To echo the words of Claude Monet “I must have flowers, always, and always.” Having fresh flowers in our home brings me so much joy. They instantly lift a room with their sweet scent and colourful petals. They nod happily at me every morning, greeting me with their showy smiles.
Monet was an avid garden enthusiast and his garden and home in Giverny is on my bucket list of places to visit. I too love gardening, although I am still trying to find my way and un-earth my own garden. I love watching gardening shows, especially anything by Monty Don who just happens to be my gardening idol. This year I would like to visit more gardens. I want to take leisurely strolls through the plants and flowers, marvelling at the wonders of nature.
Garden Path at Giverny – Claude Monet. I can picture myself strolling down this path, taking in the sweet scents and colour parade.
Madame Monet and Child – Claude Monet. Yes, I can think of nothing more pleasant than sitting amongst the flowers and doing some stitching!
Just as I love and must always have real flowers, I also cannot be without the English Paper Piecing kind of flower, the always iconic, hexagon flower. When I received a bundle of Liberty fabrics from Westwood Acres for their Monthly Liberty Club last year, the package was full of so many pretty florals I knew instantly that I had to create something with hexagon flowers.
I wanted to create a miniature quilt inspired by strolling through a flower garden. I used nine of the liberty floral prints to make the flower petals and three different solid liberty fabrics for the flower centres. I played around a lot with the placement of the flowers before finally settling on the final design.
I decided I wanted to connect the flowers a bit differently. I wanted the flowers to stand out as individual blooms and not to have their petals touching each other. I used diamonds and hexagons in soft green cotton fabric to separate the flowers. These green shapes both represent the leaves of the flowers, but also the crisscrossing pathway through them.
I decided to hand quilt, using coloured embroidery floss that picked out a colour from the flower fabrics. I hand quilted around each flower petal, as well as the cross seams of the hexagon diamond motifs between each flower. Lastly, I had quilted around the entire outer edge of the pieced quilt section.
I used a soft buttery yellow fabric for the border and binding to represent the sunshine that twinkles through the leaves and trees down to the garden below.
I really love my finished hexie flower garden. It feels happy and calm, and whilst it’s no Monet painting, for me it brings the beauty of flowers and gardens into my craft studio where it hangs.
Paper Pieces Used – ¾” Hexagons, ¾” 60 degree diamonds, ¾” half hexagons, ¾” triangle (diamond cut in half)
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season. It all passes by so quickly doesn’t it? It reminds me of a wedding, so much preparation and money spent on one single day of enjoyment. It is joyous though. We had a lovely time spent with our family at home and down the road at my in-laws. Tilly actually started to understand what Christmas was, that Santa visited and gave her presents. It was fun seeing her start to get excited. For days after I took our Christmas tree down, she would come into the lounge room in the morning and ask with saddened surprise “where has the Chrissy tree gone?”
I am currently still on holidays as the company I work for shuts down for four weeks. As usual, I have written myself a mammoth to-do list which I have no hope of actually achieving…but then that’s just the way I seem to operate. Give myself heaps of tasks and goals to do even though I know it’s not actually possible to get them all done… except in a world where I did not need to sleep! Still, I like having it all written down and working towards ticking things off my list, which is very satisfying.
This post is all about 2018 in review. My general thoughts on 2018 were that it was a pretty great year. There were definitely some low and sad points, Tim lost his Uncle and I had some up and down moments emotionally. My Mumsie quit her job which has been fantastic for her, though I’m kind of jealous has now she has even more time to craft!
It has been really fun watching Tilly grow and develop this past year…or though I could have done without the tantrums and poor eating habits. She is such a little chatterbox now, and it’s fun seeing her imagination develop in play.
We witnessed two great friends get married and had a little road trip adventure through parts of Victoria. We also enjoyed another great Easter camping trip with our friends.
I spent a lot of time last year really figuring out what it is that I wanted my business to be and where I wanted to take it. I decided that my true passion above all my other crafty pursuits is English Paper Piecing. From that The Maker’s Stash was born, my new brand for EPP supplies and my own Pattern designs. This is still a work in progress but I’m hoping to officially get it launched over the next month or so. I also decided what I wanted to focus my product making time on for Miss Leela Handmade. I have some exciting new items that are still in idea phase and I’m hoping to start getting these out and in my shop soon.
I got a lot of making done in 2018 (at least I feel like I did for someone that works full time and is a mother, wife, house cleaner etc.!):
Crochet and Knitting – Finished
Scrap Yarn Magic Ball Drawstring bag – to store my stuffing in
Braelyn Head Warmer by The Velvet Acorn for Tilly
Amigurumi Lamb by Anatillea for Tilly
Knitted scarf from Jazzy Makes Hand Dyed yarn for Tilly
Soul Soothing Mits by Sandra Cherry Heart for me.
Crochet blanket, crochet bunny and pear rattle for my Best Friends baby boy Seamus
Crochet and Knitting – Started
For Keeps Shawl by The Velvet Acorn – for me
Quilts – Finished
Quilt for Lachlan
Quilt for Ivy
Quilt for Archer
Quilts started/worked on
Flowers Floor Quilt – for Tilly
Scrappy 1” hexagon quilt
Mini Quilts – Finished
Liberty Mosaic One MQ
Liberty Mosaic Two MQ
Half Hexagon MQ
Flower Power MQ
Mini Quilts started/worked on/nearly finished
Garden of Patience Issue Three
Garden of Patience Issue Four
Hexagon Flowers MQ
Playing with Shapes Mini EPP
Liberty Mosaic Three MQ
Items made for my Shop and Markets
9 Small Hexie Hearts ¼” hexies, Hoop Wall Hangings
22 Hexagon Flower Pincushions
21 Liberty Flower Fabric Tags
9 Hexagon Flower Heart Decorations
Dolls Quilt and Pillow
Hexie Heart Hoop Wall Hanging for lovely Madeline
5 Crochet soap pouches for the girls at work
Mini Pin Pennant
Hexie Flower Pincushion Prototype
2018 was a great year for meeting and connecting with this wonderful Maker Community. My followers on Instagram grew from approximately 700 to the 2,606 I have today. I find this astounding and I am humbled by everyone that chooses to have me pop up in their feed. I have so many lovely Insta friends and look forward to making so many more.
I discovered the wonderful world of Knitting, Crochet and Sewing podcasts and decided to join in with my own podcast. I launched this Web-Blog and found myself keener to write and put up posts and content. I started going to my local Blue Mountains Brown Owls meet-ups with my Mum. I love being a part of this group and look forward to every meeting. I have met and made lovely new friends here also.
Many crafty adventures were had including Mumsie’s and my annual pilgrimage to the Sydney Quilt and Craft fair. We also attended the Orange Fibre Muster and went on our first (but definitely not last) visit to Skein Sisters.
I experimented with yarn dying, something I really enjoy but have set aside any dreams of adding this to my business (for now :winks: ). My Mumsie also started teaching me to knit (for the second time). I also held my first Make-Along the #sundayscrapalong2018 which was loads of fun and I look forward to holding it again this year.
I attended three local Handmade Markets, two of which I was involved in organising with the community group I belong to The Blue Mountains Makers. We had a great year in 2018. I set up a new web-blog for the group which I’ll be managing and writing for in 2019. We welcomed new members to the committee and I enjoyed getting to know our local makers/team members.
As a team leader for The Blue Mountains Maker’s I was very fortunate to have a trip down to Melbourne courtesy of Etsy for the Etsy Captain’s Summit. This was a great weekend meeting the other team captains and learning a tone of info about Etsy and business tools from some great speakers. My highlight was meeting the wonderful Maryanne Moodie. I had a total fan-girl moment and got her signature and photo with her. She was so gracious and chatted with me for a bit and was interested in seeing what I make. I found her talk very enlightening and inspiring.
My word for 2018 was ‘Discovery’ and I also wanted to achieve a more Mindful Life. On the whole, I feel pretty happy that I lived up to my word and goals pretty well. Some things I definitely achieved, some I am still working on. I feel I have definitely grown as a person this past year and I am feeling excited and optimistic for the year ahead.
My word for 2019 is ‘Balance’. I picked this word back in November. Even then I was starting to formulate in my mind what I wanted to work on and achieve this year. This word is definitely going to be a challenge as balancing all of my commitments, along with looking after myself and being present as a wife, mum and friend is definitely something I have struggled with the past two years.
I hope you all had a wonderful 2018 and I hope that this year brings you all of the best things…happiness, love, tea and crafty time.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Liberty Mosaic Mini Quilt 1 – see an in-depth blog post here.
Liberty Mosaic Quilt 2 – ¾” Octogons and squares – see an in-depth blog post here.
Liberty fabric from Westwood Acres ( @westwood_acres by @a.crafty.fox ) Liberty Fat 16th Monthly Subscription. Pattern design by me. I plan on writing up this pattern & also doing paper piece kits in the near future.
Mini pin pennant & pincushion – Using Liberty scraps for the @ava_and_neve #libertyscrapchallenge. Hexies are 3/8”.
Makes in Progress
Learning to knit
Fabric gift tags
Flossie Teacakes Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp
See my book review here. Find Florence’s Blog here.
I do hope you have been well. It has been a little while since my last post, but I’m here today to share with you my finished Liberty Mosaic Miniature Quilt Two.
I am really happy with how this quilt has come together. I started with the June Liberty Subscription club bundle I received from Westwood Acres.
From the eleven patterns I was sent I think I only omitted three of them. I paired them up with some solid Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics.
I decided to try a new shape, the Octagon and paired it with squares to create a mosaic pattern. The size I used are ¾”. I printed out a pattern colour sheet and assigned each fabric print a colour pencil, I then coloured in my pattern with which fabric I wanted where. I find using colouring sheets like this very helpful.
Because these shapes were a bit larger than what I usually sew with, I was able to glue baste the fabrics to the papers using my trusty Sewline Glue Pen. Basting is so much quicker when using this method.
I really enjoyed piecing the octagons and squares together. The pieced front grew quite quickly and it was nice seeing the fabric prints and colours start to play with each other.
To square of the quilt I used triangles, again all hand sewn. I then created large paper strips to connect the border in the pale pink solid.
I decided to quilt this one on the machine. I used a very thin cotton batting rather than the iron on pellon I used in my previous mini quilt. I did a lot of quilting lines and I think this paired with the thin batting has created a really nice flat miniature quilt. The first Liberty Mosaic quilt I did looks a little puffy in areas which I think is from using the pellon and hand quilting it. I decided to go out of my comfort zone and did the quilting in a teal blue thread that matches the teal blue binding.
I dived in to my stash and found the blue and white patterned fabric for the back. I think the design of the backing quilt goes really well with the pieced front. I added a sleave for a hanging rod, as well as two ribbon loops. You can put a hanging rod through the sleave or loops, or you can hang it using the loops and hooks on the wall.
Here are some shots of the finished Mini Quilt.
Design and preparing shapes – 5hrs
Piecing (by hand) – 19.5hrs
Hand piece borders – 4hrs
Machine quilting – 2hrs
Binding and finishing – 2.5hrs
Total of 28hrs
I really enjoyed working on this miniature quilt. I think it’s my favourite one to date. It reminds me of the Greek Islands for some reason, so as I sit and look at it hanging on my studio wall I am reminded of summertime, of azure blue seas, and warm breezes….and Gelato!
About a month ago I was delightfully surprised to be selected as a Westwood Acres brand rep for their Liberty Subscription Monthly Club. In return for some glorious Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics I was asked to, alongside some other very talented reps, use the fabrics to make some items and share on my Instagram feed.
Naturally I decided that I was going to make three hand pieced Miniature Quilts using English Paper Piecing. In my quilts I wanted to highlight the flexibility of quilt design that you can achieve from hand piecing, and of course the scale of the design and quilt was to be significantly reduced.
So, for my first design I chose a traditional star quilt block that consists of squares and triangles. I picked out my favourite five Liberty prints from the bundle of eleven I received and paired them with some cotton spot and plain fabrics that complemented the colour tones in the Liberty fabrics.
I used the program Electric Quilt 7 to design the layout and nominate what fabrics would form the blocks. Once my design was done I could move on to the fun part. I cut out and basted all the shapes using my trusty Sewline Glue Pen. If you’re new to EPP this is one of my must have tools!
For the piecing I started by piecing each individual block, then pieced all the blocks together. I made some border block papers and hand stitched them on last. Then it was time to quilt, by hand, and lastly sew on the binding. I’m not going to give too much away with the construction as I’m planning on writing this quilt up as pattern and kit!
I’m very pleased with the finished quilt and it looks lovely hanging on my studio wall. It will be a great addition to my sample Mini Quilts to showcase my range of EPP papers.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are the final stats:
Finished Quilt Size: 9.5” x 12.5”
Pieced Half Hexagon section finished size: 7” x 9.75”