Wednesday, 1 October 2014

I'm done

So regular readers will know, as I harp on about it frequently, that in December last year I signed up for Fabriholics Anonymous. A pledge not to buy fabric for 6 months, with a possible extension to 12. A fabric fast indeed. You can read all the nitty gritty rules here.

And I've stuck to it, I really have. I am quite a tenacious sort and when I set my mind to something I generally see it through. The end of June came and went and I decided to press on, as all my original reasons for fasting stayed valid, still so many planned projects with fabric bought and waiting. I think I've done pretty well. And frankly it's starting to feel like I am the only person still fabric fasting in the entire blogisphere. Everyone else has fallen/ leapt off the wagon. The link ups stopped months ago. Just poor little me left in my joyless non purchasing world.

I have bought some permitted items recently. My only fabric purchases at Festival of Quilts were for a secret sewing project. I turned down a lot of bargains and it was mildly disappointing, if eminently sensible.

I've also splashed out on some fabrics for my effort in the #IGminiswap, as my partner has such wildly different tastes from me that a quick peek at my stash revealed it contained absolutely nothing at all that she would like. That was both fun, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into someone else's shoes, and again mildly disappointing, given the amount of gorgeous fabric that I haven't bought for myself this year.

I keep looking at this stack. And procrastinating. And looking again. Way out of my comfort zone but I think it could be awesome. #igminiswap #teamrosanne

And then last month my lovely Grandma died, and I just though: Sod it. I'm done. My stash is full of prints I haven't used during the last 8 and a half months. Many prints that I have looked at repeatedly and known I will never use. But I've held onto them, because when nothing's coming in it's hard to let anything go. And I was stalling on stash busting projects due the same hoarding tendancies and so I decided it just really needed a bit of  revamp, an injection of something new. A 25% off bundles voucher for Pink Castle Fabrics was the clincher. So off I went.

I decided to go for some colour coded stash building bundles. I have long debated joining the Pink Castle stash stack club but frankly the thought of paying for a half empty flat rate envelope each month makes me wince. And there, in the in stock bundles section were some leftover bundles. I went for half yard half stacks -  a half yard is my preferred stashing cut and I wanted maximum colour options.


Dots, sketch and squared elements among others! Love.

Yellow (this is proper buttery yellow not citrussy yellow):

More sketch, woodgrain and minimalista plus others

And green:

Lizzy House jewels - my favourite ever blender and binding print. Plus dots, stripes and bigger scale prints.

And then because I have a policy of always filling a flat rate envelope to the very brim I added this mini bundle of Cotton and Steel basics, FQs this time.

Metallics, yay!

I'm really not done. It is my birthday this weekend and there are lovelies on the way, plus some pennies to spend at Simply Solids. I'm saving up for Katy's Priory Square collection and hoping to indulge in the Black Friday and Christmas sales too. Then that will be it, I'm going to restock on my basics, rebuild my stash, scratch that itch and start 2015 back on the fabric fast wagon. Because I need to sew, not just shop.

And because I need to fund this little habit, I've been doing some IG destashing which will be ongoing.

This has all sold, follow me on Instagram for more in the future!

Oh I'm and selling all the baby stuff too. Sob.

End of September, start of October

Yet again, another month has flown by. An incredibly busy month on a personal level. My big girl went back to school, which always makes me sad even though we enjoy our daily routine. The month in which I lost my lovely Grandma. Completed my second Whole 30. And we've had some massive changes at home too with my husband finally realising his dream of buying his own business. Stressful but exciting times and lots of mixed emotions. Under normal circumstances sewing would have probably taken a back seat but I had my first ever secret sewing deadline to meet. I can't share yet but it has been a thrill and a challenge to push myself creatively.

So from a round up point of view little to share I'm afraid. Just the longstanding WIP travel duffle which is happily all done.

Travel duffle is done and up on the blog! Link in profile. V pleased it's done! #travelduffel #travelduffle #travelhandmade

Oh and I bought fabric. Full confession here!

I stalled so long that the light is bad now, but here's my first #fabricpost in 8 and a half months. 10.5 yards of stash building happiness thanks to @pinkcastlefabrics hurrah! #sodthefabricfast

So my plan for October is:

1. #igminiswap
Pushing myself again with this little plan and some production line paper piecing.

I keep looking at this stack. And procrastinating. And looking again. Way out of my comfort zone but I think it could be awesome. #igminiswap #teamrosanne

2. A commission! I don't take commissions, but here we are. Some open wide pouches for a dear friend. These will be traded against indulging in my guilty pleasure, Temple Spa goodies.

3. Some sewing for me, that aviatrix medallion perhaps. Or one of the million other things I want to sew!

Wish me luck! With the no longer napping baby and a husband working a million hours sewing time is at a premium round here at the moment. Lucky I have lots of time with the Leeds MQG ladies this month to keep me sane, starting with the Grand Opening of Simply Solids' bricks and mortar shop in Huddersfield this Saturday. See you there?!

Linking up with Lynne over at Lily's quilts of course for Fresh Sewing Day.

Fresh Sewing Day

And by happy coincidence I've just realised it's Wednesday so i'll go link up with Lee at Freshly Pieced too.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday finish - Travel Duffle 2

Ooof this finish has been a long time coming. I made a Studio Cherie Travel Duffle bag back in April this year, and even though it was a bit of a battle I quickly forgot that and pulled fabrics for another one.

I had bought a couple of metres of this Kokka Ladybug print (From Stamped by Ellen Luckett-Baker) to make cushions for my ladybird mad mother-in-law. In the event I made her a Supertote instead and therefore still had plenty of yardage left to make a fun travel bag for the girls to share.

Linen and Ladybug Super Tote

I cracked on and made the hessian handles as before, then ground to a halt. I don't know why really, but this project has languished on my Finish-Along list ever since. I picked it up again this month, when I was procrastinating on some mentally challenging secret sewing, and even took it as my sewing day project with Leeds MQG. I learnt from some of last time's mistakes, but not all of them. Used Kona Snow again for the lining as I had nothing else big enough. But hey, it's just the inside of a bag isn't it? And this inside of this bag always looks like a dog's dinner as it's unlined, so no point wasting any good stuff! I did remember to cut my lining a little bigger. I also remembered not to bind my end pieces until the pockets were on. This time I added two end zipper pockets but skipped the (uselessly small) side pockets. 

Let's see if I can turn these into a bag today ..... #travelduffle #travelduffel #sewing #travelhandmade
3 quilts which miraculously become a bag ...

Yet again, the final construction of this was epic. I broke 3 needles, had a million skipped stitches, fell out with it and chucked it in the corner of my sewing room while I got on with meeting my September deadline. That (almost) done, I picked it up again tonight, got lucky with a new needle and managed to get one of the ends firmly attached. 2 more broken needles on the other end but it is DONE. Seriously, I love making bags but my machine hates it so much, it breaks my heart. #shouldaboughtajuki

I do recommend this pattern, really I do. This is the best sized bag for a weekend away if you can't pack light and the way the handles wrap round to support its weight is very clever. It is a bit of a puzzle, and definitely requires a sew through anything machine, but it is a very satisfying thing to have made.

I'm afraid it is dark here already now and I was being impatient to get this post up so the photos are a bit lacking, apologies. This has 2 quilts and 2 cushions in and isn't even full!!

Simple cross hatch quilting in matching Aurifil #2000

I topstitched along the main zipper again to secure the flaps down.

I'm sure the zipper tabs on the other weren't as big as these!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday ...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Siblings Together quilts

I am very happy to report that the Siblings Together quilts that I made with the invaluable help of Leeds Modern Quilt Guild  were indeed finished in time to be sent down to Fat Quarterly Retreat and handed over. So pleased! We pieced the blocks at our June meeting, all 48 of them.

I was absolutely determined to get these finished by this year's deadline. I do work well with a bit of focus, so I sashed, basted, quilted and had the binding chopped up and ready in time for our July guild sewing day. 

No pins here! 505 spray ftw

Second one all quilted. Now I desperately need to crack on with teacher gifts! #leedsmqg #grannysquarequilt #siblingstogether
Easy peasy wavy line quilting

@lisasew @leedsmqg I've cut the binding! But do you have hexie dies for the sissix? Could you bring them tomorrow please?
Binding strips all cut and ready

The day of our July meet was an absolute scorcher. Remember Summer, people? Yes, that was just a few weeks ago. Just the perfect kind of day for binding two huge quilts. But that deadline was just a week away, along with the end of term, our family holiday and a whole load of gift making and packing stress! So I cracked on, and got the bindings attached and machined down. I usually prefer to hand finish my bindings but when speed is of the essence it has to be machine finished. Just a few finishing tasks to be done, attaching the labels and hand finishing the corners (I always like to do this for durability). Luckily many hands came to the rescue! We had some illustrious names at our meeting that month and so I am proud to say that the lovely Katy, Amy and Justine all had a hand in finishing off these quilts. It was a  busy, productive and super fun day. 

I left the finished quilts with Lisa who handed them over to Karen (you still with me, yes?). And Karen took them down to Fat Quarterly Retreat! This was a real team effort and I am so grateful to everyone involved.

Siblings Together

Siblings Together is such an important charity. It helps to reunite and rebuild relationships between siblings separated by the UK care system. Each year it holds summer camps for these children, and each child who attends gets to take away their own quilt, a special handmade item infused with happy memories and love. I have donated 3 quilts to the charity this year, including these two, and been involved in 11 more! I hope to do the same again this year as once again I am part of the Siblings Together quilting bee. And Leeds Modern Quilt Guild will be making quilts to send again too, although we may give ourselves a little more time this year!!

I didn't manage to get any pictures of the finished quilts as they had to be handed over as soon as they were done, but Lisa did. Thanks Lisa!

So to summarise ...
Pattern: Granny square blocks in a 4 by 6 arrangement
Fabric: Potluck scraps plus others, Kona snow for sashing
Backing: IKEA fabrics donated by Lisa and Hannah
Binding: Chicopee plaid and Lizzy House orange jewels
Quilting: Simple wavy lines on the diagonal, I think 3" apart.
Size: 78" ish by 53" ish

Thanks everyone! 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Roundabout giveaway winner at last

Apologies that it has taken me a little while to announce the winner of the Roundabout pattern giveaway. I've had a rather stressful and horrible week culminating in my lovely Grandma dying yesterday morning so of course anything blog related has been rather low down the priority list this week. 

Anyway I finally managed to pop to and the RNG said...

... comment number 4 which is Gill who said:

Thanks so much Gill, I will send your email to Jess so that she can send you your copy of the pattern. I look forward to seeing your version!

Thanks so much to all who entered, I have managed some sewing progress since my last post so hopefully I will be back to update soon. Here's a peek ...

Monday, 1 September 2014

End of August, start of September

I totally missed August's Fresh Sewing Day as we were still away on holiday, but that's okay because July was just a frantic rush of Siblings Together quilts, teacher gifts and holiday of course.

August has been surprisingly productive, all things considered. And by all things, I mean of course the school holidays, but also the priority secret sewing which cannot be shown.

So that's a finished Roundabout quilt
A started and finished flannel baby quilt.
A getting ahead of myself September STQB block.
And August's STQB block too of course.

And looking ahead with my plan for September.

1) Secret sewing project -  yes, I know, it's boring, but also exciting too!

2) #IGminiswap I have till December for this but I want to get on with it while the ideas are fresh.

And then I should try to tackle some of those outstanding WIPs really so for the sake of hopefulness:

3) Travel duffel 2

we've seen this photo a lot, haven't we?

4) The vaguely festive churn dash
I may take this to work on next week at Leeds MQG. It isn't even hard.

5) Aviatrix medallion
Or I may take this, because I am waiting for new rotary blades and this is all cut out.

But really, truly, I have a deadline to meet, a big girl back at school tomorrow, a baby who has dropped her nap (19 months! she's 19 months old!) and I'm doing another Whole 30 this month too so I'll be cooking plenty. I'd better focus on getting that secret sewing done. So if I'm silent, that's what I'm doing!

Linking up with the lovely Lynne who I finally met at Festival of Quilts last month! Which was a pleasure, of course.

Fresh Sewing Day

Oh and my Roundabout pattern giveaway is still open till Friday September 5th so please click over and take part! 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Roundabout mini - finished! And a giveaway.

Back at the end of May the lovely Jess of  Elven Garden Quilts put out a call for pattern testers for her Roundabout pattern

Picture from
It's her variation on the Schoenrock Cross block and is a pleasing mixture of foundation paper piecing and regular piecing. Jess has made a cushion and a full quilt, which are both utterly stunning.

Picture from

I've been really pondering lately about where my "niche" is in this quilty world. I don't consider myself to be an natural designer, but I am an avid follower of patterns and I take great pride in my careful and accurate piecing skills. So a little pattern testing felt to be just the thing, and as I absolutely love Jess's versions of the pattern I put myself forward.

I went for the mini size, which is four blocks. I'm not sure I have the stamina for the full sized quilt, even though it would be stunning!!

I tried to push myself a bit with my fabric choices here. I'm not very good at scrappy, I need some kind of thread and order to tie it all together, but I wanted recreate the movement and variety of Jess's work. 

So I started by choosing this palette from Design Seeds:

Dress is hemmed.  Tomorrow, this   #designseeds

And pulling this from my stash:

Get babies to bed, play with this.

This stack got refined down so that the mini wasn't too busy, but I enjoyed the mixture of solids and prints. I worked this way with my Marcelle Medallion and again with my (still in progress) Aviatrix Medallion and I love the way it looks. The solids give the eye a place to rest amongst all the prints. 

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed the process of choosing fabric, figuring out and following through the pattern and giving feedback on how I found it (though Jess might not have enjoyed my pernickity ways quite so much, sorry Jess!!). I have done plenty of foundation paper piecing in the past and am comfortable with the process, and the additional traditionally cut and pieced sections made the blocks come together quickly.

#roundabout blocks all finished for @theelvengarden. That bottom right block reads orange not yellow irl!

I got the top finished and the pattern feedback complete, and even managed to get it basted. And then it sat. And sat, and sat. I just didn't know how to quilt it. My husband said stitch in the ditch, but who's got the patience or inclination for that?! I didn't want to detract from the piecing but I felt it needed just something more. I even considered hand quilting it, as I often do. I love the look of hand quilting, but just didn't know where to start.

Then one evening I grabbed it, sat down and did this:

Been pondering how to quilt this #roundaboutquilt mini for ages. Last night decided to channel my inner @jeliquilts so I cracked out the pale grey thread and got wiggling! Awesome technique Kelly I love it! Pattern is #roundabout by @theelvengarden

That's wonky wavy wiggly lines with my walking foot, shamelessly copied from inspired by Kelly at Jeliquilts. This is her signature quilting style, and I can see why. It was so fast, so easy and it looks great. Thanks Kelly!

I then remembered that I had a few hours in the car to visit the in-laws, so I quickly whipped up and attached my binding all ready to hand sew down during the journey.

And so it is done, and I am delighted.

It is backed in just about the last piece of Nordika. I bought about 3 yards of this panel print when it was released and have used very scrap. It's even the (rather burnt now) cover on my ironing board!

I didn't really expect to get this one finished up this Summer when I put it on my Q3 FAL list but somehow, I have. I do hate a UFO so I am very happy to have it all done and on my wall.

I've really struggled to capture the colours on this one. Photography isn't my strong point, not helped by our dark shadowy house and dismal garden space. Anyway, you get the idea.

That odd block isn't as obvious in real life!
And this was a timely finish really, as I have signed up to my first ever online quilty swap - the #IGminiswap. So there will be another mini joining this one on my wall in December. I'm so glad I did as it seems like almost everyone on my Instagram is taking part and my feed is flooded with excitement! I am in #teamrosanne, I have my eyes on my swap partner and I think I may even already have a plan....

Some stats and I will wind it up. But I have a giveaway to announce, so keep reading please!

Pattern: Roundabout by Jess Frost at the Elven Garden
Fabrics: Tsuru, Waterfront park, Collage, Sunprint, April Showers, Potluck, Botanics, various solids. 
Backing: Whimsicol in Mist from Nordika by Jeni Baker
Binding: Botanics crosshatch
Quilting: Wonky wavy straight lines in Aurfil 50wt #2615
Size: 20" square. Ish. 


Jess has very sweetly offered a free copy of her Roundabout pattern to one lucky blog reader. In order to be in with a chance please comment below. If you like, tell me what colour palette you fancy making your Roundabout in and whether you'll be going for the mini/ cushion version or the full size!

My blog followers get an extra chance, just tell me how you follow please. 

And I think we should give another chance to Jess's followers, so for a 3rd entry let me know how you follow The Elven Garden. I follow her on Bloglovin and Facebook!

** Please please when replying ensure I can contact you if you win. If you are a no-reply blogger, or if you don't even know what that means, please include your email address in your comment. If I can't get hold of you you can't win, sorry!**

This is a PDF pattern so of course this giveaway is open to everyone internationally. 

I will keep the giveaway open till about 8pm BST on Friday September 5th.

Good luck! Oh and if you don't win, or just can't wait, the pattern is half price for the next 2 weeks so you can grab a bargain :-)