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.

 

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Hexies rule!

I’m a BIG fan of patchwork and, when I make my little patchwork quilts,  although they are probably not massively technically skilled in quilting terms, I always like to add something new or try a new pattern or style.
I wrote a post right back at the beginning of the year (seriously, how is it May already!) about how this was going to be the year of learning new skills…well, here is my go at another. I love hexies and have wanted to try them out for aaaages!

I knew that they were going to be time consuming, so I decided to start small; I trial ran the hexies by making a small needle case for my Auntie.

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The great thing about this is that I got to use random gorgeous piece of fabric from my scraps box and pick out specific parts of the fabric print (like the little pin wheel and bear).

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I know this is teeny tiny but it’s my first step to the next [bigger] hexie project…I’m scared!

Annabelle’s Quilt.

Remember my post in January about learning new skills? Well, here is the first skill (i.e. free hand machine embroidery) in action for real (as opposed to the cute, but quite simple, little cards!)

This is a quilt I made for my friend Jane who had her baby Annabelle in December.

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I wanted to incorporate something that was personal to Jane and her husband Marcus which is where the birds come in. Jane and Marcus were married in September 2011 and they had a bird and heart theme to their wedding day (complete with heart and bird shaped cookies as favours that Jane – also a crafty one – made herself!). It’s the birds I am most pleased with on this quilt…

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I think it’s pretty safe to say that there is not an ounce on masculinity in this quilt! Jane is a  pretty girly person so I used subtle pastel pink and green floral and spotty fabrics for the colours, and edged the whole thing in super pretty lace binding (which is a very exciting new discovery for me!).

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However, knowing he is an enthusiast, just for Marcus I added the little scooter (sorry it wasn’t bright red Marcus like your actual scooter, but that wouldn’t have matched my colour scheme!)

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The layout of the patchwork is very similar to Ava’s quilt that I made around the same time as this, but with more subtle and fewer colours, and the centre panel is different, being personalised to the new mum and dad and their baby.

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I also, as I mentioned, wanted to try out my skills in free hand machine embroidery! It was a bit risky and, at first, I thought it was looking a bit messy but now I’m so pleased I did, as I think (if I say so myself!) it looks fab! I’m sure I will be featuring free hand a lot more in my work (hopefully seeing some improvements)…it is, after all, the ‘crack cocaine of the sewing world‘ according to Kirstie Allsopp!

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Ava’s Quilt

I was very pleased to be asked to make a baby quilt as a gift for Dominique Bader, the lovely and talented lady who photographed my wedding.

Baby Ava was due in January and, with Samuel – Dominique’s husband – contacting me about the quilt in November, I knew I had enough time to plan and source some lovely fabrics, ready for Samuel to give to Dominique when the little lady arrived in hospital.

I got a bit of an idea about colours and a little list of the couple’s ‘likes’ from Samuel, but apart from that, the only request he made was to have Ava’s name, as well as Samuel and Dominique’s names included.

I’ve always wanted to buy some Heather Ross fabrics as I think they are so beautiful – the design and colours are very subtle and have a fairytale, whimsical feel: the range is appropriately named ‘Far Far Away’. So I used this quilt as a perfect excuse to treat and allow myself to buy some!

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On holiday!

On holiday!

With the 1st December, came the arrival of the Christmas orders, craft workshops with my other business ‘Love Me Sew‘ as well as my long-awaited holiday to Berlin. So, with the quilt not needed until January, I decided to leave this on the ‘to do’ list until I came back from holiday…well, that is if you don’t count the sketches of how I wanted it to look, and workings-out of sizes, that I did on the plane home!

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Unfortunately for me, babies don’t like to stick to scheduled times and Ava arrived two week’s earlier than expected! Fortunately for me, however, because Samuel is a very lovely customer (and I think was pretty much swept up with how gorgeous his new little baby girl was) didn’t mind that the quilt wasn’t ready in time.

But, a week later, after pretty much sticking to my sketches and the pictures in my head, the quilt was done and posted!

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Two of Samuel and Dominique’s ‘likes’ included cycling and dogs (plus the camera for obvious reasons!)…

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Samuel was happy, Dominique loved it and I think Ava found it pretty comfy too…

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As for me, I think to date, this is one of my favourites and crafty items I am most proud of.

P.S. How gorgeous is Ava! The photo of Ava are taken by Dominique (obviously as they are way better than mine!)

Emma’s Quilt

Another quilt post…this one I made for a little girl’s first birthday.

I was asked for similar colours that I used on Millie’s owl…green and a pop of bright pink – pretty but not too baby-ish so that it can keep on being used as little Emma gets older.

The quilt was a little bigger than a normal cot quilt as it’s aim was to fit a single bed. I was also told that, with Emma’s room being quite small, this and some matching bunting were going to provide the main colour to the room, which is a lovely idea.

The quilt did start out being just made up of squares but because I like to make things more complicated for myself…ahem…I mean more ‘creative’…I used a pinwheel style pattern (not sure if this is the official quilting term, I just think they look like pinwheels!). I alternated this with blocks of the bright pink spot to make it less fussy and more youthful.

 

I really liked how this turned out…it’s cool.

Ethan’s Quilt

Bunting is pretty and all but when you have to do such large amounts like 45m, 48m and even 75m, it starts to get a little same-ey.

Which is why, when I get asked to make a one off, something a little bit different, I really enjoy it, especially when I get to be a little creative – within limits of the brief of course!

Remember Emily’s quilt? Well, little Emily’s mum asked if I would make another baby quilt for her friend who had a little boy a couple of weeks ago. Since Emily’s quilt turned out a bit on the large size, we thought smaller – more cot-sized – would be better and the colour scheme was orange, red, yellow and greens to fit with a range the new parents had decorated their nursery in.

I based the size and layout of the quilt on a cute pattern in Cath Kidson’s Sew book – this was to make sure the size of the finished quilt was just right.

On each of the large square patches, I sewed a mixture of pictures including animals, a kite, and a hot air balloon – I drew this out first so I knew where to position them in a way I thought they would tie in together.

I sewed the shapes on using a range of hand sewing, machine zig zag and straight stitch applique, and running stitch by hand using embroidery thread.

In the alternate diamond shapes I used a mixture of lovely boyish printed fabrics, in the same colour pallet, including a yellow train fabric from Riley Blake‘s Scoot range and also ‘Making paper hats’ and ‘On the Go’ designed by Sarah Jane.

All of the fabrics I used on this quilt I will be selling via my partnership business, on my online shop, Love Me Sew, which is due to go live in the next week or two (exciting!) – there are some super gorgeous fabrics…currently stocked up in my sewing room…it is almost the same as holding a plate of chocolate brownies infront of me and saying I can’t eat them!

Anywho, the finishing touch was obviously little baby’s name: Ethan, date of birth and weight.

Like I said I really enjoyed making this quilt as, other than the colour pallet, I was left to just get on and make it how I wanted…which is always nice.

And here is little Ethan…obviously loving his quilt!

Emily’s Quilt

Not me Emily! This was a quilt from one Emily to another; usually I am making things at the request of others but this was a project I wanted to do as a gift from me.

I wanted to make a quilt for my friend’s, Ellie and Mark, who were due to have a baby in January. I’d already previously made the baby quilt that is featured in the Cath Kidston ‘Sew’ book for my niece, Emma, which is lovely but wanted to do something a bit different.

Using bits from both the Cath Kidston ‘Sew’ book as well as ‘Material Obsession: Contemporary Quilt Design’ by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke (my new favourite book!) I decided to combine the pattens and draw up my own…which took quite a lot of workings out!

One of my other reasons for not doing the Cath Kidston baby quilt was that it has little birds and elephants that need to be sew on by hand which I didn’t fancy as it is quite time consuming…so, instead, I decided to design a quilt which had way more hand sewing! (Go figure!) But, as I said in my previous post, once I set my mind on something I have to complete it!

My quilt had over 20 hearts and 48 mini hearts that all needed to be hand sewn! If this wasn’t enough, I wanted to use a quilting stitch (by hand!) around each of the hearts, as well as some embroidery in the centre part of the quilt.

Baby Emily arrived on 16th January 2012. Whilst I wanted to make the quilt girly using hearts and flowers, I tried to stay away from too much pink. I combined lots of lovely floral fabric in a whole range of colours and the result was perhaps a little crazier than I thought it would turn out!

I embroidered the very centre panel with Emily’s name, birth weight and birth date.

I’m happy with the finished product (I like crazy colours!) and I think this will suit little Emily as a baby, a little girl and even as a young teen. A lot of hard work, hours and love went into this little project and it is totally a pleasure; I met baby Emily just over a week ago and she is absolutely precious.

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get the quilt finished for when I planned on visiting. I couldn’t go empty handed! So, as a temporary pressy, I quickly whipped up a little owl taggie, and posted the quilt a week later.