Altitude Quilt

I finally finished the big project that’s been taking up all my sewing time! It’s a quilt for my Dad’s big birthday, and only the second quilt I’ve ever completed so I hope he doesn’t look too closely 🙂 It’s made using Altitude fabric by Pippa Shaw and Twist both from Dashwood Studio, and the Wonton quilt pattern from Jaybird Quilts. I hoped the triangles and points of the pattern would suggest mountains to reflect the fabric. I used a big bundle of fat quarters which was enough fabric in total but not enough to have all my trapeziums in the same fabrics so they alternate similar coloured fabrics.


The most complicated part was lining up all the shapes, especially getting the parallelograms together in straight lines. And then having to cut it down to a neat rectangle. It’s quilted straight along the horizontal and diagonal lines – I had grand ideas about the detailed quilting I could do but I was running out of time and I’m just not used to handling that much fabric yet so the quilting stopped at following the seam lines.

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For the back I used a metre of the main mountain fabric, some leftovers of the Twist fabric, and a half metre of ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ fabric. I tried very hard to line it up straight but didn’t quite succeed…

The binding is a mixture of the Altitude Trees fabric in blue and a bit of white, and a small section of indigo Twist. I really need to practice my binding, I aimed for proper machine binding (to finish it more quickly than hand finishing) but it just wasn’t straight and the stitching showing on top was all over the place, so I ended up sewing a neat top stitch along the edge on the front of the binding which holds down the back. Not perfect but it’s possible to be too close to a project and end up only seeing the flaws so I’m saying good enough.

The label is stitched directly onto the backing fabric using freehand machine embroidery.

Overall, a big success! Now to decide on the next big project…

Quilt-as-you-go block swap 2

Most of my creative time recently has been taken up by one big project but I didn’t want to miss the second round of the striped quilt block swap on Swap-bot. All my colours recently seem to be blues and greens with a bit of yellow and brown so this block definitely has a colour theme!

The block on the left is off to the USA as part of the swap. The block on the right I’m keeping to add to my eventual quilt, to help it grow faster. They’re nearly the same, but I used a wider strip of a nice Japanese print on mine to get more of the design, and of course I didn’t cut enough strips so the additional corner fabrics are different.

I need to start labelling them now, it will be nice to see where everything has come from once I have enough for a quilt.

Embroidered Father’s Day card

As I’m working on a big birthday gift I just didn’t have capacity to make a Father’s Day gift as well, so I decided I should at least make a card. Thinking is going a bit slowly at the moment so it took a while to think of a good theme, but I settled on a bird and baby bird because it’s appropriate and easy 🙂

I found the main bird design doing a quick Google search and liked the heart detail of the wing. The fabric pieces were attached with Bondaweb and stitched using free motion machine embroidery, except for the nest where I used a standard zigzag stitch to imitate twigs and struggled to go around the corners! The eyes are made from seed beads. Then the whole lot was stuck to a blank postcard and and I used a zigzag stitch around the edge. I’m pleased with how it turned out for a quick project and I’m sure Daddy bird will appreciate a card from baby bird 😛

Baby bunting



A penfriend had a baby recently, and I wanted to make something to send. As soon as she said the nursery theme was coral, mint and vintage I thought of the Moda Lullaby fabric collection – the right colours and designed to be soft and cute! (It’s not as orange as it looks in some of the photos). I wanted to make something small because I had to post it, and as the name was already decided bunting seemed like a pretty but not too complicated make.


The bunting was made from part of a layer cake of fabric and a basic triangle template. The flowers and letters were attached with Bondaweb and outlined using free motion machine embroidery. The lace, beads, buttons and tops of the flags were hand sewn. I found the hardest stage to be finishing the tops of the flags neatly, there’s a few not so neat corners hidden under the buttons that join the bunting together!

I sent it registered post because I’d hate for it to get lost somewhere. I hope she likes it – it might be a while before I hear back, apparently babies need a lot of attention 🙂

Weekend round-up

Yesterday was my 2 year blogiversary, so here’s a round-up of my weekend. It’s been a quiet and lazy couple of days, I’ve done very little of what I’d planned… but I managed to do a bit of all of the random things I usually dump on my blog for want of a better recording system so it seems like a good enough celebration 🙂

Blog content type 1: random photos of random nice places, such as this view across Derbyshire viewed through the bus window on my way home from Nottingham.

And yesterday’s dramatic sunset.

Blog content type 2: post! I was in a postcard sending mood yesterday, so I replied to a postcard pal in USA, and sent postcards through Postcrossing and Postcard United to Russia, Sweden, and Japan. I’m missing receiving lots of cards at the moment, but I’m frustratingly at more received than sent on both sites, don’t like it when that happens. The bottom right card is an image of a fruit fly nervous system, they wanted to receive weird cards!

Blog content type 3: sewing, quilting, generally making stuff. And also Swap-bot swaps 🙂 I’ve now made the quilt block to match the one I sent out as a swap, with a minor change because some of my central strips weren’t long enough…

And tomorrow is the start of a new week, let’s see what happens next…

Quilt-as-you-go block swap

I’m doing my second ever sewing swap on Swap-bot! It’s for a striped quilt-as-you-go block, so fabric sewn directly onto the backing fabric/ batting which I can see would be a really quick construction method. The requirements were that it’s constructed on a thin backing (I used a white cotton) so it can be sent as a letter, and to use at least 6 fabrics. I haven’t done a block like this before and underestimated the size and amount of fabric needed so my block uses 11 fabrics all drawn from my stash. My swap partner likes bright fabrics and I have plenty of those! The idea of the swap is that it will be held approximately monthly to slowly create a full quilt. My plan is to make myself a matching block every month to remember what I’ve done and build a quilt more quickly.

I like being able to spot bits of other projects in this block – my first quilt and several different gifts I’ve made in the last couple of years.

Now to wait and see what I receive…

Easy pillowcase swap

I recently took part in my first proper sewing swap on Swap-bot! The swap was for an pillowcase using a simple tube method with 3 fabrics. The instructions in the swap directed us to this video, but I think there’s plenty of similar instructions out there.

Sent to USA:

My swap partner likes pink and red, so a raid of the fabric stalls in the market produced a couple of nicely contrasting patterns with similar colours. I used a wide woven ribbon for the small strip of fabric because it coordinated better than anything else I had. I also added some text detail with freehand machine embroidery. And French seams too! I was really pleased with how it looks.

I was a bit uncertain about the size of the pillowcase, it seemed really wide for my pillows, but my swap partner was really happy with it 🙂 and the pillowcase I received is a similar width so it must be the design. Are American pillows wider than UK pillows?!
Received from USA:

I was a bit uncertain about what I might receive but look at this! A perfectly coordinated beautiful floral fabric pillowcase. It’s really well made with French seams and sharp corners. The sender told me she made lots of these as Christmas gifts, so maybe practice makes perfect 🙂

I’m looking forward to finding my next sewing swap now!

Embroidered garden cushion

While I was recuperating in the summer, I took a few pictures of my Mums garden in the sunshine. There’s some lovely colours and shapes. When I started wondering about Christmas gifts, I thought about another embroidered cushion cover, and then of the garden…

I printed a copy of the best photo and traced off the main features. I then got out all my scraps of fabric and tried to recreate the garden photo using freehand machine embroidery. I think it looks pretty good!

Here’s a bad photo of it on my sofa just before I wrapped it for Christmas. Also featuring a corner of my first quilt which hasn’t made it on to the blog yet 🙂 I didn’t take a back picture but the fabric is pink flowers in pots to match the garden theme.

After holding it upside down and saying how lovely it is, Mum finally realised it wasn’t an abstract design! It’s now on a chair facing the garden, a mirror in fabric 🙂

Sewing chaos

I’m in a weird mood with my sewing at the moment… I have a long list of planned projects (Christmas gifts, tops, sewing set, skirt, dress, birthday quilts) but I don’t seem to have the patience or the motivation to get on with things. I just want it all to be completed! And then I get frustrated that I haven’t achieved anything and stressed that nothing is ready, which is all ridiculous because it’s supposed to be fun. I can sit in the office all day mentally designing all sorts of things, but in the evenings I don’t seem to be doing more than the basics of living – eating, cleaning, sleeping… And recent weekends have been busy with events and trips and things like food shopping. I can probably blame the darkness and increasing cold, it’s much easier to curl up and read. No one but me will know if home made gifts never get given or finished, it just feels like there’s creativity going to waste somewhere. And I could really use some new tops and skirts and a way to organise my desk 🙂

This is my sewing desk right now, featuring: the finished blue skirt that needs a hook to stop the zip undoing, a half finished grey skirt that ground to a halt when I couldn’t locate my zip foot in the mess, scattered fat quarters for Christmas gifts, a stack of fabric for organisational things for my desk, piled with dressmaking cottons and a vest top that I added sleeves to then tried to adjust and made a horrible mess of and just needs hemming as a vest to be wearable (but it looks like camouflage fabric from a distance so how wearable I’m not sure!). And the tubes are to store quilt binding.

I think I might be just a little overwhelmed. I’ll put some of it away and focus on one thing at a time – maybe that way I’ll get one thing finished 🙂

Wrap-around Kindle case

Last week I bought a new Kindle, tomorrow I’m going to the Postcrossing meet-up in London which is 1 1/2 hours by train each way. Being slightly precious of my lovely shiny new toy I decided that to take the Kindle with me a case is required. Today I went to the quilt shop and purchased a stack of fat quarters for small projects, so this evening I started creating!

There were a few thoughts that influenced the design – 1) a wrap around cover provides an extra layer of protection, 2) I didn’t want to have to press poppers against the Kindle (and I love poppers much more than buttons!), and 3) I wasn’t sure if I’d get poppers through the wadding I’ve used to pad the case, so the fastening is at the side on a binding strip.

I used my new binding creator to make binding that matches the patterned fabric and the lining. Once I figured out where the fold to form the pouch would be I sewed the binding to the outer layer with a flap sticking out to hold the bottom half of the popper. The top half is attached to binding that continues from the edge of the wrap-around. 

I found top stitching around the opening difficult, it’s a sharp change in direction onto the pouch section. The outside edge isn’t the neatest either, it’s the seam I had to keep open to turn it all right way out. I’m sure a bit more time and patience would have helped! But at least it’s finished ready for tomorrow, I just need to get everything else sorted now!