Friday 31 May 2013

Tidying up!

 I read with interest when my two friends Janine and Lucy linked up on making Bear's Paw quilts.  I love traditional blocks and Bear's Paw has been one of my favourites for a long time.

I even went as far as making a very traditional Bear's Paw quilt out of upcycled flannel sheets and shirts!   The only new bit was the backing.  I then quilted it on the machine -  eek!  This was before I could quilt on machine but I gamely  persevered through thick layers of flannel and finished it.

It is now covered in long black cat hair as our grumpy wee cat Saffy seems to have adopted it - she would, as the background is white!

Anyway here is my old bear's paw quilt (without the cat hair)

Very much made do and mend ...I bought the flannel for the back - but not quite enough hence the economy big bear paw on the back using up every scrap I had left!   

[You see Helen I have been fudging stuff since the beginning ]

Before I knew it yesterday I had taken some of those bonus HSTs I've been collecting out of their jar...

Each square only 1.5" and paired them with 2.5" squares to make these!

My modern scrappy baby Bear's Paw!

Though my layout has now changed to this ...

This baby bear knows where he is headed!  Straight for a picnic basket or possibly the trash can if we are being realistic!   Yogi eat your heart out!  Not sure yet about the negative spacing yet - it may need a bit of tweaking or trimming!

So thinking of joining in??  If so the Bear party is over here!   It's all there picnics and everything - ok I lied about the picnic...

And after this bit of play yesterday I made another Artist Trading Card!

I am calling it 'Hidden' as the wee baby deer is part camouflaged in his background, which is full of butterflies - had a Bambi moment when I picked that!   

Around my local area there are some very pale or white coloured deer in the wild which have escaped from an estate herd and branched out on their own.  This is one of their babies!  

Just recently two startled deer ran across a wooded lane in front of my car - so not only the deer were startled!  They don't follow the Green X code they just belt it as fast as they can....I'm glad to say those two made it safely!

So here are my two Artist Trading Cards - each measuring just 2.5" x 3.5" - that's what I found the hardest bit - getting the size right.  Thanks for your tips Helen!

I know which I'd pick!  What about you?

If you like the idea of joining in an ATC swap then Ali is already talking about running another round later in the year - Read about her plans here!  And do visit the Flickr Group - I'm not the only one making these!

Thursday 30 May 2013

I'm (not going to be) late!

Thanks for all the comments yesterday and the guesses you emailed to me.   We shall just have to wait and see ....  who gets that nametag!

Turns out Mr Not-so-Grim is a bit like Marmite - some of you love him and some hate him!   

Have to say he was fun to make and I'll be happy to send him to his new owner...

Now I have another one to make as a one on one swap - such fun - with the fabulous Annabella who is making an extra block for my international bookshelf!   Hadn't pegged Annabella as a skull girl!

Today I need to get on with my Artist Trading Card Swap.   I am hoping to make a few and let my partner choose which I send!  

I have made a start on this one.. quite a different sort of thing! 

We have lots of rabbits in the garden - much to Maddie's disgust/delight as she loves to chase them away!   

And which rabbit is more famous than The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland?  Besides after Ali's reminder that we need to send soon I got worried that I'd be late!  Now I'm worried he won't quite fit on a card 2.5" x 3.5"....oh dear!

I have a few other designs to try - only drawings so far..but I do like this one best....


Finished the stitching and...couldn't wait to show you!

Apparently I can handstitch after all!

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Did you notice...?

....that FQ Retreat is coming around!  Apologies to those not joining in!

I have signed up to a few things for retreat!  

The sample swap, some siblings together quilts and the nametag swap!

I found this picture on a google search and used it as inspiration for my partner's nametag!  I do hope I am on the right track...?

First I drew the design outline onto my background fabric in pencil  - I am low tech you know!   Then I carefully FMQed the outline in some Aurifil 28 deep purple!  Black might have been the more obvious choice or grey but I thought I'd be different.

I aired my first step on flickr and have to say there was not much love out there for Mr Grim as I nick named him!  He is an acquired taste and not really mine but I thought I had managed to represent him quite well.

Next stage was a bit of prettifying!   The original design has lots of detail on it and so I had to do a bit of simplification.  I FMQed some flowers, leaves and paisley designs but as they didn't show up too well I highlighted them with a bit of embroidery floss!   He also has some French knot 'piercings' around his eyes and mouth!

I think he can now be called Mr Not-So-Grim!  

Still not your cup of tea?  Then this nametag is probably not for you then - you can sigh with relief now - or can you Di???

Tuesday 28 May 2013

The view outside!

Way back when I started blogging I was expecting to talk about gardening too!

It used to be a passion of mine - hence the Mrs Sew and Sow but it seems the sewing has taken over somewhat.  My garden is at it's prettiest in Spring and Autumn and the blossom is rather gorgeous at the moment so   if you can put up with a bit of garden there might be some other stuff after...

Look what else was in the garden - my second giant star with a black print background kindly donated by the lovely Helen.  The pattern is by Jeni @incolororder. 

Instead of sticking to the straight line quilting that I did in the first one I started playing around with feathers in the background! 

 It was so much fun I carried on...

But then disaster struck!  Not enough thread!  Argh!   And just where do you find Aurifil 28 weight in this country when you want it?   Answer you don't in this pale lilac colour and it would cost a fortune to buy from the US due to increased P&P.  So what do you do??

Well I improvised of course - used another colour and called it my label - ok it is not very legible but it says Feathered Star, by Nicky Eglinton, May 2013!  More of a secret - not so secret label then!   Feathered star ?  On account of the quilting rather than the pattern... 

Must remember to make sure I have enough thread next time!  And this sure used up a lot....

And by the way this is my first finish in Quarter 2 of the finish along!  Oh dear only 6 more to go and one month to do it in!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Birds of a feather...

Before I get to the title I just want to show you a couple more charmer blocks that have safely made their way to me - this time from Lisa....

A few more should be coming...and maybe I'll need another update photo soon!   Thank you Lisa!

And now the feathers of my title!   

How can you free motion quilt and not do feathers!?   I have been avoiding them for so long.

Trudi very patiently showed me how to draw feathers last year at Retreat!  Every time I saw her I was sketching feathers under her advice!  Poor Trudi!

More recently I have watched Angela Walters on her Craftsy class Free Motion Quilting with Feathers....

And so finally I decided to have a go!

It's not perfect!  A long way from that, but not as bad as I thought it would be!    

Was I mad?   Quilting in a thread that shows up?  Quite possibly!   The gaps were filled in Angela Walters style with some swirls which sort of helps to hide the not so good bits! 

The quilting of one of my Finish-Along list has begun - the first of quarter two!   Oh dear so behind .....

Linking up with Fiona at celticthistlestitches for 

Sunday 12 May 2013

I have got my shades on....!

No not that sunny on planet Mrs Sew & Sow!

But I just wanted to show you my first ever homemade lampshade!

I bought a kit from my friend Karen some time ago and thought that looks like it will take time and concentration to do.  

But you know sometimes you are just wrong about how scary something is!  This wasn't scary after all.  Perhaps I should believe my friend Karen when she tells me something - I will be listening in future I promise!

In fact the whole thing was fun!  Enough stickiness to keep things where they should be but not so much that other things get glued too! 

I love the look of it and keep looking up to check out how pretty it is!  

Two views of the same lampshade - but another is in the pipeline for the other light in my sewing room.   

And what else happened this weekend?  

Janine's blocks arrived for my charmer quilt!   Pretty aren't they?   Hope they don't suffer from vertigo way up on the top row....

And here they all are together - see I left that gap in my recent update for a reason!

Janine also sent this cute pincushion - it reminds me of the time when we met up as Janine was looking forward to receiving some Tradewinds fabric from a giveaway she'd won!

If you want to brighten up your room and have a bit of fun then why not try making your own lampshade!?    A kit from Karen is available here

Saturday 11 May 2013


It is how my quilts tend to come about!

I'll have an idea, it leads to something, I'll have a think, it leads to something else - and then maybe I'll get a big idea!  

That's what happened here...

I love it !  I want to make the quilt!   Hope you love it too!

The Arrowhead block can be found on page 18 of the Modern Blocks book compiled by Susanne Woods.

Friday 10 May 2013

Charmers update!

They are still arriving, my blocks from April as Queen Bee of Scrappy? Sew bee it!

First there were a set from Jess in Tasmania

Followed by a set from Deborah in California

Totally gorgeous...

And here they all are together - such a happy and international quilt...

I keep changing the layout - can you still spot yours!?

I made one more block too!

It does seem to shout a bit - think it might be the black - it may not make the quilt but it will be made into something!

A few more to arrive yet I think!   Just how big is this going to be?

Thursday 9 May 2013

Artist's Trading Card Swap!!

I joined up Ali's Textile ATC Swap!  

How could I resist??  

I have my partner assigned to me and while waiting to pick up children from school I tried making one...

Ok it is fairly basic - just a bit of FMQ but it only took a few minutes.  It is the wrong size for the swap but I sort of like it.   Seed-podish I thought.  Hence the name I've given it....

Maybe for the real thing it would need further embellishment.  Waiting for Ali to allow me into the Flickr group and I'll post it and see what reaction I get.

In case you want to make one - it should be 2.5" x 3.5" - a very mini quilt if you like.  I think this could be addictive....forget moo cards...ATCs are the new me.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Seeing stars!

As usual I get totally distracted trying out blocks - sort of sampling how they would look in a quilt together.  So here is the latest update on those pieced triangles called Arrowheads

I have added a few more in different colours for a rainbow effect but also to try out an idea I woke up with this morning!   

Yes I woke up seeing stars!  No-one hit me on the head (thank goodness) but I thought if I carried on with yesterday's layout this is what I would see!

It works for me!

Now I'm thinking some LV ones interspersed with rainbow ones or maybe stars of one colour or hot colour and cool colour stars !  

More playing required!  The quilt idea is evolving!  Well I need to know what to ask for when I'm Queen Bee - I'm calling this forward planning!

If you want to see more blocks made from this book why not visit this flickr group or this bee!   Have fun!

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Piece and play!

After some lovely and encouraging comments on my last post in a few idle moments I made some more pieced triangles....

I mixed them up with some plain solid ones as I cannot see me making a quilt out of these little darlings (each side is about 7.5") - I'm just not that patient!

But then I thought this would make a great border and what if I sized them up a notch for the main body of the quilt and then asked some bee mates to help me out? Either Modern Stitching Bee or Bee a Brit Stingy Bee??  Or both??

I will have to work out how to scale them up but I'm hoping my maths is up to it and if it isn't I know someone who can and has offered to help me on the maths front in the past!  Shhhh!  I haven't told her yet!

This pattern is called Arrowhead and can be found in brown (not so pretty) on page 18 of the Modern Blocks book compiled by Susanne Woods.

The book looks like this:

And you can get your copy here!

There is another block that caught my eye in this book - might get a chance to try that one out soon!   

It seems that bees help you try different things when making blocks for others but also when trying to decide what to ask for!  Have tried out at least four different options already and must decide for July and August - that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!  Anyway if they don't become quilts they can always become UFOs cushions!

Monday 6 May 2013

More bee blocks!

Now I have finished Rhonda's second block - almost twice over !

Unfortunately this morning I forgot I needed to trim the HSTs before sewing them together!  Which meant I put four rows together and then wondered why it wasn't coming out at 12.5" square!   Duh!  

Really I should try sewing with my brain engaged.

Lots of unpicking and trimming followed this discovery!

For some reason I am not so keen on this block anymore...

But I am glad I have finished it.

And while I was in bee block mode I knocked up an extra Road to Tennesse Block for Jan.  She wants her quilt to be a bit wider but isn't sold on the idea of having a border and was quailing at the idea of making another six blocks....not surprised with 32 x 2" background squares to cut and 16 x 3.5" print squares. 

I also tried out another little block from the Modern Blocks book compiled by Susanne Woods

This one is a study in value - should I be making more?  Or asking bee mates to help?  Not sure yet!

Now I'm ready to ponder on how to translate a Scottish castle into fabric and a few other things!

Sunday 5 May 2013

Bee blocks galore!

I have been busy making bee blocks.  I thought it would be good to get them out of the way and sent off before the middle of the month.

I have made two blocks for Jess in the scrappy? sew bee it bee.  She asked for winged square blocks using the tutorial by Amy Friend found here.  The colour scheme was quite select but I was fortunate to have two FMF prints by Denyse Schmidt that fitted the bill for the central square and I am well supplied with orange, red and grey prints for the HSTs.  

I went with Kona Snow for the background to show up my pale grey prints as otherwise I thought they'd disappear!

Next I have made two Pineapple blossom blocks for Catherine in the bee_a_brit_stingy bee - they were super fun and super quick using Bonnie Hunter's amended tutorial (the one using the measurements in red).

I managed to mess up the first set of bonus blocks that can be made at the same time.  I was on auto pilot, it was the evening and I trimmed quite a lot off the HSTs before realising that I was trimming my blocks to the original block measurements not the larger sized block.  Oh well I made one small pinwheel block from it and left the bonus blocks from the second block untrimmed - the way Catherine wants them!

Then I pushed ahead yesterday with yet another block as I seem to be on a roll!  I made one of the blocks Rhonda asked for in our modernstitchingbee.  We are using the Modern Blocks book compiled by Susanne Woods on and off! 

Rhonda cheekily chose two different blocks from the book but I can't blame her!  They are both cute and most people in the bee have chosen blocks from elsewhere.

Here is my version of Checkers (p40) designed by Monika Wintermantel.  Rhonda wanted an all white background and something to represent ourselves as the centre square.  I went with my Flickr icon - Little Red Riding Hood!   And have embroidered my blog name as well, as requested.

I managed to represent Rhonda (owl lover supreme) in the little surrounding squares with a little owl at tree level and then a square with hoot in it!  

Darn it I was going to add a brown square as Rhonda likes brown (long story) - forgot it, but hope she is pleased nonetheless!

Next I need to finish off the HST extravaganza that is the Diamond Nipples Ripples block on p47 by Lorna Finlayson .... - maybe I should sneak the brown in there!  Darn - forgot again!

Sorry Rhonda - absolutely failed on the brown front but hope you still like the blocks.

Phew exhausted but happy to be up to date with these bees as sadly I am several months behind on the Star of Africa bee!  Working on Eilean Donan Castle for Fiona next....then Brinda's tree and Cindy's celtic knot!   Don't know why I'm sitting here you?

Wednesday 1 May 2013

My April in Fabric

I have been wondering just what I have done sewing-wise this past month!?

I have blogged quite a bit so I must have done something surely?

Well I certainly received some lovely blocks from two bees I am in:

from Bee mates Lucy, May, Carla, Helen, Annika, Jeanne, Tina and Veena!

My Charming Quilt now looks like this

Made using the this tutorial and with more blocks to come!

And here is what I worked on this month....
Add caption

Starting from the top left ....

for the challenge in the London Modern Quilt Guild we needed to make something to celebrate 150 years of the London Underground - Sherlock Holmes' profile can be found on the tiles at Baker Street he lives at 221B Baker Street, doesn't he?!

next up I finished the main part of my Wonky House quilt and made a little house for the border of this quilt.

I cut out lots of equilateral triangles to make a quilt - still got to stitch these - inspired by this lovely quilt by Annabella!

I tried to make my old UFO basket blocks more to my current taste by framing them in grey.

Next is a new, new project - more of that later in May!

I started some cross blocks...

Row three shows my spiderweb blocks for Sarah and Scottish dancing pumps - called ghillies (so Katy tells me) for Tina

Finally row four is all for Di - sprout blocks and a basket made in exchange for a lovely Liberty infinity scarf received way back in January ...

Phew!  Not so bad after all.

But I started this past month with a finish I squeezed into my FAL Quarter 1 - in the no-man's land between the end of one quarter and the beginning of the next!

No other UFO finishes sadly so I will be very busy next month!

Linking up with Lynne at Lily's quilts for Fresh Sewing Day!


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