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.

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Silver Linings – WiP Wednesday

Easter is just around the corner and for us that meant the start of spring holidays from school. We were going to have some family time in the mountains, maybe even some enf of season skiing for the boys, playdates and outings. We had plans. And then the pox hit. The chicekn pox that is. My eldest was a little off-form in the latter half of last week but I just put that down to his busy schedule. Saturday came and I realised I was wrong when I saw the spots. And so our plans went out the window. But with that pox ridden cloud came a whole host of silver linings. We got to start the holidays a little early. My son may be spotty but he’s in great form so my two boys are getting lots of play time together. There are puppet shows and train trips, holiday outings, lego builds and so much more and all are taking place right here at home. We have lots of Easter crafting to do in the days ahead and plenty of time to do it. And Mummy is getting a lot more designing and sewing time than she has been getting of late.

Now I do have quite a pile of works in progress that I should be finishing off. For the most part these are quilt tops that need basting and quilting but these are remaining on the side for now. These will require careful planning because space to baste and space to quilt is something that I do not have here on a day to day basis and something that really requires some advance planning. EPP Liberty butterflies and bloom made by Paula @ Mud, Pies and Pins

What I am getting on with is some English Paper Piecing. I have finally finished off my collection of EPP Liberty butterflies, or at least I have decided that I have made enough because in all honesty I could just keep designing and making these forever. They have some blooms to flutter around and now they need their final setting. I have dedicated a lot of time to researching ideas for this over the past few days and am finally decided on an Irish linen background. Now all that is left is for me to actually source what I want.

WIth that project in it’s final stages I knew it was time to start another new EPP project that could be my new long term project-on-the-go. While I often have several mini projects that I can bring with me when travelling I do also like to always have at least one long term project on the go and ready to bring on my weekly train commutes, or on spur of the moment outings when I am not workign on something else. So I designed a quilt. An EPP quilt that would again feature Liberty fabrics, as my stash of those is ever growing. And then just when I thought I was ready to start sewing the post arrived. And in the post was a package containing the Mercury and Grove Sun Prints by Alison Glass. And straight away I started cutting. And covering papers. And sewing.

WiP Sun Prints EPP quilt by Paula @ Mud, Pies and Pins

And so it looks like my Liberty quilt idea may have just gone out the window.

WiP Sun Prints EPP quilt by Paula @ Mud, Pies and Pins

I’m only three blocks in to this new project and I have to say that I am in love with this design, with the movement inthe blocks, with the way the colours and fabrics are working together.

WiP Sun Prints EPP quilt by Paula @ Mud, Pies and PinsBut this is not my original vision for this quilt. This is a spur of the moment creation, one that I am admittedly very much in love with, but one that is unplanned all the same. In my eagerness to see this quilt progress I am sewing more and more of it every chance I get and so this is defintiely not going to be a long term project, but the Liberty version will be.

I need to tweak the block design a bit for the Liberty project, make it bigger, split it down into even more pieces. It will be different, but still somewhat the same. It will be what I wanted it to be, and envisaged it as being and I image that for a long time it is very likely to be a work in progress, just as I had planned!

I’m linking up my silver linings / works in progress with Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. What about you do you have any projects that have arisen as silver linings?

#LoLSwapRound2 – Package Sent

It’s no secret that I love to join in swaps. They are a great way to meet new people, a lovely challenge as you strive to make something for someone who you usually don’t know personally, and a really great excuse to just keep on sewing (not that an excuse is really needed tbh). Being the Liberty lover that I am I was every so sorry I had missed the sign-ups for #lolswapround1 when I saw lots of photos from that swap appearing on my IG feed and was determined to make sure I didn’t miss #lolswapround2. I can honestly say I am so very glad that I didn’t. Run by @ohhowsweetco this swap focuses on swapping items made with Liberty tana lawn. Like any swap you have to make one large item for your swap partner, with Liberty being the main focus of the piece. My partner, @misspipilotta, expressed a preference for a pillow and for pink and so I stitched up my first version of my lotus blossom epp design to feature on the pillow top.

Lotus Blossum English paper pieced Liberty lawn pillow topy by Mud, Pies and Pins

Photo courtesy of @misspipilotta on IG

I quilted the front of the pillow, but kept the stitching to a minimum by simply sititching in the ditch around each petal piece with my favourite Aurifil 50wt #2021 to ensure the Liberty remained the main focus of the piece. The pillow has an envelope back in pink linen that coordinates well with the front and adds an extra little pop of colour.

I must admit it was hard to part with this piece as I am totally in love with it myself but I know it is gone to a perfect home and I have to say it looks just perfect in its new setting. Needless to say I already have started to create the pieces for the next lotus blossom and I see plenty more of these in my future.

We were also asked to include some extra goodies in our partner’s package along with some fabric. I knew my partner liked pink, ballet, and the Liberty fabric Gallymoggers Reynard B in pink and it was these factors that pretty much guided my decisions when it came to filling the rest of the swap package.

lolswapround2 swap package goodies by Mud, Pies and Pins

Photo courtesy of @misspipilotta on IG

I started with the ballerina, which featured some fussy cut Liberty Aranov for her dress and an embroidered outline based on this original design. Once stitched I mounted the design in a hoop ready to hang in it’s new home.

Ballerina hoop art by Mud, Pies and Pins

When it came to chosing fabric to send the Gallymoggers Reynard B in pink was an obvious choice, but I also added in one of the Very Berry Handmade Libery scrap packs that I love to stitch with. A spool of Aurifil 50wt #2021 found its way into the package as it is just perfect for stitching Liberty fabrics along with some chocolate and candy goodies with pink packaging that I just couldn’t resist. At the very last minute I decided I would stitch up a quick button closed pouch as one last extra and as packing for these added goodies. I used some of the linen I had left over from backing the cushion along with some of the Alice in Wonderland print my partner likes so much and in no time at all had the perfect gift wrapper.

Alice in wonderland Pouch by Mud, Pies and Pins

Needless to say my partner is more than delighted with her package, and I am overjoyed as I have enjoyed every last minute of this swap. I hope you’ll pop by again on Monday when I’m going to show you the wonderful package that I received. In the meantime why not pop over to Instagram and have a look at all the magnificent items that have been created and swapped in #lolswapround2.

My New Obsession

How would you like to open your curtains to a view like this every morning? Peaks 6 Retreat - View from Les 4 Vents, Morzine, FranceWell I had the pleasure of doing so for a long weekend at the start of the month when I attended the Peaks retreat in Morzine, France. This biennial 3-day retreat is run by the lovely Elita from Busy Needle Quilting and after the wonderful experience I had at the retreat when I attended for the first time last April, I was more than delighted to be able to attend again this time. For three days I joined Elita, her helper Gina and 13 other lovely ladies as we invaded the chalet Les 4 Vents in Morzine. We were very well looked after by our hosts who provided everything we could want. The accommodation, the food, the location, all were perfect. Even the weather was at its best, with plenty of sunshine and warmth. We even had the pleasure of being able to dine al fresco each lunch time. Life doesn’t get better than that!

Peaks 6 Retreat - View from Les 4 Vents, Morzine, FranceThe schedule at the retreat is very relaxed, there were three different classes, a couple of fun evening activities and lots and lots of free sewing time. The first class, on Friday morning, was on the spinning card trick star that I showed you in my last post.

Peaks 6 Retreat - Spinning Card Trick Star Block Quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsThat evening we had the stash attack project and I’d like to share my makes from that with you today. We started with some 3” fabric squares, mostly taken from Elita’s scrap stash and learned a new-to-me, and probably new-to-most, technique for quickly chain piecing 1” squares from our 3”scraps. Most people then went on to use their pieced squares as a design element in a sewing machine mat with hanging storage pockets. But as I already have a mat for my sewing machine, and didn’t need to make another, I decided I would put my pieced squares to a different use.

Peaks 6 Retreat - Liberty and Grunge table mats | Mud, Pies and PinsAs I was piecing the squares from some Liberty scraps I had brought with me I couldn’t help but notice how well they coordinated with the Grunge Basic Sugar Cookies hexagons I had left over from making my tree-skirt-that-wasn’t and decided I would have to pair up the two. I inserted a 2×10 strip of 1” Liberty squares into each hexagon and had the basis of some rather fun table mats. I had brought a few other pieces of Grunge Basics with me and selected some in Raspberry for the backing and binding. I decided to mirror the front design on the back by inserting a strip of the Sugar Cookies into the Raspberry. Before binding I quilted the mats with a simple diamond design.

Peaks 6 Retreat - Liberty and Grunge table mats | Mud, Pies and Pins Peaks 6 Retreat - Liberty and Grunge table mats | Mud, Pies and PinsNow I have to say that I think I became slightly, or should that be totally, obsessed with the Grunge Basics at this stage. I love the play on colour in the fabrics, how well the work as background fabrics and how stunning they look combined with the Liberty prints. I will definitely be teaming them up with Liberty fabrics a lot more in the future, and I intend to add plenty more to my stash as I really am quite in love (read obsessed) with them. I guess you could say that not only have I brought home some great makes and wonderful memories from the Peaks weekend I have also brought back a new obsession.

I hope you’ll pop back later in the week when I’ll share the last of my Peaks makes. In the meantime I’ll leave you with one of my many great memories from the weekend – the view from my sewing table!

Peaks 6 Retreat - View from Les 4 Vents, Morzine, France

Mini Mania

Mini quilts. I just love them. I love that I can quickly try out new designs and ideas, I love that I can constantly change what I am working on and I love that sometimes I can go from start to finish in the space of a day. I’ve made several mini quilts over the past month and today I’d like to share the first of these, “Tumbled”, with you.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins“Tumbled” began life as scraps. I started with a Very Berry Fabrics scrap pack of Liberty lawns. I love to keep a few of these always in my stash as they are a great source of fabrics for many of the mini projects I like to work on. I then teamed the Liberty scraps up with some plain off-white fabric. I tend to use a lot of this fabric in my various sewing projects and of course that means that I am forever generating plenty of scraps.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsTo make the quilt I simply chose nine coordinating scraps of Liberty lawns from the scrap pack and sashed each one in strips of the off-white fabric approximately 3″ wide – some were a little wider, some a little narrower depending on what the scraps yielded. Once all of the scraps were sashed I laid out the blocks in their final layout and then trimmed all of the blocks down so that the orientation of the Liberty centre of each block was always varied. The resulting blocks were always trimmed to 6.5″ high, but the widths varied within an inch. For each row of blocks I made sure that the sum of the widths of the three blocks in the row equalled 19.5″.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsOnce all nine blocks were joined to complete the mini quilt top I set about quilting it. For backing fabric I used “Vogelfrühling”, and organic German fabric featuring a Sybille Hein design.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI decided that a simple spiral would be the most effective quilting for this quilt as it enhanced the sense of movement and tumbling that the block arrangement conveyed.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsThe quilting was stitched with the same Aurifil #2021 I had used to piece the quilt. I finished the quilt off with with binding made from a blender in aquatic blue from the Simply Style Fabric Collection by V and Co. for Moda which picked up on the colours in many of the Liberty fabrics used.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsOne interesting trick I discovered with this quilts was how to iron with a saucepan! This mini was made for the Doll Quilter’s Monthly Swap. It was finished just before a long weekend here, when we were all heading off to my brother’s place in the mountains for the weekend. As I hadn’t had time to photograph it before I left I packed it up so that I could photograph it and post it when while we were away. I forgot that it would crease when packed and of course I want it mostly flat for photographing. Not having an iron I decided I’d go back to basics. One heavy bottomed saucepan gently heated, a bit of water in said saucepan for added weight and heat retention and it was job done!

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsFinishing up at 18″ aquare I can’t help but think that “Tumbled” would make a great starting block for a quilt. I have always wanted to make a quilt as you go quilt and I think that this mini could be the perfect starting block. With that idea in mind I have set up a basket of Liberty scraps and neutral strips which I am going to use as leaders and enders with a view to creating a set of these blocks as I stitch so that I can hopefully make a larger QAYG version of “Tumbled” in the future.

"Tumbled" Liberty mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins