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

The Loyal Union Sampler Block 3/121

Hi everyone,

You may recall from a previous post that I had sewn the second block of The Loyal Union Sampler from the book by Jennifer Chiaverini. I wasn’t entirely happy with how my Y-seams turned out. A couple of readers suggested that hand sewing Y-seams might give a better finish than machine sewing. I had initially used the templates provided in the book to sew the units and decided this time, not only to sew the Y-seams by hand, but also to make my own foundation paper templates for the block units. Anyway, I hope you agree that my latest version of Abigail’s Swing has improved. It isn’t perfect, just improved. I’m definitely learning new skills along the way and that has to be good!

CIMG4175The third block is also finished. This one is called A House Divided. It was so much easier to sew than Abigail’s Swing.

A House Divided (2)

I’ve also got the fourth block finished which I’ll share with you later. If you’d like a sneak preview, take a look at my sidebar to the right. You should see the Loyal Union Sampler, building as I finish the blocks. This is so much fun! I could get addicted to making these tinies.

I’m quite enjoying foundation paper piecing lately 🙂 In fact, I’m loving it so much that my next gift is made using that method. I can’t show you the full project yet because the intended recipient sometimes reads my ramblings. Here are a couple of photos of my progress. I’ll share the final photos in a future post. I hope you like it.

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This one shows the quilting.

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There’s a few more small projects on my to-do list at the moment. I’d better get a move on. I hope you are all getting plenty of time to sew this weekend. I’ve had a lot of fun 🙂

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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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

Wibbly wobbly…

Good afternoon everyone,

Does anyone else remember the song we used to sing while playing “two baller” against any available high wall when we were kids?

It went like this……

Jelly on a plate, jelly on a plate, wibbly wobbly wibbly wobbly, jelly on a plate.

Next verse….

Fly on the wall, fly on the wall, knock it off, knock it off, fly on the wall.

Do you know any more verses? There were lots. I bet you knew loads of other two baller or playground songs too.

OK that’s the nostalgia over for today. I have a problem which I suspect cannot be solved. However, if you can help me solve it, I’ll be over the moon! Here goes.

Look at the state of these cutting mats.

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My new mats are on the bottom, centimetres on one side and inches on the other Smile but I love my old mats. They’ve gone all wibbly wobbly Sad smile. Now, I can hear you all telling me off for doing the unthinkable and I know it’s all my fault that they’ve ended up like this. Have I made your blood pressure rise? The time has come to replace them anyway because they aren’t repairing themselves as they used to but I’d still like to make use of them on my sewing table next to, or even under, my mean green sewing machine. Any suggestions on how to get them flat again will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

I’m still working on the batik blocks with partial seams from the previous post and they are looking lush. I’ve got 18 finished and I need 35. Then I’ll decide whether to include sashing. No need to rush decisions is there?

Finally, just a quick mention to all my lovely new readers from around the world. Welcome aboard! If you haven’t already found me on Facebook and Instagram, see if you can find me over there. You’ll get more sneaky peeks of up and coming projects and I’d love to see what you are up to as well. I bet you can guess my name 😉  I love to read your comments and emails so keep them coming. Isn’t blogging fun?

Avis x

A finish and a new project

Good morning lovely crafters!

The sun is shining and it’s blowing a bit of a bluster outside today. What a perfect day to do some patchwork. Yesterday, while I was working (playing) in my sewing room, the rain was bouncing off the windows. I love listening to rain. I went to my table by the window to cut more fabric as the sun made its appearance and, as I looked across to the sea, there was the biggest, brightest rainbow I have ever seen. I stood for what seemed like forever, staring at it and trying to find both ends, wondering where the pot of gold would be and then I came to my senses and went to get the camera. Typical! Flat batteries! Oh well, I’ll have to be content with the lovely memory but I’m quite sad not to be able to share it with you today. Hopefully, you can all remember being mesmerised by a rainbow wherever you are in the world. Aren’t they magical?

So, what have I been up to? I could share such a long list with you but I’ll stick to the crafting. You might remember a few weeks ago that I showed this photo of some fabrics waiting for a project.

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Well, I eventually decided to make some modern blocks and actually got the quilt finished much quicker than the time it took me to decide what to do. That often happens with me. I rarely use a bought pattern, preferring to do my own sketches and maths. Then, away I go to hide in the sewing room with my green mean sewing machine.

I came up with a simple design with clean lines, just what this fabric needed I think. I’m in love with these prints, so subtle and calming, most unlike me Smile.

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I reserved some of my favourite print from this bundle for the binding and decided on a crisp white backing. The quilting reflects my coastal location Smile.

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I found making this quilt very therapeutic. I have no idea why. Anyway, it’ll soon be for sale in my shop and will hopefully make someone else feel good too Smile.

What else have I been up to? Well, most of you will already know that I love to sew in all sorts of ways. My cross stitch on my other blog is coming along very nicely. It’s now time for me to think what I want to hand sew next as the current SAL project is almost complete. There are so many ideas and much inspiration out there, especially on all of your lovely blogs, that it makes it so much harder to decide. I just want to do everything!

Next up, I have news to report on the Bali Pops that my lovely sister bought for me. They have worked their way to the top of the fabric pile and now must be made into something beautiful. I love these colours Smile.

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I’ve spent several days, spinning ideas around in my head and sketching design ideas. I eventually decided that these fabrics would look fabulous with solid black. Yes black! I was thinking stained glass, wrought iron….yes, black would work great with this block.

Then my other half pulled a face! He had planted the seed of dilemma. Usually, he says things like “Don’t ask me, you know best when it comes to colours.” or “You decide, I’ll like whatever you choose to make” but this time I got a pulled face. Do your friends and family generally leave the decisions up to you? Do you ask for an opinion about fabrics and designs?

Anyway, I changed my mind and decided on teaming them up with my beloved Moda Bella Solids white. However, next time…. Winking smile

I was really pleased with how the block turned out on paper but then wrestled with how to put it together. It’s all very well, liking what you see on a sketch but transferring it into an actual, physical collection of patches of fabric is another matter as you know. I knew what I wanted to do but there were going to be too many seams for my liking. Partial seams were the answer. I hadn’t done those before but I know several patchworkers who hand stitch and they know all about partial seams. In fact, I’d say they are experts! You can see their wonderful work here, here and here.

Anyway, here are some of the blocks I’ve sewn so far.

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The partial seams were nowhere near as difficult to do as I’d built them up to be in my own head. Minimising the number of seams has been well worth the effort for the finished effect. It’s nice to be challenged now and again and it feels so good to have worked things out for yourself doesn’t it? What’s your latest challenge/achievement, crafting or otherwise?

Today, I’m going for a walk along the cliffs and then, when all of the cobwebs have been blown from between my ears, I might treat myself to sewing together a few more of these batik blocks.

Whatever you choose to do today, enjoy! I’ll be catching up with you all very soon Smile.

Avis x

Funky chickens and a sneaky peek!

Good morning everyone,

Just popping in this morning with two announcements. Firstly, I’ve been buying more fabric in greys, lemon and olive green. They are most unlike me! I usually go for bright designs but it’s nice to have a change sometimes.

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I can feel something modern coming on Smile. In fact, I’ve already started making something but you’ll have to wait a while to see what it is. I know, it’s a bit of a tease!

Secondly, I’d like to introduce Anne in Texas. She’s new to blogging and she won the last Chicken Run. This is just a couple of the chickens she has made for you to choose from if you win the giveaway/swap. There’s a really funky one that would be my first choice but you’ll have to go and look for yourself to see it. Details are on her latest post at Peacock Hill. So, please hop over to support her blog soon!

Anne from Texas

That’s it for now. Many jobs to be done here, so no sewing today Sad smile.

Have fun,

Avis x

Is it a mug rug?

Good morning everyone!

What a glorious sunny day it is here in the North East of England. I hope you are all well and that crafting is keeping you happy. For me, it’s just been work, work, work these last couple of months so I’m very pleased to be back here with my crafty friends at last.

I finally had a day off yesterday and decided to finish a little project that I’d started weeks ago. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I don’t like scraps of fabric. If I make something, I cut the pieces in the most economical way and often achieve no-waste projects. It takes an awful lot of planning but the pleasure I get from having used every square inch of available fabric makes me very happy.

So, not having any particular project in mind, I decided to get rid of a few scraps. I had several strips of blues leftover from bindings so I split them up the middle and began to sew them together not knowing what it was going to turn into. Before long I had two different rectangular blocks that I thought would make a nice mug rug or maybe a mini quilt table topper.

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It is actually rectangular in real life Smile.

Well, just before the binding was sewn on I had a brainwave (which doesn’t happen to me very often). My tablet could do with a case! So I turned it over, grabbed some more scraps, made a lined pocket and HEY PRESTO! It’s a tablet case Smile.

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I also added a fabric tie.

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Look at that wobbly edge at the bottom. That happened because I stretched the front block as I was attaching the lining Sad smile. I used nice thick wadding/batting to protect the screen.

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I think I like the back the best.

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Here’s my tablet, all snug as a bug in a (mug) rug Winking smile

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Some of you may remember my previous scrappy playtimes. Here’s a quick reminder.

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All proof that you can make it up as you go along. Have fun scrap busting! I did Smile.

Avis x

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