making

Flower Power Mini Quilt

Sometime after finishing my first Miniature Quilt ‘Garden of Patience’ I started what would turn out to be a long term quarter inch hexie project. I decided that I wanted to make a giant hexagon flower. Each petal would be a different colour of the rainbow and would be pieced from quarter inch hexies. Now I didn’t record the date I started this insane idea, but I’m taking a guess that it was approximately seven or so years ago.

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Piecing the petals.

 

This year I decided that I was going to finish all of my English Paper Piecing WIP’s because I have quite a few of them! I had a rummage through my WIP basket and came across a couple of finished and half-finished petals for my hexagon flower quilt. Straight away I knew this was one that I had to get finished. Over the next few months I pieced together the individual petals, finishing the ones I had already started and starting the colours I hadn’t yet begun. At last I had all seven petals pieced.

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Piecing the petals to the center

 

The project gained steam now as I could start to see it coming together. The petals pieced I began to sew them together, first attaching each petal to the centre white pieced hexagon, and then piecing the sides between each petal. That done I needed to decide how I was going to finish off the flower. Did I want to leave it as just the centre and petals? Did I want to square it off and add in a multi-coloured arrangement of quarter inch hexie flowers with borders? I spent a bit of time weighing up my options before settling on adding diamond shaped blocks pieced from more quarter inch hexies in white and cream fabrics. This allowed me to create one giant pieced hexagon shape with six straight edges.

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Petals are all pieced to the center, time to piece the petal sides together
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Piecing on the diamond corner blocks

The piecing complete, it was time to attach it to backing fabric. I did some stash diving and settled on a neutral pale cream cotton fabric. I used a large square of visafix to adhere the piecing to the backing. I then also did some thread basting along the sides to help keep the work in place and to try and avoid distorting the backing fabric while I hand appliqued around the six sides of the piecing on to the backing.

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Appliquing on to the backing fabric

The applique complete I then had to decide how to quilt it. I knew I didn’t want to do any kind of visible quilting over the top of the pieced quarter inch hexies as I thought it would detract from the overall look and design. I didn’t want all of my painstakingly pieced hexies to be hidden under quilting stitches! In the end I decided to hand quilt very tiny stitches along the sides of each petal. I’m going to try and explain this as best I can. I would do a very small stitch in the corner of an individual quarter inch hexie piece, then bring my needle up in the next corner of the hexie piece. I would continue in this manner along the edges of each petal joint. What it created was virtually invisible stitches on the front and larger stitches on the back. It has had the desired affect though. The piece is not interrupted by quilt stitches, but it has done the job in connecting the front of the quilt through the wadding to the back of the quilt.

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Sewing tiny quilting stitches
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Quilting along the edge

I then decided to hand quilt small visible quilt stitches following the outline of the whole pieced hexagon. That done the whole project sat for two months waiting for me to come back and finish it off properly. I had left a border of the backing fabric so I needed to decide how I was going to quilt that. I decided to machine quilt it and drew three lines of quilting following the hexagon sides and radiating out. The first quilt line measure a quarter inch out from the piecing, the next line measure half an inch from the first quilting line, and the third measures three quarter inch from the second quilting line. This has then left me with about a half inch of border fabric before the binding which measures quarter inch. I was pretty pleased with how that symmetry worked out.

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The binding is hand sewn on to the back. I stash dived for both the backing and binding fabrics. I trialled a couple of different binding fabrics before settling on the neutral taupe colour.

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The back
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Hanging sleeve for rod and ribbon loops to hang on wall hooks

And just like that my ‘Flower Power Mini Quilt’ is finished. I love it! It brings such a happy burst of loveliness to my studio wall. It feels great to finally get this piece finished. It’s really quite satisfying to see all the time and effort that goes into something for it to then bloom in front of your very eyes.

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Without further ado, here are the quilt Stats:

Finished Quilt Size: Each hexagon side = 11.5”  Width = 23”  x  Height = 20”

Finished Pieced Size: Each hexagon side = 8.5”  Width = 17.5”  x  Height = 15.25”

Binding Size: ¼”

Hexagon piece size = 1/$”

Hexagon Centre and Petal individual hexie count = 127

Total Count (7 Petal Blocks) = 889

Diamond individual hexie count = 42

Total Count (6 diamond blocks) = 252

Grand Total Quarter Inch Hexie Count = 1,141

Time

Hexie Prep = 7.5hrs (cutting out and basting the hexie pieces) (that’s pretty conservative really, probably a lot more time than that!)

Hexie Flower Piecing: Individual Petal = 15hrs    Total for 7 petals = 105hrs

Piecing Petals together = 8.5hrs

Piecing the diamond borders on = 24.5hrs

Applique = 4.5hrs

Quilting = 4hrs

Finishing and Binding = 4hrs

Grand Total time to make = 158hrs

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What the back of all that piecing looks like!

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making

Half Hexagon Sample Mini Quilt

This year I have decided to extend the range and sizes of paper pieces I sell in my shop for use in English Paper Piecing. I also decided it would be a great idea to make sample quilts using all the shapes I stock in all of their various sizes. The idea sounded great in theory until I realised how many sample quilts or hoop wall hangings I’d have to make! I still think it’s a good idea though, especially as next year I hope to take my little market stall to some of the local quilt shows and craft trade shows. I have a picture in my head of how my stall will look and it includes a back drop of mini quilts and hoops.

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One of the new shapes I’ll be adding to my range of papers are Half Hexagons. This is a shape I myself had not yet sewn with. Being a new shape to my shop I decided this would be the perfect place to start with a sample quilt. I had a look on Pinterest for some ideas and settled on creating hexagon blocks using two colours of half hexagons. The completed design almost has a chain like look.

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I raided my stash for some soft pink, blue and purple fabrics. I settled on 14 different prints & paired them up. I used half inch size half hexies (where the half inch is measured along the 3 short sides).

 

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After completing my hexagon blocks I then played around with their placement until I was happy with the final composition before then sewing them all together.

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To straighten up the sides I had to add 3 half hexagon blocks to the two long sides and a few extra half hexagon pieces to the top and bottom edges. Once I had pieced it all together I cut and basted the border fabric to large rectangle card and using small paperclips to hold in place, hand sewed the borders on. When it came to piecing the top and bottom border on I folded the extra half hexies I added to get a straight edge.

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I wasn’t sure if I would need to quilt this piece, so I worked a little backwards when it came to finishing the quilt off. I picked a pretty floral fabric from my stash for the backing and used a light weight batting in-between. I chose a neutral fawn coloured cotton fabric for the binding and decided to add a little peeper border in pink, something else I tried out for the first time. I had a bit of trouble hand sewing the binding on around the corners due to the extra bulk of the peeper border, so I’m not entirely happy with that.

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Once I had the quilt bound I decided I did need to do some quilting. I chose to hand quilt vertical lines running down the seams. I decided to just do every second vertical seam line, but then I made a boo boo and quilted down the wrong seam. There was no way I was going to attempt un-picking it so I decided to just quilt down each vertical seam. I think the finished effect looks really good. Because I wanted the quilting stitches to disappear on the front, rather than using quilting cotton I used the same thread when hand piecing the shapes together, Superior Threads Bottom Line in white. This worked perfectly as the stitches on the front have literally ‘sunk’ in to the pieced seams.

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I’m really pleased with how this mini quilt has turned out. It was a pleasure to sew and it was nice experimenting with a new shape and pattern.

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Here are the final stats:

Finished Quilt Size: 9.5” x 12.5”

Pieced Half Hexagon section finished size: 7” x 9.75”

Number of ‘hexagon’ blocks: 21

Number of individual half hexagons: 208

Hours to make: 33.5

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Happy Stitching,

Miss Leela x

making

May Reflections

Hello Maker Friends! I hope this post finds you well? I’m back to share some reflections on my making life for May. It was a rather busy with lots of little & big things happening. The end of the month saw illness descend on our little family. First Tilly contracted conjunctivitis, which we are still trying to get rid of after nearly 3 weeks. Then I caught a cold, which I have since passed on to both Tilly & my Hubby. I am still not back to 100% & I am now battling the last stage, an annoying throat tickle & cough. Last time it took about 2-3 weeks for me to shift Mr Most Annoying Cough in the Whole Wide World! Hopefully that won’t be the case this time.

Dahlia---Miss-Leela

On a much happier note we celebrated Tilly’s 2nd Birthday this month. I still can’t believe I have a two-year-old. My little baby has disappeared. We had a small party with just Tilly’s Grandparent’s, her Aunt, Uncle & Cousins. We had a beautiful day playing with the twenty or so balloons I had blown up the night before to fill our living room floor. Tilly was so excited to see them when she got up she didn’t even notice the pile of presents on her little table. We had a BBQ lunch & enjoyed birthday cake. I made a Strawberry Shortcake – vanilla mud cake with jam filling & white chocolate buttercream frosting, covered in fresh strawberries & shortbread crumbs. It was delicious. One of Tilly’s presents was a trampoline which she absolutely loved. She must have bounced around in it for about an hour.

Among Tilly’s bought presents I also made her an amigurumi lamb. Not the funnest amigurumi toy I’ve made, I was well & truly over the bobble stitch when I finished it! I was also holding two yarns for the bobble stitch body & cap, a fake mohair with an 8ply acrylic, so that didn’t make it any easier. Still the finished effect is very lovely & fluffy which is what I was after. Tilly loves it. I used a pattern by Anatillea. I actually found the instructions for the bobble stitch a bit hard to understand & ended up using a tutorial by Sandra of The Cherry Heart to make the stitch instead. The pattern also calls you to crochet the body & head as one piece, but I elected not to do this & instead made them as two separate pieces & stitched them together as I normally would. Apart from those two things the pattern was very good.

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Another gift make I finished was the crochet baby blanket I was making for my best friend’s new baby boy. I crocheted a ripple blanket out of Patons Big Baby 4 ply in colours 3911 (variegated) & 2582 (mint green)using Lucy of Attic 24 tutorial. I didn’t have the blanket done in time for when bub arrived, I actually just met him for the first time last weekend. I was pleased with how the blanket turned out, my bestie loved it also. I just wish I was a bit quicker at making crochet blankets. I’ve only been crocheting for the last 2-3 years & I find I’m still quite slow. Plus the yarn was quite splitty which didn’t help my pace much!

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I’ve started work on another baby crochet blanket, this one is much smaller though. It’s for Tilly’s baby doll that we got her for her birthday. I started out experimenting with some treble & double crochet rows, working them in to the back & front loops, but this was a bit tedious I felt to do for the whole blanket, so I’ve reverted back to just treble rows. I also stuffed up a couple of times at the start of the rows so it’s not quite straight…I don’t think the doll will mind though!

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I did a bit of work on one of my #makenine2018 projects for Tilly – the Granny Square Cardigan. I was thinking of using the blocks to make a poncho, but I’m thinking now I may just stick to the pattern & make it into the cardigan. I have been enjoying crocheting the blocks, they are quite quick to whip up & I make 3 to 4 at night. I think I need to strat weaving my ends in as I go though!

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I went on a little adventure to the Autumn in Orange Fibre Muster with my Mumsie & a fibre friend at the start of the month. We had a wonderful time squishing lots of lovely yarns & rovings. I came home with quite a few goodies, some yarn, dyes & a hand turned drop spindle. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves & I loved being amongst so many fibre enthusiasts. The hall was pumping & the atmosphere was warm & friendly. As a thank you for driving us out there my Mumsie bought me a pottery mug with a little sheep on it. So stinking cute! Once we had finished, we headed back to Bathurst & had lunch at a charming Greek Restaurant with an awesome retro 50’s decor that had seen it’s last refurbishment done in the 80’s. So cool.

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I have been steadily working on my re-branding…yes still. A complete overall of my entire business takes time! I have been re-thinking what items I want to focus on making with moving forward with Miss Leela Handmade. I have decided I will be launching a completely new brand/shop where I will sell my EPP supplies, as well as EPP kits & patterns, possibly fabric & hand dyed yarn. Miss Leela Handmade with then just be home to any items I actually make to sell, such as quilts & wall hangings etc. I have some ideas for pin cushions, needle keepers as well as project & notion bags.

As you will have seen in my previous post I received my copy of Flossie Teacake’s Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp. I was so excited to be apart of this wonderful book. I have also been working on another editorial piece behind the scenes this month…all will hopefully be revealed sometime this month.

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I have been working on two EPP mini quilts this month. The first is my Half Hexie Mini Quilt (which at the time of writing I have just about finished) & a Granny Flower Mini Quilt made with quarter inch hexies. I will do a more detailed post about my Half Hexie Mini Quilt, but I have enjoyed working on it immensely & love how it has turned out. The Granny Flower project is one I started a while ago. I have finished sewing the flowers together, but I’m now stuck on how I want to finish it. I’m not sure if I should leave it as is or add some different design elements or borders.

 

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I celebrated my second Mother’s Day Weekend. On the Saturday Mumsie & I went to our local Brown Owls meet up for some making & chit chat. We then met up with my Dad & Tilly for lunch. Does anyone have any tips on how to keep a two-year-old quiet & sitting peacefully when dining in a public place?! She isn’t too bad, but sometimes her behaviour just turns me off going out anywhere in public with her! She now pretty much refuses to sit in a high chair so usually that means sitting in my lap which makes it very awkward to enjoy eating any kind of food. Usually the only way to keep her quiet is by watching cartoons on my phone. I hate the amount of screen time she’s having, but honestly sometimes it’s the only way to keep me from losing my mind! On Sunday I stayed home & had a lovely quiet day playing with Tilly & doing some sewing.

So that was May. I can’t believe it’s now Winter & we are nearly half way through the year. I’m not sure about you but I feel I am very behind in achieving all the goals I set for myself this year. I think the second half of the year is going to be extremely busy if I want to get all the things done I wanted to!

Happy Making Lovelies,

Miss Leela x

 

making

Garden of Patience

Many years ago, I discovered English Paper Piecing. Very quickly I fell down a rabbit hole that would lead me to spending hours upon hours, cutting out fabric, carefully basting it to cardboard shapes & then painstakingly sewing them together again…by hand. I started with the quite respectable size of one inch hexagons and began to make myself a scrappy hexagon quilt (a project that is still ‘in the making’). Then I discovered something even more amazing. Mum and I made our usual yearly pilgrimage to the Sydney Quilt and Craft show. Here amongst the rows of quilts on display I came across a small wall hanging quilt that was created with quarter inch hexagons. I was immediately struck by it, so much so that it’s hard to describe just how in awe I was. I was amazed someone could sew such tiny hexies together, or that they even had a desire to work in such a small scale. Something about that quilt stuck in my mind and not long after I came across a packet of quarter inch hexagons in a local quilt shop. Quickly, I found myself purchasing them and thus began my foray in to the wonderful world of Miniature English Paper Piecing.

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Garden of Patience Issue One

I set about making hexie flowers. The first couple of times basting the shapes was tricky, but I quickly discovered a method that worked for me. I have tweaked my paper piecing methods over the many years I’ve been doing this style of patchwork. When I first started I used to tack through the paper and fabric, whereas now I baste through the fabric only. My method of folding and adding basting stitches has changed, and I’m always adjusting what seam allowance to cut based on which type of shape I’m using and the size.

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Garden of Patience Issue One

Once I had amassed a collection of hexie flowers I began piecing them together. I didn’t have a clear idea in my mind what size quilt I was making, I just kept making flowers and adding them in. Eventually I started to square the quilt up and decided I wanted to make it roughly A3 size to fit in an Ikea Ribba Frame. Once finished my first quarter inch hexie Miniature Quilt was made up from a total of 1,004 hexagons, with 129 flowers. I didn’t record the hours I spent making it, but it was many! I decided to name it Garden of Patience, very apt don’t you think?

I felt a great sense of accomplishment at the completion of my first Miniature EPP Quilt. It was a true labour of love. I discovered my passion in craft and making lied in hand sewing. The slow stitching nature of it soothes my soul and clears my mind.

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Garden of Patience Issue One

Not long after finishing it, a friend invited me to show my quilt at her stall at the annual Springwood Quilt Show. I happily accepted and helped man her stall over a couple of days, marvelling in the incredulous looks of people when they came to look at my quilt. I got a lot of comments like “How’s your eyesight” or “You’ll go blind doing that” and “you’ve got too much time on your hands”. I was ‘crazy’ and ‘insane’ apparently for hand stitching something so tiny. One thing that was true of the comments from viewers was that yes, I did have a lot of patience. Comments like these don’t offend me. I’m always proud of my work and what I can create on such a small scale. I always tell people that sewing quarter inch hexies is no different to sewing one-inch hexies, I use the same small whip stitches, just less of them and the pieces are just smaller to hold between your fingers.

After unveiling my Garden of Patience Miniature quilt, I received a call from a lovely local lady who commissioned me to make her a version, and so I completed my second Garden of Patience, Issue Two. This time I did record the time it took me to create, 186.5 hours! I added more hexagons and hexie flowers to this one so that when framed the pieced quilt extends a little under the mounting board so that no backing fabric can be seen.

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Garden of Patience Issue Two

I don’t really remember when I started Garden of Patience Issue Three and Four. I know I completed my Four Seasonal Garden Miniature Quilts first. Again, I started out by making flowers. I knew I wanted two different colour palettes, one in fresh pastel spring tones, and one in more muted tones. I dropped in and out of working on these two issues. By the time I had started them I had begun experimenting with other shapes in miniature size, diamonds, triangles and squares. I had also started making my Miniature EPP Hoop Wall Hangings, my core design of these being my Hexie Hearts.

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Garden of Patience Issue Three
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Garden of Patience Issue Three

Garden of Patience Issue Three was finished sometime last year…or possibly even the year before. I didn’t record my time for this version, but estimate it to be around 180-190 hours. The hexagon count is a bit less than Issue Two, 1035 total hexagons and 130 hexagon flowers. This time allocation doesn’t include appliqueing the finished piece on to backing cloth for framing as I haven’t done that yet. Garden of Patience Issue Four was finished this year in April. It has the same hexagon count as Issue Three, and I would guess time to create it would be around the same also.

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Garden of Patience Issue Four
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Garden of Patience Issue Four

Will there be an Issue Five? Well maybe, if someone wanted to commission me to make one, I might consider it. I feel I am done with this particular Miniature Quilt though. Hexagons are such a versatile shape when it comes to creating patterns and designs. I have so many ideas bouncing around my head and I think I’d like to realise them in Miniature Quilts.

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Until next time, don’t fear the humble quarter inch hexagon, it is worth the effort, and needle pricks!

Happy Stitching,

Miss Leela x

Garden of Patience Issue Three and Four are for sale. I can sell them framed or unframed, so if your interested in one of these Miniature Quilt Artworks (as I feel they should be referred to), please feel free to contact me.

lifestyle, making

March Reflections

Hello Lovelies. So, I’m more than a little late with my monthly review post for March. I don’t really have a good excuse for my tardiness to be honest. I can’t say I’ve been too busy to blog, that’s certainly not the case. I think every time I thought to myself ‘I must write a blog post’ I just didn’t really feel like it. I don’t want maintaining this blog to feel like a chore, so I waited until the time felt right. That time is on my lunchbreak at work while I struggle with a nasty cold.

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March was the month for chocolate thanks to Easter. I am happy to say that my Mini Egg jar is full to the brim & I should have no trouble making it last until next Easter. How? I hear you ask. Well It’s stashed away in my studio where no-one else can find it & I only raid it when I’m working in there, which I’m sad to say isn’t as often as I’d like.

For Easter we went camping over the long weekend with our friends. We went to Windeyer which is out in the middle of no-where, about 30 minutes from Mudgee (NSW West Country). We went there last year as well. We had a great time, Matilda in particular had an absolute ball, running around & playing outside with the other kids. Unfortunately, she was sick with a nasty cold (the one I seem to now have) so the first night was a bit rough & we were just about ready to pack our bags & head home the next day. Fortunately though, she settled in to camping life & for the rest of the time she went to bed at night & slept right through to the morning with no problem.

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On the road to Windeyer

It was a wonderfully relaxing time, sitting around the camp fire, having a yarn (of the verbal kind). We had an Easter Egg hunt Sunday Morning. Tilly was mildly more interested than last year (she couldn’t actually walk last year which made it difficult). This year she picked up the few eggs outside our tent & then spent the rest of the hunting time re-arranging her rather small loot! Still she was happy, & truth be told being so young she doesn’t need the copious amounts of chocolate to survive like her Mother does!

I did take some crochet with me, as well as a couple of books & magazines to read but I really didn’t get much of a chance to do any hooking or reading. Most of the time I just chilled out, watched Matilda, ran after Matilda when she decided to go exploring, & played with Matilda & the kids.

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Much of the month of March I concentrated on my new branding & business plan for Miss Leela. I have put a lot of time in to getting my branding identity right & also making decisions on what I want my business to be & where I want to go with it. I’m really happy with the changes I’m going to make.

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I have been keeping up with my Bullet Journal – mostly. I have added a few new pages to track my blog posting & podcasting as well as To-Do lists for my business. I am still enjoying it & like to flick back & see what I have & haven’t yet accomplished this year.

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Making time has seen me concentrate mostly on sewing. I made a fair bit of progress on my Flowers Floor Quilt, but I have put it away for a little bit now.

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I pulled out another unfinished project, the 4th Edition of my Garden of Patience Mini Quilt, made from ¼” hexies & all paper pieced. At the time of writing this I am nearly finished, just working on the last corner. I will do a whole post dedicated to this shortly.

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I have been doing a bit of crochet lately. I started making Tilly an Amigurumi lamb for her Birthday in May & I have been working on a crochet ripple pram blanket for my Best Friends new Baby. I’m at panic stations a bit with that as she is due next week & it is still nowhere near bigger enough!

Speaking of my Best Friend, she had her baby shower at the start of the month & so I busied myself making some decorations. I made lots of lovely long paper garlands made from moon & star shapes in the colour scheme of her nursery. I almost thought I wasn’t going to make it to the shower as Tilly was sick with a Gastro Bug the day before. I planned to just go & set up all the decorations & flowers, but Tilly woke up perfectly fine & dandy & so I stayed for the whole shower making sure to not breath directly on anyone & risk passing the bug on (a bug I got exactly a week after Tilly, & then my husband got exactly a week after me).

For Rachael’s present I had my mum make a crochet cardigan out of yarn that I dyed. I also crocheted her a pear rattle toy & a Bunny Buddy toy.

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Much of March was spent going through my stash & chucking heaps out for my De-Stash sale, which I wrote a detailed post about here. I’m still feeling good about what I’ve managed to cull out. I shall be taking my de-stash stuff to the Glenbrook Rotary Markets Saturday 21st April, as well as my handmade items. This will be my last Market Stall for a while.

Well that’s pretty much all that March had install for me. A busy month of planning, looking ahead to the future & de-cluttering. I feel refreshed & ready to dive in full steam for the rest of the year.

Happy Making,

Miss Leela xo

Tutorials, Uncategorized

English Paper Piecing Tutorial #1

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Hello There!

Just popped by to let you know I filmed my first in a series of Tutorials about English Paper Piecing. Tutorial #1 is all about Basting & Sewing Quarter Inch Hexies. You can view the Tutorial on my YouTube Channel here!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Happy Stitching,

Miss Leela x