A slight obsession with books

Crafts, cats and books


Patchwork toy box

Sammie is already getting quite a collection of toys and they were getting underfoot. I decided that she needed her own toy box, and thought she’d like one made specially for her. I knew I’d seen instructions for making a box in Love Patchwork and Quilting and after looking through my back copies twice, I found it. Why I can never spot something the first time is a mystery to me.

I did struggle with the instructions a couple of times but I got there in the end and this is the result.


As you can see from a closer view, the stitching is not exactly straight, but it isn’t bad. There should be a bow on the front with a button on it, but I thought it might be best to leave that off. She’d just chew it.


It’s lined, which was a first for me so this was great practise at several different techniques. My hand stitching, where it was pulled the right way round, leaves something to be desired, but again, it’ll do.


It stands up nicely by itself and will hopefully cope with Sammie playing with it, and probably getting in it. Her toys are in it now and she’s already investigated it. I’m sure she’ll soon be helping herself to her Mousie.





Star Quilt

I’ve made my first quilt top! I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to get it finished. It’s a design out of the magazine Love Patchwork and Quilting. It’s very simple, with just sixteen huge blocks, and because of that I thought it’d be a good one to start with. I was going to wait until finishing the quilt before taking a photo but I’m so chuffed with it that I couldn’t resist showing it off straight away. I was trying to think of the best way to take a photo of it, but then my husband offered his assistance. StarQuiltTop It’s pegged to a bit of wooden beading, and you can just see his hand holding it up. I’m thinking that I could have picked a better backdrop, but then the garden doesn’t really have any pretty bits at the moment.

The fabric is STOF Japanese Lifestyle and is lovely. It has a gold sheen running through it. I got it at the NEC show earlier this year in a pack of 10 fat quarters for £20. The background fabric is a bit of a cheat. I read about it on a few different blogs so thought I’d try it to save some money. It’s a flat double cotton sheet. It’s quite a fine one so seems to work ok with the patterned cotton. I cut it carefully so I’d have a piece left over that’s big enough to do the backing too. I think there’ll be enough left from the patterned cotton to make the binding.

I’m currently planning the next one. It’s a bit addictive once you start, isn’t it 🙂


Starry Skies cushion

Before I get onto the ‘Hey look what I made’ moment, I’d like to ask if it’s just me that can’t seem to find a speed between stop and 90 mph on my sewing machine. It doesn’t matter what angle I place my foot at on the pedal. Or what height I have my chair. Or how gently I ease my foot down. It hums gently as my foot increases the pressure…

…and it’s off like the clappers. 90 mph, every time. Oh, I can get it to slow down occasionally, to a very slow pace that gradually eases to a stop. Then as soon as I try to get it going again it whizzes off as if I’ve floored it.

Is there some special technique? Some knack that you learn at sewing machine school and isn’t available to us ‘learn as we go along’ folk?

Just be aware that some of the seams you’re about to see aren’t quite straight and I’m blaming that on trying to keep up with that blasted machine.

So, my latest creation. I mentioned recently that I was having fun with Foundation Piecing. This is the result. Look what I made!


It’s the cushion from issue two of Love Patchwork and Quilting and the designer is Holly deGroot. She also designed the other cushion that I made so I guess I must like her style. Once again the instructions in the magazine were brilliant and I found the Foundation piecing really easy. I loved how precise it was and can’t wait to have another go at it.


And with the piecing finished


The magazine example was in completely different colours.


I had that lovely Batik fabric and thought it’d look great with a dark navy background and I’m very happy with how that turned out. The colours really pop against the navy.

I do know that I should have paid more attention to how the navy fabric was lying but I didn’t realise it all had to run the same way until I noticed that some pieces looked different shades and looked it up online. I’ll know next time. So much to learn!

I decided to Stitch in the Ditch for the quilting and not attempt the squiggly quilting in the example. I think that must be free-motion and I’m not even sure if my machine can do that, let alone me.


I used fabric from the same range for the back.


And now it’s sitting on the sofa.


That’s a terrible photo as the light in our living room is bad at the best of times, but in the winter it’s non-existent. Maybe I should have put the light on. Something else to remember for next time 🙂

The quilting went a bit wonky in places and not all the seams are dead straight apart from the pieced ones, but other than that, I’m chuffed to bits with it. I love that fabric and I loved learning the piecing technique. This is so much fun. I can’t think why I didn’t try all this years ago.


Sampler quilt – block #01

I have a plan. The husband has expressed a desire for a quilt for the bed but I don’t want to commit myself to a full-scale project just yet. I’m having fun trying out new techniques and designs and want to play at doing lots of different things. Also I’m still working on sewing in a straight line. I think there’s some improvement but still room for a lot more.

So, as one of the things that I want to do is try the Blocks of the month in the quilting magazine that I’ve subbed to, as well as any others that take my fancy, I thought I’d do them all in matching colours and make a quilt out of them once I have enough. It’ll be a sort of sampler quilt with lots of different blocks in it.

The freebie that came with one of the issues of Love Patchwork and Quilting was a booklet with 20 different blocks in it so I’ve started by making one from there that I loved as soon as I saw it. It’s an Ohio Star and was fun to make.


Ok, so it’s a bit wonky. I really need to work on that. I hadn’t made any QSTs before, or HSTs come to that so that was something new to learn. One pair of the QSTs came out rather nicely lined up, the other pair, not so much. I thought I’d got my seams lined up so I think it may have slipped before I sewed.

How the rest of it went wonky, I have no idea. I was getting quite enthusiastic once I’d got the squares all ready and may  not have checked what I was doing as much as I should have. Still, it’s a block and it looks quite star-like. I’m happy with it for a first go.

I’m no nearer getting a refund on my cutting board and ruler that I ordered from Ebay. The seller, who is aware that the parcel is lost, has told Ebay that it was delivered and has won the case. I’m getting a bit frustrated with it all now. I’m not giving up yet though.


Having fun!

I’m making another cushion and I’m having a huge amount of fun doing it. I’ve discovered the glorious world of Foundation Piecing.

I’m loving it. It’s another one from the new magazine, Love Patchwork and Quilting and the instructions are excellent. The templates are on the website so I downloaded them and printed them onto freezer paper. It’s so easy to get perfect seams and corners and to get it all lined up. Love it!


The front of the cushion is almost done but I need to cut some 18″ strips for it. My one and only quilting ruler is a 12″ square and my cutting mat, which I assumed was self-healing but apparently isn’t, is just an inch or so larger. I decided that with one cushion already under my belt, and a growing fabric stash, a larger, and definitely self-healing mat was needed, along with a longer ruler.

They’re both on their way so I should be able to finish my cushion off next weekend and then I’ll have another one to show you. And yes, I know I ‘could’ cut the fabric with my small mat and ruler but it’ll be so much easier and more accurate with the larger ones.

I’ve already got the next cushion planned, and even have the fabric pulled for it. There was a booklet of different blocks with the latest copy of the magazine and I want to try making most of them. There’s a nice star that’ll look lovely on a cushion front although I think we may get overrun by cushions at this rate 🙂


Rail Fence cushion

I’ve had great fun making this cushion. It’s one of the projects featured in the first issue of the new quilting magazine – Love patchwork and quilting. It’s supposed to be good for beginners so perfect for me to have a go at. This is the mag picture that caught my attention.


Pretty, isn’t it. It calls for wide strips but I thought it’d be a good way to use up some more of the never-ending honey bun that I used for the monthly cottages. I adapted it to narrow strips in a variety of colours instead of shading from light to dark in one colour. The honey bun is Kansas Troubles, Sandhill Plums. I love those colours!

First I made my four squares. I tried to make them go from light to dark although it was difficult to decide which was lighter in some cases. I think it looks about right though. These are the four squares before being tidied up.


After joining the squares together and pinning the cushion top to the batting and muslin, I then needed to decide what I was going to do about quilting it. On my earlier attempt at quilting, when I was just trying it out, I did stitch in the ditch, but this time I wanted to do something more adventurous. The magazine example is done ‘on point’ and looks gorgeous. I thought I’d do mine like that but instead of doing different widths, I’d do it so it matched the strips.

Like this.


I’ll be honest, I did think I’d been just a little bit too ambitious but I had a picture in my head of how it would look and I really wanted to try it. It took me longer than I thought it would, but once it was finished I was very happy with it. It actually came out just how I’d planned. As the fabric is in several different colours, I decided to go with navy cotton. Whichever colour I picked was going to show somewhere so I planned for it to make a statement in the centre. I’m not sure if that’s the accepted way of doing things, but I like it 🙂

Once the top was quilted I had a mild panic attack when it came to the zip. I’ve done a couple before but the instructions for this were different to how I’d done the others and I really wanted to get it right. I had my own personal cheerleader though, (thanks Jackie!) and managed it with it only going slightly wonky.


The back is in a red fabric that matches the strips in the Honey Bun. The only other yardage I had to match was in a brown or a green and I didn’t want to use either of those. I think the red looks fine though.


Once the zip was in, all that was left to do was sew up the three sides and insert the cushion pad. I got several at Ikea last time we were there so it looks like I’m going to be making a few more cushions yet.

The finished cushion is now on my sofa and I’m leaning on it now. It’s very comfy. I’m chuffed to bits with how it turned out and I really enjoyed making it.


Stephen is very impressed. He wants me to make a quilt for the bed now with matching pillow cases. I think I may make a few more cushions first though. Just to get a bit more practise.

One last close up of the finished cushion.



A few sewing purchases

I spotted a brand new quilting and patchwork magazine a couple of days ago and as it looked as if it might be useful for a complete novice, I bought it to have a look.

quilting mag

I liked it. I liked it a lot. So much so that I’ve taken them up on their 3 for a fiver offer and I may continue to sub for a while if the next three are as interesting and readable. It kept me happily occupied for ages. There’s a nice section at the back that’s sort of an idiot’s guide to quilting along with the basic tools needed and why. There are quite a few projects in there of varying skill levels, and quite a few of those are ones that I feel I could tackle as the instructions are very clear.

There’s a pretty cushion in there that I really would like to make and although it calls for wider strips of fabric, I feel I could adapt the pattern to use some of the remaining Honey Bun. I’ve pulled out these strips out to use.


Of course, in order to make a quilted cushion, the magazine explains that you need some muslin. I didn’t have any of that so I had a quick look online and found an Ebay seller, Suzie May, who had some and I ordered it. It came about 16 hours later, which I found quite impressive.

Now, the problem is that once I get in the shopping mood, I find it hard to stop. I’d been seeing lots of lovely things online while I was looking for that muslin. I get so easily distracted by the pretties, you see. I thought it might quench my thirst for buying stuff if I got some zips as I’d need one for this cushion – so I got three. I have several cushion inserts from our last trip to Ikea so I knew I’d be needing more of them at some point.

Then, I thought I’d just have a wee look at the fabric. Just a look.


I’ve fancied getting some Batik fabric for a while so I’m afraid I did a bit more than look at this one. It’s Batik Rainforest. Isn’t it yummy?

And umm, I thought it might be a bit lonely on the way here so I got it a friend.


This one is Sansui Indigo. It’s very pretty. They’ll both make lovely cushions. Or maybe one might be for a bag. Both came from Secret Garden Quilting, which I stumbled across while surfing. They dispatched these quickly enough so I’ll use them again.

Hopefully I’ll have something made from them to show you soon.