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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Christmas is coming…

…And Emily is getting fat (but that’s mainly due to all the cake I consume during The Bake Off!). But aside from that…Christmas requests are starting to flood in!

The ever popular appliqué and patchwork stockings are underway. Last year was a record year, I did more of these than ever before.

Applique Christmas Stockings

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And, of course, the Santa sack…

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New to my Christmas ‘to do’ list last year was these super cute Christmas bags – I made these for all the children in my life and filled them up with goodies. (The blue Santa being my favourite).

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For more pictures of my past Christmas makes, check out the following posts:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
More Chistmassy Makes
Chistmas is coming…now taking orders!

Patchwork Memory Quilt

You may have seen the memory quilt a did last year for my friend who asked me to make a quilt out of her late father’s shirts, swim shorts and ties…

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Not only did I think this was such a lovely way to hold on to a little piece of someone you love, I received such positive comments about the quilt and, most importantly, my friend who I made it for was overwhelmed with bittersweet feelings.

I have since been asked to make another memory quilt – no less lovely but with less sorrow associated with it. I made this quilt for a little girl, Alice, from all her baby clothes – such a great way of up-cycling old baby clothes (and saving space in your attic!) without the wrench of actually having to get rid of them, and the memories!

Patchwork memory quilt

Whilst it is a simple square patchwork pattern, it was quite a lengthy project. A lot of my time was spent ironing the teeny tiny dresses, romper suits, skirts to determine which pieces of clothes were large enough to get even once patch. I made an effort to cut out patches of the fabric that featured an interesting element of the item i.e. a pocket, embroidery etc.

After calculating the size of blanket and cutting the number of patches to fit the right amount of rows and columns etc, I laid it all out to establish a nice patchwork pattern – mixing denim and pastels for contrast, and set to work with the sewing machine.

I used a really pretty print fabricfabric for the back that coordinated well with the colours on the front.

It’s difficult to imagine how these are quilts are going to turn out, especially as I have no control over the patterns or colours of the fabrics. However, as I laid it out on my son’s bed to photograph it, I think it’s fair to say it looked so good, I could have kept it (and that’s even without the sentimental value to me!). I hope Alice loves it even more!

The most wonderful time of the year…

So here it is…the 1st of December! Whilst I am, as every year, like ‘woahhh how did that get here?’, this year I’m embracing it and have, in fact been Christmassing it up for the past few weeks.

My attic room has turned into santa’s workshop, the dog is covered in red and green thread, and there are a herd of reindeer and choir of angels in the form of Christmas stockings dispatched and making their way across the country.

I have been making stockings now for the past few years and seem to get more popular every year! However, in addition to the stockings I’ve made an extra Christmassy item this year which I’m pretty pleased with so I thought I’d share, and to decorate my not-very-festive blog.

And, what is more fitting for the 1st of December than an advent calendar…

All that’s needed now are the choccies!

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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Pocketful of Petals

Having a baby boy means that I get massive clothes envy. I love buying clothes my son, but whenever I’m shopping I like to have a wander around the whole of the baby clothes section, not just the boy’s! Girls’ clothes are just so gorgeous…and you get so many more varieties of styles, fabric and colours.

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When my nephew, Jacob, was born I had the intention of making baby clothes. Jacob is now three years old and has yet to receive an item to wear! I struggle to think of many items to make for boys that I would actually dress them in, other than perhaps a funky printed shirt (and I’ve been a bit scared of attempting these).

Girls, on the other hand are much easier…dresses, skirts, pantaloons, tops…pretty much anything looks good in florals, spots, stripes, animals or other children’s printed fabric. (And simpler to make than a shirt!).

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So I was pleased to be asked to make a skirt for a two year old little girl, Eva, with matching bag…well, every lady needs matching accessories!
A girl’s skirt with elasticated waist band is quite straight forward to make, however; I wanted my skirt to have a flat waistband at the front, to give it a neater look than those that are elastic all the way around the waistband.

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The fabrics I used were light-weight cotton with a small bright pink and orange floral print for the main body of the skirt, and contrasting pink and white spotty for the waistband and skirt edge; both from The Eternal Maker.

I also added a cute gathered pocket with embroidered flowers to the front of the skirt.

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I loved this skirt. The only problem is that, to date, I can only make it in size age 2…and unless I figure out other sizes, my new born niece is going to have to wait a couple more years until I can make one for her! As for Jacob and Jesse, they are just going to have to wait until I get around to attempting shirts!

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.