I've now been quilting for three and a half years. This blog is my personal quilting diary, that charts my progress (and occasional regression) from the start. I use it so I can look back at my past projects...and hopefully see my skills improve!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Secret Santa

My craft group does a Secret Santa swap at Christmas.  I had great fun making a snowman mug rug (Quilt Doodle Designs)and snow splat (Happy Hearts Design) for the exchange. 

I received two beautiful cross-stitched ornaments in return.  Delighted!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Christmas Stocking Swap

I signed up for a Christmas Stocking swap with Quilting Bloggers...my second ever swap. My swap partner was Lyndsey from London. We were given a pattern (see below)

and allowed to embellish it as we wished.

I wanted to use  applique, but found it quite a difficult shape to design for.  I drew out my designs, a Christmas bauble on one and a pomegranate and flower on the other.  I used metallic threads to add a bit of extra bling. Christmas decorative ribbon and string plus jingle bells finished the stockings.  I also sent her a charm pack.

In return, I received two lovely stockings and a sweet little tote from Lyndsey.

A great swap!  Merry Christmas to all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Fall Mug Rug Swap

I signed up for the Fall Mug Rug Swap being run by Quilting Bloggers.  I was very lucky to get a wonderful swap partner, Zanna, who lives in Bahrain (but is South African). 

She told me that she has owl nesting boxes at her home in South Africa, so I had to use an owl theme for one of the mug rugs.  The other, I wanted to have a feel of an English autumn...so different from a desert island , where she lives.

 I drew out a simple picture of an owl on a branch and used it as a template for the picture.  I used monofilament to secure the fusible and then used gold, metallic thread to free motion quilt the veins in the leaves and for the stipple stitch.  I hadn't used monafilament or metallic thread in my machine before.

I used a trapunto technique under the oak leaves for this mug mat.  I used a gorgeous, had dyed silk thread for the leaf veins.  I wanted to personalise it, so used fusible again, to add Zanna's name and buttonhole stitch to secure the letters.  I added a fabric flower in autumn colours as a finishing touch.

I also included a coaster from the Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary of two of their residents.


I sent the mug rugs four weeks ago, International Signed For and they have finally arrived this morning.  I am so relieved!

Zanna sent me the two most beautiful mug rugs, four exquisite lace coasters and a beautiful Arabic perfume bottle.  I absolutely love them.  The workmanship is exquisite!  I will think of Zanna and Bahrain whenever I use them!


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Summer\Autumn Projects

Where did the summer go?  The time just flew by, but I did find time to make a beach bag, courtesy of the pattern by Kathy's Patch. I only wish I could have found time to go to the beach...but bear making had to be my priority for Hugglets in London.

I saw a delightful cot quilt pattern in Quilters World back in the Spring. I couldn't source the green panel here in the UK, so purchased it from the US.  Pink and blue panels were available here, but I wanted green. Quilters World photo below:

I managed to find the outer border fabric.  I am using some of my stash fabrics for the half square triangles and narrow borders.

 Materials for the project...oooh...how did that blueberry muffin get into the photo?

 All the rotary cutting done...my least favourite part of a project.  Accurate cutting is stressful...so easy for hand to slip or mis-measure?

Half square triangles for border.  I created a little plastic template to check my squares are an accurate size.  They are!  My skill at creating these has really improved.  Yahhhhhh!

To be continued.....

I have just signed up for a Fall-Inspired Mug Rug Swap...see side panel for link if you would like to join in the fun!  This will be my first ever swap, so I'm really excited about doing this and making new online quilting friends.  I'm sure there must be some kindred spirits out there!  I've got lots of autumnal coloured cottons left from my autumn colours quilt - my first ever quilt, made last year.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wedding Favours

I decided to make mug rugs as small gifts for guests at my wedding two weeks ago.  I started to run out of time, so ended up using a machine sewn binding on most of them.

For my sister, Heidi.  I used TAP to transfer a photo of our Dad on the beach with my sister many years ago.  I did some crazy quilting and added small pieces of lace.

For my brother-in-law, Paul, who has never visited England before, I used a pattern - the Union Jack Mug Rug by the Patchsmith.

My daughter-in-law, Natalie married my son,  James 13 months ago.  I used TAP to transfer a photo from their wedding, crazy quilted and added lace.

James came on holiday to Derbyshire with Mike and I in 2006.  We set up the camera on a rock and took a photo of the three of us at this lovely waterfall.  I used TAP to transfer this photo onto cotton, and used batiks to complete the mug rug.

Matthew is Mike's sister's son.  He is a keen footballer.  I drew a silhouette of a footballer and ball and used fusible web.  I used blanket stitch around the image and letters.

Carla is Matt's sister. I used fusible web and pretty reproduction 1930s fabrics and blanket stitched around the letters.

Daryl is Matt and Carla's mum and Mike's sister.  I used pretty small polka dots and faded  florals for Daryl's mug rugs.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Lap Quilt Finished

Have found time to finish a lap quilt made up from blocks completed as part of the Intermediate Patchwork course I finished recently.  The course was great fun!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Playing with TAP

I ordered a pack of Transfer Artist Paper last week out of curiosity and without any real plan in mind.  Although I am busy making bears for the Teddies Worldwide online show at the end of the month, I found time to play with it.

I used a photo of three teddies I designed and made last year as the centre piece of my pinkeep.  I used 1930 reproduction fabrics scrappily to frame the photo.  I added silk ribbon, mother of pearl buttons, beads and lace to complete the heart shaped pinkeep.

Last week was my son James' first wedding anniversary.  I made them a memento of their wedding day and placed it is a picture frame.

I really enjoyed creating a little crazy quilt.  I adapted a pattern of Allie Aller's for the project.  The photo isn't great.  There is some reflection from the glass.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Free Motion Quilting - A Toe in the Water

I am coming to the end of a free-motion quilting course at Kathy's Patch in Folkestone.  I had a couple of attempts at teaching myself before starting the course, but was completely hopeless!  Luckily for me, Kathy and Jo are very patient.  I think free motion quilting is a skill that improves with practice and I have to confess, that I haven't found time to practice between classes, so have only myself to blame if I haven't progressed as much as I should have!

Below are three of my favourite blocks from my classwork.

Next week we will be putting the blocks together using a quilt as you go method.  I am really keen to learn this method, as trying to swing a queen size quilt on my Bernina is not my idea of fun!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

My Expedition

I am best known as a maker of teddybears, but I have another new passion - patchwork and quilting.  This blog is my online diary to myself.  It will chart my learning journey and I hope, will document my mistakes and  successes in this expedition to 'teach an old dog new tricks'.   I have been learning to quilt for about 9 months, so the first few posts will be a summary of the journey so far.

The Beginning

While going through my loft last year, I came across a brown manilla envelope containing a bear paw patchwork block that I hand-sewed over thirty years ago.  Somehow, life got in the way and my patchwork never progressed any further.

Summer 2012 - First quilt

Ignorance is bliss.  Last summer I decided to make a patchwork quilt for my bed...this time using a sewing machine.  In my ignorance, I decided to make a large quilt using half square triangles.  How hard could it be?  I would be cutting up material and sewing it back together again.  One thing for sure, I made every mistake in the book.  I wasn't aware of the problems that bias in fabric can cause.
I used a bought pattern, but it contained mistakes and I found it difficult initially to work out how to fix the problems that arose.

I have always loved colour.  I wanted to use the autumnal colours that I could remember when I was  a little girl living in Canada.  I think of this finished first quilt as my 'Monet' quilt.  It looks good from a distance, but is a mess up close!

September - December 2012 Block of the Week Beginner Course

After completing my Monet quilt, I had caught the quilt making bug and I realised I needed professional help to improve!  I started a Block of the Week course at Kathy's Patch in Folkestone.  The course covered all the basics and twelve different blocks.

My sampler quilt was created from the blocks I made while taking the course.  At the time, I had a 'thing' for purple and lime green, and I fell in love with Fabric Freedom's Pure Velvet range of cottons.  The lime green sashing was a Fossil Fern fabric.  I needed more than twelve blocks as the quilt needed to cover a king size bed, so I made extra blocks in different colourways.  I also included a few plain blocks - some of which I hand quilted - my first ever attempt.

Paper Piecing - so much fun

At the same time as completing my Block of the Week course, I completed a Craftsy course on paper piecing by Peggy Martin.  It was a total revelation.  It was so liberating after all the very careful measuring and cutting of fabric required by conventional patchwork.  The patterns - New York Beauty, Mariner's Compass etc. were within my grasp.  I never thought I would be able to create them, as they looked so complex...but looks can be deceptive!

I had bought a few batik fabrics at a quilt show in Maidstone in October, without any idea of what I might use them for.  I just picked out colours I liked.  These fabrics became my New York Beauty wallhanging.  I had intended to make a couple of cushion covers with the blocks, but was having so much fun, I just kept making more blocks.  The pattern is a Peggy Martin design.

I then decided to make a couple of cushion covers - again paper pieced.

I also started a Be Colorful Quilt.  This is still a work in progress as a bear show in February and another in March have taken priority.  This is by far my greatest challenge.