Still Moving, Still Sewing!

It’s a week for celebrating. Today I celebrate the fifth anniversary of my first quilt finish and tomorrow we celebrate our first month anniversary in our new house. It’s been a busy month and we’re still not 100% finished with our move but we’re almost there. For the most part the move went smoothly. We boxed up bit by bit, moved day by day and once moved in properly we started to slowly unpack. And that’s pretty much what we’re still doing. It’s a slow process because it’s one that needs a lot of thought and planning. I started to unpack a few weeks ago but only really got the office portion up and running as that was a priority for work. The rest of the room remains in boxes as I try to get a feel for the space and how best to use it and more importantly how best to organise storage in the room. For the past few years I’ve been working out of assorted boxes and bags that were hidden behind the sofa and stacked under my sewing table so now I am determined to take the time to get this space just right from the off.

Sun Prints EPP work in progress | Mud, Pies and PinsDespite the lack of a proper sewing space I’ve not been idle. A couple of English Paper Piecing (EPP) projects have been keeping me company over the past few weeks and I’ve also been doing some micro cross-stitch. Just as I got ready to move notice of sign-ups for round 2 of the Big Stitch Swap and the Hand Pieced Mini Swap appeared on Instagram. I had thoroughly enjoyed both of these swaps last year and couldn’t resist signing up again. Despite the move the timing for both of these honestly couldn’t have been better. Because both swaps involve hand stitching or hand piecing they have given me the opportunity to keep sewing without the need for a fully functional sewing room. I can sit in my office corner, sew away and give plenty of thought to how the sewing room needs to be once organised.

Sun Prints EPP work in progress | Mud, Pies and PinsFor both projects I’m using Alison Glass’s Sun Prints and assorted text prints to stitch up some of my own designs. For the Big Stitch Swap I think I will be converting the finished piece into a cushion. The Hand Pieced Mini will be a mini quilt of course, although I still need to decide if it will finish up square or more hexagonal in shape. That is a question that I think will answer itself as I continue to work on it.

Not having a sewing area set up could make it a little difficult to finish off these projects as I really don’t fancy the idea of doing all of the finishing by hand. However, perfect timing kicks in once more as this weekend I head off to Patchwork in the Peaks 9 for yet another weekend of quilty fun. Instead of having a specific project this time we are going to be working on our WIPs, PhDs and UFOs. I have a couple of quilty projects that I intend to bring but I’ll also be hoping to finish off these smaller pieces as well.

Mini hoop and mini owl cross stitch | Mud, Pies and PinsThe third project that I am in the process of finishing up at the moment is some micro cross-stitch that I making for the Very Berry Mini Hoop Swap. I stitched the owl a couple of weeks ago and now I am finishing it off with a little tree. I stitched the Owl with a single floss of embroidery cotton but decided for a change in texture I would try some Aurifil 40wt for the tree. I picked a variegated thread, Mocha Mousse #4671, and am loving how well the changes in colour work in the tree. This has been a challenging project mainly because of the tiny stitch size. I’ve found that it has been only possible to work on it in good daylight and have somehow I’ve managed to get much of the stitching done on the train. I think I will get a real sense of achievement seeing this guy all finished off and properly mounted in his mini hoop.

Hoping to see you all again after Peaks when I’ll hopefully have lots to share. In the meantime you can always keep an eye on my stitching adventures over on facebook and Instagram.

Moving Time!

After months of slowly packing and moving bits and pieces the time has finally come for us to move properly into our new house. This weekend, with the help of several wonderful family members and friends, we shall undertake the final move! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am about starting this next chapter in our family life. We’ve had close to 12 amazing years in our existing home and will of course be sad to leave, but we have definitely outgrown this little house so the change is a most welcome one.

MovingFor my blog that means there will be a few changes behind the scenes as well. As it is self hosted and run from our own in-house server it too must move. The downside of this is that the blog will be off-line for couple of days over the weekend as we move and reinstall all our computers in their new abode. Fingers crossed all will go seamlessly and that all shall be back up and running normally at the start of next week.

Looking forward to seeing you all again soon!

A Spring Pillow Part 2 – Snow and Sew

After a short delay at customs and then another wait at the post office I’m delighted to say that the spring pillow (or cushion as I would usually say) I had made for my partner in the Pillow Swap Four Seasons finally made it safely to its new home late last week. I’ve shared plenty of sneak peeks on social media over the past couple of months and it’s lovely to finally be able to share the finished pillow here now.

 EPP Spring Pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsThe top was pieced using Alison Glass’s Sun Prints with a Moda Grunge background and I used one of my own EPP designs for the pattern. I’ve stitched variations of this design in the past, the original didn’t feature leaves, and when I did introduce the leaves they were done so on a version that was designed to be appliquéd onto a background fabric, rather than pieced into a block as I did with this version. I really enjoy playing with my designs in this way, refining them and finding the most flexible uses for them, and this design is definitely becoming a firm favourite of mine, especially in its current form.

Although I had finished the piecing of the top during various train commutes and other outings at the start of the year, finishing the pillow was put on hold till close to the posting deadline as my sewing space had been packed up and mostly moved to our new house. February means sports week here; a week when schools close so that families can escape to the hills to enjoy some winter sports. Needing a break from all the packing and moving, and not wanting my boys to miss out on the snowy fun, we headed for the hills.

Snow in the Alps | Mud, Pies and PinsAs I don’t ski (yet) I packed my machine and a few sewing supplies in anticipation of finishing the pillow and making something small as an added extra to go with it. I had originally thought of sewing a pouch or travel sewing set but quickly realised that with my available sewing supplies I was rather limited in what I could make. The solution – a second smaller pillow.

Spring Pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsI cut into my tiny stash of Sun Prints and low volume fabrics, played around with some HSTs and came up with a design that I felt complemented the main pillow.

 EPP Spring Pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsOther than some clover clips and pins I think that the photos above show the extent of the stash and equipment that I had available to me and I have to admit that I really enjoyed getting back to basics on this second pillow. There was no pre-drafting of ideas on the computer, no designing and printing of patterns, no calculating of measurements beyond the simple cutting up of 5″ charm squares as the basis for the HSTs. It was so much fun to simply just create and it is something I need to do a lot more often.

And the finished pillow, well I think you’ll agree that it is every bit as spring like as its bigger partner.

HST Spring Pillow | Mud, Pies and PinsWith the spring time swap now finished it will soon be time to turn my attention to the summer round. Sign-ups for that round opened today over on the Flickr group and I was quick to add my name to the list. This swap is so very well run by Karen (from easypatchwork) and Sandra (from Hohenbrunner Quilterin) and is made up of such a wonderful group of talented and engaging ladies that I thoroughly enjoy it and am more than eager to participate in for as long as it continues to run.

Luckily for me the timing of the summer round couldn’t be more perfect. We’re planning on finishing our big move within the next two weeks so by the time I get my partner information I should be getting my sewing room up and running and will be ready to dive back in to sewing with some new projects. In the meantime I shall continue to pack and move and to wonder when spring will properly arrive in something other than pillow form as I look out the window and see snow falling once again.Spring Pillows | Mud, Pies and Pins

 

A Pillow for Spring

Spring is just around the corner, although this winter there have been so many times here when it feels as if spring arrived days, if not weeks, ago. It’s been a mild winter, the primroses have been in bloom since December, along with the snowdrops and in some places the crocuses. The past few weeks have seen gardens spring into life. But each time we hang up the hats and scarfs in favour of much lighter wear the snow descends (for a few days at least) and we are reminded that it is in fact still winter. The one consistently spring like activity here has been my participation in the spring 2016 round of the Flickr based Pillow Swap Four Seasons.

I have shared sneak peaks and work in progress shots of the pillow that I made for my partner here, on Instagram and on Flickr and while the pillow is finished it is still en route to my partner so I am going to hold off on the final reveal until she has received it. Today I would like to show you the amazing pillow that I was lucky enough to receive in this round of the swap.

Spring pillowIsn’t it just magnificent! I just love how my partner Bettina combined three different designs so effectively. She has also chosen fabrics that feature such beautifully vibrant colours which I think makes the pillow all the more striking. It really is such an inspirational piece and I look being able to really enjoy it properly once we finish moving house next month.

I really was spoilt by Bettina because my swap package also contained this darling pincushion. It is so beautifuly made and features yet more gorgeous fabrics, and that button on top… I love it! It is going to look stunning in my new sewing room, and I can’t wait till I can get back to sewing properly again and really make good use of it, and the box of pins that Bettina was kind enough to send with it.

Spring pincushionHopefully the pillow that I sent on to my swap partner will arrive soon as I will be able to share that with you then. In the meantime I’ll be off filling more moving boxes, doing what crafting I can in the little free time that I have, and staying warm as it looks like winter is paying us another of it’s mini visits! Spring pillow snow

 

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?