Saturday, 2 May 2015

Swap surprises, sun and sewing....

Hi all!  It is Saturday night, late and I have been updating some of this lovely blog for you all.  Over the next few weeks I will be adding lots of free patterns and tutorials for you to enjoy.  I hope they are useful and that you give something a go!

I have been pretty busy this last few weeks.  One of the most fun things was taking part in an Instagram swap.  If you don't already follow me there then use the link in the sidebar to connect with me.  I post there almost every day!

So my swap partner ( Stephanie from the fabulous My Calico Heart), sent me the most beautiful Tula Pink dresden plate mini quilt!  I was so delighted when I saw that this was mine.  Isn't it beautiful?  The extras are adorable too!  My little heart sang when I opened the package.  Swaps are so exciting aren't they?  They give you the chance to try out new things and blocks and experiment a little. 

I managed some outdoor sewing two weeks ago when the warmer weather visited us.  It was bliss and didn't feel like work at all!

I have also been working on some tiny teeny sewing for something secret!
 And last but by no means least, some fabric eye candy which I will be delving into soon for some magazine commissions!   Recollection by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics and September Blue for UK based Dashwood Studios.

Keep an eye for those updates on my patterns and tutes page! 
Till we meet again,
Collette xx

Friday, 10 April 2015

What I have been up to.....

Well Spring has certainly sprung since I last blogged!!
The kids have been off on their Easter break for a week now and have another week to go.
Yesterday we headed to a local park for a cheap morning out.  Duck feeding and observing and park playing in the sun was just what we needed!

When the kids are not as much sewing seems to happen.  But that is ok.
I have managed a few things in the evenings when I haven't been too tired.
Quiet Play pattern

Medallion centre fpp for new course
I finally learnt how to foundation paper piece properly with Carol Doak's excellent Craftsy class.  Something finally clicked in my brain and I really enjoy it!  I never thought I would say that.  I don't like the fabric waste but I love the accuracy and amazing blocks you can make.  I am hoping to teach my patchwork classes this soon!

Hope you are all enjoying the lovely Spring weather.  Until next time!
Collette x

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A Quilting day trip!

At the beginning of the month a few of the ladies in my patchwork classes and myself went on a visit to the Quilting and Stitching show in the SECC, Glasgow.

I clearly don't get out much.  I mean I spent the best part of almost 7 years studying and working in Glasgow.  But faced with a trip on the train and I began to stress!  Anyway I  made it, all in one piece and we arrived at Central Station and headed down below to catch the link to the SECC.

It was a wonderful exhibition.  I wasn't really there for the papercrafts but definitely was for the fabric stalls.  Best of all was that they have just added the quilting exhibition section to the show and I was thoroughly impressed!

Here are a few photos I managed and remembered to take.

Loved this take on the view of the Clyde.

I adored this too and metallic threads too!

This was stunning.  Embroidered and hand quilted!

 I had a fab time as did the ladies and we all left feeling knackered but inspired and encouraged.  It was lovely chatting to fellow quilters and I even got to meet the gorgeous Jo from My Bearpaw. 

my little haul from Donegal tweed and  My Bearpaw
This is now my little reminder of my lovely day out!

 Collette x

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A finish!!!

I know! Pick yourself up off that floor.  I actually finished this mini quilt and am actually blogging it too!

This was for my lovely online friend Debs.  She is an amazing textile artist and quilter and sent me this beauty in a wee swap we decided to do.
So Debs thought a mini would be nice for her studio.  I picked out my yummy bundle of Handcrafted by Alison Glass and made this.

I chose to handquilt this gorgeous fabric inspired by the handcrafted nature of the fabric.  Kantha style quilting seemed appropriate to me.  I used Aurifloss divided into 3 strands for a chunky look.  I also sneaked in a few random lines of a bronze metallic by DMC.
So it is now winging it's way to the lovely Debs.  She has seen the photos and hopefully she will love it in the flesh too!  It was a joy to make!
Collette x

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

In a creative rut? Then do this!

Do you ever get into a creative rut?  You begin to feel that you are becoming a little static in what you are creating?  Things become samey and you begin to feel a little bored with what you are doing?

Well I had been feeling a little like this recently so decided to shake things up a bit.  I had been pondering and deliberating over what to make for my UK Instagram mini quilt swap.  I had a few false starts and just couldn't seem to develop anything.

So guess what?  I threw the plans out the window and grabbed Quilt Improv off my book shelf by the inspirational Lu Summers.  I then grabbed a few bags of offcuts, scraps, large pieces and picked triangles.  Lu's book is so inspirational in that she encourages and urges you to go your own way.  She provides instruction but it isn't do this or die type instruction.  Is is very much play and have fun!

So I created this. I still have to bind but decided on matchstick quilting with Aurifil variegated thread and just love it!  Hoping my partner likes it too!

Sticking with the Improv vibe and thoroughly enjoying a bit of play, I approached this mini quilt for my lovely friend Debs in the same way.  I had no real plan and just let the fabrics lead me.  Obviously there are times when you really need a plan but this wasn't one of them.  ( Just wait until I show you what Debs  made me - saving that for a post all on it's own!).

The fabric is by Alison Glass from her Handcrafted line.  It is stunning fabric.  The colours are amazing, each print has it's own little, unique idiosyncrasies and is beautifully soft.  I felt that it deserved hand quilting because of the handmade nature of the fabric and the ethos behind the production of this line.  You can read more about Alison's inspiration here.

So today I urge you to try some Improv if you haven't before.  It is liberating, fun and just the ticket if you are feeling in a rut.  Put on some loud music, (if that's your thing) and relax and enjoy!  Feel free to share your results with me by using the hashtag #embraceimprov on Instagram if you use it. My username is poppypoochie!
Collette x

Friday, 20 February 2015

the nightmare of fudge...

Fudge??? Do you ever fudge?   I love to eat it but am not so happy when I have a few blocks that I have to fiddle around with and fudge to get looking right!

In my head I hear the Quilt Police,   "Measure twice, cut once", "tut, tut fudging is bad" and such like.  But sometimes it is all you can do (other than making a brand new block).  Sometimes the fabric has ran out, or you only have that one little piece left and there is no other option but to fudge!

Don't get me wrong, I know the evil of the fudge.  You really don't want to be messing about with every single block in a quilt or it will knock the whole size and arrangement off.  I certainly teach my ladies in my class about how to avoid fudging!  However, sometimes only a fudge will do?

Am I alone?  Do others do this?? Is this just my quilty little secret? I swear it seldom happens, honest! Do you have any other quilty secrets of things the imaginary Quilt Police would "tut tut" loudly at?  Come on it's truth time!  Lets be honest quilters who strive for excellent workmanship but who are not afraid to admit mistakes and weaknesses!  Sometimes the interwebs and magazines can give the impression that everything we make and do is awesome and perfect.  Well it's not and guess what?  Neither should it be because it's handmade!

Please share!  It will make me feel better for any fudging that goes on in future.

Bad Cat!
Collette x

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Oakshott Blog Hop!


 Today I finally get to share with you the quilt I made for Oakshott fabrics on the Oakshott Bloghop!  Lynne from Lily's Quilts sent me this gorgeous pack of 10 inch Colourshott squares and 2 yards of a sumptuous dark grey Oakshott. ( Colourshott COTX29 Charcoal).

When the fabric arrived the colours really gave me the impression of a Moroccan market full of spices and bright colours stacked high.  So I had a rummage on Pinterest and found delightful images of Moroccan and Indian markets full of these pyramid shaped powders and spices.  Hence my "Spicy" quilt!

So would you like to know how to make this scrummy quilt?  Allow me to share how I went about using this beautiful Colourshott stack!
Finished size; 36.5 inches x 55.5inches (a baby quilt)  A quarter inch seam allowance is used throughout this project.

Fabric Requirements;
One Oakshott Colourshott stack
2 Yards grey Oakshott (background fabric)
Quilt batting  (enough to overlap the quilt top by at least 4 inches)
Backing fabric(enough to overlap the quilt top by at least 4 inches)
Binding fabric ( do not cut till finished quilt top and measure perimeter of trimmed and quilted top plus 10 inches extra for required binding).

There are a few ways to cut your 60 degree triangles for this pattern.  I used a template(seam allowance has been added ), which you can download and print here.(please download the template and open with a pdf viewer to print at 100% for the correct scale).    You can also use a 60 degree triangle ruler.  The finished triangle size is 4 inches tall.  The smaller triangles in the bottom row are 3  inches tall finished. (I printed out my template again but removed the large seam allowance to leave me with the required smaller triangle inclusive of seam allowance).
In this tutorial I am assuming you know how to piece 60 degree triangles. If you are not sure then check out the numerous, excellent tutorials on how this is done!

1. Cutting;
a) Using your template or triangle ruler cut the following from the background yardage;
   102 large dark grey triangles
    30 small dark grey triangles

b) From your Colourshott stack ;
    102 assorted coloured triangles ( I got 3 triangles per 10 inch square of fabric)
    11 small coloured triangles

2)  Assembly of first 12 rows;
I joined my large triangles in alternate sets of twos.  Then I joined the pairs into fours until I had a row of 17 triangles.

Do this for each row of large triangles following the layout in the picture below.  I sewed one row at a time to ensure I had the direction of my triangles correct and the alternate rows correct too.
Do this until you have 12 rows of 17 alternate coloured triangles.

3) Assembly of last 2 rows composed of small triangles;
I encourage you to play around with layout here.  This is like the little improv part of this quilt!  I basically cut out 11 smaller triangles using my small template and 30 small grey triangles and sewed two rows together with a random layout.  Don't worry about the little triangles matching up too much with the large triangles here as it is meant to look random and will be quilted over.

4) Join each row to the next and pressing long joining seams open as you go.  Pay close attention to where the points meet.

Then you can baste, quilt and bind as desired!  I chose a dark grey Aurifil 50wt thread to create a grid like pattern on the quilt.  The Oakshott fabrics are so shimmery and colourful so I wanted to show them off !  The fabrics are a dream to work with and very stable and just beautiful to look at. 

Please join the other wonderful ladies (schedule here) who have also created some fantastic tutorials out of The Oakshott colourshott stacks!  I hope you have enjoyed my little tutorial!