Red and white quilt block swaps

red and white logcabin blockThe London Modern Quilt Guild are swapping with several internation guilds this year.  As internation postage is so expensive we decided it would be great to swap block that could be pieced together and make a quilt, red and white were the colours chosen and as we are a smallish guild are going to be making at least 2 per swap.  I’ve been trying to sort out my ideas for block on Pinterest and gradually getting there, wanting to challenge my self and have fun.  The top block is an off set logcabin in Kona Red and Kona White.

bow tie block

The second is a bow tie block,  I’m working slowly on a large bow tie quilt top and this trial red and white confirmed my decision.  Below are a few photo’s from my pinterest board – not too sure what I’ll make next.

Peppermint Pinwheels quiltIf you click on the image it will take you to all the block designs, its deciding which to choose.

red_and_whiteFree Stylingeverlasting tree quilt block

handmade holiday

homemade capri dressThings been a little quiet over on the blog, back home now and to some amazing sunshine too.  The monster and I went to Sorrento and had a fantastic time, the photo of me above is on Capri in my Burda sundress.  Its a lovely dress to wear, although will have to ajust the strap length.

Sorrento The monster took Caroline Lawrence‘s From Ostia to Alexandria and we discovered some amazing places as well as the world famous Pompeii.  Below is the view from Pollios Felix.

IMG_8082Pompeii and Herculaneum were amazing and quite overwhelming in parts, full of quilting inspiration!  And if I can offer one tip, get a guide – Pompeii is huge and in the heat quite intence.  It would make a visit more interesting and you’ll leave lots of stories and some understanding.

PompeiiNow I’m home getting ready to put some new ideas together for quilts and a little dressmaking too.

vintage patchwork

vintage patchwork quiltI was so lucky to be given this vintage patchwork quilt top, thought to date from the 1960’s.  I decided to add a border to square up the top and making binding easier, also it would then drape over a king size bed.  So I’m hand stitching the top to white cotton.

vintage patchworkI’m unpicking a few paper’s at a time and so far found 2 with dates, both from 1968, although the quilt could well be older and is made up of fabrics from shirts and clothes.

vintage patchworkSo any quiet down time I can be found stitching away, it’s a mammoth job as the patchwork is 210cm by 210cm.  How to quilt it though, by hand or machine?  Any tips?  How would you quilt this?

simple summer top

sleeveless-top-sewing-patternI spent ages yesterday looking for a few simple tops for summer and couldn’t find a thing.  Then this morning I logged onto Burda Style and saw I’d saved a simple shell top bu Angela Kane– exactly what I’d been searching for!  Its a free pattern and there is tube clips tutorial on how to make, so if your a beginner its brilliant and if not a super quick sew.

and then

and finally

now this is the point I wish I had a stash of fabric, so first thing tomorrow I’ll be at fabrics galore!

Sewing Machines – which one to buy?

sewing machineI’ve had a Brother Inov-is QC1000 for 4 years, it replaced a manual Janome that had done stirling work for years and had started to miss behave, I’d also started piecing and quilting by machine instead of just epp.  I looked at the knitting and stitching show & festival of quilts – Brother were the only company that would allow me to try the machine, was amazed by the other machine companies who don’t allow one to test drive.  So that was a huge deciding factor, the ease of use, quilting ability, wide throat space and large extention table.  4 years on and 1 service in, the stitch quality has dropped and I am really unhappy with it.  It sews ok, but the buttonholes could be better, I get chewed up threads underneath (with auto tension), sometimes it swallows and chews fabric –  just not happy.  When quilting with the walking foot attached, the needle often comes adrift, never use the quilting guide as it slips and moves around.  Also really don’t like the large LCD screen at the side of the machine, can acidently knock this when quilting and change stitch.  So here is the dilema, what to buy if i replace my machine?  The advice I always give is to buy the best machine you can afford.  Also ask what do you use the machine for, dressmaking, quilting, curtain making, general crafts or alterations; as this also narrows the field down.  Bernina, Viking Husqvarna, Phaff or Janome? At work my option is the Janome 6600P, but doesn’t have a free arm that is so useful for dressmaking.  So I’ve narrowed the field of possibilities down to a hand full:

Bernina 530

Bernina 530 has 7 year guarantee, do like the panel on top.

husqvarna viking opal 690q

Viking Husqvarna Opal 690Q 10 Year warranty.


Pfaff 3.5 again with a 10 Year Warranty.

Janome Horizon 8200QC

Janome 8200QC comes with just a 2 year warrentee.

Now to try and find a dealer who will let me test drive them. Would you reccomend your machine, what do you like best about it?  If you have any of the machines above do let me know what you think about them either by commenting below or emailing

And to anyone reading this that knows me – yes I know you normally ask me for advice x

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