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Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all be keeping busy and are well on your way to be ready for Christmas. I’ve been getting plenty done and I’m almost there. I have been concentrating on nothing but Christmas for weeks. I’m getting really excited about it.

I’ve done very little sewing lately. I have fallen in love with knitting socks. I’ve lost count of how many pairs I have knitted but it’s quite a few more than I thought I could ever knit. My lovely friend Lynne has taken me under her wing and pointed me in the right direction as to where to purchase nice sock wool. And she has introduced me to carbon fibre double pointed needles. I think these new-to-me needles are the bee’s knees and the cat’s meow all wrapped in one. They feel comfortable to work with because they don’t feel cold like metal ones. And the metal tips stay sharp unlike bamboo needles. So, if you haven’t tried these carbon fibre double pointed needles, I can confirm that they work for me.

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Once again, as in previous years I am doing a low-key Christmas. I have put just a few decorations up, a few twinkling fairy lights, a tiny Christmas tree, a bit of tinsel garland, a wreath or two and I’ll be making paper chains to give it all a vintage look. I like vintage. And I love candles; candles add warmth and atmosphere to any room.

As 2016 draws to a close, I ponder the past year. Most of you who have been reading my blog posts for a while will know that my family life has changed somewhat since the turn of the year. I am now a single parent waiting for all the legalities to be sorted out. When all this kicked off just after the turn of the year I thought it was the end of the world as I knew it. I have since lived and learned that life doesn’t end when your husband decides he doesn’t want you anymore. In fact, I have learned that life has so much more to offer than I ever realised. I lived a very sheltered and isolated life for decades. During the months since separating from my husband I have experienced things I could never imagine existed. I’ve had good days and bad days from which I bounced back stronger and wiser. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. My brand new shiny life is waiting for me whenever I’m ready to get started. 2017 doesn’t seem to be such a scary place to be going  to anymore.

I mentioned earlier that I haven’t done much sewing lately. Well here’s a little peek at the latest project I started …..

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As you know I love appliqué work and earlier this autumn I went to a Quilts for Comfort volunteer meeting where my friend Sandra taught a fab session of quirky raw edge appliqué. This flower design is her creation which I resized smaller and added to my current project. Inspiration comes from so many different places but none more often than directly from creative friends. So, thank you Sandra for inspiring me to push on with this little project. I love this flower and I so wanted to add it to something. I have other ideas of how to use this beautiful little flower on other projects. I hope to come back in the new year with photos of this current finished piece.

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I have received several messages from concerned readers in the last few days. So today I thought it was important that I post something to reassure you that Sarah and I are fine and we’re both really looking forward to Christmas. Life can be a scary place sometimes but I have grown as a person over the months and realised that the most important part of life is family, reasonable health and finding joy wherever possible. The past is in the past and dwelling on it doesn’t do anybody any good. It’s time to move forward and enjoy life to the best of our ability. 2017 will put us all on the right path again. I wanted to thank everyone who has been thinking about Sarah and I. Your good wishes and kind thoughts have been greatly appreciated. And should I be silent for too long again, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to email you with news.

So, for this evening, this very happy and super ambitious quilt maker will possibly draw some new blocks for my newest quilt design. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something Christmassy. I wish you all plenty of joy during this festive season. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super week. Here in my little corner of the northeast of England it’s definitely starting to feel like winter. To my dismay I have not seen any white flakes yet!

Is it just me or are the weeks just flying by. Christmas will soon be here and not far behind will be the New Year. As far as I know there are still 24 hours in a day so there’s no reason for the days to whizz by so quick. I’m keeping good and busy with chores and plenty of crafty bits. No sooner do I get up in the morning that it’s getting dark and time to pull the curtains closed.

I did a wee bit more work on my Moving Forward quilt block. So, here’s a little bit more info on how I approached the task. Once you have done the fine hand appliqué stitching securing the large petal type shapes it’s time to add the centre circle. Now I have done a little tutorial before. So, to see the tutorial click here. Making really good circles is so simple. First you will need a cardboard circle template. Cereal box card is perfect for this job.

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Trace the template onto your chosen fabric. Leaving a generous margin of at least ¼” trim the fabric in a nice circle shape.

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Using a doubled strand of thread sewing a running stitch all the way around approx. 1/8” from the edge. I sew on the right side of the fabric because it’s easier to tie off from the right side. Now insert the card template and centre it. Now pull on the thread which will result in the fabric gathering up around the template. Make sure the fabric is pretty snug around the template and secure in place by stitching a few stitches.

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Now press the wrong side and let cool. Press the right side and let cool. Remove the template.

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Place the really good circle in the centre of the large petal type shapes, pin and tack in place. Appliqué the circle in place and voila you can now finally see your Moving Forward block coming to life.

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My next step is to square off my block. In this case I cut my background fabric 13” in order to be able to square off my block down to 12-1/2”. And the reason I cut my background fabric larger is that by the time my block is finished the edges have frayed and become messy. So, cutting it larger and pressing guidelines in to centre the design works really well for me.

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Once you’ve squared off your block you have a decision to make. You can either leave it as is or you can add corners to it. For my big quilt, I decided to add corners. This is how that works. For each block, you will need to cut 4 squares 3-1/2”. On the wrong side of the fabric, draw a line diagonally from corner to corner. Aline the square to the corner of the block and sew on the drawn line.

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Now trim away the excess fabric.

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Press the seam outward.

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My demo block will be turned into a cushion so I have added a border but if I was making a quilt I would be adding sashing and corners etc. The sashing on my big quilt was made using 2-1/2” in strips and the cornerstones were 2-1/2” squares. I will do my best to turn all the info I have posted into a printable document sometime in the next few days to post next week. In the meantime, you will find the relevant templates here.

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It’s been a busy week in happy quilt maker land. I have worked on various projects including knitting socks. I completely forgot to take a photo of my finished socks. I have started working on a second pair. I think knitting socks is addictive! So, I will be on the hunt for nice sock yarn over the next few weeks in order to keep knitting them.

So, for this evening, this very happy a super ambitious quilt maker will be knitting. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something that makes you happy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching ♥ ♥

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a great week. Autumn is in full swing here in my little corner of the northeast of England. I’m keeping up with collecting and disposing of the fallen leaves. I love this time of year. I love closing the blinds and settling in for the evening. I don’t quite go into hibernation but I think if I had the chance I would!!!

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I was hoping to finish all the info on my Moving Forward block but I had a little mishap yesterday which prevented me from the finishing the job. However, today I will reveal some of my favourite supplies that I use which give me really good results. So, let’s start with how I secure the patches in place. For this part of the process I use the finest thread I can find. In years gone by I used 100wt Silk thread spun by YLI. It can be a wee bit tricky to find in shops but there are plenty of vendors on the internet. In the last four years or so I have been experimenting with 100wt Invisifil by Wonderfil.

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I’m very happy to report that the Invisifil works really well for me so I am happy to recommend it. This thread is so fine that your stitches just melt into the fabric giving you invisible stitches which is exactly what you want. Along with the Invisifil I use Bohin appliqué needles, size works really well for me. Between the fine thread and the fine needle, I am able to make small stitches by taking a tiniest bite of the edge of the appliqué patch and the tiniest bite of the background fabric. This is why my stitches are obvious.

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It hard to believe that some 22 years ago when I first started quilt making I stayed away from appliqué work. I couldn’t face the fine stitching. Nowadays I think nothing of design my own appliqué projects and thoroughly enjoy the whole process from start to finish. I believe it’s good to experiment with different tools and supplies. Sometimes we crossover using tools meant for other techniques that work really well. So, have a go and if you find something that works well for you share it with us so we can benefit too.

I have a little tip for you today. Now and again there will be a little fabric fraying on your appliqué patches. You know those pesky loose threads that can be difficult to tuck in under while you doing the fine hand sewing??? Well if you find yourself with 3 or 6 loose threads you will need a cocktail stick and your trusty fabric glue pen. Tease away a tiny little bit of glue from your glue pen onto you cocktail stick. A little glue goes a long way to taming the loose threads. All you need to do is running the gluey cocktail stick along the loose threads while directing them under and between the layers of fabric. Once the threads are hidden press it down with your finger and continue sewing the area. Fabric glue is water soluble so when you wash the quilt there will be no traces of it.

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At this point, I must stress that this is the method I use for appliqué. I’m sure there are other ways to approach this task. I choose the more relaxed approach. I shall return next week to show you how to make really good circles. And hopefully I will be able to collate all the info in one printable document to help you along.

After my little taste of knitting over the last few weeks and thoroughly enjoying myself, I added knitting socks to my To-Do List. I ordered some sock yarn and go started …..

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My knitting needles are a size 2.5mm. When I saw how fine the needles are I thought I would be at it for ages but what you see is what I produced in a couple of hours one evening!!! I am enjoying this fine knitting. I hate to say it but I might be hooked. It looks like a few different people will be getting socks for Christmas.

It’s been a good week in my little world. Winter is just around the corner and I’m enjoying autumn. The quilts and the woollies are definitely coming in handy now. There’s nothing nicer than snuggling under a handmade quilt while stitching something else.

So, for this evening, this very happy and super ambitious quilt maker will be doing some fine hand appliqué with my favourite tools and supplies. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing what makes you happy. Surround yourself with people who appreciate and love you and make the most of everyday you have with them. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a super enjoyable day. It’s already the last day of October!!! The end of year is approaching far too quickly.

So, I’m back today with a little more info about how I approached the task of piecing my Moving Forward quilt blocks ….. Once you have tacked your fabric shapes to the Freezer Paper and you have done a really job pressing the shapes let them cool. Once the shapes are cool you can remove the tacking stitching and remove the paper gently. If you have done a really good job pressing you will find that your fabric has good sharp creases in the shape of the Freezer Paper shapes. Now we’re ready to layout the shapes and tack them to the background fabric. Do you remember how I pressed guidelines diagonally from corner to corner? Well now is when those guidelines become very useful …..

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I use proper appliqué pins for this job. Appliqué pins are shorter than normal patchwork or dressmaking pins and so when it comes to tacking the patches in place my pins don’t interfere with the thread while you sewing your running stitch around the patches.

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Now some of you may be thinking that this seems like a lot of work, however, I think that prepping can make all the difference to the final result of your project. Tip: prepare loads of patches and spend an afternoon sitting quietly pinning and tacking a whole lot of blocks in one go. When I spend an afternoon prepping, I catch up on some of the TV shows that I tape for just such occasions. In life, the journey is every bit as much fun as reaching your destination. So, the prep work for a quilt is just as satisfying as the hand finishing the binding.

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Something that I don’t think I have mentioned yet ….. you can re-use your Freezer Paper shapes a couple of times. So, if you’re making a big quilt like the one I produced cut a dozen Freezer Paper shapes and re-use them. Once they don’t stick anymore cut a few more fresh ones and start again. I’ll be back later in the week with some more info about how I made my Moving Forward One Stitch at a Time quilt. It really was made one stitch at a time.

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I had a super weekend. I did lots of chores and relaxed in equal amounts. I did a wee bit of knitting instead of sewing. A change of pace is really good for the soul. This week I’m going to concentrate on hexies, two different kinds of hexie projects in fact.

So, for this evening, this very happy and super ambitious quilt maker will be working on hexies. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching ♥ ♥

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week. It’s been a rather busy one for me. I’ve done this and that and kept really busy as you do in autumn. Planning Christmas seems to be at the forefront of mind quite often. I want it to be perfect this year so I’m thinking it out properly. After all there are only 58 sleeps left until the big day.

I’m still waiting for the first real frost. I’m not trying to be miserable but I think a good hard frost will help to kill the coughs and cold germs making many people sick at this time of year. So, in my quest to be ready for the colder mornings I have knit some mittens this week …..

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And I plan on knitting a few more pairs because I have some yarn that needs knitting up. I learned to knit this design back in the 80s. A lovely lady named Rose taught me how to knit these. For some unknown reason I can knit these mittens in my sleep, no pattern needed. I hope someday to be able to knit socks without a pattern. Sock will be my next effort.

So, today I decided to give you a little more info on how I approached the task of piecing my Moving Forward quilt blocks. Let’s continue from where I left off last time ….. the next step after ironing the Freezer Paper shapes onto the wrong side of your chosen fabric is to tack the fabric to the paper …..

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Here’s a tip: when I tack the fabric to the paper, I work with the right side facing me. Because I’m pushing the overlapping fabric over the top of the paper and to the back away from me, I am able to keep the fabric snug to the paper which gives me a more accurate shape.

When I tack the fabric around the centre whole I clip around the shape. This helps me stretch the fabric in place where it should be without any pulling. Once I have tacked all my shapes I press them. Doing a good job pressing can make all the difference to your finished result. I could help myself I just needed to layout the shapes on my background fabric to see how it will look. I loved working on my Moving Forward quilt and I’m just as excited working on this single block. I will turn this into a cushion to match my quilt.

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Whether you just want to try this block to make a cushion cover or a whole quilt I’m sure you’ll enjoy making it. Don’t forget that I will turn all these little snippets of information, as well as the templates, into a document which you can print to use as a guideline. And don’t forget to stamp your personality to your project. I give you the bones to work with, it’s up to you to make it your own. I shall return next week with some more info and tips on how to make you own Moving Forward blocks.

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My lovely friend Sue gave me a lovely little gift a couple of weeks ago. She knows that I record different ideas as they come into my head. So, this little notebook will be tucked into my handbag so I can do just that …..

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It’s been a pretty good week in happy quilt maker land. Life is busy with regular everyday stuff. I stepped out this morning to start clearing the fallen leaves. I swept and bagged and sept some more. And the garden is looking rather tidy until the wind blows again. I do love this time of year. At the moment, I’m craving comfort food. So, for this evenings meal I decided to cook a comforting cottage pie. Later we will treat ourselves to hot chocolate with marshmallows while watching mindless TV shows. Autumn is my favourite time of year.

So, for this evening, this very happy and super ambitious quilt maker will be working on hexagons. I hope you have a super cosy evening doing something you truly love doing. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching ♥ ♥

LUCKY DAY

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’ve all had a brilliant autumn day. Here in my little corner of the northeast of England the leaves have been floating down to the ground and crunching under my feet. I love that feeling.

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After posting about my latest UFO finish and receiving loads of lovely comments expressing an interest in making my Moving Forward quilt, I have started pulling the info together. So, let’s get started. First of all, after searching around a little I found the peel-like template …..

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And traced it onto Freezer Paper …..

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And then ironed it on the back of my chosen fabric and trimmed the excess fabric away …..

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In anticipation of tacking and then securing the shapes onto the background fabric, I chose it and pressed some guidelines into it. I’m planning on working the next few steps this evening and posting some more about how I get results that I’m happy with over the next few days. I will also post a document with my words and the actual templates on it as well but for today I thought I would whet your appetite.

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It’s been a pretty good day in my little world. I ran some errands, did a couple of loads of washing; and somehow all the socks I put in the washing machine come out of the tumble dryer when it was all done! After ending up with an equal number of socks, I think I should buy a couple of lottery tickets just in case my luck is changing! I even got to use my new screwdrivers while trying to fix something with great success this afternoon. I’ve ended the day on a good note.

So, for this evening, this very happy and super ambitious quilt maker will be working on a step-by-step pictorial description of making a Moving Forward block. I hope you have super cosy evening doing something you truly enjoy doing. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching ♥ ♥ 

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I finished piecing this UFO quilt top, custom longarm quilted it, bound it and labelled it. I don’t usually name quilts but I named this quilt Moving Forward One Stitch at a Time. It’s now on my bed and I will appreciate the warmth and comfort it brings me all winter. I can’t believe I finished it.

I hope you’ve all enjoyed a fab weekend. We certainly have. Until you read me again,

Happy stitching ♥ ♥