Archive for November, 2010

Xmas Fair

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment


Lovely to see lots of familiar faces at the pre-school fair yesterday – Charlie and Jamie enjoyed being back at Amber I think, especially Jamie who recently declared that it was better than school!!! Hopefully the fair raised a good sum for pre-school funds – Pintucks and Patches made its first appearance and, although we weren’t uber-successful, it was a good learning experience and hopefully the new owners of my little tote bags will be pleased with them!


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Florie’s Quilt

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Wow, where have the last few weeks gone? And here I was thinking that I’d be able to start posting regularly, ha!

Well, I’ve been sewing madly to get some more stock together for the Amber Pre-School Christmas Fair (28/11, 2-4pm if you’re in the area!). All of the quilts I’ve posted on here will be making an appearance, along with some smaller bits and pieces – hope to have some pictures of those to post at the weekend, but today I’m really happy to have some lovely pictures of a quilt I made for baby Florie when she was born back in June. I took some pictures of the quilt before it went to its new home but they didn’t turn out very well 😦 – this is much better – and how cute does Florie look!!

I did a label for Florie’s quilt too, which I was really pleased with – I don’t normally put much on the back of my quilts, but I wanted to make this a nice ‘welcome’ gift and I was happy with how it turned out. I used to do a lot of cross stitch in my pre-quilting days, so it seemed a good way to make sure all the letters were even and straight – oh, and readable, of course!

It’s lovely to know that this is getting lots of use as a playmat when Florie and mum are out and about and grandma seems to like it too –   

“Speaking of mats – that’s a fantastic one she’s lying on – looks real cool.”

Diane, Hampshire

Thanks to Sam for the pictures and quote and to baby Florie for – well – just being Florie 🙂 xxx

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Coins in blue

November 6, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been wanting to make a boy’s quilt for a while as most of the quilts I’ve made so far have a bit of a girly feel to them – I guess the hourglass one could be for boys or girls, but most are definitely girls quilts.

I picked up some cars and bikes fabric in Ikea ages ago and had a few ideas for turning it into quilts but when I saw a great pattern for a coins quilt at Cluck Cluck Sew I really wanted to try it out with this fabric. You’ll find the pattern for it in the tutorials on the rhs.

The top for this came together really easily – basically it’s just lots of rectangles in colourful fabric scraps and white, alternated over 4 columns. I think I cut the pieces out while we were watching the chilean miners being rescued and had it all assembled the next day! It was almost the right size for a piece of batting I had left over from another quilt (about 37 inches square), but there were a couple of inches spare around the edges, so I cut a border out of some striped fabric (also Ikea) and added it around the pieced top – I’d already used some of this fabric for the rectangles and I was really pleased when I added it to the edges, it just seems to finish it off really well.

I used a piece of the cars fabric (which again appears in some of the rectangles)  for the backing and started quilting – I really thought I’d have it finished in a couple of days but quilting it was a real nightmare! First I did straight lines down the seams of the vertical columns – that was easy enough, but when I started to do the horizontal lines, along the bottom of the rectangles I ran into real problems – the quilt snowdrifts began piling up at the edges of the rectangles, pulling them out of shape, so I was a bit unhappy with that. Then I decided to try quilting straight lines in the white border and ended up with it well out of shape – I have to say it drove me nuts for a few days!

This picture shows the second attempt at quilting the border – to start with I did 5 straight lines along each edge, but the quilt ended up so out of shape I had to pull all of it back out again. The second time, I tried doing broader lines, but that was almost as bad – it just all ruffled up and looked very messy. So I pulled that out as well. Then I looked at the horizontal lines along the rectangles and – yes – those came out too.

So, after about a week we weren’t much further on and I really wasn’t sure what to do to finish it, which was a shame becuase I really loved the colours of it! Eventually I decided to do a loopy pattern in the border and – joy of joys –  the quilt stayed flat, so no snowdrifts and no wonky lines – hurrah!


I think you can see the loops in the border here. I also added hand stitched horizontal lines across the rectangles in  blue and orange embroidery thread (in place of the white machined ones that I pulled out) and I am so chuffed by how much better this looks. I love blue and orange together and I really thinks this helps to pull the quilt together. I love hand quilting too – it takes a while, especially on a big project – but it’s great to do while you’re watching the tv and – extra bonus – it keeps your knees warm while you’re sewing 🙂


The border is a plain blue cotton which I think really complements the other colours. All in all, I think this is my favourite quilt at the moment – hope I can find a happy home for it 🙂

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Bloggers quilt festival

November 5, 2010 2 comments

One of the sites I’ve found myself lurking at over the last couple of months is ‘Amy’s Creative Side’ and Amy very kindly hosts a bloggers quilt festival in the Spring and Autumn – I wasn’t sure I would have this quilt finished in time to enter, but I think we’re just about there! So, here’s my entry – I’m not sure what to call it – hourglasses in yellow and blue (and brown and a bit of white?) maybe?? Seems a bit of a mouthful – just ‘hourglasses’, then 🙂

I’m really pleased with this quilt for lots of reasons – I love the colours together (not everyone’s choice I know, but I really like them), the hourglasses went together brililantly so that you can see the points of the triangles (yay, think we got this working now !), it is the first quilt where I was able to do straight line stitching across the seams (in a Rita-from-Red-Pepper-Quilts stylee) without making a quilt snowdrift ahead of my needle (woo-hoo!) and – wait for it – I put on one continuous binding (rather than one piece on each side) which folded beautifully at the corners! Hurray, so chuffed!!

One slilght problem – the first time I quilted it, I didn’t check that the back was on straight so when I sat down to sew the binding on I realised my quilt had about 1 inch too much backing on one side and 1 inch too little on the other – and the pieced bit I’d put on the backing was all wonky 😦 I think I got so carried away that with the straight line stitching working that everything else went out the window – so, anyway, it took me most of last Saturday to unpick all that quilting and then I had to re-baste it and sew it all again – a good lesson for me to check, and double check, that everything is straight next time, before I start!   


I’ve mentioned Red Pepper Quilts a couple of times now, and I’d just like to say that it is a great blog to follow if you’re interested in quilting, she makes such beautiful things – and also to say thanks, Rita, for the brilliant tips on basting and quilting on your blog – they helped me a lot. When I did this quilt, I used the Matilda’s Own batting (which is lurvly) but I also invested in some heavier (is that the right word? Stronger?) needles for my machine (90/14 instead of 80/12) and some stronger / thicker thread (YLI quilting thread, which feels great!) – I really think those things have helped me improve and it is sooooooooo satisfying! Well, it is providing you put the back in the right place of course and don’t have to take it all to pieces again – arrrrrrrrrrrgh!

Make sure you go and check out the quilts at the Bloggers Quilt Festival too – they’re stunning! Thanks Amy for organising it all – it’s an impressive feat.

 Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

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Some Doll’s quilts

November 4, 2010 1 comment

I started these little quilts a few weeks ago to have a go at some traditional blocks and practice my piecing – lots of half square triangles to try and get in the right place so that the seams join up properly! I think it’s helped improve my technique, plus they’ve used up some scraps of fabric and batting. They’re also a good size for a doll’s quilt – I’ve promised Charlie that when I make her a new quilt (which will be soon, I hope!) I’ll make one for dolly to match :o)  

This is where I started, lots of half square triangles in white and a variety of lilac shades – some of this is material left from Charlie’s first quilt (still loving that Kaffe Fasset print!). The bit of orange paper is a layout of all the nine-patch blocks that would suit a doll’s quilt – don’t think this one has a name, just half square triangles, or HST for short (not to be confused with HRT or PMT!!) …  

Once they were all sewn together in pairs, each one had to be flattened out and pressed – I’m never sure how to press the seam though – the traditional method is to press it to one side, preferably towards the dark fabric so that the seam doesn’t show through the white – or lighter – fabric. That always seems to end up being quite bulky, especially when you are sewing lots of pieces together, so I’ve taken to pressing the seam open – it’s working better for me at the moment, anyway.  

I like this photo, it made me think of pirates – lots of little white faced pirates with hats on – an idea for a future project maybe ?Wonder if I could make a Johnny Depp / Captain Sparrow one ???  Finally – after lots of arranging and re-arranging – all the ‘squares’ are sewn together in rows to make a nine-patch block. Hurray – now comes the fun bit! 


As there were so many straight lines in this little quilt, I decided I wanted a circular quilting pattern – I thought about spirals and loops but eventually settled on a little sun design which I actually found amongst the shapes available to insert into documents in Word – a bit like clip art. I popped it onto a piece of paper and made it the size I wanted, then printed if off and traced it onto some tracing paper – I guess the sensible thing to do next would have been to make myself a proper stencil, but I was in too much of a rush, so I used the tracing paper and my trusty fabric marker to trace the pattern on to each of the nine patches of the block.  

Once I’d cut a piece of fabric and batting to make a little quilt sandwich, I hand quilted each of the little suns and then finished the quilt off by binding by folding over the extra backing fabric and securing it with a running stitch. I have done this with all the quilts I’ve made up until this summer when I finally got the confidence to add a separate binding – I tried that on the other 2 doll quilts, as you’ll see and it’s actually much easier than I thought. I think I prefer it now that I’m getting the hang of it! 

The finished article.


Here are the other 2 doll’s quilts I’ve made so far. The green one is a traditional star block – I think it’s called ‘variable star’ (catchy little name!) and the red one is ‘churn dash’ (equally catchy!) They also have little co-ordinated blankets to go with them.


All of the doll’s quilts shown here are for sale, so if you’d like to treat a little girl for Christmas with something unique and handmade with love, please drop me a line  :o))  – lots of other colours and fabrics in my stash just waiting for the right project !

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First Quilt…

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

This is the first quilt I ever made, when Charlie was about 2 and just moving into a ‘big’ bed – well, it was still only a junior bed, but big for her! I couldn’t find much in that size that I realy liked – and anything I did find was a bit too expensive, so I decided to make a quilt for her myself  

Her room was a willow green colour, so I decided to mix it with a lilac / lavender, as I’d found some lovely Kaffe Fasset fabric – can’t remember if it’s roman glass, or pebbles, but I love the pattern. The quilt isn’t too complicated but then I didn’t have a sewing machine at the time, so I didn’t want to make the pieces too small! I think it took about 6 weeks to make – a simple design, but I still love it.

I quilted straight lines across the body of the quilt, using masking tape as a guide (think I must have read about that somewhere) and then a kind of a zig zag in the border. It was a lot of fun to do, but it took a while – thank goodness I’ve now got a sewing machine :o)

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