Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pink Scrappy Mug Rugs

There are a number of projects I really should be working on right now - I haven't even started cutting my fabric for the Metro Challenge which is due for the March meeting of the Montreal MQG, I've only made two blocks for the Missing U quilt I'm making with Amy of The Turquoise Button and my mom's bed runner hasn't received any of my attention since Christmas.

But I seem to be going through a bit of a quilting funk this week.  I come downstairs every evening once the whole family is asleep and I sit and watch TV instead of sewing.

Last night however I was looking around at my sewing room and spotted my pink scrap bin sitting on my cutting table. And not far from it, some left over batting from my Carolina Lily quilt.  Then I remembered an Instagram post from my friend Shannon of s.f. Designs who makes the cutest mug rugs in the world!  :-)  (Seriously, check out that little owl mug rug she made this week!)

Before bed, I had two pink mug rugs - one for home and one for the office...

These were incredibly fun to make and they are adorable!!

Some of my very favourite fabrics are in there and it was so nice to use the small pieces to make something for myself.

And with that, I am once again motivated to make progress on my WIPs and get some bigger finishes off my FAL list.

How to you get out of a quilting funk?  Do you have small projects you turn to for a creativity booster?

These mug rugs may be small, but I think they should be celebrated too! So I'll be linking up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at Faith and Fabric for TGIFF.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Project Quilting 8: The Carolina Lily

This week, the inspiration for Project Quilting 8 was the Carolina Lily. You can see the post here. The first thing I did was to do a little research on the web to see if that would spark an idea. And I found this beautiful picture.

With this picture in mind, I started thinking about how I was going to re-create this with fabric and thread. I could appliqué the flower using scraps, but appliqué isn’t my favourite thing in the world so I started thinking about a whole cloth quilt with very dense quilting in orange, red, yellow and green. But I’m not very good at drawing and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to make my quilting look like a flower.

And then a lightbulb moment!! What if I created a pixelated image of the flower with fabric? I played with my graph paper and pencils for a little bit and came up with this.

My next step was to take out my orange, red, yellow and green scrap bins.  I started by cutting 2” squares and laying them out on my cutting mat but still… something just wasn’t right.

So I paired my squares and created HSTs and loved that! Many little HSTs later and I had a mini quilt that somewhat resembled that original picture.

But once all those HSTs were sewn together, it still looked really blah to me and none of the fabrics I was auditioning looked good for the binding.  Enter Kona White and a 5” border!

I think giving the piecing in the center a nice, clean white background allowed all those colours to shine.  The white also brought order to the chaos and I find it’s now easier to see the Carolina Lily. I even asked my daughter to tell me what she saw when she looked at it (she had no idea what the inspiration was) and she immediately said "A flower!" And the Kona Charcoal I used for the binding frames everything like a picture frame!

When it came time to quilt it, I had a lot of fun.  I didn’t want to add any more colour to this design so used Aurifil Dove (#2600) to quilt some flowers in the middle and Aurifil White (#2021) for some wood grain in the border. I am extremely happy with the results.

Quilt Stats:

  • Pattern: my own design (inspired by the picture above)
  • Size: 22” x 24”
  • Fabrics: scraps (middle), Kona White (border), Kona Charcoal (binding)
  • Thread: pieced with Aurifil #2600; quilted with Aurilfil #2600 and #2021 50 wt.

I will be linking up over at Project Quilting for Challenge 8.2, over at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at Busy Hands Quilts for TGIFF.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Meet the 2017 FAL Hosts: Nicky of Mrs Sew & Sow...

During the whole FAL year, we will introduce you to the different hosts - it's always fun to read the story behind the blog or the IG username. :-)  We are starting out with Nicky of Mrs Sew & Sow...

Don't be shy about paying Nicky a visit over on her blog and say Hi!

Hi !  My name is Nicky Eglinton and I'm one of the global 2017 Finish-A-Along hosts.  This is my second year as co-host so I should know what I'm doing.  

I live in the South of England but was born in bonnie Scotland and after a few years studying in Aberdeen and Glasgow, I came to London to get my first job!   I loved the theatres, cinema, restaurants, walking across Waterloo Bridge and looking one way at the Houses of Parliament and the other way at St Paul's. Life was good!

Houses of Parliament to the left, 

the dome of St. Paul's to the right

Since then I have moved even further south and out of the hubbub of the City to the quiet more rural life of Sussex to raise a family with hubby.   It has suited us well and we have three lovely children and a cat and a dog!   Here are the pets in portrait and 'helping' me quilt!

Saffy and Maddie

In my childhood I learnt to stitch from my mother - first toys, and cross stitch, then clothes in my teens and twenties (back then it was actually cheaper to do that). 

Meet Dandelion - I still have him!

She also taught me knitting and crochet.  She loved passing on her skills though we struggled at times as she was right handed and I was left handed.  Every thing I did looked wrong to her as I was doing it in what seemed an awkward way....and there were very few lefthanded tools to help!  So I now prefer right handed scissors - in fact I cannot use lefthanded ones!!

Jumping forward a bit, to maintain my sanity after kid no 1, I went to an evening class about patchwork and quilting.  My chance to talk with grown ups!   I was completely in love with applique!   It was all I did!  And then I ended up on a course at  The Quilt Room to make this quilt in 2005!  


Friendship's Garden Quilt

by Alma Allen & Cherie Ralston

The applique was easy for me but would you believe I was terrified of the HST border round each block and the quilt remained in pieces, and on several FAL lists.

Carolyn Forster taught me piecing and introduced me to blogging!   Wow has she got a lot to answer for!   I started blogging as I wanted to record my stitching and gardening - hence my blog name Mrs Sew and Sow!

The sewing has taken over somewhat but this year I will be back in my garden and bringing lots of flowers into the house!  Wonder if a flower bed can count as a WIP or UFO??   What do you think?

Well back to that quilt I started in 2005 I kept moving it from one FAL list to the next!  I have joined up with the FAL since the beginning - though I may have missed a few quarters - and it has helped enormously - mainly from all the encouragement I received from commenters who have become friends.  

Suddenly it became the time to finish that quilt!  I even had to learn FMQ in order to do it !   

And here it is!  So all of you who have longterm WIPs/UFOs do not despair!

Finishing that longstanding UFO was like a release - it had been a block hanging over me!   I started actually finishing more stuff.   

Since 2012 I have been keen to meet up with people, and join in the quilting  community.  I went to the Fat Quarterly Retreats in London and learnt about the Siblings Together charity.  I have been making quilts for the charity since then - one or two to begin with, then I joined a bee to make more, helped others finish quilts and finally last year Maria and I were leading the campaign to make 100 quilts for the charity.  

The charity helps children in the UK social care system retain bonds with their siblings at holiday camps.  They are given a quilt to remind them of the fun times together.  

We will be aiming to make another 100 quilts in 2017 with help from a generous community of quilters !   Would you like to join us?  You can find more information here and here!

I love scraps and have been running a monthly link up, #Scraptastictuesday, on the second Tuesday of every month, with my co host Leanne (who also hosts FAL).  We like to celebrate the origins of patchwork, though Leanne uses scraps in more of an improv way than I do but you will find all sorts of inspiration there! 

I am a scrappy quilter for ecological and economical reasons!  I like to hang onto those pounds and pence and keep my scraps out of the landfill sites!    And I just love cramming as many different fabrics as possible into one quilt.  

We would love you to join us with your scrappy projects (they don't need to be finished), plans, and storage systems.

I try to make a scrappy sampler quilt each year with tutorials showing you how to make your own!  2015 is finished and 2016 is basted ready for a finish this quarter I hope!

Liberty Sampler 2015 & Karen Lewis Sampler 2016

And now I'm setting up a local group of stitchers in Sussex with my friends and co-founders Kelly and Jane and we are actually going to meet up and stitch together in a room!   And eat cake!   With no children !  It is starting this month !

I seem to have made lots of quilts.  I find the creative process both stimulating and therapeutic.  I do tend to make up my own patterns though on occasion if I love something I will try to make my own version of it.

Here are some of my favourite quilt finishes

Top Left : Nordik Quilt; Top Right & Clockwise:  Double Sided Welsh Blanket Quilt in Karen Lewis Textiles, pattern by Mary Emmens;  Hand stitched and quilted scrappy clamshell quilt;  Vintage Squares quilt; Stingy Bee Row Quilt  (both this and Nordik were made with help from members of Bee a Brit Stingy )

And here is one I hope to finish this coming quarter!  It is my take on the traditional Double Wedding Ring (my own variation) - a lot of it stitched by hand!  I used acryllic templates made by Marti Michell to help with the cutting and designing of these blocks.

Hoopla! Quilt

My FAL list is always a long one (yes I am a member of Archie the Wonder Dog's #ridiculouslylongFAList ) as when I used to choose a few items for my list I always wanted to work on something else!  Much easier to keep everything out in the open I found!

I hope you will join us on our journey to complete those listed projects and I look forward to seeing your finishes!  Remember to cheer on the rest of the community - it really does make a difference!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A cover for my Quilter's Planner

For Christmas, I bought myself a Quilter's Planner. I typically use an electronic planner for work and I was starting to also plan my quilting projects and blog posts in there, but having everything I need for a quilt project in one place just made sense to me, so I went ahead and ordered the Planner.

And boy am I glad I did! I'm literally in love with my Planner...

So much so that I decided to make a cover for it.  I found the free pattern on the Quilter's Planner website (the pattern is based on a design by Amanda Kattner from What the Bobbin).

I used black and white fat quarters from my stash and decided to go with a purple zipper for a little bit of contrast and fun.

And that zipper pouch is perfect for holding pens, small rulers, whatever!

It even has a little pocket for business cards on one of the panels.

I haven't had a lot of time to sew this week so I'm really happy with this little finish.  To celebrate, I will link up at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday and at Devoted Quilter for TGIFF.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Q1 FAL List

I prepared my 2017 Q1 FAL list with both my quilty goals and my word of the year in mind.  I've got lots going on both at home and at work right now, but I still want to spend a little bit of time sewing each day. Most of these projects don't have a deadline but if I manage to sit at my sewing machine for at least one hour every day, I should be able to finish all five before the end of the quarter.

So here it goes...

1.  Montreal MQG Metro Challenge quilt

The Montreal Metro (subway system) is 50 years-old this year.  The Montreal MQG wanted to celebrate by challenging its members to design and make a quilt inspired by a metro station in Montreal.  I chose the Verdun station - it's the one I get off at every day after work, on my way home so this station is a happy one for me.  :-)  I have a design and a fabric pull.  This is the only project with a deadline - the quilt needs to be finished in time for our March meeting on March 14.

2.  Tula Pink City Sampler

I participated in the Instagram #100day100blocks sew along in the Fall and finished putting my quilt top together in November.  I would really like to have this one quilted and bound by the end of March.

3.  The Missing U

Amy from The Turquoise Button and I are making a The Missing U quilt from our scraps and sewing along on Instagram. The pattern is from the book Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkinson.  I attended a trunk show by Cheryl in October and saw her The Missing U and I fell in love.  I've got one block done so far, but these go together so quickly, I'm sure I'll be able to finish it by March 31.  You can also check out Amy's blocks on IG @theturquoisebutton.

4.  Green Log Cabins

I made a couple of wonky log cabin blocks with my green scraps a few months ago.  I have lots of green scraps so took those out again this week and will be making more blocks.  Hoping to have a finished quilt by the end of the quarter.

5.  Black and White Bed Runner

Months ago (maybe even over a year ago), my mom hinted that she would love a black & white bed runner for her bedroom and that if I wanted to throw some red pieces in there, she would really love it!  In an effort to use up more of my scraps, I started making slab blocks in those colours during my vacation over the Holidays.  I already have ten blocks done so I'm pretty confident I can have that one completed too.

And that's my list.  I will be linking up with everyone else over at the Q1 FAL linky.

Don't forget the link-up closes this weekend...  Get those lists done and link up with us.  :-)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 FAL Q1 - Proposed Finishes

2017...are you ready for a new year? A new year a new list!

As you are probably aware, the 2017 FAL is remaining global - a community of bloggers across the world, jointly hosting the FAL. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions. Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q1 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):

As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. In order for your projects to be eligible, they must at least be a tangible project at the start of the quarter.  That means, at the very least, a fabric pull matched to a pattern, a quilt top needing to be quilted, or a half knit jumper. I love seeing your bee blocks, but they won't count unless you happen to be turning them all into a fully completed quilt!

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ1yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook and Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q1 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!

Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. The Q1 linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, January 14, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.

Thank you for joining us!