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.

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


Pillow Swap Four Seasons – Autumn

Autumn is slowly making itself felt around here as the nights get cooler, the morning mists start to appear once more and the first of the leaves slowly start to fall. Those falling leaves and the colours of autumn were the inspiration for the pillow I made for the autumn round of the Flickr based Pillow Swap Four Seasons.

On hammockThe individual leaves were created using English Paper Piecing (EPP) and then each was appliquéd in place on the linen background I choose for the pillow. EPP really has become my favourite method for such designs. I love how versatile it is, how it adds a lovely depth to the design, how it allows me to use a whole cloth background, which I much prefer when working with such fabrics as linen, and how I am not constrained by block size or orientation when creating my design.

As I wanted the front of the cushion to be lightly padded I applied a layer of fusible fleece before appliquéing the leaves in place. This had the added bonus of giving the linen more stability and making it easier to accurately appliqué each leaf individually. Once hand stitched in place I then used free motion quilting to add stem and vein detailing to each.

QuiltedThe pillow was finished with a simple invisible zipper closure and is lined on both the front and back to add extra stability to the linen.

Cover and pouchAs an added extra I made a small pouch for my partner, also using linen and autumnal fabrics. It’s a simple button closed clutch type pouch. My original intention was to make the pouch with several pockets that would include a selection of sewing notions but then I came across the cutest travel sewing case and I couldn’t resist including that instead.

Filled pouch2 Sewing case insidesI made the planned pockets larger so that they would easily accommodate the case and tucked it inside the pouch with a couple of other goodies before sending it on its way to their new home where they were delightfully received.

As one pillow left my house another one entered. This is the stunning pillow that I received from my swap partner in the autumn round.

Pillow receivedShe couldn’t have chosen a more perfect colour scheme. The colours of this pillow are all that I love about autumn, the vibrant sunsets and the rich tones that seem to wash over the forests. There is so much warmth and vibrancy in this design and it is a real pleasure each time I sit down and enjoy it.

There were goodies in my parcel too, one of which was a lovely pouch featuring more of these beautiful autumn tones.

Pouch receivedNow if you know me you’ll know how much I love pouches and how quick I am to find a purpose for each and every one that enters my house. This one now houses my new EPP maple leaf collection and all I need to add to it. Pouch in use

Inspired by how well my cushion turned out I’m going to slowly add to a new collection of maple leaves as I would definitely love to incorporate them into more projects in the future.

Blink – WIP Wednesday

Blink, and a week has passed. How did it happen? I wish I knew! All over blogland I’m reading how back to school time means it’s back to sewing time. Well that couldn’t be further from the truth here. I’ve been caught up in the whirlwind of our new routine and it feels like my feet are barely touching the ground at times. Instead of the two minute walk to the Kindergarten bus that I had last year I now have a round trip to the school that takes me close to an hour. Twice a day. At the moment I have to walk my little man to the bus stop, then accompany him on the bus to school before turning around and walking home (which is actually as fast as taking the bus when you can set a good brisk pace and don’t have a seven year old dawdling along beside you). I’m hoping that in a few weeks all I will have to do is accompany my school goer to the bus stop and that he will do the rest on his own. Until then I guess I will have to accept that I have very little time of my own left and that sewing time is going to be at a premium, and probably confined to whatever free time I can find at the weekends.

I already have a couple of projects earmarked for finishing this weekend. First up is the pillow I am creating for the autumn round of the Pillow Swap Four Seasons as that is due to be posted by the start of next week.

EPP mapleleaves | Mud, Pies and PinsAll the EPP work is done, and I have finished the basic cushion cover is in place. All that I really have left to do is to appliqué the leaves in place and add some decorative stitching to the leaves.

The second project I want to progress, or better still finish, is my long overdue #selfishswap project. This one should have been finished by the end of June but is still very much a work in progress.

EPP panel | Mud, Pies and PinsThe EPP work is very nearly finished and once done it will be time to remove the papers and convert this odd shaped pieced fabric into a solid shell sunglasses case.

I mislaid my own sunglasses case a couple of months back and it has been sorely missed. The day before we went on holidays I threw together a quick soft case for my glasses (and a matching camera cover) to give them some protection. Glases and camera cases | Mud, Pies and Pins

While the new case has worked admirably I am still concerned that it may be only a matter of time before my glasses get squashed and damaged in my bag and so I am eager to get a harder case made for them.

If after all of that I still have a little free time left over then I plan on sitting down with my seven year old and planning a quick new quilt for him. He spotted a solar system fabric panel in the fabric shop today and I agreed to buy it for him as he is in need of a new quilt.

Solarsystem fabric panel | Mud, Pies and Pins I am determined to get working on this one as soon as possible as I really don’t want it to disappear into my stash to linger indefinitely and with the quilt already promisied I can imagine that there will be plenty of reminders if I don’t get working on it pronto!

Linking this WIP post to Freshly Pieced’s Work In Progress link-up.