Doughnuts

Do you like doughnuts? I do, although since I’ve started reducing sugar in my diet the last couple of years I haven’t had many. However, I don’t really mean the edible kind but rather the quilty one. I’ve started sewing a new quilt which I call the positive doughnut (#SDpositivedoughnutquilt on Instagram).

This block is, I believe, called the Greek Cross, but to me it looks a bit like a doughnut. The difference is that the hole in the middle looks like a plus sign. I’m using blue and low volume fabrics from my stash.  Sometimes I’m not sure whether I have enough of one fabric for a whole doughnut or the background of one quilt so to help me with that problem I’ve cut the pieces from paper which I can lay on the fabric to check.
I’m enjoying these blocks tremendously as they are big (12.5″ unfinished) and easy. There are no corners and no points that need to match and no bulky seams. In fact, I believe this is the perfect block for a beginner or a quilting bee.

Since taking this picture I’ve made another three blocks which means I’m halfway there.

I’m thinking of writing a tutorial for this block but that won’t be tomorrow as I’m off to IKEA to buy some more of the numbers fabric for the back. TTFN!

 

Let’s Try This One More Time

This poor blog has been sorely neglected for quite a while now. When I started it I was living in England and wanted a way to show my family what I was up to. Now that I’m in Switzerland and living close to my family I seem to forget about blogging. Add to this the fact that I love Instagram (@lemonshark) and am very active over there and it’s a bit of lose – lose situation for my poor little blog. I’m going to give it one more shot and see if I can get back to making this little space my happy place.

I have been busy sewing even though I haven’t been blogging and am back to working on my Spring Carnival quilt. This quilt was started after the first Fat Quarterly Retreat in 2012 and is still not finished.

I ran out of the stripy fabric and for ages couldn’t find anything I could replace it with to make the quilt bigger (it’s about lap size at the moment). Hence, it’s been lurking in a box under the bed for at least two years. However, not long ago I found the perfect fabric to add: Michael Miller’s Dumb Dot in white and dark grey. I’ve already sewn a few wheels and love the change from stripes to dots.

I’ve happily been working on this quilt in the evenings and have added lots more wheels since I took this picture. After five years of working on it it’s really time to finish it, don’t you think?

Thread Catchers

Last week I attempted to make a little thread catcher but as I wasn’t concentrating it didn’t turn out great. I normally cut the lining a little smaller than the outer to make sure it doesn’t end up baggy. You’ve guessed it, I didn’t do it this time and ended up with a  baggy lining I couldn’t live with.

Thread Catcher

As I was looking at it and complaining Little Miss Bossy-Boots arrived and looked at it. When she realised that I wasn’t happy with it she asked if she could have it. Of course she could.

Panda

 

Missy turned the thread catcher into a hat for Panda and I think he looks absolutely fetching!

I didn’t give up, however, and made another, even smaller, thread catcher. It’s a little 2″ cube. This time, however, I used a completely different technique: EPP and iron on pelmet. I’m very happy with this one which is going to a  new home this week.

Thread Catcher

I added a magnetic needle minder and a little pin cushion just for fun. The fabrics I used are some of my all-time favourites: some Oakshott, some Lu Summers and some Liberty Lifestyle Bloomsbury Collection. I used Aurifil to sew it together and loved every second making it.

I’m already making another one…. With polka dots….

 

Magical Diamonds

I like having an EPP (English Paper Piecing) project on the go at all times and I am constantly designing new ones in TouchDraw on my iPad. This summer I went off to Norway and decided to start ‘The Big One’, a quilt for me which Little Miss Bossy-Boots has named ‘Magical Diamonds’. It’s going to fit my queen size bed and I’m using some of my all time favourite fabrics, Denyse Schmydt’s Florence and Oakshott shot cottons in blues and greens.

Magical Diamonds

I wasn’t sure at first how to place the fabrics but then decided to use the Oakshotts as a sort of frame for the prints. I was so excited about this project that I started before travelling and ended up with two very quickly. Each segment is 10″ x 14″, so they’re quite big.

Once I arrived in our cabin in Norway I set up my little work station outside. I was blessed with the most wonderful weather.

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I continued sewing a little every day if I wasn’t reading or cycling to the shops or the beach.

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This is what they are going to look like: 48 of those segments sewn together like this. I’m still thinking about colour placement but as I have a few more – 41 to be exact- to do, I have some time to think about it.

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This, by the way, was my view while sewing. I have to admit that I was distracted every now and again. Especially when big boats were passing.

It was a most wonderful and relaxing holiday. I managed to sew five segments which was less than I had hoped for but I also read four books and cycled quite a few kilometres. Bliss!

 

Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop

Hello! Today is my day on the Oakshott Liparis Blog Hop organised by Lynne from Lily’s Quilts. I feel very flattered that I was chosen to be part of this and would like to thank both Lynne and Michael from Oakshott for letting me play with these beautiful fabrics.

Lipari2016_range_ruched1

The Oakshott Liparis are absolutely gorgeous and can’t truly be described, they have to be seen. Each of the eighteen colours are woven with black thread to give a dark and rich palette. They are 54″ wide so go a lot further than regular quilting cottons which is great as you get quite a lot of fabric in a Fat Eighth bundle. Find out more about the inspiration for this collection here.

The minute I realised that I was going to be part of the blog hop I sat down and designed a quilt.

Persimon QuiltObviously there was no chance of making it with a Fat Eighth bundle so I thought I’d just miniaturise it and make a mini quilt. However, when the fabrics arrived and I started playing with them, I came back to the same colour combination again and again, blue, green and orange, red. I then found it difficult to cut the beautiful Liparis into small strips so decided to keep all the stripes at the same width and make the wallhanging quite big. Because it ended up as a wallhanging, not a quilt as planned it has a backing, some lush Lipari Marina, but no batting and no quilting. I was worried that the batting and quilting would make the wallhanging too rigid and that it then wouldn’t shimmer in the light as much.

This is what I ended up with:

Persimon Quilt 'Heaven and Earth'

The stylised ‘persimon’ are English paper pieced and then appliquéd onto the quilt.

Persimon Quilt 'Heaven and Earth'

This quilt/wallhanging is quite striking but easy to make. I will give you the measurements I used but it would be easy to resize from small to large.

You will need

8 Fat Eighths of Oakshott Lipari for the background, I used Stromboli, Lisca, Dattilo, Lentia, Porticello, Salina, Scari, Volcano Bleu

3 Fat Eighths of Oakshott for the ‘persimon’, I used Milazzo, Basiluzzo and Pollara

1 m of backing fabric, I used Marina

Persimon Templates

Thread for basting and sewing, I use cheap thread for basting and Aurifil for sewing and appliqué.

  1. Cut a 5.5″strip from each of your background fabrics and sew together. I went from deep red to blue to get my heaven and earth feel.
  2. Cut out the templates for the three ‘persimon’, you will need twelve of each shape
  3. Pin the templates onto your chosen fabric, cut out with a 0.25″ seam allowance and thread baste onto the paper template. P1020327
  4. Sew the small triangular shapes onto the big wedge shape, then sew the wedge shapes together to get a ‘persimon’. Pollara Persimon
  5. Lay the ‘persimon’ onto your background and pin into place. I ironed a line into the background about 8.5″ from the edge and centred my ‘persimon’ on it. Pin into place leaving the papers in.
  6. Appliqué the ‘persimon’ onto the background with small stitches starting with the inside. Once they are sewn on it’s easy to take the papers out of the small and big shape before pinning the outside down again and sewing around.
  7. Trim your top to get nice clean edges. Mine ended up at 25.5″ x 40.5″.
  8. Lay out your backing fabric and lay your top face down onto it. sew around with a 0.25″ seam allowance leaving an 8″ gap so you can turn it inside out. Press well and close the gap with a ladder stitch.
  9. To hang, I sewed a bamboo stick onto the backing.

You could of course also quilt and bind it the traditional way.

Persimon Quilt Heaven and Earth

The Oakshotts look different in different lights, they are absolutely fascinating. I’ve hung my  ‘Heaven and Earth’ wallhanging over my bed and I love how goes from very dark to shimmering like a jewel depending on the time of day.

Persimon Quilt Heaven and Earth

I’ve absolutely loved working with the Oakshott Liparis!

5 May     Allison Dutton       allison-sews.blogspot.com
10 May   Nicholas Ball         quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com 
12 May   Helen Purvis          archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com
17 May   Lynn Harris            thelittleredhen.typepad.com
19 May   Kitty Wilkin           nightquilter.com (Now moved to 2nd June)
24 May   Jessica Skultety      www.quiltyhabit.com 
26 May   Karin Jordan           www.leighlaurelstudios.com
31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan  sharksdinner.ch

Dancing Squares

English Paper Piecing (EPP) is my biggest love although I love sitting at my sewing machine too. Dancing Squares is a really easy pattern which I came up with because I wanted something simple that I could sew while watching tv as there are only two shapes.

I started off with the low volume octagons before filling in the squares. I thought I would use my Oakshott Rubies for the squares but as I was stitching I thought it would be fun with a rainbow of colours too. In the end I wasn’t sure which to use and asked people’s opinion on Instagram. Funnily enough the rainbow and the rubies got exactly the same amount of votes so I went for my first choice, the Oakshott Rubies.

Dancing Squares

I decided to only use the red and pink Oakshotts. In the end this little piece ended up at about 13″ x 13″ and I’m not sure what to do with it. Cushion cover? Mini quilt? Continue and turn it into a lap quilt? That could take a while.

Dancing Squares

For now, I’ll just gaze at it adoringly from time to time.

Would you like to make your own Dancing Squares mini/cushion?  Click on this link for the pdf in three different sizes:

Dancing Squares Original

Dancing Squares Bigger

Dancing Squares Biggest

Oakshott Lipari Blog Hop

Yesterday was the start of the Oakshott Lipari blog hop that has been organised by Lynne from Lily’s Quilts. I feel truly honoured to be part of this blog hop as I love Oakshott fabrics and have quite a few in my stash. You’ll see what I’m making with my gorgeous bundle at the end of the month as Swiss customs decided they liked the Liparis so much they held onto them for 10 whole days! I was actually supposed to start the blog hop on the 3rd but as I didn’t get my fabric until the 5th that wasn’t possible.

You might be wondering why I didn’t tell you about the blog hop earlier but I have been really ill with a bad cough and a fever. I would like to ask you to go and check out Allison’s beautiful dress which she made with her bundle of Liparis and some yardage. I love it so much I want to make something similar.

Lipari2016_range_ruched1

I mean, just look at those gorgeous colours! They are even more beautiful in real life.

Right, here’s the schedule for the rest of the blog hop:

5 May     Allison Dutton       allison-sews.blogspot.com
10 May   Nicholas Ball         quiltsfromtheattic.wordpress.com 
12 May   Helen Purvis          archiethewonderdog.blogspot.com
17 May   Lynn Harris            thelittleredhen.typepad.com
19 May   Kitty Wilkin             nightquilter.com
24 May   Jessica Skultety      www.quiltyhabit.com 
26 May   Karin Jordan           www.leighlaurelstudios.com
31 May   Elisabeth Vaughan  sharksdinner.ch

So much talent. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the others are making with their little bundles.

Hello Fabric!

I used to love buying fabric ‘just because’ but now that money is very tight (the joys of being a single mum) I only buy fabric for specific projects and mostly use my stash. It’s been great, actually, as I realise that there’s always more new fabric that is going to be my favourite and it’s nice to see your old favourites used and out ‘in the wild’.

I’ve signed up for the handpiecedminiswap2 on Instagram as I really enjoyed the first round. It was organised by Jo from A Life in Lists and specified that you had to make a mini that was completely pieced by hand. However, you were allowed to machine quilt and bind. I didn’t; I did everything by hand and had a total blast.

Lantern

I did a little bit of hand quilting around the lantern and added a scrappy binding. I really loved it but I have to assume my partner didn’t as she never got back to me to tell me that she had received it. She also didn’t reply to Jo’s email either. It’s very sad when you put in many hours, design a mini, hand piece it and then nothing. Not even a ‘it’s arrived’. Nada.

This swap wasn’t a complete disappointment though, as I was given the best mini from Paula from Mud, Pies and Pins who’s been a real life friend for the last fifteen years and who lives only a few minutes from my house.

Paula's Mini

She used some of my all time favourite fabrics and even though we were talking about the swap every time we met I never realised that it was for me. Sneaky! And can I just say “Jackpot!”

Anyway, I was talking about the second round. My partner likes fabrics that I haven’t got so I decided to order some Cotton & Steel from Westwood Acres. I chose Bandana by Alexia Abegg as I really love the colours and prints. Some half yard cuts fell into the basket too. Compared to prices here in Switzerland they were a real steal. Service was fantastic and so quick. It was my first time ordering from them but it definitely won’t be my last.

Bandana

I can’t wait to start stitching with these gorgeous colours. And did you see those two bits of fudge in the middle of my circle? I think I need to order more fabric in the hope of getting more as they were absolutely yummy.

A Bag

I’m always happy when someone appreciates handmade gifts but realise that not every one does. This week I made a bag for my running buddy as it was her birthday.

I used some dark blue waterproof rucksack fabric that I had leftover from when I made my sister a bag, some waxed fabric from Ikea (my Christmas table cloth) and some red webbing and produced this:

Steffi's Bag

I loved it but was ever so slightly nervous when I handed her the present. I needn’t have worried, she loved it too and it’s already in use.

I still have some of those polka dots and some turquoise rucksack fabric. I may just have to make one for myself…..

I did the boxed corners in a new-to-me way and I loved how quick and easy it was. I’ll show you what I mean on the next one I’m making as I didn’t take any pictures this time. That’s what happens when you finish a gift five minutes before you leave for the party.

Bag Handles

You know that feeling when your bag handles are cutting into your hands because you’re carting around lots of stuff for your kids or you bought more than you expected?

Last year Little Miss Bossy-Boots and I went to the swimming pool as often as we possibly could and even though we left some of our things at one of the lockers there, I was still lugging around towels, a picnic lunch, swimming costumes, toys, sun cream and lots more. The bag I used had very narrow handles and they were cutting into my hands or shoulder depending on how I carried it. So I made a padded bag handle whatsit that I could wrap around the handles and close with velcro.

Bag Handle Whatsit

I kept misplacing the pad whenever I took it off to open the bag so I added a little ribbon that I could attach to one handle. Then I rounded off the corners and added some stitching down the side so it wraps around more easily. Now I’m really happy with the result and I’ve made one or two for most people in my family. I usually have one in my handbag so that I’m always prepared.

I was asked to make some for my sister’s mother-in-law and one of her friends so I sat down and made a whole stack of them.

A Stack of Loveliness

I’m hoping to rent a shelf in one of our local fabric shops and sell some handmade goodies, including these. So I made a basket to display them in:

Basket

I had to take off the button and sew it on again as I couldn’t live with the wonkiness…

I thought that maybe you would like to see how I make my handle whatsits, which really need a catchy name, so I’ve prepared a tutorial and am just waiting for better light to take some pictures. Hopefully that will be done by this weekend. It’s snowing again today which makes it quite dark in my sewing room. I don’t want to complain, though, as I really like the snow.