Thursday 29 March 2012

piece and love hexathon

Thanks for the love my friends.
My self esteem ebbs and flows...
your nice comments keep me buoyant. 
I've been feeling so uplifted with all this sunshine,
I want to bottle it up in a cheerful patchwork project.
This is a non quilt project ie. it can be a tablecloth, curtains or whatever needs a splash of patchwork!
 I know though... not another hex-a-long right?
After the success of the rose star block party
(which is still going strong)
I wanted to keep things simple, so more people might be snared enticed!
Plus these hexagons are biggies man!
(see the normal sized hexagons on the right)
 I've been wanting to make a pretty table cloth
ever since I displayed my quilt on the dining room table last year.
 This was my next to do project,
so why not make it a friendly group of piece and love.
The idea is to keep this as carefree as possible.
You will not need 
designer fabrics
(but if you have a stash use it!)

You will need 
some vintage/old bedding/old fabrics
(try charity/thrift shops)
paper hexagons
(mine are 2" each side)
a backing fabric
a table to cover
elbow grease
some captured moments in your week.. it, sat on a train, in your lunch break or in the park.
I'd love to see your progress,
if you would like to join in or just follow
pop over here

I will be posting the basic technique of paper piecing again next week...
as if you don't already know!!!
piece out
the instigator
ps. feel free to copy and paste my button to your blog.

Monday 26 March 2012

a quilt story

As promised my mini quilt from start to finish.
I'm calling it french window...
This is my first quilt designed from scratch.
It originates from this chateau in Josselin France.
I immediately thought of patchwork as I peered through the lovely lead windows.
I made a quick sketch of the block...
...and then put together a design for a quilt,
I do love the 3D aspect of the one on the left.
I must say at this point with my shoulder already sore
I had thoughts of machining this quilt.
And it is quite possible by using half square triangles and rectangles.
That said I much prefer my shapes to be one solid piece of fabric,
so as not to spoil the design.
As this was also a mini quilt I thought I'd English paper piece it
I am a sucker for it!
So one evening I sat on the floor and with the help from my husbands mathematical skills
I scaled the design up to the size I wanted keeping the same ratio.
Choosing the right balance of colours was a bit tricky as so many had to meet.
I tried out a few until I found the balance I liked.
I knew that I wanted to keep the blocks all the same,
and not just mix them up.
After stitching them to their templates I still had a couple of days switching them about,
with the help of my digital camera!
Now you may remember how I thought it resembled a cream egg colour scheme,
tempting as it is to call it creme egg,
the theme actually grew from my anthropologie bowl.
With my shoulder in mind I did a little stitching every few days,
and soon I had sewn the top, with great satisfaction.
Woo hoo naked of it's papers!
When it came to the backing I was at a stand still,
I knew that I wanted to do some red hand quilting 
so I needed the backing to work with that.
Then as per usual 'eureka'
I found this piece which seemed perfectly made just for this project.
It's part of a pillowcase that I bought just for patchwork,
and the red stitching works too...JOY!
To tie in the navy from the front I've used Joel Dewberrys modern meadow
(my all time favourite design and excellent blender)
Before I hand quilted,
 I machine quilted inside each piece,
I like how it looks more like the original window,
when the light catches it just right.
So there you are the makings of my french window.
I can say hand on heart I loved every bit of this quilt.
I think the fact that because it's a mini (23'x 17')
I could see the end in sight within a month.
I realise this quilt isn't going to appeal to some..
I do prefer to inspire with my quilts than to make something pretty for pretty sake!
Now that said I have a new quilt-along up my sleeve
for beginners...
 and probably very pretty!!

 One anonymous comment
Surely you can't actively decide to inspire? Inspiration is something that either hits the viewer or not. I like pretty things so am likely to be inspired by them. I don't like geometrical shapes much and prefer very simple shapes or applique. Colour and fabric choices matter more than any design as the less the design the more likely I am to like it aesthetically. Piecing is of course clever but I like the look less as it takes away from the fabrics and colours.

Edited in response to the above comment
 Of course I don't make quilts just to inspire others.
I make quilts that challenge me and if they inspire when they are finished then thats a bonus,
If you had read my last sentence then you would have realised that.
Why are the quilt police always anonymous?

ps. piecing is not clever it's actually quite simple,
maybe you should join in my next quilt along
it's for beginners?

Thursday 22 March 2012

random thursday

Three seemingly random pictures.
Truth be told I'm channelling my inner 'Molly Flanders Style'
a phrase coined by a follower in my last post.
The first is my sewing chair...and yesterday I had a thought that my shoulder pain
could be linked to bad posture, due to a bad sewing position.
I do feel like the princess and the pea, but it feels better.
The second is a thrifty 10 pence find on my way home from the osteopath.
Who needs Anthropologie!
And the last is the wonderful jewel colours of the much loved perle cottons.
Mary I hope this cheered your day a little..

pickledish wall guessed it a Molly Flanders original!

Tuesday 20 March 2012

go with the flow......

 What's the best antidote to a morning of frying my brain setting up a blog for my parents history society?
An afternoon learning how to free motion quilt!
 When I say learn, I mean sit with my machine
 and in the words of Tim Gunn
'make it work!!'
I did learn that the term for the mess I was creating was called eyelashing!!
I worked out that my thread tension was off.
So I practiced, moving the thread tension wheel (the one on the front of your machine)
until I found the back looked as good as the front ie no eyelashing!
7 was a good tension for my machine (janome QXL605).
I'm not sure I've really learnt just yet,
but at least I know how to do it now.
I just need to get to grips with's such an odd way to sew,
especially when you are used to backwards and forwards sewing.
I can only describe it as drawing with your machine.. I need something to practice on.
I used a free motion foot of the open toed nature,
with my feed dogs dropped of course!!
The feed dog is the part that grabs your fabric,
for free motion you need to drop them,
try looking round the back of your machine you should find a switch
that does it all for you, just don't forget to reset your machine for regular sewing!!

Thursday 15 March 2012

I quilt

okay so I truly wasn't going to post today,
but here I am anyway!
I have basted my flowering snowball,
after a eureka moment of resourcing the backing from a thrifted sheet
(from my stash!!)
I began this quilt as a challenge to paper piece curves,
and to hand quilt...
This quilt is shouting St Ives, Cornwall and troika pottery to me.
I'm thinking of machine quilting and hand stitching.
Possibly machine one circle in the grey area
and hand quilting in turquoise the contours?
What would you do?

Wednesday 14 March 2012

utter confusion

 Anyone else bemused by google?
I wanted to change my email to selfsewn when I began my blog.
I gave in to google and signed up for a gmail account.
Everything was were all sending me emails to my gmail no problems.
Then this morning it seems I can no longer use my gmail without logging out of hotmail and my blog.
I am not someone who logs out
After too many hours researching an answer and trying to correct the issue,
I have returned my email contact back to hotmail..
So Google why ask me to sign up for gmail when I cant use it with my current blog?
 It seems that you cannot change your primary sign in email either.
I am a quilter not a computer geek.....any ideas Laura??

Okay so now I've set up a yahoo email.
Which seems to be working, crisis averted!!!
I thank you!

Tuesday 13 March 2012

Hoping.....are you a winner?

Wow 102 entries 
you make me feel like the winner.
I loved receiving your words.
Sometimes when you hope hard enough....

So Fi you were hoping.....
and now you've won!

Thank you all so much for taking part.
If you didn't win this time there's always next time...

Friday 9 March 2012

friday flora

It's about time to reclaim Fridays for the garden.
Not sure if it should be Friday flora, flower Friday or floral Friday?
It's also this time of year when I realise I don't have enough spring flowers,
especially with bees already on the hunt for nectar.
Thank goodness for the crocus!
News Alert
Gardeners World starts again tonight!
BBC 2  8.30pm
Woo hoo go Monty!

Tuesday 6 March 2012

giveaway day!

 Roll up roll up 
one little starlet
free to a good home!

As a thank you for following me over here to selfsewn,
I have sewn this mini especially for you!
If you would like to win, 
all you have to do is follow my blog...
and leave me a one word comment!
The deadline to enter will be Monday 12th March.

Saturday 3 March 2012

un petit quilt

This is my entry to the Ellison Lane Quilts modern mini challenge.
It's the first patchwork design that I have designed completely from scratch.
(quilt story post to follow)
  This is my second mini quilt, 
my first the rose star (in my sidebar)
  lives in America with Mary,
my hand quilting is a direct homage to the above Queen of quilting.
The idea came from a chateau window in France last year.
I knew straight away when I saw it, that it would make an awesome quilt.
It is English paper pieced, machine and hand quilted.
It's maybe not the most modern...but it was a challenge!
The quilt measures 23"x 17"

 The fabric imari-esque colour combination was inspired by my bowl from
(though I think it closely resembles a cadburys creme egg)
 I love it and I loved making it from start to finish!!!
Please do hop over for a look at more wonderful minis at
Please vote for your favourite as there are some amazing prizes on offer.
Voting for chosen quilts runs from the 6th until the 8th of March

Thursday 1 March 2012

through the keyhole

Who lives in a house like this?
An English Paper Piecer of course..
 ..and a husband with eyes that are constantly rolling!