A Quilter’s Conundrum


I had three very short hours to visit the Festival of Quilts (FoQ) due to remarkably poor planning on my part. Coming back from holiday on the Wednesday and then going off again on the Saturday was not clever.

Now the FoQ is the premier quilt show in the UK and runs over 4 days, with something like 800 plus quilts on display, special exhibition areas  as well as a vast number of retail opportunities. It’s huge. Most go for the full day and many go for two days. Me I had a very frenetic three hours to catch as much as I could. So my conundrum was what to squeeze in in such a short time and what to leave out.

Well for starters the principal attraction for me is the modern quilt section of the display. Last year I entered this quilt but this year time was just too short.


There were so many wonderful quilts. I particularly enjoyed seeing those of people I know or follow. Especially those quilts I have followed block by block on IG


Like this one by Nicky Eglington.




Another example is the quilt above called Circles by Heather Hasthorpe. Sorry the lighting is so bad Heather.

Heather’s co-conspirators in the Modern Quilt Group of the UK’s Quilters Guild, Helen Howes and Helen Butcher had these beautiful quilts entered as well.


There is no doubt being technically very competent as these quilters are  in addition to having a good design eye makes for a very impactful quilt. I particularly liked this one by Abigail Sheridan de Graff.  The addition of the apple green really makes it stand out. But the precision is amazing, that tiny block in the middle is 3/4” square. It deservedly got a highly commended .



These others caught my eye. Apologies for the photos the NEC maybe very convenient for me at least geographically but it has very poor indoor lighting .


Modern Love pieced by Jo Avery and quilted by I’m afraid I can’t remember…..


This one above is by Jo Westfoot who is one of the Siblings Together Bee members


And finally I always try to choose a quilt that I’d like to take home and for me it’s a toss up between this one below by Sophie Zaugg and…



…. this one by Sarah Hibbert and quilted by Christine Perrigo. This quilt is well travelled having  been to America for quilting then home to the UK to go back to the US  again for Quilt Con then home again.



This one above was the overall winner of the Modern Quilt section and is by Mary Palmer. It has very skilful quilting which must’ve taken forever given the size of the quilt and the number of words picked out by being the relief to very dense quilting.

F8C61FDC-2F2B-4000-8703-21E63A880FD4I flitted through the Traditional category and  I particularly liked this quilt by Trudi Wood.  She writes a lot of patterns for magazines and has an eye for design that packs a punch without necessarily being too tricksy or time-consuming. That’s my type of quilting!


The key display this year was to celebrate the tercentenary of the 1718 coverlet. A coverlet is basically a quilt without the wadding in between. In fact just what I could have done with this hot summer.

This is the oldest surviving quilt in the world. It is in fact so delicate that it is shown only infrequently and has now been tucked away carefully in storage for a break. For goodness sake, it even had its own bodyguard! Not that I could really imagine any quilter desperate enough to peel back the plastic protective layer and wrap him or herself up in it.

If I’m honest I was rather underwhelmed, it looked threadbare and faded. Mind you after 300 years I guess most of us would!

FDCB32ED-6F72-446D-9C9B-6E90A1E428F0I’m sure skill went into it and those same skills 300 years later went into producing some beautiful modern versions. Now these I did like, not least because I’d never have the stamina to complete one.  My favourite of these was this one. You can see from the one behind how different they were. This was by Deborah McGuire.




As to all the shops I’m afraid other than a quick flick through I only stopped at Beyond Measure and bought some bias binding and some buttons from Grace who is another Bee member. I’m very partisan! Hardly the haul of the century but I’m really trying hard to use what I’ve got… My mum would be pleased!



Function over form


This is probably my key design mantra. Obviously if you can have form and function so much the better, but given the choice I would always choose function.

We once stayed in a very swish modern styled country cottage, all monochrome and stainless steel kitchen with a huge island unit made from an old butcher’s block.  Modern blended with tradition. All nice in theory but the only problem was that the butcher’s block was very misshapen through time and use and as an island unit it was completely useless because anything put on it would just slide off. Many an item of crockery got smashed as a result. This is the perfect example of form over function…. it looked good but was wholly impractical .

Getting ready for our holiday, I was reminded we had struggled last year to identify our very boring and standard black/navy suitcases. I’d made fabric luggage labels before but they were prone to being torn off. The hair bobbles weren’t securely sewn on.


I had the idea to use some orphan blocks I’d made using Kona colour of the year three years back called Highlight, an almost fluorescent yellow, presumably named after the highlighter pen of the same hue.


At the time I’d been playing with circles but with no real purpose in mind. So I was left with two blocks. It struck me that they would make great bright luggage labels. Of course in an ideal world they would have been made a few days prior to our departure but life has been very frenetic so the morning of our midday departure I was found sewing these up which is why functional they maybe but not exactly my finest work!!! I sincerely hoped I didn’t meet any keen quilters…


After a bit of resistance from one of the 15 yr olds they got attached and I think worked very well. The only failure was that two of our four checked suitcases went awol….  British Airways left them behind despite us checking in early and being a direct flight.

To be fair to be BA I was pinged a text as we landed in Johannesburg that two had been left behind and we had an interesting debate about which two would be the best to be left behind. I know in theory you should mix belongings amongst all cases to avoid this situation but that would never work with my lot.

As one of the teens was only dressed in t shirt and shorts we mutually agreed he had the greater need as it gets cold in South Africa at this time of year and then I said best if mine arrived as my 15 year old daughter could share my clothes. She looked appalled at the prospect! But BA agreed and those were the two that randomly arrived. The others were mightily relieved that their bags arrived not too long after.

This was written at the airport on the way out but I had insufficient Wi-fi anywhere to load pictures and send off. What a great holiday – I was for the first time outridden by my children, they just wanted fast and furious and whilst I joined them occasionally, I opted for more steady canters on this beautiful black Friesan called Albida. And looking at my riding clothes – definitely function over form! Look at those filthy boots!


Review of Quilt Finish Along Q2 and Plans for Q3

Reviewing what I said I hoped to finish in Q2 this year I was surprised to see, despite the last few fallow weeks, that I was quite productive. And what I thought was my solitary creation of June was in fact not strictly true with a couple of finishes in early June.

This is the usual Q2 montage showing successes and failures.


So item 2 was finished and is a Thread House Retreat bee for Siblings Together. Incidentally this was the time, a couple of months ago, when I had a lawn and not a parched prairie! The UK is going through a very hot and extended dry period.


Item 3 was another quilt for Siblings Together this time from left over blocks.



Item 4 was a bag for one of the children that has come over from the Chernobyl region for a hoiday in N Wales. The lovely Jen organises us each year to make bags and table toppers. Look at that lovely green grass…..sob



Item 5 a baby quilt for a friend’s first grandaughter



Item 6 is another bee quit this time another Thread House Retreat Bee quilt, in fact the second quilt from this block as I had so many sent from my kind bee mates.




Now to Q3. Part of the time we are away on holiday but if I can get some free time I should be able to get back on track. So I’m going to be ambitious…..


1. is a ST quilt by Bee 4.  This is getting a bit overdue  The problem was it needed a fair few extra blocks.

2. This is another ST quilt by Bee 2 this time. I have the blocks though again a few extra may be needed

3. This quilt top needs to be quilted. I think this could be a favourite

4. I’m determined to crack on and get this pattern made of Aneela Hoey called the booklet pouch

5. A bit of an experiment this one. A scrappy Robbing Peter to Pay Paul design but hopefully modernised

6. I need a replacement quilt for the kitchen  I like these first few blocks for their 3d effect




Needles and contemporary quilts.

This was the sum total of my makes for June. Yep pretty unimpressive. Skye looks quite abashed at such a paltry offering. The needlebook is taken from Aneela Hoey’s book albeit adapted.  It’s been a dry June here in the UK not just weather wise but creatively. (Oh and the heat seems to have got to WordPress and there are no paragraphs showing in the preview setting. I’m hoping when published that corrects itself)


I’ve often wondered why when I worked full time I was very uncreative given that a few years on, with more capacity, it’s something I really enjoy. OK at that time I had three young children, a 50-60 hour working week, a husband who, not even his most generous friends, would call a modern husband but even in the little time I had, I never used it for making something. But having had a month of being in effect back at work doing something rather than my usual advisory role where I , well, advise and then leave the actual work to others, I find that it has sapped not just time but creative energy. And rather scarily I’m so preoccupied I don’t actually want to sew…..
So it’s not about motivation being lost but that desire to create being squeezed out by preoccupation about a knotty work issue. I hugely admire those who despite the pressures of work find time and energy to create. It seems I’m more fickle….
When we did have some time available recently Mum and I went to the National Needle Museum in Redditch.
It’s a small museum and quite quirky with really just one large room in a converted factory which once cleaned and scoured needles. I suppose the very nature of needles being so small means they don’t take up much space to display.  And sewing as I do (well normally) I only really think of sewing needles but in fact they made all sorts of needles for gramophones, medical use, fish hooks and of course the myriad type of sewing needles. There were some very fancy needle holders on display.
Now if I’m brutally honest it was an interesting display and watching the video on a continuous loop on needle manufacture was very interesting, but not life changing. The draw for me was the middle floor of the building which is an exhibition space for textiles and on at the moment is a juried selection of contemporary quilts from members of the Quilter’s Guild.
Please correct me if I’m wrong but contemporary quilts appear to be a peculiarly British and possibly European category of quilts. I’ve not come a rissit as a category of quilts in the US shows but I could be wrong. It sits between modern and art quilts and is  a category recognised by the UK Quilters Guild at the Festival of Quilts.
They tend to be quilts, which whilst modern, include a lot of surface embellishment like stencils, fabric paints, embroidery. They are decorative not functional and some are more like art quilts.  The theme for the quilt exhibition was ‘Imprint’ – yes I agree a bit odd but given a lot of these quilts include stencilled words, digital pictures etc perhaps it has more relevance as a topic for this type of quilt. Here is a selection of my favourites.
And our personal favourites…. Mum’s first
And my favourite
This type of quilting quite appeals.  But I think I would have to learn a whole new set of techniques and accumulate even more craft supplies.  I have in fact experimented with using fabric paints and stencils. This is a quilt I made probably  in the first six months of quilting for some free motion quilting practice. It lives in our kitchen and as you can see from the second picture placing it above the food processor was probably not the best idea!
Amazingly that beetroot flavoured purée all came off but the quilt is looking a bit spotted with grease and general kitchen life so it might need to be replaced. It’s not one of my favourites and perhaps getting on with making a replacement will spur me on!

Radiance Mini Quilt


It never ceases to surprise me how many million ways there are to take humble half square triangles and then pair them with some plain squares to make a different design. That combined with the use of colour and pattern and the options increase exponentially.

This quilt is an example, nothing clever about its construction but I’ve always liked this pattern by Heather Jones. And I toyed with this design when deciding what pattern for the baby quilt I did recently. In fact now I’ve bought the pattern I wish I had used it……


Anyway I needed to make a mini to go to Jennifer who collects bags and table toppers for the children who come over to the U.K. for an extended holiday from Chernobyl. (More on this wonderful initiative and the bag I made here.)

I chose a fairly simple selection of fabrics with a blue green theme. The striped one was a pain frankly making sure they all ran the same way.  A few extra had to be made to get the alignment  correct. I also wish I’d gone for an off white as opposed to this bright white. But it’s not a major problem.


Other than that it was an evening’s make, at least the top. I meant to go for a concentric circular  design for the quilting but forgot so the quilting is a bit boring  and next time I must remember that a double layer of batting really does give it substance and texture. I only went for one and it’s a tad flimsy.


I enjoy making minis, they are so quick and effective, but it’s a bit like eating a canapé, tasty and in the moment satisfying, but doesn’t quite beat the sense of achievement of completing a full sized quilt or to continue the analogy a full meal. The fact that it will be winging its way to Jennifer makes up for that as opposed to joining a pile of minis that I’m not entirely sure what to do with.

I remember reading on someones blog that they were offering a giveaway and to determine the random winner she picked out a number, 118 as it happens, and the person who had made the 118th comment was the winner.  This lady in her thank you reply said that the number coninceded with the number of quilts in her house. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGTHEEN QUILTS!! I’m presuming here that she is not including place mats, mug rugs etc but proper quilts, ones you hang, display or sleep under. I was reeling. Where do you put 118 quilts for a start.

Now in the interests of full disclosure (you can see that I’ve had a week dealing with legal matters, not mine I add just to reassure my parents!) I have in my possession in this house 8 full size quilts on beds/sofas, 7 on walls, mostly minis or cot size quilts and about 3 minis in this ‘don’t know quite what to do with them’ pile. I’m ignoring the 6 quilts that are awaiting transit to Siblings Together (in the picture below). So 18 in total. Each of us have either asked for or planned to make a second so that would make another 4. And I’ve a couple of biggish empty walls that could take another couple. But still a small fraction of this lady.


Of course houses vary in size but not usually massively in occupants. So I’m still reeling what you do with them but maybe she is a collector. And I’ve seen in blog land houses where quilts are used as decoration and are draped over chairs, bannisters, quilt ladders etc. And you have to admit a pile of quilts is an inviting sight. Of course she maybe a quilting teacher so a collection of quilts for demonstration purposes or even trunk shows at Quilt Groups is necessary. Even so it’s a lot of quilts.

If you fancy confessing how many quilts you have feel free….


Linking up with TGIFF




More Russian love


OK there doesn’t appear to be much love between Russia and the western world at the moment but there is on a different level. Each year groups of children from the Chernobyl region come to the UK for an extended holiday staying with local families. One such group go to North Wales and the lovely and generous Jennifer of Glinda Quilts who lives in Wales brings together a group of quilters from all over to make tote bags for the children and table toppers which they take back as gifts. Needlesksn to say Jennifer fills those bags with goodies and receiving these gifts is one of the highlights of the holiday. The original plan had been to make the table topper this week as well but life’s dramas got in the way ……


Each year I enjoy taking part. The children are quite young around 9-11 years old and are mostly girls. I made this girly version last year.

IMG_5900A friend’s 10 year old daughter helped me with fabric choices but unfortunately they’ve moved away so I was left to my own devices this year.

I would normally have gone with my usual tote bag but I’ve made so many over the last few months I wanted a change. That tote bag has also got quite a wide top so while useful as a shopper not so ideal for a day bag containing things you don’t want to lose.

I  came across this free bag pattern on the Shecansew blog. For some reason it won’t let me link the actual free pattern but it is on Craftsy called the Mini Downtown Messenger bag. As blogs go Shecansew is quite commercialised but each day has a free pattern and last Monday it was this rather sweet mini messenger bag. The problem was just that, it was mini. Jennifer suggests a bag 14” deep and 12” wide so I had to scale it up. I don’t have access to a fancy photocopier that can scale it up automatically 0so I just scaled up the overall shape and then made a couple of more templates then cut out the relevant sections, so the curved pieces, the front pocket etc  and then added seam allowances. As haphazard as it sounds it worked.

I chose these fabrics.


I love the raccoon fabric ( I think it’s a raccoon and not a bear but US friends do correct me). I did wobble a bit on this choice thinking perhaps a child from rural Russia might have a fear of a bear like face. But then I thought back to my fellow holiday makers last year on a ranch holiday in Colorado. We were discussing bears and the threat of walking or riding into one. We don’t have bears or anything that can attack you in the UK (other than fellow humans unfortunately). I found it amazing how sanguine the US folk were about the very real threat of the wilder types of the US’s wildlife. On one hand saying how rare it was to come across  a bear and in the next breath swapping stories of bear encounters and the best brand of bear spray!! They are so much braver than me….but I decided, fearful or not, that it was too cute a fabric not to go with it


It was a very simple make and using my beloved headliner as interfacing gives it body but it is still light and functional. I chose the cursed polyester mix for the lining thinking our alphabet would be an interesting contrast to their cyrillic alphabet.


If you are thinking our garden is looking very verdant then that might be due to the torrential rain we’ve been having but sadly not all my garden looks like that, see here my very sorry looking vine….. it was chosen to hide that ugly down pipe, a task it is spectacularly failing at! I think I will give it a thorough prune and see what happens.


Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF

This is a Q2 QAL finish and covered here

The Missing Lilac Cat

imageNo this is not the blog being pulled because of non compliance with the new European GDPR rules but the actual lilac cat did go missing (note past tense, it has a happy ending!).

This is not a post about quilts and sewing so feel free to pass on by.  I do really understand that one person’s passion can be incomprehensible to another. I could never get my late husband’s obsession with Norwich City Football Club, he would even cry, for goodness sake,  if they went down a division! For the sake of marital harmony I expressed more sympathy than this suggests but taken altogether it gave him much more pain than pleasure. I’m guessing I’m not the only sports widow and many can relate to this. But as this blog is named after Skye and she frankly features more than any one single thing I’ve ever sewn I thought I’d share.

Skye and her cousin Felix are indoor cats. I have wrestled with this as its not a natural existence but today’s story only goes to prove my reservations were well founded. Being bred for beauty and not brain has it’s pitfalls.


No one saw Skye escape and I suspect a door wasn’t fully closed and in a busy household with the children off school it could have been anyone of us.  But she’s been more and more keen on escaping recently and on this occasion she saw her chance and went for it. Once we couldn’t find her in the house we were out in the neighbourhood calling her name and then settled down in the garden to await her return. Except she didn’t. Hours went by and no cat and we got ever more concerned.

I put her details up on our local residents Facebook page.  We are part of quite a close knit community and have been here for nearly 30 years so it wasn’t long before I got a call to say she’d been seen 100m houses up  the road but the trail was cold and there no sign of her when we went up there late at night.

With Skye still missing  in the morning action was needed and by 6.45am I was out leafleting. I had used posters when a neighbour and I tried to find out information about a stray cat earlier this year  but we found they weren’t very effective. Typical surburbian life means most people drive. I thought the personal touch of a leaflet would have more impact and more eyes looking out for her.

Sure enough another couple of sightings came through but nothing very recent but it gave me another area to leaflet. And on my walk back I saw a little face peeping out from behind the tyre of a car. She was damp, cold and hungry after going solo for nearly 30 hours.  I’m not sure who was the more relieved!

Stressed cats shed fur as you can see from the picture on my daughter’s lap. She never normally sheds. If this was the same for humans I’d have needed a wig by the time she came home.


She was quickly spark out with exhaustion on my daughter’s bed. Mindyou most of her normal day she’s like this!


I was hopeful that her experience of being miserable outside  would give her an aversion to the outdoors  but not a bit of it.  Given half the chance she was outside in a trice less than 24 hours of being home. Obviously I staged this and was ready to scoop her up before she made a run for it.  But she shamelessly edged the door open with her paw, little monkey.



As I say beauty over brains. In some ways it’s more worrying as we now know if she gets out she won’t just amble home. I can see more leafleting in my future at some point. And for Skye a new collar with a clear tag saying ‘I’m lost’!



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