Yet again despite all best intentions life has intervened in my plans.
A lot has been going on in my life and hardly any of it has had to do with stitching or craft of any kind!
Baby girl arrived 3 days early on the 5th of May - after 5 days of labour! She's a delight and very easy to keep happy, but that often means being held - therefore no space for hand stitching!
J is now in year 1 at school and will turn 6 at the end of next month, A is now 4 and has started at nursery every afternoon and L is now 2 and talking up a storm. I have great plans for stitching but the reality of 3 school runs a day messes with those plans!
Hopefully in the next few months I may have something to show...
It has been 5 months since my blog post, a lot has happened in my life but not a lot of stitching; unless you count knitting. There has also not been a lot of photograph worthy light, and this looks set to continue into April.
My long absence started with early pregnancy nausea and exhaustion and continued into Christmas with a severe virus which gave me a cough so bad it pulled muscles in both sides of my ribcage and developed into severe pneumonia for my husband - we both ended up in hospital; me for half a day and Al for 5 days and 7 weeks recovery. So Christmas and New Year were a complete write off for us. I haven't done much in the way of EPP or other sewing but I have knitted several hats on Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) and started to teach myself to crochet as well as also knitting the front of a pinafore style dress for baby girl.
I have also attended every LMQG meeting as well as a new craft group with several of my former and current neighbours and others. Despite not really crafting spending time with other crafty people has kept me sane - even when I was feeling unwell and trekking through London was probably not the best idea.
In about 6 weeks time baby girl will (hopefully) make her appearance. Despite this I have plans to enter 'Peonie' in the Festival of Quilts - thankfully I was sent an entry form a few weeks ago. I won't however be able to enter anything into Sandown as I had planned - the piece I started has been languishing in a project zippy pouch waiting to have a few pieces unpicked and replaced with a more contrasting colour.
I will hopefully be able to head to the NEC to see it in situ - and to spend some time with my LMQG friends and any others who happen to be about.
I have some great EPP plans for this year including the relaunch of the Patchwork-a-long and finally the launch of my range of EPP products!
I have collected a huge pile of Mo' blocks - from all over the world. And they are patiently waiting to be joined into a quilt top or two. I have the sashing and the screen and inks for the custom backing - but they are sitting unfinished as alongside collecting the growing pile of blocks I have been growing a human being - which has meant severe fatigue and all day nausea. Thankfully these are abating so I should be able to get on and construct the top/s and get the backing screened and off to Shevvy for quilting. Shevvy is willing to quilt 1 top for me, but I will need assistance with any subsequent tops - if you are within reasonable distance of London and are willing to help with the quilting of any more tops I will very much appreciate it.
My original plan was to have the raffle tickets available from the 1st of November to co-incide with Movember (which I am not affiliated with as you are not allowed to officially fundraise for them and another charity at the same time*) but I have revised this and aim to have them available from the middle of November through to December - as suggested at the LMQG at this month's meeting the raffle tickets would make great presents/stocking fillers.
I also need some help selling the physical tickets alongside them being available online - I'm wanting to reach more than just the quilting/sewing community!
I will post more updates as they happen.
(*I could have revised my fundrasing options, but I am passionate about raising funds for Movember and Mary Potter Hospice equally.)
Here in nippy England I am slightly jealous of Katy and Laura's roadtrip - it is something I aspire to do once my children leave home! I'm looking forward to seeing their photos and their EPP creations.
The photo I haven chosen is from a family day out with our nephews and niece. It was a great day at the Farnborough Airshow - I got severely sunburnt and covered in diesel flakes. There were so many amazing aerial displays including the Red Arrows.
One of the set pieces that the Red Arrows do is to form a heart and then fly through it like an arrow - so this influenced the design I have chosen. I adapted a design I have made before of hearts within a heart within a square and added flying geese to represent the 'arrow'.
The fabrics I have chosen are not exactly as the palette picked - I pulled them from the fabrics already in my sewing area rather than from my stash.
I'm not completely happy with my my placement - too much coral - but as I left it to the last minute to design and piece the block I didn't have enough time to repiece the outer heart.
Tomorrow's stop on the Blog Hop is Chelsea at Pins & Bobbins and then Heidi at Fabric Mutt on Friday. To see who is taking part in the next 2 months take a look here.
I hope that the blog hop inspires you to make something a bit different or to try EPP for the first time, and discover the technique that I love.
This post is part of the Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop. From 1st October - 30th November we are hopping all over the world EPP-ing in some fantastic locations. Check out the full list here and be sure to check out the other participants.
I've been a bad blogger this month but since I haven't really done anything sewing or quilty related this month - except collecting Mo' blocks from the letterbox - there hasn't been anything to blog about.
My eldest son J started school on the 10th and I have been adjusting to the school run - which hasn't been much fun in all the rain we have been having. I have been so exhausted that the thought of writing a blog post or doing any stitching has been overtaken by the call of my bed.
To be honest I don't really need to build my stash - more update it. I have mentioned before I have a big stash - but a lot of the fabric is over 5 years old or more, some pieces are possibly 15 years or more years old. I one day aspire to have a fabric storage system like my mum's - an old library catalogue cabinet (she is an information manager and was a librarian for many years) which is the perfect size for neatly folded fat quarters. But I just have to make do with my current large plastic box on wheels. I am eyeing up one of these:
Or similar for my new sewing room. The walls of my sewing room are in the process of going up - there is a framing wall which contains built in wardrobes on the other side of my ironing board and the hall way wall of the boys room is being screwed together as I type and then it will be on to the hallway wall of my sewing room and then the wall which will have bi-fold doors onto the new kitchen/dining/family room, so I can sew and keep an eye on the boys the same time.
I have decided to indulge my love of Purple and Orange and have wallpaper on one wall:
I have had my eye on this wallpaper for a couple of years and thankfully it is still available. It also comes in a gorgeous combo of Blue and Rasperry.
We're back to the start of a new month - again! So it means that it is Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts.
August has been a great month for Quilty related outings and goings on.
As usual there was the LMQG meeting, the last one to be held at Tricolette as it is closing - as a thank you for being great customers we were given a 20% discount - so I stocked up on a few half metres and a couple of fat quarters.
My cushion featured in the new issue of Fat Quarterly in the designer challenge using Tanya Whelan's Sugar Hill.
My video tutorials with Videojug went live. Watching myself on screen is cringeworthy - but it was a good experience.
Then of course there was the Festival of Quilts at the NEC - a whole day to hang out with my friends surrounded by fabric and other lovely things.
And then there was the LMQG dinner with Tula Pink, she is such an amazing designer and such an inspiration. She had mentioned at FoQ that she was making a Hexie quilt from her next range, and since I was sitting next to her at dinner offered to do some stitching for her - I got 11 3-hexie units stitched together (so i can now say that I stitched some of a Tula Pink quitl!).
I also got quite a bit of stitching done - including some Foundation Paper Piecing for the LMQG paper piecing challenge. I ended up making 2 of Lynne's ET phone home blocks and inspired my mum and her 'cracked pots' to make the blocks for a charity quilt.
I've also made a few other things - 2 zippy pouches from one of the Fat Quarterly Retreat London fat quarter and some little softy buses and taxis from the other. The vehicles have been a hit with all 3 of my boys, it's so funny watching the baby drive them around upside down.
Speaking of charity quilts - from the response I have been getting for Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' (take a look at the gallery of the blocks made so far) I will be making more than 1 quilt. I've been incredibly touched by the response and the stories about why people are making me blocks - one contributor even made her first 2 quilt blocks for the project. Just sitting typing this makes me well up - I have to thank Lynne for her generosity in allowing me to make the request through Lily's Quilts. It has made me realise that the help you need is out there you just have to ask. I made my 5 blocks so they count as August makes too.
I went a bit mad with hand-stitching some zippy pouches - but they are great for keeping all my different projects together, and out of harms way (read small boys and husband's big bottom).
I now have so many projects on the go - including starting the EEEEP EPP BEE September block before it is even September. I am so happy that I started the Bee, it gives a bit of diversity of making different blocks - which actually have a purpose, and not just going to sit as a UFO for years. And a LMQG charity quilt made using Lynne's lozenge templates and some repro 1930s and feedbag fabric - I do need more to make a big enough quilt, so if you have any that you'd be willing to donate to the cause...
I'm hoping to get quite a bit of stitching done during September as J starts school on the 10th - but we'll see.
Whilst having an email conversation with my mum about screen printing the Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' backing fabric, she reminded me about the Spoonflower fabric that she wanted half of. So jumping back on Spoonflower I decided to get a Collection swatch sample - but was short a few designs. So I started manipulating some new images of my work and then recoloured some of those and then recoloured some of the old ones. I ended up with the top limit of 30 designs - some I like more than others, but I'm interested to see how they print. Then mum and I can decide which ones we're having a fat 1/4 of each.
And breath. I knew that I would get a response from my guest post on Lily's Quilts - but Wow! Blocks have already been made and posted.
Good thing I am getting rid of one of my children during the day in the next few weeks - it should give me enough time to start piecing a top, but I think it will actually be tops!
After finding the Alexander Henry Moustache fabric yesterday and a few on Spoonflower I have decided to design and screen print the backing fabric myself - thanks to Lucie for the advice.
I am so happy that so many of you are willing to contribute - and that the cause is so close to your hearts.
Just a couple more requests:
If you blog about Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' and/or have photos of the block/s you make can you please send me the links. If you have a story about why you want to make a contribution that would be great too - I'd like to have a 'story' and photo gallery for the quilt/s.
I better get onto the design for my screen printing screens - mum wants some too so have to get it in the mail as soon as possible.
This week has been an incredibly Quilty week. First up on Saturday I left home at 820am and headed to Euston to get the fast train to Birmingham for the Festival of Quilts. Armed with some handstitching I was there in next to no time. After Lunch with Shevvy, Amy, Ruth and Celine. I ventured into 2 halls of vendors and quilts - not having a large budget to spend and eventually sore feet I didn't see all of either. I'm not the kind of person to linger over art or quilts - it's a gut reaction for me; I either like it or I don't, I won't spend a long time looking closely at each quilt. I did however spend my small budget at the Eternal Maker - choices had to be made and they were hard choices. I came away with a lovely pile of Birch including a selection of Mod Basics, some Cloud9 and 2 heart shaped magnetic bag closures for my planned bag (I need to design it now). I had a great time and it was lovely to spend it with my friends - rather than dragging round my husband and children like I did last year. I think maybe 2 days is the answer next year. Plus I will definitely try to get a quilt made to enter - I just didn't have time this year.
The next part of my Quilty week was on Tuesday night - the LMQG hosted Tula Pink (I sat next to her at dinner) and she gave us a great insight into how see designs her gorgeous fabrics. We were also priviledged to see the first quilt she made - which despite all the mistakes she felt she made - is gorgeous especially the embroidered skeletons riding birds. Also her original Space Dust Quilt with its stunning quilting by Angela Walters.
The third part of my Quilty week has been finally making Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' blocks. I have spent a whole day with this beauty - she may be tiny but she sews like a dream.
Adding a new 1/4 inch foot has made my piecing a lot better - not as good as those who piece on a machine as the norm tho'.
So here they are: the start of the Can't Grow a Mo' Sew a Mo' rogue's gallery. If these look like fun and you want to spend a small amount of time making some fun blocks for 2 great causes - please get in touch (for more information on the reason for making this quilt see Can't Grow a Mo' Sew A Mo').
Taping them to a curved wall wasn't the best idea - they didn't want to lie flat, but that's where the best light is downstairs.
The handsewing that I took on the train and worked on at Shevvy's hotel has added to the collection of project bags I have been making, including one made from the LMQG Modern Art challenge. The others were all made with 2 Fat 1/8s each - from the selection of scraps I received the other week. I started by making a simple zippy pouch (all of them were handstitched - I couldn't be bothered to get the machine out last week) but I wasn't happy with it - so I used a design throw back from Intermediate school and set the zip down about an inch or 2. Having the zip lower means that if you forget to zip up the pouch and turn it upside down whatever is in it will probably not fall out. It is also useful for holding waiting EPP pieces. Shevvy and I also worked on some EPP for a charity quilt - using the templates from Lynne at Lily's Quilts and turning them into flowers, I will need some more fabric for the petals and it is definitely not my style - so if any one has any 1930s/Feed sack styles that they would willingly donate to a good cause let me know.
On the home front we have 2 major changes this week; Al is off work for the week so has made a astart on both our new kitchen and on a bedroom for the boys and a sewing room. We have also adopted a cat but he's not been seen in the 2 days since he arrived - he has eaten the food that has been left out for him, so hopefully we will be getting some kitty cuddles in the next week.