‘simply retro’ granny squares

chair2

I recently got back from my annual sewing retreat where I enjoyed some ‘me’ time with my patchwork buddies. As usual, we did nothing but eat, sleep and quilt – no kidding!  It was the best time ever!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t have to stop to make meals, do the laundry, vacuum, dust, go to work and all that real life stuff. In a few short hours I managed to stitch together the blocks for an entire quilt top!

The pattern is from Camille Roskelley’s book ‘Simply Retro’. I fell in love with the classic, fresh, retro look of this quilt … a lovely modern take on the humble granny square. I love it! And the best part? It’s fat quarter friendly – you only need 12 fat quarters and a few metres of white to make the top!

banister3

The simple do-able style of the giant 20″ blocks meant that the quilt grew pretty quickly too – hey, I like that!

banister4

Now I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a big fan of machine quilting (I much prefer to hand quilt) but, let’s face it, hand quilting takes time and some days you just wanna get it done, right? So … I opted to have a go at ‘edge to edge’ quilting on the machine. I chose wavy lines rather than straight ones, hoping to add some movement to the quilt whilst at the same time keeping it modern.  What do you think? 

quilting collage

apples

I finished it all off nice and neat with some cute red and white check 🙂

binding

on gate2

on gate

So there you have it … a quilt finished in just under 3 weeks (certainly beats 12 years!).

Phew! I’m off for a lie down …

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Happy stitching!

Natalie xx

 

 

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thank you!

Just a quick post to say a massive thank you for all your lovely comments about my ‘twelve-years-in-making-scrappy-quilt’ (I really need to think of a catchier title 🙂 )

I am blown away by the reaction that my wee quilt story has sparked (over 2000 shares on Facebook – what?!?) – my word! Thanks you guys!

♥ ♥ ♥

Well now, what do you do when you finish one quilt?   I’ll give you three guesses, but you’ll get it in one … You start another one, right? Yay!

I’ve always fancied making a two colour quilt and have settled on this colour combo.  I’m going to machine quilt it this time though, so it shouldn’t take me another 12 years before I’m done!

Red grey fabrics

♥ ♥ ♥
 Happy stitching!
Natalie x

 

that moment when …

… you finish a quilt and you can’t quite believe it’s actually done!

That very thing happened to me today.

I put the final stitch in a quilt that has been on the go for at least a dozen years. Yep, you read that right, 12 years! So long ago in fact that I can’t even remember how the blocks were constructed! How bad is that?! Mile a minute quilt 009

The funny part is, the technique for making the blocks was called ‘mile-a-minute’ … let’s think about that for a moment.  There are approximately 1,440 minutes in a day, 525,600 minutes in a year and it has taken me 12 years to complete the quilt , so by my reckoning this quilt should measure around 6,307,200 miles!! 🙂

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Mile a minute quilt 007

In my defense, it is entirely hand quilted except for the final border which I stitched on the machine.

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Mile a minute quilt 011

hand quilting

I learned a thing or two during the making of this quilt.

For instance, I have learned that my choice in fabrics has changed A LOT in the last 12 years, which isn’t that surprising really given the huge array of fresh modern fabrics around these days. I could spend all of my wages on fabric, seriously … if only I didn’t have to feed my family and pay the bills! Darn, there’s always a catch!

I also learned that ‘scrappy’ borders are stretchy little suckers and need careful handling otherwise your quilt WILL end up with somewhat wiggly edges.

I learned that if you leave a quilt-in-progress in a heap on the floor of your workroom, it is highly likely that your pet dog will use it to sleep on. The same pet dog may also piddle on it, causing you to have to dunk it in the bath tub (the quilt, not the dog).  And, because you used a water erasable marker … yep, you guessed it … all your quilt lines will disappear!

Ironically, if you then re-mark the quilt lines and store your unfinished quilt in a cupboard for years on end the marks won’t come out completely, no matter how many times you wash it (true story).

But you know, for all it’s imperfections, I have also learned to love this quilt.  It may not have my favourite colours in it; it may not be my favourite design and my stitching may not be as neat as I would like,  but we’ve spent quite a bit of time together already, this quilt and I,  and we have come to accept that neither one of us is perfect.

And I am OK with that.

Mile a minute quilt 001

Mile a minute quilt 038Happy stitching everyone!

Natalie xx

 

wedding fever, a swap and a new pattern

The Very Berry Handmade Textile ATC swap has come to an end and, a little over a week ago, I posted my wee card off to my swap partner with a little note. 

ATC envelope

The recipient is an American lady, so my little offering has flown all the way across the pond to New York! I do hope she likes it.

In the meantime, I have received this delicate blossom tree from Kathie who blogs over at Dipity-do-dah.  Those sweet little blossoms are really, really tiny and are not embroidered on, but cut from fabric!! Wow! Thank you Kathie – I love it!

ATC received May 2013

You can see a lot more amazing designs over on the flickr group – such a diverse mix of ideas and interpretations!  It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to the next Very Berry Handmade ATC swap later on in the year.

Alas, no sewing for me today I’m afraid.  Instead, I’m off out shopping for a wedding outfit – the wedding is next Saturday, so I’m cutting it fine, yikes!    (Note to self: don’t kid yourself that you will find wedding attire in John Lewis haberdashery department … resist going in there. … resist … 😉 ).

We will be having some house guests stay with us from my husband’s side of the family, so I can feel a bit of spring cleaning coming on and some cake baking too! It won’t all be cushion plumping and kettle polishing though – I will be making sure that I set aside a little sewing time before the wedding to do some hand quilting on my Mile-a-Minute scrappy quilt (which hasn’t been ‘mile-a-minute’ at all, by the way – but that’s a whole other story for another day :))

MAM quilt5

MAM quilt4

MAM quilt3

And finally, I am super excited (and a wee bit nervous?) to tell you that I will soon be launching a pattern shop from my facebook page.  It isn’t up and running yet and I am working hard behind the scenes to get my first pattern on there for sale as a PDF download.  I have lots of ideas for stitcheries, wall hangings, dolls and more!  Here is a sneaky peek at the first pattern that I hope will be available soon ….

When it rains detail

This will be one of a series of fun stitcheries featuring Harriet, a little girl who never ventures far without her Teddy.  Each stitchery will depict a day in Harriet’s life, or reveal a little bit about her character. I’ll reveal the message behind this little scene, once I’ve finished stitching it 🙂

Now, it’s time I hit the shops – that wedding outfit ain’t gonna buy itself!  Happy stitching folks!

ATC swap – please help me choose?

Do you remember me showing you the trading card that I made for the Very Berry Artist Trading Card swap?

Well, I have managed to make another wee piece of stitchery to show you and have done so just in the nick of time, as the deadline for posting the cards to our swap partners is in a few days!

ATC2.2 May 2013

This is the part where I ask for your help, my bloggy friends…….

Please could you help me choose which one to swap? I am going to be asking my Face Book buddies too.  Hopefully, it won’t go to a tie breaker, lol ;). Here is the first one I made ….

ATC final

Please leave me a comment below , telling me which one you would prefer to receive if you were my swap partner.  I need to post the card by May 31st at the latest!

Thanks so much! I really appreciate your help on this one 🙂

Happy stitching!

Liebster Award

liebster

I have been nominated for a Liebster Award by the lovely Irina over at El Petit Taller.  Thank you Irina!

If you’ve never heard of this award before, it is for fledgling bloggers like myself and is a way for them to get to know others, get more followers and discover other blogs that they might like!

To accept the award there are a few rules to follow:

  • Each blogger should answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
  • Choose eleven new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award on to and link them in your post.
  • Create eleven new questions for the chosen bloggers.
  • Comment on their page to tell them about the award.
  • Each blogger should post eleven random facts about themselves.
  • No Tag Backs!!!

These are the questions Irina has asked me:

1. what person do you most admire?  My Mum! I admire her for many reasons,  not least for her courage, her boundless energy and her capacity to always put others before herself.  She has taught me the value of family, friendship and love.

2. what’s on your bedside table right now? A reading lamp and a photograph of me and my son when he was about 4 years old (he is 19 now).

3. what’s your favorite cooking recipe?  I have a really sweet tooth, so my favourite recipe is for Mary Berry’s Lemon Drizzle Cake.  It’s super easy – plop everything into a bowl and mix! Never fails – yum!

4. is there a sewing book you would recommend? The first sewing book I ever referred to was ‘The Sampler Quilt Book’ by Lynne Edwards. It was the perfect introduction to patchwork and quilting! I also like Strips & Strings by Evelyn Sloppy.

5. what’s your favorite journey? Home. My favourite journey always leads me home.

I would like to nominate these lovely blogs for a Liebster Award:

And these are my questions for them:

  1. Sweet or savoury?
  2. A few really good friends or lots of acquaintances?
  3. City girl or country?
  4. Morning person or night owl?
  5. What is the most unusual thing you have ever eaten?
  6. What is your earliest memory?
  7. What is your favourite smell?
  8. What 3 words would you choose to describe yourself?
  9. What qualities do you most treasure in a friend?
  10. How did you choose a name for your blog?
  11. Is there such a thing as ‘enough’ fabric?

Now for some random facts about me:

  • I cannot walk in heels to save my life
  • As a teenager, I once fell asleep on a bus – standing up!!
  • I lived in Cyprus for 3 years from the ages of 3 to 6
  • I went to a total of 14 different schools when I was growing up
  • My favourite chocolate is Lindor by Lindt 
  • I love to bake
  • 24 years ago I had a holiday romance and I’m still married to him!
  • I am a self confessed fabric stroker
  • My favourite book is ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd
  • I love the sight of bluebells in the woods, so beautiful!
  • I have a miniature Yorkshire Terrier called Beebo

Beebo

Now all that’s left for me to do is to pop over to my chosen blogs and let them all know that I have nominated them for this wonderful award!  But before I do, I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures of a quilt I made from the ‘Strips & Strings’ book I mentioned earlier.

strips & Strings1

strips & Strings2

Happy stitching everyone!

quilters block

I’ve had a patchwork quilt top lying around for about four months just begging to be finished and quilted, but I’ve not managed to get beyond sewing all the blocks together. The reason for the halt in proceedings is one that has temporarily sabotaged many of the quilts I have made so far. I’m a ditherer, you see, when it comes to deciding on what to do about the borders. Is it just me or do you struggle with borders too?

I seem to get ‘quilters block’ and the quilt top languishes at the back of the cupboard like some forgotten relic.  Strangely, when I leave it alone for a wee while, an idea will often come out of the blue and, suddenly, I know exactly what to do and all is well again.

This ‘Turning Twenty’ quilt top was made at my monthly sewing group.  A quilting friend had used these colours in a lap quilt and I fell in love with them straight away! Aren’t they pretty?

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There were some scraps left over from cutting out the blocks, so I sewed them all together in one long strip

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and this is what the border looks like

Border on turning twenty quilt

Border on turning twenty quilt

I’m kind of excited about the backing I’ve chosen for this quilt.  Excited and nervous at the same time, actually.  Excited, because it is a sort of soft, minky type of material which I think will be deliciously cozy!! And nervous, because I have absolutely no experience of sewing with this type of fabric and it looks like it might be a little bit tricky to quilt!

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505 spray

Temporary fabric adhesive spray

I’m going to take the finished top and the backing along to my sewing group next week, when I’ll be trying out a temporary spray adhesive that my quilting friends have said works really well and means there is no need for basting. No basting? Sounds fab!

I love having such generous friends who share all their time saving tips!

Then, once the backing is on,  all that’s left to do is the quilting.  Yikes!

Have a lovely weekend everyone and happy stitching!

born to sew but forced to work!

Woke up this morning to a very wintry scene! The perfect day to snuggle up under a patchwork quilt and do some hand stitching.

Snow Feb 2013

But, alas, I will have to leave my cozy sewing room and get myself to work!

Mug rug1

This is my new mug rug for work – says it all really!