Thursday, 20 November 2014

Stocking Fillers for Quilters!

There are lots of suggestions in blog land for crafty Christmas presents that you can make to give as gifts.  Anna, Fiona and I thought it would be fun to put together a post with items you might like to receive.  If you have family members or friends that are wondering what to get a Quilter for Christmas, or even ideas for things you might like to buy for your quilting best bud, how about some of these?

First up Fabric - can't go wrong with gifting a quilter some quilt shop cotton prints!

Charm packs (5" squares, 2 packs will make a baby quilt), a selection of fat eights and fat quarters, will always be welcome and will earn you a cup of tea and a biscuit if you drop by. If you are feeling really generous and drop by with a  fat quarter bundle of a quilters favourite designer, you will definitely be staying for Christmas dinner too!  (I was gifted this FQB of Kate Spain fabric last Christmas and am still hoarding it - just keeping the one bundle, everything else has been busted open to use!)

Quilters, for some reason, seem to amass quite a bit of bits and bobs and need somewhere to put them.  I got these jars in Homestore & More last year and have seen similar in Ikea.  They are perfect for thread and I keep Jelly rolls (2.5" strips) in them, not the most practical when you want the jelly roll in the bottom but they look pretty!

You may have seen the Gorjuss fabric panels at the Knitting & Stitching show.  Well they do the cutest tins too - perfect for storing kneedles, pins and buttons.

Check out these beautiful pins and scissors on Pincushion Crazy's Etsy shop.  Imagine opening a Gorjuss tin with a packet of these lovelies hidden inside. 
Image from Pincushion Crazy's Etsy shop

Image from Cafe Press
Cafe Press and companies like them will print images onto mugs, coasters, T-Shirts, mouse mats etc.  If you sign up for their newsletter you will get discount offers.
Image from Cafe Press

If they had one of these mugs with a Jack Russell on it I might be tempted!

Image from
Something else to decorate your craft room could be this hanger from the Cotton Patch.  They also have a version to hold thread and some really lovely quilt hangers too!

Like fabric, you can't go too far wrong with books.  If you are buying for an art quilter these two are worth a look.  Paper and Metal Leaf Lamination describes transferring images to fabric and you could also gift someone some inkjet fabric sheets too.  I'm not a big fan of compendium books but this Ultimate Guide to Art Quilting has tons of information on all sorts of techniques.

For the hand quilter I really like this embroidery book Doodle Stitching.  It has small and pretty motifs and soon you will be doodling your own designs and stitching them out.  The Farmers Wife, though a traditional sampler of 6" blocks hand stitched, has been doing the rounds.  Even though this is a traditional book, these blocks made in modern fabrics are really gorgeous themselves.  (Check out these lovely blocks by Sewgiving and you will see what I mean!)
Probably my most favourite book I've read all year is Quilting With a Modern Slant.  Sarah Fielke has a new book out too called Little Quilts which I bought and gifted and it was well received!

If you know someone who is into applique, you can find patterns online that won't break the bank.  They come complete with templates and some even come with cute buttons as embellishments.
Image from Patchwork Threads
For some fun stuff check out Patchwork Threads

Image from Patchwork Threads
Image from Clafoutine blog
I love this bobbin bracelet from Clafoutine's blog and Fiona is expecting this sweater from Three Little Numbers under the tree at Christmas.
Image from three little numbers
If practical is more you're thing, (I have 2 friends who love practical gifts - they always buy brilliantly for each other!), how about some items to make your sewing life easier?

Image from Quilt in a Day

This isn't for clobbering someone if they try and take away your fabric, this is a wooden iron for pressing seams without having to use a steam iron.   A rotating cutting mat is on my list and if you know someone who travels to sew, a cutting mat/ironing board combo like this one could come in handy.   Speciality rulers like these Jaybird rulers and Bloc Loc Rulers reviewed by Swim Bike Quilt would make great stocking fillers. 

Not sure you can get this into a Christmas stocking but I had to show you my Ikea kitchen trolley.  Those that were at the Galway retreat will remember I was mildly obsessed with getting one of these.  It was a birthday present!  I love it to bits and it holds a ton of stuff.

And while you are in Ikea you might as well pick up a bolt of Ikea Britten Nummer - makes great backing fabric!

The Pink carry organiser was found in the cards craft section of Hobby Lobby in USA last year - another great buy.  It's worth checking our the card making area of Craft shops to find cool storage ideas!

Image from
On my wish list is a die cutting machine - how handy would these be for circles and hexagons?
Image from

Anna is looking for an Oliso iron, the lifty ones!  They rise up and down automatically and prevent your fabric from burning.  Not sure about the voltage working in these parts but you may get a good deal next week if you are in the US for Thanksgiving sales.

Finally, if computers is your thing you could gift someone a Craftsy class.  I love Camille Roskelly's classes for quick modern quilts and Elizabeth Dackson and Ann Peterson's classes for Free Motion Quilting.  If you are feeling incredibly generous and know a quilter who is into designing their own quilts there is Electric Quilt software which now runs on Mac and PC.

What do you think?  Any of these grab you?  If you have any suggestions please let us know and feel free to print this out and give to your nearest and dearest, marked up, circled in red and you never know what you will find under the tree!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Bee Blessed - November

For November, Sarah and Judith are looking for a brilliant block made up of strips, similar to the trip around the world blocks, with a white square creating a chain across the diagonal.  This is a great block to use up jelly roll strips. 
 You can have great fun playing with layout if you make a few of these!  Sarah has shown a number of layouts and cutting instructions for this block on her blog here!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Modern Irish {Scrappy} Bee: November Block

Round 2 for me, ding ding!

Anyone who didn't quite enjoy the lack of measuring and exactness of my April blocks will be happy to know this month's block isn't like that ;)

I have had a busy few months, with moving across the country and getting everyone settled and things into some semblence of order. There have been a few constants, one of which being this Sewing Bee, and a number of good friends I've 'met' through sewing and have listened to my moans/rants/rages and made me laugh each of the times!

I was browsing Pinterest for quilt blocks that struck me, when a quilt popped up and pulled me right in. I knew I'd seen it before, and when I clicked on the link, it brought me straight to Fluffy Sheep's blog, and her beautiful gifted Circle of Friends quilt. At that moment, the stars aligned and I had a lightbulb moment!

*warning, it gets a bit fluffy now*

I am part of a circle of women through a Shaman centre, called Moon Mná. We gather each month around the full moon, to tap into the energy, and perform a meditation circle, with some energy cleansing preceding it. It's a time for me, as a woman, to be just that. Things have changed slightly now that I live away from the centre in Dublin, but the circle has changed dynamic too, so there are now remote groups and all synchronising at the same time, in the same theme. Anyway, I digress somewhat, if anyone is interested, message me ;)

So, back to this month's blocks. Using Cindy's Circle of Friends quilt as inspiration, made up of a 'circle' of squares block, I will bring together all of your blocks to create my 'Women's Circle' quilt. I would appreciate if you could do something else for me while making these blocks.... this is entirely up to you, as it is a very personal thing. I would like you to use whatever method you like to imbibe these blocks with positivity, with female energy ;) This could simply be you making the blocks while in a positive state of mind, saying a prayer/chant/spellcasting over the blocks, dance around them, meditate with them... the list goes on, I hope you get the idea ;) As I said, it's a personal thing, I don't expect to hear the what or the how, this is more about the energies from all of you, and bringing them together into a quilt, which I believe, will be a blanket or shroud of healing. How could it not be?

Onto the block! It is a scrappy block, and I would like you to use Kona White as the background. Fussy cutting is welcome, no kiddie fabrics (Aneela Hoey style cute is fine). No heavy florals, or browns/blacks, no batiks. The scrappy squares should be bright, rainbow spiral.

The tutorial is from Emerald Coast Modern Quilt Guild. It is based on the 9-patch layout, using the placement of the scrappy, focus fabric, squares to create a circle. I would like you to make two of these blocks, both measuring 12.5" square. All seams are 1/4".

The block is made up of three different units: A, B, and C
The two A units make the top and bottom centre pieces, the four B units the four corners, and the single C unit is the centre.

Cutting instructions
Focus Fabric: Eight 2.5" squares of scrappy colourful fabric
Kona White:
  • 8 strips 2.5" * 1.5" for Unit A
  • 8 strips 4.5" * 1.5" for Unit A
  • 4 squares 2.5" * 2.5" for Unit B
  • 4 strips 4.5" * 2.5" for Unit B
  • 1 centre square 4.5" * 4.5" for Unit C
Before assembling, decide on the placement of your focus fabric squares. If you've fussy-cut, make sure you've the pieces placed the right way up ;)

Assembling Unit A - make 4
Take the focus fabric square, and attach the 2.5" * 1.5" strips to either side of the square (press seams towards the focus fabric).
Then attach the 4.5" * 1.5" strips to the top and bottom, again pressing towads the focus fabric.

Assembling Unit B - make 4
Attach a Kona White 2.5" square to the focus fabric square, press towards the white.
Then attach the 4.5" * 2.5" strip, keeping the focus square to the top left of the block (remember any directional print positioning), and press towards the white.
Finally, attach the top row to the centre row, nesting the seams, and then attach the bottom row.
Press well, and trim to 12.5" square.

Block assembly
Now it's time to put it all together. Reposition all the units in the order you want. Then take the left Unit B and attach to the Unit A, followed by the right Unit B, for both the top and bottom rows. Press the seams on two rows towards the unit B blocks. Attach the two centre Unit As to the Unit C square, pressing towards the centre Unit C.

That's it! Your two, energy imbibed, circle blocks ;)

Finally, if you could include a few scrappy 2.5" squares (only if you have them, and feel extra generous), I would really appreciate it!

I hope you enjoy this block, I can't wait to put all these together and watch the sparks fly ;)