Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thoroughly Modern Maples (Marrakech Edition)

It's autumn.  My favourite season. It always has been - from my childhood when I grew up in leafy Warwickshire to my life now when it signals the end at last to months of extreme heat.

Back in April, I asked my wonderful Stitch Tease gals to make maple blocks for my second round. I wanted my own bit of fall in a country where there are only two seasons.

I suggested this tutorial for a 12¨ finished block but left them to make smaller blocks if they preferred.

There are some great variations in Lynne and Kerry's 500 Quilt Blocks. I asked for one block in traditional fall colours and the second in jewel tones - both scrappy with low volume backgrounds.

They sent the most beautiful blocks but summer quickly arrived and they were packed away.

Before we left for England in August, I made some improv. pieced low volume filler blocks and assembled them with the maple blocks in a random arrangement to give the impression of falling leaves.

Fast forward to last month when I basted and quilted it using organic wavy overlapping vertical rows every couple of inches. The batting is my favourite Dream Orient - it has a beautiful drape.

The backing is something I picked up in a Pink Castle $6 yard sale - it's Honeycomb in Sunglow by Freespirit and is very pretty. The binding is a yellow chevron. I wanted a paleish binding which allowed the leaves to be free rather than a dark binding which would frame them.

There was a bit of 'accidental perfection' with the last mitered corner.

Thank you so much to my bee mates Helen, Hadley, Susan, Katy, Ange, Di, Dianne, Val, Cindy, Jennifer and Trina for the beautiful blocks they made.

Now I have my small bit of fall - Marrakech style!

We're now in the third round of Stitch Tease and it was my month again in September. The blocks have started to arrive and they are amazing. I may have caused my bee mates some pain in making them for which I'm sorry - I'll show you them another day and the colour palette may surprise you!

For now I shall link up with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.

Fresh Sewing Day

Monday, 29 September 2014

Been Around the World...

...and I, I, I...

So it's my turn on the Around the World blog hop. Thank you to the lovely Sarah at Sew Me who nominated me to answer a few questions.

What am I working on? 

I usually have a combination of machine and hand quilting projects on the go at any one time (most of which take quite a while to complete) with there always being one main project.

I've just finished quilting my low volume scrappy Modern Maples quilt and the binding is on so a finish is on the horizon! This quilt was assembled from blocks made by my talented Stitch Tease bee mates.

Low Volume Scrappy Modern Maples
How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Oh it doesn't really differ at all. I'm not a trail blazer - I leave that to others, but I do believe my makes reflect my surroundings in that they usually consist of very warm and saturated colours. Shy and retiring they are not. I do wonder whether if I lived in say Stockholm, my quilts would be made from pale blues,greens and neutrals. I'd like to think so.

Field Study Triangle quilt
Scrappy Trip around the World

Anna Maria Horner Drawing Room Plus quilt

Why do I write/create what I do?
I rediscovered sewing a few years ago after my mum sent me a layer cake, a ruler and a rotary cutter  -  having not done any sewing since I was a teenager when I used to make my own clothes. Like many,quilting was love at first stitch. I love the fact that you create something that is beautiful, practical and well just makes you happy.

Chicopee cushion
My blog posts usually deal with sewing and not so much my daily life although sometimes a picture of my handsome boy sneaks in..

...and the odd photo of me in my local surroundings.

How does my writing/creating process work?

It's seldom planned and a little haphazard. Because I order everything online or bring it back from the UK, I have to use what I have or wait a few weeks. I tend to just come up with an idea and cut 5 minutes later. There's no sketching, no auditioning of fabrics - it's just grab what I have enough of, often or not and get making!

So thanks for reading along. I'm going to throw this out there to anyone who hasn't yet participated in this blog hop and wants to play - answer the questions and post next Monday October 6!

Thursday, 18 September 2014



Amy Butler Cameo Giant Star quilt

...that's how things have been around here.

Can you hear the geckos chirping?

In between lie-ins and siestas and when temperatures have allowed, there's been kantha style quilting

I hand quilted the first two quilts I made, but had no idea about perle cotton back then and the beautiful texture this dense quilting makes.

There's also been some EPP and needlepoint - which is stitching by numbers...or colours, so uber relaxing.

But enough already, there is a conga line of quilt tops accumulating.

At the top of the line is my beautiful Modern Maples quilt made by my amazingly talented bee mates in Stitch Tease - basted and ready to be quilted.

Behind that and waiting for some backing fabric is my Beechwood Park and Low Volume Churndash quilt top made by another set of talented ladies in the Sew Euro Bee An bee.

...and there's at least a couple more tops and 2 sets of bee blocks waiting to be assembled.

Our summer hols were spent in England. If I hadn't lent my camera memory card to my mum and then forgotten my phone in England I would share more but here's a micro taste of our lovely lovely time.

So call me the comeback kid but consider this blog back. I'm reading and commenting again and yes, there might be a finish very soon (which in this corner of the blogosphere is within the next month...)

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

WiP Wednesday

After making some progress on my orange, aqua and grey Hexy MF quilt (see below), I thought that I was completely justified in starting another EPP project.  Well it is getting warmer and there isn't an 'r' in the month, although we are enjoying a beautiful early summer with completely tolerable temperatures...if only that would last.

So here are my scrappy Tanuki blocks made from 2" squares and 2" diamonds. The idea comes from Jessica Alexandrakis'  fab book Quilting on the Go! The blocks will be made in to a panel approximately 18" wide (about the width above) and then pieced with neutral strips of fabric on either side.

I've also made some more progress with my orange, aqua and grey hexies.  It feels so good to be getting on with this project and with perhaps the end in sight.  All your cheerleading here and on IG have really helped me get on.

This quilt was part of Katy's Hexy MF QAL a couple of years ago. I tracked down the posts which you can find on the Fat Quarterly blog.

I made my own bias binding for the stalks and it was a little tricky to appliqué exactly where I wanted it.  The flowers and buds were also machine appliqued, using some leftover blocks from the main panel. So just the leaves now. These are proving slightly troublesome as you have to tuck the twiddly bit at both ends behind the leaf. I've tried both freezer paper leaves and EPP diamonds and I think I'm going to stick with the diamonds. These pictures show some of the leaves - I have a few more to make to balance up the border.

So almost one end finished and then the other end to do.

What are you working on this week?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Window to the Soul - A Quilt for Juliette

Back in 2011, I made my Marrakech Rose quilt and soon after it went to live in Paris with my friend Margot's young daughter.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when Margot contacted me to see whether I would make a quilt for her other daughter, Juliette - aged 13 1/2. Juliette had seen a free Amy Butler pattern and wanted it in exactly the same fabrics - her Organic Soul collection.

As this was an old line, it took a while to track down all the fabrics.  Many were on sale at Hawthorne Threads (score!) but it took a couple of Etsy sellers to finalise things - and the centre fabric was ridiciulously difficult to find.

While it wasted quite a bit of fabric, I love the fussy cut centre and first border.

The top took no time to whip up before I straight line quilted it in vertical 1" lines. That took a bit longer...

I took these shots before rushing to the courier - I wasn't trusting this baby to the Moroccan postal system!
The bright sun doesn't do these fabrics justice, as well as the shadow from the railing!

I really love this quilt - it was quite difficult to part with but knowing that it lives with its warmer sister in Paris makes me happy. As does knowing this is my third finish of 2014.

Quit Stats
Pattern: Amy Butler's free Window to the Soul pattern
Front fabric: Amy Butler's Organic Soul collection
Backing and Binding: Amy Butler's Organic Soul collection
Size: 68" x 72"
Batting: Dream Orient

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Yea! So happy to have made some progress on this UFO and to have finally appliqued my aqua, orange and grey hexy flower panel on to the grey Sketch backing fabric.

I machine appliqued the panel because sometimes you just have to get things done.

Now just to finish the border...

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced. which is being hosted this week by lovely Lucy!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Help Needed!

Okay, that was a bit of a's me that needs you.

This morning I basted my long forgotten Cameo Giant Star.  Don't even ask me when I made this quilt top but it's been languishing in a cupboard and today its number was called.

I pin basted it and then quickly decided that perhaps I should hand quilt it.  I make no bones of how I don't enjoy machine quilting and so I plan to hand quilt it using perle. I love seeing those colourful chunky stitches and I love hand quilting.

I'm not looking for help on technique but rather what colours you would suggest.  In the patterned sections, would you use a contrast thread or a similar tone? Would you quilt in straight lines across the quilt or in sections?

Whether you hand quilt or not, I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Fresh Sewing Day

It feels like I am slowly getting back in to the swing of blogging,blog reading and commenting. I've almost finished my first year as an EFL teacher and lesson planning is not occupying so much time, which means more sewing!

Okay so I'm not saying I became super productive or anything but:
  • I finished my AMH Hand Drawn Garden plus quilt
  • I made, yes made the Amy Butler Window to the Soul quilt in less than 2 weeks! (Full reveal soon)
  • I made progress on my Tula Pink Modern City Sampler blocks
  • I made a couple of blocks and received the last of my Stitch Tease Modern Maple blocks
  • my mum offered to paint a pile of my quilts
  • and most importantly, we celebrated Zaki's 6th birthday
Looking at this mosaic, it was a colourful month.

Linking up with Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day.

Lily's Quilts

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Getting My Tula On

My first designer crush was Tula Pink, and I'm still crushing.

I had to look back at my blog to see exactly when I started my Tula Pink City Sampler blocks and it was last October!

The last couple of days I've been making some progress. I've now completed 56 of the 100 modern sampler blocks. They are fun to make and quick - usually taking only minutes to complete.

The solids are either Kona or Oakshott. The patterned fabrics are all Tula Pink from various lines.

My favourite block still remains the first. Block No.1 The colours and fabrics are so pretty.

Having only a design floor, I laid out the blocks today on an old duvet cover.

After the last three quilt finishes having no negative space whatsoever, I know I want to sash these blocks. Perhaps Essex Linen in natural?

Anyway, I don't anticipate making the whole one hundred blocks.  For one, the quilt would simply be too big for me to quilt. So now I'm going to pick and choose the blocks I make and avoid some of those triangle blocks!

Friday, 23 May 2014

A Pile of Quilts

It's Friday woohoo! And I have another finish - double woohoo! I can't quite share it with you yet as it has to travel to its owner but see that pile of quilts up there...or down's the blue and green one fourth down. So I'll reveal all next week...hopefully.

If you've ever visited Morocco, you'll have seen piles of beautiful carpets piled mountain high in the souqs. A few days ago, my mum who is known to dabble in a little oil painting suggested she paint a pile of my quilts. Genius idea, so here they are. The second down is my gorgeous red pixel heart quilt from Nat and third down is an old Zara quilt - otherwise they're all my own work.

I'm sure my mum was probably thinking of a more exotic location than perched on a rustic stool in our even more rustic kitchen but unless you want to attract a crowd in double quick time, doing an exterior photo shoot is challenging!

So now I've mentioned it on my blog, no pressure mum!

In other news, Zaki turned six a couple of weeks ago. It scares me how quickly time goes but with each birthday we enjoy the new personality traits which emerge. When I look at these photos from last year and this I realize how he has grown.

We had a great day at an aqua park here..

..and someone experienced their first waterslide!

Have a great weekend.

Annabella x

Friday, 16 May 2014

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

I finished my Hand Drawn Garden Plus quilt a couple of weeks ago but have been saving its reveal for the Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side - one of my favourite online events which happens twice a year.

I am a huge fan of anything Anna Maria Horner and unlike many people I have no problem taking my rotary cutter to my favourite fabrics! So a few weeks ago, I decided to make a simple patchwork quilt from my FQs of her Hand Drawn Garden line.

But when I laid out the 5 1/2" squares it didn't look quite how I had seen it in my head. So I decided to try a plus block layout and liked it. I've made a plus quilt before and don't normally repeat blocks but I broke a personal rule and I'm glad I did.

The plus design isn't always immediately obvious due to the eclectic designs and colours in this line but I quite like that!

After finishing the main panel, I decided to add a border of low volume fabrics in varying sized squares and rectangles. Then I added a second border of 2.5" x 3.5" rectangles of Hand Drawn Garden.

I backed and bound it using fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's True Colors line - so pretty and they work perfectly together. The batting is my favourite -  Dream Orient (a mix of silk, bamboo and cotton), which is beautifully soft and has the perfect drape.

I quilted it in straight lines, vertically and horizontally echoing the squares. This is the largest quilt that I have made, measuring 75" x 85" and will be perfect for snuggling under in the cooler months.

Oh and it seems my hubby is finally becoming more comfortable with quilts these days.  Here's a shot of him walking us back to the car after bundling up the quilt in his arms.  Happy Days!

Quilt Stats
Quilt Size: 75" x 85"
Quilt design - Plus blocks using 5 1/2" squares
Fabrics for Quilt Top - Anna Maria Horner's Hand Drawn Garden and various low volume fabrics
Fabric for quilt back -  Medallion in Aquamarine from Anna Maria Horner's True Colors
Binding Fabric - Sealing Wax in Amethyst from Anna Maria Haorner's True Colors.
Batting: Oriental Dream

Thank you so much to Amy for hosting this fun event. Now to hop over there myself and get me some inspiration!