Do stop in on the Round the World Blog Hop

Last week Karen over at easypatchwork tagged me in the round the world blog hop. I first got to know Karen through the monthly Doll Quilt Swap in which I particiapte. She was my first swap partner and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to the swap group. I’ve not yet met Karen in person but all of that is about to change as we will both be attending the Peaks 6 retreat in the French Alps at the weekend. Needless to say I am really looking forward to the weekend.

But as this post is supposed to me an introduction to me and my blog I guess I had better tell you a few things about myself.

1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on?

First of all let’s change the “thing” in that question to “things”. There are always at least a few different projects on the go here. At any given time I always have a couple of on-the-go projects as well as a few different larger and small projects on my sewing table. At the moment my on the go projects are my version of the Lilipopo christmas lists stitch along, the last step of which I plan to finish on the train to and form work today, as well as more of my English Paper Pieced (EPP) Liberty butterflies.

LilipopoOn my work table there is a quilt for my nephew that was started a few months ago and which is top of my to-finish list now that autumn is here and the evenings are getting cooler. There are also three mini quilts in various stages of production. One of these is for the monthly doll quilt swap group in which I am a participant, the others are for the IGMiniSwap and for the Little Quilt,Sew,Vote,Swap Group that I recently joined on Flickr.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My work differes in that it is largely my own. I am not a fan of patterns and remaking the desings of other. I much prefer to design my own pieces. As a totally self taught quilter I don’t believe in rules. I love to play with techiniques and ideas in non-traditional ways to make them my own and to make what I want to make with the techniques I choose to use. A prime example of this would be my EPP work. I started with designing EPP Liberty butterflies and am working on an ever expanding collection of these for a quilt I plan to make.

ButterlfiesI have taken these ideas and designs to make a smaller prototype version of the quilt which also incorporates some Quilt As You Go (QAYG) blooms of my own design.

butterflyquiltNot content to just create butterflies I have also used my skills with EPP to design and make dragonflies, a camera and even a teddy bear. There are several more designs in the works as I play around with using EPP to create a whole host of unique designs.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I have always loved to create. I knit, sew, crochet, quilt, cross stitch and embroider and am always in the process of creating new items. In recent years I have started to use the Internet and blogs more and more in order to find new information, learn new skills or to help me to fabricate new ideas. Because I have learned so much from so many others over the years it felt only right that I too should start to share my work, ideas and ideals and in the process maybe help some others in the same way I have been helped over the years.

Mermaid4. How does my writing/creating process work?

I have never really thought much about either my writing or my designing /creative process. When it comes to creativity I find that I draw inspiration from all manner of sources. In the past I would often just sit down and sketch out ideas with pen and paper as they came to me. More recently I find that I have become much more reliant on modern technology. I will often pull out my camera phone to photo something that sparks off an idea in my head, add a caption to the photo to remind me of why I took it and then come back to that idea when trying to desing something. I will regularly sit down to my computer to sketch ideas for blocks, quilts or EPP designs.

Dragonfly 2.svg - Inkscape 28092014 223722My writing process is almost scientific in it’s evolution. Having trained as a fisheries biologisist and having been used to writing scientific articles for publication in journals, and elsewhere, I pretty much use the same techniques I always used in the past when writing for my blog. I start with the topic, ensure that the strucutre of the writing includes an approximation of introduction, results and discussion sections and that each has the appropriate illustrations. It is not something I really think about or plan but rather something I pretty much do as I go.

So there you have it, a little bit about me and my blog. To keep this hop rolling around the world I’d like to tag two friends of mine who I hope will introduce themselves and their blogs next monday, October 6th.

Elisabeth over at Shark’s Dinner has been a good friend of mine since I moved to Switzerland over 10 years ago. She’s always been a great sewer and has never failed to wow with her creations. In more recent years she has taken up quilting and I never cease to be bowled over by the beautiful pieces she creates. Her EPP designs are particularly stunning.

Francine from Mochawildchild is another talented quilter whom I first met earlier this year when I attended my first ever retreat, Peaks 5. I find her style to be bright and modern and she has a great eye for colour and desing combinations.

I hope that you have enjoyed visiting with me and my stop on the hop and that you will continute to follow it and join in the fun as it makes it’s way around the world!

Snap Happy

Given a method: English Paper Piecing (EPP), an item: mug rug, and an idea/theme to chose from: baking, cooking, camping, home design, or photography, what would you make? Me, I decided on a photography themed mug rug.

I started with some mini hexies, tiny quarter inch hexies in Liberty lawns, which I made into simple hexie blooms.

HexiebloomsThen I pieced some more Liberty lawns, this time using an EPP design of my own. Before long I had the structure of a camera coming together.

PiecingcameraOf course to make a mug rug I needed a base and so I pieced together some Sketch fabric in grey and green along with a little white cotton to give me a base to use for the mug rug.

BaseThe idea was that I wanted to create a mug rug that featured both a camera and a photo. I deliberately made this base too large so that I could trim it to size at an angle, so that the photo would lie at an angle, as if it has just been tossed down.

basetrimmedOnce I had this base completed I appliquéd my EPP designs in place before going on to create a quilt sandwich and then to quilt the mug rug. I kept the quilting simple, some leaves on the green background of the photo and stitch in the ditch quilting to highlight the photo and camera.

Leavesquilted CameraquiltedBound in some more Sketch, this time pink, the end result was a fun little mug rug, perfect for someone who loves photography.

MugrugfinsihedThis was fun little project to make, espeically as it gave me the chance to play around with using EPP creatively as I do so love to do. I’m sure I will use this design again in the future and my next challenge for then will of course be to come up with some new and fun photo ideas using EPP.

Mugrug

Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew – September

Do you remember making paper snowflakes when you were younger? Maybe you still make them? I remember making them but haven’t actually done so for quite a number of years. As a result I must admit it took a little googling for me to figure out how to properly fold some paper so I could make some snowflakes.

Snowflakes | Mud, Pies and PinsNow I know you must be wondering why I am making snowflakes in September, especially if, like me, you are experiencing a wonderful Indian summer. Needless to say I do have a great reason to be playing around wtih some snowflakes. In a bid to ensure that we were well and truly organised for Christmas this year myself and Fiona over at Celtic Thistle Stitches, along with a series of guest hosts, have been hosting the monthly Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew link party since the start of this year.Christmas Link Party Button2The idea behind the link party is simple. Each month you link up what you have been making that month as part of your preparation for Christmas. Each month’s link party will be accompanied by a tutorial to inspire your gift or decor making, and there is a giveaway for those who link up their finished makes. This month’s link party is being hosted by Fiona herself and she is sharing a great tutorial on who to make a Christmas lampshade. You have from now until the end of the month to join in and link up your makes and if you do you could win a beautiful 20m roll of Christmas ribbon that has been sponsored by Kellie over at Plush Addict.

beri_13500_1I am sure that you must have guessed by now that my make this month has involved some snowflakes. Inspired by the paper snowflakes I got crafting with some fabric scraps. I started by picking out a few scraps which I trimmed to 3″ square and backed with fusible interfacing.

Making fabric snowflakes | Mud, Pies and PinsI then removed the paper backing from the interfacing and used each of the interfaced squares to cut a snowflake in the same way I would do so from paper. Now I must admit this wasn’t easy as not only were the squares quite small to start with but the fabric is also considerably thicker than paper, especially when the fusible interfacing has been added. But with a little patience I got the job done.

Making fabric snowflakes | Mud, Pies and PinsI fused these snowflakes to card or backing fabric and then used them to make a series of snowflake Christmas cards. They may be relatively simple but they are very much my style and while the snowflakes are far from perfect I love the individuality that each has and I know that the cards will be appreciated by those for who they are intended.

Fabric snowflake cards | Mud, Pies and PinsNow it’s your turn. What Christmas makes have you completed this month? I look forward to seeing what you have to add to the link party over at Celtic Thistle Stitches. If you’ve not had the chance to make anything yet this month then don’t worry as you still have plenty of time to get creative and you can find links to all of the past months’ tutorials on my Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew page if you are stuck for inspiration.

Fields of Flowers

When Ali over at Very Berry Handmade announced round 4 of her fabric ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap I was quick to sign up as I had had great experiences in the previous two rounds in which I had taken part. I really enjoyed the challenges of making these small 2.5×3.5″ ATCs, loved being part of the swap community on Flickr and best of all received two stunning little ATCs that now sit proudly on the shelf next to my desk where I can admire them daily.

Fabric ATCs | Mud, Pies and PinsEach swap round has had a theme and this time the theme was “Getting Away from it All”. When I read my partners likes I knew we had a lot in common and I decided to draw from my own experiences and loves to make her ATC. With a busy family life it is often the simple things like train journeys or Sunday afternoon drives that really let me just get away from it all, even if only for a short time. I love those trips throught he country, love the colours and ever changing sceenery. I decided that is was some of these colours that were going to appear on my card and when I spied these spools of thread sitting beside my machine I instantly knew what Iw as going to stitch.

SpoolsI started with a blue background of Stonehenge fabric and added a few scraps of Micahel Miller’s Fairy Frost.

Fabric ATCs | Mud, Pies and PinsOnce last scrap, this time a purple Stonehenge fabric, and I was ready to start the sewing.

Fabric ATCs | Mud, Pies and PinsI did some thread painting in various shades, added some french knots and a little beading and after trimming and backing produced “Flower Fields of France”

FinishedATC

Fabric ATCs | Mud, Pies and Pins

This ATC pulls together some of the colours and sights I love: the iconic lavender fields of Provence in France, the sunflower/rapeseed fields that I regularly see locally and the fields of poppies that I have on ocassion delighted in seeing. This card is now somewhere ên route to my partner and I hope that she will enjoy it every bit as I have enjoyed making it for her.

If you’d like to see more of the swap ATCs then why not pop over to visit the swap Flickr group where you can admire all of the beautiful creations made during this and previous round of the swap.

Because it’s Tuesday I’m linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday over at Blossom Heart Quilts.

Once upon a time…

… there was a bear called Barnaby.

BarnabybearBarnaby was a crocheted bear, fully jointed and full of fun. But he was all alone and in need of some company.

And so it was that after a few evenings spent crocheting Pingping the panda became Barnaby’s first friend.

PingpingbearNow these two boys were full of mischief and so I decided they needed someone a little more serious to keep them in check. Theodore the musical mohair bear soon came to keep them company. He was the biggest bear, but far from gruff. One press of his tummy and he played a pretty lullaby for all to relax to.

TheodorebearBut of course three boys were determined to have even more fun than two and there were plenty of adventures to be had.

Climbingtrees Gatheringnuts PlayingtruckAnd so one evening I hatched a plan. I decided that what these boys really needed was a little lady to keep them from getting up to too much mischief. I ditched the crochet hook in favour of the sewing needle, replaced the wool with some Liberty patchwork.

StartingIt wasn’t long before I had the makings of a little bear coming together.

TrainingI must admit there was much ripping and replanning but after a week or so of sewing Saoirse bear was finished.

SaoirsebearThis little lady was fully created using English Paper Piecing (EPP). The original idea came from a crochet pattern by Heidi Bears. I reworked her original head pattern to make it suitable for EPP and then created the body and limbs to my own design. Like her crocheted brothers she too is fully jointed which means that she has two different looks depending on which side of her body is facing forward.

Saoirsebear2I’m not sure yet whether or not she will have a calming influence on her older brothers, but one thing is for sure: this little cutie is definitely a happy addition to the family.

HappyfamiliesLinking up this latest finish with TGIFF which is over at Quilt Matters this week, and with and Conessions of a Fabric Addict’s Can I get A Whoop Whoop.

tgiff-button-blog        cooltext whoop whoop