5 December 2016

A little happy Tutorial ~ Interfacing Method Appliqued Star


Sorry folks.... no prizes for guessing what this months block was going to be in our current Block of the Month 'A Little Happy Year' !  It had to of course be the Christmas Tree.  The tree itself is quite easy to piece, however this month sees the first little snippet of applique.  As I've mentioned before, my favourite method of applique is the interfacing method and it is what I use for the Christmas trees in our Merry Christmas Sew Along, you can find my tutorial for that HERE.  

I thought however it would be useful to recap those instructions not only for our BOM members but also for my other readers who may find this useful.   Where our little star differs from the triangles I made previously is, that the star has some pesky inside corners, so I'm going to show you how to deal with those.

First off you will need to gather your supplies...you will need a star template (mine as you can tell from it's rather raggedy state has seen a lot of action!), some Lightweight 'sew in' Interfacing, I use THIS ONE and fabric for your star. Make sure both the piece of interfacing and fabric is approximately 1/2" bigger than the star template.

To start, trace around the edge of the star on to the interfacing.  Make sure the line is clearly visable, I use my Frixion marker for this as I know that the lines will disappear when the finished applique is ironed.  

 Place the interfacing on top of the 'right' side of the star fabric.  Starting on one of the stright edges, slowly machine stitch on top of the drawn outline.  I use a fairly small stitch (it's 1.8 on my Janome Horizon).  The key with this is to go nice and slowly!!!  When you've gone all the way round, sew over your first few stitches to secure them.
Trim around the sewn edge allowing a scant 1/4" seam allowance.  Here's the bit where you need to be a little bit daring, but balanced equally with a little caution.  Trim away the excess fabric at each of the five points, but make sure you do not go TO CLOSE to the stitches, otherwise it will all come apart.  On the inside corners, you need to cut out a little 'V' which will ensure that once turned through, there will be no unnecessary wrinkles and you star will lay flat.  You also need to cut a small cross into the interfacing only to allow you to turn the star through.
Carefully turn the star through the interfacing, I find a wooden chopstick absolutely brilliant for this.  Again you need to balance gusto with slight trepidation, given those points a good shove, but make sure you don't push your chopstick through the interfacing.  This is one of those tasks that the more you do, the more you get a feel for it and believe me you will be really pleased that you persevere with this process when you see the finished appliques!!!  Don't expect the pointiest of points, your aiming for a soft curvaceous point.

Here's mine before it had a nice press........

 .....and here it is after a gentle press of the iron (on the fabric side NOT the interfacing side), pinned using one of my favourite notions, a Clover Applique Pin.  (You can see more of my favourite notions HERE)
All that is left to do is to hand stitch the star in place.  Pick a thread colour to match your applique rather than the background fabric, I use 50wt Aurifil thread for this and teeny tiny whip stitches.

A little happy tip...... For a lovely neat finish, I bring my needle up from the back of the background fabric skimming the side of the applique, rather than directly into the applique.  I then sew into the applique fabric and not through the interfacing.  Then when you take the needle back down into the background fabric it will sandwich the interfacing underneath, entirely out of sight. 

Our 'A little happy Year' Block of the Month is, I'm afraid, fully subscribed, but if you fancy joining our new Block of the Month 'A Little Happy Christmas' which will be starting in February 2017 make sure you sign up to receive all the updates HERE!  You can read more about it on THIS blog post........and here's a little peek of some more of the blocks I'm working on .....


Happy Stitches!

30 November 2016

A little happy Tutorial ~ Christmas Stocking Garland



Remember those sweet little Christmas Stocking from the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt?.......well, when I was stitching the red ones for the Sew Along, I started thinking how sweet a Christmas Stocking Garland would be.  So in complete denial of all my current works in progress, I decided last Friday what my precious weekend stitching time would be taken up making!  Oh what a lovely I had....here's the result.......




It's a very simple affair, 5 felt stockings embellished with hand stitches (spaced at 6" intervals) and buttons, rusty tin bells, ribbons and lace (aprox 6" lengths), all simply tied with bakers twine on to some rustic hemp twine.  I chose a Scandi themed colour scheme to fit with my Christmas decor, oh but the possibilities....I'm thinking a sugary pastel affair (think sugar plum fairy!) would look gorgeous in Poppy's room and obviously a red and white version would be perfect...or maybe cool blue's and whites............

If you would like to make one, you can find the free pattern and instructions for stitching the felt stockings HERE.  Please do feel free to resize and add as much or as little extra decorations as you wish....I bet you'll make some really pretty versions!  Oh and don't forget, if you share on social media, please use the hashtag #alittlehappytutorial so that I can take a peek!   
I shared a little snippet of the finished garland on Instagram the other evening and I was asked if this one was going to make it's way to the shop..........hummmm I know it's early in our house for Christmas decorations, but I think I kind of like it hanging on my living room door...so we'll see....


Here's what Scrummy Supplies I used:

Smokey Marble and Antique White Woolfelt® available HERE
Aurifil Lana Wool Threads (#8081 #8225 #8328) available HERE
Mother of Pearl Buttons available HERE
Slate Grey Beautiful Bakers Twine available HERE
A selection of festive Ribbons and Lace available HERE
Rusty Tin Bells available HERE
Hemp Twine from my stash.

Happy Stitches!

8 November 2016

Quilt Petite Blog Hop


Thank you for joining me today for my stop on the Quilt Petite Blog Hop.  Having been a huge fan of Sedef for some time now....what can I say....she has perfect taste when it comes to picking pretty fabrics, she takes really pretty photo's and her attention to detail is impeccable.....all the things I love!

I was obviously sooooo excited when she announced that she was writing a book with Tuva Publishing...another perfect match as they publish the most fabulous sewing books..... I just knew it was going to be good!  I was not disappointed....Quilt Petite is crammed full of the prettiest projects including mini quilts, place mats,dolls quilts and lots more.  The projects include a good mix for all abilities, making it suitable for both beginner and more experienced sewers alike.  As I am 'all' for getting people sewing, I really love the clearly written instructions for each project, which are also supported by a very thorough techniques section and to cap it all, there are full size templates included...yay!!!.

So do you want to see what I made.........


After much deliberation, I chose to make the Flower Potholder from P.63 but as you can see, I put a festive twist on it and chose a bright and cheery red and green scheme combined with Mochi Dots linen.  The 1930's reproduction fabrics I used were a combination of 'Little Joys' by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics and 'Storybook Christmas' from Windham Fabrics, plus the fabulous bias stripe is from Sedef's own 'Sweet Orchard' collection for Riley Blake.
The pot holder calls for an English Paper Piecing design to be appliqued on to the front of the pot holder, I deviated slightly from the examples shown in the book and created a festive star design and used a mix of a 3/4" hexie with 3/4" half hexies and 1 1/2" equilateral triangles..... I'm really happy with how it turned out...

Another feature of the pot holder that I particularly like, are the curved edges along the bottom......I know these might appear slightly daunting, but let me reassure you, Sedef has provided very easy instructions on how to deal with these.

I can not wait to have this hanging in my kitchen this Christmas......but lets be honest about this..... there is absolutely no way this is going to be used...ever...anyone found using it.....or just to be clear...... even pointing it in the direction of a roasting tin, will be instantly put on washing up duty! It's far to pretty to use!


The blog hop continues everyday until the 11th December and there will be a whole host of super talented bloggers sharing what they have made from the book. I've popped at list below and you must go and take a peek at what Wynn made yesterday and I'm super excited to see what my fellow bloggers will create...... Bridgette at The Family Hearth is up tomorrow, so I'm sure we are in for a treat:  

November 6: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane (intro + giveaway)
November 7: Wynn at Zakka Art 
November 8: Sarah at A Little Happy Place
November 9: Bridgette at The Family Hearth
November 10: Heidi at Fabric Mutt
November 11: Minki at Minki's Work Table
November 12: Ange at A Little Patchwork
November 13: Lauren at Molly and Mama
November 14: Michelle at Cole & Taffy
November 15: Nadra at Ellis & Higgs
November 16: Amy at Nana Company
November 17: Faith at Sarana Ave
November 18: Debbie at Happy Little Cottage
November 19: Erin at Why Not Sew
November 20: Amanda at Jedi Craft Girl
November 21: Melissa at Oh How Sweet
November 22: Stacy at Stacy Olson Design
November 23: Ayda at Cafe Nohut
November 24: Peta at She Quilts A Lot
November 25: Amanda at A Crafty Fox
November 26: Keera at Live Love Sew
November 27: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane
November 28: Kate at The Homemakery
November 29: Jemima at Tied With A Ribbon
November 30: Jodie at Ric Rac
December 1: Anorina at Samelia's Mum
December 2: Alisha at Ministry of Fabric
December 3: Xanthe at Wife-made
December 4: Cheri at Tinker With This
December 5: Kristyne at Pretty By Hand
December 6: Kimberly at Fat Quarter Shop
December 7: Veronica at Vivid Felicity
December 8: Shari at Doohikey Designs
December 9: Jina at Jina Barney Designz
December 10: Emma at Emma Jean Jansen
December 11: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane (wrap up + giveaway winner)


To celebrate the launch of her book, Sedef is also having a Giveaway on her blog where there is a wonderful prize including a copy of the book and Zakka goodies up for grabs!

UK peeps, as well as all the normal sources, the book is also available to purchase on our website HERE.



Thank you for joining me today and I hope that you are looking forward to the rest of the Blog Hop!  Finally before I go, a big thank you to Sedef for inviting me to take part and celebrate the launch of her fabulous book and thank you also to Tuva for sending me my copy!

Happy Stitches!

4 November 2016

A Little Happy Christmas Block of the Month ~ Sneaky Peek



It would seem I am completely rubbish at keeping secrets (don't worry dear family and friends...not those sort of secrets!) but secrets of the fabric and quilty kind!  You may have seen a picture on my Instagram account a few days ago of something I have just started working on.......but in my defence part of the enjoyment for me is sharing the progress of an item and not just doing a grand Ta Da moment!  Well getting to the point...following on from the 'a little happy sew along' to make the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt (if you don't know what I'm talking about click HERE) I received quite a few emails asking if I had any plans for a full size quilt... after mulling it over for a few days, I thought why not, I'm always game for a little Christmas sewing.  I know for me Christmas crafting tends to happen late on in the year, so to be able to spread it out would make sense and for it to be so much more enjoyable.....so I set to drafting some ideas.  

I find it easier to take inspiration from things that have a personal meaning to me and my family.  When I started writing them down, I realised we have quite a few traditions, some from my childhood, some from Andy's and some that we've started for our children.....................we hang our family advent calendar filled with little treats, we like to build a decorate a gingerbread house (and eat all the left over sweets), make salt dough decorations, put a sign out for Santa to please visit us and just to make sure we're not missed...... on Christmas Eve we sprinkle magic reindeer food on our front lawn.  We obviously like to hang up decorations..lots of decorations, but without question this is always done two Sunday's before Christmas, whilst we wear Christmas PJ's and without any question or complaints from the children, Michael Buble sings along in the background whilst the tree is decorated in all its glory!

It's from these and other precious traditions, I came up with the quilt design, it's not 100% set in stone as I type, but in my head I know where I'm going .....

Sewing has started, which for me helps finalise the design.  I'm going for a traditional colour scheme.....think rich reds, sage green, golden yellows, duck egg blues and silvery grey......  and my idea is that the colours and the quilt block designs will give the feel of Christmas rather than using actual Christmas themed fabrics.  A timeless Christmas quilt, that will itself become part of our Christmas tradition as we bring it out year after year.

As with the existing Block of the Month 'A Little Happy Year' the quilt will incorporate some of my favourite techniques, English paper piecing, applique and machine piecing and I'm also planning on incorporating some embroidery on this one....exciting!

I'm planning for the  'A little happy Christmas' Block of the Month to start in February 2017 and it will run for nine months, finishing in October, giving you time before Christmas to layer, quilt and bind your quilt top.  I'm anticipating on it being a lovely lap quilt...perfect for snuggling under in the build up to Christmas.

Sound good........if you would like to register for more information you can do so on the website HERE.

Guess what I'll be stitching this weekend and I hope that your weekend is full of happy stitches too!

1 November 2016

Farm Girl Vintage ~ Scrappy Maple Leaf Table Topper

 

On my wish list for what seems an age, was to make a Scrappy Maple Leaf quilt.  Well I didn't quite manage a full size quilt but I have made a Scrappy Maple Leaf table topper, which has somewhat satisfied the itch!

Obviously I knew exactly where to go for the pattern and pulled out my copy of Lori Holt's fabulous book Farm Girl Vintage Book...honestly if I could only have one quilting book this would be it!  I used the Tabletopper setting from P.122 and combined a 12" Postage Stamp Block from P.57 with twelve 6" Scrappy Maple Leaf Blocks from P.58.


The fabrics I used are mix of scrummy 1930's reproductions and the background is a Black on Cream swiss dot from Riley Blake......whilst talking Black on Cream/White, there has been so many new arrivals this last week or so in that colourway......Thicket, Chestnut Street, Handmade...here's a little flat lay I did to celebrate Halloween, which of course was much enjoyed in our household!



I chose an orange stripe from Backyard Roses for the binding...I know, I'm so predictable when it comes to my binding choices!  Maybe my New Years resolution for 2017 should be to use anything BUT stripes (however I can not promise that's a resolution I would stick to!)

For the quilting I initially decided to free motion quilt pebbles on the background fabric, which would have looked fantastic if I had used a solid fabric, but I didn't like the effect on the polka dots...after an evening spent unpicking....I eventually went for a spiral, which provides just enough interest without being over the top....lets be honest there's a lot going on in this little quilt!




I'm really pleased with how it turned out.....I would still one day like to make a full size Maple Leaf quilt, but for now this will have to do!  By the way isn't it great to put on those winter boots and coloured tights...I think I'm definitely an Autumn girl at heart...I wonder what your favourite season is?

Thanks so much for visiting and see you again soon!


SCRUMMY SUPPLIES I'VE MENTION THIS WEEK.........

Find Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt HERE
Find our vast collection of 1930's Reproduction Fabrics HERE
Find Backyard Roses by Nadra Ridgeway for Riley Blake Fabrics HERE
Find Thicket by Gingiber (Stacie Bloomfield) for Moda HERE
Find Handmade by Bonnie and Camille for Moda HERE
Find Chestnut Street by Fig Tree and Co for Moda HERE

28 October 2016

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Merry Christmas Mini Quilt ~ Part 5 Finishing Touches


Welcome back for the final installment of the 'a little happy Sew Along'.  I hope that you had fun last week making your felt Christmas stockings!

This week we'll be completing the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt adding all the little finishing touches that make it truly special.

SCRUMMY SUPPLIES REQUIRED THIS WEEK

A piece of wadding/batting and a piece of backing fabric aprox 10 1/2" x 11 1/4", just make sure that they are both a little larger than your mini quilt top.

Quilting pins or Basting spray

5 buttons

Binding fabric, for mini's I use a slight narrower binding strip than I do for full size quilts, so for my Merry Christmas Mini Quilt, I cut one strip at  2 1/4" by full width of fabric or if you prefer for those of you who purchased kits you can use the strip enclosed (my normal quilting width binding) which was 2 1/2" x full width of fabric

12wt threads for hand quilting

Lets get stitching.........

First off you will need to make a quilt sandwich, this is basically where you will layer up the backing fabric, wadding and your mini quilt top.  I have written a full step by step 'a little happy tutorial' for how to do this HERE.  What I would add in is for all small projects (and I must confess on occasion for some larger quilts....oh the shame), I always use 505 Basting Spray rather than pins.  If you haven't used it before 505 is a temporary adhesive and it really does make layering a doddle.  I find it works best to spray the wadding rather than the fabric and a word of warning don't use to much, less is definitely more on this occasion and take care where you spray otherwise all your surrounding surfaces will be very tacky...believe me on this!! Don't panic if you place your batting in the wrong position, you can simply lift it, give it another spritz and re position.  Sorry we do not post 505 Spray, but we have it available in our Ruskington shop.

Once you've made your quilt sandwich, you're ready to start quilting.  I chose to hand quilt mine, but please feel free to quilt as you desire.

If you decide to hand quilt, here's a close up of what quilting I added........



1.  As you can see from the picture I originally quilted around the tree in off white (Aurifil 12wt #2021) but it didn't really stand out enough for me, so I had a change of plan and used red (Aurifil 12wt #2260), which you can see in pictures further down in a moment.

2. I quilted at a diagonal through all the squares on the 9 patch using red.  I used my Hera marker and quilting ruler to mark the straight lines which I then stitched on top of.  (The Hera marker creates a crease in the fabric.)

3. I quilted either side of the ribbon in off white, again I marked the straight line first with my Hera marker

4. As before I used my Hera marker to draw a diagonal line through each square and the stitched in a zig zag from one side to the other and back again.

If you've never hand quilted before, this is an ideal project to have a go, so I thought I would talk you through what I like to do.   I use a Merchant and Mills straw needle as they have a good size eye and I have no problem threading the 12 wt thread.  

I start by making a knot in my thread.....  A little happy tip..... my nan always told me that your piece of thread should be no longer than from your finger tips to your elbow..... I then bring my needle in from the back of my quilt to where I wish to start quilting, give it a little tug, so that the knot pulls through the backing fabric and beds itself into the wadding, without coming through to the quilt front.

I like the look of small stitches with a slightly larger gap in between, and tend to bring 2 or 3 stitches on to my needle at a time.  I think this is one of those things where you naturally find your own rhythm and stitch length and it's best to not over think it, just go with the flow.  I also recently discovered a new ergonomic style of thimble by Prym available HERE which I have found brilliant and it is saving my poor middle finger which previously was stabbed on a very regular basis!




When I've finished stitching, I do a couple of small stitches to secure my thread and then I take my needle back in to the wadding coming out a couple of inches away from where I finished stitching.  I then pull the thread taught before cutting it off.  The end of the thread then buries itself into the wadding and out of sight. I hope that you feel inspired to give hand quilting a go!

Once you have added your quilting trim away the excess backing fabric and wadding.  Then add the buttons, one to the top of the Christmas Tree and one at the centre of each square at the bottom of the hanger. (Can you see how much better the red thread looked than the white for the quilting!)


Next sew your quilt binding, I like to machine mine to the front of the quilt and hand stitch to the back.  For a full step by step 'a little happy tutorial', take a look HERE.

The final step is to tie your Felt Christmas stockings to the star buttons, hang up, stand back and admire.........you are done!


I hope that you enjoyed stitching your Merry Christmas Mini Quilt and it will bring a touch of homemade happiness and cheer to your home this year and for many years to come!

I have lots more Sew Alongs and Patterns which I will be sharing with you over the next few months, so I hope that you will visit again soon.  Don't forget to add me to your Blog list so you do not miss out!!  

Thanks for sewing along! 

21 October 2016

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Merry Christmas Mini Quilt ~ Part 4 Felt Stockings


Doesn't time fly when you're having fun..... can you believe it's week 4 of the 'a little happy Sew Along' !  Its been brilliant seeing all your Merry Christmas Mini Quilts coming together, thank you for sewing along!

This week we're going to be making the little felt stockings.  Felt is a medium that I love to work with and over the years I have sewn with many different types of felt including acrylic, wool mixed with synthetic fibres, 100% wool and after many trials and tribulations, my felt of choice is a wool/rayon mix by National Nonwovens.  Not only do I love the consistency of thickness and texture, I was completely blown over by the colours available.  Forget the brash primary coloured thin felt you use to use when you were at school...this felt is for grown ups!   



SCRUMMY SUPPLIES REQUIRED THIS WEEK

You will need to grab two colours of felt from your stash, some bakers twine and co-ordinating thread. I used Aurifil 12wt in #2260.

Just like last week you will need to print off the pattern, which you can download HERE.

CUTTING INSTRUCTIONS

From the Red Felt cut (8) stocking shapes* 
From the White Felt cut (4) cuffs and (4) hearts
From the Bakers Twine cut (4) x 9" pieces`

*A little happy tip or two....... I like to fold my felt in half and cut both the front and back pieces for each stocking at the same time, that way I get perfectly matching stockings.  I also like to make the required number of templates (I made 4 stocking templates), that way I can then lay them out making the best use of my felt.......felt is great as even the smallest scrap can come in useful!  Sharp scissors are essential, I find my 5" Fiskers Needlework scissors, brilliant for this.  For my other favourite notions, take a peek HERE.



LETS GET SEWING!

For each stocking, you need two stocking shapes, a cuff, a heart and a piece of bakers twine.

First off you will need to attach the bakers twine to the stocking.  To do this, fold your piece of bakers twine in half and using tiny little stitches, sew over the bakers twine at the centre point to the top right wrong side corner of what effectively will become the back piece of your stocking (take a peek at the picture below!).  Make sure all your knots are on the inside of the stocking i.e. the same side as the bakers twine!  Leave the ends of the bakers twine as is, next week we'll be attaching the stockings to the mini quilt.



We're now going to decorate the front of the stocking, I know this sounds like a silly thing to say, but make sure you decorate the right side, it's easy to get in a muddle when working with felt as there is no obvious right or wrong side!

Position your cuff at the top of the pocket and sew in place.  I did little running stitches at the top and bottom and added some cross stitches in the middle.


Position and sew the heart in place, I used blanket stitch for mine.  You may find this 'a little happy tutorial' useful if you've never sewn blanket stitch before.


Finally place the back and front stocking pieces wrong sides together and using blanket stitch again sew around the edge, leaving the top edge open.  Perfect for adding some sweet little treats!

Repeat for the remaining three stockings.

I hope that you'll join me next week for the final installment when we'll be putting the finishing touches to your mini quilt.  

Don't forget to the use the following hastags: 

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

Happy Stitches!

PS.... here's a sneaky peek of the next 'a little happy sew along' which I'm planning towards the end of January....think woven wool, linen, lawn and pretty trims!