Monday, 29 July 2019

Well, here I am after along gap, back on my blog. I did a show on Hochanda yesterday demonstrating some techniques and it set me thinking that I should revive my blog so I can post some step by step tutorials. I had to rescue the blog which was redirecting to a widget server page so I’m relieved I’ve managed that, despite being a bit rusty on the blog inner workings! I’m also trying posting using my iPad/phone so I can write posts on the go and use photos from my phone. We’ll see how it goes as I update links etc and get back into trying to write regularly again - wish me luck!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Getting Ready for Quilty Fun!

Next week we'll be starting a new project in my weekly classes based on the book Quilty Fun by Lori Holt and I've been getting ready to sew this lovely row quilt. First I went through my fabrics and chose a selection of small-ish prints in my favourite colours:
I'm using Kona White for my background. 
I decided to make some of Lori Holt's mini design boards to organise the fabrics for each row. You can follow her tutorial here:
I did cheat a little - I used 505 spray to glue my wadding to the foamcore board (bought from Hobbycraft) and haven't yet added the binding but they work just fine!

I cut 3" squares for the checkerboard row which is the first tutorial in the book and laid them out on a design board:

This size of board (10" by nearly 12") fits nicely into a large IKEA ziplock bag so I can keep everything clean and tidy util I'm ready to sew. 
I then looked at the requirements for the second row and realised I'll be cutting lots of 1.5" strips and squares of background fabric for this quilt so decided I needed to use a gadget to help! I bought a June Tailor Shape Cut a while ago but this is the first time I've really used it and it's fantastic! 

I do use a larger version regularly to cut charm squares and jelly roll strips for my shop but with the smaller version you can cut strips in half inch intervals. You cut along slots in a sturdy transparent grid with your rotary cutter and in minutes you can cut dozens of strips and squares. Watch this video to see how it works:

I'll try to keep posting regular updates on how the quilt is progressing. I'm getting pretty excited about this project! My students quilts are always interesting to see as they all look different depending on the fabrics they choose and the personal touches they add even when working from the same pattern. 

Lori Holt's book is amazing. It is so beautifully laid out with clear instructions and diagrams. As well as the cover quilt there are many other smaller projects in the second half of the book. The Fat Quarter Shop also did a different quilt using the blocks in the book and had a sew along and blog hop which is well worth a look:

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Summer's Coming!

Windmills by Martin
Well that's what the weatherman appeared to say!  Yesterday we went out for lunch at a lovely garden centre in Wentworth and Martin spotted the colourful windmills which looked bright and cheerful in the sun. This summer is going to be very special as our daughter is expecting her first baby and our first grandchild in a few weeks time. We're looking forward to welcoming him or her and pushing the pram in the warm summer sunshine. I'm knitting and crocheting and will of course make a few quilted items too! Here's a chevron blanket I've been crocheting:

I take a break from teaching classes from next week and start again in September so have a couple of months to plan new projects and perhaps make a few things just for me for a change! I will be still be working on my shop over the summer with plans to start selling online and maybe move in to my very own studio.

 I've been invited to be a trader at a special Yorkshire quilt exhibition being organised by one of my students to coincide with the Tour de France coming to Harrogate on the 3rd to the 5th of July. Visit the Visit Harrogate website for more details. I'll also be holding another Pop-Up Shop day in Boston Spa on July 26th so will be cutting lots of fabric packs and kits in preparation for those. The Yorkshire Modern Quilters, which I help to organise, is working on a challenge entitled 'Wheels' and we hope lots of our members will have their finished quilts on display both at the Tour exhibition and at the Great Northern Quilt Show at the end of August.

What I'm really looking forward to this summer are family days out and about in this wonderful God's Own County and just relaxing at home - whatever the weather.

Happy Stitching!


Monday, 14 April 2014

UFO Catch Up

Recently I've managed to catch up on some UFOs including the cushion above which has been sitting in a cupboard since who knows when! I had cut the feather shapes on my Go cutter, fused them in place and machine blanket stitched then obviously put it to one side. When I found it again I just had to quilt it and make up the cushion. I used it as FMQ practice and it was fun to complete. I felt very
satisfied to get it finished and very pleased with the result. I think I should make more using this

Later this week I'm teaching a workshop based on Ricky Tims technique in his the Convergence
Quilts book. I made two miniature samples when I did  City and Guilds - here's one of them.

I taught the technique to a group and started a slightly larger version which again got put away unfinished. This week I found the pieced centre section, removed the ugly borders I had started and added a new border then quilted it. I'll add the binding at the workshop when I can use the quilt to 
demo mock piped machine binding.

I think this bright batik blender border transforms this quilt and I actually like it now! This week I'm also playing with YoYos made with the Clover gadget. I discovered the 5" charm squares are perfect for the orange coloured large size and dug out a pretty Moda charm pack to make these.

I'm going to use them on another cushion front as I think it would make a lovely gift. I came across a photo of a  gorgeous bracelet made with little YoYos on Pinterest yesterday and want to make one of those next in stronger colours to tone with my favourite tops. What are you working on at the moment?

Monday, 3 March 2014

Busy, Busy Week!

Last week I hardly had chance to draw breath but it was full of fun and very satisfying. It was the beginning of a new session of classes and this term students are working on a choice of projects. Some are finishing quilts started last half term like Chris's Storm at Sea above. She pieced all the 169 blocks with foundation piecing on Freezer Paper! She'll be adding borders before it's quilted and bound.

Some students are making cushions in raw edge appliqué or pieced like the ones below:
My sample bunting cushion

Quick charm square cushion

Linda S make this lovely cushion with ribbon and fabric scraps
Another choice is a Churn Dash quilt using quick piecing. Here's a sample block I made using some gorgeous  fabric designed by Mark Hordyzynski called 'Birds of a Feather':
Some classes were a little quieter than usual because several people are on holiday but as usual the atmosphere was fun and friendly. It doesn't feel like work for me!

During the week I was also getting ready for my Pop-Up Shop day on Saturday - cutting fabrics, sorting and labelling notions and packing up all the fabric bolts ready to transport to the community centre. Luckily Saturday dawned sunny and turned into a beautiful Spring day and we had our most successful event so far! I managed to take a few photos of the fabrics before we opened the doors:

We had a steady stream of visitors keeping me and the helpers busy nearly all day. In the room next door the local quilt group served refreshments with home baked cakes and quiches and did a roaring trade too.

Thank you to everyone who came to shop and a special thanks to all my helpers, especially the cutting ladies and my other half who had to lug all the big bags of fabric bolts around, set up the shelving and serve on the till. I'm already planning for the next Pop-Up Shop day on April 26th with exciting new ranges of fabric due soon. Please follow my Facebook page 'Cotton Cocktails' for updates and photos.

There's no time to rest this week as my classes continue and I'm also visiting two quilt groups to teach workshops on Saturday and next Monday which will be great fun! I'll be back soon with more news.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Fast Finish!

This week is half term and I don't have any classes. It gives me a bit of extra time to catch up on sewing although I am mainly making samples for my classes and for my Pop-Up Shop days. This super easy quilt is called 'Tumbling Charms' and was inspired by the fabulous Jenny Doan and her video tutorials for Missouri Star Quilts on YouTube. I took her technique and wrote up the instructions for a throw sized quilt using a single charm pack. Lots of my students have made the quilt and the top can easily be made in a day. I did make mine in a day then quilted and bound it in another a few days later so for me it was quickly finished. I added a pieced back so I didn't need to much fabric for the backing:

I used Riley Blake's Summer Breeze range of fabrics cut into 5" squares in a pack of 4 each of 12 different fabrics. I use the June Tailor Shape Cut Pro to make fast work of cutting the squares to make charm packs for my shop. This time I used a different wadding to my usual Hobbs Heirloom. A student asked about a white wadding so I got some Hobbs Polydown to try. It's just a bit bouncier than Heirloom and although it  was fine for quilting with the walking foot I still prefer Heirloom, especially for free motion work when you really do need a flat wadding.

Next week I'll be demonstrating mock piped binding, which is stitched completely by machine, to my local quilt group:
I love using striped fabric for binding and the little lime green 'piping' looks great beside it. I also used a wiggly automatic stitch on my machine to the border for a bit of interest.

I'm in the process of adding a new page to my website called 'Freebies!' with free downloadable patterns including the tumbling charms and I'll add the mock piped binding instruction too when I've checked them through. Keep checking back regularly for new patterns!

Monday, 20 January 2014

I'm Back!

Hello! After a long absence I'm ready to start blogging again. I went to our Yorkshire Modern Quilters sew day on Saturday and we were discussing blogging, Facebook, Pinterest etc and it made me feel quite guilty that I'd not been keeping up with this blog. I do spend many hours each week browsing Pinterest so should be able to find time to post on here more often!

Nearly all of my sewing time now is taken up with preparing for my classes and organising the fabrics I buy for my portable shop. It's great fun and my classes are very sociable and friendly. Most of the ladies attend regularly and quite a few have been coming right from the start nearly two and a half years ago and several come to two classes each week!

The photo above is one of the latest projects which a couple of the classes are working on. It's an easy Bargello quilt made of 2 1/2 inch wide strips. The finished quilt is about 40 by 50 inches so it's a good size for trying out the strip piecing technique. It does need to be carefully stitched with a consistent quarter inch seam because there is a lot of matching of seams:

I'm really pleased with how this is going and definitely would like to make another Bargello in the future. This one is made using a new line of batik blenders from Sew Simple. I have the whole range of 112 colours for my shop and there are some stunning variegated colours as well as some almost solids in a soft and supple fabric. They are so tempting to dip into!

Right, now I have to hop over to the Yorkshire Modern Quilters blog to post our show and tell photos. We're a thriving group with very creative and talented members so please visit our blog soon!