Thursday, 4 February 2016

Queen of Hearts

I'm happy to report that I've completed one of the items from my Q1 Finish-Along list!

A couple of people mentioned that the quilt reminded them of Alice in Wonderland, and since then I haven't been able to not think of that whenever I look at the quilt. So, I've called it "Queen of Hearts".

The backing has something of a romantic feel about it, don't you think? It's a Timeless Treasures print I bought from Hall of Fabrics.  

I was a bit lazy with labeling, choosing to write the name of the quilt on one corner hanging pocket, and my name and date on the other corner. Somewhat lacking in detail perhaps, but it will suffice. 

Looking back at my original post about this quilt, I see that it is over a year old! Unable to decide whether to make it a cushion cover or a wall hanging I let it sit in a cupboard being neither. I am so, so happy to have it finished!

Bye for now x 

Friday, 15 January 2016

2016 Finish-Along - Q1

In keeping with the purging, finishing and tidying urges I wrote about last time, I've decided to participate in the 2016 Finish-Along and get some WIPs completed. There are lots of hosts this year, but I first read about it at Elven Garden Quilts so head on over and have a read if you're not sure what it's about.

My Quarter One goals are as follows:

Etchings 'Spot On' Quilt 

I'm about half done with the quilting. I need to decide on what I'm going to quilt in the borders, sashing and spots. The binding is cut out ready to go. 

ZigZag Love in Black and White

This mini just needs binding. It is actually quilted and trimmed, but it's too dim for photos today.

That's it for the first quarter. I will be working on other things I'm sure, but these are a couple that I have been wanting to get done for ages and need the extra motivation to finish. So, by the time March is over I'll (hopefully) have these two projects finished and in use. Much better than having them sitting in a cupboard!

Wish me luck... ;)

Hope x

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Purging, Finishing, Tidying...

Happy New Year! It's not too late to say that, is it? I'm pretty sure six days old qualifies as new.

I've had a little break - from pattern writing, blogging, Instagram... all that computer stuff. It's been a time of getting rid of things I don't need, use or want, tidying and reorganising, and finishing tasks that have been left far too long. Oh, and for relaxing. :)

I tackled my overflowing scrap bin most recently, a regular 'waste paper basket' that I drop all my trimmings, off-cuts and thread ends into. I swear that bin is like the TARDIS - bigger on the inside. Once the contents were spread out on the floor for sorting it was hard to believe it all came from one little bin.

Anyway, I ended up having to re-think my scrap storage system. I had been using plastic sandwich bags - one for each colour - but now I'm using four 10 litre ice cream tubs instead. Much better! Easy to rummage through and plenty of room.

I'm not done with the purging or tidying. I have an overwhelming need to get all the extra stuff OUT of my space, and give myself more room to think. I'm gradually doing it everywhere in the house - except for hubby's study!

It feels wonderful! Perhaps you'd like to give it a go? As habits and happiness writer Gretchen Rubin says "Outer order contributes to inner calm". I'm really finding it to be true.

Bye for now x

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas Cracker Cushion

Hello! Thought I'd pop in and show you what I did with my Christmas Cracker from the free block tutorial I shared. I turned it into a cushion cover:

I simply added borders to get to the desired size, basted and quilted as normal, then added a zippered back and machine-sewn binding. 

A simple flap of folded fabric conceals the zipper:

A zippered cushion closure is so much nicer than an envelope backing - no gaping! - and is not at all difficult. I think I need to stock up on zippers and make a few more. My naked cushions would probably appreciate it. ;)

Bye for now, 

Hope x 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas Cracker - A Free Quilt Block Tutorial

Season's Greetings! I have a fun, festive quilt block tutorial to share with you today - a Christmas Cracker! I've used leftover 5" charm squares, but jelly roll strips are ideal, or anything you can cut a long enough 2.5" strip from. It's pretty quick too - which is lucky, since Christmas is not far away... so let's get to it!

For a single block you will need:

  • 2 coordinating, 5" charm squares - these will be Fabric A (the largest pieces of the cracker) and Fabric B (the smaller pieces of the cracker);
  • 2.5" x WOF strip background fabric

Use a quarter inch seam allowance, unless specified otherwise.

Start by pressing your fabric to remove all creases. Use a little steam or spray starch, and be careful not to distort the fabric. Allow to cool.

Cut one charm square (Fabric A) into two rectangles, 2.5" x 5", then from one of these cut one piece, 2.5" x 4.5", and from the other cut two pieces, 2.5" x 2.25".

Cut the other charm square (Fabric B) into two rectangles, 2.5" x 5". From these cut a total of six rectangles, 2.5" x 1.25".

From your 2.5" background fabric strip, cross-cut 4 pieces, 1" x 2.5". Cross-cut these into two squares each, 1" x 1", for a total of 8 squares. Set the rest of the background fabric aside for now.

Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, across the back of each of your 1" background squares. This will be your sewing line.

Lay out your pieces as shown, making sure you have the 2.25" Fabric A rectangles oriented the correct way, with the 2.25" edge running left to right.

Sew each end Fabric B piece to its adjacent Fabric A 2.25" piece. Press seams to Fabric A.

Place a square on the corners of the four inner Fabric B pieces, face down, as shown. Pay careful attention to the direction of the sewing lines.

Making sure edges are flush, sew along the sewing lines a smidgen to the seam allowance side of the line (i.e. the outside corner of the square).

Press to set seams. Finger press open, pressing the seams in two of the units (one from each side of the cracker) towards the background fabric, and the other two units to Fabric B. When pressing seams to the background, your corners and edges should all line up:

When pressing to Fabric B, your background should neatly replace the corners of Fabric B. In both cases you should end up with a neat 2.5" x 1.25" rectangle.

When you're sure everything lines up, press seams with your iron - being careful of your fingers with the small pieces. Trim seam allowances to a quarter inch.

Now you will have two pairs, the back of which should look like this:

Sew each pair together, nesting the seams where they meet. You should be able to feel them 'lock' together.

Press seams to one side - whichever side sits nicest. Lay out your pieces again as shown:

Sew the pieces together to finish the cracker, pressing seams to Fabric A.

And from the back:

To finish the block, make sure your cracker is freshly pressed and cooled and measure the length (i.e. the longest side). It should be 12.5".

From your 2.5" background strip, cross-cut cut two rectangles the length of your cracker.

Pinning at the centre, quarter way points and each end, sew a background strip to the top, and one to the bottom of your cracker. Press seams to the background.

Congratulations, you've finished your block!

Note: When complete, block should measure 12.5" x 6.5" (including seam allowance all round). If you want a border all round, rather than just the top and bottom, you will need two more pieces, 6.5" x 2.5", for each end. Depending on how long your 2.5" strip is, you may need more background fabric

If you make something from this tutorial, I'd love to see it! Add a link in the comments, send me an email, or tag me on Instagram (@hopetn). You can see what I did with my block here.

Happy sewing!

Hope x

Thursday, 3 December 2015

New Leaf - A New Pattern

Happy December! I am pleased and excited to start the month with a new pattern release! I call this one "New Leaf".

The quilt is pre-cut friendly - Jelly Rolls, Sushi Rolls etc. can be used for the main 40.5" x 48.5" lap quilt, and the 12.5" square mini quilt uses two fat quarters. Yes, there's a mini quilt included in the pattern, no extra charge. :) Here's the version I made using a couple of Bonnie & Camille prints:

I used half a Moda Jelly Roll for the colours and yardage for the grey in my lap quilt. I absolutely adore these fabrics by Basic Grey from their Fresh Cut collection. The other half of the Jelly Roll is destined to (one day) become a coordinating quilt of the same design.

As usual, I've tried my best to make this pattern amazing value. There are loads of tips, step by step instructions and illustrations, as well as a couple of variations including an ombre version:

I've also included colouring pages at the end of the pattern so you can play with colour before deciding on your fabrics.

I really and truly love this quilt and the pattern I've produced. It's not hard to put together, is suitable for beginners, plus I'm always happy to offer assistance if needed. I hope you'll give it a go!

You can buy the pattern here or through my Craftsy Store.

Happy Sewing!

Hope x

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Hand Quilting New Leaf

Just recently, I decided to add some hand quilting to a mini quilt I made (for which a pattern is coming very soon!).

I adore the effect, really and truly, but I had so much trouble pulling the needle through that at times I had to use pliers! That mostly happened when I had two or three stitches on the needle. Tell me, was I doing something wrong? It surely shouldn't be so hard.

I'm very new to hand quilting, but do love the effect so want to do it again. If you have any tips for me, I'd be ever so grateful. 

I'm also curious to know, what's your favourite brand of needle? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now

Hope x