F2F Parcels 1 and 2

Hi everyone,

Miss November here. Yes, it’s my turn to receive blocks this month for the block swap organised by Kate and Sue.

block swap logo

I had tried to put to the back of my mind, the fact that 33 patchwork blocks would be dropping through my letterbox from all over the world this month. Then a couple of days ago I received these three beauties from Lynn who lives in France. Aren’t they gorgeous?



IMG_20151120_102712309I was just coming back to Earth again and then these treasures arrived from Kate who lives in Australia. I can tell you I’m feeling incredibly spoiled :-)




I chose to be sent blocks in bright blues and purples (these blocks all look a bit more purple in real life), and I dropped many hints about the style of blocks and fabrics that I love, just in case the other participants were reading my blog. Lynn and Kate have done a wonderful job of fulfilling the brief. I’ve got all the blocks laid out on the table just so I can give them a little stroke now and again. They can be my fabric eye candy until the next set of three can join them. Whose blocks will be dropping in next I wonder, and where will they be from? I’ll share them here as soon as I get them.

This is so exciting!

Avis x

These are a few of my favourite things…

Hello everyone,

Are you singing the song from The Sound of Music?

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

I’m so excited because it’s November and that means it’s my turn to receive my little packages of quilt blocks made by all the other participants in the Foot²Freestyle block swap organised by Kate and Sue. I’ve chosen to receive blocks in bright blues and purples. Just in case my fellow swappers are still looking for inspiration, I’m showing a selection of some of my favourite things that I’ve made over the last couple of years in those colours.

I love traditional, symmetrical blocks, and although I like lots of different types of fabrics, my favourites are blenders, marbles, batiks and solids. This is probably my most favourite of all the quilts I’ve made. It’s huge and it’s bright. Click here to see the original post which has more photos.


Next up is a very simple tote bag which now has a large purple button for the fastening instead of a pin. I went through a bit of a bag making phase. Click here to see the original post.


Finally, a little bag which features some of my late Aunt Edith’s lace from her craft box. There’s a link to a really good tutorial that I used here. If you want to read my original post, click here.


I had thought about making my own three blocks a while ago but decided it might be better for me to wait until I’ve seen what the other ladies send me first. There are eleven other crafters taking part, so I’ll receive 33 blocks and then make 3 of my own.

I wonder whose blocks will drop on the doormat first. I promise to show them here as soon as they arrive. However, you may prefer to have a sneak preview. Kate and Sue’s blogs (links above) will be showing all the blocks that have been posted to me so far. I won’t be looking so please don’t tell me what you see. I’m waiting for the postie to call with my surprises :-)

This month, I’m going to try to get ahead and make the blocks for Miss December. I’m off to have a look around her blog to see what kind of blocks she likes best before I get started.

Happy crafting!

Avis x

Spring into Autumn

Good evening everyone,

I have been quilting! YIPPEE!

I love this Hi-De-Ho charm pack from Moda so much. It’s bright and cheerful and this quilt is making me happy every time I look at it. I added Moda Bella Solids in Amelia Lavender for the border, binding and cornerstones plus two five inch squares of each of Amelia Lavender, Sunshine (yellow) and Michael Miller’s Zillion Hearts (pink) to make up six more HST pairs.


The quilting is simple stippling, my favourite to do and also to look at.


These colours are great for wherever you are in the world. In the Southern Hemisphere you are stepping into Spring. Perfect! Here in the Northern Hemisphere we are just into Autumn. Although we’ve had a couple of lovely days of sunshine here, it does get a wee bit gloomy for my liking in Autumn. Finishing this quilt has brightened my autumnal day :-)

Avis x

Foot²Freestyle 2015 Blocks for September

Good evening everyone,

Here is my update on the F2F block swap organised by Kate.

September was the month when we all sent three blocks to Sue in the USA. She has acknowledged receipt of my blocks so it is OK to show you photos here now. Sue requested black and white with any hot colour. She gave me a sneak preview of the blocks she had made for herself so I tried to fit in with the style and colour combinations of those as best I could. Even though I wouldn’t have said blue is a hot colour, Sue had used it herself and I love blue so I thought it would be OK to use it in her blocks. I really enjoyed working with the black and white, something I have never done before.

First up is a pinwheel window. The pale blue fabric is actually white in real life. I couldn’t seem to get the camera to focus on this one.

Sue's block 3 Next is a sort of churn dash.

Sue's block 2This block is square in real life, I promise! Once again, the camera (or the photographer) is playing up.

Last but not least, the tangled star. This is a nightmare never, ever to be repeated. The angles are horrific. I like the result but the effort was far too great for the reward. So Sue, if you are reading this, you have my one and only tangled star ever. Enjoy it :-)

Sue's block 1 Sue emailed to say she is happy with the blocks so that makes me happy too. We are all sending blocks to Lynn in France this month. I’ll be making her blocks this week but first I’m off to find out what she likes by reading her blog now.

Avis x

Making something special…

Hi everyone,

Some of you may remember that my daughter was travelling in India a while ago and she brought lots of lovely fabrics home for me to play with. If you can’t remember what they look like, or you missed that post, click here.

I have finally got around to making a start with some of them. I can’t describe how much fun we both had opening up the box where I’d stored them all safely. It brought back many happy shopping memories for my daughter. She was almost daring me to cut into a silk sari and I very nearly did. Will I ever be able to do that? Of course I will! For now, I’ve chosen all the fabrics that had a green or teal colour and teamed them up with some of my solids.

The photos don’t do the fabrics justice. I’ve tried to take the photos on different days with different levels of light but the richness of colour simply doesn’t come through.


I think most of the cotton fabrics have been screen printed by hand but some are really special and sparkly :-) They have raised hand painted accents which have probably been done using wooden block stampers with a thick paint paste.


The good thing is that the paint can withstand pressing with a hot iron. I really do wish I could show you the true colours of these fabrics. These two photos were taken in the same room at the same time but the fabrics look so different when they are exactly the same grrr!

Anyway, you are probably wondering why I chose to make New York Beauty blocks. The answer is that I really enjoyed making some for my friend Annett over at Knettycraft recently and I just had to make some more. This time, they are only one quarter the size of the last ones I made. These will finish at 6 inches when sewn together. I don’t know what’s going on with me at the moment but I’m just loving working with small blocks.

I have plans for more sewing with the Indian fabrics but not yet. There are a few more urgent tasks to complete first and then I’ll get back to work on these. This is going to be a long term project and I’m in no hury. I have a plan in my head which is constantly evolving.

What’s the longest project that you’ve had in your imagination before it came to fruition?

Back to sewing….

Avis x

Foot²Freestyle 2015 Blocks for August

Good afternoon everyone,

I’ve just popped in to give an update on the F2F block swap organised by Kate.

August is the month we are all sending three blocks to Susan in the USA. She has already acknowledged receipt of my blocks so it is OK to show you photos here now. Susan requested red and white or blue and white or some of each. Her colour choice was right up my street.


Before I decided which patterns to make I crawled all over Susan’s blog, trying to get an idea of the type of blocks and fabrics she would like. I noticed that she makes a lot of lovely stars and mostly with small prints :-) So, it was an easy choice for me.


 I hadn’t made the “star in a star” block before these ones but I know I’m going to make a lot more. I wouldn’t say it was an easy block to make but there was a lot of Happy Dancing going on in my sewing room as I made them. When they fit together well, it’s magical :-)


From what I could gather, Susan has a very similar taste in blocks to me. I love symmetry and coordinating fabrics too. I also prefer solids, small prints, marbles or blenders. Susan wrote to tell me she likes them and that made me very happy too :-) I’m sure she’ll make something rather splendid when she receives all of her packages from the other swappers.

It’s time to get on with the blocks for Miss September now. I haven’t chosen which blocks yet but I’m going to be snooping around Sue’s blog for ideas very soon! 

Avis x

The Loyal Union Sampler Block 5/121

Good afternoon everyone,

What a gorgeous day it is today. We’ve got glorious sunshine, here beside the sea. Will today be our summer, I wonder? Actually, it is too hot for me at 21 degrees C, far too hot, but it didn’t stop me going for a walk along the cliff tops. The cool breeze was lovely.

The main reason I’m writing today is to share block 5 of my Loyal Union Sampler from the book by Jennifer Chiaverini. This one is called Antietam.

IMG_20150803_124241715It has been a while since I made the last block (four months) but I hadn’t forgotten about this sampler. It was always meant to be a long term project to pick up when I felt the need for a challenge. There are 29 pieces of fabric in this one which will finish at 6 inches square. I have added this block to the image of my finished quilt on the right of this page. There’s a long way to go but I’m in no hurry.

Avis x

Celebrating an unbirthday with a bit of nostalgia!

Good afternoon everyone,

I had a little surprise waiting for me when I came home last week. I’d been away for a while so what could be a better welcome than a little package all the way from my friend Claire who lives in France. I know little packages from France always contain nice things! I opened it first.

It was my unbirthday….Wow!

What a lovely surprise to find a pack of ten gorgeous fabrics, all slightly larger than 10 x 10 inches and all coordinating beautifully.


Plus a little fabric tray which Claire had made herself from charm squares. It now proudly sits on my bedside table :-) I love the fabric inside. These trays are such a clever idea.


And finally, a vintage design seaside postcard.


I remember spending ages reading these cheeky postcards outside candy floss kiosks when I was away on holiday at the seaside as a child. There was often a “double entendre” joke which seemed very naughty to me at that young age. Was it just the UK where those postcards were sold? I was never allowed to buy candy floss in case I got it all over my best clothes boohoo, but I did get candy rock with the name of the seaside location running all the way through it. We even went to see how it was made once and that was amazing! My favourite flavour was aniseed. I can taste and smell it now as well as the fish and chips with salt and loads of vinegar served in newspaper. Oh yes, and those triangular shaped bags of chips always collected the copious amounts of vinegar in the bottom and if you waited until you’d eaten all the chips, not to mention the scrumptious batter, you could make a tiny hole in the bottom of the bag and drink all the vinegar from it LOL. Those were the days :-)

Thank you so much for thinking of me Claire. I know you were exchanging secret emails with my daughter about this. She kept your secret safe :-) It really was a lovely surprise and it has rekindled some lovely old memories too.

Well, all that nostalgia sent me off on a tangent didn’t it? Back to the fabric.

After squaring up the fabrics to 10 x 10 inches, I cut them all into quarters so I had forty 5 x 5 inch squares to play with. Aren’t they lovely?


I’ve teamed them up with white and started to make some saw tooth stars with four patch centres. I plan to make a quilt which I reckon will be lovely for Springtime. So fresh and clean looking. Each block will be 6.5 inches when finished.


It was such fun to get a lovely surprise. I’d been missing my sewing machine and I couldn’t wait to get back at the pedal :-)

I hope you are getting time to craft this weekend.

Avis x

Foot²Freestyle 2015 Blocks for July


Good afternoon everyone,

Three posts in two days! I can’t tell you how good it feels to be caught up with the blog posting. Next, I need to do some good housekeeping (which can wait) and much more blog reading.

In the meantime, I can show you my blocks for Miss July in the block swap. Miss July is my lovely friend Annett from Germany and she has confirmed her blocks have arrived safely. She had chosen to receive blocks with fabrics in orange, turquoise, green and white. It’s really strange how much longer I take to decide on blocks I’m making for other people. For myself, I’m so much more decisive. Anyway, in the end, I decided to try some curved seams. I haven’t done those before. Why? Because they create scraps and you all know by now that I don’t like scraps. In the end, I decided that if they didn’t turn out well, I could always keep the blocks for myself and recycle the fabric for something else. I was initially thinking of Drunkard’s Path style blocks but then I saw New York Beauties and just had to try them.

Here’s the first one I made.

CIMG4191 (w)

I used the foundation paper pieced method and it worked a treat. I was already hooked on NYBs! I love solids and marbled prints and I wanted to let the NYB pattern do the talking. These blocks take forever to make. This one took more than a day because the technique was almost new to me. I enjoyed the process so much, I made a different one.

CIMG4199 (w)

This time adding some of what I had left of a small piece of gorgeous batik fabric that I bought years ago. I love batiks too :-) I probably would never have learned how to sew NYBs if it hadn’t been for this block swap and I know I will be making lots more of these for myself. The next one was a little bit more complicated, not more difficult, just requiring a bit more patience but I was sewing them quicker now.

CIMG4200 (w)

There were more bands and more points to match. This was all so exciting but it was at an end for now.

I laid the blocks out, putting them next to each other and rotating them. Then I thought, how silly it would be to give someone only three quarters of a circle. Besides, why did the fun have to stop at three? So I made another one LOL. This one is the spikiest of all!

CIMG4198 (w)

The block swapping idea is proving to be a lot of fun. I’m trying new techniques and blocks and if it doesn’t work out, no problem, I’ll keep the blocks for myself. So far, so good. I’m learning lots and that’s a good thing too :-)

If you want to see the blocks that other swappers have sent, visit Kate or Sue. They are posting a gallery of all of the blocks sent so far.

I hope you might want to try something new soon :-)

Avis x

It’s only taken two months!

Good evening,

I’m trying to catch up on some posts that should have been shared with you ages ago. This one could have been published two months back if I’d had some free time. Life gets in the way of blogging sometimes doesn’t it?

Anyway, a dear friend of mine had a birthday in May. She is the type of person who is always so incredibly busy, making and doing and caring for everyone else, that she rarely makes anything for herself. At times I think her brain is wired in a way which means she doesn’t even think about herself. She’s also been having a tidy up of her crafty goodies and passed some of them onto me. Well, it was about time she had a nice present and as it was her birthday as well, she was doubly deserving.

I’d made a storm at sea block for Esther as part of a recent block swap (see previous post) and decided to make a different part of that block as a cushion front for my friend. Here’s what it looks like.


I know I’m going to make a lot more of these blocks. They are so striking and I love all the spikey bits. It’s amazing how much enjoyment you can get from making one project, especially when it is for a gift. I kept the quilting very simple so as not to compete with the patchwork design, using variegated thread which has quite a bit of lustre, almost metallic.


You’ve probably guessed there was a lot of starting and stopping of the machine when quilting around each of the shapes. The quilting alone took a whole day to complete but I enjoyed every minute.


I decided to experiment and didn’t think it would work, but it did. I had planned to line the cover with the same white solid fabric but didn’t want the dark thread ends or the quilting to show on the inside. So I only quilted through the patchwork and the wadding/batting and then lined it. I was concerned the inside of the machine would clog with fluff  but it didn’t so the inside looks as good as the outside I think.

My friend had no idea what I was making for her. In fact, I thought she might have seen the beginnings of the patchwork when she came to play in my sewing room but I got away with it. Phew!

I promise it won’t be so long before I post again.

Avis x


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