Saturday 28 December 2013

Caturday Wisdom #51

Christmas could be improved by more toy-covered play trees and less supervision.  Ivy

I hope you are feeling more satisfied than Ivy with your Christmas/holiday! 
As already mentioned, Adrianne will be back early next year. Today she stole my car for many hours and in return karma dealt her a beautiful sunburn on one arm. It has not impeded her sewing abilities.

Monday 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas (and some holiday reading)

Christmas is nearly upon us, and I, for one, have pretty much checked out for the year.  I've finished work and am definitely in holiday mode - I hope you are too (or at least are nearly there!).

I'm going to take a short blogging break to spend some time with my family and refresh my creative energies (that sounds terribly artsy fartsy but I couldn't think of a better way to put it) for 2014.  I'll be back early in the New Year.  In the meantime, I'll be tootling around on instagram - find me here or look me up - my username is @adrianneonthewindyside.

Image from Pantone

Make sure you stick around - Anne from Play Crafts and I have teamed up to co-host the 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Radiant Orchid and we are very excited about it!  We will be announcing all the details on January 6th, and already have some amazing prizes lined up, so start thinking about what you might like to make for the challenge.

In case you are looking for some reading material over the break, I've included some blog posts that I found really informative and thought provoking this year.

First up is this series on how to be a better craft teacher from SewMamaSew, written by Deborah from Whipstitch. I have a bit of teaching lined up next year and I will be re-reading these posts before each class.

Series Introduction
Be a Better Craft Teacher Part 1: Know Your Stuff
Be a Better Craft Teacher Part 2: Know Your Student
Be a Better Craft Teacher Part 3: Know Your Goal
Be a Better Craft Teacher Part 4: Know Your Medium
Be a Better Craft Teacher Part 5: Know Your Limits
Be a Better Craft Teacher Part 6: Know Your Effectiveness

I'm not sure exactly how I stumbled across Sam Hunter's blog posts about what quilts are worth, but I was sure glad I did.  I don't think we all need to agree on exactly how to calculate the value of a quilt, but I definitely think we should all be thinking about it, and what you would do if you were asked to make a quilt for money.

Sam Hunter's First Post
Sam Hunter's Second Post
Sam Hunter's We are $ew Worth It page

Then Miss Molli (aka Josh) from Molli Sparkles picked up the mantle when he was asked to design and sew a quilt for a friend.  In these posts he talks about how he costed a specific quilt, and in the second post he responds to some of the comments on the first post.  You could spend hours reading all the comments on these posts!  There were plenty of divergent views and even though it caused a bit of debate, I think it was a topic worth debating.

TGIFF - No Value Does Not Equal Free
No Value Does Not Equal Free - Some Responses

Quilting would be a whole lot less fun without the encouragement, support and interaction I get through this blog and the online quilting community, so thank you for making 2013 such a great year!  Merry Christmas and have a safe and happy festive season!

Saturday 21 December 2013

Caturday Wisdom #50

Don't be too hard on yourself. At this point in the year, sometimes this is all you can do. Elvis

I feel ya Elvis. Lovely Elvis belongs to Kat from Kat & Cat Quilts. Christmas is really closing in now so hope you're feeling organised and relaxed!

Friday 20 December 2013

Introducing Hawthorne Threads

Today I'm delighted to introduce Hawthorne Threads as my newest sponsor.  Hawthorne Threads stocks a massive range of modern fabrics, including a wide variety of substrates like linen, flannel, velveteen, minky, and various home dec cottons.

I haven't seen this Babar fabric anywhere else - how cute!

I've bought a lot of fabric from Hawthorne Threads over the last couple of years.  I think their website is one of the easiest to use out of all the online fabric shops I visit, and I particularly like their colour grid tool and the fact that when you view a fabric, you can find other fabrics with the same colours in it - really great for mixing and matching across collections.

This Frida la Catrina fabric is just stunning - I don't think I can resist!

I also think that Hawthorne Threads has some of the consistently lowest prices around.  They have a sale section, but don't tend to do regular sales, instead just offering low prices all the time (plus a really great discounting system).  Very importantly for me, their international shipping prices work out great, since they fit so much in an envelope and offer an effective discount for larger orders!

I'm a fan of minky but sometimes struggle to find colours I love - the Hawthorne Threads Minky Dimple Dot collection looks great!

In setting up this sponsorship I've had the chance to get to know Lindsay, one of the owners, and she is just lovely. I hope you'll check out Hawthorne Threads next time you're considering an online fabric purchase.

Thursday 19 December 2013

If you go down to the woods today (a baby quilt)

A colleague of mine is expecting his first child soon.  He and his wife haven't found out the baby's gender, so something suitable for a boy or a girl was called for.

If you go down to the woods today quilt 

The top of this baby quilt is possibly the quickest quilt top I've ever made (mainly because it is made up of only eight pieces of fabric!).  I really wanted to use the awesome Kokka cheater print featuring bears and bunnies and other woodland creatures - preferably without cutting it up too much.  Apart from just liking it as a big piece, it is also a slightly heavier linen/cotton blend, and I didn't want too many seams which might end up being bulky.  

If you go down to the woods today quilt 

Really, how cute is this fabric?  I haven't seen it around too much, but Stitchbird has it in another colour way.

If you go down to the woods today quilt 

Since the top was so simple, I decided to do something a little bit special for the quilting - woodgrain!  I learned this technique in Angela Walters' Craftsy class, and have been wanting to try it ever since.  It's not the easiest design to do on a domestic machine though, because you need to move the quilt around a lot, rather than working on a small area at a time.

If you go down to the woods today quilt 

That said, I am really pleased with how the woodgrain quilting came out, and it was easier than I thought it would be.

If you go down to the woods today quilt 

I had a little bit of the feature fabric left over, so I used it to make a label.  Sometimes simple is best.

By the way, these photos are taken after the quilt was washed and dried (on the line, not in a dryer).  I didn't pre-wash any of the fabrics (including the linen blends used on both the front and the back) and the quilt crinkled up just the right amount (phew!).  I did give it a light press to get out the crease from hanging, but that didn't take the crinkle out (and nor would I want it to!).

If you go down to the woods today quilt

I took these photos around 6pm - you can see that it is well and truly still light, but the sun was starting to go down, and in trying to get a nice tree-filled background for my shot I ended up capturing the sunlight instead.

I'm thinking this kind quilt might be my new go-to baby gift for when I don't have a lot of time.  You only need a half yard of your feature fabric and then a few co-ordinating fabrics, and it's so speedy to put together.  I did mine all from stash, and even if you don't have an insaneextensive stash like me, I bet you could too!  It's so simple that it almost doesn't need instructions, but would anyone be interested in a tutorial on how I put mine together?
Quilt Stats
Finished Size: approx 36" by 45"
Fabric: various
Binding: Skinny Plaid in Blue from Laura Gunn's Cosmos collection
Pieced and quilted by: me

Linking up with finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts.

Monday 16 December 2013

Skills Swap - what I sent

Several months ago I said I would be interested in a skills swap.  I was keen for a pair of hand knitted socks, but lacking the skills to actually knit them myself, I offered up a quilted item made by me in exchange for the socks.  The lovely Kelsey of Everyday Fray put her hand up and so we have swapped!  Now that my items have arrived with Kelsey, I'm very excited to share them with you.

Lil Fox sewing machine cover and pouch

The thing that Kelsey actually asked for was a sewing machine cover.  She left it to me to choose the design, but we did discuss cute animals, including foxes.  I'll share more details of these items in a later post, but the sewing machine cover is a modified version of this pattern, and the little fox is made using this pattern.  I also made Kelsey a matching pouch using my favourite open wide zipper pouch tutorial from noodlehead.

Kelsey's stocking

Since it's so close to Christmas, I thought it might be fun to include something Christmassy as well.  I made this stocking, and a matching one for Kelsey's husband, using my own pattern.  It was really fun and I think I will have to do a whole set for my family one of these days.

AMH All Day mini quilt

The final handmade item that I included is this mini quilt.  All the coloured petals are Anna Maria Horner fabrics - 100 different ones in total.  Yes, I had all of these (and more) in my stash already.  I went for a kind of rainbow effect on a crisp white low volume background.  I'm very happy with how this mini turned out, and I think I will have to make another one for myself.  Good thing I love that hand done blanket stitch appliqué so much!

Knitsch yarn

Kelsey and I also agreed to include some swag in our parcels.  This locally produced knitsch sock yarn is particularly lovely (it's actually what my mum is using to knit me another pair of socks) and with a name like "Mad Blood Stirreth", how could anyone resist?

Lace yarn

At the same time I was buying the sock yarn, this Artisan Lace yarn kit caught my eye.  It has two skeins of yarn, three different lace scarf patterns and the right size knitting needles as well.  I have no idea if Kelsey likes knitting lace, but the scarves looked so pretty knitted up in the shop.

There are more photos and details to come on my handmade items, but I have to say that doing a direct swap like this was a lot of fun.  I found it more satisfying than making something for a relatively anonymous partner and I would definitely do something like this again.  Although Kelsey and I sent our parcels on the same day, NZ Post seems to be taking its own sweet time with delivering Kelsey's parcel to me, but I am very excited to receive it and hope to share the contents with you shortly!

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design  Sew Cute Tuesday  My Quilt Infatuation

and with Finish it up Friday at crazy mom quilts.

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Saturday 14 December 2013

Caturday Wisdom #49 (and a giveaway winner)

When people annoy you, just think about how much better looking than them I am. This will work granted you resemble a certain supermodel as much as I do. Max

Check out that perfect beauty mark! 

I'm taking the opportunity to announce the winner of my SewMamaSew Giveaway Day giveaway.  Thank you to everyone who entered - I'm so amazed at the number of comments on my post!!! chose comment number 97, which belongs to…

Kristy of Quiet Play!  Yay Kristy - it looks like you might get your wish after all, although I can't promise the bundle will be with you by Christmas - the Christmas mailing date has already passed.

Hope any shopping/making is going well, I'm counting down.
Happy weekend!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

WIP Wednesday

This week I'm working on my long-ignored Cherry Christmas scrappy trip along quilt. 

Cherry Christmas Scrappy Tripalong

I have 12 blocks finished out of 36 - the other 24 are prepped and just need to be stitched together.

Cherry Christmas Scrappy Tripalong

I'm still really loving this quilt but also really not sure it will get finished before Christmas.  I definitely have time to finish the top - quilting is another question!

I thought I'd also let you know that I've made a button for my "How to stop being a no-reply blogger" tutorial, at the suggestion of the ever-glittery Molli Sparkles.  I know I had a truckload of no-reply bloggers enter my SewMamaSew Giveaway Day giveaway (still running here if you want to enter), and it's a shame, because mostly they have not left an email address.

How to stop being a no-reply blogger

If you'd like to add the button to your blog, you can grab the code here, or from my sidebar.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Tuesday 10 December 2013

Cushion for Christmas

Have you been following along with the Cushion for Christmas Blog Hop organised by Melissa from Ms Midge?  The cushions are very inspiring - I'm loving how there is a real mix of different things on offer!

Ms Midge

Here is the schedule - feel free to backtrack and check out the cushions that have already been blogged, and make sure you check out the ones that are yet to come as well!

Sunday 1st December - Melissa at Ms Midge
Monday 2nd December - Gemma at Pretty Bobbins & Melissa at Ms Midge
Tuesday 3rd December - Kristy at Quiet Play
Wednesday 4th December - Joshua at Molli Sparkles
Thursday 5th December - Rachel at Little White Dove
Friday 6th December - Fiona at Finding Fifth
Saturday 7th December - Abby at Things For Boys
Sunday 8th December - Lauren at Molly & Mama Makes
Monday 9th December - Jodi at Tickle & Hide
Tuesday 10th December - Adrianne at On The Windy Side & Melissa at Ms Midge
Wednesday 11th December - Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts
Thursday 12th December - Gina at Party of Eight
Friday 13th December - Jane at Quilt Jane
Saturday 14th December - Round up of Blog Hop and link up YOUR projects at Ms Midge

Today is my day on the hop, and this is my creation!  I went pretty literal and put together a Christmas cushion using my favourite festive fabric - Aneela Hoey's Cherry Christmas.  Now, I have to confess that I made this cushion over the course of a couple of days, but it would be totally achievable to make it in a single day.

Cherry Christmas Wreath Cushion 

The double pointed dresden is very festive to me - it could be a wreath, but it also has hints of a star about it as well.  I made it using my dresden ruler and the method set out in this excellent tutorial by Melissa from Happy Quilting.  If you would like to make your own version of this cushion, the white central square is 16" finished, and I cut the dresden wedges from a 4" wide strip of fabric, lining up the 2" and 6" marks on my dresden ruler with the cut edges.  The border is made from 2.5" cut strips, leaving you with a cushion that finishes at 20.5" square.

Cherry Christmas Wreath Cushion 

I think the pebble quilting looks a bit like snow - and quilting densely like this in the background really makes the dresden stand out!  I used my favourite Aurifil 2021 in 50 weight, and I'm so impressed with how far this thread goes.  Pebble quilting uses a notoriously large amount of thread and this barely made a dent in my 1300m spool! 

Pom pom trim is such an easy way to add a bit of fun to your cushion - I essentially used this method by Angela from Fussy Cut.

Cherry Christmas Wreath Cushion

You may recognise the back - it's the one from my covered zipper cushion back tutorial a couple of weeks ago!  I'm very happy it's now being put to good use.

I hope you're enjoying this blog hop and that you're getting inspired to make your own cushion for Christmas.  Now, I'll leave you with a question.  Making this cushion has rekindled my love of pom poms, and I'm now thinking about adding some pom pom trip to a quilt.  It would be quite easy to baste them along the edge of the quilt and then hide the tape under the binding - and I think the effect would be really cute.  The one thing I'm worried about is whether they would survive washing - has anyone tried this before?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

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Monday 9 December 2013

Giveaway Day


Hello and welcome to another SewMamaSew Giveaway Day!

If you are a new visitor, please feel free to take a look around - I've had a busy year, with lots of finished projects and a bunch of tutorials.

This time around I'm giving away this bundle of red, grey and aqua/mint fabrics.  If you used them all together, I think you'd get quite a nice fresh Christmassy look, but none of the fabrics are actually Christmas fabrics so you could split them up and they would go just as well in any modern stash.

Rather than a fat quarter bundle, I'm giving away a skinny quarter bundle - so you get a 9" by width of fabric strip of each one.  It's the same area as a fat quarter, just a different shape!

Coming up Christmas bundle

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post letting me know what you would like to see under your tree this year.  If you want, you can get an extra entry for each of the following (just leave an extra comment for each that applies):

- following my blog through google friend connect or a feed reader like bloglovin' or feedly (new and existing followers both count); and
- liking my facebook page.

This giveaway is open to everyone (including international participants), but if I can't contact you, you can't win. If you are a no-reply blogger, please leave your email address in the comment.

The giveaway will stay open until around 2pm Saturday 14 December 2013 (New Zealand Time), and I will use the random number generator at to pick a winner then.

Good luck everyone!  By the way, I usually respond to all comments, but giveaways can be a little overwhelming, so I hope you don't mind if I don't respond to your comment on this post.


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Sunday 8 December 2013

My Christmas wishlist

I thought I might share a few of the things on my Christmas wish list (and provide my family with some helpful hints).  They are mostly quilting related…funny that!

Of course, cat fabric!  Lizzy House has designed awesome fabric with cats on it that's not totally lame.  Must. have.  Sadly Catnap is not out yet, but it will be available from Hawthorne Threads, Pink Castle Fabrics and no doubt many other places.  

I am a newish Aneela Hoey convert.  At first I thought her designs were cute but maybe (dare I say it) too cute.  After having to hunt down her Cherry Christmas line after I foolishly didn't snap it up last year, I've decided that her designs are just the right amout of cute.  Her latest collection, Hello Petal, also has cats (and that delicious delicious blue).  Also, sadly, not out yet, and it's a bit tricky to find online shops stocking it.

I really like the hand-drawn look of these fabrics designed by Heather Moore aka Skinny la Minx. Up up and away is available at Hawthorne Threads and Pink Castle Fabrics.

So far I've resisted buying Heather Bailey's Lottie Da fabric, but I'm finding it harder and harder to resist.  Lottie Da is available at Fat Quarter Shop and Hawthorne Threads, amongst other places.

An Umbrella Prints remnant pack - very special handprinted goodness.  Yum.

I didn't have a calendar this year and it was sad.  This beautifully illustrated Seasons Eatings Calendar from Dear Colleen would be perfect in my kitchen, where my calendar hangs next to my fridge.  Even better, when the year is finished you can tear off the calendar part and you end up with a lovely illustrated cookbook.

A Quick Curve Ruler from Sew Kind of Wonderful.  I've been thinking about my goals for next year, and one of them will definitely involve getting comfortable with curved piecing.  I've been admiring this ruler for a while but haven't taken the plunge to buy it...

I don't buy a lot of quilt books.  When I find one I want, it's because I think it's really original and inspiring.  Having seen quite a few of the quilts in this book already as part of its introduction through the authors' respective blogs, this book looks like it will be both. Vintage Quilt Revival is available on Amazon and on Book Depository.

Do you have a Christmas wish list?  I know it might seem funny to make a list, but it's so practical, especially in my family where we are all a little bit hard to buy for.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Caturday Wisdom #48

The ideal position for any cat-width furniture. It's a simple rule. Minnie

What a beautiful photo. Add a cup of tea and it's my ideal weekend situation!
This is from Rachel at Let's Begin Sewing.
Pet photos to Adrianne at adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com, hope your weekend is this peaceful!