Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – August

Well how embarassing is that? There’s nothing quite like being late to your own party! Or missing out on it completely for that matter! Apologies to all who were expecting my August Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew post on Monday, life is sidetracking me at the moment and this is the first chance I have had to sit down and write a few lines.

It’s hard to believe that we are already eight months into this series of link parties, with only four more to go before Christmas is here. When myself and Fiona from Celtic Thistle Stitches started this series of monthly link parties it was so that we could get organised ahead of the usual pre-Christmas rush. I have to admit that I am feeling very well prepared this year even though I have been unable to make anything so far this month. In fact it has been close to a month since I have done any stitching at all. I make no apologies as I have been enjoying the summer with my family. There was a fortnight of camping back home in Ireland. Two weeks filled with sunshine and sea, with fishing in rock pools and exploring the shore, with swimming and paddling and so very much more.

RockfishingHappyrockBeachtimeMy sewing bag travelled with me in anticipation of some rainy days and sewing time, but I am happy to be able to say that it sat in the corner forgotten as we enjoyed sunshine galore.

We’re home almost two weeks now and still our days are full. My eldest started back to Kindergarten last week so with holidays over there have been new schedules to adjust to, a crazy work backlog for me to clear and so much more to keep us busy. Things are only now beginning to settle down and as I finally find a few moments to sit down and write I hope that I will soon be returning to my machine and my hand sewing as my fingers itch to stitch and my mind is a whirl with ideas for new projects.

Although I don’t have any makes to share with you this month, Erin over at Missy Mac Creations has come up with a great Santa’s Belt paper pieced block pattern that she has put to great use to make fun seasonal pouches. Be sure to pop over,  visit and join in the link party there. As usual there is a great giveaway for all those who join in the link party and this month’s prize is a fun pattern for felt decorations by Alicia Paulson at Posie: Patterns and Kits to stitch.

walk in the woodsIf you haven’t started in on your Christmas stitching yet then I would defintiely urge you to start. I’ve made such inroads into mine that I really feel organised already. I have a nice selection of decor items made for my house and a good selection of gifts already made. I’m confident that with four more months to go I will have achieved all I want to by Christmas – and probably more besides. If you are stuck for inspiration why not pop over to visit Erin for the link party to see what she, and others, have made or visit any of the link parties from previous months to find lots of great tutorials and ideas.

My next project will be stitched Christmas cards. I’m going to take inspiration from many sources and cross stitch, applique, quilts and embroider designs on these cards. The embroidery will defintiely be inspired a magnificent embroidered hoop I received in a recent swap – here’s a sneak peak that I hope inspires you too. Pop back next week and I’ll show you the rest.

Embrpoderedhoop

Pebble-icious

When round two of the Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap was announced I couldn’t resist signing up. Round one had been great fun and I hoped that round two would be every bit as enjoyable. I must admit that at the start I was a bit frustrated. The swap ended up with over 600 participants so it felt pretty much impossible to follow and join in on all the coversations and updates that were taking place on Flickr and Instagram. My partner was also not at all active on social media with regards to her quilting activity so I also had very little to go on when it came to coming up with ideas for her quilt. Nevertheless I was determined to enjoy the swap so I simply got on with designing and stitching “Pebble-icious”, a mini quilt that I felt would appeal to my partner.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I knew from my partner’s information that she liked pink, black and tan and that she was a fan of sparkle and bling. I immediately decided to focus on combining pink and black and selected some black fabric from my stash along with a selection of pink fabric. I didn’t have much sparkle or bling so I added a couple of charm packs of Michael Miller’s Fairy Frost and Northcott’s Artisan Spirt Shimmer to my stash and used most of the pinks from both of these collections. I cut small 2.5″ and 3″ squares from all of the fabrics, fused them to fusible interfacing and used my olfa rotary circle cutter to cut out a selection of circles.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

It didn’t take long to cut the circles

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins and lay them out as I wished them to appear on the finished quilt. I went for an ombré effect with the layout, working from lightest at the centre to darkest at the outer reaches of the mini quilt.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsTo add to the bling and sparkle I opted to use Maderia pink metallic thread to quilt the mini. I wanted the pink circles to really stand out so I outlined each with the metallic thread and then filled in the rest of the space with pebbling, or should I say organic pebbling as I always feel my pebbling has a more organic and less rounded look than pebbling normally has.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsTo continue with the pink and circles theme I used Michael Miller’s Orchid Garden Pindot fabric for the quilt back and a leftover circle of light pink, that didn’t get used on the quilt front, as a label.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I wanted to include some small extras in my swap package so I started by making a pouch using one of the shot cottons from my stash that had featured on the quilt along with some black fabric as a highlight. I again used the metallic thread for the quilting and used organic pebbling on the back sections.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

My partner had expressed a love of lip gloss so I added a couple to the pouch and also added a yo-yo maker to the package. As one last extra I picked up a bar of chocolate on the way to the post office, hoping that it’s last minute addition would enable it to survive transit out of Switzerland during the exceptionally warm spell we were experiencing at the time.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I’m glad to report that the package did indeed travel safely, chocolate and all, and was very well received by my swap partner. I was delighted to hear how pleased she was with the quilt, it was definitely a big hit.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I must admit that making this mini pushed me outside my comfort zone. It is probably the most modern of my makes to date, it was my first time to sew with metallic threads and also my first time to venture beyond sample quilt sandwiches and free motion quilt an actual quilt. But it is an experience that I most definitely enjoyed and one that I am eager to repeat, especially as I now have a nice selection of Fairy Frost and Shimmer charm squares waiting to be used.

So although I felt that I had a bit of a rocky start to the swap it ended up being a great success. Next week when I return home from my holidays and get some photographs finally taken I will share with you the wonderful mini that I received in the swap.

Celebrating Sunshine

As I enjoy the start of what promises to be yet another magnificent sunny holiday day I’m reminded of the mini quilt I made for the June Monthly Doll Quit Swap, “Under the Sun”.

underthesun

The theme was “My Garden” and from the off I knew I wanted to use a floral design. I had seen an inspiring quil on Connecting Threads but the block size was only 5″, much smaller than what I was aiming for, so I quicly designed a large central floral block that finished at 15″ square.SunbloomI used a block border and plain border, representing the spots of colour and grass around my garden. The binding used was Kona Cheddar, a nice sunny colour. I kept the quilting simple. And started with a semi circle in the corner, the Sun.Sunstitch

From this corner rays of sunlight radiate over the rest of the quilt. To stitch these I used a decorative stitch on my machine that produces a nice even wavy line. The quilting was stitched with Kin Tut #922 Harem.

Sunrays

Finishing up at 20″ square this mini depicts so much on what I love about my garden in summer. Of course one other wonderful thing about summer is holiday time. I love heading back home to Ireland for a couple of weeks of camping and caravanning with my family. I can’t say I’m getting any sewing done, although I have plenty of projects with me I could be working on. Instead I’m making the most of some stunning sunny weather, enjoying dips in a crystal clear sea, and waking up to stunning views such as this one that inspired this mornings post.

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Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – July

July is in full swing, and for many that means Christmas in July and the start of their seasonal sewing. However for myself and Fiona over at Celtic Thistles Stitches it means that it is month seven of our Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew link party. We have been busy working away on our Christmas projects since the start of the year, with the aim of being extra organised this year, and each month we, and a series of guest hosts, have been hosting the Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew link party, sharing tutorials for handmade gifts and working on making sure that, unlike last year, we are very organised for Christmas this year.

Now I must admit that I very nearly didn’t make it to the party this month. It’s been a bit of a crazy time for me and the 18th literally snuck up on me without a single piece of Christmas sewing having been completed this month. Thankfully though my boys decided that this morning was a good day to wake up extra early, and the earlier than normal start allowed me to sneak in a couple of hours sewing. For a super quick make I decided on a pouch design I have been using a lot lately.

PouchThe design, which I am working on a tutorial for, is very simple and quick to make. The pouch has a boxed base and the covered button is purely decorative, hiding a sew-on magentic clasp underneath. My original plan for this month had been to make lots more of my Christmas ornaments because, although I have enough for myself, I do not yet have enough to gift. I may not have gotten around to making the ornaments yet, but now I do have the perfect package to gift them in.

OpenpouchAs I plan on gifting ornaments to more than one person I reckoned it was just as easy to make a few pouches as it was to make one, and so I completed three. Each has a slightly different flap shape but all were made to the same simple design.

3pouchesNow of course you can’t have a link party without somewhere to link-up all of your makes. This month’s link party is being hosted by the very talented Nicole over at Modern Handcraft. If you haven’t visited Modern Handcraft before then I urge you to do so as Nicole has no end of wonderful ideas and tutorials that will inspire you. In addition to hosting the link party this month Nicole is also sharing her tutorial for a really fun countdown to Christmas advent chain.

As with every link party there will be a random giveaway for all of those who link up. This month’s prize is a lovely fabric scrap bundle from Backstitch and you can see the bundle in question over on Fiona’s post. The link party remains open till the end of the month, so even if you haven’t started your sewing yet you still have plenty of time to do so and link up a finished project. I look forward to seeing all your makes.

Mini Mania

Mini quilts. I just love them. I love that I can quickly try out new designs and ideas, I love that I can constantly change what I am working on and I love that sometimes I can go from start to finish in the space of a day. I’ve made several mini quilts over the past month and today I’d like to share the first of these, “Tumbled”, with you.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins“Tumbled” began life as scraps. I started with a Very Berry Fabrics scrap pack of Liberty lawns. I love to keep a few of these always in my stash as they are a great source of fabrics for many of the mini projects I like to work on. I then teamed the Liberty scraps up with some plain off-white fabric. I tend to use a lot of this fabric in my various sewing projects and of course that means that I am forever generating plenty of scraps.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsTo make the quilt I simply chose nine coordinating scraps of Liberty lawns from the scrap pack and sashed each one in strips of the off-white fabric approximately 3″ wide – some were a little wider, some a little narrower depending on what the scraps yielded. Once all of the scraps were sashed I laid out the blocks in their final layout and then trimmed all of the blocks down so that the orientation of the Liberty centre of each block was always varied. The resulting blocks were always trimmed to 6.5″ high, but the widths varied within an inch. For each row of blocks I made sure that the sum of the widths of the three blocks in the row equalled 19.5″.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsOnce all nine blocks were joined to complete the mini quilt top I set about quilting it. For backing fabric I used “Vogelfrühling”, and organic German fabric featuring a Sybille Hein design.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI decided that a simple spiral would be the most effective quilting for this quilt as it enhanced the sense of movement and tumbling that the block arrangement conveyed.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsThe quilting was stitched with the same Aurifil #2021 I had used to piece the quilt. I finished the quilt off with with binding made from a blender in aquatic blue from the Simply Style Fabric Collection by V and Co. for Moda which picked up on the colours in many of the Liberty fabrics used.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsOne interesting trick I discovered with this quilts was how to iron with a saucepan! This mini was made for the Doll Quilter’s Monthly Swap. It was finished just before a long weekend here, when we were all heading off to my brother’s place in the mountains for the weekend. As I hadn’t had time to photograph it before I left I packed it up so that I could photograph it and post it when while we were away. I forgot that it would crease when packed and of course I want it mostly flat for photographing. Not having an iron I decided I’d go back to basics. One heavy bottomed saucepan gently heated, a bit of water in said saucepan for added weight and heat retention and it was job done!

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsFinishing up at 18″ aquare I can’t help but think that “Tumbled” would make a great starting block for a quilt. I have always wanted to make a quilt as you go quilt and I think that this mini could be the perfect starting block. With that idea in mind I have set up a basket of Liberty scraps and neutral strips which I am going to use as leaders and enders with a view to creating a set of these blocks as I stitch so that I can hopefully make a larger QAYG version of “Tumbled” in the future.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins