Thursday, 31 May 2012

LMQG and Tricolette GIVEAWAY!!

Great news!!!

The lovely Michael from Tricolette is giving away this gorgeous bundle of fabrics
over on the London Modern Quilt Guild's blog!

Press here to enter!  Good luck!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

WiP Wednesday - at the crunch!

Another 'work-in-progress' report, linked to Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday!  

This week I am half way through sewing/making my Fat Quarterly Retreat sample swap items to give on Saturday.  I completed one a while back so am now busy making the other five.  Yes, there will be six in total - for two reasons: 
1.  I had just the right amount of fabric for six and
2.  Having six means there are four for the swap, one for me and one as a spare to swap with someone else in case anyone wants it! 

There will be some 'schtuff' inside these little 'London bags' as I now call them [instead of the 'fold over flap button closure bags']... but the contents will remain a surprise for now!  Here they are in different stages of completion! 
This is the amazing fabric I used - London - yay!  How appropriate, right!!?
One done, one almost done and four half done.
I also made these things (ornaments and 'quilted' worry stones) in my pottery class...  My confidence is very low at the moment [my mini PLAY quilt only has 7 votes and the winning mini has 35 so far...] so I'm not entirely sure I will actually give these out to the six+ people I had in mind.... I'll see how I am feeling on Saturday...

What I thought would be cute and nice 'FQ Retreat commemorative ornaments' are now looking like silly homemade crafts by an inexperienced potter/crafter.  Oh well - it's the taking part and trying new things that counts, right!?

The amount of work that went into making them was unbelievable.  First I made my own ceramic stamps from clay that was leather hard and had them fired.  Then I rolled slabs of clay and left that for a week to go leather hard.  I then stamped my stamps into the clay to make the shapes, then cut the the rectangular ornament shape and put a hole in for the ribbon.  These then got fired.  I then had to paint each one with special paint using itty bitty paint brushes and then glazed them all as well, only to be fired again!  I started this process in February and only finished them last week.  I tied a nice royal blue ribbon to hang them with - royal blue since it is Jubilee weekend!  But I'm still not sure if I will give them away...
Hand made stamps and finished ornament.
So, here is a re-cap of what's currently going on - or not going on - in my sewing room!

My Small Projects Sew Along list looks like this:
  1. Fold over flap button closure bags x5 ALMOST DONE
  2. Needle case holder thing DONE
  3. crazy mom quilts Lanyard for scissors DONE
  4. Zakka Itty Bitty Magnets DONE
  5. Zakka Mug Rug DONE
  6. Play Mini Quilt DONE
  7. Zip Organiser
  8. Tweed Pouch
  9. Neckerchief thing
  10. Folding card wallet
  11. Shirt Bunny DONE
  12. Teapot hotpad 
  13. Mix Master hotpad 
My URGENT list:
    Friday I will be linking one of my quilts into the Bloggers Quilt Festival and decide which category to enter.  DONE
  • For Monday, I need to decide what to put in my give away on Give Away Day [May 21st - my birthday!!] which will be pretty cool - be sure to pop back and enter!!  DECIDED, held, and winner has been sent their prize
  • My Precious Amy Butler quilt top being linked up later today DONE
  • ”SewHappyGeekI'm super excited to tell you that I am participating in Plum & June's Let's get Acquainted Blog Hop on May 29th so pop back to my blog on the 29th for a tutorial!  DONE - check out my frayed edge/shaggy quilt tutorial here
  • Also due on Monday May 21st is my Play Mini Quilt linked with Sew Happy Geek. DONE and please vote for me here :)
  • Fat Quarterly Retreat fold over flap bags with button closure!!  These are sooo going to be done last minute, aren't they!!? ALMOST DONE!
  • All done [completed about 7:30pm Thursday 31st] and
    contents added.  Phew - nothing like last minute!
Current WiP's:
  • Sew into Solids Blocks - so behind it hurts! 
  • Zakka Style Sew-Along - Itty Bitty magnets and Mug Rug completed DONE
  • crazy mom quilts Small Project Sew Along - going well.  Have crossed off Scissor lanyard, Shirt Bunny, Mug Rug and Itty Bitty magnets SOME DONE
  • Bee Europa 2012/2013 block #1 to do for Pink Stitches DONE and I did a tiny magnet for her too!
 Long term WiP's [no progress]:
  • Wonky log cabins
  • Wonky houses and trees
  • Wonky stars
UFO list [definitely no progress!]:
  • Mod Sampler quilt
  • Union Jack blocks
  • Green-grey-teal-turquoise quilt
  • Half Square triangle mini quilt
  • Neckerchief thing
  • EPP Pencil case
Have a great rest of the week - I'll see some of you at RETREAT in a few days time!

Linking my five London Bags to:
 May Finishes

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Let's Get Acquainted ~ A Frayed Frog [shaggy] Quilt tutorial

I am happy to say that today is my day for the Let's Get Acquainted 'New Blog' Hop organised by Beth at Plum and June

Today I have a tutorial for using fun novelty prints and making a shaggy/rag time/or frayed edge quilt.  This is a stash buster for me as I have been collecting many of these fabrics for a long time!  I've added a few spots, dots and solids to allow me to make the a size I wanted, but this quilt works just as well using up scraps or charm packs that you may have lurking about!  Your quilt can be as big or little as you want.  But first things first - here is a little bit about me so you can 'get acquainted'!
I am originally from Canada but moved 'abroad' in 2001.  I've been married to Mr Crafty Shenanigans (Mr Patient most of the time) for 11 years now and we have a crazy dog who is a dachshund/beagle mix = doxle.  I have a degree in Fine Arts with a major in printmaking and sculpture and I have done crafts since I was wee little.  Dolls?  Nope - didn't play with them.  For me it was crayons and glue!  In secondary school I managed to sew a few skirts, re-purpose some clothes into other things for art class and did the odd bit of sewing hems and letting out my dad's trousers - but no quilting!  I discovered patchwork and quilting in 2009 as it was one of the items on my 'bucket list' so I signed up for a class and I haven't looked back since!  I made two quilts in that class and was hooked!  I now have a growing fabric obsession stash and a big pile'o'scraps to play with.  Scraps are important - they are great for applique (a newly discovered craft/technique for me) and they can be added into practically any project!
I was asked a few questions to help you get to know me:
How long have you been quilting - since 2009
Favourite quilting tip - Measure twice, cut once.  This one is from my dad who does woodworking and carpentry but it totally applies to cutting fabric too! 
Favourite blogging tip - leave comments on the blog posts you read - if in doubt what to write, mention how/where you found their blog, leave a positive message or ask a question.  It's so nice to know people are actually reading the posts we write and it helps the community of bloggers to get to know each other.  And it is a friendly, courteous thing to do!
Favourite fabric - I have quite a few favourites but the top two for me right now are Joel Dewberry's 'Modern Meadow' line (especially the green and navy colourways) and some of the Amy Butler 'Love' fabrics as you can see in 'My Precious' quilt blocks in my mosaic below.
Favourite craft book - I've made a few things from the 'Zakka' book and I love the 'Fresh Quilting' book by Malka Dubrawsky too. 
Favourite book(s) - "Shell Seekers" by Rosamund Pilcher and "The Crystal Cave" by Mary Stewart.
Favourite quilting tool(s) - sewing machine, rotary cutter and seam ripper!

Binding - by hand or by machine? - Both - first by machine then I finish it by hand which I love to do.

Here are a few pictures of just a few of my favourite creations that I have made:

A Frayed Frog Quilt
[a.k.a Shaggy Frog Quilt]
Tutorial by [Amy's] Crafty Shenanigans

~Please read through the whole tutorial first before starting!~

-pencil and/or water soluble marker
-ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat, scissors
-wadding - scraps can be used
-fabric* - pick whatever you fancy really! Use some fat quarters, half metres, charm squares or scraps (pieces of at least 4.5" square)
-thread, pins
-sewing machine :)

*Note:  The amount of fabric needed depends on how big or small you want to make your frayed edge/shaggy quilt to be!  My quilt will be 9 rows of 9 squares each = 81 for the top and 81 for the bottom, which means I need a total of 162 fabric squares.  Sewn up, this quilt measures 30 x 30 inches.  This is a good size to be used as a play mat, as a stroller blanket, a child's security blanket or for the car as a knee warmer!   This type of quilt is not recommended for babies.  I used approx 12 fat quarters but lost track of exact amounts, sorry!!  I'm also no mathematician!  ;) 

INSTRUCTIONS - please read through the tutorial/instructions before starting!

Fabric preparation
1.  Iron fabric before cutting.  I do not pre-wash my fabric, in case you wanted to know!
These are the fabrics I used for the front and back.
Kona Ash was also used but not shown.

2.  If confident, stack several fat quarters in a pile so you can cut several pieces at a save time!  Or just cut it one fabric at a time, row by row then square by square.

3.  Cut fabric into 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares.  My quilt in this tutorial will have 81 top squares and 81 bottom squares = 162 total 4.5 x 4.5 inch squares.  TOP TIP: plan that the top fabric squares are the same as the bottom fabric squares - it makes 'designing' the quilt a lot easier later! 

4.  Cut wadding into 3 x 3 inch squares.  Cut half as many as your total fabric squares - I will need 81 and here they are:

5.  Draw an 'X' diagonally from corner to corner on half of the fabric pieces - on 81 pieces in this case.  Some darker fabrics needed the pencil, others I could use the water soluble pen (picture is faint but the blue line is there!). 

6.  Place a bottom piece of fabric right side down (so you can see the wrong side facing you).

7.  Place a piece of wadding in the centre of this square.

8.  Place a top piece of fabric (with the 'X' drawn on it) right side up over the wadding and pin all three together so it is a sandwich of fabric--wadding--fabric. 
Picture shows my three layers with the bottom layer with the right side facing towards the table. 
Notice that I have used different tops to bottoms - it is easier to keep them both the same! 
As my dad would say 'do as I say, not as I do! 
9.  Take this sandwich and sew along each of the diagonal lines you drew on earlier making an 'X' in thread on the square sandwich to make your block.  Remove pins.  TOP TIP: chain piecing is fast and uses less thread than starting-stopping-and clipping.
Chain piecing.
10. Continue to sew all 81 of your sandwiches into blocks.  I just love saying 'sandwiches'! 

11.  Design your quilt by laying your blocks out in a pattern that you like.  Here are a few of the options I considered for my quilt:

12.  Once you have decided your layout, pin each square to the one beside it so you have rows held together by pins, like this: 
You will be placing the squares back-to-back when you sew the 1/2 inch seam so the shaggy edge will appear on the top of the quilt and the smooth side of the quilt will be the back.  See how I've got the seams together with the pin so they are looking somewhat like how they will when they are sewn?  Hope so!

13.  Mark your sewing machine with a 1/2 inch mark for easy sewing.  I used the sticky bit of a sticky note.  Draw a line in pencil instead if you want to.

14.  Now sew the blocks, with 1/2 inch seam allowance, to join them together into rows.  At this stage I sew block to block within a row and once all 9 are sewn together I label that row with a number which helps later when sewing the rows together.  REMINDER:  you will be sewing each block with its back to the other back when sewing this seam. 

15.  Press all seams open.

16.  Take two rows of joined blocks and place them back to back (smooth sides together).  Pin at each junction so they will line up visually on the back once sewn.  Keep the seams flat and sew these two rows together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Continue to sew neighbouring rows together until all rows are sewn.

Here is what it looks like when you sew row to row:

17. Now your quilt blocks and rows are all sewn together - yay!  Next step is to sew around the whole perimeter/outside edge using a 1/2 inch so the outer squares have a finished edge and an edge to cut towards as well.

Shaggy frayed edge and finishing
18.  Take a sharp pair of scissors and clip/cut ALMOST to the seam on every seam allowance.  Be careful NOT to cut your stitching.  I suggest cutting every 3/4 inch.  Clip the outer edges as well.

19.  Remove as many loose threads off the quilt that you can.  Shake it outside to remove even more!  Now put the quilt into a pillow case or duvet cover (depending which one it fits into best) and tie shut.  This helps contain the threads from all of the cut edges so they don't clog up your washing machine!  I don't pre-wash my fabrics so I use a Colour Catcher in my first wash as well.

20.  Wash the quilt in the duvet cover at 30* on a gentle cycle.

21.  Remove quilt from the duvet cover and shake it out OUTSIDE to get rid of any more threads.  Then tumble dry low heat on a gentle cycle.  Be sure to clear the lint catcher a few times during the dry cycle.

22.  Repeat 19 to 21 again t make the edges more frayed.

23.  You are now done - yay!  Enjoy your frayed edge/shaggy quilt! 


Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoy making a frayed edge or shaggy quilt using your novelty prints!  Feel free to add a picture of it to the Let's Get Acquainted Flickr group if you do - we'd love to see it!  :)  

Here is a reminder of Plum and June's details of the hop.  There is a fabulous giveaway there too!
My co-partner today is:  Heidi from Fabric Mutt!  Be sure to hop over to see what yumminess she has created! 

Also, up next on Thursday 31st May is:
Jodi from Tickle and Hide and  Libby from Miss Beau Jangles.  Don't forget to check out Nik from Boldgoods and Alyssa from Pile O Fabric who posted on Thursday last week.  

Enjoy the Blog Hop!!  Hope to see you again soon!

P.S. If there is anything you'd like to see MORE of on my blog, I would love to know.  I would also love to have your feedback - feel free to email me here if you have any constructive criticism :)  I'm (kind of) tough so I can handle it!

Extra ramblings!
~ homespun fabrics work amazing in shaggy quilts.  See mine here.
~ use small pieces of wadding up - the bits that always looked 'too small' to do anything with - now you can save them for this project!!  Zig zag them together if you have to!
~ this is a great beginner quilt or one for people with limited space as there is no basting and it is basically 'quilting as you go'
~ there is no binding on this quilt so once you are done you are done - no sewing by hand for hours!

Fabrics used:
- Kona in 'Ash'
- 'Oh Hoppy Day' by me-O-my for SPX Fabrics
- Freespirit/Westminster fabric 'Essential Rhinestone'
- Kona in 'Green' (not sure exact colour)
- Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy 'Green Medallion'
- 'Holiday Helpers' by Karen Montgomery for Timeless Treasures Fabrics
- Michael Miller 'Play Stripe' in red
- yellow with dots - unknown
- Michael Miller 'Green stripe' - not sure exact name
- yellow with swirls - unknown
- white with multicoloured dots - unknown
- Thomas Knauer 'Savanna Bop' - 'circles' - not sure exact name

I am linking to Sew Happy Geek's Manic Monday linky party, sew many ways' sew darn crafty, Frontier Dreams' KCCO and Quilting by the River's Linky Party Tuesday.


Monday, 28 May 2012

My Play Mini Quilt VOTING & Bee block

Hello everyone! 

As you may know already, I made a mini quilt for the 'Play - a mini quilt Competition' that Jenna at Sew Happy Geek organised.  Guess what?  The voting starts tomorrow (Tuesday 29th May) and ends Friday 1st June)!  I would realllly love it if you could take a minute to pop over to her linky party [here - have a quick link!!] and vote for mine!  This is what it looks like:

Queen of Diamonds - just in time for the Jubilee!

I've just had a look at the others and they are amazing.  Competition is stiff, once again!  I'm not sure why I keep torturing myself by thinking I can "play with the big kids" in these competitions... but I like the challenge [said in a teeny tiny voice]!

So, if you like mine -even just a little bit- please go vote :)  My self esteem will thank you and all my self doubt will be soothed at the same time too.  Thanks! 

'Nuff said.

And in other news, I have finished Cara from Pink Stitches' Bee Block 'Rocky Road to Kansas' for the first month of the Bee Europa 2012-2013 group.  This was my first 12.5 paper pieced block ever for the very first Bee I've ever been in!  Fun!!  I used a great tutorial over on Fresh Lemons Quilting and presto - this is how it turned out!

I also made her a wee Zakka-inspired mini magnet which measures 2 1/4 x 7/8 inches (just about the size of my thumb)!  I also did some hand stitching on it around the yellow X too!  And the best bit:  it even sticks to the fridge!  Result!  I will be sure to pack these to take to the retreat this weekend to pass them to Cara in person - yay!

I'm participating in...

Tomorrow I will have a tutorial up as part of the 'Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop'.  Here is a sneak peak to hopefully entice you back:

So that's all I've got today.  Lot's of begging!!  Thanks so much for 'bee-ing' 'sew' lovely - it makes me so very 'hoppy'!!

Linking my finished magnet to:

Also linked to sew many ways' Sew Darn Crafty, Quilt Story's Fabric Tuesday and Quilting by the River's Linky Party Tuesday.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

FQ Retreat Linky Party!

Fat QuarterlyTo say that I am excited for the Fat Quarterly Retreat [linky here] would be a HUGE understatement!  I am beyond excited!  I've already packed, unpacked, repacked and now am only semi-packed!  When the girls in the London Modern Quilt Guild told me about it at our first meeting in January, I immediately booked a full weekend ticket.  Yay!  I didn't think about a hotel though... oh well.  I live in Zone 5 so it shouldn't be a problem...right!!??  [famous last words]  What - escalators with a suitcase full of 1. sewing machine, 2. fabrics, 3. snacks, 4. swap items, 5. matching thread 6. scissors, 7. kitchen sink... ;)  No problem because I just went out and bought a pretty suitcase with wheels:  
Pretty suitcase - but can it tackle the tube and survive?  Only time will tell. 
And a picture of Jax looking gorgeous...awwww.
So, this coming Friday is the beginning of the excitement with a shopping event at Tiki [quilt store near Kew Gardens].  While there, I hope to meet some of the people in the 'Bee Europa' that I am a part of so I can put faces to names/blogs, as well as meeting all the people on the FQ Retreat Flickr group, and loads of other people too!  Bumping into people I 'know' but don't yet 'know' (if you 'know' what I mean!?) should be fun - and I'm sure to embarrass myself going up to strangers saying "Hi - I'm Amy"!  By the way, this is what I look like:   
Me as a tourist in lovely Whitby...two years ago!
...and I'll be wearing this name badge [thank you Susan from the Canadian Abroad]:

Ok, so a little about me:  I'm a 38 year old Canadian living in London and am married to an Englishman.  No kids but we do have a four-legged friend (who is part human dachshund and part beagle = doxle - see above with pretty suitcase).  I sew in the evenings and on the weekends, and sometimes my lunch hour, as I work full time. Working full-time is how I pay for my hoarding habit of buying fabric and M&S Belgian chocolate milk.  One day I will win the lottery so I can just do crafts and bake and grow vegetables and swim and read and...and...   Oh yah - I've been crafting all my life and have a degree in Fine Arts (printmaking and sculpture) and love working with my hands.  I'm also a trained museum technician but no longer work in that field (too bad really).  I only started quilting in 2009 and blogging since January this year.  I'm only nervous about the 'getting there' with all this stuff and the 'getting there on time'.  The rest will be an adventure! 

The real work party begins on Saturday - woohoo!!  I've signed up for {not in order} Lynne's Paper Pieced Pillow class, John's Wonky Log Cabin class, Lucie's Porthole class and Claudia's Zippered Pouch class.  I am so excited I can hardly concentrate!  I just hope that I bring the right materials in the right state of readiness!!  I'm not bringing an iron so hopefully someone has one I can borrow to stick my interfacing on!!

I've signed up for Iron Man as well --- what have I got myself into??!!  No idea but I'm going for fun so I will no doubt have some fun.  I'm also doing the sample swap and CAN'T WAIT to see what I go home with!  There is some yummy stuff posted on the Flickr group already so I have my fingers crossed for a few of those items!  Yay!  Oh and I'll also participate in the ugly fabric swap and I'm bringing some fq's to swap as well. 

Ok, so classes, people, swaps, exchanges, trades, Iron Man and shopping - sounds like a recipe for a great weekend.  Now if only the weather and the London Underground system co-operate too...  No matter what, it will be a FABULOUS time!  Can't wait to meet you all!

Amy x 

Saturday, 26 May 2012

My Birthday Giveaway WINNER

Thank you to EVERYONE to entered my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day Happy Birthday Giveaway!!  I am thrilled that 225 people left yummy and delicious names of their favourite cakes and desserts for me to drool over!  I will be following the links for recipes some of you left me too - thank you for that!

Best news - I have 20 new followers [yay to ALL of my followers] - what a lovely birthday present!  As I write this, I am three followers away from 100 and that is pretty exciting stuff!   So, here is my treat to you - the link to the birthday cake I made for my work colleagues: Mary Berry Lemon Drizzle Cake.

So, back to the business at hand! has picked a winner!  Just a reminder of the prize: 

#20 was chosen

True Random Number
Generator 20
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

#20 is VALERIE who said:
Happy Birthday!! Mine is in 10 days, yay for May birthdays (emerald and lily of the valley :) )

My birthday treat is always a cheesecake (and by 'always' I mean 'when the hubby remembers').
I hope you have a wonderful birthday treat today!!

Well done to you Valerie!  I will email you in a moment for your address so I can send you your prize!!  Once again - thank you to everyone who stopped in and had a look and to everyone who entered.  Have a great weekend!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Let's Get Acquainted - make a date!

Next week [on Tuesday 29th May], I am posting a tutorial on my blog as part of Plum & June's Let's Get Acquainted Summer 2012 Blog Hop.  Beth has organised this fantastic hop, which will take place all through the summer.  It was designed to involve bloggers who have been blogging since 2011-2012 and it will be held twice weekly with tutorials on each blog for you to try!  The focus is on novelty prints.

Let's Get Acquainted started this week (Tuesday 22nd May) with:
Kelsey from Kelsey Sews ~ Dress Shirt Dish Mat
Erin from Billy Button Designs ~ Cup Huggers

and posting yesterday (Thursday 24th May) we had:
Nik from Bold Goods ~ blanket tutorial
Alyssa from Pile O Fabric ~ Children's book bag

So, start your blog hopping and check them out - and let's all get acquainted!  There are some fab tutorials already and more all through the summer!  Let's make a date and I'll see you back here on Tuesday when Heidi from Fabric Mutt and I have our turn!

Happy Friday!