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.

Shirts and Swim Shorts: A Memory Blanket

I am so pleased to have been the creator of this colourful, but seemingly trivial item, that has brought brightness, warmth and comfort to a friend who sadly lost her dad a few months a go.

When my friend Di asked if I’d make her a blanket and cushions out of some of her dad’s clothes, whilst I was a little nervous about it (I mean…what if I cut up his clothes to find I couldn’t make them come together into something nice?!), how could I say no! I not only thought this was such a lovely idea, I knew how much it mean’t to Di to not have to give everything of his away but recycle them into something she could keep, use and look at every day as a little memory.

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My first worries were: would the different materials sew well together? Would there be enough variation in patterns, colours etc, to make a good pattern? Would I get enough material worth using once I’d cut off the cuff, placket, collars, pockets etc?

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Fortunately, Di’s dad obviously had good taste and a vibrancy of style…the colours of this shirts were great (not just a variation of blue had they been my dad’s!) and his swim shorts…well, we’re talking neon orange, illuminous blue, aqua green and cerise red! And turns out there was plenty of material to go around.

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I started by cutting up everything into squares of equal size. I didn’t know as yet how much I’d have of each so unsure of pattern to do. Creating the pattern, so that I had enough of the same fabrics to make diagonal rows, was like solving a giant floor puzzle. Once the pattern was all laid out and I was happy with the distribution of colours: mixing the brights of his swim shorts and the pastel shades of his shirts with a few different tones of grey from his trousers, the sewing began. (I also included a little cheeky pocket and motif from the shorts!)

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For the backing I used a simple grey and white floral print that complemented the front but also matched Di’s bedroom colour scheme. Di also asked if I would put, somewhere, somehow a little message that read ‘Goodnight, Good Bless’ – words that Di and her dad used to regularly say to each other, onto the back of the blanket so she would see it when she turned the blanket down as she went to bed each night.

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After quilting, I edged the whole thing in a mixture of his ties, which I actually think looks totally fab!

As well as the blanket, I made a couple of cushions using the same shirt patches for the front and using Di’s dad knitted sweaters for the back.

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Everyone who I mentioned to that I was making this thought it was such a lovely idea. And, the best part of all was giving the shirts and swim shorts (and trousers, ties and sweaters!) back to Di in their new form…and of course there were tears of both happiness and sadness.

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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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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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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.

 

Stanley’s Quilt

My friends and I are all at that age now where there is a lot of new little people appearing in our lives.

I like to give a personal pressy when a friend or family member has a baby and this is my latest. My friend Rachel who I went to Uni with, and her partner Sam had their first baby in August. Whilst we, and the other Uni crew were sunning ourselves in Italy celebrating yet another Uni friend’s wedding, Stanley was born.

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I’ve made a few patchwork quilts, the most recent being Annabelle’s quilt, which was actually back in January (who is now coming up to her first birthday…seriously – where has that year gone!).

I started Stanley’s quilt in September when I came back from Italy but I really struggled deciding what colours and fabrics to use.

I bought a lot of cotton/linen blends from Etsy (my fav type of fabric) but it’s so hard to tell if they were going to match until they arrive – which, of course, a lot of them didn’t so unfortunately (obviously I was very upset about this!) I had to buy more.

I started by making the outer pinwheel-style patchwork (not sure if this is the offical technical term!) using a range of cute nautical fabric, robots and guitars, matching them with spots and stripes. When these were put together, I didn’t like it – the colours looked too dull which is kind of what the natural linen looks like so I don’t know why I was surprised.

So, back on the internet I went to buy more fabric for the centre square patches that would add a bit more colour and brighten it up whilst still co-ordinating. Finally I found some that worked – and I’m pleased that I didn’t just go with the typical blue-is-for-boys type colours.

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I threw the nautical theme in there as Rach and Sam met in their University rowing club and the rest – robots and cars were just cute!

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As with most of my crafts, I like to add a bit of decoration and personalisation. Unlike Annabelle’s quilt where I mainly used free-hand machine embroidery, I decided for Stanley’s to use regular applique but use felt as well as fabric to add a couple of different textures.

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For the personalisation, of course there was his name in the centre…

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His date of birth in a balloon held by a robot (to tie in with the fabric prints, plus robots make a brill applique shape).

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His birth weight on the side of a truck – again tying in with the other fabric print used in the centre panel.

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As well as machine quilting the pinwheel patches, I hand-stitched a running stitch around the centre panel giving it a bit of a boarder.

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I backed the whole quilt in cute red dots and binded it with a red linen bias binding.

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And here’s the little man Stanley himself looking pretty chuffed with his new blanket (or at least I think so!).

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Patchwork Prop

A little while ago a friend on mine, Andy who is a photographer (of Lawson Wright Studios), did a little favour for me and photographed some products and lovely styled images to use for my other partnership business: Love Me Sew. Here is one of his image…pretty eh!
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Anyway, in return for these photos I made them a patchwork quilt to use in the studio when doing baby photography.
I made one side suitable for girls with girly florals spots and colours, and the other side more for boys.

I stupidly forgot to take photos of the finished item, but having seen the quilt in action in ‘proper’ photos, I don’t think it really mattered…
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Check out Andy’s other work (weddings and babies) over on his Facebook page and also at their studio’s ‘Lawson Wright Studios’ Facebook page.

Jess’s Quilt

I was asked to make a gift that could be given from a boyfriend to his girlfriend – Jess. The brief was…pretty brief (I know he won’t mind me saying that!).

The brief consisted of a list of all the things that Jess liked including elephants, rabbits, Cath Kidston and warm cuddly stuff…sounds like a lady after my own heart.

After mixing these idea ingredients together in a big pot, the result was an explosion of colour and a hand-made, thoughtful gift that was created out of love of one person to another.

I think that’s enough photos…you get the idea.

(And I really enjoyed making this too…although a bigger table would have come in really useful!)