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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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.

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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

 

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Strawberry Biscuit Blog Hop

When Elea Lutz contacted me and asked if I wanted to join the Strawberry Biscuit blog hop I was so excited (and fairly nervous).  This collection was a firm favourite the moment I saw it on her Instagram feed.  IMG_9353

I knew that with such pretty and cheery fabric I wanted to make
something for my daughters. I then thought about why I adored this collection so much. It wasn’t just the fact it features sweet baking kitties, singing blue birds, tiny flowers and a divine cheater print perfect for making 1 inch hexies.

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It was Elea’s perfect eye for details and colours. Her beautiful illustrations are reminiscent of my favourite vintage prints and I find each and every piece of the collection sweet and inspiring. Suddenly the answer came to me – for this arts and craft obsessed family I would make a children’s travelling art case!

A ‘go anywhere’ art case would be a great way to display the sweet prints, as well help encourage my daughters to keep creating, no matter where they are (who knows, maybe one day they will be fabric designers!).

Open art case

 

I couldn’t find an art case pattern so instead I came up with a simple design that I then embellished with fabric stamps, hexies and a fussy cut quilt block. I even took the cheater print and turned it slightly so that the squares became diamonds! Such a simple twist and the result is so sweet

 

Below I have a little step by step tutorial on how I made the case. You can make the case as simple or as intricate as you like.  I have a place for pencils, a pouch for treasures and a section for an art pad.  I encourage you to make the case your own by adding the little touches you love creating and as a result it is sure to be a cherished piece that encourages the next generation of creators.

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There have been so many amazing bloggers featured in this blog hop and tomorrow is no exception.  Make sure you have a look at the projects by Megan from Dolly Henry and Stacy from Farm Road Quilts you are guaranteed to be inspired by what they have made with Strawberry
Biscuit!

Art Case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travelling Art Case Tutorial

Fabric requirements

Inner Cover
Cover – 12 1/2 inches by 21 1/2 inchesIMG_9355


Pencil Section

Outer Fabric – 7 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch
Lining – 7 1/2 inch by 5 1/4 inch

Pouch with Flap
Outer Fabric – 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch
Lining – 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch

Flap 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inch
Flap Lining 7 1/2 inch by 3 1/4 inch

Notebook Section
Outer Fabric – 9 1/4 inch 9 1/4 inch
Lining – 9 1/4 inch 9 1/4 inch

Outer Cover
Cover – 12 1/2 inches by 21 1/2 inches
Batting (I used a stiff bag batting) – 12 inches by 21 inches
Handles – 2 x (2 inch by 8 inch)

Instructions

Please note these are the basics for preparing the case. Remember to personalise it!

Inner Cover

  1.  Sew each of the section and pouch pieces to its corresponding lining by placing the two pieces right side together. Sew around each piece using a 1/4 seam and leaving a 1 inch gap to allow you to turn the pieces out. Turn them out and then press.
  2.  Lay out your inner cover right side facing up. On the upper left side of the cover lay your pouch section and then the flap piece slightly above the pouch section. Below the pouch, position the pencil section (Hint: remember the pencils will stick out the top so you need to make sure there is enough space between the bottom of the pouch and the top of the pencil section).
  3. Place the notebook section on the right side of the cover making sure you place it low enough that your notebook won’t stick out of the top of the case.
  4. Check that you are happy with the layout of each of your sections, and that they are far enough away from the outer edge that they won’t be caught up in the hem when you sew the outer and inside cover together.
  5. You will now sew each section in place to the inner cover. For all pieces (except the pouch flap) top stitch along the two short sides and along the bottom. You will then top stitch just along the top of the pouch flap.
  6. You are now going to make the slots for the pencils to go into. We are using quite IMG_9098thick pencils so I measured 1 inch intervals along the length of pencil section. (Hint: if you are using thinner pencils you might be able to fit in extra pencils). I then top stitched a straight line down each inch interval (from the top to the bottom).
  7. Depending on what you are putting in your pouch with a flap you can either add snaps or just leave it as is.

Outer Cover

  1. Quilt the Outer cover to the batting however way you wish. if you want to keep it really simple you could just sew 1/4 inch around the edge of the batting so that it is secure to the front cover.
  2. Take the two strips of fabric for the handles. Take the fabric and fold in in half length ways so it measures 1 inch by 8 and then press. Open up the strip and then fold each 8 edge so that they meet at the centre fold. Now fold the entire thing at the original fold so you end up with a 1 inch by 8 inch strip with concealed edges. Repeat for the other strip. Then top stitch 1/8 inch in down the length of of each strip along both sides.
  3. Now we are going to attach the handles to the outside cover. Measure 3 inches down and attach the handle shorter (1 inch) edge to the cover. Measure 7 1/12 inches down from the top and attach the other shorter edge. You should now have a handle! (Hint: make sure the handle is laying against the cover so that it is out of the way when you sew the front and back cover together). Repeat on the other side for the other handle.

Final Construction

  1. You are now going to sew the outer cover to the inside cover. Lay the two cover right side together and pin. Sew around using a 1/4 inch seam and leaving a 4 inch gap at the bottom to turn the case out.
  2. Turn out the case and press, making sure you push out each corner.
  3. Hand sew or machine stitch the opening closed
  4. Fill up your case with lots of fun bits and pieces! And in our case remove all those art pieces and replace them with your tiny vintage dolls and their pet dinosaur. Enjoy!IMG_9343
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A Patchwork Coin Purse

IMG_8773I recently discovered 3/8 hexies,  fussy cutting and paper piecing tiny pieces can be very time consuming so I really wanted to find a great way to display the final piece.  And for me a patchwork coin purse was the perfect way!

I used a 4 inch sew in frame, which I personally find a lot easier to IMG_8563work with compared to the glue in frames.  You don’t have to worry about glue sticking to your frame (or fabric) and I simply use sticky tape to can hold the fabric in place while I sew it into the frame (I even just sew through the tape and then remove the tape once I have finished).

If you haven’t tried making a coin purse you should definitely give it a go – they make a perfect patchwork gift that can be used everyday!

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Strawberry Biscuit Zipper Pouch

One of my favourite Fabric Designers Elea Lutz will shortly be releasing a new fabric collection, Strawberry Biscuit.  To me the collection is reminiscent of the Golden Books I had as a child, with kittens in bows, harmonising blue birds and sweet strawberries, its almost guaranteed to inspire.  And if you haven’t seen Elea’s work you should definitely have a look at her website.

Strawberry Biscuit is being released in Australia in May (and in even better news one of my favourite fabric stores Ministry of Fabric will be selling it!!)  However thanks to the generosity of one of my Instagram friends, who won a pre release bundle in a recent
giveaway, I managed to get my hands on some of the prints last week.  And it did not disappoint, it inspired me so much I actually tackled one of my sewing phobias – a zipper – to make a little zip pouch.

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Adding in fabric at either ends of the zippers prevents it disappearing into the edges of the pouch

To add in the zipper without it disappearing into the corners of the pouch, I used this tutorial which explained how to add in a piece of fabric at either end of the zipper to essentially extend the zipper length.  And ta da a completed strawberry zipper pouch.

Ohh and if you love fussy cutting hexies the cheater print in the collection makes perfect fussy cutting for 1/2 inch hexies!

 

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A Patchwork Kite – a quick tutorial

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My patchwork kite using Lecien Old New 30s collection cheater fabric with a cute hexie flower

I recently found myself with some time to spare and was after a quick project. After searching Pinterest for inspiration I come across a cloth kite. It looked cute but I thought I would make a patchwork version, it was so popular on Instagram  I’ve pulled together a quick tutorial if you would like to try it yourself.

Step 1. Cut 16 x 3 inch squares (I used a a combination of florals, linens and solids.

Step 2. Sew 2 row of 2 squares, 3 rows of 4 squares.

Step 3. Sew the 5 rows all together, in the following order – 2 row block, 4 row block, 4 row block, 4 row block and finally 2 row block.

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Laying out my fabric blocks

Step 4. Draw a line running diagonal down through each of the top 3 inch blocks and down through the 1st and 4th block of the second row. This provided me with the top of diamond kite shape.

Step 5. Position your ruler to the top left the 3rd row and angle down to the middle of the bottom row. Draw a straight line and repeat on the other side at the top right hand corner of the last block.

Step 6. You should now have a complete diamond shape drawn on your fabric, use these lines to cut out the diamond shape.

Step 7. Add a stiff batting to your diamond fabric piece and quilt as desired.

Step 8. Position your backing piece of fabric underneath your diamond quilt top and cut around leaving a 1/4 inc seam.

Step 9. Cut a piece of string and pin it to the batting at the bottom of the kite, this will be your kite string.

Step 10. Right sides together, sew your backing to your quilted kite – making sure your string hasn’t slipped out. As you sew, leave a gap on one of the sides to enable you to turn the kite out.

Step 11. Using the gap you left at step 10, turn out the kite and hand stitch the opening closed.

Step 12. Embellish the string with pretty ribbons or bias and then enjoy your super cute patchwork kite wall hanging!

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The finished patchwork kite – a perfect wall hanging for a child’s room

 

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Creating Hexies

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Liberty Of London hexie cushion.

I first tried English Paper Piecing a year ago, I bought pre-cut Liberty of London fabric hexagons (or hexies) from Alice Caroline. and hexagon papers from my local quilt store. It then took me around 2 months, while I watched tv in the evenings, to baste the fabric to the individual papers and then sew the 50 hexies together and the result was a cute little pillow and a new obsession.

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1/2 inch hexies

Since then I have made more hexies than I can count and my favourite thing to do now is cut my hexagons so they feature a cute image – otherwise known as fussy cut hexies.  With a bit practice (and a clear plastic hexagon template) you can perfectly cut your hexagons so they make the most of your fabric (even the smallest scrap of fabric such as these 1/2 inch hexies).