Thread | a festival of textiles

IMG_4698Today the monster and I went on a trip down to Farnham Maltings for the Thread Festival, I had been luck enough to win a pair of ticket from Made by Mrs M.  We met lots of fabulously talented people including the lovely girls behind Gather Kits.

IMG_4699Thought the Buchanan would be a brilliant jacket if cut a little shorter as well as great all round dressing gown.

IMG_4703The wonderful Nancy was also there, we last met her earlier this year and so please she was there today.  This kit is destined to be a cushion for a friend.

IMG_4705The fabric is by Made by Mrs M, loved her fabrics, the prints are great and so original – came home with a half yard.  Perfect for a cushion and can you guess what the print is?

IMG_4706The monster bought a key x stitch from What Delilah Did and is now sat stitching away, great to see such enthusiasm!   There were lots of workshops on offer, although we didn’t sign up for any.  A really fun trip out and would definitely recommend it to everyone!

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Little Quilts by Sarah Fielke & Amy Lobsiger

IMG_4631This lovely little book flew through my letter box yesterday, after signing up for a Little Quilt swap over on instergram.  I fell in love with the adorable mini quilts that could grow into much larger designs and being small are achievable!  Seven little quilts have been designed by Sarah, Amy also designed 7 and the final quilt is a collaboration.

IMG_4623The book is packed with 15 projects, some machine pieced, hand stitched English Paper Piecing and embroidered.  grandma's house quiltGrandma’s House

There is lots of information on the piecing process, from foundation piecing,needle turning, english paper piecing, so a great book for someone wanting to explore new techniques and as the quilts are small – the results are so achievable.  All the patterns at the back are full size, so no need to dash out to enlarge templates.

IMG_4632The Cuttings quilt was made by both Sarah & Amy, a fantastic whimsical flower.

IMG_4633Paper Dolls

There are lots of tips and time saving short cuts, some little quilts are 1 block, some are made up of several blocks.  Its a great collaboration between 2 wonderful quilting ladies and they have st up a flickr group and pinterest board for the little quilts.  Now all I have to do is choose which design I am going to make for the swap!

Victory Patterns | Madeleine

IMG_4596The monster loves the Madeleine skirt by Victory Patterns, easy to wear and fabulous to sew.  If you are a beginner its easy and the pockets are so useful with a fab top stitch detail.

IMG_4598It’s the second version I have made, this is in a darker denim from Fabrics Galore, has a great drape.  Pockets are lined with Hemingway fabric left over from my last Mortmain dress, again fabric from Fabrics Galore.

IMG_4601The monster chose this zip last weekend from the Eternal Maker, adds a lovely back detail.

IMG_4597I used shell buttons and stitched them on with my machine.  I spend my working days teaching & advising people about sewing machines and never use half the features on my own!  Its so easy I can only suggest the next time you need to stitch on a button, check all those extra bits that you have tucked away from your sewing machine and if you have a button foot – try.  If anyone would like a tutorial on this do get in touch and I’ll make one simple step by step guide.

Scrappy Bits applique | book review

scrappy bits applique.jpg©c&t publishing

Every quilter, sewer has scraps left over from projects and what to do with the smaller pieces can be tricky. Shannon has been creating things with her hands since she was a very young girl, but fell madly in love with modern quilting in college. Shannon is a modern quilter and this is a very modern take on appliqué methods.

scrappy bits applique©c&t publishing

The book starts with the basics of raw edge appliqué techniques, advice on colour theory, quilt design, collage techniques and various finishing methods.

There are 8 projects in the book with charts so one can make a baby quilt up to king with full fabric requirements for the different sizes. Various quilting methods are explained and shown, along with basting techniques and advice.

scrappy bits appliquec&t publishing

The Little fox is very cute and far from the South London manky fox I see! The half triangle boarder is brilliantly explained with lots of tips and makes sewing the Geese blocks so less challenging.

scrappy bits applique.jpg©c&t publishing

Windy Poplar is very effective with the low volume background. The Elephant with its pieced background, Around the World would be an amazing gift for a gap year student or wall hanging. The book comes with templates, but as I had a PDF review copy I cannot say what size patterns are.
The fallen leaves cushions are a brilliant starting point; there is a lot of topstitching with the designs. This anchors the edge of the scraps and also adds definition to the designs.

scrappy bits applique©c&t publishing
At the back there are lots of ideas and other quilts Shannon has made to inspire your imagination. I love The Kraken and Shannon has featured this quilt on her blog.

fabric shopping in Chichester

IMG_4511I have signed up for a mini quilt swap over on instergram and found this fab layer cake  by Melody Miller at the Eternal Maker, the monster spotted

IMG_4517by Riley Blake, it’s destined to be made into a blouse from Tilly’s book.  So have a busy few stitching weeks ahead. The monster also loved it and has a bagful of beautiful buttons to make a button bracelet, do hope she will make one for me – swap for the blouse I’m making her?  We were down in Sussex for party and with a couple of hours to spare spent time wandering this fab shop – abet sightly over dresses!  If you have not had the pleasure of a visit to the shop, it is packed to the gills with fabrics, notions, patterns, buttons, threads, embroidery patterns and Yarn.  The online shop gives you an idea, but nothing beats a trip down, they even have a lovely cafe. 

ClothkitsClothkits is also based down there and so worth a visit, with amazing dressmaking kits, fabrics and patterns.  I have a great fondness for Chichester as I grew up in a little village not too far from there and it’s going home to me – luckily its not to far a drive and I am planning a return trip.   Now to switch off and get sewing!



cinnamon spelt buns

cinnamon spelt bunsAfter a mad day building flat pack furniture on my day off, I baked a batch of cinnamon spelt buns.  Super easy to make and utterly delicious too – this slice was breakfast!

Cinnamon Spelt Buns

345g white & wholegrain spelt flour

3 tablespoons light soft brown sugar

1 teaspoon maldon salt

2 teaspoons easy bake yeast

120ml water

60ml semi skimmed milk

45g butter

1 large free range egg

Cinnamon swirl mix

45g butter

2 tablespoons cinnamon

60g light soft brown sugar.



Heat the water, milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted.

Place the flours, sugar & salt in a mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer and dough hook), mix in the melted butter, water &  milk.  Add the egg and mix with a dough hook or by hand.  When the dough is ready place cling film over the bowl and leave to rise for half and hour.

Cinnamon swirl mix: mix the cinnamon, butter and sugar together and put to one side.

Grease a baking tin lightly.

When the dough is ready, roll out on a floured work surface.  I rolled this quite thinly and then spread the cinnamon swirl mix – all over the dough.  Roll tightly into a sausage shape and then cut the rolled dough into 1 1/2 inch slices.  Place theses cut side up in prepared baking tin and leave to prove again for 30 minuets, or until doubled in size.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 200′ (180′ in a fan oven) for 30 minuets or until it sounds hollow when knocked on the base.

Place on cooling wrack and make a simple water icing, drizzle over the warm buns.

IMG_4397enjoy warm or cold, perfect for breakfast or tea!



St Bride’s World War 1 tribute

st bride'sToday I went to a meeting on Fleet Street, a little early, I wondered in to St Bride’s Church and the peaceful calm of the church was wonderful after the madness outside.  St Bride’s was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in 1672, although people have been worshiping on the site since the 7th century – the interior was destroyed during the Blitz and rebuilt in the ’40s.  It is a beautiful building and famous for its spire, on the back arched walls are 4 banners made by the congregation to commemorate those lost from the Church & Parish in WW1.

IMG_4413Above is just a section of one of the fabric banners, made up of many pieces of work made by the congregation.

IMG_4414Each so lovingly stitches, painted and printed.

IMG_4416IMG_4422So very moving to read the names mentioned and family stories attached to memories.

IMG_4430IMG_4426The poppies that now symbolize remembrance were not blooming back then, they came later – after the horrors of war.

IMG_4423IMG_4418IMG_4424IMG_4419IMG_4429I have been listening to Home Front on the BBC every day by podcast and with other exhibitions on, including The Imperial War museum commemorating the 70th centenary of the Great War.  Seeing the banners today in the quiet contemplation of St Brides it was made very real and moving.  Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse (as many of his brilliant books) made me cry, the book, film and play are extraordinarily brilliant and moving and bring the horror of war so close.  Tomorrow I am visiting the Tower of London to see the poppy’s. It is so important we remember their sacrifice.

tower of london poppy's©Rex Features

world war 1John Maxwell Edmonds

hot water bottle tutorial

hot water bottle tutorialWhat you will need:

1 patterned fat quarter
1 fat quarter of insulation
1 fat quarter for lining and 2 strips of coordinating fabric (for binding)

First make up your pattern, one whole bottle water bottle tutorial 1

One front bottom (base to B) and one front top (top to A). Download the pdf of the pattern top and pattern water bottle tutorial 2Cutting out:
Place the pattern on your main fabric, pin and cut out, 1 whole cover, 1 x top to A and 1 x bottom to B. I like to do this fabric facing up. Repeat this for the insulation and lining water bottle tutorial 3Sandwich layers together, lining face down, insulating layer and main fabric face up – you can then quilt the pieces or embellish as you wish. Pin the binding along the straight raw edges of both front pattern AA and water bottle tutorial 4Stitch using ¼ inch seam, press the seams open, I hand slip stitch the reverse water bottle tutorial 5To assemble the cover, place the back right side up, front top right side down and then front bottom right side down. Pin around the out side edge and stitch a 1 cm seam all water bottle tutorial 6To finish snip seam allowance with pinking shears or zigzag. Then turn right side out and place your empty hot water bottle inside. Adding the insulation makes a real difference to the length of time the bottle stays hot; it should still be warm when you have to get up on a frosty morning.

this was first published on the village haberdashery website ©Ruth Poppyinstitches formally two hippos.


meet Myrtle

IMG_4387She’s finished!  I follower the Colette sew a long and it was all very straight forward, nothing tricky at all.  Well except my sewing machine just could not sew jersey, its a Brother Innovis QC-1000 and has lots of stretch stitches but kept swallowing the fabric. Tried tissue papper to no avail. Luckily my overlocker took over and most of this is sewn on it.  Just twin needle stitching finishing in the end on the bro.  The jersey is lovely and I found it at Fabrics Galore.

IMG_4345I read a tip that using a spool as well as the reel of thread helped when twin stitching and I used super stretch needles that may well have not been correct.

IMG_4347Any advice for next time?  This is my very first jersey garment EVER and I’ve been sewing since I was a child!