Loyal Union Sampler Block 2/121

Hi everyone,

There hasn’t been much time to sew during the last few days but I did complete the second block of the Loyal Union Sampler from the book by Jennifer Chiaverini. This one is called Abigail’s Swing.

It was a real challenge for me. I haven’t sewn Y seams before and the tiny pieces were very fiddly to work with in the machine. Are Y seams easier to sew by hand I wonder? Anyway, it isn’t perfect but I’m happy with my first effort. I might re-do this one when my skills improve as I make other blocks.

The block is 6.5 inches square and will be 6 inches square when sewn into the quilt.

Abigail's Swing 

It’s time to make a cuppa and read some of your lovely blogs now :-)

Avis x

Loyal Union Sampler Block 1/121

Hello everyone,

I’ve finally sewn together the first block of the Loyal Union Sampler from the book by Jennifer Chiaverini. It’s called Abel’s Favorite.

I had some difficulty with the way the seams were pressed and decided there was no way I could think of to make it better than this. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

The block measures 6.5 inches square so it’ll be 6 inches square when sewn into the finished quilt.

Abel's Favorite

I hope you are all well and getting plenty of time to craft :-)

Avis x

The Loyal Union Sampler – A New Challenge

Good morning everyone,

It’s time to embark on a new project. My sister bought me this gorgeous book from my wish list for my birthday last month. I’m sure many of you will already have this book and some may have even started to make the quilt. Have any my readers finished this quilt?…..I wonder.

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I read through the short introduction and decided on my colour scheme (which may change). This quilt is made up of 121 traditional blocks using a mixture of techniques. I’m looking forward to trying them all.

The first block is called Abel’s Favorite (US spelling) and I’ve got all of the little units made up. I followed the instructions to the letter and pressed all seams in the suggested directions but there is still going to be some bulk around the beaks of the flying geese. Here they are waiting to be put together. I hope I can make a reasonable job of it.

CIMG4068The finished block will be 6 x 6 inches so some of these pieces are very small and fiddly but that’s all part of the challenge I suppose. Friends and family have already told me that I’m mad for embarking on this project. My sister had no idea I intended to make the whole quilt when she bought the book. However, this is going to challenge me on so many levels and at the moment I’m up for it.

Wish me luck. I’ll probably need it!

Avis x

A New Quilt Plus a Pinwheel Tutorial

Hello everyone,

I’m back to sewing at last! I haven’t even had time to read blogs never mind write any posts recently but I expect things to improve from now on. I’ll soon be popping over to see what you have all been up to in my absence.

I recently ordered new stock for the shop and couldn’t resist making a quilt from one of these Moda charm packs.

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I love the colours in this pack as they are nice and fresh for Springtime. Yes, it won’t be too long before spring is upon us in this part of the world. The daffodils are coming through nicely and the crocuses are just beginning to flower in the garden. I adore the huge purple ones.

Here is a picture of the contents of the charm pack:

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Here’s what I made with them.

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This is what it looks like close up. The white is actually more buttery creamy in real life.

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This is the back. I used Moda Bella Solids, again more creamy than white in real life. I LOVE Moda Bella Solids and no, they don’t pay me to advertise!

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Anyway, the quilt etc. is now for sale in my shop and you can find the charm pack here too. Any questions, just email me. The address is on the right hand side of this page. You can find my latest pinwheel tutorial here. All of my other tutorials are now on my web site too.

Thank you to everyone for sticking with my blog while I’ve been otherwise engaged with life’s challenges. Thanks also for your emails. It’s always lovely to hear from you.

I’m almost scared to say “I’m back!”. The next task on the to-do list is to draft a SAL update on my other blog ready for tomorrow. Is it really three weeks since the last update?

Happy weekend :-)

Avis x

Crafting Eye Candy!

Hello everyone,

It’s almost the weekend again. I was just having a little tidy up around the sewing room and I rediscovered my lovely Christmas crafting goodies so I simply had to share some photos of them with you. My family and friends know I love crafting gifts and they were so generous again this year.

In no particular order, first up is a pack of Bali Pops. This time they are in the Lorikeet colourway. I have no idea what I’ll be doing with them yet so they are sitting on my cutting table awaiting inspiration. You may remember that I made a large quilt top and a bag with the Brown Sugar Bali Pops my sister bought for my birthday last year and I still have some left. They really do go a long way! This pack is in lovely tropical colours.

CIMG3825 My dear friend Lin gave me these chocolates. What a fab sewing themed prezzie! The scissors are huge and white chocolate is my favourite :-) I’d actually given her a present including some craft embellishments in the form of buttons, cotton reels and scissors. So I couldn’t believe it when I opened my present from her.

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Also a knitting themed note pad. I love this cartoon.

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Lin has been raiding her stash again. She found these and decided she would never get around to using them. I definitely will! I’d never heard of waste fabric before (the one on the left) so I investigated and found out that it is for adding cross stitch designs to ordinary fabrics. You pin or tack it to the fabric, complete your cross stitch and then remove the waste fabric which is soluble. What a clever idea!

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The following fabrics were sent to me by blogging friend Claire from France. Aren’t those owls cute? These are Japanese fabrics and they are so fine. I can’t wait to use them and I’m looking for inspiration. Any ideas? Also, what is the name of the flowers in the centre fabric? I’d love to know.

CIMG3830Claire also sent a fabulous handmade Christmas decoration for my tree which I’ve now put away with the other decorations so you’ll have to wait until next Christmas to see that, sorry!

Next, my daughter has been travelling again and she is always keen to add to my fabric stash from wherever she goes which I very much appreciate :-)

She brought me these batiks in Bath, England. The one on the right has a sort of marbled design that you sometimes find on the inside covers of old books.

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There’s also some Christmas themed fabrics, all with sparkly metallic highlights…

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and a special surprise from Austria. Chickens!!!

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I have no idea why she thought of me when she saw the chicken fabric ;-)

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The chicken fabric is from Stoff Salon in Vienna, Austria. I’ve included the business card in the photo and if you go to the shop web site you will see that the lady in the shop really does look like this. I’ll certainly visit there myself if I ever go to Vienna.

Some of you may recognise the two log cabin chickens in the photo. The red one flew all the way to the North East of England from Stowe, Vermont, USA and it was the original inspiration for the Chicken Run. The green one came from Australia. It was made and sent to me by Carla over at Granny Maud’s Girl. Carla was the very first winner of the Chicken Run :-) She has an amazing blog with the most gorgeous patchwork you could ever imagine.

The latest leg of the Chicken Run, over at the amazing blog Knettycraft was won by Laura in Oregon from May Rose Sewing. She has now held her own giveaway and will be sending this little beauty to Theresa, the winner in Chicago :-)

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If you want to see all of the chickens so far, you’ll find the gallery here.

So, that was my crafty Christmas eye candy. I also received a selection of sewing machine feet and a large pack of spools. You can never have enough spools in my opinion.

My next plan of action is to delve into the box of Indian fabrics. I have finally decided what to make with some of them ;-)

Have a wonderful crafty weekend!

Avis x

Another Year Over!

Hi everyone, Happy New Year to you all!

Hasn’t the year flown by? I hope you found lots of time for crafting and that you now have several finished projects to show for it. I did a lot more hand stitching in 2014 than patchwork and quilting, not by choice, just that it was easier to pick up and put down hand sewing when I had spare time.

At the beginning of 2014 I launched the Chicken Run which is still going after a whole year! I have to thank you all for your support with that. There are now lots of handmade chickens all over the world. Also, a larger SAL group on my other blog has been formed for crafters wanting to finish a variety of projects. It started with only two of us, Claire and me, and now we are ten strong!

It’s been a very tough year for me in many respects and crafting has kept me motivated. There have been several occasions when I have been sent to the sewing room by my OH because he had decided it was time I had a break LOL. He was always right. It did me good to have a sewing break now and again.

Thanks to all of you who have liked, commented, emailed and read my posts last year. It’s always lovely to hear from you and even if you don’t comment, I know you are visiting the blogs.

Here are some photos of my completed projects from 2014. If you want to read the original posts click here and then click on the photo of the project you want to read about.

2014 Finishes collage

Here’s to a wonderful crafty New Year for all of us!

Avis x

Third birthday in December!

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate it) and you are now ready for the New Year.

The title of this post is ambiguous. Does someone in my family have a third birthday? Or do we have three birthdays in December? The answer to both questions is yes. My Dad, sister and great niece all have birthdays this month and my great niece will also be three years old. She’s growing up so fast!

I sent an email to my nephew to find out whether she had a Santa list and, if so, what was on it. One thing she was hoping Santa would bring was a cot for her dolls. I did a bit of searching on-line and found several. After reading the reviews I decided to go for this one from John Lewis. I’m not being paid for advertising here. I’m just really happy with the quality of the cot. It came with its own pink bedding consisting of a thin mattress, a pillow and cover, as in the first photo below.

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As her birthday is also in December so I decided to make a patchwork quilt to match the cot as a birthday gift. My sister was concerned that I was burning the midnight oil (what’s new?) but I had to come clean. The real reason I chose to buy a cot from the list was so that I would have an excuse to sew LOL. I definitely don’t like dolls as you learned in my previous post.

Here’s the quilt I made, complete with 1960’s lace trim from my late Aunt Edith’s sewing box. Is that 4 generations? It’s a simple design with girly pink floral fabrics to match the cot.

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The reverse is crisp white with a gingham ribbon trim.

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There’s pillows to match.

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They look pretty together. Mix and match…

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Next, the five star hotel look…

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Or florabunda shabby chic Smile

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Anyway, I had so much fun making them and I hope she enjoys playing with them for a long time.

Happy New Year!

Avis x

A Birthday Bag!

Hi Everyone,

I can finally show you what I’ve been up to lately. It was my sister’s birthday recently and she had mentioned ages ago that she was looking for a new knitting bag. So I just had to make one and hope that she didn’t buy one in the meantime. I did consider giving her one of these three bags that I’d made earlier but decided that she had already seen them and that a knitting bag should be bigger than these.

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2a

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Then the scraps of a Bali Pops jelly roll were calling to me. My sister had actually bought the Bali Pops for me (for my birthday) and I’d already made a quilt top from them. There was still plenty left and I had some lovely matching solid fabrics to go with them. Maybe, she wouldn’t like the idea of me using a present from her to make something to give back…hmm. I decided I was only using the scraps and that way she would be getting fabrics that I knew she would love otherwise she would never have bought them for me in the first place Smile. I searched the internet for a bag pattern that was just right. However, I wasted a lot of time. I just couldn’t find anything the right size with all of the pockets that I wanted etc. After several days of thinking, sketching, measuring and head scratching I came up with this.

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There are three pockets behind the batik fabrics panel on each of the front and back. The middle pockets are the perfect size for knitting patterns or books. The base is flat and large enough for the knitting to lie down, even if it is on large chunky needles and there’s plenty of room inside for all of the yarn for a whole project.

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I used straight line quilting so as not to compete with the gorgeous fabrics. The quilting continues on the wrap-around base.

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There are two lined patch pockets inside. One is big enough to take large scissors and the other is for buttons etc.

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Plus I added a loop at each side to thread the yarn through.

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Once I’d decided how I wanted the bag to look and how to put it together, the sewing part was easy. The bulk of the work was in the design process. I’ll definitely make more bags like this one.

My sister really liked it which was good news too. That makes me very happy Smile.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Avis x

Giveaway/Swap Alert and Something Silly

Hello everyone,

I’m here to promote the latest chicken giveaway swap. Yes, it’s still going after almost a whole year. I can’t quite believe how wonderful everyone has been for continuing the Chicken Run. Thank you so much for supporting us so far and let’s keep it going for another year. If you want to see all the chickens that have been flying around the world so far, just go to the Chicken Run Gallery above.

Annett who lives in Germany has a fantastic blog over at Knettycraft and she is hosting the next giveaway swap. You can pop over to her blog to read all about her wonderful chickens but here is a sneaky peek.

knettycraft chickens

From the far left there is a chenille chicken (this has to be a first), then a log cabin version followed by the hexy patches one and finally a caramel one. Annett has really tried to make all kinds of chickens to share with you. She just couldn’t stop making chickens! I love her blog and all of her other crafty ideas too.

If you’d like to win one of Annett’s gorgeous brood, all you need to do is follow the instructions in her post here. You will need to agree to make your own chicken to giveaway to someone else around the world after you have received your prize chicken from Annett. Just a few fabric scraps is all it takes to make a chicken. Go on, make someone smile!

You have until the end of 30th November to enter so hurry up and visit Knettycraft Smile.

Now, I’m not going to bore you all with what I’ve been up to since I last posted. You really wouldn’t want to know and it hasn’t been that pleasant Sad smile. However, I did venture into the sewing room a few days ago and you wouldn’t believe how productive I was.

First, I machine embroidered the edge of a crisp white bed sheet using the most gorgeous quilting thread that has a beautiful sheen. Isn’t that pretty?

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Then I made pillow cases to match.

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 Then I started a duvet cover which morphed into a quilt.

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And what is a bed linen set without scatter cushions?

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Have you guessed yet? Have I been rumbled?

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Ha-ha! These are all 1/12 life size and would fit a double bed in a doll’s house. Do I like doll’s houses? No! Do I like dolls? Not at all! Why did I make these tinies? Why not? LOL

Maybe I’ve lost my marbles Open-mouthed smile.

I hope you didn’t mind me playing games with you there. Were you duped?

Avis x

It’s time to make Christmas Decorations

Good evening everyone,

You may remember that I started making Christmas decorations early last year.

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I’ve finally got around to putting a photo tutorial together for this one. All you need is two small pieces of fabric, a button, ribbon, thread and a needle. I made mine on the Green Mean Sewing Machine but you could make some by hand if you wish.

Cut one circle of about eight inches diameter from each of two contrasting fabrics. I drew around a pan lid but you could use a small plate etc.

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 Pin right sides together.

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Sew a quarter inch seam around the edge, leaving about two inches open for turning.

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Turn inside out and smooth the edges with a pen or other blunt instrument.

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My opening is at the top of this photo.

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Turn the raw edges of the opening to the inside and hand sew to close it. Then top stitch one quarter of an inch all the way around the edge.

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 Fold in half.

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Fold in half again. Finger press the folds at the very edges of the circle. You will need the positions of the folds for the next steps.

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Sew through the fold positions from front to back close to the edge.

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Sew through a couple of times to secure it. Don’t break the thread.

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Re-fold, if necessary, to find the next stitch point.

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Now sew through the right fold from front to back.

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Pull the thread until the right hand side meets the previous stitches. Secure with a couple of stitches. Don’t break the thread.

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Now sew through the left fold from front to back.

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Pull the thread so it comes together like this.

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Secure with a couple of stitches. Don’t break the thread. Flatten the back to make a square with the four petals standing up.

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Open out one of the petals.

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 Turn it to the back.

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Tidy it up. Repeat with the other three petals.

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You’re almost there…

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Sew a button to the centre and add some pretty ribbon to the top for hanging then you are done.

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Off you go and make a few for your Christmas trees now. Has anyone been Christmas shopping yet?

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial Smile

Avis x

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