Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Time

Time?  Do you ever feel like shouting "stop the ride, I want to get off?".

Is of the essence...
is running out...
is precious...
never have enough of....
can't be stopped...
goes too fast...
Tonight we enter a new year when the clock strikes 12.  I wish all my lovely blog friends a peaceful time.
Collette xx

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Still here honest!

Hi all! Sorry I haven't been around much but with all the Christmas activities at school and a day of illness my blogging schedule has lapsed!

I have been cramming a little sewing in here and there though.
Oakshott triangles 

English paper piecing 

Patchwork clock (no sew)

Smartphone pouch
So a little bit of everything. Some exciting bee news to follow in the New Year too!
Collette x

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A finish I can share!!!!

At last I can share my finished Christmas Tree Skirt!  My lovely ladies in my morning class have been busy as bees on their tree skirts ( to be revealed next week hopefully!) and I just had to join in with them.




I bought a gorgeous charm pack of French General Favourites from the fantastic Eclectic Maker.  I made them into half square triangles to show off all the gorgeous fabrics and colours.  I added half a yard of more French General for the borders and a Fat Quarter for the binding.

To construct my borders and achieve the Octagon shape I used this wonderful, quick tutorial by the fun Missouri Quilt Co, ( I love Jenny's Santa hat hehe!).

Me being me, I had to hand quilt this!  I really wanted it to look mega traditional so I added hand quilted grid squares to the half square triangle area and feathers to the border.  In the centre  is a kind of wreath thingy.  I used Aurifil 28wt for hand quilting to achieve that kind of fine, traditional look.  For the feathers I used a loved Aurifil red which helped me achieve the smaller stitches needed to achieve the feathers.

I love it so much and can't wait to get our tree sorted now and get it around the bottom! 

Pictures to follow when it goes up!  (Sunday according to Emma - who is desperate to start decorating it!) .
Collette x

Friday, 21 November 2014

epic post alert!

Life got a little bit more exciting for me this week.  I had my first quilt published in a magazine.  Quilt Now to be precise. 

 I could not believe it when Katy said yes to my idea to make this quilt.  I honestly didn't think I would have a chance of having anything published in such a great magazine. 

If you had told me those seven and a half years ago, when I picked up my first Moda charm pack and began hand sewing (I had no idea it was called hand piecing) those squares together, that this would happen I would have said , "no way!". 


I didn't have a sewing machine and was literally just winging it along until I discovered this amazing online community full of advice, tutorials, you tube lessons and of course, friends.

You see, without the encouragement of my blog friends, IG friends, Flickr groups, and bee buddies made over the years, I would never have had the confidence to share my work.

I remember setting up my Etsy shop for the first time, and thinking to myself, this will be successful if I sell one item.  I haven't been an Etsy sensation but I have sold quilts to lovely customers in Australia and the U.S as well as the UK.  I have had commissions also.  I literally couldn't believe it when people wanted to buy my work!

Etsy has fallen by the wayside over the last year I must admit.  But in my relatively short span of quilting I have seen many changes.  The blogosphere is still very much alive and kicking, but just adapting and evolving as it always has done.  (Very Kerry Berry wrote an excellent piece on this and also money within the quilting industry - have a read if you haven't already). 


I set my Etsy shop up knowing full well I would never make a living from it, but people had been saying increasingly that I should sell what I made.  So I thought what the heck, if it pays for my hobby then why not? It has certainly helped do this.

When I first began quilting the only magazine I could ever find was British Patchwork & Quilting.   Now look what we have available in the U.K specifically!

Just launched fabric lines are reaching us here in the UK much more quickly than than they used to.

There is an abundance of fantastic on line shops and bricks and mortar quilting shops appear to be growing. 

So with all these changes I have grown as a quilter and opportunities to share our work have grown too. 

Lets face it, Quilting and patchwork is one expensive hobby.  The price of designer cotton yardage is not cheap.  By the time you factor in your wadding, backing and thread you have usually spent a fair bit when making a large quilt.  Not to mention the cost of equipment when starting out too!

But we get there piece by piece and because we passionately love what we do and we make quilts because we have to.  Personally, I have found that with that comes an increasing desire to share my knowledge.

My teaching journey began quite by accident really.  Thinking aloud on facebook about maybe setting up a quilting class locally, Maggie said would you teach in my shop and here I am a year and a bit later still teaching two great groups of women. 

Again I shall never be rich or be able to make a full time salary from any of this, but that isn't the point. 

I now HAVE to sew.  It is exceptionally good for my mental health.  I want to share those benefits with others and if I can fund my creativity along the way then why not.  We all have mouths to feed and bills to pay after all.  (and fabric to buy!).

However, quilting will always be far, far more than a means to an end financially for me. 
It is about love and creativity.

We love the people we make gift quilts for.

Let's face it, we love the fabric.

We love the people who share our passion and at times, craziness over quilting.

We love when inspiration strikes and we just have to make that block or design or quilt or sometimes, (in my case) mess!

Quilters are artists who use fabric and thread instead of paint to express themselves.  Artists share their work often because they are trying to say something.

With each quilt we make, as many have discussed before, ( Thomas Knauer especially), every quilt tells a story. 

You may not be consciously trying to say something with your quilt, but subconsciously they speak volumes.

I hand quilted the magazine quilt deliberately to say something of the love each of us invests into a quilt.  Literally ( cheesy as it sounds) stitched with love.

Some might say all that hand quilting was a, gasp! "waste of time" and I say fair point.  However, the relaxation it brought to me is something I gained from hand quilting such a large quilt.  When I hand quilt I feel even more connected with the past and the way men and women used to have to work.

I remember Katy saying she was using it as "comfort" quilt because it is so soft and snuggly with all the hand quilting when she was a bit harassed with deadlines. 

So even a quilt like that, made for no one in particular can tell a story.

Never underestimate the power of the Quilt!


(sorry for the epic post but I just had to get all that out of my system! ;) )
Collette x


 


Friday, 14 November 2014

Friday catch up!

So just what have I been doing this past week?  Well life is pretty busy as usual but I have managed to get some sewing done.

 I have been hand quilting feathers onto my French General Christmas tree skirt.  I am using a red Aurifil for hand quilting these and am aiming for a traditional look.  I just love how it is looking!

I also finally got Catherine's Bee blocks done for her month in charge of Bee a Brit Stingy.  Some bright and dark log cabins which were fun to make!

Part of the reason I haven't managed what I would like is because of this.........
This is our new washing machine.  Our old one of 7 years finally gave up and groaned it's way into retirement.  It had been repaired several times over the last year and we weren't spending anymore  money on it!  So catching up on washing has been fun but at least I now have a nice, tidy laundry area!

Last Wednesday one of my patchwork students showed me her beautiful version of the Flower Garden section of my Full Bloom wall hanging.
Isn't it brill?  I love her background fabric and stem fabric and she loved the needle turn applique I taught them! 
Here is a reminder of my original hanging.
Join me on Sunday when I link up with Molli Sparkles to share what is new in my stash!  Hoping it brightens up a bit for some half decent photos!

Collette x



Monday, 3 November 2014

just like that!.....

My sewjo returned!  Thankfully!  I made this cute little Dresden plate as part of an experiment.  I wanted to see how small I could comfortably go.  I love all the blades on this.  I then made a very simple pouch and used a fab zipper tutorial by Kelly which worked a treat!  I now want to make all the things into little zippy pouches!  ( I am not the most confident with zips but this tutorial made me feel a whole lot better about them).









This pouch is literally all I have made though.  As my time has been taken up by everyday life and chaos.

The kids needed their costumes for all the various Halloween social events they attended.  So Emma chose a ladybird and Jacob reluctantly chose a "Mad Scientist".  He took the fake glasses off when he got to school though! Boo Hiss!

The roof has decided to spring a tiny leak and the washing machine has been literally groaning on a spin so I fear the time has come to replace it :( You know that way it all happens at once??? Well this is my time for that!

I am trying to deal with these things rationally and remember these are just first world problems really.  I am thankful for a roof over my head, a cosy bed to sleep in and food in my cupboards.  Plus two happy, healthy children. 

What are you thankful for today?

Collette   x






Monday, 27 October 2014

sewjo where you go?

Happy Monday everyone!  I know Monday sucks but at least it was lighter this morning.  That made getting out of bed a little ( just a bit) easier.

Ever lost your sewjo?  I have many a time but lately it is more of my sewjo doesn't know what she wants to be doing.

I flit from hand quilting to standing staring at my cutting mat and then putting it all away! (is it just me?).  I just can't seem to pin (lol) myself down on anything at the moment.  My classes are great for keeping me focused but when it comes to outwith that I draw a blank just now.

I have ideas floating around but that is all at the moment.  I keep telling myself that it is all part of the creative process and things will formulate and become concrete soon.  I am just impatient! 

So at the moment I have been swapping between these two hand quilting projects.  The red French General favourites fabrics are for a Christmas Tree Skirt.  My kids keep laughing at me when I tell them what is for as they can't imagine a tree wearing a skirt just now but soon they will see!

I am using an Aurifil 28wt thread to hand quilt this.  My aim to achieve an heirloom, vintage look so I am going for fine hand quilting and traditional designs.


I have also been working on my Hipbees quilt.  The lovely ladies from this bee made a block or two each from my chosen fabrics in my chosen block ( off centre log cabin - tutorial on my blog) and I added sashing.  With this I am using navy Perle cotton and three strands of Aurifloss for the logs.  This is so different to the Tree Skirt and much more of a contemporary look.
I have also been doodling feathers.  I am planning on adding hand quilted feathers to the red border on the tree skirt.  I love feathers whether machine or hand quilted and they are fun to practise drawing too! I don't have a feather stencil so I will need to work out how to get them onto the fabric for quilting - any ideas other than just free handing it???? !!
Feel free to share about your creative funks and what you do to get your mojo rising (hehe) again! #keeping it real
Collette x

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday Stash!

Hello!  Today I am linking up with the Sunday Stash hosted by Molli Sparkles.
This is my first time linking up so please be gentle with me!  I have had a little bit of a fabric drought lately.  So I splurged last week and purchased these gorgeous Anna Maria Horner prints, Tula Pink vintage stars and Alison Glass fabric.  The colours are so delicious together and I am planning on getting some of the blues in the Anna Maria Horner prints ( the middle three).



One of the things I love about quilting is that it is OK to not stick to one particular style or colour.  I have heard quilters talk about developing their own style and just by looking at a quilt, you would know it is by them.  Well that isn't for me.  I love the sheer variety of fabrics, enjoy some batiks(yes honestly), and have always been attracted to making things according to my mood.  So one day I may be in a pink, girly mood (rarely) and the next I may want to go very traditional and homely.

The French General (Moda) print below is for a Christmas(shhh) tree skirt for my home.  It has been a while since I have made something just for us.  I wanted it to be traditional and found this gorgeous red Aurifloss to go perfectly for hand quilting this project.

 
Molli Sparkles

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Slow Blog Meet Up

 

Hello and welcome to my blog if you haven't been here before!  The lovely Catherine is away just now and has kindly allowed me to host this month's slow blogger meet up!

Last night I got back to my roots after several pieces of deadline sewing (which I am not terribly keen on).  This was about re-discovering why I create and need to - reconnecting with history, enjoying the process, loving making half square triangles, slowing things down, using my pins with pride and remembering that the simplest of tools are sometimes the best, not getting caught up in the rat race of production or trends, making what I love pleases my heart and is true to myself.  

one of my slooooooooow projects!

I love to sew in a slow manner but sometimes I get caught up in that joy stealer called "comparison" and feel unhappy with my inability to "keep up" with the speed of production of other Quilters.

Silly I know.  So when I found Catherine's blog around a month ago and her Slow Blog Manifesto I felt like I had found my home!  My blogging pretty much works in tow with my production levels.  These can be sloooooow as I like to hand quilt and hand sew at times.  How about you?  What have you managed to work on over the past month?  What projects are you taking your time over and slowly enjoying?  Please do feel free to share and link up at the linky here and we can all catch up over a cuppa!
Collette x

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Fresh Sewing Day!

Oh my wonders will never cease!  I have remembered to link up to Lynne's Fresh Sewing Day for the second month in a row!  Oh and also Work in Progress Wednesday.  I deserve a gold star don't you think?
(Click here if you want to read my review of Carrie's dvd and to enter her giveaway for a copy!)
So what do I have to share with you all from the month of September?




First up there has been some super secret sewing going on using the most gorgeous Aurifil Variegated thread (50wt).  This is the first time I have actually used Variegated thread and I loved it!  It is excellent quality and the change in tone of colours is stunning!  I am sure it will not be the last time I use it!  Now I want to use all the colours!







The kids and I made some Rocky Road which helped with this work in progress ( see the wee half square triangles keeking out from under the plate!). 














And this lovely finished patchwork bag by my wonderful class member Mandy!  Isn't it adorable and so well made? 
Hope you enjoyed what I shared with you all.
Collette x

Monday, 29 September 2014

DVD giveaway!


Would you like a chance to win one of two copies of this fantastic and useful DVD?  I will share how to at the end of my little review.

When Carrie asked for bloggers on Instagram to take part in her dvd blog party I jumped at the chance!

Many of you will know of Carrie's fabulous Collage line of fabric.  Carrie is an artist at heart and this DVD is a very practical, insightful view into Carrie's mind as an artist and how to apply this to our quilt designs.  When I first heard about this DVD I was delighted as I have struggled with how to approach my quilt design at times. 

The DVD is extremely well structured and Carrie comes across as relaxed, friendly and speaking from an experienced position.  Her passion for Art clearly shines through as she speaks about practical techniques to try out so that we do not feel afraid to draw and design.  

Carrie shares her design process with her audience and I was suprised(and relieved) to find that I work in quite a similar way.  She speaks of not being a planner and working in a very creative, instinctual way.  This suits me to a tee.  It is all about finding your creative voice!   And not worrying about perfection.  I am sure many of us do that!

Practically speaking, Carrie takes you through her design process visually with how she created her bird nest quilt.  It is an awesome process to watch and learn from! 
Her love for her children clearly shines through when Carrie shares how her children's artwork inspires her textile works too.

I completely loved this DVD from start to finish.  It is all of these things;
  • Inspiring
  • Encouraging
  • Practical
  • Freeing
  • Reassuring
If you would love to win a copy then head over to Carrie's beautiful blog here at Suchity Such and comment on her Giveaway post for a chance to win!
Good luck and thanks for listening to my little review! (All views are totally my own ).
If you wish to purchase the DVD then head over to Interweave.com.
Collette x




Thursday, 25 September 2014

Slowly does it.......

I am a Slow Blogger!  There I admit it.  I would love to be a super productive person who blogs every day but I just ain't!  I would love to be super organised and schedule all my posts but I just am not that organised a buddy.


I love the bloggers who can do this and admire them greatly!  However, I have to face reality and the fact that I am in fact quite slow at this blogging thing.

Yesterday I found a home.  I also found a Slow Blog Manifesto.  (This is just for fun by the way ).

Knotted Cotton  Catherine says, "If you are a slow blogger, you probably know it".

"The aim of the Slow Blog movement is to take the pressure off by reminding ourselves who we blog for - us! - and encouraging ourselves that we will still have some readers even if we don't blog for more than a few days.  We will blog what we do, but will not do so that we can blog."

 ( words quoted from Catherine's blog Knotted Cotton with kind permission granted).

 If you can relate then you can grab a button over at the lovely Catherine's blog.  She is the genius who put a name to this type of blogging and they even have a linky party once a month!(15th).

Collette x

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Work in progress Wednesday.......

Hello all!  What a week we have had here in bonnie Scotland!  Politics galore.  I have never been so grateful for the escapism of my sewing!

I have been working on a some secret projects over the last few weeks.  Let's just say they involve English paper piecing and juicy orange fabrics.




Two weeks ago in my afternoon class, one of my ladies decided to try out something on her new Pfaff machine.  By using invisible thread and a cotton thread she could stitch a stitch that looked hand quilted.

What do you think?  I though it looked quite realistic although you can see the invisible thread if you look really, really close up.  However, I don't know how I feel about it?

As you know I love to hand quilt and I would probably just go ahead and hand quilt rather than muck about with my machine settings for this.  Maybe I am just odd?  What do you think?  Would you use this on your machine in a heartbeat or not at all?

Last but not least I treated myself to a lovely piece of original artwork by Sarah Terry.  I saw this ages ago on Instagram but having no money, found I was in no position to ask if it was available to purchase.  I just need to get the perfect frame for it now!  I have no idea what to use so any suggestions would be welcome.



Thanks for joining me for WIP (work in progress Wednesday) linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Collette x

http://www.freshlypieced.com/




Monday, 15 September 2014

Around the World blog hop!

Hello!  Time for some blog hopping!  The lovely Lynz (a fellow Scot) from Domestic Light and Magic nominated me, along with some other lovelies to share my answers to the following questions.

I was in the Hipbees with Lynz and have known her for a good wee while now online.

So here are my answers.  Hope you enjoy.......

1. What am I working on?



  

I currently have two secret projects that I need to keep under wraps for the time being, (boooooooo I know) but my main work in progress I would like to finish is this quilt.  Each block (apart from one) was stitched up by the lovely members of the Hipbees after I sent fabric out to them.  I love the navy and the colours throughout this.  I have started hand quilting it, which is why it is taking longer to come together but it will be worth the effort!

2. How does my work differ from others?







Well I certainly would not say I have my own style or anything.  I am quite glad because I wouldn't want to be pigeon holed and for that type of work to be expected of me.  I tend to work on what I love.  One thing I do love is hand quilting.  So perhaps that makes me a little different, but then many quilters love hand quilting!
I just make what I love, purely and simply.  I tend not to go with fashions, trends or use one whole line of fabric for a quilt ( mostly because I can't afford to buy a whole line of fabric quite often lol!).


3.Why do I write/create what I do?

 This could be a loooooong answer but I will keep it short!  I do it for me! I caught the quilting bug not long after the arrival of my second child.  I had a husband who was working evenings and needed something for my brain.  Being 'just a mum' does something bad to your brain I am sure!
If I don't sew or create then I get miserable.  As many of us have said, 'Quilting is my therapy'.

 I blog my quilting adventures because there was no real life quilting community I was able to participate in when the kids were little.  I was stuck at home in the evenings as hubby was working so I found my quilting contemporaries online.  Quilters like to share ideas and inspiration and writing about our creations helps foster a sense of community and belonging too.

4. How does my writing/creating process work?




Well I like to think that I am a tidy, organised quilter but in reality I am not.  My creative process is much like my mind at times.  I have a large notebook I write those mind map thingies in when I have an idea and then I am very good at putting myself off these ideas by the time I am finished.

My workspace is always messy.  I tend to work between the kitchen table and my sewing desk.  I can be organised when it comes to quilt maths and organising my blocks for sewing but generally I am a messy beggar.

My writing is sporadic and not planned out particularly well either.  I don't schedule blog posts ( who knew!) and tend to write only when I have something to say or share.



Anyway enough about me.  Now it is the turn of my nominated ladies.  First up I asked Sarah from Sew Me to take part.  Sarah was in the Hipbees with me too and is a lovely, organised quilter.  She makes the most beautiful work.


Hope you enjoyed reading all about me and join the ladies next Monday 22nd September to read what they share.
Collette x