Jackpot!

After every swap I participate in I say that I won’t do it again; but I always do. The last swap I joined was the Schnitzel & Boo mini quilt swap and you may remember the half circles I cut and started appliquéing. I can now reveal that I made this quilt, which I named ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ for Amy. I met Amy at the Fat Quarterly Retreat 2012 and 2013 and it was just lovely to make something for someone I really, really like.

Over the Hills and Far AwayI sent her the mini with some extras but none of these were recorded here at Shark’s Dinner. That’s right, I was so excited about sending the package that I never took a photograph. Blogger of the year? Don’t think so…

Over the Hills and Far Away

The design of this mini was something I cooked up for a big quilt. I was going to do the backgrounds in greens and yellows and do the half circles in light blue. The fabric pull has been sitting in my cupboard for two years now but the quilt still hasn’t been made.

Anyway, let me show you now what I received in this swap and you will understand why I keep joining these swaps again and again. This one is a stunner and I feel like the luckiest girl around. Alison is one talented lady!

Tea with Kate Spain

As always, the photo bomber had to have his say too. I love everything about this mini: the colours, the fabric, the beautiful execution. I mean just look at the details:Tea with Kate Spain

The cake looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it? And look at the blackberries.Tea with Kate Spain

Tea, anyone? I’d love a tea pot like that. The FMQ is just incredible too.

Tea with Kate Spain

Little Miss Bossy-Boots tried to get me to hang it in her bedroom but I denied her the pleasure and have hung it in the sewing/craft room instead. I really would have loved to have it in the kitchen but I have no walls I can hang it on. So it’s joined the other minis on the wall and I love looking at it and being inspired by it. There were some extras too, a cute pink ribbon and some 3D stickers for card making but Little Miss Bossy-Boots got her little hands on those before I had a chance to take pictures (Hmm, I’m sensing a theme here). I definitely hit the jackpot here.

PS Oops, I’ve done it again. Sandy, aka Curly Boy, is organising a swap and I’ve signed up. If you’d like to join too, hop on over to his blog and fill out the form. You’ve got three days to do so!

 


Surf and Turf meets The Birds and The Bees

When Jess from The Elven Garden asked for pattern testers for her new Roundabout pattern I couldn’t help myself and volunteered.

I’m on a (self-imposed) fabric buying ban but still get the Simply Solids stash club every month. When I saw all the pinks and oranges together I really wanted to make a quilt using just the two colours. However, when I started pulling fabrics for the Roundabout pattern I added some fresh blues to the mix. As a neutral I decided to use some Heather Ross fish which I got when Claudia from Machen und Tun München had her destash.

Roundabout Pattern by The Elven Garden

I loved the combination and soon started cutting. I checked the fabric requirements for all the colours but not for the neutral as I was convinced that I had enough of it. Well, long story short, I didn’t. After piecing two quarters I realised that I wouldn’t be able to cut enough for another two. I wasn’t going to unpick; unpicking foundation paper piecing is a nightmare and I didn’t want to waste my precious Heather Ross. So I hunted around in my stash for a neutral I would be able to use for the other two quarters and found some My Happy Garden by Cloud9 Fabrics that I used as backing for Little Miss Bossy-Boots’ flannel quilt.

Roundabout Pattern by The Elven Garden

The top was pieced with my beloved Aurifil thread (2000). I don’t really need to mention it anymore, do I? I don’t use any other thread since falling in love with it two years ago.

I have a few things I need to finish before I can actually think about quilting this. The plan is   to practice my fmq and hang it on my wall in the sewing room.

The pattern hasn’t been released yet but once Jess has finished all the editing you will be able to win a copy on her blog as well as all the tester’s blogs, including mine!


Espresso!

I bought a little espresso cup without saucer at the charity shop for 50 Rp (about 35p). Not because I drink espresso; no, just because I thought it was cute.

Then I added some mirror ball dots and ended up with a sweet pin cushion which I gave to my sister.

Pin cushion

I bought another espresso cup with roses on. Hmmm, I might have to make another pin cushion….


Having Fun Retreating

I admit I was a little worried about this year’s retreat as many of my friends weren’t going. Due to some other commitments I couldn’t participate in all the hype beforehand either although I did enter the sample swap and name tag swap before realising that I would be swamped with other things. I made a name tag for Di of Willowbecks Designs, a lady I absolutely love. She is one of the nicest, most generous and beautiful people I know so I wanted to make something beautiful for her. I think I managed it but as I completely forgot to take a picture of the name tag you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I got the best name tag, which the lovely Trash made for me when my partner opted out a couple of days before the retreat.

My name tag from Trash

Friday’s classes were a fantastic start to the weekend as I was first taught to hand quilt by THE Jen Kingwell. I admire Jen tremendously and learned so much in her class. Hand sewing is my thing anyway and I’ve always loved the look of hand quilting so it was fun to get a chance to get tips from the expert. I got very little done in class but came away with so much knowledge.

Jen Kingwell with her Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt

Afterwards I went to a class I had hoped to get into last year: TouchDraw with Lynne from Lily’s Quilts. I use TouchDraw all the time to design my English Paper Piecing patterns and thought I knew my way around this app rather well. Boy was I wrong. I learned a ton of things and came back absolutely amazed at how much easier I could make things for myself. I’ve had a little play with TouchDraw since coming home as I wanted to make sure I don’t forget all the tips and tricks but nothing I can show you yet.

In the evening I went for a wonderful meal with 15 lovely and creative women and had an absolute blast. I was a very happy bunny when I went to bed.

Saturday started with another fantastic class: Screen printing with Karen from Blueberry Park. I’ve admired Karen’s work for a long time and have bought a few things. I was incredibly excited to meet her and get to do some printing. Most of my materials had been left at home as I packed my suitcase in a rather haphazardly way, it seems. I had a hoop, a craft knife and some paint and begged, stole and bought everything else and came away with two different designs that I really love. I’m really excited to make something with my two panels and am desperately trying to find the time to do some more printing soon.

SharksFlowers

The afternoon was a return to hand stitching and Jen Kingwell. She gave us her ‘Green Tea and Sweet Beans’ pattern and lots and lots of tips on how to make hand sewing easy and fun. This kind of hand sewing is even faster than EPP and seems more relaxed. Once you’ve cut out all the pieces the sewing is really quick. It’s just as portable as EPP but gives a completely different effect. I didn’t like the background fabric I used for the block I had chosen (I used the background I had brought to print on in the morning) so am going to start again with some different background fabric. I know I shouldn’t event think about starting this project as I really need to finish my Spring Carnival first but as soon as that is done I’m starting on GT & SB and won’t stop until it’s finished and hand quilted!

Jen Kingwell and I

Saturday evening saw the return of quilt market and I did buy some fabric. I couldn’t resist some Oakshotts and some Cotton and Steel. All in all I was very restrained as what I really wanted was a big fat quarter bundle of Oakshott but there was the slight problem of no room in the suitcase…

Pub quiz; you either love it or hate it. I enjoy a good pub quiz although I’m usually the one smiling and nodding while everyone else is giving the answers. This time, however, it was all about fabrics, designers and books and I knew quite a few of the answers. So did the others, though, so I was still sitting there nodding and smiling. And the nodding and smiling paid off as we won. We were allowed to choose a pattern from a selection of patterns and I picked Jen Kingwell’s ‘Steam Punk’. I have no idea when I’m supposed to find the time to make it but, to be honest, I’m just happy to have it in my house.

Sunday morning saw me traipsing back to the Baden Powell House with no materials for my last class. I’d bought the materials before leaving for England but had to leave them behind as there was no space in the suitcase. That’s what I get for sharing a suitcase with a six year old. My last class was with Amy Smart, who I’ve admired for a long time. She’s written a great book ‘Fabulously Fast Quilts’ and we were going to make one of the quilts from it. I walked into the class and told Amy that I was happy to be the pressing girl and thus help out all the other ladies. Luckily for me the wonderful Di from Willowbeck Designs was in the class too and I ended up pressing and sewing for her while chatting non stop. It was a truly great end to a fantastic weekend.

Di, Amy and I