Monday, 30 January 2012

The Winner of 2 Good Fortunes...

....I just remembered to pick a winner for my 1st blogaversary giveaway and it`s No. 4 Pat ...congratulations Pat!

Pat chose the Lark selvedge pouch.

 Pat said, "LARK! Happy blogaversary! I love reading your blog! My mom was an avid quilter for nearly 30 years. And she did get me to make a few quilts over those years. But it wasn't until I found out about modern quilts and inherited her sewing machines and stash that I actually thought about quilting. That was about a year and a half ago. I think my mom would be thrilled with my progress."

I shall email you now Pat for your details!  Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway.

Modern Mini Challenge

I was super excited to be invited by Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts to take part in her Modern Mini Challenge -  a 5 part series which kicks off on Monday February 6!

The idea behind the MMC is for you to think big, make small - inspired by this bunch of incredibly talented gals who are sure to get your creative juices flowing. As a newbie hopper, I asked Jennifer if she would put me towards the end of the line and she did.  She`s sweet like that.

Jennifer`s newly completed mini quilt. Washington Sidewalk blocks 24" x 24" 
Did I mention this is a competition and that means prizes?!  5 to be exact and they are A-MAZING!

 Kimberly at the Fat Quarter Shop is generously sponsoring all five fabulous prizes!

The five winners will be chosen as follows: 

James’ choice (Jennifer`s husband chooses his favorite) 
Viewer’s choice Mug Rugs
Viewer’s choice Mini Quilts 
(mug rugs and mini quilts- the viewers choose from a selection chosen by Jennifer and three other bloggers) 
Luck of the Draw (Random Number Generator chooses 2 winners)


Both Viewer’s Choice Winners will receive a fat quarter bundle of the FULL LINE of Flea Market Fancy reprint by Denyse Schmidt.
James’ Choice Winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop
Both Luck of the Draw Winners will receive a $75 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop

The when: February 6- March 9- Enter the contest on March 5!

The where: Ellison Lane Quilts

The why: To inspire you to try something new- something challenging- take a big idea and make it in a mini.

Contest Requirements: 1. Create a modern mini quilt or mug rug - only one entry per person 2. Enter your mini quilt or mug rug in the linky party at Ellison Lane Quilts on Monday, March 5. You do NOT have to have a blog to enter. You may link a picture from your Flickr account. 3. Your entry (blog post or Flickr description) should include the size of the item.

Here`s the button.  Now go grab it!
Modern Mini Challenge

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Kaffe Fasset Double

You may remember last year that the uber talented Sarah Fielke (co-author of Material Obsession) was looking for people to make blocks for a couple of very special quilts.  Amy and Annabelle had lost husband and father Dan far too early.  Sarah wanted to make them both quilts from Kaffe Fasset fabrics using blocks that looked like bass lines on a stereo.  I wanted to help but only had a few Kaffe Fasset scraps and so Sarah very kindly sent me some of her scraps all the way from Oz.

Here are my blocks.
Amy`s block

Annabelle`s block

Well I was super excited to read this week on Leanne`s blog that she too had helped and that Sarah had pieced Annabel`s quilt.  Click here to see it (you`ll have to scroll down a couple of posts).  I love it!

So having written my Winter Stitches mid-term check in, I was beginning to feel very guilty about my mum`s birthday quilt.  She has waited patiently while various quilts, bee blocks, pouches, mug rugs and runners have been made and meanwhile I have prevaricated about which block to use.  She isn`t swooning over swoon - a block which many of you thought would look great in the Kaffe Fasset fabrics she had chosen.  So today, energized by a beetroot, celery and ginger juice (zingy and delicious), I started on the first block.  All I`ll say is it`s not a quick block (but I think and really hope it`s going to be amazing)  and it`s a block from this book.  Only sneeky peaks will be shown and here`s your first one.

I know.  I`m not giving much away.

Hope you`ve all had a fab weekend.  Check in later tomorrow to see if you won the giveaway (there`s still time to enter).

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Winter Stitching - Mid Term Report

Firstly, thank you to everyone who entered my blogaversary giveaway and a huge welcome to my new followers.  I`m overwhelmed by the response.  There`s still time to enter here.

Was it really October when I committed to a list of sewing plans for the winter with the lovely Sarah over at Fairyface Designs?  A whole 3 months ago?

Indeed it was, and Sarah has asked us to check in with a mid-term report. 

It was with a tinge of trepidation that I went back to this post.  You see, while I wrote down in a blog post what I hoped to achieved, I hadn`t returned to that post since!

Here goes.

Finish the Marrakech Rose quilt.  Done and sold!

Next up - quilt and bind Deborah`s Union Jack quilt - done and delivered by hand to Paris! I loved those beautiful Liberty lawn prints.

In at No.3, make a quilt for my mum`s birthday.  Failed miserably here.  Still at the planning stage, but will have it made for her spring visit. It will be made with Kaffe Fasset prints.

No.4 was to make a quilt for my cousin`s baby, who arrived in December safe and sound and is adorable.  Done and delivered earlier this month. I had a wobble half way through but love this quilt now.  The vibrant orange perle handstitching and binding really helped to lift the 1001 Peeps fabrics.  George loves it too!

Finish the Red City quilt for the Duo QAL was No.5  - done! I used the Marrakech colourway of Moroccan Mirage for this one and free motion quilted my first quilt! I was delighted to win the FMQ prize for this - thanks Rhonda!

Up next at No.6 was to `commit` to the Drunkard`s Path QAL - I got as far as finishing this baby quilt top.  It still needs to be basted, quilted and bound.  It`s a small quilt and I wonder whether I should add another border or two to make it bigger as I love the Kate Spain Central Park fabrics. This QAL was great as I pieced curves and it wasn`t so difficult! The blocks came together really well.

I also committed to keeping up with the Bloggers` BOM QAL. I did the first two blocks but am 3 blocks behind.

I also said I would make blocks for Judith`s Bee Blessed and Sarah`s Quilting for Kids.  I am ashamed to say that I haven`t made blocks for a few months but I hope to rejoin these groups next month.

I did make my goodie and cut scraps for Kat`s Scrappy Swap and my Christmas tablerunner for Susan`s swap.  Both sent and received.  The scraps went to Australia and the runner went to Canada! I loved the runner and I used quite a lot of my Terrain for it.

 I also made my five blocks for the 4x5 Modern Quilting Bee.  Here`s an example of one of them. They went to the US, Canada and Australia and most have arrived.

I had a go at free motion quilting...

but have not tried any applique.

I also just finished my blocks for the Care Circle of do.Good Stitches - the latest and international circle of do.Good Stitches, which benefits local causes.  When I signed up to do.Good Stitches a few months ago, I was placed on a waiting list and kind of then forgot about it until Rachel of Stitched in Color got in touch to say that I had a place and would I consider being a quilter.  Me! Totally open to any form of flattery I did sign up for being a quilter and it`s my turn in April.  A quilter is responsible for designing the quilt, collecting in the blocks and finishing the quilt.  This month was Karen`s turn and she asked for starflower blocks in red and aqua.

I`m squeezing under the wire here.  They must be in Karen`s mits by February 10 and so these need to be mailed on Monday.  Fly little blocks.  Fly.

I have the following to add to the list.

  • Make a mini quilt for the For the Love of Solids swap.  
Fabric has been ordered and I`m still trying to work out my design, which may be improvisational piecing as my partner`s inspiration mosaic indictates she likes this.  While she`s not particularly chatty, I can tell from her flikr photostream that she is a serial swapper, so I have a lot to live up to.  We have similar tastes so I shall enjoy coming up with something.

  • Make a zippered pouch for Mouthy Stitches.  Backing fabric ordered, and working on a design.
  • I have joined a new bee.  Super excited about this and more details to follow soon!
  • Another secret project - details to be revealed soon.
  • Finish my Lark quilt.  Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions about how to finish it.  I think I`m veering toward a scrappy binding as opposed to a scrappy border.

  • I really want to swoon in the Swoonalong and I really want to do the Made in Cherry QAL but I need to get on as they are both well under way!
So actually I don`t think I`m doing so badly although my list was no way near as ambitious as others!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

It`s My Blogaversary and I`m Giving Away a Fortune!

While I was back in England for the holidays, I noticed from the ticker in my sidebar that my blogaversary was a few weeks away.  I mentioned this to my mum who was sitting with me.  She was sewing or reading...I can`t remember which, but without looking up she replied, "What are you giving away this time, a car?"  Wouldn`t that be fun? Unfortunately however, these are austere times as our leaders like to remind us.

A year ago today (or not! The post is dated 20 January so my blogaversary was actually one week ago - so much for the ticker!), I hit the button with this post.  It`s a wordy post but it explains a little about how I got into quilting. Like many people, quilting helped me get out of a rut.  Why is that I wonder?

I remember the sheer excitement at seeing my first hit come up in my stats.  It was in the States (who still account for the largest reader group followed by the UK , Australia, Canada, (thank you friends), Switzerland (thank you Helen) and the Netherlands (thank you Nicolette)) as well of lots of other visitors from all over the world!

Thank you to all my followers and readers - my mum and aunt were my first followers and I`m so proud to say that I am still in regular contact with many of my other initial followers and have made lots of really good friends along the way - many of whom I hope to meet at the FQ retreat in London this June.

So to say a huge thank you to you my friends, I promised you a fortune...I`m giving away 2 charm packs of the amazingly talented Kate Spain`s Good Fortune.

I love this line and am wondering whether I could covertly enter my own giveaway in an attempt to win them!

I`ve ordered them and they are waiting with my friend Julie at my online fabric shop of choice The Intrepid Thread until we know who will be adopting them. They will then be shipped direct to you, wherever you are in the world.

What else?  As this is an austerity giveaway, I made you a  pouch made from Lark selvages left over from making this quilt top.

The front
The back
 It`s lined and has covered zipper tabs.  I like it a lot.

If you are not an Amy Butler fan or a fan of Lark (I guess that could happen) then I can make you your own special zippered pouch in the same design but using these fabrics - Echo by Lotta Jansdotter.

I shall also throw in some scraps, which hopefully will be of some use to you.

So to enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment saying what got you into quilting or sewing and add the word LARK or ECHO so I know which pouch you would like.  If you are not a sewist, simply tell me something about yourself.  No hoops to jump through.  If you are a new reader, take a look around and if you like what you see then of course I would love you to follow me!

I`ll draw a winner on Tuesday January 31 at 5 PM GMT.

Thank you to everyone who has visited, read, commented and contributed over the last year!  Good luck!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Fake it `til You Make It

That expression will be written on my tombstone no doubt.  Throughout life I`ve often found myself in situations where I`ve had to convince others that I know far more about something than I actually do!

As I`ve mentioned before, a couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Mouthy Stitches swap hosted by the lovelies, Susan, Hadley and Cindy.  It`s a zippered pouch swap.  Suffering from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), I immediately signed up after receiving an early alarm call from Hadley to do so.  Bleary eyed, I headed over to `hers` and the rest is as they say, history.

The slight fly in the ointment was that I had never actually made a zippered pouch before.  I had put numerous zips in clothes (in my teens) but a pouch of the zippered variety was new territory.

Until today, that is.  I made what will be doubtless one of many practice pouches in the warm colourway of Lotta Jansdotter`s Echo. Not perfect by any means but it`s a pouch (well a wristlet to be exact) and there is a zip in it. Once I decide on a zip colour for my swap partner`s pouch, I need to get some coordinating thread - I don`t like the effect of the white thread on the yellow zip.

As I was making the patchwork panels (the front and back are mirror images of each other), it dawned on me how much brown was in the warm tones of the Echo prints, and I recalled a flikr discussion about how many people hated brown!  I wouldn`t necessarily want a brown quilt but I`ve always quite liked brown accessories.

The wristlet is quite capacious and holds all the essentials and will be handy for running to the shops or gym (ah, yes, I remember the gym...vaguely).

I used Ayumi`s tutorial here.  If I was to say it was plain sailing, then I would be lying.  The seam ripper did come out once or twice but it wasn`t so bad. Nothing to do with the instructions, which are excellent but my incompetence in following them. Now I need to try a pouch with covered end tabs.

There is awesome talent in this swap.  I have been assigned my partner and I know her to be super sweet.  I`m just hoping she is of a forgiving nature.  Just in case.

In the last week, I was overwhelmed to be asked to participate in a couple of really exciting things coming up soon.  They are a little hush hush at the moment but as soon as I receive the nod, you`ll be the first to know.  It`s also my blogaversary in a couple of days, so be sure to come back.  Just saying.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A Touch of Glamor

I had been meaning to swoon but was daunted by the amount of pieces for each block and from the flikr discussion thread it was apparent some people had struggled with it.  I had been meaning to make a practice pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap but that was a project for when a certain small person was at pre-school. Concentration was needed. Since the holidays, my creative mojo had taken a hike.  I needed a quick fix project. A touch of glamor.

Lark in Glamor Colourway by Amy Butler

And so this morning the Betty Crocker Brownie Mix, the vodka shot of quilt tops was born.

I wanted a block where the design wasn`t lost. Each block is 9 inches square. The sashing is Kona white in snow.  To add a scrappy border or to not add a scrappy border.  That is the question.

Friday, 20 January 2012

I`m Passionate...

...about Zipit!

I`m a little late to the Zipit party but I need zips for the Mouthy Stitches swap, which is all set to bust into mouthy overdrive as soon as the swap mamas assign partners next week. Exactly one week ago, I asked the numptyest of questions about zips of one of the swap mamas who politely responded and is far too nice to EVER spill the beans (although it may come out over a glass of her favourite tipple at the FQ Retreat)! The same day, I ordered a rainbow selection of 7 and 8 inch zippers from Zipit.  They arrived yesterday!  Yes, yesterday - all the way from...I`m not sure actually but who cares...etsyland, they are here and I can make a pouch for the swap! I have never made a zippered pouch before but I have put zips in clothes when I made them as a teenager.  I`m hoping things work out and may try this tutorial.  Wish me luck!

 I can`t recommend Zipit highly enough.  The zippers are so reasonably priced, come in beautiful colours and hopefully zip and ship so quickly.

What else am I passionate about?  Well a recent discovery is orange.  I had to order some orange fabric for the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee as I had none in my stash and it featured heavily in my hive members` nominated colours.

Block for Tiffany
I don`t know exactly how it came about now but a while back, the lovely and super talented Jennifer at The Enchanted Bobbin said she would send me some orange strings left over from a project.  Just before we left England last week, they arrived all the way from Canada together with a bunch of orange scraps.  There`s certainly enough to make a cushion so I can`t wait to show you that once I get started.  Thank you so much Jennifer!

Just to prove I`m passionate, I received one of those fortune teller fish with my zips from Jennifer, which you place on your hand and it tells you how you are feeling! I haven`t seen one since I pulled one out of a Christmas cracker as a young girl.  Well, here it is...

`Curls up entirely` - passionate.  For passionate - read, hot hands.  I just tried it on Zaki`s hand and it curled up for him too...and the only thing he is passionate about is dinosaurs!

Have a great weekend - it`s Friday!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Resolved to Sew

You already know about the amazing giveaway over at Very Berry Handmade, don`t you?  If not, you`ve clearly been down to earth and away from the blogosphere the last few days as this little giveaway is everywhere so you better head on over and check it out!  By leaving a comment  or two you could be in with the chance of winning this voucher from Fancy Moon or one of many other fabulous prizes!

So here are my sewing resolutions for 2012. 

 1. Make my mum`s birthday quilt  for her birthday in July ( um, 2011) using these Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  

 I need to commit to a pattern and get cutting, and not be afraid that she won`t like it, which takes me on to Resolution No.2

2. Be more confident of my own ability!

3. Conquer my FOMO (fear of missing out) and not join in every swap or QAL going. I love swaps and QALs but they do demand time not only on the sewing machine but away from it on flikr and blogs and that`s time away from the little guy.

4. Master the quarter inch seam!  Today I made this Starflower block for the do. Good Stitches Charity Bee. It`s come up about a quarter inch too small and so I`ll have to do another and this one will join the growing mound of orphan blocks who are a little bit too small or a little bit too big, before being sashed and joined together (somehow).  

5.  Make a quilt using the orphan blocks.

6. Try something new, perhaps an art mini quilt or some applique.

7. Join in the humungous Swoon-along (almost 500 members!) hosted by Katy.  I bought the pattern a couple of months ago but haven`t used it yet.  What fabric to use?  I would like to use my Lark, but will have to do a test block to see how the large designs work.

8.  Go on a fabric diet and use the stash as much as possible. It`s not a huge stash by any means but there`s enough to be used.  Only stash builders will be allowed.

9.  Make a zippered pouch well - I have to master this as I`m in Mouthy Stitches and I`m guessing my partner will demand nothing less!

10. Ignore Resolution No.3 and join in the beautiful Made in Cherry QAL.

11.  Save me from myself!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Cabbages & Roses

So we`re still trying to get into some semblance of routine now we`re home.  It`s been raining the last couple of days.  Morocco desperately needs rain in the winter months and things had got so bad they were praying in the mosques for a healthy downpour.  It seems the prayers were answered, or as my husband joked, I brought it back with me from England. *wink*.

While we were back in England, I made sure that while Zaki got his fair share of visits to playgrounds, dinosaur museums and got the odd treat.  I also made sure that mummy got treats of the quilty kind.  While we were visiting my aunt and uncle in Warwick,  I bought this Cabbages & Roses layer cake from Moda.  It is a layer cake of muted pinks, greens and blues and puts me firmly outside my comfort zone. I usually go for much bolder and more colourful designs and so this will be a challenge for me but that`s one of my sewing resolutions this year (and yes, I plan to do the `Resolved to Sew` over at Very Berry Handmade) is to challenge myself creatively and try different things, so I`m looking forward to cutting this up.  I also bought a new and much larger cutting board, some gorgeous perle cottons which were two for one, and a 12.5 inch square ruler so things should be easier in the cutting and squaring up department!

As you can see, I have always loved quilting books (am I the only one who reads them in bed at night?) but the top 4 are all new.  Yes, lucky me!  Santa (aka my mum) gave me The Japanese Quilt Inspiration and Modern Blocks book, which are both hugely inspirational and real eye candy.  I bought Material Obsession after Sarah recommended it in her recent series for new sewists and it`s fabulous, as is her series.  The top book is an FMQ book, which was part of a prize I received from Rhonda as part of the Duo QAL.

Notice the huge spool of gorgeous variegated Egyptian cotton?! I have only dabbled in FMQ so I can`t wait to read this properly and try out the tips using that lovely thread.  Rhonda does amazing free motion quilting so the book is bound to be a great resource.  Thanks Santa, Rhonda and oh, me!

There is a great discussion thread here on flikr about books which are coming out soon (certainly in the States...the UK may have to wait) if you love quilting books as much as I do.

Am I the only one finding it to comment on some blogs?  I`m hoping it`s that silly Blogger misbehaving and not some nasty virus...of course if you have the same problem, you may not be able to comment!

So my question to you today is, how do you like to treat yourself?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Home Sweet Home

Mouthy Stitches Inspiration Mosaic by Life`sRichPattern

Zaki and I are home. We arrived last night.  So sad to say goodbye to my mum but so happy to say hello to the hubster who we haven`t seen for 4 weeks. I think he had missed us. That will be mutual then.

Back to a routine.  Pre-school for Zaki and some sewing for me.  I have been MIA on and off the last few weeks and promise to be a more regular sewist, blogger, follower and commenter now that we`re home.

By the end of last year, I had sworn off swaps. Not because I didn`t enjoy them.  They are hugely fun and I have made great friends through them but anything involving deadlines is difficult with no LQS.  Everything has to be ordered online and that involves time uncertainty and money. It`s not really fair on my partner.

I never did receive my tablerunner in the Modern Christmas Tablerunner Swap.  It`s now 2 months since it would have been posted to me and being an optimist I remain hopeful that it will show up.  Perhaps in time for next Christmas!  I feel sorry for my partner as I know what it is like to wait for something you`ve made to arrive - my make and scraps in the Scrappy Swap took 6 weeks to make it to Australia.

So being off swaps, that means I wouldn`t sign up for any more right?  Well I have and the first is the Mouthy Stitches Swap - a pouch and a fat quarter of scraps swap. I don`t have to tell you that Susan, Hadley and Cindy are hosting this as most of you are in the swap.  What made me sign up?  Well I love the swap mamas and it`s already a party over at the flikr group. They want a chatty interactive group and I think they`ve got one.

I also signed up to the For Love of Solids Swap after I saw it on Susan`s blog.  Having seen the amazing makes in Round 1, I headed straight over to the group and saw that there was one spot left.  I wrote the quickest request to join and pressed the post button.  I sneaked in under the wire becoming the 100th member.  You can see my inspiration mosaic here

I have so much to tell you and so much to do but that will have to wait for another day. I left my camera`s memory card in England so I`ll have to get a new one before I can post any pictures!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Baby George Discovered that...

...while his Moses basket was snug and comfy and great for a mid afternoon kip...

...his new 1001 Nights quilt was great for lying back and admiring the view...

or for performing those oh so important stomach crunches...

...having a snuggle with mummy...

...and `thinking with his eyes shut` while catching up with a first cousin once removed...

but George also discovered that living in the fast lane could be totally and utterly exhausting!

1001 (Sleepless) Nights quilt delivered.