25 May 2017

Easy Peasy Charm Square Quilt (Part 1)

One of the most frequent questions we are asked in the shop (after 'do we do alterations') is 'How big would a quilt be made with a Moda Charm Pack?'  So having been asked this very question a number of times in recent weeks, I thought it would be useful to make one up...there's nothing better than actually seeing the finished article, rather than being shown the measurements...don't you think!   

A Moda Charm Pack is made up of a selection of 42 squares from a collection, each one measuring 5".  

I chose a Poetry Charm Pack for my quilt and having decided to keep this really simple I left the squares as is and laid them out in 7 rows, with 6 squares per row.   This part probably took me longer than it actually did to sew them together!

I chain pieced the squares, using a 1/4" seam allowance and followed the same method as I used for the bag front in my Patchwork Tote Bag Tutorial, which you can find HERE........there are lots of photo's so if you're a beginner it's worth a look.  As usual I had Aurifil 50wt in my machine.

For your information, if you decided to stop at that, once bound this portion of the quilt would measure 27" x 31 1/2" aprox.  Obviously you could change the layout to suit your project.....  you may for example want to make a table topper.

As you can see, I decided to add a border to my quilt.  I chose a pretty pink tone on tone floral from the Poetry collection and from this I cut four 5" strips across the full width of fabric.  If you're purchasing the fabric for the border, you would need to add 3/4's metre (3 units) to your basket....sorry 1/2 metre is not quite enough, but you will have leftovers for another project.  Alternatively you could cut the border slightly smaller if you wanted to get it out of  1/2 metre.

I then added the side borders first, cutting away the excess fabric and then the top and bottom borders.

I then layered up the quilt with my wadding...I used 100% cotton wadding and for the backing I used a pretty pink polka dot again from the Poetry collection, 125cm (5 units) is sufficient.   I spray basted on this occasion, but you can read more about this part of the process HERE.   I decided to hand quilt mine using Aurifil 12 wt ..... and chose a simple crosshatch design across the charm squares and then straight lines spaced at 1/2" intervals around the border.  I marked all of the lines using my trusty Clover Hera marker...one of my favourite quilty tools!

I'll let you in to a little secret, the quilt went perfectly with my Made for Baby blog tour post make (you can read it HERE) ....however look very closely and you'll see that some very strategic photo's were taken as I hadn't actually sewn on the binding..tee hee!!

When I eventually got around to stitching the binding, I used a pretty floral stripe, again from the Poetry collection.  I cut four 2 1/2" strips full width of fabric.  If you're purchasing fabric, you will need to purchase 1/2 metre of fabric (2 units) but you will have leftovers.  Alternatively, cut them at 2 1/4" and that way you'll get them out of a long quarter*.

* A little happy note......... as standard when 1 unit is added to your basket we will always send 1 Fat Quarter (FQ) .  We are however quite happy to send a Long Quarter (LQ) BUT you must add a note in the Special Instructions section at checkout to let us know that this is what you would like.

I added the binding following my usual method, which you can find step step instructions for HERE.

I thought you may like to see the back of the quilt with all my hand stitches (ignore the crease down the centre fold...it's been folded patiently waiting for me to write this post!)........ 
 The finished quilt measured 36" x 40 1/2" aprox.

Obviously I couldn't stop at just one Charm Square quilt, so I decided to make another.......

.....but more about that another day!

Here's a list of the Scrummy Supplies I used:

Poetry Charm Squares are available HERE
Border Fabric is available HERE
Backing Fabric is available HERE
Binding Fabric is available HERE
Aurifil 12wt #2311 is available HERE
Aurifil 50wt #2311 is available HERE

If you would like to make the quilt, but fancy different fabrics, you can find our full range of Charm Packs HERE.

If you do make the quilt, please do send us a picture mum and I would love to see or alternatively if you're sharing on social media, please do use the #alittlehappytutorial.

See you again soon with pictures of my next Charm Pack Quilt....oh and in case you were wondering..... NO we do not do alterations...I can't think of anything worse!

Happy Stitches!

18 May 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-Long Update

Well doesn't time fly when you're having fun!  Mum (Penny) was on holiday last week, so I was definitely doing my whirling dervish act to ensure that all our parcels full of loveliness went out on time.  Plus we had SO many new deliveries which I need to catch up on.  However despite being extremely tired...I find it impossible to sit and do nothing on evening so I managed to play catch up with my Happy Flower Quilt blocks.  I decided for all of these to needle turn applique.....here's a close up for you.....

The fabrics in the main came from our huger and ever growing range of 1930's reproductions from the shop, which you can find HERE plus a few came from my own stash.  If you would like any specific details, please do feel free to ask in the comments below and I will happily steer you in the right direction.  The fabulous book is available HERE.

I couldn't resist placing all the blocks I've made so far together....
They are looking so pretty don't you think?

I know I keep saying this, but I will be back soon...I have so many projects to share with you!!

Happy Stitches!

5 May 2017

'Made for Baby ~ Cute Sewn Gift' Blog Tour

Thank you for joining me today on the 'Made for Baby ~ Cute Sewn Gifts' Blog Tour to celebrate the release of the ever so lovely Ayda Algin's fabulous new book, published by Tuva Publishing.  I have followed Ayda for quite some time now and have been in awe of her beautiful photographs and makes, you can see these on her Blog: Cafe No Hut.  I was super thrilled when she asked me to join the Blog Hop...honestly you should see the line up, I feel quite giddy!

Obviously as soon as Ayda announced that she was writing the book, I had it on preorder for the shop (I''ve just heard this morning that our copies are on there way to us as a type...what timing...contact me if you would like to reserve one!).  When my advance copy arrived ...thank you Ayda and Tuva Publishing ..... I can honestly say it exceeded everything that I hoped it would be.  Included are 22 gorgeous projects including bibs, blankets, soft toys, wall hangings and lots more.  It's worth knowing that there are several projectss that would be great for anyone and not just for those with a baby, for example.... placemat, fabric boxes, drawstring bag and Moms carry-all bag (a lovely tote bag).   
Having spent an age mulling and drooling over the photographs and projects...it was so hard to choose.... I finally decided to make a Chime Bear.  I chose a pretty floral from the Durham Quilt Collection by Lecien....and some woolfelts to co-ordinate ( I used Blushing Bride and Fresh Linen.)
 The instructions were great and easy to follow.

I chose to hand stitch the woolfelt appliques and for this, used co-ordinating Aurifil Lana Wool threads. I also used a lovely shade of Heathered Licorice Lana Wool for the embroidery details, rather than embroidery floss.
Ayda adds such sweet little details to all of her patterns and as well as the little ribbon tab, I love that there is a bow around the bears neck....don't all the best dressed bears wear bows?  I went for a contrasting Ice Blue velvet for mine.

Ayda launched the Blog Tour on Wednesday and is running a fabulous Giveaway, so make sure you pop over to her Blog to enter.  Jemima shared the first project yesterday, she made a really fun cushion and I am very excited to see what else is made throughout the tour!  Here's the schedule:

Jemima Flendt
the @tiedwitharibbo
Sarah Edgar
Lisa Cox
@aspoonfulsug is
Ange Hamilton
Lauren Wright
@mollyand me
Melissa LeRay
Minki Kim
Faith Essenburg
Kristin Esser
@kristin_ess is
Lauren Guthrie
NEW @guthriegh
Bridgette McNay
Torie Jayne
@toriejayn to
Constance Cabral
Stacy Olson
Caroline Husle
@sewcarol to
Nadra Ridgeway
Wynn Tan
was founded in May.31
Sedef Imer
until @downgrapevinel
Lauren Nash
Jennie Pickett
Amy Sinibaldi
I @amysinibal
Kim Kruzich
@retro_ me
Elea Lutz
Samantha Dorn

Thank you again for joining me today.
Happy Stitches!

23 April 2017

A pretty cupcake Potholder....almost good enough to eat!

A couple of weeks ago I was cutting some 'Spinkles' fabric by Stacy Iest Hsu for a customer order, which got me thinking about cupcakes (as you do!) and before I knew it I had a whole new project on the go...all be it a little one.

I hand drew a simple pattern for the cupcake and then used the interfacing method to create the appliques.  As always I had fun adding all the little 'extra' details..... some lace, which I hand sewed to the cupcake case and then tucked the ends underneath as I appliqued it in place.  A polka dot button for the 'cherry on top' and a little decorative stitching in Aurifil 12wt.  The pattern for the potholder can be found in Sedef's lovely book, Quilt Petite and can be rustled up really quickly.  Would you believe I made this in an evening and then it sat there waiting for the ribbon loop to be sewn on for almost two weeks!  Am I the only one who does this?.....please say no!
This would be another great project for that overflowing scrap basket, but if you fancy making one like mine, I've put together a pretty fabric bundle which includes a FQ of each of the 5 fabrics I used. You can find this on the website HERE

The 12wt thread I used can be found HERE and I had 50wt Aurifil in Muslin #2311 in machine which I used for both the piecing and quilting, you can find that HERE.

and for pretty lace, take a peek HERE.

Quilt Petite by Sedef Imer can be found HERE.

I hope that you've had a lovely weekend full of Happy Stitches!

19 April 2017

Slow.....Slow....Slow weekend (and some important shop news!)

I do not think Easter weekend could have come at a better time....... I was absolutely pooped!  My plan for the weekend was simple......spending lots of time with the family, a little gardening, as little housework as possible whilst still maintaining a modicum of cleanliness and some slow hand stitches.
On the stitching front, I wanted to catch up with my Happy Flower QAL blocks.... I think Block 14 is my favourite so far.  I decided the pieces were way too small for the Interfacing Method of applique and needle turned all the petals and leaves.  When I previously needle turned, I have drawn the outline of the shape on to the right side of the fabric and used this as the guide to turn under the edge.  On this occasion, I tried out the authors Atsuko Matsuyama's freezer paper technique, instructions for which are clearly detailed in the book and loved it!

For the centre circle I used Sarah Fielke's method where by you cut out the finished size circle in card, place the fabric with seam allowance on top and then wrap silver foil around the whole thing carefully turning under the seam allowance.  Once you've got a neat little silver circle, you then press it and the heat from the foil keeps the seam allowance folded in place.  This worked a treat!

I used a glorious scrappy mix of fabrics, which were:

Light Blue Pin Dot from my stash
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Floral in Pink and Yellow available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Circles Pink available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Flower Sugar ~ Spray Roses Cornflower Blue available HERE
Moda Fabrics ~ Hop, Skip and a Jump ~ Bashful Blossoms Cherry available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Dots and Daisies Pink available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Retro 30's Smile Child ~ Floral Blue & Yellow available HERE
Penny Rose Fabrics ~ Hope Chest ~ Dots Yellow available HERE
Windham Fabrics ~ Feedsack ~ Mono Floral Green available HERE

The pretty background dot is from Lily by Penny Rose Fabrics and is available HERE

I also finished off last weeks block......I have to say you can tell I was feeling a little bit peeky when I made this one, but I am sure when it one block amongst nearly 100 it will be ok!

On the home front...we're currently planning a new kitchen.  We moved in to our home when Jamie was six weeks old...... oh the naivety of being first time parents!  We moved from a Victorian semi to a nearly new build, which at the time only required a little decorative update.  But as Jamie approaches his 13th Birthday, it's now looking a little tired.  We are slowly working our way through the house, last summer we did the bathroom and ensuite.  So far this year we've tackled the living room, painted, laid new carpet and bought new sofa's....we've never looked to neat and tidy!  Later this summer the outside is getting new fascias and guttering etc.....not terribly exciting, but the kitchen certainly is!  

On Saturday we had a trip to a kitchen showroom where fingers crossed we have found the kitchen of our dreams..... think painted wooden units, oak worktops....sigh!  We softened the blow of kitchen shopping ...for some reason Poppy and Jamie are not quite so excited by the prospect of a new kitchen.....with a trip to the coast.  We went to one of our favourite beaches, it's between Skegness and Mablethorpe and is about an hour away from us.  It's perfect, you can park right next to the sand and all you can see is more sand and sea and not much else.  Obviously the boys are never happier than when they have a rugby ball to throw about....

.....and Poppy still loves to build sandcastles.....  I did partake in a little bit of both, but I had half an hour or so just sat in the car in the warmth of the sun all on my own..... doing nothing, not even sewing..... just watching them and the world go by....absolute bliss!
 On Easter Sunday we went on a Easter egg hunt...

and in the afternoon after finally working my way through trimming the HST blocks for Jamie's quilt,  I sat down for some more slow hand stitches.  I've been playing with EPP paper pieces and combining compatible shapes.  I'm planning a series of blog posts about which shapes can work with each other.  Obviously, I couldn't resist sewing a block...... 
which soon became two...... more are cut, basted and ready to be sewn together, but more about that another day.
The weekend passed by in a flash and mum and I were back to work yesterday packing all the orders that came in over the Easter weekend...thank you!  Before signing off for today, I just wanted to share some rather important news about our Ruskington Bricks and Mortar Shop opening days, for those of you who come and visit us in person....... with effect from the 1st May, our Ruskington shop will no longer be open on a Wednesday.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday opening hours remain unchanged. 

Obviously this is not a decision that has been made lightly.  We absolutely love having our Ruskington shop and the opportunity that it gives us to meet our fantastic customers in person.  We are however very aware that some of things that we are asked for on a very regular basis, we can not always do as quickly as we would like.  By not opening on a Wednesday, this will give us back a few additional hours to do some of those extra things.... more quilt kits, fabric bundles, more projects here on the blog etc which hopefully can be enjoyed by everyone.

You can find our new Ruskington Shop opening hours HERE.  Our website remains unchanged and is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year!

Right I'll be back soon as I have some finished projects to share!

Happy Stitches!

10 April 2017

Weekend Stitches

Not quite a finished block this week for the Happy Flower Quilt-A-long.... I really like this one, I think it's because I've used lots of red, which is my favourite colour.  As you can see the circles were made with the interfacing method and they will look much better, more circular, once appliqued.  The leaves will be needle turned and I'll share the finished block next week...pinky promise!

My fabric choices this week:
The background is an Essential Dot by Moda, available HERE
The little red gingham by Riley Blake is available HERE
The red circle print by Lecien is available HERE
The gingham for the leaves is available HERE

The main reasons I didn't get the block finished were because......

1/  I was distracted by hand quilting this pretty Half Square Triangle quilt......more about this very soon........
2/  The glorious weather..... we went out yesterday searching for new garden furniture, ours after 13 years sterling service has finally had to go.  We didn't get any furniture, but I couldn't resist these pretty Primula's......I'm not sure they're terribly football friendly, but we'll see how they go!
 3/  I started a new quilt as a surprise for Jamie, hopefully for his 13th Birthday in May.  I felt so guilty the other evening when, whilst watching me hand quilting the above HST quilt, he asked "when was I going to make him a new quilt?". I felt so bad, I have been promising him a new one for months/years to replace the one I made for him when he was a toddler.  He really is a gentle soul (apart from when he is playing rugby that is!) who doesn't ask for much at all and seeing that he his now inches taller than me, the toddler quilt really is cutting it anymore.  Rather happily and by good fortune, some new Liberty Gatherings fabrics (find it HERE) had just arrived that mum and I had chosen months ago, so the timing could not have been better. I grabbed a Layer Cake (perks of owning a quilt shop), some modern low volume backgrounds to keep it young and fresh, plus the Janet Clare plane print....a nod to Andy's 30 years in the RAF and as soon as I finished work on Saturday, I set too making yet more HST.  The benefit of always sewing means that he didn't even question what I was up to, although I'm not holding out much hope of a surprise, as Poppy did pay attention (I'm sure it's a girl thing) and twigged exactly what I was up to, so chances of him not finding out are very slim!  This quilt is definitely inspired by THIS ONE that very talented and extremely modest Carolyn made...you must take a peek at her whole Instagram feed it's beautiful...when I grow up, I want to live in her pretty cottage, surrounded by her beautiful quilts!!!!
I manged to get all 320 HST sewn together on Saturday..the wonders of chain sewing..... if only trimming them was just as quick....... I'll keep you posted on my progress!

I hope that you have a lovely week full of happy stitches....until next time!

4 April 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 5

It's such a pretty block for this weeks instalment of the Happy Flower Quilt-A-Long.... I just love Lily of the Valley.  I remember when we were on holiday in the Peak District a couple of years ago whilst out walking, we stumbled across a very pretty cottage and it's front garden it's borders were just full to brimming with it......... oh the smell was just heavenly.  I decided there and then the moment our back garden became a ball free zone, I would definitely be planting some!!!  In the meantime, I was able to dream and stitch...although sadly without the scent!

I managed to use the usual interfacing method for the leaves and the two little bells, but that teeny oval was needle turned.  In truth the pieces were so small this week, I think it probably would have been quicker and easier to have needle turned the whole thing, but hey ho!

Sorry there's only the one photo, I was struck down late last week with tonsillitis and I am only just starting to feel human again...good for the diet though...(I always try to look of the bright side!).   I used just three fabrics this week and I don't think my photo captures just what a pretty green the Lecien Pin Dot background fabric is, but you can see that better on the website HERE.  The flowers are also in a Lecien Dainty Dot, available HERE and the leaves were made in a pretty ditsy floral from the lovely Elea Lutz's Apple Farm collection, which you can find HERE.

Can I just say thank goodness for mum's, my mum (Penny) has been a complete star as usual and things at Pretty Fabrics and Trims have carried on completely uneffected by my absence...although I think she will be glad to have me back!!!