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  1. Over the last month I have been out and about a lot. 

    The first outing was just after the massive snow fall in London - unfortunately due to the snow and the fact that our road did not get cleared, and I had L and his buggy with me, I was an hour late for the second ever meeting of the London Modern Quilt Guild.  Although I missed a lot of the organisational part of the meeting - I did not miss out on the tail end of the show and tell, the ugly fabric swap and lunch with 7 of the other members following the meeting.

    For the last 3 weeks I have also been going out every Thursday for a couple of hours - unfortunately due to family commitments the friends who were going to be joining me have not been able to, but there have been 2 of us and we are working step-by-step through my friend's introduction to English paper piecing as well as the standard gossiping.

    This week I also had the opportunity to visit Ray-Stitch in Islington, for the launch of Modern Quilting Magazine a bi-monthly magazine filled with great patterns, excerpts from new modern quilting books and interviews with members of the modern quilting world. (At the moment their website is down but they have a Facebook page.)* Their website is back up.

    Ray-Stitch is a lovely shop with gorgeous fabrics, notions, wool and books - they had 25% off in honour of the lauch so of course I had to take advantage - some Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey, 2 sample packs of solids, a remnant of some lovely bamboo wadding and a large remnant piece of Amy Butler Delhi Blooms and Across the Pond - The Banks Ocean.  Also another bundle of assorted fat quarters including David Walker Baby Talk Animals Frogs.  The Nicey Jane And the Frogs fabric I have great plans for - which involves some patterns, some cushions and the Liberty Open Call.

    I also have a few ideas for some EPP products - which I am hoping to have put together before the first open call.


    I have also been doing some sewing for the LMQG February Challenge - a bag to make the whole process of EPP portable.

    The next LMQG meeting is Sunday next week so anybody interested click the button to get more details or join the Flickr group and introduce yourself.




    *have just been back over this post and fixed all my spelling mistakes - I must have been tired after all my outings to actually take any notice of my awful spelling....


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  2. I'm was going to be teaching my first class in 3 years tonight - but unfortunately due to winter illness it's going to be postponed to next week.  So from next week I won't be stitching in isolation.

    I have the plain dyed fabric to be used - I also have a vast number of needles to be shared with my students (I probably have more than most retailers - 500 each of sizes 10 and 12), and some lovely basic supplies of graph paper, mechanical pencils, rulers, and scissors - all that you need to get started.

    We don't have central heating and the fire has not been pumping out as much heat as we would like so I have not done much stitching in the last few days but hopefully that will change; I have just started on the last quarter of the cushion cover so hopefully next week it will be on it's way to being finished and then I can share the twist.

    I'm also linking up to Lily's Quilts for the second time for the Small Blog Meet:

    Small Blog Meet

    Small Blog Meet


    So here's a little about me and my small blog. 

    I'm Danielle - soon to be 30 - I live with my husband (Al) and our 3 small boys (J 4, A 2 and L 7 months) in East London (technically Essex) on a partially-renovated (very partially) former French oil tanker barge. 

    I'm a Kiwi he's a Brit and our boys say things like mulk and watch Buzzy Bee and lately seem to have developed a very Kiwi habit of being barefoot in the cold (I once saw a guy wearing stubbies - very short rugby shorts and jandals - flip flops whilst it was snowing - being a student it was possible he was being kept warm by a large quantity of beer).

    I made my first piece of patchwork when I was 9 after being set a challenge by my mum and her patchwork and quilting house group.  I then made a small English paper-pieced (EPP) wall-hanging and from there embarked on an ambitious project of a 6 foot square EPP quilt.  I have not since made something as big and have in fact gone in the opposite direction of making miniature EPP pieces. 

    I don't get to spend as much time as I would like stitching and have a lot of different pieces on the go.

    I started this blog and website to deliver my take on EPP to the world - it's not all hexagons and traditional granny-made quilts - you can make just about anything using EPP including curved pieces.

    1. Peony wall-hanging made for the challenge 2. Purple 9-patch 3. The Heirloom Jewels  4. Playing with patterns in miniature  5. Animals adapted from foundation pieced patterns 6. Curve pieced cushion

    In Tutorials you will find the basics for EPP as well as a tutorial for a plastic bag keeper and the block choices for the Patchwork-a-long. 

    Enjoy and I hope you'll join in with the Patchwork-a-long and start developing a passion for EPP.




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  3. I have a lovely friend who quite often takes my eldest boys for the day and she did just that on Tuesday this week.

    So I went to Westfield Stratford City - which just happens to be where the nearest John Lewis is; because I needed some more Dylon salt - I did consider getting some Dylon hand dye but have decided to wait a little long until I source some different dye - as convenient as measured amounts of dye are I would like to play with mixing dye a little bit more. 

    So yesterday afternoon/evening my washing machine yet again became a dyeing machine - in with the red dye went a plain piece, a navy blue piece, an ocean blue piece and a yellow piece.  I also dyed 3 pieces with the black.  So from just under 12 metres of unbleached calico I now have solids in 13 colours.  The Bomull fabric is a bit looser weave than I would choose if buying quilt cottons and after chucking the fabric in the dryer it has come out a bit fluffy - closer in texture to a flannel - which is fine - I haven't ironed it yet as I found the cover on the ironing board has gone mouldy (we have had quite a bit of rain and as our roof leaks it gets quite damp downstairs...) - but it may flatten out a bit afterwards.  I think next time I will get the higher grade calico from IKEA - but they didn't have any in stock when we were there which is why I got the Bomull.

    Here's the complete set - yet again the colours are not true to life but you get the idea.

    Dylon 3


    Anybody have any dyeing tips?  Favourite method?  Favourite shades?




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  4. I have been doing some stitching - slowly getting the cushion cover project finished - although I really have no motivation.  At this time of year the weather and lack of daylight after about 4.30pm is really depressing and tiring, oh for a NZ summer (although they haven't had much sun recently).

    So my craftiness this month has switched to some customised fabric creation - namely with some dylon machine dye and some IKEA Bomull fabric (unbleached calico).  I have run out of salt and still have 2 colours to run through but my washing machine was a dye machine for the day on Wednesday last week.   I had navy blue, ocean blue, pink, yellow - with red remaining to be done. In addition to the basic colours with redyeing I ended up with a forest green, orange and 2 different purples - the darker of the purples is only a little different from the navy but it is technically a different colour.

    Unfortunately without the best light source the colours don't appear true to life.

    I will definitely do a lot more dyeing in the future - machine dyeing is great if you have little people who get in your way (or want to 'help') - although you don't have as much control over shades as you do with hand dyeing. 

    These fabrics are going to be put to good use - my first lot of independent classes start at the beginning of Feb and will be the fabrics for the students to start EPP with. I'm particularly attracted to plain fabrics at the moment and love the Amish simplicity feel - but giving it a more modern spin.

    I bought just under 12 metres of the Bomull and will think seriously about buying a whole bolt - all 35 metres - although it is a bit loose weave - it will come in handy for more dyeing and printing.

    Introduction to English Paper Pieced Patchwork

    If you live in the East London/West Essex area get in touch through the Contact page if you are interested in the guinea pig classes (no cost except possible venue and refreshment costs).



  5. The last few months I have been uninspired and tired - throw in Christmas and this has meant I haven't posted anything in ages. 

    The technical problems with the pattern images for the Patchwork-a-long annoyed me beyond belief and I ended up having to leave a few of the patterns out as I just could not get the images to copy over without destroying the formatting on the rest of the page (long story - hopefully at some point I will work out how to do it...).

    I have also had a stall with starting my classes - though I will now get back on to them as it is the New Year.  You know how life gets in the way sometimes - well it definitely has for me.

    I have however made a start on one of the Patchwork-a-long patterns - making a cushion cover - with a twist (which I won't reveal until it's finished) although this was also delayed due to my eldest son (J) and a pair of scissors - him cutting into tiny pieces the tacked pieces wasn't a huge deal - it was the fact that he also cut into the stitched together pieces which I took weeks to start despite having tacked everything ready to go...

    I did however make several christmas decorations - 4 little felt christmas trees decorated with 99p Store scrapbooking sequins and beads which I gave as gifts (one of which middle son A took to with a pair of scissors and covered with his blood when he cut himself), so really I made 5 as I turned the blood-stained one inside out and remade it (both scissor incidents happened while Al was watching them whilst I was sleeping trying to not be sooo tired), 2 little cushion like decorations: 1 made with a crayon drawing by J and one I patterned with fineliner pens both drawn on some cheap IKEA calico and hung with 99p Store scrapbooking ribbon.  I also made a felt decoration each for the boys with their names on - Al wanted one too which I will make in time for next Christmas.

    My tree is still up but looking a little worse for wear as it has been knocked over several times by the boys - and it is only a cheap tree, but it was the first tree we have had as a family as it was the first Christmas we have had at home.

    If I get around to it I will take some photos of the decorations - maybe in a little bit as the sun is finally out after a lot of rain.




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  6. Amy'sCreativeSide

    After enlisting the help of my neighbour Ruth a few weeks a go - I now have photos of a lot of the patchwork and quilts that live at my house - one of these quilts is the first and only large-scale quilt that I have finished.

    The Heirloom Jewels is 6 foot square and made of 1 inch squares all English Paper Pieced it is quilted on point with concentric squares and is completely hand stitched except for the seam in the backing fabric - it took 15 months to complete including a few months when I didn't touch it - I made it whilst at high school over 12 years ago. It is predominantly purple as it was my favourite colour at the time (it is still up there but I lean more towards various shades of green).

    (click on thumbnails for larger full image)

    I started to piece the quilt from fabric left over from the border of the 9-patch wall-hanging which was my first foray into english paper piecing, it just kept on growing with fabrics added that I was given by friends and family - a lot of piecing was done whilst watching tv, some on a ferry on the way to the South Island of New Zealand to spend some of the school holidays with a friend.  My Granny helped me by removing some of the papers - even though I did discover some still in situ when quilting. 

    It is named The Heirloom Jewels as it is hopefully the one quilt that will passed down in my family - when I finished it my mum had not yet finished a quilt specifically for me - so I teased her by saying I had gotten fed up and made my own.  Since then she has made the double-sided wedding quilt and 3 quilts for my boys.

    I love the quilt and slept with it on my bed for several years - although because of its weight it stayed in NZ when we moved to the UK and just before J was born mum brought it over as hand-luggage - in it's vacuum-packed form it weighed 7 kilos (just over 15 pounds).

    With this quilt I learned not to bite my nails - as I had done so for years and having something to do with my hands whilst watching TV worked better than foul-tasting nail polish or wearing gloves or eating ever did.  That patience can be learned and that skill has come in handy recently in dealing with having 3 boys under 4.  That size 10 needles are too big for me and that 12s are better even though they are not as robust. That over time hand stitching definitely improves. That when hand piecing it makes a big project easier by breaking it down into smaller components - I made 16 patch blocks first and then 16 blocks together until I had 4 large blocks and then a final seam down the centre.  And that I love hand sewing and English Paper Piecing even if sometimes I don't have the motivation or inclination.



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    As I have updated the home page with some photos of my work I also thought it would be a good idea to post the quilts that live at my house.

    My mum introduced me to patchwork and quilting and in the last few years has made quite a few of the quilts that we have; the most recent being the double-sided wedding quilt for our wedding last year - we have not yet used it as the skylight above our bed loses rust and drips condensation.


    Mum has also made quilts for the boys - the first one for J when he was a baby and then one for each of the boys for their first birthday - J has his on his bed but A's is still hanging on the wall downstairs where we had it for our wedding - now it is colder he will also have it on his bed.  L also sleeps under the baby quilt.

    A lttle bit kiwi


    Js quilt


    As Quilt

    Al's sister also made J a quilt when he was a baby and it also gets used on L's bed at the moment.

    jungle quilt

    Al's mum also made quilts and we have one of her wall-hangings on the wall.

    Sues wall-hanging

    My Granny made a lot of quilts and when she died I was left the purple quilt which includes many fabrics that I used in my 6 x 6 foot quilt.

    Grannys purple quilt

    This is my first ever attempt at patchwork and quilting - made for a challenge set by my mum's house group when I was 9. 


    My second wall-hanging was my first attempt at English paper piecing and was the jumping off point for the 6 x 6 foot quilt.

    purple nine patch

    Heirloom Jewels 2

    Heirloom Jewels   Heirloom Jewels 3

    This wall-hanging was moving from English paper pieced squares onto other shapes.

    Red Star

    My lovely neighbour Ruth took all these photos and she also took some of WIPs or UFOs which I will post another day.




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  8. Finally I have been able to get all 4 pages of block designs up - unfortunately the number of blocks has been reduced to 14 as 2 of the blocks - both of which I love - had formatting issues and I couldn't copy/paste them across to the web editor without the formatting making everything else on the page disappear.  You can find all the blocks under the Tutorials tab.

    I haven't actually done any sewing of any kind in the last month or so - I don't have the motivation - plus most nights when I have the time and opportunity; I have had a baby sleeping on me.



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  9. Having had great plans to start the Patchwork-a-long on the 1st of October I have had quite a few delays - namely our computer was out of action for over a week, I have had a copy/paste issue with OpenOffice - which I have partially resolved, but formatting issues remain so I apologise for those and then my web editor was not saving all changes made - so I was having to re-do the pages multiple times. 

    There are 16 block designs to choose from - all chosen from 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone. You can choose as many as you want to - 1,2, or a sampler of all 16 - it all depends on what you want to make - a pincushion, cushion cover, lap quilt etc.

    If you don't want to draft the pattern up yourself - send me an email - tell me which block/s and the size you would like to make and I can draft it up for you send you a PDF and then you will be able to print off as many copies as you want.

    Also any feedback or questions about anything - feel free to get in touch.




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  10. Today I have survived 2 years of having 2 children. 

    It is A's birthday and he is officially no longer a baby.

    All he wanted when asked what he wanted for his birthday was 'cake, birthday cake' and so far he has had 2 in 4 flavours - his birthday has lasted all weekend as on Friday he had his birthday celebrated at playgroup.

    Playgroup Bday boy

    On Saturday we had an end of summer BBQ with our neighbours and I made a train cake based on the classic Australian Woman's Weekly children's favourite using 4 flavours of homemade cake - I have been calling it 'rustic' as I didn't go for the colourful icing of the original and because of the heat of Saturday the icing was melting.

    train cake


    A has done really well this weekend - we managed to score a bargain of a bunk frame at IKEA and he has slept in his new big boy bed both nights - with a little detour to join his brother on the top bunk.  I was a little wary about his safety but he can climb up and down himself and climbed down in the dark without incident - not bad for a little boy.



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