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
design!

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.

Hazel

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!

Hazel

 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Pop-Up Shop Tomorrow!

Yummy King Tut Threads ready for my shop!

I'm a bit giddy today because tomorrow I'm holding my first Pop-Up Shop at Deepdale Community Centre, Boston Spa! It's been a busy week sorting out fabrics, threads, and all sorts of quilts it's and pieces. I've been playing with techie stuff too- a new electronic till, credit card reader, and I set up a new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CottonCocktails) all exciting stuff.

Here are some of the fabrics I have in stock:







See my website for more details. It's going to be fun!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Pretty Purses



Well I'm back at last! I just got out of the habit of blogging but I will try to do better and post more often than every six months!

I have a few small projects to share starting with the little purse and glasses case above. I'm demonstrating how to make these at the Bernina Club in Leeds (MKC Services) this week. A while ago Linda brought a purse she had made to one of my classes and I was so impressed I had to sew one myself!

I ordered a couple of kits from U-Handbag and this was my first attempt:

I was thrilled with this as it was really easy! Lisa Lam's instructions and easy to follow although I did amend it a little so that I could quilt the purse. This is the 'Carton Clutch' kit which includes all the bits and pieces needed to make two purses except the fabric glue which I also bought from U-Handbag.. I bought the refill kit (without fabrics) because I have enough fabric to make about a million of these! Glueing the purse into the frame was far less tricky than I'd imagined.

I found several tutorials on how to draft your own pattern for purse frames and followed Guthrie and Garni's instructions to make the pattern for this simple one which is so quick and easy to make and uses very little fabric:


They could get seriously addictive!

I also found I could order 'Flex Frames' from one of my wholesale suppliers so adapted these instructions from Make.Life.Beautiful. to stitch a specs case in some gorgeous linen from my stash.


Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year!

Earlier this week I finished a little bag decorated with a stencil design. 
I used a stencil by Crafters Workshop and some beautiful Stewart Gill 'Byzantia' fabric paints. It was fun and quick to do and the paint has a lovely shine. I used some Osnaberg fabric I dyed with a little Dylon machine dye in grey as the main fabric. I free motion quilted round the flowers very simply.

The bag pattern is from a book I bought recently:

The bag sits beautifully on it's base. It measures 12" across and 13" to the top of the handle when standing up and it's just the right size to hold my knitting or other small project:


I'm planning to make another larger version and next time I'll place the stencilling a little higher up.

I will be back soon but for now:

Happy Stitching!

Hazel x

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A Productive Day


Happy (belated) New Year! I have been promising myself that I will blog more frequently in 2013 but as this is my first post of this year my resolution has not all got off to a good start! Never mind - onwards and upwards!

I have been sewing this week in between starting off my students on their new projects. Today I went to my local group's sew-in and layered up three quilt tops. The first, in the photo above is made with a new irresistible fabric range 'Dino Roars' by Michael Miller which arrived from the suppliers just before Christmas. I'm making this up as kits so have put a simple design together measuring about 40" by 40" as a sample. I've backed this with the lovely plaid form the range which I'll also use for the binding.

I have several quilt tops which I made for class samples last year and pulled one of those out to layer and quilt:

The photo doesn't do this justice but it's made with Moda Ruby in a very straightforward modern log cabin design. Quilting this should be quick as I can just use straight lines diagonally across the blocks without any marking.

Last but not least is my version of 'Shattered' from the pattern in the book 'Quilting Modern' by Jaquie Gering and Katie Pedersen:


There'll be a lot more quilting on this one because I'll be echo quilting inside all the light grey areas but I can't wait to get started. I pieced the back of this one:


I love it! Perhaps I shouldn't have used the solid black though - it shows up every stray thread and dog hair!

I also did some sewing this afternoon. I have a pile of Drunkards Path units cut out for one of my classes and am steadily working through it. I cut them on my Accuquilt Go and they stitch together beautifully and it saved so much time cutting them. I'll take some photos of my progress with this one during the week and share them with you another day.

I did draw up a timetable for each week as an incentive to fit in more stitching this year so I'll be trying to stick to it now thing are settling into a routine. Part of that is to make one small fabric gift each week to put away for suitable occasions. Hopefully this will also get me blogging about that every week too. Watch this space!

Happy Stitching

Hazel x