A finished book pillow and an old project revived

I’ve been enjoying an ‘at home’ week. My diary this year swings from a week based largely at home followed by a week where my fortnightly and monthly commitments all fall together. Still, the contrast is stimulating and it’s making me more disciplined re. planning ahead and being realistic about just what I can achieve in any one week! Being indoors for much of this week has been no bad thing: Last Friday we had a 6″ snowfall followed by the usual days of treacherous, icy pavements, then a day or two respite before the current westerly storm arrived hurling rain at us – it is pretty wild outdoors today!

I have been out of the house of course, a couple of walks and a Pilates class. Pilates is new to me. I joined a local class that several of my friends go to. I’ve been to five, maybe six sessions and I can already feel the benefits. My main motivation for going was to relieve lower back pain (muscular, not joints or discs) and work on the unexpected effects of the menopause. Hot flushes? Yes! Kind of expected those when my surgeon announced that the effects of surgery eight years ago would cause me to ‘crash into the menopause’. But other effects have crept up on me over those years – my balance is out (I quite often walk into door frames, I even misjudged walking round our bedroom, falling over the end of the bed, giving myself a black eye (!) and I wobble about when I’m getting dressed!) and any suppleness I had seems to be disappearing rapidly. I’m not sure Pilates will help restore my memory, which is dreadful at the moment, but I’m convinced the strengthening and balancing exercises will help to counteract the physical changes brought on by the menopause.

Anyway, into the sewing room ๐Ÿ™‚ With 7th March, World Book Day, rapidly approaching I’ve been continuing to make book pillows. Here is the latest:

Playtime Book Pillow set (2) by Allison Reid

I matched it up with a quilt I made using Moda 30’s Playtime retro prints. The pocket on the front is made with 2ยฝ” squares I cut from fabrics left over from the half-square triangle quilt project. The cute fabric that forms the main body of the cushion cover is a wonderfully soft cotton flannel. There are now several quilt and book pillow sets listed in my Etsy shop ๐Ÿ™‚ www.etsy.com/shop/AllisonsPatchworks

I-Spy Test Block by Allison ReidThe ‘old project revived’ is an I-Spy quilt I started to plan back in June last year. I intended to write a pattern using quick piecing techniques but got distracted and then came over all indecisive about fabric choices (What moi? Indecisive? Surely not? Ha!Ha!). I finally got down to it yesterday, opened up my draft pattern in Word and cut up the fabrics (the light blue was a purchase made during our recent visit to Heidelberg). Here is the first test block – glad to know that with the help of EQ7 my math is correct. I intend to chain piece the remaining forty-one blocks in double quick time!

I’ve also been making more Trip Around the World Blocks. More about those in my Saturday Quilt & Share post tomorrow, along with a bumper pack of recommended posts from quilty bloggers around the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

Linking with Michelle at From Bolt to Beauty for Beauties Pageant – she has curated a collection of beautiful quilts in her blog post – and with Myra for Finished or Not Friday.

Allison

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (34)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. I wonder which projects you will be bringing along to this virtual sewing day and which quilty conversations have got you buzzing this week? If you’d like to share a link to your latest project or add to the conversations in this post please do use the comments box at the bottom of the page. Thank you!

Behind the Palm House, Kew by Allison Reid
Behind the Palm House, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

I’m making slow progress with my projects at the moment, partly because I’ve had some lovely days out (see my photos of Kew Gardens drenched in warm October sunshine here) and partly because I’ve been working on a long-term goal. This big goal of mine is to translate my patchwork designs into patterns . It’s taken me a lot of time and effort to get over my tech-phobia but I have now established a rather laborious, but not ineffective, way of using EQ7 and Microsoft Word to produce patterns. Writing patterns takes time, and that time has taken me away from my sewing machine…

So it is with some pride and much relief that I share with you my latest pattern, published under my label, ‘Sunrise Patchwork Patterns’. The Patchwork Star table runner requires just five fat quarters to complete the top plus additional fabrics for the backing, wadding and optional binding. The instructions include three ways to make the Half Square Triangles used in the pattern plus two methods to complete the runner – one with binding the other without binding.

Ptchwork Star Table runner pattern by Allison Reid

The pattern is available in two PDF download versions from my Etsy Shop, AllisonsPatchworks. One download has been configured to print on A4 paper, the other on US Letter paper.

Read moreSaturday Quilting Bring & Share (34)

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (32)

Welcome to Saturday Bring & Share, a virtual sewing day. Bring along your project and share in the latest news and views from the worldwide quilty community. You are very welcome to share links to your latest project or any of the quilty conversations that have caught your interest through the the past week. Just leave your thoughts and links in the comments box at the end of this page. Oh! And don’t forget to use the subscribe box to ensure you receive email notifications whenever I publish a blog post. Thank you!

I’ve managed a better balance between sewing machine and lap top this week. The lap top has mainly been used to add fresh items to my ETSY shop. Writing product information takes a surprisingly long time – and editing the product photos takes even longer! For the first time I’ve added some fabrics to my shop items. I’m in de-clutter mode at the moment – I think it is the changing season that has brought this about as Summer clothing and outdoor furniture is put away and Winter garments and occupations begin to take over. So even the sewing room has had a little declutter. It’s been good to finally give up some fabrics that I’d bought for projects I no longer have the time or motivation to pursue.

It’s been satisfying to do some sewing. I’m in the early stages of preparing a new workshop, ‘Using Up Scraps’. One of the techniques I’m planning to teach is crazy patchwork. Up till now I’ve only ever created crazy patchwork by using a stitch and flip method on a foundation fabric. Earlier in the Summer I was inspired by a friend to purchase a roll of stiffening material called In-R-Form by Bosal (although most sewists in the UK seem to be calling it by the manufacturers name rather than by the mouthful ‘In-R-Form’!). My friend bought her Bosal from Empress Mills and told me about the website’s link to a bag making You Tube video. I had to smile when I got home, found the website and clicked on the link only to find Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company with Vanessa aka ‘Crafty Gemini’ making a tote bag using a Jelly Roll and Bosal. What a fun pairing those ladies are! Anyway that got me thinking to try making a basket using Bosal decorated with crazy patchwork.

Bosal basket by Allison Reid

I cut a piece of Bosal, 9″ x 12″, and covered one side with crazy patchwork. It was very easy to stitch through the Bosal and it has created a firm but flexible basket. Unfortunately I made a bit of a boo-boo in choosing to make the basket fairly small. Once I’d made the lining I realised the side seams were less than four inches long. Of course I need to leave an opening in one of the seams to be able to turn the bag the right way out once the lining is stitched to the outer. But I think that opening needs to be at least three inches long in order to squish the flexible but bulky Bosal through the gap. Hum! I will have another go at making a basket but this time increase the size by a few inches…

Candover Village Hall by Allison Reid

We have been blessed with a few days of Summer in Autumn, clear blue skies and warm sunshine. On Thursday I was able to join friends at ourย  monthly sewing day out in the beautiful Candover Valley, Hampshire. We meet in a village hall/come cricket pavilion next to the Victorian Church of St Peter. What a wonderful setting – so peaceful (well! apart from our chatter and the whir of sewing machines!). We took our lunches out onto the patio overlooking the cricket ground, basking in the sunshine, listening to the birds and just enjoying the treat of a warm day so late in September.

Candover Cricket Ground by Allison Reid

St Peter's Brown Candover by Allison ReidFarm House Brown Candover by Allison Reid

Before lunch I worked on my contribution to Roundabout Quilters’ raffle quilt. We will each make a house or tree block (final size 12″ square) which in the New Year will all be joined quilt-as-you-go style ready for the publicity shots for our group exhibition next September. I have pinned my block into it’s quilt sandwich and intend to add the quilting stitches this weekend.

House Block by Allison Reid

After that lovely sunny lunch I went back into the hall and worked on another project. I made more half square triangles using some of my stash of Civil War reproduction fabrics. The rich, earthy colours of these fabrics are well suited to the rapid shift from bright Summer to golden Autumn that is taking place all around us. I’d like to arrange these HSTs into blocks and stitch them together over the weekend.

Civil War HSTs by Allison Reid

As usual there have been a whole host of interesting and inspiring blog posts to read over the past week or so. Here are just a few of the ones I have enjoyed and hope you will too:

Shannon has written an encouraging blog post to get us over our fears ofย modifying and creating quilt patterns. She included a link to a quilting calculator app by Robert Kaufman. How handy is that? ๐Ÿ™‚

Christa Watson has taken her quilt design process back a stage and has been designing fabrics. In this post she has lots of photos to show how a fabric design sketched on a piece of paper evolves into a real bolt of fabric. Fascinating!

I’m always on the look out for sewing room makeovers and Irene has posted the latest changes she has made to her sewing space – re-purposing IKEA units and other furniture from around her home. Ingenious and practical!

Now put your feet up and hug a cup of something warm while you read and feast your eyes on Christa’s lovely post about her recent teaching trip to Tasmania and Adelaide, Australia. She took her family and they look to have a lot of fun.

Linking with Myra for Finished or Not Friday.

Have a great weekend. Happy stitching.

Allison

 

 

Surprising, shocking pink!

Last week I spent a lot of my sewing time not sewing but on my laptop writing up the ‘Cabin in the Woods‘ block pattern. At the weekend I made an executive decision (after all I am my own CEO!) to take a break from screens and do some sewing! I also spent a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon watching our youngest son playing in a light-hearted charity tennis tournament.Ready to Receive a serve by Allison Reid

All this is by way of an explanation for my failure to publish a Saturday Quilting Bring & Share blog post! It will be back!

Shocking pink borders by Allison Reid

Read moreSurprising, shocking pink!