Mosiac Marquetry – My Artisan Spirit Sandscapes Challenge Quilt

When it comes to quilt design the inspiration comes from all manner of places. For one mini quilt I made lately it was an image I spied online that first inspired me. For some reason, now long forgotten, I was reading about St. Mark’s Bascillia in Venice and spotted some images of floor mosaics that I immediately thought would work wonderfully as EPP designs. One of the designs in particular really jumped out at me. Attributed to Paolo Uccello (1397-1475), it features a starred dodecahedron in a central circle. My first thought was to try making this with some Stonhenge fabrics as many have a gorgeous marble design to then. As chance would have it around the same time I saw a notice for the Northcott Artisan Spirit Sandscapes Challenge and as soon as I saw the Sandscapes fabrics I just knew that they would work beautifully in the design I wanted to make. Inspiration, a challenge and a deadline to work to, I didn’t need any other incentives to get working.

marble_floor_mosaic_basilica_of_st_mark_venciceThe first step was, of course, the design. I love to work in Inkscape when playing around with geometric quilt designs and after a little work it wasn’t long before I had a pattern completed and ready to work with.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsI decided I would use the Sunset-Coral colourway of the sandscapes fabrics for the wall-hanging. The colours and designs of the fabrics reminded me of a variety of woods and have such beautiful rich and vibrant colours. By colouring in a smaller version of the pattern I had drawn I was able to assess how the various fabrics in the line would best work in the design.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsAfter that it was time to cut out papers and fabric and simply start sewing. I started with the central polyhedron which came together quickly and easily.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsAs I completed each step/round of the quilt I found myself reassessing the colour choices I had made for the next step/round to be sure that the choices worked as I originally intended them to.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and Pins"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and Pins "Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsFor the most part most of the choices stayed as I had planned them, with the exception of one the skinny square outer borders which had to change when I decided that the deep wine fabric was the best choice for the overall background.

One thing I did discover as I pieced the central sections was that even with all of the labelling I had pre-printed onto my initial paper pieces, I still had to add notes to several of them to avoid confusion with regard to their placement.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsOnce all of the circular rounds had been completed I added a final “round” of background fabric to square off the design.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsUp to this point the wall hanging had been completely hand pieced but I moved to machine piecing for the final few borders as I felt more confident doing so for the long straight seams.

Once the top was quilted I moved on to the quilting. I used Quilter’s Dream wool batting, as I want plenty of loft to add dimension to the finished wallhanging. The central sections and borders were all quilted with stitch in the ditch quilting using Aurifil Brillo Dark Yellow #739 which picked up the gold veins running through the Sandscapes fabric wonderfully and added a little extra bling and sparkle to the finish. For the background sections I initially considered continuing with the Brillo thread and quilting some scroll work to imitate the original mosaic design, but I reckoned that would detract from and clash with the design in the fabric too much. As a result I decided to simply follow the grain lines in the fabric pattern to add dimension to those sections and enhance the fabric design. I used 50wt dark carmine red Aurifil in  #2460 and it worked beautifully to give the texture and result I had hoped for. The same thread was also used to add some satin stitch / dense zig zag quilting in the outer polyhedron ring so that the blocks would appear threaded on a ring, as per the original mosaic.

"Mosiac Marquetry" EPP Sandscapes Challenge Quilted Wallhanging | Mud, Pies and PinsBound in yellow to echo the inner borders the wall-hanging finished up at 24″ square. I decided to name it “Mosaic Marquetry” in reference to both its origin and the fact that the finished appearance looks like that of a marquetry table top.

And what about the challenge I hear you ask. Well with a final push I did manage to get the quilt finished just in time to enter and I sent off a photo of it not long before the deadline. A few days later I was delighted to hear that I had made it into the top ten and then I had to send my little quilt off on its travels to be judged. It made its way safely to the US and a couple of weeks later I heard the amazing news that my wall-hanging had placed third in the pieced category. I was beyond thrilled when I heard the news and a couple of weeks on am still celebrating. From start to finish making this quilted wallhanging and participating in the challenge has been a fun and exciting experience and I look forward to finding more challenges to inspire me in the future.

A huge thank you to Northcott for hosting such a fun challenge. It definitely inspired me to try something new and pushed me out of my comfort zone both in terms of designing and in having the faith in myself and my work to actually enter it in their challenge. Be sure to check out the other winners of the challenge, they have all made such beautiful pieces.









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.

Sewing Mojo – Lost and Found

It’s been a while since I’ve been seen around here but I’m back again, at least for now. I seem to be losing my sewing mojo a lot of late and that means I don’t really haven’t had much to share. That’s not to say that I’ve been completely idle. I’ve been working on a twelve days of Christmast project which will involve 12 embroidered panels and 12 printed fabric panels. I’ve finally finished a knitting project that I started working on last winter. I’ve been helping my six year old with a few sewing projects that he is currently working on and I’ve been doing a little more paper piecing. This time I’ve been paper piecing snowflakes.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and PinsA few months ago I signed up for Curly Boy’s Instagram Mini Quilt Swap. At first this was to be a smallish swap limited to 100 swappers but it soon snowballed into what I have come to think of as a “super swap”. These super swaps are larger, fragmented in several sub-swap groups and I have to be honest and say that I have not had the best of experiences with them. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy swapping and I have always been delighted with what I received, but part of the whole reason I enjoy swapping is the friendships and contacts you make, often with your swap partner. This is something I find to be distinctly lacking in these “super swaps”. I find it very difficult to sew for someone who does not have an online presence in any shape or form, whom I cannot stalk and find out about their likes and dislikes and who I cannot build up any sort of rapport with. It is very frustrating to try to sew something for someone you do not know when all you have to go on is a few lines of text regarding their likes and dislikes. It was not really surprising then that my sewing mojo went walk about when, for the second time, I discovered I had a swap mini to work on but pretty much nothing to inspire me as to what would best suit my partner. In the end I let Canuck Quilter’s Snowalong that I discovered back in late October be my inspiration. I really loved her snowflake designs and hoped that my swap partner would too. It wasn’t hard to decide what fabrics I was going to sew with. I started with some of my new favourite Grunge Basicis in Peacock for the background and some more in Sugar Cookies for the first snowflake.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and PinsI decided that I would not only use a different design for each of the snowflakes but that I would also use different fabrics. For the second snowflake I selected some Timeless Treasures Dreaming in Pearle in ivory which brought a lovely sparkle to the mix with it’s pearlescent dots.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and PinsNext up was some tone on tone white from Sandy Gervais’s Snap Pop collection,

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and Pinsand for the final snowflake I selected another tone-on-tone unknown gingham style fabric I had purchased up at my local craft store.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and PinsTo give the quilt a sense of movement and to add yet more sparkle I quilted the whole in one large spiral using Madeira metallic thread in white.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and Pins“Snowstorm” was finished with Dreaming in Pearle binding and measures 20″ square. Despite it’s rocky start I am more than delighted with this quilt and can only hope that my partner will like it every bit as much as I do.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and PinsI think there are a few lessons that I have learned from making this quilt. The first is that I most defintiely need to stitch more snowflakes for myself as they really are such beautiful designs. The other lesson I have learned is that I need to limit my future swap activities to smaller more intimate groups and there are plenty of those out there. There are several groups that I have had nothing but great experiences with and that I intend to stick with, but when it comes to “super swaps” I think it’s defintiely a big no thanks from me in the future.

Snowstorm mini quilt | Mud Pies and PinsWhat about you, if you swap is there a particular types of swap that you enjoy ? I’d love to hear about your experiences.


When round two of the Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap was announced I couldn’t resist signing up. Round one had been great fun and I hoped that round two would be every bit as enjoyable. I must admit that at the start I was a bit frustrated. The swap ended up with over 600 participants so it felt pretty much impossible to follow and join in on all the coversations and updates that were taking place on Flickr and Instagram. My partner was also not at all active on social media with regards to her quilting activity so I also had very little to go on when it came to coming up with ideas for her quilt. Nevertheless I was determined to enjoy the swap so I simply got on with designing and stitching “Pebble-icious”, a mini quilt that I felt would appeal to my partner.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I knew from my partner’s information that she liked pink, black and tan and that she was a fan of sparkle and bling. I immediately decided to focus on combining pink and black and selected some black fabric from my stash along with a selection of pink fabric. I didn’t have much sparkle or bling so I added a couple of charm packs of Michael Miller’s Fairy Frost and Northcott’s Artisan Spirt Shimmer to my stash and used most of the pinks from both of these collections. I cut small 2.5″ and 3″ squares from all of the fabrics, fused them to fusible interfacing and used my olfa rotary circle cutter to cut out a selection of circles.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

It didn’t take long to cut the circles

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins and lay them out as I wished them to appear on the finished quilt. I went for an ombré effect with the layout, working from lightest at the centre to darkest at the outer reaches of the mini quilt.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsTo add to the bling and sparkle I opted to use Maderia pink metallic thread to quilt the mini. I wanted the pink circles to really stand out so I outlined each with the metallic thread and then filled in the rest of the space with pebbling, or should I say organic pebbling as I always feel my pebbling has a more organic and less rounded look than pebbling normally has.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsTo continue with the pink and circles theme I used Michael Miller’s Orchid Garden Pindot fabric for the quilt back and a leftover circle of light pink, that didn’t get used on the quilt front, as a label.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I wanted to include some small extras in my swap package so I started by making a pouch using one of the shot cottons from my stash that had featured on the quilt along with some black fabric as a highlight. I again used the metallic thread for the quilting and used organic pebbling on the back sections.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

My partner had expressed a love of lip gloss so I added a couple to the pouch and also added a yo-yo maker to the package. As one last extra I picked up a bar of chocolate on the way to the post office, hoping that it’s last minute addition would enable it to survive transit out of Switzerland during the exceptionally warm spell we were experiencing at the time.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I’m glad to report that the package did indeed travel safely, chocolate and all, and was very well received by my swap partner. I was delighted to hear how pleased she was with the quilt, it was definitely a big hit.

Pebble-icious mini quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

I must admit that making this mini pushed me outside my comfort zone. It is probably the most modern of my makes to date, it was my first time to sew with metallic threads and also my first time to venture beyond sample quilt sandwiches and free motion quilt an actual quilt. But it is an experience that I most definitely enjoyed and one that I am eager to repeat, especially as I now have a nice selection of Fairy Frost and Shimmer charm squares waiting to be used.

So although I felt that I had a bit of a rocky start to the swap it ended up being a great success. Next week when I return home from my holidays and get some photographs finally taken I will share with you the wonderful mini that I received in the swap.

Celebrating Sunshine

As I enjoy the start of what promises to be yet another magnificent sunny holiday day I’m reminded of the mini quilt I made for the June Monthly Doll Quit Swap, “Under the Sun”.


The theme was “My Garden” and from the off I knew I wanted to use a floral design. I had seen an inspiring quil on Connecting Threads but the block size was only 5″, much smaller than what I was aiming for, so I quicly designed a large central floral block that finished at 15″ square.SunbloomI used a block border and plain border, representing the spots of colour and grass around my garden. The binding used was Kona Cheddar, a nice sunny colour. I kept the quilting simple. And started with a semi circle in the corner, the Sun.Sunstitch

From this corner rays of sunlight radiate over the rest of the quilt. To stitch these I used a decorative stitch on my machine that produces a nice even wavy line. The quilting was stitched with Kin Tut #922 Harem.


Finishing up at 20″ square this mini depicts so much on what I love about my garden in summer. Of course one other wonderful thing about summer is holiday time. I love heading back home to Ireland for a couple of weeks of camping and caravanning with my family. I can’t say I’m getting any sewing done, although I have plenty of projects with me I could be working on. Instead I’m making the most of some stunning sunny weather, enjoying dips in a crystal clear sea, and waking up to stunning views such as this one that inspired this mornings post.