Happy Unbirthday to Meeeeeee!

Good Evening,

What a lovely surprise dropped through my letterbox today. My good friend Claire has been sending out her unbirthday gifts again and I was one of the lucky recipients. Isn’t it gorgeous?

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Claire has been making lots of lovely lavender sachets like this one but mine doesn’t have lavender in it. All perfumes make me sneeze and I have a particular problem with lavender so she made an exception just for me 🙂

Here’s the reverse.

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I already have a tiny cross stitched biscornu which Claire made and sent to me a few years ago. It sits on my sewing machine and I use it as a pin cushion every time I sew.

I’m going to use this new happy, bright, cheerful, jazzy number as my cross stitch needle cushion. I can’t stop smiling! Thank you very much Claire 🙂

F2F Blocks for Miss January

Hi everyone,

Emmely, who is Miss January in the F2F block swap, has confirmed that she has now received the blocks I made for her. That means I can share photos with you.

The swap is being organised by Kate and Sue and Emmely’s name was chosen from the hat to receive her blocks this month. Emmely wanted blocks made with green fabrics. Hurray, at last I could get away from grey for a change. It was so refreshing to work with a colour I love, even though my stash of green fabric is very limited. After looking through Emmely’s blog for inspiration it was fairly easy to decide what to make for her. She loves the improvisational modern style which isn’t my favourite to look at but I did enjoy trying some of the techniques. So thank you to Emmely for dragging me out of my traditional, symmetrical rut. I had lots of fun making these and I hope Emmely likes them. The first two are a lot brighter green in real life.

Block 1

 Block 2

 Block 3

Now, it’s time to get on with Claire’s blocks next 🙂

Happy New Year!

Good morning everyone,

I’m just popping in to share a round up of the projects that I finished during 2015. Unfortunately, work got in the way of crafting for most of the year so the number of finishes is limited. I’ve added the F2F blocks to pad it out a bit and make it look like I was really busy crafting. I suppose each month’s blocks are a finish in a way, that is if I’m allowed to stretch the definition of a finish just this once. In a nutshell, I managed to finish one cushion, two quilts and a lot of swap blocks. There are some other finishes over on my other blog Sewing Beside the Sea if you are interested. If you want to read more about the projects you see below, go to my Finished 2015 page.

2015 Finishes 2

Hopefully, next year will be a super crafty year for all of us 🙂 I’m determined to sew more in 2016. Happy New Year!

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.

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

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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: 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

A New Quilt Plus a Pinwheel Tutorial

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CIMG3839This is the contents of the charm pack I used to make the pinwheels for this quilt.
CIMG3876If you haven’t made pinwheels from charm squares before, here is one method.

Put each charm square with a square of the same size of plain fabric, right sides facing.

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Draw along one diagonal with a pencil.

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Sew one quarter of an inch from both sides of the diagonal and through both squares.

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Cut along the diagonal line.

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Turn the triangles so the darker fabric is on top.

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Lift the darker fabric and press away from the seam. Trim the tails.

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I usually do these steps with all of my charm squares on a sort of assembly line. That is, make all of the pairs. Then draw all of the lines. Then sew all of the seams. Then do all of the pressing and so on.

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Lay out so that opposite sails are the same.

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Sew pairs together. Press the seams towards the patterned fabric.

Then sew the top and bottom rectangles together.

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The back will look like this. It is tricky to press the last seam without getting a

lump in the middle caused by all of the layers of fabric.

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Look where my pin is pointing here. Those two stitches on both sides should

be unpicked. You will then be able to press your pinwheel lovely and flat. Be

careful not to take out too many stitches. You can always take out another

one if you didn’t do enough but it won’t be easy to put it back again!

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If you press it correctly, you should have a mini pinwheel in the centre.

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Here’s what mine looks like on the back with all of the pressing done.

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Almost finished.

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You just need to to square it up now and make more.

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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

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

How could a chicken be so lucky?

Hi everyone,

I’m still rather busy up here by the sea but the Chicken Run Giveaway Swap is still chugging along in the background.

Carla, the latest winner from Dancing Moon, has made lots of funky chickens and one of them could be flying off to you. If you’d like to win, pop over to see how to enter.

Here’s a sneaky peek at the quilt I’m working on at the moment. It’s the one with the Bali Pops. My sister is going to love it because she bought me the fabric. I’m such a lucky girl!

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It’s the Brown Sugar colourway………deeeelicious and it was so worth doing those partial seams.

Bye for now,

Avis x

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