Scandi Bird quilt – finished at last

The Scandi Bird quilt is finally finished!   It has only been 5 years in the making but the final result is worth it.

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Each of the birds was first appliquéd onto squares of plain off-white fabric.  They  weren’t difficult to do, just very time-consuming.  Whilst I’ll never say never, I can’t see me rushing to make another appliqué quilt.  They are not my zone of genius.  Still, it was good to step outside my comfort zone and give it a go.

Initially I was planning to have 41 birds in the final quilt separated by blocks of four fabrics.  Given that it was taking me so long to complete the birds I then changed tack to have fewer birds and more co-ordinating fabrics.  This meant I had to raid my fabric stash for some additional fabrics since I only had a limited amount of the initial fabrics and what I had would not stretch that far.

Fabrics used in scandi bird quilt

Fabrics used in scandi bird quilt

On the left are the fabrics initially selected for the quilt and on the right are the extra fabrics I pulled to add to the quilt.

Smaller squares in coordinating colours were added as a frame around each appliqué bird to form a block before sewing the blocks together.

Scandi bird quilt block

Scandi bird quilt block

The coloured squares have been placed in a scrappy arrangement.  Many people think that scrappy quilts are easy to do when in fact they take a lot of careful planning.  I’ll share some tips on how to create a good scrappy quilt in a later post.

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

At 64 inches square, the quilt brightens up the bedroom and is easily big enough to cover the top of the bed.

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

It is perfect as a throw when reading,

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Or daydreaming in a sunbeam.

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Scandi bird patchwork quilt

Quilts don’t have to live solely inside.  They also make fab picnic blankets.

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The quilt back features sassy 1950s ladies, carefully pattern-matched as always for a seamless look (I think the recipient secretly likes these ladies better than the quilt front).  For the binding I used a bright blue floral that also features on the front of the quilt.

Scandi bird patchwork quilt - detail

Scandi bird patchwork quilt – detail

Wavy lines were quilted horizontally across the quilt which gives it a lovely, cozy texture.  I’m quite proud of the quilting on this quilt as it was done on my domestic sewing machine – the largest quilt I’ve quilted so far.

This quilt went to its forever home in December last year where it is cherished and well-loved.

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Giant Granny Square Crocheted Baby Blanket

Over a year ago now, a friend announced that she was expecting a new nephew in April and she wanted to make a gift for him.  Foolishly I offered to show her how to make a giant granny square blanket.  I mean, everyone can crocket a granny square, right?  Well, teaching her was an epic fail as she could only manage to create a chain stitch!  Feeling responsible (she had already bought the yarn – from a charity shop, but still) I offered to make the blanket for her.

My friend made the first four chain which formed the centre ring, so she had some creative input into the blanket.  I started off well however it quickly transpired that my blanket wasn’t going as planned.  It had definitely developed a twist (argh!).

Giant crochet granny square fail

Giant crochet granny square fail

A quick look on Google and I found a couple of solutions.  That is the lovely thing about the internet.  It is so much easier to find someone who has come across the same problem, and more importantly, found a solution that they are happy to share with the world.

Turns out, the simple solution is to turn your work on each row.  Basically this means that you crochet clockwise on one row and then anti-clockwise on the next row.  Kerry Jayne Designs has a really clear tutorial on her blog that explains how to do this.  Thank you, Kerry Jayne.  You are a life saver!

Turning the blanket on each row does change the look of the stitches – but in a good way as there is now no wrong side since both sides look the same.

Giant crochet granny square blanket detail

Giant crochet granny square blanket detail

The blanket was finished in time for the baby’s arrival.

Giant granny square crochet baby blanket

Giant granny square crochet baby blanket

It finished at just over a metre square which is the perfect size for a baby or toddler.  The colours are lovely too and make a pleasingly understated palette that is not too babyish.

Giant crochet granny square blanket

Giant crochet granny square blanket

Did the new mum like the blanket?  I’m happy to say that she loved it which is the best accolade.

There was quite a bit of the brown and cream yarn left over after making this blanket.  I’ll share what I made with it in a later post.

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Blue and white upcycled shirt quilt

Blue and white is such a classic combination.  It is both fresh and calming with the relaxed feeling of a lazy summer’s day on the beach.

Summer day at the beach

I used blue and white as the starting point for a quilt that would be a gift for my brother.  He loves rummaging in charity shops so it seemed appropriate to use pre-loved shirts and create an upcycled quilt for him.

Trawling the local charity shops, I looked for men’s shirts in a variety of patterns.  Anything would do  – stripes, spots, checks, tone on tone designs – provided the fabric was 100% cotton and the colours were predominately blue and white.  I even found a few floral, James May shirt style patterns.  Best of all was the little boy’s demin blue shirt covered in dinosaur skeletons!  I mean, who doesn’t love a dinosaur?

Stack of blue and white shirts

Stack of blue and white shirts

 

I wanted to keep the design uncomplicated so as to show off the patterns of the shirt fabrics.   A straight forward nine patch block seemed just the ticket.  The shirts were cut into 4 1/2 inch squares and sewn randomly together.

Blue and white shirt blocks

Blue and white shirt blocks

 

Men need encouragement in their lives too, so I embroidered positive affirmations onto some of the plain fabrics and incorporated these into the quilt blocks.

Words to live by blocks

Affirmation blocks

 

White sashing, 2 inches finished width, was added to separate the blocks and to give it a fresh look.

Blue and white quilt

Blue and white quilt

 

A swirling design, called Hot Cocoa, was chosen for the long arm quilting.  It adds a great texture to the quilt.

Quilt detail showing quilting design

Quilt detail showing quilting design

 

And here is the finished quilt, complete with a dark navy binding to frame the quilt.

Quilt made from upcycled blue and white shirts

Quilt made from upcycled blue and white shirts

At 72 inches square it is a great size to use as a bedspread or to throw over the back of the sofa.  I love that it is a classic design with little personal touches that make it unique.

Have you made a quilt from upcycled clothes?  I’d love you to share a photo and if not, I’d encourage you to give it a go.  So much clothing ends up in landfill and it seems a crime to waste it when it can be re-purposed for a longer life.

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more of my lovely makes.

A great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person

I’m been wracking my brains thinking of Christmas gifts that might appeal to that hard-to-buy-for person, or the person who has everything, for the fussy person and the ones who just don’t know what they want (let’s face it, we all have at least one of these types on our lists).  The last thing you want to get them is something that they will stuff in a drawer, or worse, re-gift to you next year.  So my suggestion is this – cupcake toppers that you add to your own cakes!

Wait, hear me out.  Who could refuse some delicious cakes – perhaps they’re shop bought or you’ve made them yourself with some help from the kids – topped with luscious buttercream and some WOW cupcake toppers.  Your cupcakes will be beautiful to look at, yummy to eat AND no need to find space for extra stuff.  Plus they will be handmade which will make them just that little bit more special.

Here are some lovely designs for you to consider.  Teachers, dads and granddads would love cupcakes decorated with these cheery Santa and reindeer toppers.

Cupcake toppers - Santa, presents and Rudolf

Cupcake toppers – Santa, presents and Rudolf

Friends who like all the trimmings would delight in these cute pudding and robin toppers (just so you know, the pudding and robin are made from chocolate flavoured fondant for extra tastiness).

Cupcake toppers - Christmas pudding, trees and robin

Cupcake toppers – Christmas pudding, trees and robin

Or what about these adorable snowman and polar bear toppers?  They would certainly put a smile on someone’s face.

Cupcake toppers - snowman, snowflakes and polar bear

Cupcake toppers – snowman, snowflakes and polar bear

The ones I like best however are these ones, which will look like a little painting when presented in a cupcake box.  First up, a scottie dog playing in the snow with a snowman.  How cute is that?

Cupcake toppers - snowman and scottie dog

Cupcake toppers – snowman and scottie dog

Scottie dog again, this time posting a letter to Santa.  I hope Santa gets it in time.

Cupcake toppers - letter box and scottie dog

Cupcake toppers – letter box and scottie dog

And my favourite – bright lights welcoming you home on a dark, snowy evening.

Cupcake toppers - snow scene

Cupcake toppers – silent night

All these designs will be available at my table top stall at the Frost Fair in Thame (it’s on 1 December between 8pm and 10pm at the John Hampden School if you are in the area).   And if you’d like something custom-made to reflect the interests of a special someone, then do contact me.  I look forward to seeing you at the Frost Fair!

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more of my lovely makes.

Milk churn patchwork quilt

What do you give someone when you want  something that says “you’re special”, something that says “thank you”, something that says “I love you”?  For me, the answer is usually always a handmade quilt (sometimes it is cake but that is another story).

Earlier this year, it was my privilege to make a custom order quilt for a couple who have a jersey cow stud.  When I showed my client a  fun quilt pattern featuring rows of milk churns (remember those?) we knew we’d found the perfect design.  I mean, dairy farmers and milk churns, what could be more appropriate?

Milk cow kitchen patchwork quilt

Milk churn patchwork quilt

The fabric collection is Milk Cow Kitchen by Mary Jane Butters for Moda.  Nostalgic, a bit kitsch, the collection features tiny jersey cows, vintage cars, kitchen utensils, milk bottle tops and my personal favourite, lots of moos!!.  There is even a recipe for strawberry jam.

Milk Cow Kitchen patchwork quilt detail

Milk churn patchwork quilt detail

To make the quilt I used this free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop.  I did change the pattern slightly by  adding an extra column of milk churns to make it wider and I changed how I added the sashing.  The milk churn lids were made as larger strips that are then cut down making it much quicker and easier to put together than it first looks.

Milk Cow Kitchen patchwork quilt detail

Milk churn patchwork quilt detail

The finished quilt was professionally long-arm quilted with an overall pattern called Cloud Nine.

Milk Cow Kitchen patchwork quilt backing

Milk churn patchwork quilt backing

And for the backing, I chose this green Lulu fabric from the Up Parasol range by Heather Bailey.  It is one that I wish I had been able to buy more of as it really is the most lovely light olive green.

The 100% cotton wadding in the quilt makes it irresistibly soft and warm and gives the quilt a beautiful drape.   At 70 inches by 64 inches, it is a very versatile size and perfect for a bed or a sofa.

Today I received the good news that Royal Mail and Australia Post did their bit and delivered the quilt safe and sound to its new home.  And I’m very pleased to say that it was a very welcome present that will be much loved for many years to come.  A special gift for a lovely couple.

Bespoke hot water bottle covers

Last week I was busy making some hot water bottle covers that were a custom order destined as presents for some special people.
 
Firstly, I was asked to make a hot water bottle cover suitable for a 13 year old girl.  It could not be too pink or overly girly as the recipient is a bit of a tomboy.  This quirky dog fabric from the Best in Show collection by Maude Asbury fitted the brief perfectly.  It is so cute!  There is also a cat design in this collection if that is more to your taste.
 
Customised hot water bottle cover

Bespoke hot water bottle cover

A pinky-peach toned spot fabric (shown as the background) was used for the lining and I used Kona solid in Cactus for the binding.  The spots were a great choice in another unexpected way.  Their fortuitous alignment meant that I could easily quilt the fabric by simply joining up the dots.
 
Customised hot water bottle cover

Bespoke hot water bottle cover showing lining

 The second cover was for someone who I was told would live in The White Company if they could.  For the outer cover I chose the white large rose fabric from the Petal collection (sadly now discontinued) by Tanya Whelan.  
 
Bespoke hot water bottle cover

Bespoke hot water bottle cover

The lining is a sage green spot fabric and I chose a deep red solid for the binding.  In this case, I couldn’t take the easy option of just joining the dots when quilting as these spots were irregular.  Instead I drew lines on the fabric with a water soluble pen and used these as a quilting guide.   
 
Customised hot water bottle cover

Bespoke hot water bottle cover showing lining

Some might think it a waste to use such lovely fabrics for the lining, especially when it is not on show.  I disagree.  To me it is a secret surprise only seen when the cover is opened for filling.  It is that little extra that makes it more luxurious and a bit special.
 
When making the covers I used Emma’s fabulous instructions as previously.  The only change I made was to quilt the fabric as a block first and then cut the pieces, rather than quilting the pieces individually.  I found a block of fabric easier to manipulate on the sewing machine and there was the added bonus that the quilting lines on the pieces matched beautifully (yay!).
 
Hot water bottle covers make a great gift for people of all ages and at any time of year.  Pick colours and fabrics that you know they will love and you will be giving a gift they will treasure.   Do get in touch if you’d like to order a customised hot water bottle cover as a gift for yourself or for someone special.   I’d love to help you make the perfect present.