A Fabric ATC – Working in Miniature

The 8th round of the Very Berry Handmade Fabric ATC swap is drawing to a close and now that I have both sent and received my ATC in this round I though I would share them with you here today.

An ATC is an artist’s trading card which has a standard size of 2.5″ x 3.5″. Needless to say when working on such a small sale designs are very much in miniature, and for the purpose of this swap they must be fabric based.

The theme of the swap was “Winter Comforts” so I thought of all the things that bring me comfort on those wet and cold winter days when I am enjoying a little me time indoors and incorporated them into my design.

Winter Comforts Fabric ATC sent | Mud, Pies and PinsI used some texty fabric as a background, reminiscent of both the books I love to read and the fabrics I love to sew with. I added a little mat composed of mini 1/4″ Liberty hexies because I do so love EPP projects, and I do actually love sewing such mini hexies as part of such projects. Then I added a little red tea-pot, because there is nothing better than a nice pot of tea to work through as one reads/creafts away. The final addition was a little knitted tea cosy because knitting is yet another of my favourite winter hobbies.

I used some mink and mohair wools to knit the tea cosy, both were left over from various scarf and hat projects that I had worked on last year. Because I wanted tiny stitches I improvised with a pair of darning needles to create a pair of knitting needles for myself.

Miniature knitting | Mud, Pies and PinsThe card that I received was so very thoughtful and full of meaning. My partner had obviously been following me on Instagram as she told me she had been inspired by a photo I had posted some weeks back of primroses peeking through some snow.

Primroses in the snow | Mud, Pies and PinsHer other additions to the card represented my love of handcrafts, and my love of spening time with family and friends. Defintiely real comforts and such a meaningful way to interpret the theme. I couldn’t have wished for a nicer card!

Winter Comforts Fabric ATC received | Mud, Pies and PinsAs ever there have been lots of different interpretations of the theme and a whole host of magnificent cards made by all of the participants in the swap. If you want to see more of them you will find plenty of photos of the cards in the swap Flickr group and Ali, who organises the swap, has also written a lovely round-up post over on Very Berry Handmade. Maybe you will be inspired to make some ATCs of your own or to join in the next round of the swap?

Projects for the New Year – WiP Wednesday

Last week I shared a quick recap of my main sewing projects of 2015. As it’s WiP Wednesday I thought today would be a good time to share a little of what 2016 has in store so far.

My first sewing project this year will be a spring pillow for the first round of the Flickr Pillow Swap Four Seasons group. This is one of the very few swaps that I still participate in. I discovered the group last year at the start of the summer round and am so very delighted I did as it is a really wonderful group that I am proud to be a member of. At the moment I’m working on a spring pillow which will showcase an EPP design featuring a few of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints.

EPP WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsIn addition to my EPP I’ve also got some cross stitch and some knitting on the go. Cross stitch is something I used to do a lot of in the past and something that I return to periodically. At the moment I’m working on two pieces. The first is a night time scene, and it often replaces EPP as my #sewingonthetrain on-the-go sewing because I find this piece easiest to stitch when I can avail of the great lighting a window seat on the train offers.

Cross stitch WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThe second is a whimsical little picture that my sister had started but not finished. Being much lighter it’s much easier to stitch any time of the night or day so it’s at the ready to pick up and put down when I have a few minutes to spare.

Cross stitch WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsKnitting is something that I find myself working on a lot in the colder winter months and now that it feels properly wintery here the needles are out and I’m working on a new project. When we were up the mountains over the Christmas holidays I found myself drawn to a woollen blanket and pillow set in the window of the local craft store that I passed each day as I dropped the boys to ski school. By the end of our two weeks there I had given in and purchased the wool I needed to make said blanket. This weekend I had some time to get started while everyone was out skiing so I cast on the 255 stitched I needed and, after a little internet research to find the correct pattern, the English translation in the German pattern book was most definitely wrong , I got the first few rows knitted. This is going to be a holiday project, one that I plan on working on when we head to the mountains for weekends of wintery fun.

Knitting WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsI had some great plans to dive straight into some quilting in the New Year and at the end of last year I had purchased plenty of batting to allow me to finally finish off some UFOs that have been sitting around for far too long. Unfortunately, these are going to have to wait a little longer, but for a very exciting reason.

We’re moving house! We knew that a move was on the cards for some time in the next few years but didn’t expect it to be quite so imminent. At the end of last year we saw a house for sale that was just what we knew we’d be looking for when we had to leave this one (which is going to be demolished in a few years to make way for a motorway) so we sold this one, bought the new one and now we’re getting ready to move. My corner of the sitting room sewing space is all packed up and soon I will finally be able to move my sewing out of the family living space and into a dedicated sewing and crafting room. To say I’m excited about it all is an understatement!

Moving WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsI know that moving is going to keep me busy for the next couple of months so I’ve got the perfect post move break planned, one that will also allow me to tackle the UFO problem that I had intended to be dealing with right now. I’ve signed up for Peaks 9, the next Patchwork in the Peaks retreat in April. Instead of having a specific retreat project as usual, the idea for Peaks 9 is that we all bring WiPs (works in progress), UFOs (unfinished objects), PhDs (projects half done) and any other other bits and pieces that we all have lying around our sewing rooms just begging for our attention and we work on finishing them. The first things that I will be packing is my unfinished broken herringbone quilt top.

Broken Herringbone WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThis top really is too small for what I now want to use it for but I think with the addition of some solid borders, it will transform nicely into a much larger quilt.

Broken herringbone WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThe second project I want to work on at Peaks is the improv Carkai quilt top that I began work on late last year. I have about half of the blocks sewn to date and I’m planning on finishing the remainig blocks at Peaks and, if time allows, the quilt itself.

Carkai improv blocks WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsIf you too have a pile of UFOs sitting around and feel like a nice springtime break in the French Alps then why not come and join in the Peaks fun too. just think of how nice it would be to finally finish some of those pieces you’ve been meaning to get back to while at the same time enjoying a fun filled retreat with great company, amazing hospitality from our hosts at Chalet Les 4 Vents and stunning views like this.

Peaks Retreat View - WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and Pins

Linking up with Lee’s Work In Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Quilting Memories of the Year Gone By

Happy New Year. I do hope it has started well for all of you. For many I know that the start of a new year filled with new resolutions and new beginnings but for me I think it’s going to be a mix of both new beginnings and more of the same. Before I start into the new year let me begin with a recap of some memories from the year gone by.

2015 was, for me, very much the year of the pillow. At home there were pillows for all the family. For my husband I finally finished the EPP Liberty Death Star I had intended for his 2014 birthday (I used quirky granola girl’s wonderful pattern for this one).

Liberty Death Star Pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsThere was yet more EPP for my older son who gained a Stegosaurus pillow;

EPP Stegosaurus pillow | Mud, Pies and Pinsand for myself there was another of my own designs featuring some pretty red Liberty fabrics.

EPP Liberty pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsThe final family pillow went to my youngest little minion!

Minion pillow  | Mud, Pies and PinsOn top of the family pillows I also made several to swap. I started the year with one for the Liberty of London round 2 swap on Instagram,

EPP Liberty pillow | Mud, Pies and Pins

Photo courtesy of @misspo

And this was followed by summer, autumn and winter pillows for the Flickr based Pillow Four Seasons Swap group that I remain a member of.

Tangram fish pillow | Mud, Pies and Pins EPP maple leaf pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsFestive pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsWhen it comes to quilts I had thought that my output was very low in 2015, but when I actually tallied up what I had made I was more than delighted with my output. I started in spring with some tangram fun,

EPP tangram bunnies quilt | Mud, Pies and Pinsthen followed that up with my Painted Harmony”, the quilt I made at the Peaks 7 springtime retreat.

Painted Harmony quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsNext up was a gift for my godson, that had been far too long in the making,

Trains and cats boy's quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

And after that I got back to my love of playing with dark backgrounds with a quilt made to celebrate the launch of the Fat Quarter Shop’s Delectable Mountains quilt pattern.

Delectable Mountains | Mud, Pies and PinsFor the Instagram Hand Pieced Mini Swap I paired up some Denyse Schmidt fabrics with another of my own EPP designs to create an octagonal mini:

EPP Octagonal mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI then finished off the year with two final quilts, my largest finishes to date. The first was an improv birches design that was my main make at the Peaks 8 retreat,

Improv birches quilt | Mud, Pies and Pinsthe other, a UFO (un-finished object) that finally made its way back on to my sewing table and is probably my favourite quilt at the moment.

Surround star quilt  | Mud, Pies and PinsInterspersed between all of these projects were numerous smaller makes including some knitting, crochet and even some cross stitching and all in all I think I can safely conclude that 2015 was quite a productive year for me. As for the year ahead, well I have plenty of plans and I hope to see you back here next week when I will share some of those with you all.

Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – December

Well here we are at the end of the year. There’s just a week to go till the big day and it’s time for the last Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew link party of the year. I hope that, like myself and my co-host Fiona from Celtic Thistle Stitches, you’ve been getting organised throughout the year, but if you still have some last minute sewing to do then don’t despair because there still is time to get it done.

Ho Ho Ho button 300In case you still need some inspiration for some last minute sewing projects then let me give you a quick reminder of all the great ideas shared by our guest hosts throughout the year.

January: Fiona kicked off the year with her Christmas Cushion
February: Pam at Threading My Way showed us how to make a great Drawstring Gift Bag
March: Sally at Wonky Patchwork made some beautiful Clara and Nutcracker Dolls
April: Benta at SLIK stitches shared her Advent Calendar
May: Karen at Practically Pippy had some adorable Christmas Mice to share
June: Ruth at Charly & Ben’s Crafty Corner introduced us to her So Frosty Quilt Pattern
July: Chelsea at Patch the Giraffe made a beautiful Christmas Tree pillow cover and
Martha at Weekend Doings shared a very practical iPad cover
August: Deborah at Sunshine through the Rain showed us how to make Envelope Christmas Stockings
September: Karen at Practically Pippy returned with a Gift Card Holder and Mug Rugs
October : Sandra at Sandra Sews :) shared a great Novelty Pouch zip and  Nesta at Ella & Nesta’s Little Room were full of inspiration with Fabric Furin Wind Chime Gift Tags and Fabric covered drawing pins
November: Joanne at Rose and Dahlia made a fun Christmas Stocking Grippy holder

To round off the year I’m going to share my tutorial for a clutch pouch. It’s a design I use for so many different purposes, it can even be easily transformed into a doll’s sleeping bag and best of all it’s a really quick make.

Clutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsBefore I get to that though let me take the time to tell you about this month’s link party (which you’ll find at the bottom of this post) and the wonderful giveaway prize we have to share with one lucky person who links up their finishes for this month. This month our prize has been sponsored by Rebecca at Sew Hot who will be giving one lucky winner the kit and pattern for this stunning Mini Norway quilt.

Isn’t it just beautiful! If you’re not familiar with Sew Hot then I urge you to pop on over and have a browse through their store as they not only carry quilting supplies but they also have a wonderful range of kits and patterns for soft toys, bags and lots more.

I have to give a big thank you to Sew Hot for sponsoring us this month and to all of the wonderful sponsors who have been so generous in sponsoring our giveaways throughout the year.

Crafty TrimmingsLogo Sew Hot
Plush Addict Logo

As I’ve already mentioned this month I’m sharing the tutorial for the clutch pouch I find myself making time and time again.

Clutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsFor this pouch you will need two equal sized pieces of matching or contrasting fabric – one for the outer shell of the pouch, the other for the lining. You will also need a piece of fusible fleece to line the outer fabric.

The amount of fabric you will need will be dependent on the size of pouch you want to make. First decide on the width and depth of pouch you would like, and the depth of flap you pouch will have. To figure out what size your fabric pieces will need to be use the following simple formula:

Width of fabric = width of finished pouch + 0.5”

Length of fabric = 2 times the depth of the finished pouch + the depth of the fished flap + 0.5”

The fusible fleece (1 piece) should be cut 0.5” narrower and shorter than your fabric pieces.

materialsPlease note that, because the outer shell of the pouch is cut from one single piece of fabric, directional fabrics are not ideal for this project as the print on the back of the pouch will appear upside-down on the finished pouch. You can of course piece the outer shell from several pieces of fabric if you wish to avoid this problem, or if you simply want to add some contrast and added interest to the flap as I like to do. In the diagram above I have indicated the direction the print should lie in a pieced outer fabric.

Once you have your outer and lining fabric pieces cut start by attaching the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the outer fabric according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have fusible fleece you can of course use normal quilt batting and simply quilt the outer fabric and batting together.

Lined frontPlace your lined/quilted outer fabric and lining right sides together. On the non-flap end stitch the two pieces together with a standard 0.25” seam. Using pins or a marking tool mark the start of the flap on each of the long sides of the lining. Using the first mark as a starting point stitch up the side seam of the flap, across the bottom and down the second side seam till you reach you second marker.

Stitched layersWhen sewing the flap you can easily change the design depending on how you sew it. Maybe curve the corners, taper them in or add some waves to the bottom of the flap.

Flap designOnce the flap and bottom seams are sewn the next step is to pull the lining fabric to one side so that it lies folded in half, right sides together, with the outer fabric on the other side, also folded in half right sides together. Sew the side seams of both these pieces, taking care not to catch the flap in the seams, and making sure to leave an opening in one of the side seams to allow you to turn the pouch inside out.

Stitched layers2Clip all your corners and trim seams as necessary before turning the pouch inside out and finishing off the seam in the lining with a whip stitch. Tuck the lining inside the pouch and press well to finish. For a more finished look you can add a row of top stitching around the edges of the flap and the top front of the pouch.

Clutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsTo keep the pouch closed I like to use sew-on magnetic clasps, buttons (with a buttonhole or two added to the flap), velcro or snap poppers. All of these can be added at the end, and if using magnetic clasps, velcro or poppers I usually also stitch a covered button onto the front of the pouch to cover the stitching.

If you want a pocket you can easily stitch one in place on the lining fabric before piecing the pouch together. I have even added pockets the full width and depth of the pouch on occasion so that the finished pouch is essentially divided in two.

PocketTo use this pouch as a dolls sleeping bag I simply stuffed some wadding into the flap of the pouch after I had turned the pouch right side out and then added a line of sewing across the flap/bag at the point where the flap met the back of the bag so that it became a pillow instead of a flap.

Clutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsI do hope you will have a go at making this pouch. The possibilities for it are really quite endless. You can make it as large (ipad sized perhaps) or small as you like, add pockets, box out the bottom corners, maybe add a wriststrap sewn into the side seam. I’ve used it to make a sunglasses case, a camera pouch, countless sewing pouches and my son has even added a webbing strap to one to make himself a bag.

Clutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsClutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsClutch pouch tutorial | Mud, Pies and PinsIf you do decide to make a pouch this month I’d love to see it, and of course I am looking forward to seeing all of those festive finishes that you have to share. You can link them up below and as ever the link party will remain open till the end of the month.

Happy sewing and happy holidays!

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Friends used to ask me how I manage to find time to create and blog with two little boys in the house keeping me busy and I have to say that it was never really a problem. I sewed at night, grabbed computer time when I could during the day and just like that I got it all done. That was the time when I used to blog frequently. When I used to spend time each day catching up on the blogs I follow with Bloglovin. When I used to post to Instagram and facebook. But lately it feels like I do none of those things. My blog is rather neglected, my Bloglovin feed features hundreds of unread posts and both Instagram and facebook are strangely quiet. The only one constant, now in the background, is that I continue to create.

I have not been sharing but I think it’s time I made a serious effort to change all that. The year is drawing to a close and many of you, I’m sure, are in the midst of a last minute rush to get presents or home decor items finished in time for the festive season. I must admit that I am, for the most part, fairly organised and so as we countdown these final few weeks of the year I am going to use the time to do my best to share once more.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins Today I’m going to start with my “Acid Star” quilt. This quilt resulted from a single big block top that I had pulled from my UFO pile a couple of months ago. At 48” square the single block top was originally made as part of the Star Surround Quilt Along hosted by Melissa from happy Quilting back in 2013. My original plan was to make a single block light throw quilt for the sofa but as soon as I pulled it I knew I wanted to make it a bit bigger and more versatile. After playing around in the only design space available to me – the garden – I quickly added a couple of borders and made it up to a more practical 68” square.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

Back when I made the original top I had purchased some Calypso Frogs fabric by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush Studio fabric that I had intended to back the quilt with. Thankfully I had purchased enough yardage to still allow me to use the fabric for my larger version of the quilt.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI had a packet of Quilter’s Dream wool batting in my stash that I was eager to try out and as luck would have it was just the perfect size for this project. The only one problem that remained was finding space to base the quilt. Our house is small so there wasn’t a single room with the free floor space to baste a quilt of that size so out to the garden I went once more. I set up one of our picnic tables, got out some clamps and set to spray basting it section by section on the table top.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsFrom the minute I first lifted the basted quilt I was in love with the drape and feel of the quilt and I knew that I wanted to keep the quilting light to retain as much of the drape and loft as I could. I opted to simply echo quilting the various sections of the quilt with Aurifil threads in matching colours.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI finished the quilt using V & Co’s Simply Color lime green ombre fabric for the binding, yet another stash find. It really pulls the design together perfectly and adds that extra pop of colour at the edges that, I think, really helps give the central star surround design some extra pop.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsThis is my biggest finish to date, and surprisingly it is also one of my favourites. I say surprisingly because the original top left me uninspired, I fell out of love with it as I was making it and I think that is why it languished in my UFO pile for so long. The addition of the borders, the bright and fun background print, the drape, the warmth… all of these things have added so much to this quilt that now it brings a great big smile to my face each and every day.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsGiven how quick this quilt was to originally make (one evening) and finally finish (one day) there is a part of me that is feeling guilty that I did not finish it a lot sooner. That said, there is also part of me that knows that, had I done so, I may not have been as happy with the finished result as I am now. Time works wonders and in this case it most defintiely gave me the experience and knowledge to let me take something I deemed imperfect and transform it into somethign I could not have previously imagined.