Lockdown patterns

It’s now been seven weeks since lockdown started here in Switzerland. You would think that it’s the perfect time to sew but I’ve not really felt it. I have been sewing a little but with all the time spent on homeschooling my daughter I’ve done less than expected.

The fabric shop I’m working at, Alja nouveau, is expected to open again in two weeks time and my colleagues and I are going to sew a few masks. I’m sure lots of people are going to come to buy fabric and elastic but some might also want to buy finished masks. I’ve already sewn a few but I thought that among all that catastrophe sewing it would be nice to do something else so I’ve designed a couple of free English Paper Piecing (EPP) patterns for you.

The first one is called Comfort and I’ve designed it to become a cushion. I’m not sure why the bottom line isn’t in the picture, it’s there when I look at the picture in my photos. Anyway, the size is 16″ x 18″ as I like a slightly rectangular cushion and if you stuff a 20″ x 20″ cushion filler in it the cushion becomes nice and plump, just the way I like it. If you’d like it a different size you can, of course, resize it before printing it out. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out one of my previous blog posts Tips and Tricks.

Find the templates for Comfort here:

I’ve written on the templates how many times you have to print them out to make the cushion.

Next there’s a pattern for a table runner (although I could also imagine three or more appliquéd onto a background to make a stunning quilt). Gratitude finishes at 13.5″ x 46″.

Download the templates for Gratitude here.

You will need to print out each file twice to have all the templates. When sewing it’s easiest to start with a (the outside) and work your way through the alphabet or if you prefer to work from the inside out, start with g and work your way out to a.

I’m happy to help if you have any problems or questions with either of these patterns. Email me at sharksdinner (at) sunrise (dot) ch and I’ll do my best to help.

I really hope you like these two new patterns. If you do sew one of them and you are on Instagram, I would love it if you added me (@lemonshark) and/or used the hashtag #sharksdinnerpattern. Thank you!

Happy sewing!

Gone

Hello, I didn’t mean to disappear the way I did but some time in December I lost my sewjo and still haven’t quite found it again. This happens to me every couple of years and I’ve found the best way to deal with it is to just let it happen and not to try and force my creativity.

I have been sewing a little bit for the shop window we’re planning on doing once the Ovid-19 pandemic lets us go back to work. For some reason the Swiss government didn’t think that a fabric shop is essential. It’s a good thing I have enough fabric for the next three years then….

Holly helping

Our theme is picnic and the colours are white, yellow and blue. I’ve started to make a giant gingham picnic quilt. The gingham is giant, not the quilt. The quilt is 53″ x 53″ and will be bound in a royal blue solid.

I also made some colourful birds as we’re going to have a branch and some logs in the window and I thought it would be cute to have some birds waiting for crumbs.

Fat little bird

My colleagues are also busy. They’re making picnic baskets, serviettes and cushions to sit on. I might make a few strawberries and cupcakes to put on the plates, too.

First, though, I have to finish the quilt and that is a bit of a problem. For the first time ever I’ve used a polyester batting (it was delivered wrongly last time I ordered batting and I kept it) and I’m really struggling with it. It’s like the fabric is sticking to it and it’s very difficult to smooth out for basting. In the end I managed to baste it but as I’m quilting, the fabric is moving and I’m getting all these tucks. I’ve re-basted three times already! I’m now thinking of ripping all the quilting out again and quilting it by hand as I feel that I have much better control over it then. That’s my job for this afternoon sorted then.

Miss Holly Fuzzybutt

By the way, I don’t think I’ve introduced you to Miss Holly Fuzzybutt yet. My gorgeous boy Charlie died last September at the age of 18. It was very tough as we had a very special connection. In December we decided that we were ready for another cat so I contacted my vet. She told me about this old cat who was looking for a home and when I met her I fell in love with her. According to the previous owners she’s 20 years old but she’s still in good shape. Her hearing’s not very good but she still likes to play. She hates being alone and meows very loudly to try and find us. She fitted in perfectly from the start and we’re really happy to have her, even if it won’t be for a very long time.

Then it’ll be back to a very special quilt I’m making.

Blue Steps

One of my best friends from uni turned 50 last month and I decided to make her a quilt. I realise I’m a bit late but with the situation the way it is I won’t be able to see her for a while anyway and I’m hoping to have it finished by then. Some time ago I made her some cushions in the teacup fabric. As I only have scraps left, I had to go scrappy with the whole quilt. I’m halfway done with the blocks which are really fun and easy to do. I’m thinking of putting just one bright pink block in there for fun but I’ll have to see if it works or not before I commit.

Right, here’s to the fun of sewing! I still have to get back to my Block of the Month 2019 and finish it. I had another BOM prepared for this year but I simply can’t get myself to start a new one before I finish the last one. It’ll have to wait for the autumn.

BOM 2019: NOVEMBER

Last one! That’s right, it’s the last tile for this block of the month. Then it’s time to appliqué the tiles onto a background, quilt and bind. And all this before the end of the year.

I’ve started with the appliqué but have only managed one tile so far. This month has whizzed past at an extraordinary pace and I have to admit that I haven’t finished my October tile. Shame on me, I know. I’ve just had lots of other things to think about and the BOM has sort of faded into the background. The main reason for my inability to sit down and concentrate on my sewing have been the raging hormones in my pre-teen daughter. I’ve simply been too exhausted to sew after all the ups and downs every day has brought.

As a blog post without at least one picture is rather boring I thought I’d post one of my little ‘helper’ Blue looking adorable.

Right, here’s the last tile:

I’m really curious about this one. I’ve had to think quite a bit about where to put my coloured accents but I think I’ve got the perfect placement now. The placement of the coloured fabric is actually the only thing I plan in advance, all the other fabrics are chosen as I sew and I never really know what the tile is going to look like until it’s finished.

Here are the templates:

And here’s the whole tile so you can plan your fabric placement:

I’m going to have to knuckle down, finish my October tile and get on with this one as soon as possible. I have to take things a little easy at the moment as I’ve been diagnosed with shingles. I see quite a bit of hand sewing and tv watching in my future.

Happy sewing!

BOM 2019: October

How can it be October already? I feel like this year has flown past. It’s alright, though, as I love autumn and October is my favourite month. The light is amazing and I love seeing all the autumn colours on the trees. It’s my birthday month and this year it’s one of the big ones: 50.

I love the age that I am, I love that I know who I am and what I want. I love the person I’ve become and I wouldn’t want to change anything in my life as everything that’s happened, good and bad, has shaped me. So I’m happy to say bring on the fifties!

Anyway, enough with the rambling. Here’s my September block which I finished at the last minute and where I added some fun orange accents.

I’m getting more and more excited about this quilt. I’ve started appliquéing the tiles onto the background but haven’t gotten very far yet. I really need to get a move on, though, as there are only two more tiles to sew.

Curious about the penultimate tile? Here it is:

I’m a little bit at a loss on how I’m going to do this one and where I’m going to put the coloured accents. Once I start all of this usually falls into place quite quickly so I’m hopeful that I’ll come up with a plan soon enough.

Right, here are the templates:

And here’s the entire tile so you can plan your fabrics if you are so inclined:

I’m really looking forward to seeing all the various versions on Instagram.

Happy stitching!

Passing it on

I caught the English Paper Piecing (EPP) bug about seven years ago when I started my first hexie cushion. I still have it and when I look at it I see all the imperfections. However, I love it so much that It sits on my favourite yellow chair in the living room, reminding me of my humble beginnings…

Well, I’ve gone and infected my mum. She was curious to try out EPP, so I gave her some big hexagons and some fabric and showed her how to baste and sew them together. She made a gorgeous runner to brighten up her dark blue chair.

After she finished it, she wanted to make a cushion cover and picked diamond shapes and some turquoise, white and pink fabrics.

As soon as she’d finished she asked me for something red. I had just designed a cushion cover for my sister to try out EPP as she’d seen my mother’s beautiful creations. As there were two versions I gave one of them to my mum with various red fabrics.

Those pieces are quite big so she finished it in no time, turned round to me and said the magic words: “I think I’m ready to start a quilt now.” You could’ve blown me over with a feather. I grabbed my iPad to open TouchDraw and started designing before she could change her mind. I gave her the papers and some Gütermann fabrics I had bought to make a quilt for my daughter two or three years ago and she set off.

Isn’t it beautiful? I’m sorry the picture is rather bad quality but I think you can still appreciate the beauty of it. My mum first said she was going to make four rosettes, then decided that maybe six were in order. I still think she’ll continue and make nine, although she is sure she won’t. We’ll see who’s right, won’t we?

As for my sister (who’s a prolific knitter), we’re going on holiday together soon and we’re both taking our EPP kit with us. I’ll show her how to EPP and maybe just maybe she will catch the bug, too.

BOM 2019: September

How are we in September already? I feel like this year has flown by and I’m sure it’s also because of this Block of the Month, as I have been looking forward to the new tile every time I’ve finished the current one.

Here’s my August tile:

I really like this green with the black, white and grey. And I also like how all my tiles look together on the background fabric:

As you can see Charlie was very happy to help with the layout.

You may also have noticed that my tiles don’t fit on my background fabric. This has meant that I have indeed gone back to my original plan and I’m going to appliqué them onto squares of fabric and hand quilt them before sewing the squares together. This will be my first ever quilt-as-you-go quilt and I’m really excited to try it.

Right. Are you curious about this month’s tile? Here it is:

Here are the templates:

And the whole tile so you can plan your fabrics:

I’m looking forward to seeing all your beautiful blocks this month. Mine is going to be orange (at least if I find a nice orange in my stash).

Happy sewing!

Portable?

I love EPP because it’s portable. I can sew at home on my sofa while watching tv or I can take it with me on holiday. I can sew on the train, in the garden and many other places.

However, I’ve now started a project that is EPP but most definitely isn’t portable. My Floral Star quilt started with a stack of fat quarters I was gifted by my lovely friend Paula. She knows how much I love anything designed by Kate Spain and I was thrilled to bits when she gave me her stack of Canyon fabrics. I knew I had to make something special with it and decided to try and supersize one of my designs. The choice fell on Floral Star and I couldn’t be happier so far.

The colours aren’t the same in my version so it looks quite different.

As you can see I’m not finished yet. I had to let Charlie sit on it as no one really understood just how big it is already. I don’t mind, though, as he is the cutest cat in the whole wide world. The smallest piece is about 3.5″ x 4.5″, most of them are over 7″. It’s quite a challenge but fun too. I had to use slightly thicker paper as normal 80g/m copy paper bent too easily with such large pieces. It makes the whole thing harder and heavier to handle so I can only work on it when I’m sitting on the floor or at a table.

Since taking this picture I have finished sewing on the magenta triangles and am now going to continue with some green, I think.

If you’re on Instagram you can check out my progress with the hashtag ⌗sharksdinnerfloralstar

BOM 2019: August

It’s a new month which means it’s time for a new tile for the block of the month. I loved last month’s block.

I was going to do the pentagons in red too but used the grey sketch by mistake and didn’t want to change it when I realised it. I rather like the way it looks and am really happy with how it fits in with the others.

Right, here’s the August tile:

I think this one is a really interesting shape and I’m very excited to start this one and see everyone’s versions. I’m going to use a nice green for this tile, I think.

If you’d like to make it, here are the templates:

And here’s the whole tile for your fabric planning:

Well, I hope you enjoy this block of the month as much as I do.

BOM 2019: July

Time is flying when you’re having fun and I sure hope you’re having fun sewing with me.

I loved the June tile and thought it looked great half finished too.

Every evening I sit in my sewing room which is also my rat room to let my ratties Bailey, Blue and Quentin roam free for an hour or so. So far this has been no problem at all as they all thought that the floor was lava. This meant that they mostly climbed on the cage and on me. However, this week Bailey has discovered that the floor doesn’t swallow her up when she walks on it and has started exploring. Add to this the fact that she’s a little hoarder and suddenly nothing is safe from her. I was sitting on the floor sewing when she swooped in and tried to steal my Aurifil thread. She also tried to get my scissors but they were too heavy for her.

Anyway, here’s the new tile:


This one looks like it’s got little cat faces in it and I might try and play with this a little. This month’s colour for me is red. Once again I have to dive into my stash to see what I can find as I really don’t want to have to buy more fabric. Rather the opposite, I’m trying to lighten my load and use up as much as I can. The problem is, that EPP doesn’t really use up that much fabric at least not when you use lots of different fabrics or scraps.

Right, here are the templates:

And here’s the whole tile so you can plan your block:

BOM 2019: APRIL

Wow, it’s already the fourth month of my BOM and I’m really hoping that everyone who’s still sewing with me is having fun.

I’ve found last month rather difficult as I couldn’t sew or type as I was suffering from tendonitis. Everything’s more or less alright now, although I still have to be a little careful and take enough breaks. I just about managed to finish my March tile in March, finishing it on the 31st.

I love my last block which I did with Kona Honeysuckle, one of my favourite Kona colours. I’m already looking forward to this month’s colour which is Kona Banana, another firm favourite. I think the four blocks look quite good together, although I’m not sure if I’m going to keep the emerald block the way it is. I feel that the colour is too solid. However, I won’t do anything about it until I have a few more blocks and can judge it properly.

So without much ado, here are the templates for April’s block.

And here is the PDF for the entire tile, so you can do some planning.

Happy sewing!

By the way, I’m preparing a blog post about layouts. I’m using a very simple 3 x 4 layout as I’ve always said that I want to use the quilt-as-you-go method. I haven’t started quilting yet as I wasn’t sure about the background fabric. There are so many different possible layouts, though, that I thought it might be fun to show them here on the blog.

As for the background fabric I have now narrowed it down to two, one white with grey polka dots and one grey and white striped one. The second I’m sure which one to choose I’ll start working on appliquéing the tiles and quilting the first few blocks.