I embroidered the little details like the eyes and nose and did a simple little running stitch around the nose and the ears, so cute, right? I seriously love these little guys.
Popping in to share one of my most recent finishes, these adorable baby girl rattles. The pattern for these precious little gifts are from the book, "Sweetly Stitched Handmades" by Amy Sinibaldi otherwise known as Nana Company. I just love the book, filled with the sweetest projects. These go together really quickly especially once you pull together all the supplies and pick out the fabrics. I originally planned to make this for my little girl, but she is a bit too old now, so I whipped up two of them to put up for baby gifts in the future. Does anyone else do that? Make several at once because it is just as quick to make several than to make just one. Or is it just me?
These are rattles, so they need to rattle, right? Well I don't want to go buy that, so I make my own. Any time I need a rattle I use a plastic Easter egg, either the small ones or normal sized. These use the small ones and I fill them with dry rice and dry beans. A little of each, just until you get the right sound, then I tape those eggs shut so they don't bust open. They are then placed in the heads and then I stuff the rattles and sew them shut. It works really well and makes a nice rattle sound, never too loud which is important for babies and their mothers.
I embroidered the little details like the eyes and nose and did a simple little running stitch around the nose and the ears, so cute, right? I seriously love these little guys.
These rattles are made entirely out of my scrap bins and the best part is that they use small scraps, really small scraps. The largest piece you need is around 4" x 4" and everything else is really small. Small bits of lace and trim are used too, so that is really nice. This being said, I'm linking up with Scraptastic Tuesday hosted by She Can Quilt and Mrs. Sew and Sow. There is still time to link up your own project or just hop on over and check out the other link ups, lots of pretty projects.
Once a month (and two months, twice) I will be featuring one of my co-hosts for the Finish Along so you can get to know them better. This month is Jess and I'll wrap up here so you can read about her life directly from her! Enjoy!
Hi, I'm Jess, otherwise known as Elven Garden Quilts. This is my second year as a FAL host, and although I'm not great at actually participating in the FAL (I have a pretty bad history of not finishing anything on my list!), it's great to be back to cheer you all along for a second year. I thought this was going to be a really hard post to write - but once I got started it was surprisingly easy. So I've inserted photos of some of my favorite quilts in amongst the text - feel free to skim the words if you'd rather just look at quilts ;o).
I'm a 36 year old mum of three not-so-small people - my eldest son (12 year old) started high school this year (grade 7), and I have a 9 year old son and a 6 year old daughter. Needless to say, moments of sewing have been few and far between over the last few months while they've had their summer holidays - but they went back to school last week, so there is some semblance of normality in our household again :o). I have an incredible partner too, who encourages me in all my quilty endeavours and listens patiently when I ramble on about my current projects. We also have two fur babies - Shadow and Pepper, our little quilt-cats, who spend at least 90% of their time asleep on various quilts and cushions around the house! I'll often go back to hand stitch binding and find my quilt has been invaded by cats ;o).
We live in Tasmania, Australia - that little island that sits off the southern coast of mainland Australia. It's a beautiful place to live - we don't have a huge population and we are surrounded by some of the most gorgeous wilderness in the world (in my humble opinion!). I grew up in a pretty arty/crafty family - my Dad studied ceramics at Art School and is an art teacher at a college, and my mum has always been involved with some sort of textile art. She made most of our clothes as kids, and is now obsessed with spinning and knitting all kinds of gorgeous yarn. So it's kinda unsurprising that I've grown up to be a maker.
Although I have a science degree (and work as a lab technician part time), I've always enjoyed making stuff. I started cross stitching when I was quite young, and continued that hobby right through to my university years. It wasn't until I had my youngest child that I decided to get a sewing machine - with the intention of making clothes and toys for my kids. I had fun doing this for a while, but then on a whim I bought a beginner's quilting magazine and that was the beginning of a true obsession. For me, quilting is the perfect marriage of maths and art - I love numbers and I love working with colour, so it's not surprising it has overtaken all of my spare time!
I started quilting around 5 or 6 years ago - and back when I started, my tiny sewing room overlooked the garden - so Elven Garden Quilts was born! After a few years, I outgrew that little room, so my 'studio' is now our garage - not the prettiest location, but I can be as messy as I want (and believe me, the term creative chaos fits me perfectly!) and close the door on it so no one else has to be subjected to it ;o).
I first started blogging for a few reasons. Mainly because I didn't actually know anyone who quilted and I didn't want to bore my family and friends to tears constantly talking about my quilts, and blogging was the perfect way to share what I was making. But it quickly became a way to connect with people all over the world who shared my passion. I'm ever in awe of how supportive and wonderful the online quilting community is, and my life would be very different if I hadn't started blogging. I am a self-taught quilter, thanks to the enormous generosity of so many people in sharing tutorials and ideas, and a love of trying to figure out how to make things work!
I loosely call myself a modern quilter - although I've made plenty of quilts that are far more traditional than modern! I think I'm probably best known for my love of free motion quilting - everything I piece is quilted to death on my domestic Bernina. About three years ago, I was actually invited to become aBernina Ambassador here in Australia, which is an incredible honour :o). I have several free motion quilting tutorials available on my YouTube channel - and I plan on doing a lot more of these this year! I've been teaching patchwork and quilting classes on a weekly basis for the last three years (although I'm currently having a break, after burning out from a pretty hefty teaching load last year), which is something I absolutely love.
Last year was a big year for me as a quilter, both on a professional and personal level. I won several awards for my quilts at some of our national quilt shows (the Australian Modern Quilt Show and the Australian Machine Quilting Festival), and I taught a lot of classes - both patchwork and free motion quitling. On the personal side of things, I feel like I really grew as a quilter. Although I've always loved making quilts and been happy with the finished product, I've struggled to find my style. But in the last half of last year I feel like I started to find my voice, and started making quilts that are more 'me' than ever before. Although I've always used and loved my design wall, I now rely on it constantly as a tool to design my quilts. Aviatrix is one of the last quilts I made using someone else's pattern - and I think it will be the last for a fairly long time. I'm enjoying doing my own thing so much right now!
The last few quilts I've made (and my current work in progress) all started as a vague idea and a giant pile of fabric, and relied on my design wall to figure out what they would become. You can read all about the process I went through when making Scattered (shown below)here, here, here and here. And if you're attending QuiltCon this year, please go say hi to her - she was juried into the show which is enormously exciting!
I recently wrote about the process of making one of my recent finishes, Flow. Again this quilt started as a pile of fabric and a very vague idea (as in, I knew I wanted to use improv curves), but the design came together through trial and error.
Although I'm much better at starting and finishing projects than I used to be (which isn't to say I don't have any WIPs - there are lots of those!), I work best when don't feel like I *have* to work on a particular project. Which is probably why I make FAL lists and then largely ignore them... Having said that, I have several projects that have been ignored for far too long that I do want to finish this year, so next quarter you can expect me to fully participate and knock over some very long term WIPs!
Thanks for letting me introduce myself (and my quilts!), and I look forward to cheering you all on this year as you work through your FAL lists!
I finished my Bee Sewcial block last week and decided I would like to share them each month here (and upload them to Flickr like I'm supposed too.) This was the first month in our new year together (year 3) and January started with Stephanie aka Spontaneous Threads. Stephanie posted her prompt at the beginning of the month and you can read all about it HERE. The heart of her prompt was for us to create around the theme Resolution, as in New Year's Resolutions, more specifically our own. We were given the color constraints of blues, grays, whites, off whites and if we wanted a little pop of color.
Here is my design. It is long (she requested long landscape style blocks) and it measures 8.5" x 37.5." I made my own bias strips and using a bit of trial and error figured out how I wanted to construct the look I was going for (or what was in my head.) It turned out exactly as I envisioned, which is not always the case, but really nice when it happens.
The photo below is the back so you can have a peek at how I constructed it, it is not applique but rather sewn by machine, I would say traditional piecing but nothing about this was traditional. It isn't overly bulky as the majority of the pieced on strips are 3 layers thick and only in the intersections (the obvious gray squares below) are they 5 or 6 layers thick. Not too bad in my opinion. I hope Stephanie thinks so when she receives it.
I mentioned that the theme was Resolution, so let me explain what this block was about. If you know me in person you are aware that I am a hypochondriac, every little ache and pain is a "what if" in my head. A good portion of my day is wasted on these thoughts and honestly I'm tired of it. One of my resolutions this year was to worry less and that's what I intend to do, worry less about every little ache and pain and just live. I know it won't be easy but I hope by consciously trying to stop I'll be able to and honestly since I started at the beginning of the year I find it is slowly working. Anytime those "what if it's cancer or what if it's a blood clot" thoughts come into my head, I stop myself and move on. Maybe it will be something I can teach myself to stop doing, or at least that is what I hope.
Back to my design, the dark blue/dark gray section is the negativity, bad thoughts the hectic swirling thoughts and then slowly they fade away and a lighter happier place emerges. Eventually the hectic crazy fades away and only the stuff that matters is left. The light and healthy stuff and that swirling crazy is gone. At least that is my interpretation and what I was aiming for in this block. So what do you think, did I accomplish it?
If you want to know more about Bee Sewcial or to play along each month just check out the hashtags on Instagram, #inspiredbybeesewcial and #beesewcial.
Once a month (and two months, twice) I will be featuring one of my co-hosts for the Finish Along so you can get to know them better. First up is Nicky and I'll wrap up here so you can read about her life directly from her! Enjoy!
Hi! My name is Nicky Eglinton and I'm one of the global 2017 Finish-A-Along hosts. This is my second year as co-host so I should know what I'm doing.
I live in the South of England but was born in bonnie Scotland and after a few years studying in Aberdeen and Glasgow, I came to London to get my first job! I loved the theatres, cinema, restaurants, walking across Waterloo Bridge and looking one way at the Houses of Parliament and the other way at St Paul's. Life was good!
Since then I have moved even further south and out of the hubbub of the City to the quiet more rural life of Sussex to raise a family with hubby. It has suited us well and we have three lovely children and a cat and a dog! Here are the pets in portrait and 'helping' me quilt!
In my childhood I learnt to stitch from my mother - first toys, and cross stitch, then clothes in my teens and twenties (back then it was actually cheaper to do that).
She also taught me knitting and crochet. She loved passing on her skills though we struggled at times as she was right handed and I was left handed. Every thing I did looked wrong to her as I was doing it in what seemed an awkward way....and there were very few lefthanded tools to help! So I now prefer right handed scissors - in fact I cannot use lefthanded ones!!
Jumping forward a bit, to maintain my sanity after kid no 1, I went to an evening class about patchwork and quilting. My chance to talk with grown ups! I was completely in love with applique! It was all I did! And then I ended up on a course at The Quilt Room to make this quilt in 2005!
The applique was easy for me but would you believe I was terrified of the HST border round each block and the quilt remained in pieces, and on several FAL lists.
Carolyn Forster taught me piecing and introduced me to blogging! Wow has she got a lot to answer for! I started blogging as I wanted to record my stitching and gardening - hence my blog name Mrs Sew and Sow!
The sewing has taken over somewhat but this year I will be back in my garden and bringing lots of flowers into the house! Wonder if a flower bed can count as a WIP or UFO?? What do you think?
Well back to that quilt I started in 2005 I kept moving it from one FAL list to the next! I have joined up with the FAL since the beginning - though I may have missed a few quarters - and it has helped enormously - mainly from all the encouragement I received from commenters who have become friends.
Suddenly it became the time to finish that quilt! I even had to learn FMQ in order to do it !
And here it is! So all of you who have longterm WIPs/UFOs do not despair!
Finishing that longstanding UFO was like a release - it had been a block hanging over me! I started actually finishing more stuff.
Since 2012 I have been keen to meet up with people, and join in the quilting community. I went to the Fat Quarterly Retreats in London and learnt about the Siblings Together charity. I have been making quilts for the charity since then - one or two to begin with, then I joined a bee to make more, helped others finish quilts and finally last year Maria and I were leading the campaign to make 100 quilts for the charity.
The charity helps children in the UK social care system retain bonds with their siblings at holiday camps. They are given a quilt to remind them of the fun times together.
We will be aiming to make another 100 quilts in 2017 with help from a generous community of quilters ! Would you like to join us? You can find more information here and here!
I love scraps and have been running a monthly link up, #Scraptastictuesday, on the second Tuesday of every month, with my co host Leanne (who also hosts FAL). We like to celebrate the origins of patchwork, though Leanne uses scraps in more of an improv way than I do but you will find all sorts of inspiration there!
I am a scrappy quilter for ecological and economical reasons! I like to hang onto those pounds and pence and keep my scraps out of the landfill sites! And I just love cramming as many different fabrics as possible into one quilt.
We would love you to join us with your scrappy projects (they don't need to be finished), plans, and storage systems.
I try to make a scrappy sampler quilt each year with tutorials showing you how to make your own! 2015 is finished and 2016 is basted ready for a finish this quarter I hope!
And now I'm setting up a local group of stitchers in Sussex with my friends and co-founders Kelly and Jane and we are actually going to meet up and stitch together in a room! And eat cake! With no children ! It is starting this month !
I seem to have made lots of quilts. I find the creative process both stimulating and therapeutic. I do tend to make up my own patterns though on occasion if I love something I will try to make my own version of it.
Here are some of my favourite quilt finishes
And here is one I hope to finish this coming quarter! It is my take on the traditional Double Wedding Ring (my own variation) - a lot of it stitched by hand! I used acryllic templates made by Marti Michell to help with the cutting and designing of these blocks.
My FAL list is always a long one (yes I am a member of Archie the Wonder Dog's #ridiculouslylongFAList ) as when I used to choose a few items for my list I always wanted to work on something else! Much easier to keep everything out in the open I found!
I hope you will join us on our journey to complete those listed projects and I look forward to seeing your finishes! Remember to cheer on the rest of the community - it really does make a difference!
It is time for me to make an honest list of what I can reasonably accomplish this quarter. I could write down my entire list but it contains at least 16 half finished quilts and unless I'm finishing one every other day it isn't going to happen. So this is a mere 3 projects that I want to finish this quarter and I tried to pick projects that were in different stages of completion so if I feel like quilting I can quilt and if I feel like sewing I can sew. Make sense? I hope so! Here we go!
1. Mini Carol Quilt - This is a basted mini quilt that just needs to be quilted and bound. I just have to figure out how I'm going to quilt it. What do you think? Straight lines?
2. Girly Economy Blocks - I started this quilt when I was pregnant with little girl (I think? or was it after she was born?) All of the blocks are made, it just needs to be turned into a quilt top, basted, quilted and bound. I'm aiming for this to be a toddler sized quilt for when she moves to a toddler bed sooner than later.
3. City Sampler Quilt - I can't seem to have a FAL list without including City Sampler. This one is in the process of being quilted, all of the blocks are done, I just need to quilt the background and then bind this baby. I'm beyond ready to be done with this quilt!
There we go, my simplified list, ready and waiting to be finished. I'm super excited to be co-hosting the FAL this year because I'm using it to hold myself accountable to actually finish some of these long lingering WIPS. Wish me luck but more importantly, TIME!
Interested in playing along, need more information? Find it HERE on my permanent Finish-A-Long page.
2017...are you ready for a new year? A new year a new list!
Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page http://www.marcigirldesigns.com/2017-finish---a---long.html, let me know if you have any questions. Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q1 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):
As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them.
If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.
It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. In order for your projects to be eligible, they must at least be a tangible project at the start of the quarter. That means, at the very least, a fabric pull matched to a pattern, a quilt top needing to be quilted, or a half knit jumper. I love seeing your bee blocks, but they won't count unless you happen to be turning them all into a fully completed quilt!
It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ1yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.
The 2017 Q1 link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.
We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!!
Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. The Q1 linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, January 14, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.
I'm stopping in today to make an announcement - I'm one of the 2017 Finish-A-Long hosts this year! Hooray! I'm so excited and you should be too, because this year is the year to finish up those long standing WIPS (and new WIPS too!)
Here is the list of my co-hosts this year and with this many global hosts it's bound to be good!
The first Quarter link up will start on January 8, 2017, which you will find right here or on any of my co-hosts blogs. You can link up on any of them, they are all linked and when you add your list it will appear on everyone's blog. Any questions? Well I have created a 2017 FAL page on my website with all of the details, dates, rules and buttons for your blog, so head on over HERE and find out what it is all about or if you are a regular, then start planning that list. I'm looking forward to spending the year with you all and getting to know you and your finished projects!
Hello All! Happy New Year, hope you had a great one and a fantastic Christmas as well. I am easing back into the world of blogging now that normal routines are resuming and hope to be better at it than I was last year. So I may not always be wordy, but I do hope to share photos of works in progress and finishes and in the next few days I'll be helping to host a pretty big event, so stay tuned for that.
One of the most positive things that took place in 2016 for me was my second year participating in Bee Sewcial. I am lucky enough to be in a bee with a bunch of great ladies and every single one of them produces creative work and prompts throughout the year. You can see below I created a mosaic of all the blocks I created last year, January through November (we take August and December off.) It is so nice to see them all in one place. At least three of these sets have been turned into finished quilts and are living out there being enjoyed.
Our little group invites anyone interested to play along with us each month. The prompts can be found on Instagram or on the Queen Bee's blog. The easiest way to play along each month would be to search the hashtag #inspiredbyBeeSewcial on Instagram and you can find everyone and all the information there, but don't hesitate to contact me if you want to play along and are a little lost. We work with solids only and create modern improv quilt blocks. Our themes or prompts last year included, improv lines, circles, triangles, transitions and even bacon! So if you would like to have some fun, try your hand at creative improv or just follow along, we would love to have you. Here is to a creative 2017!
Already the second quarter of the year, oh my! I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet. I picked three quilts, two new and one carryover for my Finish-A-Long list. I know I will not finish them all, but if I can just work on each a little bit it will be an accomplishment for me. So here we go:
1. Little Houses Bee Sewcial Quilt - These were the blocks I received from the first round of the quilting bee Bee Sewcial. I keep wavering on how I want to approach this quilt top. One big top or maybe an array of mini quilts that would all be hung together? What do you think? I know i will be making blocks and filler for this quilt before it can become a quilt top.
2. Blue Triangles Bee Sewcial Quilt - Here is my wild card, I don't even have these blocks in my possession yet (most aren't even made!) So right now I currently have three blocks that I have sewn and the premise of this bee is that the bee members have 6 weeks to get them to me, so by mid May I should have them all. I would really like to start construction on this as soon as I have them all as to not lose momentum.
3. Constellations City Sampler Quilt - The carryover quilt. I'm sad to say I didn't even touch this one last quarter, just didn't have the time. So hopefully I can carve out a few weeks for quilting this king sized quilt.
Linking up to the Second Quarter of the 2016 Finish-A-Long. You can find all of the details HERE. You sill have time to join in!
Quite a while ago, June 2014 to be exact, Debbie at A Quilter's Table hosted a Postcard Quilt Along based on her free tutorial. With all the good intentions in the world I planned to actually participate and finish up with everyone else, but alas my intentions didn't pan out and even though I finished up most of the blocks (and I think a quilt top) it sat un-quilted for over a year. At the beginning of this year, I added this quilt (along with one other) to my 2016 Finish-A-Long list. Now was the time to finish it up and I'm pleased to say that I did!
For the "postcard image" side of the block I used my stash of Japanese and Kawaii fabrics and chose prints that were scenes or images that might be found on a postcard. I also tried to keep the scale of these prints the same throughout and picked scenes I thought would fit the month they would be associated with. For example the June block above has an image of woodland animals at a carnival or fair, which I envision you would do in the month of June.
The "written" side of the postcard started with a Japanese calendar fabric that I currently owned and thought would be a fun addition to this quilt. I fussy cut the months and then added a pieced red/white/blue/white strip to mimic the printing you see on postcards/envelopes. I added a simple black divider and then on the right side fussy cut "stamps" (above, it is the flower) and then used a text print below the stamp to mimic the writing on a postcard.
I love rainbow quilts, so I added a solid border around each postcard bundle and then I had a completed top, which I intend for this to be a fun wall hanging.
I have had this great sewing themed fabric in my stash for quite some time and I thought it would be the perfect backing for this quilt. Just as colorful and loud as the front, haha. The quilt was small enough that a one yard piece did the trick.
I love the look of grid quilted quilts and have quilted one baby quilt in the past with this technique without much success (puckering at every intersection) so obviously I was hesitant to use this method. In the end I decided to go for it and though it is far from perfect I do love the look and I didn't have the puckering problem with this one. I used my Juki and decided to forgo the walking foot and just quilt it with the normal foot that comes with the machine. I reduced the foot pressure to the lowest setting and lengthened the stitch to around a 3.5. I used a white 40 weight Aurifil thread and started quilting by stitching in the ditch around each block. So straight down the middle and then along the top and bottom of each block going all the way across. This may have not been the best approach or I should have tried really hard at this point to get things super straight but I didn't. I had a lot of bias cut fabrics in these blocks so some of the blocks ended up pretty distorted. I didn't realize until I was about halfway done and by that point I wasn't ripping it all out, so I just went with it and smoothed everything as much as I could. I quilted a 1" grid over the whole quilt working vertically first and then finishing horizontally. I didn't have any puckering (or only one or two spots because of the bias.) So even though it is far from perfect I still love the overall affect. Each block was exactly 6" tall so the math fell just right with the 1" grid and if you ever choose to quilt a grid do the math first to make sure the lines fall where you want them to.
Once this one was quilted, I trimmed and squared it up, which was rather surprisingly easy considering my bias problems. Yeah! I had a solid blue binding already made for this quilt but misplaced it and after searching for quite some time I gave up and cut new binding from this fantastic striped rainbow print that I think was perfectly appropriate. Now I just have to decide where to hang this one in our house! Fun!
Linking up at the very last minute, my one finish for the first quarter of the Finish-A-Long. Though I 'm sad I never even got a chance to touch the other quilt I had hoped to finish, I am thrilled that I at least completed one, took photos and blogged about it! Insert crazy happy jazz hands right here! I'll be back in a few days with my goals for Quarter 2.
A feisty mom designing, sewing and blogging her way through everyday life!