Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Introducing 'Breaking the Rules'

Last  year William decided he wanted to make a new quilt for his bed, I wrote about our frenzied start in this post. Since then I admit not a lot of progress has been made, I did finish the block he started but got no further. Our plan was to finish it during the school holidays, but he then had a change of mind.

Yes, he still wanted a new quilt, BUT he would design it and I would make it, "Is that a deal mum?" he said holding out his had ready to shake on it.

Out came the paper and pencil and he was off.

quilt design -
Will's quilt design
Will's block design

He came up with a basic quilt design, complete with specific colour choices (blue, silver and purple) and a "W' in each corner. A block design if we decide we need an extra block with example colours, just so I understood that each section was a different colour!

I think the star centre was inspired by Alison Glass's new Tessellation pattern that I'd bought, so that was going to be my starting point.

The day before Festival of Quilts he spent going through my fabric choosing what he wanted and then armed with the iPad asked for website addresses of fabric shops so he could make me a list to buy the next day! The boy has good taste, my shopping list mainly comprised of Michael Miller's Mirror Dots which I got from Pin It and Stitch and Cotton + Steel Basics.

Last Saturday was our Leeds Modern Quilt Guild meeting, armed with my pattern for the centre star (because going improv whilst chatting wouldn't be one of my best ideas!) I spent some time on Friday gathering everything together. I needed more fabric, so a cry for help went out over Instagram asking the very talented lovely Karen for some of her gorgeous screen printed panels, and they are perfect.

Photo from Karen's Instagram feed

The photo above I've borrowed from Karen's Instagram feed

Saturday's meeting produced the first four blocks (lots of chatting equates to not a lot of sewing!), and yesterday I quickly finished the last two of the centre.

Breaking the Rules -
the beginnings of Breaking the Rules

I'm really looking forward to seeing this quilt evolve, I'm hoping it will be a success and not turn out to be a miss mash. Only time will tell.

Sarah x

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

In a wink of an eye Summer is over

September is upon us, the days are getting shorter and the new school term started yesterday.

Because I've neglected this space for so long, I think it is time for a re-cap of the past few months. Be warned, this is a picture heavy, bullet pointed long post.

Shall I start with May since that is when I last blogged?

  • My little sister turned 40 (if she see's this photo I may not live!). Yes, she is forcing a pose for the camera - mwahaha!  

  • To celebrate we all went away for a weekend, we hired a large house next to a lake and spent the whole weekend catching up and playing family cricket and rounders. Happy Days.

  • I completed my May bee blocks.

  • And then it was school half term holiday. We spent a few damp days near Rutland Water, thankfully it was dry enough to get out on our bikes and complete the circuit. Its on our list to visit again, hopefully in the sunshine next time.

June's highlights.

  • Went shopping for shop stock.

  • And, finished the quilt top for the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap.

July meant holidays!

  • The start of the month brought a surprise through the post. My Craft it Forward gift from Ange.  To carry on the good work, I'll be launching my own Craft it Forward later this week.

  • My Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt was finished and posted to my swap partner, Kristin.

  • Along with thousands of others on the 5th July we started in Leeds and ended in Harrogate for Stage 1. 

  • I received my Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt from Tamara. I love it!! It sits perfectly on the back of our charcoal chairs, thank you. 

  • More new stock arrived including the first couple of new season Autumn Winter 2014 prints, and was listed in the shop.

  • Charm Parks were added to the shop too.

  • Then we were off on our holiday, which started with taking the car and caravan on the EuroTunnel. Our first stop was Paris, where we visited as many of the major tourist attractions as we could in 2 days with a 7 year old.

  • The view from the top was amazing.

  • I'll not bombard you with pictures of famous Paris landmarks, but the Arc de Triomphe was so pretty in the sunshine, I had to add it here.

  • And the reason we choose France for our holiday this see the end of the Tour de France in Paris.

  • After Paris we travelled to Brittany where we had fun and relaxation in the sun.

Phew, just August to go!!

  • New Autumn Winter 2014 prints arrived for the shop while I was on holiday.

  • I spent a lovely hectic day at Festival of Quilts, where I wandered, shopped and caught up with people I knew in person and online and also missed a fair few people too. These were my Top 3 quilt picks, it is so difficult to narrow it down as there were so many fabulous quilts on show. Clockwise from left: A Hundred Acres by Roberta La Poidevin, Splash! by Janet McCallum and Rain by Mai-Britt Axelsen ( I think this last one is correct). 

  • My two favourite Liberty quilts from the show. Top, My Love for Liberty by Tracy Aplin used a wide range of prints, colours and techniques (detail top right). Bottom, Jardin des Fleurs by Eileen Swart, the quilt was huge made from hundreds and hundreds of tiny squares in a pretty pale pink palette. As you can see my taste varies, ultra modern to flowery, sweet Liberty!

  • I managed to fit in a very small amount of time behind the sewing machine to complete my overdue bee blocks from June!

  • And finally, I signed up for another mini quilt swap. This time the #IGminiswap organised by Curly Boy, quilts are due in December so there is plenty of time, right?

So there you have it, a not so whirlwind catch up of the past few months. I'll try not to leave as long next time.

Sarah xx

ps. Christmas is only 112 days away!!!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Summer holiday time

Unbelievably the summer holidays have started already. I wanted to let you know that I'm taking a couple of weeks off for our much anticipated family holidayAll orders placed in the shop from 22nd July until 7th August will be posted from 8th August. 
I will be checking emails while I'm away and will answer any queries as quickly as I can, but I cannot guarantee the WiFi reception will be tip-top. I hope this doesn't cause any inconvenience.

Thank you
Sarah xx

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Shop holiday opening hours update

School holidays are upon us again, and I just wanted to let you know that I am taking a break this week. All orders placed in the shop after 12pm 27th May until 1st June will be posted from 2nd June. 

Thank you.

Sarah xx

Monday, 19 May 2014

Nearly a mini-retro flowers

A couple of weeks ago I had a grand plan. It started really well but didn't finish great.

I needed a quick tote bag and I knew which fabric I wanted to use, I just wasn't sure which quilt block I wanted on the tote. A quick plea for help on my Instagram feed resulted in my deciding on some Flying Geese, so off I went hunting for a 'how to calculate your own fabric sizes" for the flying Geese. I found a tutorial (I'm hopeless at quilt maths) and planned out my tote and then promptly changed my mind…

… "Why not do a mini Retro Flowers block instead? It can be a small practice project for the Retro Flowers quilt I'm about to start?" Decision made!! Yay!

The template was shrunk and the petals fabric were cut.

Liberty Jody, Mauvey, Gleeson & Poppy's Patchwork
pretty Liberty flowers*

I was rather pleased with how pretty they looked laid out together, but slightly worried about how small they were and that I was using two very different fabrics so I starched the fabrics within an inch of their life! 

Poppy's Patchwork petal -
a mini Poppy's Patchwork petal*

I'm a 'pinning my curves' girl, it may be more time consuming, but its the method I get better results with. At this point I was really starting to worry! It's sooooo small and fiddly.

Poppy's Patchwork petal -
a teeny tiny curve!*

The curve sewing went well, with an almost perfect 1/4'' seam and lined up edges, but my lord was it misshapen!

Poppy's Patchwork petal -
misshapen and wonky!*

It turned out far too wonky and distorted for my liking, should I carry on, or give up? The consensus on Instagram was go with it, carry on and see how it turns out.

I had another go last week, after more starch the second part of the petal turned out less distorted, but I cannot carry on - I cannot do wonky! The mini Retro Flowers was a blow out! Maybe I'll try it again one day with interfacing, although I suspect it maybe just that little too small….who knows.

Poppy's Patchwork petal -
the one on the left is the less wonky of the two*

I'll be adding interfacing to the Liberty on my full size quilt, I'm hoping this along with bigger pieces and lots of starch will result in perfect curved flowers.

Sarah xx

*some of these pictures are taken from my Instagram feed. My apologies for the poor quality of some images.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Family Time

As would be expected, over the past few months I've had Duck Egg Threads tunnel vision, I'm there physically in the room but my head is somewhere totally else! 

With a mum lost in thought or scribbling notes to herself and a dad either out at work or sat at his computer working, William has watched more TV, had more iPad screen time and eaten more chicken nuggets and chips than we are comfortable with. By Easter, the shop had launched and the initial pressure was off, we decided that we were going to take advantage of the public and school holidays coming up over the next few months. So whilst away at Easter we got out the diaries and booked some more Family Time.

Which is how we found ourselves, bikes strapped to the roof and caravan hooked to the back of the car heading off to North Yorkshire for the May Bank holiday weekend.

duck egg threads
another weekend, another field

More bike riding, more fresh air, reading actual books, family games of Scrabble and talking to one another (with the occasional checking of emails on our phones).

duck egg threads
snacking in the forest

I'm starting to get into the groove of having a full time job now, and a loose routine is beginning to appear. There is still a lot of juggling to do but a glimmer of achieving some sort of work-life balance is twinkling in the distance, ready to be tweaked and adapted over time. From school pick up time until bedtime, I'm a fully focussed mum again. Although I'm not sure if William is entirely happy with this, because now after school we spend time reading, practicing spellings and preparing for his KS1 assessments!

How do you strike a work-life balance? Have you any tips?

Sarah xx

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Thank You, Bee Blocks and An Admission

Before I carry on, I really want to take this opportunity to give a HUGE Thanks to everyone in 'internet land' for their good wishes, lovely comments and support over the launch of my online shop
I now officially work from home full time, building the business, re-investing money and time to make this baby grow!
"Thank you to you all" x

Okey dokey, Bee Blocks...

April bee block

My sewing machine hadn't seen the light of day for months, but yesterday it came out and April's blocks were completed in the sunshine. I really enjoyed these Greek Cross blocks and if the photos on the Flickr feed are anything to go by, this is going to be a gorgeous quilt.

April bee block

One thing, I did notice when pulling fabric for these blocks is that I am really short of warm coloured fabric, some shopping may be in order!

And finally, An Admission…

… there is no denying the fact that history dictates that I am a slow quilter, the main reason for this is that we do not have many quilty things around the house *recoil.. shock horror*, its just not that sort of home. We live in a quite small 1940s standard semi, where a lovely folded pile of quilts would make the lounge look cluttered, so I content myself with making for others and the odd sample block here and there. Don't get me wrong, I've tried. Quilted cushions on the sofa and chairs look out of place, the walls are full of pictures and photographs, so there is no space for wall hangings (although on day I would love to have a piece of EPP framed al la Flossie Teacakes), but I am determined that our beds and the sofa will have it's own quilt (as long as it co-ordinates with the planned re-decoration of the room of course!).

Enter Retro Flowers
The design of the quilt will fit in perfectly with our room and I've always wanted to make it with Liberty prints so here goes. 

Hilton sofa - Multiyork
imagine this sofa in charcoal grey

Our new sofa and chair are charcoal grey, with teal/peacock, yellow and grey cushions (you can just see the edge of one in a photo below). I couldn't find a stock photo of the sofa in grey online, and I do not want to share our lounge in its current state, so the red was the best I could do! 

retro flowers possible print contenders

I will probably use a few Liberty prints (Lodden and Reiko) that I have had stashed for a while that I don't currently sell in the shop, but the rest will be prints that I stock. Prints are still being auditioned and all of the above are strong contenders, but definite inclusions will be:

Liberty Tana Lawn Mauvey A
Mauvey A

Liberty Tana Lawn Small Susanna F
Small Susanna F

Liberty Tana Lawn Jody B
Jody B

I've still a few more prints to decide on as I need 16, I may even end up doubling up and just choose 8…who knows!

Sarah x