Saturday, July 9, 2016

Crochet Update

I'm way overdue posting a crochet update but I do have a couple of finished projects to share. My crochet time has been limited lately with hours spent at the sewing machine working on big projects I can't share for awhile.
First up, my Fran blanket:
I finished this blanket weeks ago and as our nights have been cold, its been well used and loved. It lives on one of our armchairs and its a great size to grab and snuggle under. I actually find these crochet blankets harder to photograph than quilts, so I grabbed a shot of how I find it abandoned in the armchair and it does look warm and inviting..
The design is sweet and simple and in the end I was quite pleased with how it turned out. The yarn is so beautiful to work with (Bendigo Woolen Mills 8ply Cotton) and there's no splitting or twisting as you work; its my yarn of choice lately and I recommend trying it if you haven't already.
All the details for the Fran Blanket can be found HERE.
And lastly, a very dear friend of mine is becoming a grandmother in October and we are all super excited. I am starting to put together a parcel for her new little grandson and I had to crochet one of these:
Meet Jax the Jellyfish. I saw this pattern everywhere on Facebook and Instagram and knew he would be perfect to hang in the nursery. He has such a happy little face and I'm hoping the new mum to be will love him. I think at some stage I'm going to have to make one for myself because he's going to be hard to part with. Regardless, I'm hoping this will earn me some cuddle time with the new little man :)
The pattern is from One Dog Woof and if you want to make one too, you can find the free pattern HERE.
I'm still working on my Mandala but progress is slow and most nights my concentration levels are as well. I've also started a straight edge chevron blanket for Maddi (pattern can be found HERE), in two shades of purple but that is a super long term project and I'll share that later when its finished; sometime this century I hope :)
Back to the hook :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Border Inspiration Part 1

It's time to chat about borders for our Chatelaine Sampler Quilts.
Borders can be as simple or as intricate as you want, as wide or as narrow as you prefer and either pieced or appliqued depending on what you think is right for your quilt. No matter what style you choose, how many you add or how wide you make them, adding borders requires a little inspiration and a lot of the dreaded Maths (my least favorite subject BTW).
I was a little unsure how to present the border options to you, as there are endless possibilities for each of the layouts, and they both finish at different sizes.  Instead I decided to give you some Border Inspiration.  I'm going to share lots of ideas in two blog posts and hopefully they will provide you with some possible options. In Part 2, I will give you the pattern for the borders I chose for my Chatelaine quilt..
In each of the following examples, I have "floated" the quilt centre by firstly adding a narrow white border.
So, lets have a look at some possibilities:
Plain butted borders are a great way to showcase some of your larger floral fabrics. They provide the perfect frame and give a lovely finish to any quilt. Consider using solids as borders as well, they make the perfect background for some lovely applique.
By including corner blocks, you can add some lovely pieced feature blocks; perhaps choosing your favorite block or element from the quilt centre or choosing something from the Bonus Block file.
Long narrow stripes, also make a great frame. You could keep the corner blocks plain or make them a pieced block, to add something special. Smaller vertical stripes create a wonderful piano key border and this is a great way to use up some of your scraps and tie in the fabrics you used in your sampler blocks.
Narrow stripes, running all around the quilt, provide a lovely frame. Consider making the stripes different widths and spacing them with your white background fabric for a more open effect.
I personally love a checkerboard border. The palette can be uniform or scrappy and strip piecing makes them quick and easy. They look lovely as shown in the diagrams, but also consider mixing them with some stripes for a different effect, like these options:
So there's a few ideas for you to consider. Keep in mind, your border should compliment your quilt, not overpower or crowd your quilt centre.
There are some wonderful tutorials to help with measuring and attaching quilt borders, so if you are looking for some assistance, check out the following links:

I've also started a Pinterest board for you and I'll keep adding inspiring borders, as I find them, so make sure you follow me HERE to see what other ideas I pin:
Next week, I'll share part 2 of my Border Inspiration and I'll also give you the free pattern for the option I used for my Chatelaine quilt. Plus, I'll show you my quilt :)
Until then, happy sewing :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Enigma Mini Quilt + Your Free July 2016 Calendar

Winter is in full swing down under and June has been a cold and wet month for us, with terrible flooding across the state and lots of snow in the highlands. I love this time of the year; its perfect quilt snuggling weather. With June almost over, its time for my new Monthly Mini Quilt and your free July 2016 Calendar.
I have a stunning mini for you this month, so without further ado let me introduce you to, Enigma:
This design is my interpretation of one of the blocks referred to as "Bachelor's Puzzle". I have omitted the applique element and designed this as a paper pieced mini that is constructed in nine, quick and easy sections.
I chose a lovely palette of teal, grey and navy and I think they look striking teamed with the crisp white homespun. I shopped my stash again for this one and was thrilled to find a new "forever home" for some of my older fabrics.
Enigma finishes at around 14" and makes a stunning wall hanging or table topper.  It would also be the perfect design for a cushion front; or the centre of a medallion quilt.
I love all of the elements in this design but I adore the centre star. I'm unsure of the history of these blocks but this particular version reminds me of a corsage, as the centre looks like a gorgeous flower.
There's plenty of negative space to showcase some lovely quilting and I stippled my mini, with some perle quilting thread, giving it that lovely texture. I finished it off with the simple navy binding and it frames the design perfectly.
The Enigma pattern includes step by step instructions, colour diagrams and all of the required paper piecing templates, to complete your mini quilt. As always, I've also included a colouring sheet, to help you plan your fabric/colour placement, prior to sewing your mini and some optional hanging instructions.
If you would like to make your own version of Enigma, from today until the end of July, PDF patterns will be available at the discounted and introductory price of $4.95 (AU), in my Big Cartel store HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, PDF patterns are also available in my Etsy store, HERE.
And finally, I also have your free July 2016 Calendar, featuring the gorgeous Enigma:
To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you love Enigma as much as I do. It is a fun mini to sew and I think its a stunning design.
Happy sewing :)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Melting Moments

Yesterday, my husband suggested I bake "something yummy" for afternoon tea. He suggests this every weekend and usually I'll whip up a batch of scones or a tea cake. He is a huge biscuit lover, so this time, I decided to make our afternoon tea a little, extra special with some delicious, Melting Moments:
These beautiful buttery biscuits, sandwiched with jam and vanilla buttercream are a favorite in our house. As the name suggests, they have a delicious, soft, crumbly shortbread like texture, which totally melts in your mouth.
You may call these Yo-Yo biscuits, as they are made using custard powder but the recipe I originally used (I think it came from the reality cooking show, Masterchef) refers to them as Melting Moments. I have baked these quite a few times now and I prefer to use my own buttercream recipe and fill them with a store brought blackberry jam because that's our favorite.
They are quite large and the recipe yields only six completed biscuits but they are quick and easy to make, easy clean up and are totally delicious.
They are perfect for afternoon tea and they look so pretty on the table. (Poor hubby was in absolute torture waiting for me to take some photos to share with you, before I allowed him to eat one).
My advice is to be generous with the buttercream and jam because there is a lot of biscuit and make sure you give them a lovely dusting of icing sugar before serving, to make them pretty.
If you are looking for "something yummy" to make for afternoon tea, then give these biscuits a try. You can download the recipe HERE or right click on the picture below and save to your computer:
I hope you enjoy these morsels of deliciousness. Hubby was thrilled and yesterdays afternoon tea was another of those special family moments, filled with chatter. laughter and melt in your mouth goodness :)
Happy baking :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Bonus Blocks

I've shared all 83 blocks with you and believe me I could share hundreds and hundreds more. There are so many amazing and stunning blocks to be pieced and my Chatelaine Sampler represents just a small portion of my favorites.
My blocks are together and I'm still plotting and planning my borders, but here's a little sneak peak:
I realise that we don't all share the same tastes or skill levels, so some of the blocks may not appeal to you or they may have been a little tricky and you decided to skip them, so I've decided to give you some bonus blocks.
I've compiled a file of 9 Bonus Blocks and most of these are blocks you would normally expect to find in a sampler: Nine Patch, Economy Block, Birds In The Air etc. but I've also included a couple, just for fun i.e. Love Heart and Pinwheels.
I didn't sew samples of these blocks to show you, but all the diagrams, instructions and templates are included in the file, to assist you in making some more pretty blocks.
You can use the bonus blocks as replacements for any of the blocks I've shared or keep them in your file as reference for future projects (seriously your block library can never be too big).
To download and print the complete file of 9 Bonus Blocks, just visit HERE.
That means my "block a week" sharing has come to an end :( but I will be back soon to discuss border options and over the coming weeks, you will be bombarded with pictures of my Chatelaine Quilt.
Until then......happy sewing :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 83

The last block of my Chatelaine Sampler is the stunning Mariner's Compass and I saved the best block for last. I know I say every week that a block is my favorite, and they are, but this is my all time favorite block EVER.
I first encountered this block in my SBS quilt and I put off making it due to the paper piecing. Up until then, I had been able to make templates or fudge other blocks that required PP, without actually learning how to do it. As I really wanted to make this block, I had to at least attempt paper piecing. I watched a You Tube video of a woman paper piecing a boat, understood the basic principals and sat down and sewed my first Mariner's Compass and boy was I pleased with myself. It even got its own blog post HERE.
I'd like to say that my love of paper piecing came from there but it didn't and I had no plans to every PP again. I did try it again years later and the more I sewed this way, the more enjoyable it became and I found that I could piece more intricate designs...........and the rest is history :)
I was a little worried about how my soft fabrics would work in this block but I love how it turned out and I think its perfect for our quilts. It is paper pieced in eight easy little sections, so give it a try :)
To download and print this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
So that's all 83 blocks! And can I say a huge "thank you" to everyone for your support over the last 83 weeks. You are amazing!! Sharing my blocks has been the highlight of my week and I love that you love my favorite blocks as well. Your comments, emails and photos have made this project so enjoyable to me and I can"t thank you enough xxx
Next week I do have some bonus blocks to share with you (which you can use as you wish) but until then I'm putting my Chatelaine quilt top together and I can't wait to share.
Happy sewing :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chatelaine- Free BOW Sampler Quilt Block 82

This weeks gorgeous block is Prairie Flower. This is another pieced nine patch block and its a lovely representation of those stunning meadow flowers.
For a settler on the prairie, the littering of wildflowers such as asters, cowslips, marigolds and cornflowers etc. signified the end of the hardships of winter. These beautiful flowers were welcome bursts of colour to the prairies and they thrived among the grasses, without human intervention.
The majority of this block is pieced using quick corners and I think it will be a lovely addition to our sampler quilts.
To download and print this weeks free pattern, just visit HERE.
So, that means I have only have one more block to share with you and believe me, its a stunner! Its my absolute favorite block EVER and I cant wait to share it with you next week. Can you guess what it might be?
Until then, happy sewing :)
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