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 🙂 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 2½” 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 🙂 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. 🙂

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

Piecing Orange Peel Blocks – a photo tutorial

Last Friday I took the short walk to our local Hobbycraft. There were several reasons – I needed some fresh air; I needed to stretch my legs; my Craft Group needed supplies; I was on the look out for a quilt magazine; and, hep-hem, I didn’t half fancy a bar of chocolate for lunch 😀 It was a beautiful day, I felt a lot better for the walk, I made some purchases for Craft Group and treated myself to a copy of Today’s Quilter and a bar of Cadbury’s finest 🙂

The free gift on the front of the magazine caught my eye: a set of templates designed for making Orange Peel blocks.

Today's Quilter Orange Peel templates

Of course, I had to have a go … And I was pleased with this first attempt at piecing an Orange Peel block – no wrinkles in the seams and smooth looking curves 🙂 There is a page in the magazine giving a few instructions, hints and tips as to how to use the templates. Yesterday I took the templates, my background fabric and some fabrics from my stash to the monthly sewing day at Brown Candover. Several happy hours were spent creating Orange Peel blocks in the gentle company of friends.

If you are curious about curved piecing here is a little photo tutorial of how I made the Orange Peel blocks along with some of the handy tips I picked up along the way.

Read morePiecing Orange Peel Blocks – a photo tutorial

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (35)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. It’s lovely to have you join this virtual sewing day 🙂 Bring along your project(s) and share in the quilty conversations buzzing around the world-wide-web. You can always share links in the comments box at the bottom of the page – links to your project or to something quilty that has inspired you this week.

Beginners Quilt 6 by Allison Reid

Read moreSaturday Quilting Bring & Share (35)

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (33)

Welcome to another edition of Saturday Quilting Bring & Share. If you are anything like me you will be in a dilemma about which of your current projects to bring to this virtual sewing day! (See below for a little round up of the works in progress (WIPs) scattered around my sewing room). I have been enjoying catching up with some of the quilty conversations bloggers have been sharing – there is a selection below and you can find more on my Pinterest board ‘Pins of the Week‘ 🙂 Dive in!

It has been a funny old week. It started at 4.30am on Monday when we roused ourselves from restless sleeps to travel to Heathrow Airport. Our youngest son is off on a big adventure: he’s spending this, the third of four University years, studying at Heidelberg Uni, Germany. He is studying Liberal Arts, majoring in German. He’ll be taking all his chosen modules in the German language – history, philosophy, film…. He was only ten years old the last time he flew with us so you can imagine he was a little nervous about negotiating the airport on his own. Glad to say he managed the whole journey to the student accommodation in Heidelberg without mishap – plane, train, bus and tram!Image result for map of germany showing heidelberg

On a side note, we could not believe how much traffic there was on the motorways leading to London, even before 6am. We were driving east, just before sunrise, and the four ribbons of red tail lights ahead of us showed us unbroken streams of vehicles heading towards the Capital. We are so grateful not to be faced with that journey as a daily commute.

The poor night’s sleep and the early alarm call made me feel very tired for a couple of days. I stuck to the more straightforward tasks on my to-do list – ironing, cleaning, and fabric cutting. (I did try to do something on the computer and discovered pretty quickly just how low my resilience levels were!). Nevermind, I’ve caught up on sleep now, worked on a patchwork pattern without throwing the computer across the room or bursting into tears and have had a fairly cheery WhatsApp chat with the young man in Germany 🙂

So to my projects:

  1. Something I’m calling ‘Hidden Stars’ is up on my design wall at the moment. The blocks are large at 16″ and I’m thinking a 3 x 3 setting with a border… I do enjoy these richly coloured Moda fabrics with their subtle sheen.Hidden Stars on the design wall by Allison Reid
  2. I’ve fussy-cut two sets of novelty print 5″ squares ready to make at least one I-Spy quilt. I have the fabrics for the sashing and borders. The plan being to make the quilt as a means of prompting revisions to a partially written pattern…Novelty fabrics by Allison Reid
  3. I will be teaching another Beginners Course at Purple Stitches this term. Actually the first session is this weekend. I’ve checked through and printed out the first handouts for my students and prepared some fabrics for my SIXTH version of the Beginners Quilt! I’ve decided to use up more of my 1930’s reproduction fabrics, setting them in a plus-sign design. Ready to make Beginners #6One of my too-tired-to-think jobs earlier in the week was to sort through the fabrics cutting them into 5″ or 2½” squares. I’m not decided what to do with these left overs. Perhaps it’s time to remove them from my stash? I have listed a few stash fabrics in my ETSY shop – sometimes it’s time to move on and accept that enthusiasm for certain projects has waned and the fabrics bought in anticipation are now surplus to requirements.

And this week there was one small but welcome finish! I had another go at making a crazy patchwork basket. This time I increased the size of the piece of Bosal ‘In R Form’ to 14″ x 12″. I think for the ‘Using Up Scraps’ class in November I will recommend students start with a piece measuring 16″ x 12″ just to make sure it’s not too much of a struggle turning the basket inside out after joining the outer layer to the lining.

Crazy patchwork baskets by Allison Reid
The little one was my first attempt, the larger one today’s effort 🙂

Finally, but by no means least, here is my selection of the conversations being raised in the worldwide quilty community this week:

Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs has recently released a Jelly Roll friendly pattern called ‘Winter Wreaths‘. It looks effective and Cheryl says there are very few seams to match so it would be ideal for a beginner and/or a quick project.

Jessica makes very colourful quilts – in her on-going series about quilting modern quilts she has shared ‘All Squared In’, a clever, simple design that shows off the ‘modern log cabin’ squares and her marvelous quilting.

Julie of Jaybird Quilts has just released her latest pattern. Called ‘Ribbon Candy‘ it is a very effective twist on the traditional Rail Fence Block. Well worth a look – even if it’s just to go gooey-eyed at the sight of her tiny baby, Nathan 🙂 modelling the quilt.

If you are the writer of a quilty blog then you’ll be interested to know there is a new Friday finish linky called Brag About Your Beauties hosted by Michelle of ‘From Bolt to Beauty’. A great place to share your finish, gain inspiration for your next project and generally share the world-wide quilty love 🙂

Carole Lyles Shaw has been at work in her sewing room de-stashing and de-cluttering. Her methodical approach to not only organising her fabrics but also her ideas and project priorities gives me hope that I could succeed in bringing my own clutter and swirling ideas under control. 🙂

Do you benefit from setting yourself goals and finding a way to be held accountable to those goals? How about posting your One Monthly Goal for October with Elm Street Quilts? Plenty of quilters already have. It doesn’t have to be a finish, it could be to cut out all the fabric for a quilt top, or piece ten blocks … Don’t hang about, the linky closes this weekend!

I’m linking this post to Myra’s Finished or Not Friday  – do click over and be inspired by the creativity of quilters from around the World.

Happy stitching.

Allison