Made for Baby Blog Tour

Ayda Algin recently sent me a copy of her brilliant new book Made for Baby, Cute Sewn Gifts which she has published with Tuva Publishing. For a long time I have been a huge fan of the projects that Ayda features on her Instagram account and blog so I was so excited when she mentioned she was releasing her first book!

Ayda’s book features 22 projects from pouches in all shapes and sizes, an adorable wall organiser to gorgeous appliqued quilts. And while the book is designed for those wanting to make baby gifts, so many of the projects work for all ages and stages.  In fact one of the first items I made was a pretty drawstring bag  I made as a birthday gift for a little girl.

 

 

One of the first things I noticed about the book is the strong influence Ayda’s background as an engineer has had on the way she has prepared the patterns. Each project is paired with an intricate amount of measurement details, which means that even if you have never sewn fabric boxes or a stuffed toy  you will feel very confident cutting your pieces (and if you need any extra assistance the first chapter also features instructions on how to do a range of sewing techniques).

I also really appreciated the way each project is photographed from a variety of angles, Ayda’s styling is beautiful and the gorgeous photos also mean you can see all the details and exactly how the project will turn out.

I was so  inspired by Ayda’s book with Tuva I actually made a range of projects for the blog tour!

 

I used a combination of Liberty of London fabric and Japanese chambray to make a travel bag. The pouch is perfectly sized for taking a few toiletries into hospital or even to store a few items in the diaper bag .  Of course this pouch would also work perfectly  not just for a new parent but also as a gift for a friend, teacher or loved one

 

 

The Made for Baby book  also features a super cute
bib project.  I was so inspired by Ayda’s bib project I made three bbs using some of my favourite fabrics (because I wanted the bibs to be as cute as the baby outfits its covering).

 

 

It was the first time I added an applique to a project. But thanks to Ayda’s fantastic instructions I had no problems and am definitely going to add more appliques to my projects in the future!

 

 

Finally I made the super quick and sweet little star teething toy with a few pretty scraps and a cute ribbon tag. In the book Ayda used a wooden teething hoop (ideal for a teething baby) however I was unable to find any locally so instead I used a specially designed plastic teething ring which you can also use to hoop on to the pram or crib.

Made for Baby, Cute Sewn Gifts is as versatile as it is inspiring and sweet.  It’s the kind of book you will always have on your sewing table because of the range of projects and inspiration. The book is available to buy right now or you could also pop over to Ayda’s blog site and enter to win a copy plus a few crafty extras!

Tomorrow Lauren from Molly and Mama will be creating another project from Ayda’s book and I can’t wait to see what she makes! You’ll be able to see it on Lauren’s pretty blog (and while you are there definitely have a look some of the things Lauren has made in the past – you won’t be disappointed).

 

Happy Flower Quilts Blog Hop

Welcome to my turn on the Happy Flower Quilts blog hop!

Happy Flower Quilts was originally written in Japanese by Atsuko Matsuyama over 5 years ago, and like many people I owned a copy of the original book. Of course I couldn’t understand the instructions however the photos and projects are so beautiful they provided me with lots of inspiration.

You can imagine my delight when Zakka Workshop contact me to say they were releasing an english version of the book AND would I like to join the blog hop!

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The book has stayed true to its original release – it still features over 30 projects and contains such beautiful colourful photos, however I can now actually create the projects from the book just as Atsuko intended thanks to the english instructions!

img_3643The first project I made from the book was a super cute patchwork placemat for my 6 month old great niece for her first Christmas. I paired it with a feeding set, so when she started learning to eat it would be in cute patchwork style. Like most projects in the book it is all about the sweet details, and although I didn’t add lace I did added a hand stitched hexie in one of my favourite Atsuko Matsuyama strawberry prints.

 

For the blog hop I decided to make to make the lunch tote, however instead of filling it with snacks I’m going to fill it with sewing supplies!

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Lecien Fabrics were gracious enough to supply me with their gorgeous Antique Flower in Pastel collection along with their sweet and soon to be released strawberry handles.

Seriously have you ever seen prettier handles, can’t you just imagine them being featured on makes for family, for friends, for yourself!

 

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The tote turned out slightly smaller than I originally thought however it is perfectly sized to carry all my sewing essentials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I  paired the tote with the patchwork scissor caddy from the book. I used a img_4609combination of machine and hand stitching and made my own bias binding (making sure I cut it on the bias so it sat nicely on the curves). The caddy is ideal if like me you take your sewing on errands with you as it keeps your scissors safe and protected whilst in a pretty little package.

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The sewing tote is going to be perfect when I join along the Happy Flower Quilt Along (QAL) that commences on March 6. Keeping all my sewing supplies together along with the tiny pieces for the embroidery blocks.

 

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For further details about the QAL have a look at Kristyne from the Pretty By Hand website. Kristyne, aong with Melissa from Oh How Sweet Co, Wynn from Zakkaart and Zakka Workshop have got lots of super fun planned for the QAL.

And don’t forget to continue following along with the Happy Flower Quilts blog hop (details below)!  There are so many talented makers who will be making items featured in the book and quite a few that have already been featured.

January
25 Lisa from www.aspoonfulofsugardesigns.com
27 Sarah from www.alittlehappyplace.blogspot.co.uk
30 Minki from www.minkikim.com

February

1 Heidi from www.fabricmutt.blogspot.com
3 Clara @claralovestosew (Instagram Account Only)
8 Erin from www.whynotsew.blogspot.com
10 Lauren from www.transientart.com
13 Sedef from www.downgrapevinelane.com
15 Ayda from www.cafenohut.blogspot.com
17 Renee from www.sewnwithgrace.com
20 Heather from www.vintagegreyhandmade.blogspot.com
22 Melissa from www.ohhowsweet.com
24 Greg from www.greydogwoodstudio.com
27 Stacy from www.stacyolsondesign.com

March
1 Wynn from www.zakkaart.blogspot.com

Quilt Petite Blog Hop

Welcome to my turn on the Quilt Petite blog hop!

Quilt Petite is Sedef Imer’s from Down Grapevinelane first book which she has produced with the brilliant Tuva Publishers.

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The first thing I notice about Quilt Petite is what a true representation of Sedef’s beautiful style and creative process the book is. It features a wide range of sewing techniques from hand quilting, embroidery, english paper piecing and foundation paper piecing.

Sedef is a self taught quilter and the book reflects that, each technique features step by step instructions as well as extra tips to help you learn. I am a complete novice when it comes to embroidery and foundation paper piecing however this book is now my go to guide!

(Actually I go to it not just for the projects and the help but also for inspiration – even the introduction will want you to stop, drop and sew.)

Ok so the title might make you think that this is a book solely about mini quilts, however it features pretty quilts and so much much more! Quilt Petite has 18 projects (all as sweet and inspiring as each other) which will have you creating the cutest cushions, mug rugs and placemats. Each project has such detailed photos and instructions its ideal for both those new and old to sewing.

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So what project did I choose to create? Well for my turn on the blog hop I choose the Quilted Noticeboard. I used fabric from Sedef’s debut range Sweet Orchard, Strawberry Biscuit by Elea Lutz and The Simple Life by Tasha Noel .

 

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I thought the Noticeboard would be a perfect way to showcase some of my favourite designers. Tasha Noel’s prints have always featured heavily in my girls childhood from their nursery curtains, first party dresses and now her prints are being joined perfectly by Elea and Sedef (and I see this talented combination of designers featuring heavily as I renovate their room)

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img_3067The Noticeboard was a lot of fun to create, if you can cut and sew in a straight line then this is the project for you ( and my favourite type to make).

I added a few personal touches with a handmade tag from Cheri of Tinker With This and the pretty strawberry button from Alisha’s store Ministry of Fabric (its also where I bought the Pelon Flex Foam that used for the inside of the Noticeboard).

 

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Of course with a book as sweet as this I couldn’t just make one project. I made the Flower potholder which may or may not be too sweet to use……..

(ok its definitely too sweet to ever use 🙂

 

 

 

The blog hop has only just started and has already featured some amazing makes from some super talented ladies.  And I can’t wait to see what beautiful project my fellow Aussie Lauren from Molly and Mama posts tomorrow.

Sedef has the Quilt Petite blog hop schedule with the full list of bloggers being featured and if you pop over to her blog make sure you enter her Quilt Petite giveaway! You could win a bundle of sweet gifts like the book, hard to find sewing notions and a super cute tin to store it all in.

Happy Sewing
Ange

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Creating with Dreamscape Collection

Last week I was very excited to receive a gift from Dear Stella Design – a gorgeous bundle of Rae Ritche’s latest fabric collection Dreamscape!  Dreamscape was released in September and builds on Rae’s previous gorgeous collection Moon Garden. It features  soft tones of navy, purple and cream – making the collection perfect for so many projects (especially when you see that the collection features sweet mama elephants and their babies, galloping horses and an elegant floral design).
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I think the collection would be especially perfect for a handmade gift for expectant parents!

img_2867So I decided to make a gift for my friend who will be having her third baby and her first girl.  I adore pink pretty prints however she does not.  So when I showed her the collection she fell in love with the pops of navy and purple.  And the soon to be big brothers adored the cute elephants!

I decided to make her a few cushions for the nursery.  I used the pattern from Kerri Horsely’s book Lovely Little Patchwork. I have made this pattern before and knew it would work perfectly as I really wanted to showcase the elephant print (and the 5 inch square centre would be ideal).
I separated the bundle into the light and dark tones and was amazed at how different the two cushions looked. It was a real lesson in the impact colour and print placement can have on your project!
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Hopefully I have inspired you to create and if you adore Dreamscape as much as I do ask for it at your local or online fabric store.

Happy creating!

Ange

Lovely Little Patchwork Blog Tour

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Hi! Welcome to my stop on the Lovely Little Patchwork blog tour!

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Lovely Little Patchwork is the brilliant first book published by Kerri Horsley of Lovely Little Handmades for Tuva Publishing. When Kerri  and Tuva Publishing sent me a copy of her book a few months ago I was so excited that within a few hours I had sewn up a cute heart pot holder (you can read all about it in my previous blog post).

 

Since that time I have made quite a few items from the book including these sweet Back to School Pencil IMG_9194pouches.  If you are nervous about creating with zippers you will love IMG_9526Kerri’s pattern. It is so easy to follow and you can easily hand stitch the zipper in place if you are concerned about using your machine to sew on a zipper. I also know a lot of people who love the look of lace zippers but struggle to find a pattern to use them with, so this is a perfect way to finally experiment with them.

To celebrate my turn on the Lovely Little Patchwork blog tour I made a new project from the book – the Ice Skating Girl cushion. I love making cushions, if you have seen my Instagram account this won’t come as any surprise. Because if like me you are new to sewing quilt blocks, a cushion is a happy medium between a small project like a pot holder and a large project like a quilt.

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This is the first time I made half square triangles and quarter square triangles but thanks to the books glossy pictures and comprehensive IMG_1981instructions the only reason I needed to do any unpicking was when I changed my mind about a fabric choice. And the fact that the triangles are made from pieces no larger than a 5 1/2 inch square means its also a perfect project for using up your scraps.

I used fabric from a range of collections and love how the block can look so different depending on where you place your stronger colours and prints. In the book Kerri gives you details and a pattern for embroidering an image in the centre (hence the name Ice Skating Girl). However I had a small piece of  Hawthorne Threads fawn fabric that I wanted to use for a special project like this and it worked perfectly with my recent fabric purchase of Amy Sinibaldi’s  Playground collection. I also used my favourite blender from Dear Stella Tiny Hearts in Petal and an older collection by Bonnie Christine FireFly Whisper to complete the look. I quilted the block using a 1/4 inch seam around each triangle and as result I have a soft squishy pillow large enough for two family members to snuggle against.

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If you are looking for a book that teaches you a range of techniques to make both pretty and useful items for all ages then this book is ideal!  And the best part is the blog tour allows you to see lots of the items featured in Lovely Little Patchwork, so make sure you pop over to the other blogs to be inspired!

There is a fantastic table of all those featured in the blog tour but unfortunately I can’t publish tables, instead you can view the complete list of all the wonderful makers on the first blog featured – Amanda from Jedi Craft Girl.  You can also use the hashtag #lovelylittlepatchworkblogtour on Instagram to view the beautiful photos.

And tomorrow is Sedef’s from Down Grapevine Lane turn on the tour, and you can guarantee her make is going to be truly inspiring.  I can’t wait to see it!

Happy creating!

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High Tea Blog Hop

Welcome to my turn on the lovely High Tea blog hop! High tea for Lecien is Jera Brandvig’s debut collection and oh my goodness its a truly sweet collection. Even the print names are yummy, with colourways like Fig Red, Butter Cream and Brown Sugar two name a few.

I wanted to use the fabrics in a way that would showcase the divine soft colours and pretty high tea inspired prints.  I knew what ever I created it definitely needed to feature fussy cutting.  I actually made this little dresden before I had a plan on what to use it for.

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After much consideration I decided to make a treat for myself, by making a sweet tea cosy featuring Jera’s prints and linen. Growing up my Grandma always crocheted tea cosies for the family however since her passing and my inability to crochet that tradition kind of stopped. And when you realise how cute they can be with fabric like High Tea and how easy they are I’m pretty sure a tea cosy will be added to your handmade Christmas gift repertoire.

 

I followed the fantastic free tutorial by Jesse at the IMG_1352Messy Jesse blog. I did waver slightly after step four.  I skipped step 5  and instead separately sewed bias binding to the bottom edges of the two sides of the tea cosy.  Then I placed the tea cosy sides wrong sides together and sewed around the curved edge with a 1/4 inch seam.   You should now have a tea cosy (albeit with a messy edge).  However by adding the bias binding to this curved edge you will conceal those messy edges.

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Of course if I am going to have a tea cosy it only seams fitting to have matching coasters. So I used Cheri’s from the blog Tinker With This free hexie coaster pattern to make two perfectly sweet and matching High Tea coasters.

 

 

I think this tea cosy and coaster set would make a perfect gift (especially in High Tea fabrics) when combined with your favourite tea and handmade biscuits. (or shop bought biscuits – if like me you are a maker not a baker 🙂

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Thank you for taking the time to read my post! And great news the blog hop continues tomorrow with the very talented quilter Peta from She Quilts A Lot working with this pretty collection.

Apple Farm Blog Hop

Hi! Welcome to my blog and my turn on the Apple Farm Blog Hop for Elea Lutz’s latest collection for Riley Blake Designs.

IMG_1670Ok let’s be honest Elea is yet to create a collection that I don’t absolutely adore so no real surprise how much I love this collection. But seriously who wouldn’t! With its pretty
pops of colour, pretty ginghams, sweet apples and adorable critters it has been so much fun to create with (especially as our Australian winter has been filled with many gloomy grey days).

 

 

The arrival of Apple Farm coincided with the arrival of my first great niece. And so I set to create a few special gifts for her. For me one of the greatest quilting honours I can have is for a designer IMG_1279to ask me to work with their designs. I wanted to make a truly special quilt that honoured the traditional side of quilting whilst celebrated the vibrant colours of Apple Farm. So after seeing so many gorgeous Lucy Boston blocks posted on Instagram I decided to give them a go. Sewing these blocks was quite a challenge because as well as fussy cutting the pieces, fabric placement can have a huge impact on the look of the block. (The nice IMG_1256part about these blocks is they only use one shape – elongated hexies – and as it only takes 24 papers to make a block  you don’t have to make a huge financial investment to give them a go.)

 

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After two weeks of solid hand stitching (and many moments thinking I would never finish)completed my great niece’s baby quilt. I hand stitched everything except the sashing between the blocks and after hanging it on the line to dry I couldn’t believe the effect the winter sun had shining through my hand pieced blocks.

 

 

I also made my great niece a cute bear pillow to match her quilt. I used the pattern from Amy IMG_1724
Sinibaldi’s book Sweetly Stitched Handmades. My hope is that my niece and her baby daughter use this teddy pillow to snuggle with, lay on, read books next to and it becomes all squishy and well loved like the ones I made my girls

 

 

 

It feels so special to share my quilting with my family and to create pieces that are designed to be loved by children and their parents. I am sure that is what Elea had in mind when she designed this collection and the fact that I have this fabric because I was asked by Elea to create with it makes these handmade gifts that much sweeter.

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I hope I have inspired you to try a technique, create with this collection and continue enjoying the blog hop. Make sure you check out Lauren’s creations at Transient Art and tomorrow have a look at Jessica from Euphoria Jessica and Kristyne from Pretty by Hand blog posts.

Posy Garden Blog Hop

 

Welcome! Today is my turn on the Posy Garden blog hop.

Posy Garden is Carina Gardner’s latest collection for Riley Blake and is a perfect combination of soft tiny florals and bold colours. Along with the pretty prints and colours what I really love about Carina’s collection is how versatile the designs are!  One week in and the blog hop has featured a wide range of makes from baby quilts, a fantastic tote and a gorgeous tunic for a little girl.

IMG_1498The Posy Garden prints are so pretty so I decided to use it for a project I had long promised my youngest daughter – a tooth fairy pillow… well actually a tooth fairy wall hanging. My eldest has a pillow but with months between tooth fairy visits it can be quite hard to find her tiny pillow just before bedtime. So instead of a pillow I made a tooth fairy wall hanging. That way when not tucked under her pillow waiting for a visit she can have it hanging on her wall above her bed. And when you use the super cute tooth fairy quilt block pattern from Elea Lutz’s book Pretty Playtime sewn with Carina’s beautiful collection who wouldn’t to have it displayed as art!

 

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The little fairy’s dress pocket on Elea’s quilt block is the perfect size for the envelopes our fairy leaves behind. (Side note: if your fairy is interested in leaving an envelope like the one our fairy leaves let her know she can download the free printable from Handmade Charlotte’s blog)

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I turned the block into a mini quilt by making a quilt sandwich (quilt block, batting and then backing fabric) and just prior to binding I added two triangle sections at the back top corners to make two little pockets I could slip in a piece of dowel when I needed to hang it on the wall.

To hang it to the wall and because every fairy really needs a special place I used the free star pattern from Mollie’s blog Wild Olive (I printed the template at 40 percent). I changed her tutorial slightly by added a little batting between the back and front fabrics. Then just prior to sewing the back and front together I added a loop of thread to the top point of the star and a piece of thread coming out of the two bottom points.  Then with the two threads hanging at the bottom of the star I tied them to each end of the dowel with a simple knot. Ta da, a super simple and pretty way to hang a mini quilt.

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Now when the tooth fairy visits we can easily remove the tooth fairy wall hanging and place it under her pillow, and the next morning we can pop it back on to the wall.

And as I said at the start of this blog the collection is so versatile it works for all sorts of projects for all sorts of ages. When I saw how perfectly the print looked with some soft faux leather I just had to give the You and Mie free tutorial for a foldover clutch a go. And the result is sweet posy perfection!IMG_1474

To continue to be inspired by this gorgeous collection make sure you visit Amy from Ameroonie Designs blog tomorrow and for a full list of bloggers participating in the hop have a look at Carina’s beautiful website.

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Pixie Noel Blog Hop

IMG_0474Hi! Welcome to my turn on the Pixie Noel Blog Hop.

Pixie Noel is Tasha Noel’s latest collection for Riley Blake and I am truly smitten. Like many people I am a huge fan of Tasha’s designs, with all of her previous collections being a big part of our handmade home – from nursery bunting and curtains, first birthday dresses and now our Christmas.

 

As soon  Pixie Noel arrived at my home I started making 1 inch hexies (seriously how could I not – hedgehogs AND deers ), but then I needed a project to display my sweet cheery hexies!  Suddenly I was inspired by a previous and well loved item I had made – a pillowcase! Growing up we would leave out pillowcases (not stockings) on Christmas Eve, and with this sweet Christmas themed collection now my daughters will be able to do the same.

IMG_1751I used Lisa from A Spoonful Of Sugar free tutorial for a hexie pillowcase, adjusting slightly to make the cuff completely out of hexies. The Pixie Noel illustrations are perfectly sized for 1 inch fussy cut hexies and even better a  charm pack easily makes 42 hexies – all you need for the cuff on a standard pillowcase.

 

 

 

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With the little pieces of fabric I had left over I  made a little sleeping bag for my daughter’s favourite bunny. I used the Honey Bear’s sleeping bag pattern from the S is for Sewing Book by Belle and Boo.  A seriously cute idea, that is so simple to make I look forward to making more for gifts.
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Of course I couldn’t let the tiny pieces left over from making hexies go to waste (seriously those tiny blue birds are adorable).  So I made fabric stamps using Amy Sinibaldi’s tutorial and then using Svetlana Sotak’s  free pattern for a drawstring pouch I made a super cute and handy pouch to leave out  – perfect for those tiny gifts that sometimes get lost on Christmas morning.

 

 

So thanks to Tasha’s sweet illustrations Christmas in July has well and truly arrived in our home. My girls are  already using the pillowcase, sleeping bag and tiny pouch (currently on a roster as I need to make one more of each item).  And the best part is all these items featured in my blog hop post were made with 1 1/2 yards of Pixie Noel fabric and a single 5 inch charm pack!

Ohh and it is also Jemima from Tied with Ribbon’s turn on the blog hop today and her beautiful Let It Snow wall hanging is as pretty as it is inspiring, so you definitely need to pop over to her blog.

And if like me you love all things Pixie Noel, tomorrow the blog hop will feature makes from Andy from A Bright Corner and Lindsay from The Cottage Mama.

Happy Creating!

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English Paper Piecing – A few tips

 

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Most nights I enjoy relaxing with some simple hand sewing, and more often then not I’m working on a english paper pieced project.  So after 18 months of almost daily practice I have discovered a few tips that I thought I would share and hopefully help you with your next project.

 

 

 

Glue vs thread basting

I have tried both glueing and thread basting and for me IMG_0202
thread basting wins out for any paper piece over about 1/2 inch.  Thread basting helps maintain the shape (no more yanking at seams and fabric to become unstuck) and means I can get at least two or three uses out of my paper pieces as the papers aren’t torn when I remove them.  With 1/2 inch and smaller shapes it gets fairly tricky to work with the tiny pieces so I do find glueing easier.

 

Thread

For months I struggled with threading my needles but then I discovered Aurifil 50 weight thread – its thin enough to fit through the eye of any needle but has enough structure it doesn’t collapse when you are trying to thread with it.

Needles

I had no idea there was special quilting needles but once I discovered size 11 needles my stitches improved straight away.  Their small size means they slip through the fabric far easier than a longer length needle.  And as you sew your shapes together you can also get in between the edge of the paper piece and the edge of the fabric (see below image), which means your stitches won’t be visible at the front of your project.IMG_0205