Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (7)

Welcome to Saturday Quilting Bring & Share 🙂 Join in with this virtual sewing day by bringing along the project you are working on and sharing anything quilt related (or more!) that has caught your interest this week. There is a link button at the end of this post if you have a ‘Bring & Share’ post you’d like to add.

Beginners Course Plus Sign Quilt top New Every Morning Patchwork & QuiltingI’m back working on the Plus Sign quilt that Viv of Purple Stitches has adapted from her original Beginners Course quilt. I’ve been making it alongside teaching the latest class for beginners. Yesterday I completed the quilting, today I will be trimming the quilt and adding the binding. I also intend to make and attach a simple label.

Plus Sign Quilt binding New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Who doesn’t love a stripy binding?

If you’ve been reading any blogs over the past week you won’t have failed to note Quiltcon 2018 has just been and gone. Cheryl has produced a lovely gallery of quilts from the show – see her post to catch some truly inspirational modern quilts.

Maybe you are looking for a good cause that could use your patchwork and quilting skills? Got a heap of stripy scraps? Kate has joined in with making quilts for the charity Dolls Like Me and has shared two lovely finishes including one dolls quilt made of narrow strips of fabrics 🙂

Two techniques using specialist rulers caught my eye this week:

Stephanie at Quilt’n Party has concluded her experiment to discover the pros and cons of pre-washing fabrics . Her final comparisons are very helpful and well worth considering as the great pre-wash or not debate continues.

A quick question… I have a Yahoo email account. Twice this week I have been  unable to access my inbox because of something termed ‘error two’. The message from Yahoo says it should be resolved within a few hours. It took nearly 48 hours the first time this happened and nearly 24 hours the second time. Very frustrating as I use my email to get notifications from most of the blogs I follow. I wonder if you know how I might get the error resolved more quickly if it should happen again?

And finally, here in the south of England we get significant snowfall about once every five years. It causes complete shutdown! On the first day of Spring we woke to a covering of snow that caused schools to be closed and extensive transport problems. The storm, nicknamed ‘The Beast from the East’ as it is blowing across Europe all the way from Siberia, has brought high winds along with the snow. It is very different from our usual  wet snow as this cold wind is very dry and is causing the snow to drift. Here’s a little slide show of how things have been looking around here for the past couple of days.

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Happy Stitching 🙂


Posted in Garden, Inspiration, Modern quilts, Rulers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Project Progress thanks to One Monthly Goal

I’m certain this project would have been put to one side without the incentive of the One Monthly Goal. So thankful for the motivation and results that setting a goal with Patty’s link party can bring.

At the start of this month I opened a box of blocks and fabric that had been tucked away for over a year. My stated aim: To make as many of the Sugar Block Club blocks as my fabrics will allow and then decide how I’m going to set them into a quilt top – I might incorporate the big cushion front into the quilt top or chop it up to use the fabrics in the blocks…

I’m pleased to be able to share the completed quilt top.

2016 Sugar Block Club top complete New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Sugar Block Club final block New Every Morning Patchwork & QuiltingI pieced just one more of the 2016 Sugar Block Club blocks before deciding my  fabrics just wouldn’t stretch to create the remaining four blocks in Amy Gibson’s year long BOM project. The large square was an abandoned cushion cover (the original reason for purchasing the fabrics). I had to order an extra length of the purple fabric to make the sashing. I will use the remainder for the binding.

Sad to say the project will return to the box for a while as I have some other project deadlines to meet over the coming month. But I do have a plan for my version of the Sugar Block Club quilt: There is a space on a wall in our hall where the quilt can hang. And the leftover fabrics? I reckon I could make a seat cover for the bench 🙂

Linking with Elm Street Quilts to see how other One Monthly Goal participants have fared in their quest to push a project through to the next stage.

Happy stitching!


Posted in Foundation Paper Piecing, Sugar Block Club 2016 | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Saturday Quilting Bring & Share (6)

Welcome to a virtual sewing day 🙂 Bring along your project and join in the ‘conversation’ sharing items of quilting news and tips that have caught your interest through the week.

Beginners Course Plus Sign Quilt top New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Today I’m returning to the Plus sign quilt I started a few weeks ago. I’m making this alongside the Beginners Class I’m teaching at Purple Stitches. In the third of the four sessions this afternoon we will be pin basting our quilt sandwiches and making a start on the quilting.

Plus Sign ready for basting New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

Wadding, backing and quilt top already for pin basting.

SewEzi table New Every Morning Patchwork & QuiltingTo help give a clear demonstration of quilting techniques I’ll be setting up my machine on a portable flat-bed sewing machine table. I bought the SewEzi table at the end of last year and keep forgetting to share it here.  It is much sturdier than it looks in my photo and comfortable to use. The perspex insert can be cut to fit most machines. UK distributors are Quilters Quest in Belfast, their customer service is excellent 🙂

The wealth of quilting inspiration on the internet and the skills displayed week by week never cease to amaze me!

As luck would have it Christa Watson has shared some really handy tips for quilting using a walking foot

Jayne’s completed quilt top is well worth a look; a great secondary pattern emerges from combining Shoo Fly and Snowball blocks – it is her ‘Snow Shoo Quilt‘!

Do you finish your quilts with a label? Jessica Skultety tells us why we should (in the nicest possible way) and shares a quick method for making and attaching a label.

If you are a glutton for new quilt designs you will find Yvonne’s post, ‘Pattern Drop: 2018 Designers’ of great interest. If you are less likely to want a new pattern to try every month but would like to pick up the handy tips being shared then there is a blog site sign up – find out how to make sixteen half square triangle blocks in one go!

Thank you for taking time to read this post. I do hope you find the links draw you into new conversations around the quilty world 🙂

Creating a link button (see the little blue button below) is a new venture for me. As far as I can work out no one has so far added a link to back their own blog. If you’ve tried and it hasn’t worked let me know in the comments section and I will try and sort it 🙂

Happy stitching!


Posted in Inspiration, Quilt Labels, Quilting Techniques | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

No finishes this patchwork week

I will be linking this post to Myra’s ‘Finished or Not Friday’ not because I have a finish to reveal but because this week I have been working on several ‘or nots‘!

Or not‘ project Number One:

Three-Twenties fabric strips New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

The strip quilt that I started on a bit of a whim last week. I progressed to stitching all the pieces into strips and decided on a name for the quilt too: ‘Three Twenties’ as the main ‘ingredient’ is twenty width-of-fabric strips; the strips are grouped in four lots of five; and in each group there are twenty 2½” squares.

I so wanted to create a written pattern for this quilt. Despite my best efforts and a recap of the class for the Inkscape design software I got nowhere with drawing the block diagrams. In the end I resorted to laboriously creating block diagrams on Microsoft Word. Not very satisfactory – there were a few occasions when I had to obey the warning screams in my head and ‘Step Away From the Computer’! Humm! Never underestimate the time and skill that goes into writing a decent pattern. It put me in mind of  Lindsey’s excellent on-line campaign ‘May is for Makers’ when we are urged to purchase patterns from independent designers instead of using free patterns.

Or not‘ Project Number Two:

Chocolatier BOM 9 New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

On Tuesday evening some of the participants in the Chocolatier BOM gathered for a workshop at Purple Stitches. We are up to month 9 and tackled a Drunkard’s Path block – our first go at curved piecing. My workshop didn’t lead to any of the ‘Chocolatiers’ becoming zealous curved piecing converts but they did all leave happy with the blocks they had produced 😀

Or not‘ Project Number Three:

Sugar Block with sashing fabric New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

I couldn’t progress with the 2016 Sugar Block Club as much as I’d hoped. I needed to purchase some fabric for the sashing I plan to place between my completed blocks.  I managed to track down some of the Spraytime fabric in exactly the right shade of purple (actually it is called ‘Plum’). Thank goodness for the internet 🙂 The fabric arrived in time for a sewing day on Thursday. I toyed with the idea of taking this project but came to the conclusion I would need a lot of space to spread out the blocks and cut the long strips of fabric – not very practical. Perhaps even more of a deciding factor was the need for a lot of ‘head space’ to work out the math!

Or not‘ Project Number Four:

Civil War Blocks New Every Morning Patchwork & Quilting

This is the project I did take to Thursdays sewing day! I went back to the blocks I started to construct at the sewing day in December. I so enjoy seeing these Civil War repro fabrics and they looked at their best as the light of a bright winter’s day streamed through the sewing room windows. It took me a surprisingly long time to construct these four blocks. Now they are on the design wall at home I’m continuing to enjoy the colours and I’m also fascinated by the secondary patterns emerging as the first four blocks meet.

Three of the four ‘or not‘ projects have emerged from my stash or the UFO cupboard of shame. ‘Using up stash’ has been a common theme in conversation, stated goals and projects  amongst my quilting friends. I began to feel sorry for all the quilt shop retailers out there busy buying in new stock. Would they be able to sell anything if quilters are all staying at home using up fabric hoards? Well! Fear not retailers! It turns out using up stash can (and often does) involve quite a lot of purchasing! To finish the projects from my stash I have bought extra fabric for sashing, backing and binding not to mention thread for quilting and of course wadding 😀

Linking with Myra for Finished or Not Friday 😉 Myra is showcasing her latest pattern, Diamond Dance, with a beautiful  batik wall hanging.

Just a reminder that my weekly blog post,’Saturday Quilting Bring & Share’ virtual sewing day with friends will be published tomorrow. Do pop by and join in.

If you are a Pinterest fan and a quilter you are very welcome to take a look at my boards including ‘Pins of the Week‘ and ‘Last Weeks Pins of the Week‘ which I update each week with info from current blog posts and online searches.

Happy Stitching.



Posted in Civil War quilts, Computer Software, Curved Piecing, Quilt Blocks, Quilt Design, Sugar Block Club 2016 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Time spent with our children should be highly valued

Alastair McAlpine holding a babyYesterday I heard an interview on BBC radio with a paediatrician, Dr Alistair McAlpine. His tweets revealing the thoughts of terminally ill children have ‘gone viral’. I found a report about Dr McAlpine’s tweets on the BBC website. His original tweet was worded:

For an assignment, I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y’know. Here are some of the responses …

Dr McAlpine discovered children weren’t wishing to spend more time watching TV or trawling through Facebook. What they all enjoyed was time spent with family – having stories read, sitting on the beach eating ice cream, having cuddles – hugging their pets, being with friends who weren’t unkind about the changes illness and treatments had caused.

The BBC report concludes:

It’s no surprise that kindness, laughter, toys and family were all very much valued by the children. As his threads unfolded and the comments poured in, Dr McAlpine left this take-home message: “Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with our family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them… and eat ice cream.”

As I walked into town this morning I thought about Dr McAlpine’s tweets and the reaction they’ve created around the world. At the conclusion of the BBC radio programme the interviewer asked if what he had discovered had caused the Doctor to change the way he conducted his life. He said it had brought about profound changes – spending time with his family is now far, far more of a priority.

I find this story both heartening and heart breaking. I’m heartened to see ‘time spent together as a family’ given such a high profile through the words of children. Terminally ill children have what’s important in life in sharp focus precisely because they don’t have a future in which to make up for what they miss out on now. Heartbreaking because so much modern thinking is driven by the idea that everyone who has a child should go back to work (therefore spending less time with their child) and that it is a duty of government to provide childcare. I loathe the premise and implications behind this idea. It is all based on the idea that going back to work after the birth of a child is not just an economic necessity but a ‘good thing’: implying adults need a sense of fulfilment and purpose that work can provide but parenting can not. I’d argue that parenting is not about how the adult feels but is about what the child needs.

I am very glad to have had the opportunity to be a stay at home Mum. Glad not to have had to make that horrible decision about sending a sick child to nursery or face disapproval/disciplinary action for taking time off work. I know economic necessity does make the option of staying at home full time with children a privilege that some can not afford. I also see how other considerations can determine a return to work: desire to continue a career, find the approval of others, reap financial rewards and avoid the sometimes relentless cycles of childcare. Not to mention the pressure from government and media to make returning to work the desirable norm.

Interesting that the answers his young patients gave to Dr McAlpine’s questions reveal children really enjoy and value ‘simple’, inexpensive things – time with parents, reading stories, playing. For children to experience these things in good measure does involve a willingness for parents to let go of (dare I say ‘sacrifice’) some of the things we want or ‘need’: maybe not progressing as far in a career as we’d hoped; maybe having to play ‘shops’ or snakes and ladders a few hundred times more than we’d ideally choose; driving around in an old car rather than the latest model; loosing touch with friends whose lifestyle is not compatible with our family orientated life choices …

Could government be persuaded to rethink their attitude to parents and work? I strongly believe there would be an enormous win if this shift in thinking were to take place: fundamentally, more children would enjoy more of their childhood and this could reap great benefits in terms of reducing the numbers of teenagers and young adults suffering mental health and emotional disorders.  Society as a whole could benefit: If more parents were encouraged to make the choice to stay at home there would be fewer cars congesting and polluting our towns, more adults and children would walk to and from school (increasing fitness and well being whilst decreasing obesity levels): there’d be more time to cook meals from scratch (again tackling obesity issues); there would be more adults to watch out for and care for the lonely and elderly in our communities; more volunteers to help on school trips and with educational ‘enrichment’ activities…

I know there are plenty of arguments in opposition to my soapbox position – and that’s OK – as long as those parents who do opt to stay at home are respected for their choice, not be-littled, patronised or accused of failing to contribute to society. I have no wish to make anyone feel guilty about the choices they make around their children and work-life balance. I wish only to counter the prevailing emphasis on both parents working, so often justified by putting the perceived needs of parents before the actual needs of children.

I hope Dr McAlpine’s tweets continue to travel around the world for a long time to come and we all reflect on, when it comes to the crux, what children really enjoy in life and what gives life meaning to them.



Posted in Family, Home | Tagged | 2 Comments