Sunday 28 February 2016

Back to the Future - Month by Month

As I go around and meet people, the thing I get asked the most is, 'do you think I can?' This question is asked by quilters who want to make a historic quilt, want to undertake this epic applique achievement and want to make a start on it - but feel daunted by the size and significance of Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet as a project.

And here's what I always reply because it happens to always be true: you can do anything if you break it down, step by step. If you want to create a once in a lifetime quilt or complete a family heirloom, this is it. For not only are you creating your own masterpiece, you're also weaving yourself into a story - of mystery, intrigue and historic value. What more could anyone ask of a quilt?! 

2016 is a wonderful year to start your own LE journey. And it's never been easier. For the first time ever, I have released the LE 1790 Coverlet pattern as a monthly pay as you go BOM. This means you sign up when you'r ready and receive a new block monthly. As a new starter, you'll have the added advantage of seeing how each block was made the first time around and learning from the experience and tips of those of us who have done it before you. This year Love Entwined has a new hub for sharing progress, ideas and asking questions - the LE Group over on Facebook. We already have over 400 members since launching last month and its the place to be if you're making this quilt and want to connect with other interested quilters who are making it themselves.

Remember, the quilt image you see above is created one step at a time, as you see below. And, as an added advantage, I have blogged my LE progress right here on my blog, so you'll be able to look up just how I tackled each block through my archives and see how it's done before even making a start yourself. That's a huge advantage and only bettered by the fact that we have over 400 LE Group Members on Facebook interested in this project. 
This year I'll be revisiting all my LE posts on the 1st Friday of each month 
starting with Part 1 on Friday March 4th

These posts will revisit the original launch posts and link to all relevant posts since then that are associated with that block. It's a way of connecting new makers to the wealth of skill and technique information available. And that also makes it the most ideal time to become of those makers yourself. 
So, have you made up your mind yet? 
If you'd like to start a LE journey yourself, now is the perfect time to do so.
It's just USD $9.95 per month 

Saturday 27 February 2016

Shop the Sale this Weekend with Craftsy!

Craftsy is taking an additional 20% off their existing clearance prices to give you great deals on their project kits and supplies for only a few days. Be sure to check out the deep discounts on your favorite brands before their Winter Clearance sale is over. Remember, the good stuff goes fast!

Thursday 25 February 2016

Why Not Stencil?

When I first started quilting, one of the techniques I was immediately drawn to was stenciling. Having a strong background in textile art meant that I was always exploring new ways of doing things with fabric - and stenciling just made sense. However, at that time, and we're talking over 10 years ago now, no one else that I knew of, or could read of, was stenciling quilts - and that struck me as strange.

Here was a technique that allows you, the quilter, to create your own fabric and fabric prints as well as your own custom blocks in the precise shades to suit and yet, I couldn't find a single class to learn the technique! So of course, you know what I did - I spent the next 5 years teaching myself everything I needed to know about it through trial and error and then began presenting this information myself. Along the way I enjoyed true creativity and expression and loved every minute of combining fabric, paint and quilting. In fact, some of my stecil quilts are award winning quilts and I invite you to visit my Stencil Quilt Gallery and see these quilts for yourself. You can do so by clicking here now. 

Stenciling is in fact an authentic, traditional technique. That it is so rarely utilized today does not diminish its thoroughly heritage status - some of the first New England quilts used stencils and it has been with quilting since that time. Today it's often seen as something new or 'artsy', but that simply isn't the case. Stenciling is just a technique and like any other technique - it reflects the style of the maker using it - and that can be traditional, naive or modern - or all three! It's so limiting to think of it as only this or only that. Any quilter can stencil. Stenciling is incredibly versatile and can be whatever you want it to be.

Tomorrow I'll be showing you how you can start stenciling yourself, so stay tuned.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

WOW: Who Won?

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Giveaways always put me in a good mood and I'm so happy to share the fabric love that I've decided I must do it more often! Christine Robinson has won the Marseille fabric bundle from the Fat Quarter Shop. I'm happy for your Christine, winning a surprise out of the blue is always such a good feeling! I can't wait to see what YOU do with it Christine!
What's Your WOW?

Friday 19 February 2016

Hooray! It's a Weekend GIVEAWAY!

Everyone loves a GIVEAWAY (and I should know, given that I just won one myself from a fellow blogger - see my post below from Wednesday to check out my super cure new scissors and crochet doggy embellishment.) So I'm super happy to announce that the Fat Quarter Shop are generously giving away this fabulous bundle of fabrics. 

Just take a moment to consider these new Robyn Pandolph prints - they're exactly the kind of fabric I swoon over and these colours - WOW! The range is called Marseille and it is completely gorgeous. In fact, I'm thinking of buying some myself to make up a new pattern that's yet to be released, I think it might be calling me... BUT ENOUGH ABOUT ME! 

This fat quarter bundle could be YOURS! To enter, simply leave a comment. This competition is open worldwide to ALL my readers. 

Wednesday 17 February 2016

WOW: My Doggy Scissor Surprise!

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
Well,I went ahead and won something! How lucky am I? 
Melody from The House On The Side of the Hill blog sent me this lovely package, and yesterday it arrived. Well, I can tell you that I love receiving things in the post, it always feels extra special somehow. How gorgeous is this little doggy? I'm in love with it and it's extra special given that he's 'guarding' my scissors. My scissors could certainly use a guard dog - I have a habit of losing them! As a quilter, I feel you can never have enough of these nifty little scissors and I know I'll treasure this little keepsake for years to come. Oh, and the fabrics are fabulous too. Oddly enough, you see this green fabric right above? I just used that exact same fabric as a potential background for my Sweet 2016 BOM! How strange and yet, oddly fitting. I love little coincidences like this :)

And now it's off to find a good recipe for macaroons because I've had a terrible craving for them since making my block! They really do look good enough to eat. If you haven't already joined my BOM, now is a perfect time to get in on the fun. 

What's Your WOW?

Monday 15 February 2016

Macaroon Madness!

Oh boy, sometimes I wonder if the 'wonders of technology' are worth all the bother..and then I remember that mostly, it's been good to me and helped me connect with extraordinary people from all over the world who I otherwise wouldn't have met. And after a cup of coffee and moment to consider whatever tech based nuisance has bothered me, I come back to deciding that mostly, it's good. Mostly.

Yesterday I launched my 'Sweet 2016 Mystery BOM' and today I decided that it was a macaroon kind of day. I thought up this Mystery to be a monthly dose of fabric fun and today, I sure needed some of that myself so it seemed the perfect time to make my block.

I decided on macaroons as the first installment because it's a nice introduction and one of the easier blocks. Really, it's all about colour play and working out what fabrics you're going to love feasting your eyes on. Speaking of feasting, are these macaroons tempting or what? But never mind the sugar laden loveliness, how nice is this floral background I dug out of my stash?!

Well, you know my 'issues' with fabrics and backgrounds, don't you? And yes, It's happened all over again. I'm torn with indecision! I purchased these fabrics below specifically for Sweet 2016 along with the grey chambray I'm using as the fabric for my 'silver' cake domes. I'm happy with my grey chambray domes and won't be changing them - although I can definitely see them looking fabulous in a hot pink, brass or dark brown colour - not that I need any suggestive ideas!

I really can see this working...
but what about this sweet pink stripe option? 
they both work in their own way - and both completely change the mood of the mystery
see what I mean?!
And see what happens when I introduce this shady green? So many choices!
Luckily I'm finding it easy to let go of (even though I do love it) because of that old adage to never team green with food. I happen to agree with this so will reluctantly unpin if from my design wall. 

But I can't over look the perfect partnership of a dusty faded cocoa background - I mean, it just makes sense, doesn't it?
I don't have to tell you that I'm suffering from too many background options. You could say I was spoilt for choice. But I have 11 blocks to go until the mystery completes so I will keep playing around with my applique blocks until I have to make a final decision at the end. I think that by that stage, the sweets will call out the background they want and I'll just let the quilt decide and do a final audition at that point. 

So let's get back to how I made the macaroons. I had all these ideas of water coloured dusty tones, but in the end, fabric from the stash called me...and pretty much selected itself!
I simply drew in the cake dome fringe detail with permanent marker. Actually I had an idea in mind to use a strip of fancy lace as an embellishment - but couldn't find the lace I had in mind. When I'm ready, I will hand stitch in some small beads to add some interest to the dome fringes, but I haven't decided whether to do it now or last, when all the domes are complete. I'll see how I go.

I had planned on making the whole quilt in raw edge applique with an idea to decorative stitch around all the lines at the end on my sewing machine. But I changed my mind at the last minutes. What can I say? I love the turn edge technique so much - and am so fast at it now that it pretty much happens without me thinking. Before I could 'remember' to raw edge, I'd already turned my applique, so decided to stick with it.
And now the real fun begins. Here are my macaroons in position on my pattern sheet. I mark the direction of the fabric (because I knew I'd use prints)
see how easily these come together?
they nearly make themselves
and as I'm not stitching anything down right now, 
tiny dabs of Elmer's School Glue keep my applique in place
my first macaroon
Yes, I made more. I couldn't help myself. I always make a few more of anything I applique when I make a quilt. Usually I do it to have some spares, but I already have some extra fun projects in mind to throw in when the mystery completes, so if you do make more or have some delicious fabric you feel you simply must make - do it and them set these extras aside. I have a feeling they'll come in handy.

And that is Part 1, completed. Remember not to stitch the Part 1 block onto your background - even if you have decided on your background fabric. By all means, pin it in place and admire. You'll be adding blocks each month as the mystery goes on and will stitch everything done once complete. 

Now, I quite fancy a macaroon myself. I may have to dig out a recipe..

'Sweet 2016' is my current Mystery Applique BOM
It's just $3.95 per month
Delivered digitally, to your email inbox each month
And don't forget to join my Sweet 2016 BOM Group over on Facebook too!

Sunday 14 February 2016

Sweet 2016: the Mystery Begins!

Our dessert this month is effortlessly chic and comes in all tantalizing hues from deep dark red to the lightest speckled vanilla. This makes it the perfect starter block as you’re thinking about your cake dome colour scheme, background and borders. These can be difficult to settle on, so our classic must have sweet comes in to help us with at least one decision—do you like yours brightly jewel toned or softly pastel? 

Me? I haven’t decided yet, I’ll let my fabrics tell me which way to go. I’m glad I have my domes and cake stand scheme decided on —I opted for 'silver' service because it felt so right and colours really pop on grey chambray which is what I’m after.

What about you?

This is where we are up to in Part 1

I'll be making my macaroons and sharing my progress as I do right here on my blog. If you're taking part in this Mystery, be sure to join my Facebook Sweet 2016 Group where we're all getting together to show what we've created. 

Haven't joined yet?! What's stopping you! 
---it's just $3.95 per month---

Saturday 13 February 2016

Hazel & Little Hazel: Part 2

My exciting new Mystery BOM 'Sweet 2016' starts on February 14th - Valentine's Day- and with Hazel and Little Hazel and Oma's Blues  both due for a block release on the 15th, I've decided to release Part 2 a few days early. If you are downloading the pattern from my blog

When I designed Hazel I thought about releasing the 8 Point Star block as 1 Part and leaving it at that - but I know that many people in my BOM Group are new to 8 Point Stars and star blocks can turn into one of those blocks people decide they just won't do because they can be a bit of a hassle. This is why I broke this central block down into three parts - it really IS achievable, you just need to approach it in a step by step method - and not rush any single part of the process. Which brings us to Part 2: the second and third rounds. 
How gorgeous are my Fassett's?!
You know how I'm always talking about the importance of preparation? Well it just keeps proving itself over and over as the key to good block construction. Have your fabrics prepared, cut them out accurately and then, for Part 2, set them up into 'units'. A 'unit' consists of Template C & D from the 2nd and 3rd row coming together to create 1 unit. Now, if you just sewed in the second round and then added the third round, you wouldn't have the precision and neatness that you will have from doing it this way. Create units and sew down to connect unit to unit, not around. 
First sew your 'unit' of C & D together, and then when all your units are ready, sew them together, stitching down. Lastly, following the inside curve, attach your constructed round to your existing star block, lining up your seams neatly.
and you'll see that each star point will line up with every second unit seam - just like this
 and it's as easy as that! See you all for Part 3 next month!

I don't know why it took me so long to move my BOM Group over to Facebook - it's the best Group related decision I've made. It's now so easy to answer questions, read comments and connect with everyone who is uploading images of their progress shots. I am in love with all the Hazel Stars from Part 1 out there and I've loves seeing you all pick fabrics, progress and share your tips and techniques each month. It's an inspiring place to be and for that, I have you to thank. What a great community!

With all the comments flying around over there, my blog feels a little quiet lately - my visits have increased but readers are choosing to comment over on FB. Someone has informed me that I can 'stream' my FB comments here on the blog and it's something I'm working on in an effort to connect both worlds - my blog and my Group activity. This has been my goal since I started blogging in 2007 and I'm still surprised that there still isn't a platform that allows you to blog and connect all in one place. Wishful thinking? Yes, so far. Why hasn't anyone thought of such a place?? We're inching closer but it's still annoying to me to have to visit two separate sites when in my mind they are 'one' and belong together. Still, I shouldn't complain. Technology has done so much for my quilting - and ability to share my love of quilting, just 10 years earlier and I wouldn't have shared any patterns at all - it would have been impossible.

I wonder what the next ten years of technological advancement will mean for quilting?

Hazel & Little Hazel are my current Free BOMs  
You can join my BOM Group my clicking here now. It's full of fabulous, talented women sharing their work, ideas and inspirations as they make my quilt patterns. Join us and our friendly, supportive community today. 
Wait until the 15th of each month and download the available pattern right here directly on my blog. The choice is yours. My old Yahoo Group has closed due to limitations on the platform. If you haven't come over to the new group, now is a good time.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

WOW: Fabric Fun

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
I've been having some fabric fun - sorting through my stashed beige 'pastry' shades and also indulging in a spot of chocolate shopping - the fabric kind of course. I picked up some brown mixers that I think will come in handy for the blocks ahead as I have so few browns in my stash. I have no idea why? These new ones fill in the gaps for now. I'll be picking and choosing, ummming and ahhhing on a block - by- block basis. How gorgeous is this print below? It looks like mousse at the top and choc squares below....mmmmm!
My new Quilt Along Sweet 2016 launches this week and I'm really excited about it. Today I'm working on the first block so I can show it off - but I've been interrupted and have things to do - you know how it is! Luckily it's completely do-able and a lot of fun so I hope to have it finished later this afternoon. I'll show you more soon. If you haven't signed up already, do it now !

What's Your WOW?

Sunday 7 February 2016

A Fresh Start for February!

It's been on my wall for a few months now and this is what I've finally done with my own version of the panel - I gave my tree a trim and re-arranged a few things, and now that I'm satisfied, I'm packing it away into a WIP box. One day, I'll return to it. But for now, February 2016, it's time to focus on my next BOM - which starts next week and is a quilt along. I'm just in the mood for some prettiness and fabric play and I'm looking forward to a month of frivolity and I make my Sweet 2016 blocks to show off. I didn't plan on making Hazel myself, but couldn't stop myself. And like Hazel, I was happy to release Sweet 2016 and move on to my next BOM but now that I've picked up some new fabrics,  I'm suddenly planning on making these blocks myself because they're completely irresistible.

So today, I'm clearing my design wall. Hazel comes down and my applique arranged tree comes down and Sweet 2016 goes up.

It's going to be a gorgeous February!

Friday 5 February 2016

My 'Little Hazel' Quilt Top

Oh how I wish I had more Fassett fabric to turn my 'Little Hazel' into 'Hazel' but Little Hazel will have to do, and nicely too I think! These colours match my sofa perfectly and Little Hazel is an ideal quilt throw size. Oh I love it, I really do.

Remember, Hazel and Little Hazel are my current FREE BOMs available over in my BOM Group on Facebook (link here) join in and make your own. It's gorgeous, even if I do say so myself.

I'm just thinking about whether to add a tiny slip of green in before finishing off with my print border. I'll decide after looking at it up on my wall for a few days. I think going straight into the print fabric might be too much, but maybe not. I'll see how it settles on my eyes.
But then again, looking at it now below in the image, I do like it. 
Maybe I should stop complicating things and just follow the pattern!
And this is all I have left of this gorgeous Fassett print. I'm so pleased to have it off the stash shelf and on the design wall in blocks I'm going to get so much use out of
Phew! With the top done now, I can focus on a guilt free delicious adventure in fun - of course I'm talking about Sweet 2016 and if you haven't joined my Mystery Applique BOM - then why ever not?! It's only $3.95 per month and I can tell you, it's fabulous! Think of it as a monthly fabric party. I'm mixed delicious up with gorgeous and turned it into a monthly surprise. Go on, treat yourself.

You can join my BOM Group my clicking here now. It's full of fabulous, talented women sharing their work, ideas and inspirations as they make my quilt patterns. Join us and our friendly, supportive community today. 

Wait until the 15th of each month and download the available pattern right here directly on my blog. The choice is yours. My old Yahoo Group has closed due to limitations on the platform. If you haven't come over to the new group, now is a good time.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

WOW: Hazel Taking Shape

WOW = WIPs On Wednesdays
 I've been busy! 

What do you think? I'm really in love with Hazel, and made up in Fassett's, it's bold and striking.This quilt is no shrinking violet - which is funny given that I originally envisioned it in soft, gentle colours. I'm loving seeing what fabrics you choose over in the Group too. The range of fabrics and schemes is great, with something from all styles on offer. I can't wait until Part 2 is released on February 15th and you all move onto your star rounds. I've had to finish my own Hazel early as I've been making 'samples' to photograph and show as block tutorials right here on the blog. This takes so much time - much longer than actually making the blocks, so I decided it was best to do it 'all at once' whilst I had the chance. 

Now I can see that the green really works and I'm happy with the balance of fabrics (I originally repeated the stripe fabric as the 8 Point Star background - but removed it because it changed the mood completely. Now I think it all zings! Today I'll be finishing up my blocks.

What's Your WOW?

Tuesday 2 February 2016

LE? Oh Yes, You Can!

Every finished Love Entwined quilt (and the number of these is steadily growing) started with just one stitch. But I know, that for some of you, taking on the whole quilt has felt, well, a bit daunting.
But it doesn't have to be. Love Entwined is a 'once in a lifetime' quilt - beautiful, intriguing and perfectly accomplished. If you missed it the first time around as a free BOM, you can still start your own wonderful version, wherever you are in the world, and join us in reviving the spirit of the mysterious original.

Making LE in 2016 is easier than ever. How? Now, instead of having to consider the whole quilt all at once - you can tackle it block by block. It makes it easier to manage. Consider it a BOM 'on demand.' It starts when you do and arrives by email each month. And, once you're ready to make a start. there's a committed Love Entwined Group you can join to share your progress pics, share ideas and ask advice. Whatever step you're up to, someone's done it before you. Now is a great time to start your own Love Entwined.

Love Entwined: 1790 Marriage Coverlet 

SUBSCRIPTION - start any time

Pay $9.95 (USD) per month for 14 months 
and receive an installment each month, delivered to your email in-box

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