Lois’s Quilt

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On reflection (as it’s almost the end of the year…9 Friday’s left until Christmas folks!) I have been pretty terrible at updating the blog this year. It’s not that I haven’t made anything I should add! It’s just that many of the things I’ve made are duplicates of that which I’ve already posted about (cushions mainly)…and you don’t want pictures of the same things. However, I do endeavor to post more useful content next year; content that other crafters may actually find useful – can I get a big ‘woop woop!’ for tutorials! (note: must add this to the New Year’s resolution’s already long list, below ‘learn French’ and above ‘learn how to make kids clothes before my son is 21’).

Whilst this post is about baby patchwork quilts – an item I’ve posted about many times before, these, however, don’t fall into the above ‘same-old’ category as they are ALWAYS different fabrics, ALWAYS different colour themes, and ALWAYS hand-decorated with different designs. This was my latest (that I made back in March!) – a quilt for Lois.

The fabric I used was from the beautiful Heather Ross fabric ranges – pretty subtle colours with whimsical fairy-tale designs.

My central patch with Lois’s name appliqued in felt, with flowers and bees, I surrounded by four different designs: bunny and teacup, little girl splashing in puddles, and swallows and bunting (which I’ve used many times but still a favourite!). As with most of my quilts I used a mixture of both typical machine applique (which has a neat look) and free-hand machine applique, which gives more of a hand-sketched look…which I love but also find quite intimidating when actually doing!

Finally, I’d like to apologise for the shoddy photography! It’s hard to catch a nice sunny day in chilly, but beautiful, Yorksire, and when you have one assistant who’s only 3 ft tall and one with paws – both of whom have their own agenda – professionalism goes right out the window…

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Nicholas’s Quilt

G’day! Oooh how I wish I was in Australia right now with this blustery weather we’re having! Well just let this cheery brightness add some sunshine to your day instead…

My latest baby quilt is for Nicholas, son of my friend’s Laura and Frenchie (aka Richard) who turned the special age of 1 year old in October. Laura and Frenchie, originally from Birmingham, now live all the way across the other side of the world in Australia so this quilt has gone across sea and land to reach them.

I love the colours – quite different to what I normally use, but with Birch Organic’s prints of camping, guitars, trees, birds, I think is gorgeous, and the orange-brightness I felt fit with the ‘sunny-ness’ people tend to associate with Australia.

I used both traditional applique as well as free-hand machine applique, and felt and fabric to decorate the four outer patches: the rocket, the hot air balloon, the teepee, and the boat. I’m currently loving quotes from Dr Seuss so included ‘Oh, the places you’ll go’ with the hot air balloon.

Central, as per is the norm on my baby quilts, is Nicholas’ name. And…I had to squeeze something Aussie in there…hence the cheeky felt koala.

Eve’s Quilt

This one has been long overdue! Why is it family get put to the bottom of the list? Well, I’m sorry to say, this has been the case for my sister’s little ones. Whilst many of my good friends have received baby quilts for their babies, be it as a first birthday gift or [time allowing] a newborn gift, they’ve still received one before my own blood!

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My niece Eve has just turned one and in the run up to her birthday, I was determined to get this one made. My sister is a big fan of Belle and Boo and has various items to decorate Eve’s nursery with. As a surprise for her birthday (well, I guess mainly for my sister…pretty boring pressies for a baby!) from my parents, Eve’s grandparents, I was asked to make curtains, bunting and a cushion using the Belle and Boo fabric.

And to add to this was my quilt made up of the Belle and Boo fabric and a range of matching others. Picking colours of fabrics that matched was the tricky part! I choose a range of Riley Blake fabrics from my local fabric shop in Leeds that matched various colours in the main fabric: pinks, teals and orange/red.

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On seeing a previous quilt (Annabelle’s I think), I remember Alex, my sister, said she really liked the birds so I wanted to include these.
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I wanted to feature bunnies and a little girl to tie in with the Belle and Boo print. The bunnies I’ve sewn similar before but the little girl and the tree were a new design. Her face is a little more serious than I would have liked though.
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The middle square’s feature is obviously Eve’s name and that’s how I wanted it – to stand out, but alone, it would have looked a little lonely so I’ve framed ‘Eve’ with pretty flowers and cute little bumble bees. The majority of the designs I’ve created with free-hand machine applique which I think, especially for the girl and bees, would have been the only sewing style that would have worked.

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So that’s it, it’s finally made. Now I just have my Nephew’s to do – Jacob has waited almost four years for his so sure he won’t mind waiting a little longer!

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Tiana’s Quilt

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My most recent quilt was for Tiana, my friend Kal’s little girl, who was one year old this week. Tia and Jesse have been the cutest little friends in their first year together whilst Kal and myself hung out lots on our maternity leave, taking walks, attending baby classes, sharing baby worries and funnies and, most of all, eating a lot of cake!

The colours I chose for this quilt – pink, turquoise, orange and red, I think are perfect for Tia: girly, gorgeous and bright. They are all by Riley Blake, that I got from my local, and favourite, place to get fabrics: B&M fabrics, who are located in Leeds Market but have also just opened a second shop on the outside of the market selling designer prints…I’m a regular visitor!

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I used a pinwheel pattern for the patchwork around the edge, Tia’s name in the middle, surrounded by some appliqué lotus flowers: a symbol for prosperity, fertility, eternity, and eternal youth.

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Unlike the quilts I’ve made previously, where I’ve sewn the designs using either regular appliqué or free-hand machine appliqué, for Tia’s I couldn’t quite decide which; so I used both!

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As well as machine quilting the pinwheel patches, I hand stitched a running stitch around each of the nine centre patches using embroidery thread of alternating colours. I love doing this stitch as I think it really adds an extra bit of detail.

The orange floral fabric that surrounds the centre panel also backs the entire quilt and I’ve edged it in cream lace binding (which I love using on girly quilts).

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Brogues for Baby Barney

I haven’t made much new to shout (or post) about lately as before Christmas I was really busy with Christmas stockings and Santa sacks…those that I made last year were even more popular this year! I didn’t want to post about them, however, as pictures and descriptions of these are already on this blog, my Instagram and Pinterest (ahhh Pinterest, how I love you so, but…note to self: be more prepared for the influx of your own enquiries this year, it’s not just you that uses it!).

This time last year was all new with the arrival of my baby, but it’s all change and new routines again this year with returning to work and Jesse starting nursery. So, after having a little bit of a break after the stocking making, for the first ‘make’ of the year, I eased myself in gently with a gift for another new arrival.

Remember my Twin cushions? No, well, as I little reminder I made another of these just before Christmas as a Christening gift.

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I adapted this cushion for baby Barney who arrived at the beginning of January. For the cushion cover I used a blue medium weight Japanese cotton/linen fabric printed with mini robots, bought a little while back from an Etsy shop. The lemon spot is also an Etsy purchase. Etsy is brilliant for finding fabric when you have a specific design, style or colour in mind, there is a great range to choose from.

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Picking out the colours of the robot fabric, a matched fabrics to make up the letters of his name, first machine appliqueing these, then hand sewing a running stitch around each letter with embroidery thread.

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I change little Mary Jane shoes with a button detail, that I’d sewn for the girl’s cushions, to mini brogues to suit a little boy. I hand drew the brogues, using roughly the same outline as the Mary Janes, to get a similar shape and size, adding the parts of the shoe by layering up the tan and blue coloured felt pieces, and machine and hand sewing the stitching detail, finishing them off with embroidery thread laces.

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There is alway got to be something I’m never fully happy with; on this cushion it’s the right shoe, but I think this is just me being picky! Overall, I think it’s cute and I think will become a regular on the list of gifts for baby boys (hopefully perfecting the shape of the right shoe!).

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Lucy’s Quilt

It’s been exactly one year since I made a baby patchwork quilt. Last September I made a quilt for my university friend Rachael’s new baby Stanley (see Stanley’s Quilt). This September, I made another for my other university friends Elena and Ozzy (real name Mark) who had their second daughter Lucy in August. Lucy is baby number four of five to add to the next generation of Team Hull Uni!

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The main mix of fabric was a bundle I bought at last year’s Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the shop I bought it from but it was a bundle of cream, teal and yellow fabric printed with various designs of sheep, chicks, bees and flowers. This fabric was just waiting for a baby girl to come along!

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As has become standard with my last few quilts, I decorate the centre panel with various designs that I think are fitting for baby. So, this time there were: bunnies (everyone loves bunnies); I wanted to add another bit of colour so I included a flower with colourful petals; [what has seem to have become my signature…just because I think they look pretty] swallows; and a colourful kite flown by a little hand-embroidered girl on the centre square, also displaying Lucy’s name, birth weight and date.

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Whilst I used almost the same patchwork design as Stanley’s quilt, what differed (other than the fabric) was instead of machine appliquéd designs with a uniform zig zag stitch, this time I used free-hand machine appliqué (similar to that in Annabelle’s quilt)…which I’m always a little scared of. I LOVE the look of this type of stitching – it’s like drawing with your sewing machine – but only if it goes well! If it doesn’t, it can end up a right old mess! Lucky for me, this time, I think I got away with it!

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Jesse’s handmade gifts

Those who know me know I am partial to a hand made item. Being a crafter myself I know how much work, time and effort, is put into creating something unique for someone – and this makes it more special to receive.

When Jesse was born, and even now, a few months on, we have receive so many gorgeous hand made gifts, it would be rude of me not to share …(and give a shout out to those so generous).

Appliqué vests and softie from Laura F (who is currently due her baby – I’ll have to come up with something good in return!)

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Audrey (mum and ‘commissionee‘ of my friend Laura D) – who is probably one of the world’s greatest and fastest knitter, who can turn her needles to anything including this cosy teal sleeping bag with wooden buttons.

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Gorgeous patchwork blanket from Linda, whose quilting talent I can only aspire to.

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Oh so beautiful and intricate knitted shawl from my Aunty Shirley – can you believe this was made by hand…just wow!

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Mini knitted baseball boots…cuuuuttttee! (again thank you Aunty S).

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Appliqué elephant card from new mum and fellow crafter Lou. This is getting framed and mounted on Jesse’s bedroom wall.

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Winnie the Pooh quote print personalised with Jesse’s name and date of birth, created by Jane, another piece of wall candy.

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More gorgeous knitted goodies – a mountain of cardies and jumpers (and hats and booties) from my Aunty Maureen. So beautiful and with a quality no shop could match. And, a range of sizes to last him many months…yeay – he’s certainly going to be the smartest boy in town!

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Colourful taggie from Helen – LOVE this fabric and super colourful which Jesse finds extremely attractive. This has some many different and interesting tags – satin ribbons, canvas tags, buttons and jumbo ric rac – for Jesse to feel (and chew on!).

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A big thank you from myself and Jesse for these gorgeous gifts; they’ve also given me inspiration for gifts I’m sure to be making in the future!

 

A special patchwork

I wanted to post up some pics of one of my most treasured baby gifts.

A few weeks before my baby boy was born, my friends arranged a surprise baby shower for me.

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Having run craft workshops for hen dos and baby showers for the past couple of years with my friend and business partner Sam with our business Love Me Sew, it is only right that I should have one myself right? So I don’t know why it took me so by surprise…so much so I thought it was going to induce labour!

Sam sneakily fooled me into thinking I was helping her set up for a workshop only to arrive (wearing very unflattering maternity leggings and my dog walking boots!) a room full of my lovely friends and family, some who had travelled from far and wide just for the day: London, Newcastle, Coventry! I was overwhelmed, I had not a clue that this little celebration for me and baby had been planned.

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After a few tears, lots of hellos and hugs, the crafting commenced! Sam had designed a patch for each letter of the alphabet that the girls, most of whom had never sewn before, then spent the afternoon sewing – either by hand or machine and using a range of fabrics, felts and buttons, with the help of Sam and Lauren, her assistant for the day, or myself (even though I was technically off duty I just can’t help myself!).

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After a few hours of sewing, eating cake and, mostly, chatting, the patches were well on their way to being finished and looking fab! Sam took them all away, finished off the extra letters, and put them all together.

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Jesse was born just a couple of weeks later so Sam also stitched on his name and date of birth.

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I had an amazing day, it was such a special surprise and I was truly humbled that so many people came for us, and now we have this gorgeous blanket that was created with so much effort, it will be loved forever. Thank you girls (Jesse’s pretty excited about it too…).

Since having my baby I have decided not to continue with Love Me Sew so I can spend all my spare time, once I’ve return to work in January, with Jesse. I’m sad to say goodbye but it’s the right decision for me. Sam is continuing to run the workshops, including baby showers and, of course, I would thoroughly recommend; they are a day to remember, well planned and organised, and of course you get an amazing gift at the end! For more information, pop on over to the Love Me Sew website and get in touch with Sam, who will go to any lengths to ensure you get the best experience.

 

The Ultimate Make!

For the past nine months I’ve been working on making what is my best project yet…in fact ever!

I have been making a person.

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Photo thanks to Silvery Moon Photography.

Baby Jesse was born three weeks ago on Friday 24th January. Arriving a week earlier than expected, he sent all my ‘to-make-before-baby-arrives’ plans right out the window! (See earlier post as to a few things that were on this ‘to do’ list).

However sewing machine…don’t think you are getting off that lightly! Whilst I may have given you a few weeks maternity leave, the many hours nursing time have allowed for plenty of thinking (between episodes of The Good Wife) and browsing Pinterest for more DIY inspiration (as well as cute baby boy outfits!)

I still plan on making him a blanket.  I actually bought the fabric before he was born, made up of colours that were suitable for both boys or girls (depending on what flavour he was going to turn out to be)…a range of teal, navy, coral and grey cottons from The Village Haberdashery.

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Fabric pic via my Instagram.

Using just block colours, the plan is to make a triangle patchwork (not sure if this is the ‘official’ term for this kind of design but, with the pics below, is pretty self-explanatory). Quite a simple design but if I’ve chosen a good enough colour scheme I think will look really cool, and gives quite a modern look to the good ‘ol patchwork blanket. I’ve even treated myself to a fancy triangle cutting ruler from Ebay which I’m not entirely sure how to use but I’m exited to try out.

A few images I’ve pinned (from Pinterest) of the ‘triangle’ style I’m going for…

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Image and tutorial from See Kate Sew.

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Image from Quilts by Emily

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Image from Blue is Bleu.

What I did get started on before baby Jesse arrived was a pile of dribble bibs. Using up small pieces of left over fabric and super soft organic fleece for the bib backing, I whipped up this super simple (but oh-so-useful) baby make in no time.  I just have the snap fasteners to finish attaching and they’re ready to be given as gifts to my many currently pregnant friends in a ‘here’s some I made earlier’ Blue Peter style (apart from the Elvis one…that’s for my little Rock star). I’ll post up another pic once I get around to finishing them.

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I plan to continue adding posts and share with you some more crafts, as and when I can fit them in, but for now it’s back to my little cutie for more cuddles. Bye for now from me and Jesse bear.

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Photo thanks to Silvery Moon Photography.