Friday, 30 November 2012

a few finishes

a few finishes

My bindathon is going extremely well. I am totally getting that ssshh done. This week I've finished binding scrap vomit part 4, quilted and bound the gelato stars quilt top I had lingering, and bound the tula pink marbles quilt. I also bound a quilt I can't show you yet, and started tying another little quilt top. It's been a pretty great week for finishes!

working through the get to-do list!

I even washed and dried those quilts too, so they feel soft and wrinkly. Scrap vomit part 4 washed up particularly well, it feels amazing.

I love how long arm Chris quilted the marbles quilt. The feathers are so soft and pretty.

marbles close up

I used this print to bind it, which was a bit of an afterthought if I'm quite honest. When I chose the fabrics I was at the Festival of Quilts and had to choose them on my phone, which was tricky. So by the time I got to choosing binding I was losing the will to live (the hotel internet was also diabolical) and just thought 'that'll do, who will even notice it anyway?' As it is, quite a few mentions have been made of how great the binding fabric is and how well it works. Yeh, I'm a genius. Or just super lucky. You decide.

About 330" of binding on this one. Finished last night. Phew.

It's frosty and cold outside today, but not raining so I'm hoping to get scrap vomit part 4 dragged through some not so muddy mud and I'll get some pics so I can blog it properly. And gelato stars too, although I might not want to take that one near's a bit pastelly for winter weather.

For now - here's marbles safely in the warm and the mud free house....

marbles - finished!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

public service announcement

108" extra wide quilt backing by Henry glass from @justabitfrayed - I washed it on a hot wash with some wadding to see how much colour came out. Les than I expected for such a bright orange. (Wadding on left was washed with it. The other is colour referen

Brenda has a couple of Henry Glass 108" extra wide solid fabrics for quilt backs in the shop. I bought a couple of yards of the orange to stash with the rest of my 108" extra wides, because I like to have a heap on hand for all sizes of quilts. They're great for baby quilts - you can get a couple of quilt backs out of a yard or so, and obviously perfect for big quilts. (Read my post about extra wides from a while back if you haven't heard me wittering on about them before).

Every time I get a new kind I wash it with some wadding to test for colour fastness. The photo above is the fabric after being washed on a hot wash and dried in the tumble drier (before being ironed).

This orange is super strong and I was really impressed with how little it bled (the wadding on the left is what was in the washer, the other wadding is unwashed for colour reference). After washing the fabric was similar to kona softness, it was a little stiffer before but washed really nicely. And I've since ironed it, and it ironed beautifully too.

All round thumbs up, I think. Definitely worth the purchase and when I get my monthly allowance (yes, I'm not joking - I get pocket money from my husband) I'll buy some of the hot pink colour and test that out too. It's my public service to you, I think, right?

Brenda is getting more of the dotties in and also moda bella solids in 108" sometime in December, you know I'll blog it when it happens. I am really obsessed with these 108s and can't get enough of them!!!

Monday, 26 November 2012

getting the ssshh done

House of Barizzy

I love the giant star tutorial from Jeni's blog. It's fast, it's simple and it's always really effective. It finishes up at a really nice size, but you can add borders to make it bigger like I did with this velveteen one early this year (when the field study velveteens come out I'm making one for me, with flannel as the background. Oh yes). I really want to try the color hex quilt in the New Year too, that is also a lovely simple and fast quilt with great effects. I have a stack of Indie by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery fabrics I'd like to use for it. But no new quilts til the New Year - those are the rules. I have to finish up my ssshh first and I'm sticking to it!

Long Arm Chris used a pantograph called square dance for this quilt, which goes perfectly with those art deco style geometric prints in Splendor 1920. (you can get 25% off any order from Fat Quarter Shop until Thursday this week using the code jingle on checkout - they have the full Splendor range too!)

close up of quilting

I've bought at least a bit from each collection Bari has designed, from when she was at Windham Fabrics through Lecien and now Art Gallery. I'm a huge fan of her style and her designs. It sometimes surprises me, because they can be quite floral and vintage and not what I would necessarily say is 'my style', but each and every time a new collection comes out I see the sneak peeks and I'm all over them, like a rash. My Hexy MF (the second one that's almost finished, but not quite because I got slack and fell behind) is made from Lillybelle, Bari's first collection for Art Gallery fabrics. Yeh, I'm a fan girl.

Because of the way the giant star is made, I have enough of the same prints to make a second - I really want to make it with a completely different background, something warm. I'm a bit stuck on what though. Trudi suggested kona mango, which I must admit is a lovely colour and is tickling my fancy. I don't know though, maybe something creamier would be better? Any ideas?

Quilt deets;
finished size approx 60" square
pattern - giant star by Jeni B (free tutorial on her blog)
fabrics - kona pepper and Bari J Ackerman Splendor 1920 for Art Gallery Fabrics

Sunday, 25 November 2012

scraps winner

Some mindless scraps sewing with my flannel offcuts is on it's way to Emily at the strawberry patch

Shoot me an email with your address, Emily, and I'll get them in the post to you!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

get that ssshh done

Well, Thanksgiving is over people. Technically it's not because it's the whole Holiday weekend thing but you know what I mean. You ate the turkey, you stuffed yourself with pumpkin pie (and you know you are eating whatever's left for breakfast). Once Thanksgiving is over the next stop on the Happy Holiday Bus Tour is either Hanukkah or Christmas (depending on which side of the coin you fall). And once that's over and done with it's the new Year. And we are into 2013. HOW THE HECK DID THAT HAPPEN????

We have 38 days til the New Year. That's not long, but it's plenty of time to pull out the WIPS and half finished whatevers you have hanging in closets and on the backs of doors and shoved into drawers and get that shizzle finished. If you are super organised you could even repurpose some of it as gifts. Oh yes. Swapping you valuable shopping time for finishing time, and a smug sense of accomplishment.

Jane has been quilting up a heap of lonely orphan quilt blocks to make into pillows. Nice work Jane. I like your thinking (I have a package of my own to send to her, I swear she offered - I didn't just decide on my own that she had nothing else to do).

get that ssshh done!

I have one quilt out at the quilters (thank you Trudi for your awesomeness) I just picked up 3 from Long Arm Chris and one just arrived home from Sarah in upstate New York (yep, that one went a looooooong way for quilting!) I have the binding ready to go, and I am going to get all of these 5 quilts bound and finished in time for the New Year (I had been saving up my teaching and destash pennies for those quilts to go get quilted - and decided it was my Christmas present to myself!).

I really want to start the New Year with a pretty clean slate, or at least no more quilt tops hanging on my closet door. So I have one more to quilt myself and then a big pillow and I will have got my ssshh done (the finished stuff at least, there's still a couple of quilts I haven't finished piecing but I'm trying to be realistic here!)

Who is going to join me?

How much ssshh do you have to do before the end of the year? How are you doing?

It's small business saturday (???!!! what the heck is that?!!!) and the Holiday weekend sales are still going strong. Check out this link for What's New Pussycat Turkey Day Special with details of what's happening sales wise (couple of really big sales at Pink Castle Fabrics and Fat Quarter Shop that you won't want to miss out on). I've been updating the post as the weekend has gone on, so check it out!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

what's new pussycat - turkey day special (UPDATED!)

First up - Happy Thanksgiving to all my US peeps! (and a belated happy thanksgiving to the Canadians too!)

I wish Thanksgiving was a holiday we celebrated in the UK, I would love to sit and talk about what we are thankful for in my house. It's easy to lose sight of the big picture and get caught up on little details that aren't so great. I'm thankful for so much. It's a difficult time in the world right now and everyone seems to be affected by the poor economy. I'm thankful we still have a roof over our head and food to eat, even though we might not be able to pay our bills as regularly as we would like to, or go away on trips.
I'm thankful we have our health. I'm thankful for a husband that is working 7 day weeks to make his new business a success, although it is unlikely to make us rich. I'm thankful for the brother in law and sister in law that live next door to us that I can rely on unconditionally for help with childcare and everything else they do for us.
I'm thankful for our children, who frustrate me no end sometimes, but can put a smile on my face even when I am ready to explode and turn my mood right around. I'm thankful for the teenager that is sensible, yet ditsy and talks to me about everything, and for the little ginger one that is every teacher's favourite, but still bit cheeky.
I'm thankful for my work, which doesn't pay me enough to live off but enough to continue doing it!

And I'm thankful for each and every one of you that visits here and takes the time to read what I say and even more thankful to those that leave comments. You really do make me happy.

So happy Thanksgiving to you all - whether you celebrate or not, take a moment to think about what you are thankful for today, because even when things are darkly miserable and you feel about as low as you can get, I promise you, there is always something that can make you feel better.

Now, onto the sales, which have become as much of a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey (I don't know if I like that idea so much, but it's fact of life, so let's make the most of it!)

Pink Castle Fabrics have a sale that is on through the holiday weekend.

There's 25% off Kokka (including Ellen Luckett Baker's new collection Stamped and the new glittery Melody Miller Ruby Star Sparkle)

25% off Liberty Lifestyle
25% Yuwa
25% off all precuts and bundles (there's a whole heap new stuff in this section too!)

(handle with care)

(notting hill)


10% off all notions and 10% off patterns, aurifil threads and all colour cards. Phew. That's a lot of sale stuff!!!!

Plus there are new lines added to the regular sale section, so check those out and stock up!

For those planning ahead to the Holidays and gift giving, there are gift certificates and gift memberships too.

Sew Me A Song has a shipping special from today through Sunday. Flate rate shipping will be $2.50 for US orders, $6.50 for Canada and $8.50 for elsewhere. Enter the coupon code THANKYOU12 in notes to seller at checkout and the difference will be refunded via paypal.

Might be a good time to stock up on those text prints I need, don't you think?

Starting Monday Fat Quarter Shop have a great little pinterest contest going on. Visit the blog for more details and Santa Kimberly could be adding a little something to your stocking this year!

Fat Quarter Shop are also having a Black Friday sale - so keep an eye on their sale section for some unbelievable bargains and use the coupon code jingle for 25% off all orders until Thursday 29th. I have had so much great stuff thanks to their annual Black Friday or Christmas sales.

Over in the UK Kate from M is for Make is getting into the thanksgiving spirit with 20% off all orders using the code BlackFriday at checkout, after paypal (running from Friday until Sunday)
That's 20% off anything, including already discounted fabrics.

Kate has a nice range of essex linen in stock, and with 20% off it works out really really well priced. She also has a few of the Anna Maria Horner LouLouthi flannels still in stock (and already in the sale section) so if you liked my quilt the other day maybe you should pick up a little bit whilst you can!

I'm going to get a bit of this laminated cotton (yep, I got the last of it - sorry!) to make a few pouches using Anna/Noodlehead's tutorial, for Christmas gifts. It'd look lovely lined with the blue leopard print from Field Study, don't you think?

Simply Solids is also having a thanksgiving weekend sale - with 15% off any order using the code turkey on checkout, from tomorrow (friday) through monday.

Also - a heads up Annie at Village Haberdashery has Liberty Lifestyle Stile in stock now...but it seems it wasn't entirely supposed to turn up just yet (release is officially March). If you want to be ahead of the pack (and before she's made to stop selling it!) stock up now!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Sizzix Quilting Blog Hop

I think it's pretty widely accepted that I love my Sizzix big shot machine. I use it for cutting scraps a lot and my 2.5" square die is probably used as much as I use the bread knife or kettle. It's become as essential in my day as both of those! I'm not even kidding.

So when Sizzix asked if I'd be part of their Quilting Blog Hop I was really excited. I knew exactly what I wanted to make and exactly which dies I wanted to use. You can follow along with the hop this week, and enter the competition to win a big shot and dies of your very own!

Monday 19th November - Angela Southey
Tuesday 20th November - Tacha Bruecher/Fat Quarterly
Wednesday 21st November - Katy Jones - you are here!!!!
Thursday 22nd November - Hadley Gordon
Friday 23rd November - Lynne Goldsworthy
Saturday 24th November - Lory Bucaria

To be in with a chance of winning a Big Shot machine and a selection of quilting dies worth over £130, click here! Closing date: Wednesday 28th November 2012 at 10am GMT.

It's also pretty widely accepted I love english paper piecing, and when Sizzix brought out the hexagon dies I was in my element. I love to hand sew, but the cutting part is always a bit of a pain, even with acrylic templates and pre-cut papers. The Sizzix dies take away the boring cutting and you can really speed up the process, to leave you more time for sewing. An all round win, I think!

snowflake pillow

For my project I used the hexagon die with 1" sides (658317) to cut my papers and the bigger 1.25" hexagon die (658318) to cut my fabrics.
I cut a total of 43 printed fabric hexagons (42 in aqua and 1 in a white text print for the very centre of the snowflake) using the 1.25" hexagon die.
I also cut 43 1" hexagon from floriani stitch n wash (see below), but you could use paper as is more traditional with english paper piecing - printer paper, old bills, takeaway menus or leaflets that come through the door - any of these kinds of paper are fine.
Background fabric - 18" square (white)

Here's a little trick - instead of using paper for my hexagons I used floriani stitch n wash fusible so I didn't have to remove my papers before I appliqued my pieced snowflake onto the background fabric. Clever, huh? The soluble 'papers' will just wash away when I wash the cushion cover. I spoke a little bit about this last week with a couple of useful links too, so go check out that blogpost if you're interested. I'm completely sold on this trick now, and as you can see in the pic below, I'm using it to make more hexagons - this time in green!!!!

hexy time

If you're new to the idea of english paper piecing you might want to check out my quilt along on Fat Quarterly from earlier this year. There's all kinds of tips on basting, cutting and appliqueing. You might find it useful!

Using scraps in various aqua shades (because I thought traditional Christmassy colours was a little too obvious, and I might want to keep this cushion out all year round!) I pieced a simple snowflake pattern, that reminded me of those paper snowflakes you can make with your kids. Use the diagram below as a reference for the layout.

snowflake diagram

I left out a few little windows (shown in grey on the diagram above) instead of piecing in extra white hexagons, as I knew I would get the same effect when I appliqued the pieced snowflake onto the 18" background square.

I added a border which was cut using the 2.5" strip die (657633) then sewn top and bottom, and either side of the white background square and I quilted just around the border to keep everything together, but without taking attention away from the piecing. I then added a simple envelope opening to make my finished piece into a cushion.

The finished cushion is approximately 22".

snowflake pillow

For more information about the Sizzix patchwork and quilting range, click here 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

mindless sewing

Yesterday I was in a foul mood. I have a list the length of my arm, across my back and back down the other arm but I was in no mood for doing anything I should do and instead I told myself I would sew together the big bag of flannel scraps I got from Brenda a while ago and see what I ended up with after 2.5 hours of sewing (because that was 12 noon and it seemed a good point to stop).

I made 4 churn dash blocks, because they don't require any kind of thinking and are probably my favourite simple block. I would have liked to make 12 of these and end up with a quilt top, but I had 2.5 hours and that wasn't going to happen, so I cut my scraps into strips and just kept adding them to the churn dash blocks. I didn't think about where the fabric strips ended up, just sewed 'em on, trimmed off the excess, and carried on. I didn't use pins, I didn't press until I was finished, I just sat there and sewed and sewed.

This was the result....

2.5 hours of mindless sewing = 1 quilt top measuring approx 44x50".

The quilt top measures approx 44" x 50". Not bad for a couple of hours of frantic sewing!

I'm not very good at improv - I can't quite get my head around letting go completely so this little exercise was quite enjoyable, it made a lovely change from measuring and pinning and pressing and planning. And by the end of it I was so relaxed and chilled out I think I'll do it again next time I'm in a foul mood! I definitely have enough scraps and fabric for a stack of mood lifting mindless sewing quilts!

This morning I basted and quilted it (I used a pale cream aurifil 50 weight for the top and a pale grey aurifil 50 for the bobbin thread), added some binding leftover from other projects (I sew all my binding leftovers into colours and save them for future projects).

mindless sewing

And tonight I'll hand stitch the binding to the back of the quilt and add it to the stack of quilts that don't really have a purpose but look lovely stacked up!

mindless sewing

The postie brought me some treats today (it was wise of him to avoid the house yesterday, seeings as I was so very grumpy)

Tracey sent me some flannel FQs after I'd mentioned my flannel scraps on twitter. She had told me about some that had been delivered to her (that aren't in the shop yet, but I'll let you know when they are) that reminded her of men's suiting. I love flannel. It's so cozy and makes beautiful quilts, and is much easier to sew with than you might imagine. It doesn't shed or fray too much, not much more than regular cotton to be honest. It can be a touch stretchy, but not problematically so. These from Tracey feel less like the Anna Maria Horner flannels I used in the quilt in this post which are almost fleece-like to touch. These are more brushed cotton, less stretchy and like a thicker version of the brushed cotton shirts my Granddad used to wear. I'm thinking of making some pouches for Christmas presents, they'd be perfect for the men folk in my family. They'd also make a gorgeous quilt, wouldn't they? (Tracey has a 30% off sale on at the moment on everything in the shop)

flannels from tracey

Mr Postie also brought me the cherry limeade bundle I ordered from Brenda last week. I am even happier with this in person than I was when I put the fabrics together, I absolutely love it. I think it's going to become a patchworky Holiday in London Duffle.

cherry limeade

I have a little box of left over scraps from sewing together my quilt. I was wondering if one of you might like to have a morning of mindless sewing too, there's a 12" quilt block I made but didn't end up using, some small bits and some bigger bits. Probably enough to make a nice little quilt top, I'd love to see what one of you ends up with after a couple of hours or so sewing. Just leave me a comment and I'll pick a winner in a week or so (international entries are fine - I'll mail them anywhere! Just make sure you leave an email or some way to contact you if you win).

Now closed - thank you!

Leftovers from yesterday's mindless sewing

Simply Fat Quarters - winners

I loved reading everyone's comments about how to quilt the quilt top. In fact, I think I'm going to have to draw on your advice more often because you have some amazing ideas!

But who has won the books? (I hear you cry!)

We have 3 book winners, so pop me an email with your address and I'll get those mailed out to you;

Numbers 209, 445 and 19.

Carla G (no blog!)

Plus the single winner of the huge and amazing grand prize from Fat Quartershop (the quilt kit and the book) roll?)........number 21.......

TRUDI! who suggested penguin feathers - and I'm taking her advice and having feathers quilted all over the quilt. I'll hopefully have it back soon to show you!

That makes me incredibly happy, because I know Trudi as well, and she's lovely.

Who else feels a bit sad now the giveaway is over? Never fear, Pat has one going on on her blog! And if you don't already know Pat Sloan, you should get to know her, because she's amazing.

Winning peeps - I will contact you over the next day or so unless you leave me a comment first and get those prizes sent out. Congratulations!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

what's new, British pussycat?


Yep, Annie at the village haberdashery has 8 prints from the only just shown at Quilt Market collection in stock right now. I am pretty sure she's the absolute first, and obviously I had to have some. Here it is....

@libertylifestyle stile is in the house! Thanks to Annie at the village haberdashery! @vhaberdashery

oh the pretties. Lynne has a giveaway on her blog for 8 half meters. Go on, get over there and enter if you haven't already (and hurry - I'm not sure how much longer it's running for)

If you still haven't bought any of the first Liberty Lifestyle collection, Bloomsbury Gardens,  Alice has the gorgeous blues in stock at Backstitch

And from the subtle, typically English prints of Liberty let's go to the modern and soon you won't be able to get this anywhere prints from Quilt Blocks. Seriously, get this stuff before you can't ever get it again. Don't regret missing out, because it's amazing.

Whilst I'm on the subject of fabrics you should get before they disappear, Just Dandy is one of those. And on sale at M is for Make. Buy a half meter, or maybe even a whole meter. Just buy it. You need it in your stash.

Especially this print.

And also the running stitch prints from Patty Young's Lush.

Justine at Simply Solids has Moda scrap bags back in stock. Phew. Like a jelly roll, but half the price. I'll have one for Christmas please if you want to get me something. Thanks.

Of course you could get me a gift certificate instead, that'd do nicely.

Lots of new stuff has arrived at Eclectic Maker

Havana by Monaluna

As well as selected prints from Jenn Ski's Mod Century. I really like this print in particular...

That's it for this week. Just a quick one because it's absolutely freezing in my house (the heating hasn't kicked in yet) and I'm teaching today at The Skep in Leeds so I need to have a quick cuppa and warm myself up a bit before I get dressed and out the door.

Have a wonderful Sunday, someone remind me to take pictures of the class quilts today so I can blog them. I get carried away with the fun of the class and forget. I'm useless.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

what's new, American pussycat?

It's the weekend! It's time to check out the fabricy goodness of this week!

Ikebana from Dear Stella fabrics has just landed at Pink Castle fabrics this week. You should check out the Dear Stella pinterest board for this line because it looks so fresh and beautiful. I do love a really good green and these are incredibly good.

Tula Pink's The Birds and the Bees is on sale at $8/yard. Not all of the prints are in stock, but it's a good opportunity to snap up a few prints and save! (speaking of which - have you entered my giveaway for a twin sized quilt kit thanks to Fat Quarter shop?)

The SOLIDS15 coupon is still working for 15% off all in stock solids (that's almost 250 different solids!), until November 26th. Use it while you can - you can never have too much yardage of your favourite basic solids on hand.

Lastly, a quick mention of the cherry limeade bundle I put together because there's only 4 bundles left in stock so if you were thinking about getting one, maybe do that now while you can.

Fat Quarter Shop have some great new arrivals like this from Robert Kaufman....

And this lovely bundle of dots....

And this new line from Laurie Wisbrun...

Other new arrivals are Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry and Simple Marks by Malka Dubrowsky

I had a little hunt through the pages of Sew Me A Song to make an imaginary bundle inspired by dress making and fashion. Here is is...

and (in no particular order) - the fabrics are; Couture ladies, Dress Ups, Sewing Pattern, Queen Anne, ScissorsTailor Made and Labels

That was fun. You should try it!

Sew Fresh Fabrics have Lucky Penny by Alison Glass and it's gorgeous and rich and jewel like - I absolutely love it (and Alison too, she's fab)

Bike Path is a fantastic basic that deserves it's own line - just a hundred different colours.

Mural is a gorgeous large scale print

Go check out Alison's blog and the flickr group to see what kind of gorgeous stuff has been created so far with Lucky Penny. And keep an eye on this lady - she has a really good eye for detail and colour and it shows in her work. It's way more multi layered and developed than some designers, and obviously wasn't just banged out in an evening with a glass of wine and a 'yeah, that'll do' attitude

Look at Sara. She whipped up a dress from the mural print (literally - like that exact day they arrived. No lie) Isn't it beautiful? (Isn't she beautiful? *sigh*). She's running a sew along for this dress pattern and talks more about it over on her blog, so go check it out.

Sis Boom Rebecca Dress

There we go - that's it for today. I'm going to a kids' birthday party later (oh joy) and hopefully finding a few minutes to stitch some hexagons. My life seems to be one big hexathon at the minute.

I still haven't managed to get photos of the bigger version of the quilt I made from Modern Quilts. It's big and finding a nice spot to take a picture without looking like a complete idiot isn't easy.

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