Tuesday, 28 February 2012

spring carnival - the templates

template 2

I finished my quilt top! It was going to be a huge pillow, but then I thought 'I could turn that into a nice little baby quilt' so I did, by appliqueing a few shapes falling from the bottom (which was previously the side) and I just love how that gives it such a modern feel. So different to this one, don't you think? It finished up at 32" x 42", which is probably the smallest quilt I've ever made, and it feels a little wrong to be so small...and kind of pointless...unless I had a baby (and then it would be perfect), but it's a class sample for the Sewing Summit and therefore PERFECT for stuffing in my bag and carrying around. I just need to get it quilted and bound and it's all done.

spring carnival

A while ago I promised templates and now I'm delivering.

I had these acrylic templates made from 4mm thick acrylic, and they're great. You can see right through them for fussy cutting fabrics, they're so thick and sturdy that you can rotary cut right round them (or use them to draw round - which is what I did, and then I cut out my fabrics with scissors).

sping carnival templates

They are designed for using with 2" paper shapes (when I say 2" I mean each edge of the shape is 2" - not the width of the shape itself), and have a 1/4" seam allowance all the way round. I like to use a 1/4" seam allowance, it's what you use in regular piecing, both by machine and hand, and it doesn't waste fabric. It's nice and tidy, makes removing papers easy, and helps the finished piece lay flat.

spring carnival templates

You can buy pre-cut paper pieces from here or print and cut out your own using this site. Spring Carnival uses a 2" hexagon, square and equilateral triangle. The traditional block is actually called Ferris Wheel, I found it in this book (that book is a fantastic source for traditional blocks - it's showing as out of stock on Amazon, but if you can find it, it's worth buying) and loved how I could change the way it looked simply by changing which shape was the 'background'. In this piece the hexagon is the background and the prominent shapes you can see are circles but in the silent cinema version the triangle is, and the prominent shape looks more like a flower. Next up is the square, I'm making a start on that this week.

The set costs $15 (plus shipping) and includes 3 professionally laser cut acrylic templates - 1 hexagon, 1 triangle and 1 square. They are for the fabrics, not for the papers - you would need to get those sorted yourself (using the links above). You can get them direct from my etsy shop.

soak - a giveaway


If you're a knitter you have probably already heard about Soak. I heard about it via Amanda who swears by it for all her precious things (knitting and stitchy alike). She sent me a couple of the single soak sachets and once I tried them out on quilts, I was hooked. But then I couldn't find it in the UK. Simply because I wasn't looking in the right places, because I'm not a knitter and I don't know where knitty folk go to buy their knitty stuffs.

Fortunately I was happily sat on twitter (as I tend to be most of the time) and I noticed Jacqueline (Lady Soak herself) tweeting about UK stockists. Well, I tweeted her back with a 'where where where?' and she told me (thank you Jacqueline). (Also herehere and here and here and here). So off I went and bought myself a nice big bottle. I had up until that point decided I would stock up when I was next stateside and bring it home with me in my luggage.

This is why it's great - it's gentle, you need a tiny bit, just a teaspoon for hand washing, I use a smidge more for the washing machine, but I only use the rinse cycle - Soak doesn't need to be rinsed out like regular soap. It smells really delicate - no harsh perfumes, just a lovely light scent (or unscented if you prefer).

Completely unrelated to anything stitched - it's great for make up brushes too. In fact, it's just great all round. You could pop one of the 120ml bottles into your suitcase when you went away and use it to rinse out your bikini or whatever. Or your smalls (is it just me that washes their underwear when they go away, as they're away? I always have done. Take my smalls in the shower with me. Is this too much information? Probably, sorry.)

I asked Jacqueline if I could get some single soak sachets to give away - to spread the love of Soak around to you guys. She said yes! Oh yay. So I have one big bottle (this lasts around 80 washes - because you really only need a teaspoon or so) and a set of single soak sachets.
So one lucky person gets the big bottle and then 1 other will get the sachets. I'll pick 2 winners in a week, just leave a comment on this post (just the one comment please) and make sure I have a way to contact you.

(International entries are welcome)


Monday, 27 February 2012

swoon along update

swoon along group progress
(click on the photo to find out photo credits)

More and more finished quilts and quilt tops are popping up in the flickr group now. As well as new blocks daily.  Not only new blocks but new piles of fabrics and new people signing up!

There has been a great deal of discussion on how to quilt the swoon quilt within the flickr group itself, some people opting for quilting each block before sashing, avoiding having to negotiate an 80" square quilt under a domestic sewing machine.

Angela Walters, who is quilting my swoon, has blogged about the many ways to quilt a swoon today with some really cool ideas on what you could do. If you don't read Angela's blog you should start - she's an incredibly talented quilter, and generous with how much of her process she shares. Monday's are part of her 'deciding what to quilt' series. Last week Lynne's tree quilt was featured. Honestly, I am pretty sure she just wants everyone in the world to love quilting as much she does and that is why she is so generous with her knowledge. (She also has a book coming out in June that will be a total must have).
What ideas do you have for quilting the swoon quilt?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

velveteen star

velveteen star

I picked up the velveteen star quilt a couple of weeks ago and finally got round to binding and photographing it. Well, there are 2, but this is the only one I've finished so number 2 will have to wait until I get round to that last side of binding and photographing. I added a couple of borders to Jeni's original tutorial to make it a touch bigger, ending up at just shy of 80" square. I like big quilts and 80" is my go-to size, big enough for a bed, but also pretty damn perfect for the couch too. At least it is if you like to wrap yourself like a cocooned caterpillar like I do.

velveteen star

Actually, this one is going to my best friend, who turned 40 in January and asked me to make a her a quilt to go in her sitting room. Although she now thinks she might put it on her bed instead, because the dogs and cats might ruin it (I doubt it's possible, I'm pretty sure this will wash up really nicely, the velveteen are pretty sturdy in all honesty).

I love how it turned out, and the big bubbly flowers long armed Chris quilted all over (I asked for whatever she could do that was big and cheap - I've got a lot of quilts to get quilted and I'm trying to spend as little as possible right now on quilting. For me it still makes more sense to send them out, I would have ruined this and in the long run it would have ended up costing me more. I know my limitations, I'd rather spend less on fabric in order to get something sent out for quilting.)

velveteen star

Quilt deets -
Giant Star quilt from Jeni's tutorial
finished size 78"
fabrics used;
star - Anna Maria Horner velveteens in innocent crush and loulouthi purchased from here, here and here
background fabric - timeless treasure sketch in charcoal
binding - Jenean Morrison silent cinema front row in pink (you can still find lots of silent cinema on etsy if you search for it)

Friday, 24 February 2012

hand jobs

I'm not even going to think about the potential spam comments I'm going to get with that post title. Gosh, don't I live life on the edge?
Anyhoo...I've been sewing up a lot of bits and bobs using English Paper Piecing in preparation for my class at The Sewing Summit in October. The more examples of shapes I have with me, the more appealing I think it'll be for people.

Hexagons are wonderful. There's no doubt about that. These little flowers will be floating offset in a background of the navy solid, to give the traditional block a more modern feel...

Liberty Hexies

Mark Cesarik sent me a charm pack of his new line for Free Spirit, called Cosmic Burst. It screamed out stars to me, and made sense to sew them up with papers (any excuse, right?) The solids are from art gallery (emerald and tile blue) and they are perfect matches, and I'm also adding in a few bits of Mark's previous line, Morning Tides because I had it handy.

starburst in progress

They work out pretty big....

size reference

I've now finished sewing together spring carnival into one piece, which will be another (very large) pillow. It's exactly the same as the one I did in Silent Cinema, but the shapes look completely different because of which shape is used as background. I love how that happens in blocks. I have a third version of this to make up to show one last variation. I don't think I'll be taking any clothes to Sewing Summit, my suitcase will be full of quilted bits.
{pretend you can't see the wrinkled fabric it's lying on - I plugged my iron in to press it, but forgot to turn it on. I'm losing my brain lately - yesterday I used glue stick instead of chap stick on my lips}

ferris wheel

I'll be back soon to show you more progress with those!

In case you were wondering where I get my paper pieces from I tend to use this site and print my own. I would use paper pieces from here especially if I was making a quilt and I had hundreds and hundreds of pieces to cut out, but I can't get them locally and I'm always too impatient to wait. They have some wonderful project sheets to download for free and it's a wonderful place for all kinds of shapes in all kinds of sizes from teeeeeeeeensy to big.
And if you want to get an excellent book on English Paper Piecing you should pre-order Tacha's book that's coming out this summer. (I'm going to plug that book til I'm blue in the face, I know Tach is one of my closest friends but it's really an AMAZING book and I mean that wholeheartedly, I've seen it come along as it was getting written and I can't wait for a real copy in my hot hands).

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

who am I?

I'm a ditz, that's for sure.

I completely forgot I was on Cindy's blog monday. D'oh!!! In case you have ever wondered why the heck I'm a ginger monkey head on to over to find out why.


Monday, 20 February 2012

monday morning

I had a lovely weekend. The english paper piecing workshop was a success (did I take any photos? No - not one. I was enjoying it too much). If anyone is interested in learning the basics of english paper piecing please let me know, and if there is enough interest I'll arrange another date.

Most of Saturday evening was spent sewing the blocks together for scrap vomit part deux. There are so many really really awful fabrics in this quilt, I spent too long hunting for ugly prints and not enough time sewing, but I managed to finish this morning and tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to get a photo. It's a bit blustery today. The finished quilt top is a bit bigger than the original, at 70x84". I was going to go bigger, but I quite liked how this was big enough for a bed, but also perfect for the couch.
Now I have to piece a back using the leftover blocks and some solids and send it off to long armed Chris to quilt (I'm thinking something like a baptist fan might look good?). This quilt was meant to be for me, as the original scrap vomit went to live with a friend of mine (only over the road, so not exactly far away). I say meant to be for me, because Miss G has laid claim to it. She doesn't do that often, so when she does express an interest in something I've made I gladly let her use it.

scrap vomit part deux

I've just realised the quilt is upside down in the pics.

scrap vomit part deux


If you want to make your own scrap vomit quilt, there's a tutorial in my tutorials section (just scroll down to find it, it's there, I promise!) If you were to make one, I'd love to see it - there's a flickr group for any blocks or quilts you make.

This morning the lovely UPS man dropped off a package containing my fabrics for the next quilt along I'm doing (after swoon). If you fancy joining in we'll be making this quilt or this quilt - or both, up to you! I've got a domestic bliss jelly roll for hopscotch and some fun bella solids in jade and fuchsia. It's going to be a really girly, colourful quilt.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

an impossible task?

Becky over in the swoon along group was wondering - is it even possible to make an ugly swoon block?
Not one that is poorly constructed, but one that is really ugly in the choice of fabrics used.

You might think it'd be easy, but there are blocks made with every kind of fabric in the group pool and each and every one looks fantastic. I'm not just saying that, go look for yourself. Ok. There is one that's kind of ugly - Alice had some help from her son (who chose the fabrics) and the result wasn't the greatest combo ever seen. But even so, the more I look at it the more it's growing on me, it's kind of 1980s, garish fashion, a little bit clashing, a little bit wrong and that kind of makes it good. I actually kinda want it as a pillow. See what I mean? It's tricky.

Swoon along with me!

So let's have a challenge. Who can make a truly ugly block?

Head over to find out more details here. There's prizes. Oh yes there is.

Friday, 17 February 2012

before you ask - no, I'm not

But if I was pregnant (I'm not - I'm really not!) I would love this. A maternity survival kit - or capsule wardrobe to sew (ok, let's not remind me of the failed attempt into dressmaking - I know the dress is still sat in pieces, I intend to finish it, I just need some help with it).

And I actually rather like this pattern for me anyway. (I'll say it again - I'm not pregnant - it just looks really comfy)

(if you click on the links to Megan's patterns you can view more images of the pieces sewn up). They look really comfy and stylish (there's an oxymoron for you). Is it worth getting pregnant just to be able to sew some clothes for myself? Probably not, I agree, but if you were pregnant, or had a friend who was pregnant (not like my friend who is far too pregnant and about to burst, she's way too far gone, it'd be worthless making her anything) then wouldn't they be great?
I think so.

Alice has them in her shoppity shop. As well as these Clever Charlotte patterns that are new in and make me wish my 12 year old was still small. And don't even get me started on this dress and leggings set by Figgys. I want that one for me. I could fit into an age 8, right?

Thursday, 16 February 2012

did you hear?

I've been fit to burst trying to keep this quiet for the past month or so! This October I'll be in Salt Lake City and teaching a class at the Sewing Summit!

I'm so excited, but also so nervous (I saw pictures of the classes last year - they were not tiny groups, they were big!)

Want to know what I'm teaching? English Paper Piecing, the basics (but working towards making something rather than randomly basting shapes). Something like this..... (ok - not something like this, actually this, but this will be actually finished, and not in pieces as it is right now)

You could come too! Registration for Sewing Summit opens next month. We'd have such fun. I promise.

Besides, it's only right a real life genuine English person teaches English Paper Piecing, right?

In celebration of all thing paper pieced, Laura is giving away 2 copies of Fat Quarterly Issue 8 {paper} on her blog at the minute. Shimmy on over and enter!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

a weekend of fun

I went down to Patch Fabrics on Saturday to teach a workshop. I love Claire's shop, and although this was only my second time teaching there it feels like a home from home. The 8 ladies that came to learn how to make a simple jelly roll quilt top were all so lovely. Some were completely new to sewing, some had been sewing for years but were new to quilting. Every single one I would love to hang out with on a regular basis. If it was a smidge closer I'd be down at their quilting club every single time.

Patch Fabrics

The ladies all steamed ahead and got stuck into their quilts.

jelly roll workshop at Patch

And they made me feel unbelievably welcome, which is always nice.

jelly roll workshop at Patch

Everyone managed to finish their rows and we had 2 completed quilt tops.

the walking quilted

Both so different but equally as beautiful.

Jelly Roll Workshop at Patch

I had such a fun day, it's great hanging out with so many lovely like minded folks and having a laugh at the same time.

I've got a couple of dates booked in for more workshops with Claire, so I'll keep you all posted on those.

There is also one last lonely place on my English Paper Piecing workshop this coming Sunday February 19th (at my house, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire). It's a full day from 10-3pm, with all materials and lunch included (and cake, tea, coffee, biccies) and costs £35. You don't need to bring anything - just your good self. The badly behaved dog has been banished for the day too, so it's just the fat cats that might bother you a little (but they're really quite nice, I promise). Email me if you're interested katyejones at hotmail dot com

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

spring carnival

spring carnival pillow

I started this back in October on the plane to Houston. Then it got ignored whilst Christmas and New Year got in the way and monopolised my life.

It really doesn't take long to make something like this, you know, in reality a week or so of hand sewing every evening for a couple of hours and you'd be all set. I know english paper piecing isn't to everyone's taste but I find it unbelievably relaxing, like reading a book.

This pillow is a big 'un - it's 26" square, which I find perfect for slouching on the couch against or using to prop myself up in bed.

My quilting (as usual) is pretty shocking, there's a big old pucker in the middle (most likely because the pieced top is appliqued onto a background, so that is going to shift about a bit when quilting) but I don't really care, you can't see it, not really, and I sure as heck don't notice it when I'm sat on the pillow. I also needed this finished, because when I teach my class in a couple of weeks this is what I'll be teaching.

spring carnival pillow

....and the back - which is also quilted, so it's got plenty of structure and doesn't flip flop about irritating me for ever and a day.

spring carnival pillow

I'm going to have this pattern (the design sheets, and the various shapes - not a how to English Paper Piece) and also some acrylic templates available shortly. I'm just waiting on the packaging for the templates and I'll put them up for sale.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

pass me the smelling salts

I'm swooning.

Actually I'm all swooned out - or at least, I got my 9 blocks finished and sashed and DONE on Friday and I am so so happy with how it turned out.

swoon top - done!

I'm really pleased I listened to the advice of the majority and carried on after I was waivering on my 4th block. 

For the sashing I went a little bit wider and cut my strips 3 1/2" and added 4 cornerstones around the centre block, just to change it up a little and because I had some leftover squares hanging around. I like cornerstones in sashing, mostly because I don't much enjoy sewing sashing and the cornerstones make it a heap easier to line up your rows (yep - it's not for the look, it's for the cheat. I am all about that).

swoon top - done!

And what about the group action? There has been so much going on in that flickr group, I can hardly keep up. Seriously, it's crazy how many blocks pop up each day.
Here's a selection of pics of the awesomeness going on right now over there. Click the pic to take you through to the credits. (Yes - you have spotted a cross stitched swoon quilt going on there too. I know. It's out of the ball park awesome, isn't it?) I think what makes me more amazed is how everyone has taken the pattern and added their own personality to their quilt. Each one looks different, even the ones made from the same fabrics. Each is as individual as the quilter that created it, and that is a real treat for me every day, just looking to see what is going on there and commenting on all the new blocks. I love it.

some of the action in the swoon along group this week

Thursday, 2 February 2012

paper piecing

Issue 8 - Paper

Issue 8 of Fat Quarterly - with a theme of paper piecing. It's out now!

Screen shot 2012-02-02 at 07.34.27

I hold my hands up - this scares the pants off me.

Cozy Cottage Pillow

As does this...

Fat Quarterly Issue 8 - This is so cool being part of it

And this...

Fat Quarterly Issue 8 - The Quilter's Clock

Although I'm not scared by this one...

Summersville Tree Pillow

or this...

Spring Clean quilt

I can happily hand sew bits of fabric around paper shapes all day long (actually, not during the day - it's saved for the evening) but tell me to use my machine and a printed picture of something and I'm lost.

Kerry's teapot looks like a gentle easing into what scares me hugely, don't you think?

Teapot Fancy cozy for Fat Quarterly Issue 8

If you like paper piecing, or want to master it then this issue of FQ is for you - plus Delores is planning a sew along so it's a perfect way to have some hand holding.

Pop and get yours here and don't forget to check out the sew along (plus - you know Kerry? Well, she'll be teaching at the Fat Quarterly retreat in June. yup. I may be lurking in the background for that workshop pretending to tidy or something trying to get tips, if you spot me, ignore me, I'll be quiet as a mouse.

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