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.

Projects for the New Year – WiP Wednesday

Last week I shared a quick recap of my main sewing projects of 2015. As it’s WiP Wednesday I thought today would be a good time to share a little of what 2016 has in store so far.

My first sewing project this year will be a spring pillow for the first round of the Flickr Pillow Swap Four Seasons group. This is one of the very few swaps that I still participate in. I discovered the group last year at the start of the summer round and am so very delighted I did as it is a really wonderful group that I am proud to be a member of. At the moment I’m working on a spring pillow which will showcase an EPP design featuring a few of Alison Glass’s Sun Prints.

EPP WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsIn addition to my EPP I’ve also got some cross stitch and some knitting on the go. Cross stitch is something I used to do a lot of in the past and something that I return to periodically. At the moment I’m working on two pieces. The first is a night time scene, and it often replaces EPP as my #sewingonthetrain on-the-go sewing because I find this piece easiest to stitch when I can avail of the great lighting a window seat on the train offers.

Cross stitch WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThe second is a whimsical little picture that my sister had started but not finished. Being much lighter it’s much easier to stitch any time of the night or day so it’s at the ready to pick up and put down when I have a few minutes to spare.

Cross stitch WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsKnitting is something that I find myself working on a lot in the colder winter months and now that it feels properly wintery here the needles are out and I’m working on a new project. When we were up the mountains over the Christmas holidays I found myself drawn to a woollen blanket and pillow set in the window of the local craft store that I passed each day as I dropped the boys to ski school. By the end of our two weeks there I had given in and purchased the wool I needed to make said blanket. This weekend I had some time to get started while everyone was out skiing so I cast on the 255 stitched I needed and, after a little internet research to find the correct pattern, the English translation in the German pattern book was most definitely wrong , I got the first few rows knitted. This is going to be a holiday project, one that I plan on working on when we head to the mountains for weekends of wintery fun.

Knitting WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsI had some great plans to dive straight into some quilting in the New Year and at the end of last year I had purchased plenty of batting to allow me to finally finish off some UFOs that have been sitting around for far too long. Unfortunately, these are going to have to wait a little longer, but for a very exciting reason.

We’re moving house! We knew that a move was on the cards for some time in the next few years but didn’t expect it to be quite so imminent. At the end of last year we saw a house for sale that was just what we knew we’d be looking for when we had to leave this one (which is going to be demolished in a few years to make way for a motorway) so we sold this one, bought the new one and now we’re getting ready to move. My corner of the sitting room sewing space is all packed up and soon I will finally be able to move my sewing out of the family living space and into a dedicated sewing and crafting room. To say I’m excited about it all is an understatement!

Moving WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsI know that moving is going to keep me busy for the next couple of months so I’ve got the perfect post move break planned, one that will also allow me to tackle the UFO problem that I had intended to be dealing with right now. I’ve signed up for Peaks 9, the next Patchwork in the Peaks retreat in April. Instead of having a specific retreat project as usual, the idea for Peaks 9 is that we all bring WiPs (works in progress), UFOs (unfinished objects), PhDs (projects half done) and any other other bits and pieces that we all have lying around our sewing rooms just begging for our attention and we work on finishing them. The first things that I will be packing is my unfinished broken herringbone quilt top.

Broken Herringbone WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThis top really is too small for what I now want to use it for but I think with the addition of some solid borders, it will transform nicely into a much larger quilt.

Broken herringbone WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsThe second project I want to work on at Peaks is the improv Carkai quilt top that I began work on late last year. I have about half of the blocks sewn to date and I’m planning on finishing the remainig blocks at Peaks and, if time allows, the quilt itself.

Carkai improv blocks WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and PinsIf you too have a pile of UFOs sitting around and feel like a nice springtime break in the French Alps then why not come and join in the Peaks fun too. just think of how nice it would be to finally finish some of those pieces you’ve been meaning to get back to while at the same time enjoying a fun filled retreat with great company, amazing hospitality from our hosts at Chalet Les 4 Vents and stunning views like this.

Peaks Retreat View - WiP Wednesday | Mud, Pies and Pins

Linking up with Lee’s Work In Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Packing for Peaks 8 – WIP Wednesday

As September draws to an close it’s time for me to get packing my bags and to head off to Morzine in France for the Patchwork in the Peaks 8 quilting retreat. Organised by the lovely Elita, from Busy Needle Quilting, this biannual retreat has become a firm fixture in my diary and is great anticipated each time it comes around.

This time the fun and talented Francine from mochawildchild will be holding a workshop on making an improv birches quilt. I’m still on the fence as to what fabrics I want to bring with me for this project, and I really need to make up my mind as I head off tomorrow. Part of me is thinking of going modern as I have scraps from various lines by Zen Chic and Malka Dubrawsky that I think could work really well in this project.

Barcelona Malka DubrawskyThere is another part of me that is really itching to play around with my Liberty stash for this one as I think they would work stunningly in the birches design.

LibertyAnd finally there is the part of me that just wants to do something a little different, to give the idea a little twist and make it my own. I think I may have to just pack all of the scraps and fabrics and see what happens on the day.

Sea GreensIn addition to fabrics for the birches project I’ve also packed two works in progress. The first is my EPP Alison Glass quilt. This has been languishing on my worktable for several months as several EPP swap projects took precedence when it came to my sewing time, but now it’s finally time for me to get working on it again. As I plan on very limited swap participation over the coming months I’m hoping that I will now have a chance to make good progress on the construction of this quilt. I’m packing it for Peaks as I know I will be able to work on it on the train there and back and at various times over the weekend and that once I get back into working on it again it will be easy to just keep going with it.

Lotus twistThe second work in progress that I am packing is an English Paper Pieced Triceratops pillow that I am working on for my son. I have finished appliquéing the EPP Triceratops to it’s background and am now in the process of adding a few final stitched details before I quilt the top and finish off the pillow. There is a slight chance it will be finished before I travel tomorrow in which case I will still bring it along for our show and tell evening.

TriceratopsI’ll be sharing snippets from Peaks 8 over on Instagram, facebook and Twitter all weekend long so I hope you’ll follow along and see what we get up to, and I look forward to hopefully being able to share some finished makes with you next week when I return.

Today I’m linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

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.