27 March 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 4


As you know from my grand plan in week 1, I'm not making the pieced blocks for the Happy Flower Quilt-A-Long so I feel a bit of a fraud calling this weeks block 'a block' as all I had to do was choose just one fabric for a fussy cut block.  There was no appliqued block this week.  If you're wondering I do have a plan for the pieced blocks, but more of that another day.  I've been loosely following the colours in the original quilt, so for my first 'fussy cut' block I chose a pretty floral from Lecien Flower Sugar collection, which is available HERE.  It's quite a large scale print, so I do think it is a good opportunity to show it off!

I used 3 Sisters Pink for the sashing, which it is, my intention to use for all the blocks.  Unfortunately as I type, we are currently out of stock (sorry!!), we had lots of orders for it back in week 1 and we're currently awaiting a big restock.  Normally this happens quite quickly, but I've been advised that Moda are also awaiting a big restock...eeeeek!  I will of course let you know as soon as it arrives.

In the meanwhile, I thought it would be nice to see the four blocks I have made so far together.

Next week, I'll be back to an applique block, which is a particularly nice one..can't wait!  The hashtag for social media is #happyflowerqal ...if you fancy a peek!

Happy stitches!

21 March 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 3

This weeks block for the Happy Flower Quilt-A-long has always been one of my favourites from the very first time I saw the sampler quilt on the cover of the 'Pink Book'!

Again I was able to use the interfacing method of applique, but I think this the leaf on top of the strawberry was just about as small as I could go using this method and hooray for my chop stick, which did sterling service helping me to turn through!

Ordinarily it usually takes almost as long to choose my fabrics as it does to actually make the block.....this week however, I knew exactly the look I wanted and is possibly my fastest fabric pull ever..... I used the following:

Lecien Fabric ~ Retro 30's Smile Child ~ Strawberries Ivory which is available HERE
Moda Fabrics ~ Vintage Picnic ~ Check Green which is available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Quilters Basic ~ Miniature Houndstooth Sage Green which is available HERE
Moda Fabrics ~ Bread 'N' Butter ~ Pot Luck Dot Red which is available HERE

This week also featured the first little bit of embroidery, for this I used Aurifil 12wt in #1114, which you can find HERE.

If you feel tempted to Quilt-A-long, you can find the book HERE.


I look forward to sharing next weeks block with you, it's my first fabric fussy cut one and I've just the perfect fabric in mind.  Don't forget to take a peek at the  #happyflowerqal ...there are some lovely blocks to be seen!

Happy stitches!

20 March 2017

Happy Easter Mini Quilt

I'm really excited to share my latest finish....which may seem a little familiar to many of you I'm sure!  Since the 'A Little Happy Sew Along' last year to make the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt, I've received lots of emails asking for some more seasonal versions.  So as I'm always up for challenge, (and excuse to sew!) here's my Happy Easter version.....  I hope that you like it!

Just like the original, it incorporates a variety of techniques ...applique, embroidery, machine piecing, English Paper Piecing and hand quilting.
New additions this time include a vintage inspired embroidery of a little Easter chick and a pretty appliqued flower, complete with a ladybird.  I used my scallop scissors to cut the felt circle at the centre of the flower, it would look equally cute cut out with normal scissors.......

.......and rather than little hanging felt decorations, I went for a mini size string of bunting, just like the cake buntings I use to make a few years ago!


If you would like to make this you will need to print off the embroidery patterns, applique templates and the bunting flag template HERE.   I used a selection of pretty 1930's reproductions along with a mix of pin dots, stripes and gingham's.  This would be a great project for those in our 'Flirty 30's Club', or of course, an ideal opportunity to do some scrap busting.  If however, you would like to make one just like mine, you can purchase a kit HERE, which will also include all the fabrics, felt, wadding, backing fabric, plus all the pretty buttons and bakers twine.  In addition, we've put together an embroidery floss set, which includes 5 skeins of Anchor stranded floss, you can order this HERE.

The Easter version was made in almost the exactly the same way as the Christmas version, the full instructions for this can be found HERE.  Here's a picture of the fabrics I used to make the Easter Mini Quilt along side the one I made for the Christmas one to help you with the cutting.  


In addition, for the appliqued flower and bunting fabrics you will need the following:

Bias Stem (1) 5/8" x 4" (put through a 1/4" Bias Maker) If you don't fancy making a bias stem, a pretty alternative would be some pretty ric rac or ribbon.
Leaves (1) 3" square
Flower Head (1) 3" square

You will also need 3 flower buttons, a ladybird button (optional) and some Bakers Twine

When it came to piecing the front, the only deviation from the Christmas version, being that I added the bias stem before I joined the top half to the bottom half, see the picture below...
Other than that, I added all the embellishments in the same order as before.  In addition to following the all the instructions from the Christmas Sew Along, you may also find the following  'A Little Happy Tutorials' helpful:

How to use a Bias Maker to make Flower Stems is HERE
How to stitch French Knots is HERE

The only other thing that you need to know is how I made the little bunting flags.  These were made by folding a small piece of fabric in half, pressing along the fold and then using the triangle template to cut out the flag.


I then folded this over the twine and stitched a row of running stitches to create a channel, that the bakers twine sits in.  Once all five flags were stitched on to the bakers twine, I then tied this around the buttons.  Easy peasy!

Obviously, it goes without saying that any Easter make requires mini eggs as an essential photo prop....... I couldn't possibly comment, but lets just say, I may need to buy some more before photographing any further Easter projects!

So there you go, I hope that you enjoy making your own version.  As always, mum and I would LOVE to see them so please remember to tag your photos with the #alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

If you were popping in to view this weeks Happy Flower QAL block...I'll be back to share this tomorrow...I'm running a day late as Andy, myself and the children escaped to Centre Parcs for the weeked....we had such fun, but I think we now need a weekend off to get over the weekend away!

Happy Stitches!


17 March 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt ~ Part 3 Finishing Touches



Welcome back for the final installment of the 'a little happy Sew Along'.  I hope that you enjoyed adding all your appliques and embroidery stitches last week!

This week we'll be completing the Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt adding all the pretty little finishing touches.

SCRUMMY SUPPLIES REQUIRED THIS WEEK

For the binding, you will need (2) 2 1/2" x FWOF strips
17" square of Wadding/Batting
18" square of Backing Fabric

Quilting pins or Basting spray

A pretty button

12wt thread (or your chosen thread) for hand quilting

Lets get stitching.........

First off you will need to make a quilt sandwich, this is basically where you will layer up the backing fabric, wadding and your mini quilt top.  I have written a full step by step 'a little happy tutorial' for how to do this HERE.  As I've  mentioned before,  for smaller projects (and indeed at times for larger quilts.....I know.... don't judge!) I always use 505 Basting Spray rather than pins.  If you haven't used it before 505 is a temporary adhesive and it really does make layering a doddle.  I find it works best to spray the wadding rather than the fabric and a word of warning don't use to much, less is definitely more on this occasion and take care where you spray otherwise all your surrounding surfaces will be very tacky...believe me on this!! Don't panic if you place your batting in the wrong position, you can simply lift it, give it another spritz and re position.  Sorry we do not post 505 Spray, but we have it available in our Ruskington shop.

Once you've made your quilt sandwich, you're ready to start quilting.  I chose to hand quilt mine, using the Aurifil Wool 12 wt in Off White #8328, as I felt it complemented all the other hand stitched details, but please feel free to quilt as you desire.

If you've never hand quilted before, this is an ideal project to have a go!  You may find the tips in THIS POST handy from the last 'A Little Happy Sew Along'.

If you decide to hand quilt, here's a close up of what quilting I added, again you could add more details should you wish......

First off I stitched around the edge of the linen, just a smidge (about 1/4") inside from the lawn border.

I then used my Hera marker and quilting ruler to mark diagonal lines from corner to corner on all the lawn squares and rectangles, which created a lovely effect. (The Hera marker, if you haven't used one before creates a crease in the fabric......they're one of my favourite quilty tools!)



All that is left to do is to add a little button at the end of the butterfly trail and then finally add the binding.  Step by Step instructions for how I like to do this can be found HERE.

I hope that you enjoyed stitching your Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt and it will bring a touch of homemade happiness and cheer to your home this year and for many years to come!

Here's a sneaky peek of something pretty coming next week..... so I hope that you will visit again soon.  Oh and don't forget to add me to your Blog list so you do not miss out!!



Thanks for sewing along!

13 March 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 2

Gosh didn't week 2 come around quickly!  Following on from last weeks post where I layed out my plan for the Happy Flower QAL, here's my second block from the Sampler pattern in the fabulous Happy Flower Quilts / Sew Flower Quilts and Gifts book by Atsuko Matsuyama.

Even though some of the applique's were a little small, I was still able to use the Interfacing method of applique for them!  I took my steer for the colour choices from the original quilt in the book and was particularly pleased with the Lecien Flower Flower fabric I chose for the main flower, the design really lends itself to be fussy cut, don't you think?

These are the fabrics I used this week:

Lecien Fabric ~ Antique Flower Pastel ~ Tiny Rose Bud White, which is available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Flower Sugar ~ Doily Floral Red, which is available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Strawberry Green, which is available HERE
Moda Fabric ~ The Cookie Exchange ~ Bakers Twine Grass, which is available HERE
Moda Fabric ~ Windermere ~ Gingham Lake, which is available HERE

If you haven't already got it, the fabulous book is available HERE

I look forward to sharing my blocks with you and don't forget to take a peek at the  #happyflowerqal ...there are already some very gorgeous blocks to be seen!

Happy stitches!

10 March 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt ~ Part 2 Appliques



Welcome to Week 2 of the Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt Sew Along.  I hope that you all enjoyed piecing your quilt tops.  If you missed Week 1, you can catch up HERE and for more information you can read the Introduction post HERE.


Today we're going to tackle the appliques and the embroidery.  As I mentioned in the introduction post, I have used Woven Wool by Moda for my appliques.  For those of you who have purchased kits, I have pre-washed and felted the wool enclosed, so it's good to go.   An alternative to the woven wool, would be our lovely selection of wool/rayen felt which you can find HERE.

First off you will need to print the templates for the appliques, which you will find HERE and the embroidery, which you will find HERE.  You'll note from the applique sheet that I included the correct amount of templates required, so for example there are 3 dots for the toadstool, 2 wings for the butterfly and 6 leaves....I hope this makes life easier for you.

Without wishing to state the obvious, I thought I would share a couple of options for you when it comes to cutting out your appliques.

The first option, is to print off the templates, cut them out, pin the template to your woven wool and then cut out your shape. (I would really recomend Clover Applique pins, their tiny size is brilliant for such tasks.)  Historically this is the process that I have always done.

The second option is to use Freezer Paper, having used it back in December to trace the patterns for my Tilda Pixie's, (you can read all about them HERE), I am now a convert to its many uses.  In this instance, what you would do is trace the templates on to the Freezer Paper ( you place it shiney side down and trace on to the matt side) and then cut the templates out.  These are then placed shiney side down on to the woven wool and ironed in place.  They will then stay happily in place without the need for pins, allowing you to cut out the shapes very accurately.  Once done, you can then peel the Freezer Paper templates away, but don't throw them away as you can use the templates again another time, amazingly they will iron and stick in place numerous times...how fab is that!

For cutting both felt and woven wool sharp scissors are essential.   I find my 5" Fiskers Needlework scissors brilliant for this as I personally get better results with a smaller pair of scissors.  For my other favourite notions, take a peek HERE.


I've added some measurements to the photo below which will help you with the postioning of the appliques and embroidery, but please don't worry if yours end up slightly different, no-one will know honest!  You may find THIS TUTORIAL I wrote helpful for transfering the embroidery pattern.


As I mentioned earlier, Clover Applique Pins are fabulous for holding the wool appliques in place.  I also experimented by using my Sewline Glue Pen to hold them whilst awaiting stitching, which I am really pleased to report, did the job extremely well.  When I was designing and making mine, I actually did it over a few weeks, interspurced with making the A Little Happy Christmas Block of the Month quilt and various other projects.....during this period of time, only one leaf came unstuck ...pretty good hey?!

Right.......let's talk stitches!

For the appliques, I used Blanket Stitch to hold them in place and I used thread to match the colour of the woven wool.  You can find 'a little happy tutorial' for how to stitch Blanket Stitch HERE.

I then added some fun contrasting stitches mainly in a lovely Heathered Licorice thread.  So on the butterfly I added little cross stitches on the wings (I used the blue threads for these). For the antenna's I used Back Stitch, (the 'a little happy tutorial' for Back Stitch is HERE) finished off with little Cross Stitches.  For the body I used Satin Stitch.  Satin Stitch is made up of parallel rows of straight stitches and is used to fill in a space.  I have found that I get the best results if I first outline the shape I want to fill in using Back Stitch.  Then I bring my needle up just nipping the outside edge of the back stitch, take my stitch over the space that I wish to fill in and then bring my needle back in on the outside of the opposite line of back stitches, again just nipping the edge.

The Butterfly trail is a simple running stitch.

I used this same technique for the Satin Stitch to create the bees stripes.  The bees wings were sewn with Back Stitch and I added a little French Knot for the eye. (the French Knot 'a little happy tutorial' is HERE


I used Back Stitch again for both the stem of the flower and vein marks on the leaves......

On the toadstool house, I added some long Straight Stitches around the spots, Back Stitch on the window to create the look of window panes...... I just eyeballed these...... and a Running Stitch and Cross Stitch detail on and around the door.


The flowers were a combination of Back Stitch and Lazy Daisy Stitch.  Lazy Daisy Stitch is a lovely stitch for creating loops.  Once you've added this to your repitoire, you'll be looking for excuses to use it!!!  Here's how I stitch it....... first of all I bring my needle out in the centre of the planned flower or leaf, I then hold the thread down with my left thumb (I'm right handed), I then insert the needle back in really really close to where it first emerged.  By holding on to the thread creates a little loop.  I then bring my needle out a short distance away (a) inside the loop and then pop my needle back in over loop, which forms a locking stich and hold the loop in place (b). You then go back to the starting position and keep creating little loops for you flowers.
 
Finally the writing was all stitched in Back Stitch.

Just a little note.......should your mini quilt require pressing, I would suggest doing this on the wrong side, so as not flatten your pretty appliques and embroidery stitches!
I hope that you enjoy stitching your Home Sweet Home mini quilt!  Next week I'll be talking you through all the finishing touches!


Mum (Penny) and I would love to see your progress, so don't forget, please do use the hashtags, so we can take a peek! 

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims


Happy Stitches!

6 March 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long



Today is the first day of the Happy Flower Quilt-A-Long hosted by Kristyne from Pretty by Hand, Melissa from Oh How Sweet and Wynn from ZakkaArt....yay!!!  Just to clarify for us UK peeps, Sew Flower Quilts and Gifts is the same book as Happy Flower Quilts, it's the UK edition and simply has a different name and jacket, but inside the contents are exactly the same.


Obviously when I heard there was going to be a Quilt Along to make the Sampler Quilt, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist joining in, I have drooled over THAT pink quilt for so long!  However like many of you I am sure, the only slight fly in the ointment to my very good intention of quilting along, is finding the time to do so......so much sewing I would like to achieve but so little time!  So I've hatched a cunning little plan........which is that I am going to quilt along and hopefully sew all the applique blocks (one a week), the one patch fussy cut blocks and finally where I can not resist, some of the pieced blocks.  I'll then review where I'm at, at the end of the year...no pressure...just enjoying the process and not worrying if I don't manage a block a week.

I've decided to use 1930's reproduction fabrics for my blocks and take my steer from the beautiful colours and fabrics that Atsuko Matsuyama used in the original quilt pictured in the book....although I think hers were actual feedsacks from the 30's...can you imagine how beautiful it must be in real life!!

I'm intending using the interfacing method of applique for the majority of the blocks, although looking at the templates, some are rather small so I may needle turn those.  I'm using Aurifil 50wt thread for all the embroidery.  For the stems I'm going to use my 1/4" bias maker and where the blocks call for some embroidery, I will use Aurifil 12wt cotton.

So that's the plan....here's a close up of my first applique block....

The fabrics I used this week were:

Windham Fabrics ~ First Blush ~ Petals Pink on White available HERE
Windham Fabrics ~ First Blush ~ Gingham Red available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Retro 30's ~ Daisy Yellow available HERE
Windham Fabrics ~ Feedsack ~ Mono Floral Green available HERE
Windham Fabrics ~ Feedsack ~ Ring Daisies Green available HERE

In case your wondering about a good choice of pink solid for the sashing, Bella Solids 3 Sister Pink available HERE is the prettiest pink and would be my choice.

If you haven't already got it, the fabulous book is available HERE

 I look forward to sharing my blocks with you and I shall regularly be looking at the  #happyflowerqal .....this is going to be great fun!

Happy stitches!