leather handles looked ridiculous and try as I might I couldn’t remove them.


Its part of a free pattern by Anna Graham of Noodlehead fame called Little Treasures and actually this design and the smaller curved trays are lovely, I just didn’t read the pattern properly.

Well it seems that my cats don’t think it is ugly at all and it has become a favourite bed of my daughter’s cat Bella.  It lives on her bed and Bella loves to curl up inside. So it just goes to show…..



So to a new year. I predict a massive world wide event that no one could possibly have predicted…..ok I added that last sentence!

2020 – a different year

I suspect that everybody looking back over the last year will have different reflections about what could have been had it been a normal year and how very different it was from what we expected this time last year. Although blogging hasn’t been at the forefront of what I’ve done in a year when I’ve had more time at home than at any other (more’s the pity!), I still wanted to try and capture what had happened particularly on the creative front over the last year. To that end I would be joining up with the ‘best of 2020’ Link with Cheryl of Meadow Mist but I have missed it…..no surprise there!

Quiet the brightest quilt I have ever made!!

I’ve done this for a few years now and always enjoy remembering what were the highlights. But I don’t like to just reflect on the ‘best of’ but in addition to the good, also the bad and the ugly.

So to the good…..

Once lockdown hit, which for us in the UK was in March, it was such a swift change and unlike anything before it all seemed very unreal. Of course there was the anxiety, not so much for myself or my children but my parents in their eighties/nineties and the uncertainty of it all. But all that freedom was incredibly liberating…. it coincided with me stepping away from a role I’d had for 10 years at a local university and not yet being able to start in a new role so I had the luxury of time.

I hadn’t heard of zoom at that time, it absolutely dominates my life now! It took a while for things to get set up using this and other platforms so in those few weeks everything focused on the home. I made the executive and not entirely popular decision, with my children being late teens/early 20s and of course stuck at home with no school or college that I would shop just once a week and they had to make their own lunches. There were no chauffeuring duties, it was amazing the extra time I had!

My garden never looked so good. Parts got touched that hadn’t been in the 30 plus years we have loved here.

On the family front when the lockdown lifted, with our normal holiday postponed, we took the opportunity to revisit Scotland and had a lovely week up there and stayed in the cream cottage in the centre of the photo. It was surprisingly warm, not quite how I remembered it!

And on the sewing front the chance to pick up a long-standing WIP, my glitter quilt, which coincided with Rachel Hauser’s book ‘A quilter’s fieldguide to colour’ and a sort of teach-along that she did all about colour. Perfect timing as I needed to make at least another 60 blocks and playing with colour was the best way to keep my interest. Oh and machine sewing them not hand sewing. That was a game changer.

Wouldn’t it be nice if I could show you the finished quilt but sadly not have I only about 10 more to do and then I should have enough for a good sized quilt. But I’m on my way and our second lockdown now 3 days in should give me ample time!

The bad….

I had every intention this year of really getting on top of some blocks made for me by bee members for the charity Siblings Together. I think I have something like eight sets of blocks that need to be made into quilts. And that might be an underestimate…..

There was some progress but not really enough justifying the amount of extra time I had. But here are a few quilt tops I’ve sewn up.

You will note the critical difference between completing a quilt top versus finishing a quilted quilt… I’m a bit of a dilemma though about quilting them as that will just take up more space and as the camps didn’t really happen this year they’re not desperate for quilts at this point at least. But something for 2021.

I did finish one quilt though…and in flat out speed as well. In discussion about Christmas presents my younger son said his girlfriend would like a quilt. This three weeks before Christmas… We agreed she needed to be involved in the design etc. So armed with Pinterest my go to for inspiration she settled on a perfect design for a quick quilt and wanted bright solid colours. I think it’s the only solids only quilt I’ve made.

Whenever I’ve made a quilt for a young person and they’ve had an input in the design they go for graphic bold design and always go for a fleece backing. I can’t blame them. Cotton backings are a bit cool to touch for me. So on Boxing Day under the tree was a finished quilt. It was a bit of a canter but we got there and she was delighted which made it all worthwhile.

The ugly….

Well for a start my lockdown hair cut courtesy of my daughter. I should have realised there was a problem when I didn’t hear the familiar snip snip of my hairdresser but crunch crunch as the scissors hacked there way through! Thank heavens hair grows. We did laugh though.

I also have to put in here masks. Ok necessary, but no one’s fashion item of choice! UK guidance took a while to catch up with elsewhere so I could see all the wonderful creations and absolute multitude of patterns before we had to follow suit here.

I started off with the conventional pleated type modelled here by my cats. Before anyone gets worried about animal cruelty the original mask was made for a photo competition at my camera club. I got my daughter to wear it then photoshopped the shaped mask onto an existing picture of the cats. The thing that struck me was just how uncomfortable it was to wear on the breathing front. Maybe it was pleated too much.

But realising that it was only a question of time before we had to wear them here I made up a couple of designs and settled on the free pattern by Dhurata Davies. This doesn’t have a central seam so better air flow and as I have mild asthma it helps, well psychologically if nothing else!

Well 2021 doesn’t look a great deal different at the moment. Indeed we are into another lockdown and no family visits allowed because they are too far away. Roll on the vaccines but in the meantime I am beginning to realise like many others that online fabric shops have come into their own and all that stash I had built up should keep me going for a while!