Poinsettia Pattern Testing

A couple of weeks ago Alyce over at Blossom Heart Quilts released Poinsettia, the latest pattern in her Making Merry series. I should have posted this then, but my slowly aging computer decided to become unworkable around that time and it has taken one quick rebuild and a full slow reinstall to get me back on track again. Anyway enough about computer problems and back to Poinsettia and how I got on with pattern testing this fun design.poinsettia-51inchI was delighted to be lucky enough to get to pattern test this latest design from Blossom Heart Quilts and I have to say that I am totally in love with it. The pattern is for a single block quilt as it comes with directions on how to make up the block in sizes ranging from 6” to 51” square it can be used for anything from a mug-rug to a lap quilt or baby quilt.

I tested the 51” block and it came together quickly and easily. The design is primarily composed of half square triangles (HSTs) and having invested in a Bloc Loc ruler earlier in the year I found these came together quickly and easily. Alyce provides instructions for making multiple HSTs at once in her pattern so it really couldn’t be quicker or easier to make.

There is no doubt that the finished block would have made a fabulous lap quilt but I already have quite a number of these, and, as a result, I decided to add 10” borders all round to bring the quilt up to 71” square which would allow me to still use it as a sofa throw but would also make it more practical as a bed quilt.

quilt-with-bordersI decided to mirror the outer leaves of the poinsettia with a larger flying goose centrally set in each border and I love how this focuses the view back into the central design. The quilt made its way to Patchwork in the Peaks with me recently where I got to play with Suki the Juki, a Juki QVP 2200 sit down long arm machine, and I used the opportunity to practice some stippling and to try my hand a ruler work. ruler-work

I also started to pebble the central section but I’m not sure if I’m happy with that decision so I haven’t yet completed it (or ripped it out to try something else).stippling

Although most of the quilting is finished the quilt is not yet finished, it’s the autumn school holidays here and between those, and time spent sorting out my computer, there has not been too much machine stitching over the past couple of weeks.

quilting Hopefully this week will see me finally decide how to finish the center of the poinsettia and then it’s just the small matter of binding the quilt, possibly my favourite part of the whole quilt making process, and burying the last of the threads. Here’s hoping there are no more distractions to keep me out of my sewing room!

If you too would like to try your hand at making a Poinsettia quilt, large or small, then you can now find the pattern over in Alyce’s shop along with the other great patterns in the Making Merry series.

My Sun Print Addiction

Hi, my name is Paula, and I have a Sun Print addiction. I am so totally in love with these fabrics from Alison Glass and find myself trying to use them as often as possible. As many of the projects that I work on are mini quilts or pillows I can thankfully stretch my little stash of Sun Print quite far.

Before my recent blogging break I had shown you a mini quilt and a pillow that I had begun working on for the Hand Pieced Mini Swap and the Big Stitch Swap respectively. I am sure that you are wondering how they both turned out so here they are in all vibrant glory.

mini-sp mini-labelpillow-spI have to admit finding it hard to send bother of their pieces on their respective journeys as I had fallen totally in love with the mix of Sun Print and texty fabrics in both, but send them I did and they were both delightfully received in their new homes.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in both of the aforementioned swaps and I was totally spoilt by the partners who made for me. In the Hand Pieced Mini Swap Kim (@kmj_creations) made me the most gorgeous mini featuring purples and aquas and it couldn’t be more perfect. handpieced-mini

These are my favourite colours and together they are just divine. The piecing on the mini is just exquisite and the design is set of beautifully by the hand quilting. Kim also made the most gorgeous little tweed basket for me, perfect for holding clover clips (or other sewing supplies) and if that wasn’t enough she filled up her package with some gorgeous purple fabric pieces and a package of shortbread. They are one of my favourite biscuits to enjoy with a cuppa and they was delicious!swap-extras

The package I received from Sarah of FairyFace Designs in the Big Stitch Swap contained a fun bundle of fabric scraps but the main star was the most stunning knitting needle case. kniotting-case

The design is so fun I just love the beautiful rainbow of fabrics that Sarah used to create it. Although I already had one needle case for the modern bamboo and wood needles that I have purchased myself of late, I was badly in need or a second as I also have a large collection of older knitting needles that I frequently use, many of which were inherited from grandmothers and great aunts. These poor needles had been living in some plastic bags till now and I am so delighted to finally have a good home for them. As autumn is finally making an appearance here I am slowly feeling the itch to knit again and I’m looking forward to really using my new needle case.

Since these swaps there have been a few more that I have completed. One of these was the Pillow Swap Four Seasons, which is a Flickr based swap. For the most recent Autumn round I found myself once more pulling out the Sun Print stash and working on some EPP. sp-pillow-epp

Unfortunately, I had to change track with the project when a minor finger injury meant I couldn’t do any hand sewing for a couple of weeks and wouldn’t be able to finish off the intended design in time for the swap. Thankfully I was able to machine sew a pillow that my partner was more than delighted with and the Sun Print EPP pillow, well that one is probably going to Patchwork in the Peaks with me this weekend to get finished, and then it’s off to live in the mountains where it will I will still be visiting it regularly and enjoying it every time I escape to the hills for some alpine fun with the boys.

Summer sewing

I am quite possibly the most uncommited blogger at the moment. My poor blog has languished over the past six months as I got to grips with finishing our move, unpacking the new house and then of course summer and all that goes with it. Despite feeling like it started late, summer did not disappoint this year and we have had plenty of sunshine and warmth. When it did arrive we pretty much took up residence in the garden and so the summer months have seen me work on lots of summer sewing, especially EPP projects.

EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsWhen I first took up EPP I was quite happy to work on smaller projects, mug rugs, mini quilts, pillows. Now I am in the process of trying to work on a couple of quilts. These are long term projects, pieces I can pick up as and when I have time. One will feature Alison Glass’s Sun Prints and has actually been a work in progress for about a year now. Because the individual blocks for that quilt finish at 10” square they are not the most portable, but are ideal if I want to pull out something at home.

EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and Pins EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsThe newer project features Liberty lawns. Having participated in a couple of fabric clubs over the past couple of years my stash of Liberty fat sixteenths had gotten to the stage where I really needed to dive in and start making good use of it. And that’s what I have started doing. EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and Pins

For my Liberty quilt I am using a Grunge background and making 6” EPP blocks, each of which will feature a different Liberty print. The blocks come together relatively quickly but I will need quite a few so I see me working on this project for quite some time – at least I can be sure that I will always have something to work on during my work commute. When the quilt is finally finished I think I may need to print up a photo book to accompany it so that I can really document all the different places it has been worked on.

EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and Pins EPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsAs my Instsgram feed can attest to it has been worked on in trains, planes and cars; on the sea shore while camping in Ireland, on top of Alps while on days out with the boys, poolside, in the garden, the playground, at the kids construction site and lake side. I’m sure that in the months ahead there will be plenty more out and about sewing and the finished quilt will definitely be able to tell a great story by the time it is completed.

Perfect seat to rest and sew - on Betelberg, Lenk, Switzerland | Mud, Pies and PinsEPP work in progress|Mud, Pies and PinsOther than EPP work I’ve participated in several swaps and have been working on finishing a few UFOs and PHDs, but more about those next time.

The one other task I have started in upon over the past couple of weeks is updating the blog. Having moved house earlier in the year and then office last month I’ve come to appreciate how much difference a new beginning/new surroundings can make and so I think the blog is in need of a new look and a spruce up to go with my new start back to blogging. Hopefully I’ll get that finished by the end of the month.

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!