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

Foot²Freestyle 2015 Blocks for June


Hello everyone,

I can now update you all on the Foot²Freestyle block swap for June. I know it’s now safe to show these blocks as Esther has acknowledged receipt. Thankfully, our postal services managed to get them safely across the sea from the UK to the Netherlands. Esther chose the colour scheme but the block patterns and colour placement were up to me. That’s the “Freestyle” part of this block swap. Anyway, here are the blocks I made and sent for June.

First up is the jadeite block. I was very concerned about the fabric colours of this one as I wasn’t entirely sure what colour jadeite was. Thankfully, Esther’s photographs helped a lot.

CIMG4186 (w)

The grey patches were fussy cut. Did you notice that? I hope so because fussy cutting wastes a lot of fabric or makes a lot of scraps whichever way you want to look at it. I consider it making scraps and I don’t like scraps LOL.

Next up is the mustard storm at sea block. I really enjoyed making this block. There are lots of seams and layers of fabric but it was well worth the effort I think. There are more fussy cut pieces on this block too. Can you spot them?

CIMG4187 (w)

Finally, it’s the jadeite and coral block. I decided to have the coral bands across the corners to add a bit of interest, exactly six little daisies in each.  The careful placement of the centre fabric was essential here because of the stripes of daisies. It just wouldn’t have been right to have them off centre.

CIMG4188 (w)

Well, that’s the first month over with. It was quite scary for me. I’ve never taken part in a block swap before and wanted to make sure the colours were right and my workmanship was up to standard. I hadn’t appreciated how apprehensive I would be but it was worth it. I hope I met the grade.

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

I hope you are all enjoying crafting today!

Avis x

Foot²Freestyle: Time to play!

Hello everyone,

I have news……QUILTY news! That’s news of the very best kind in my opinion.

block swap logo

Today is the launch of a block swap I’m taking part in called Foot Square Freestyle. Twelve quilters from across the globe, including yours truly, will be busy making three, one foot square blocks for each of the other eleven ladies in the group. Our names were drawn out of a hat to see who would be receiving their blocks on each of the next twelve months. I’m Miss November :-) However, Miss June is Esther from The Netherlands. She will be receiving eleven scrumptious packages from all of the other swappers this month. She will make three more blocks of her own, making a total of 36 blocks. In fact, she can add as many as she wishes. She might even decide to do something completely different with her collection. Who knows? All will be revealed later :-) My blocks are ready to post so keep an eye on your letter box Esther!

Anyway, this isn’t just any old block swap. It has been expertly devised and organised by Kate and Sue from Australia. So, thanks to both ladies for getting this swap underway.

We were all asked to choose up to three colours for the blocks we wished to receive. Foot Square Freestyle is all about freedom and freestyle. We have all entered into the spirit of having fun with the blocks we give and receive. I chose to request bright blue and purple blocks and I am really excited to see how everyone interprets my brief. That’s all part of the fun isn’t it? Part of me can’t wait until the blocks I’ve made are received thousands of miles from here and another part of me is thinking “What if she doesn’t like them?” That’s quite scary for me. Well, I suppose they could always send them back because I LOVE THEM! LOL

Here is a photo of my favourite quilt that you may have seen here before. I finished it about three years ago.

Blue and purple quilt

These weren’t complicated blocks to sew. I think I made the entire quilt top in a few days and it’s a whopper. It’s the colours that make me love this quilt so much. That’s why I chose them for my swap blocks. I love solids and marbled fabrics most of all, so if my swaps have some of those it would make me very happy. I’ve got quite a long time to wait for my turn and I know my parcels will be held up in the Christmas post. That doesn’t stop me being excited already :-)

If you stop by now and again I’ll keep you up to date with our progress. Isn’t sewing fun?

I hope you have lots of quilty sunshine today where you live.

Avis x

Five Photos – Five Stories #5

Hi everyone,

This is the final part in a series of five. I was nominated by Connie at basildonkitchens to take part in the following challenge:

“Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge”.

Here is my 5th photo.


Isn’t he a beauty?

This is another holiday snap. After driving north across South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, we stopped at the side of the road to eat our picnic by the car. As we got out the sandwiches, cake, fruit and Thermos flask, we hadn’t noticed who had crept up on us. There he was looking straight at us as he grazed. Could he be the phantom picnic snatcher? I wouldn’t want to mess with those magnificent antlers! We retreated to the safety of the car just in case :-)

It’s now time for me to nominate another blog for this challenge. I’m nominating Doreen from Treadle Music. Doreen is an amazing free motion quilter. I hope she accepts the challenge. Her blog is well worth a visit anyway.

Avis x


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