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.
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”
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
There’s something about craft books isn’t there? I don’t know about you, but I have such adoration for them. Just like the yarn, fabric and thread we stash away, so we do the same with craft books, collecting them, lovingly reading and flicking through them and placing them amongst their friends on a shelf. Whenever I visit a book shop I always make a bee-line to the craft section. Usually, pickings tend to be rather slim though. Craft shows and shops are much better resources for Craft Books I find.
Craft books can inspire and ignite in us the passion to create. I must say though, the number of projects I’ve made from my craft books (of which I have many) I can count on one hand. Do you find this also? Why is it do you think? For me it’s mostly a case of time. Too little time to make all the wonderful things I’d like to. Still, that won’t stop me from adding to my collection!
Today I’d like to share with you a most beautiful book: Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp. I’ve known about this book for over a year now. Let’s rewind back to late 2016 when I received a most wonderful Instagram message from Florence, telling me she was writing a book on English Paper Piecing and in it she wanted to feature EPPers that she found inspiring. Would I like to be involved? Well as I’m sure you can appreciate I literally did a little happy dance and quickly responded with an ‘Oh my gosh how exciting I would love to be involved in your book, thank you so much!’. What followed was over a year long wait of anticipation until finally last Friday I picked up my advanced copy from the Post Office.
The first thing that strikes you with this book is the amazing eye-catching cover. A beautifully fussy cut rosette that literally leaps of book. This book is far more than just another patchwork book full of patterns and projects. It is much, much more. Florence really delves in to what it is that makes EPPers (someone who partakes in English Paper Piecing) painstakingly cut up fabric, baste it to paper and hand stitch it all back together again, a pursuit that takes many hours.
In this book Florence takes you on a journey, starting right at the beginning with a brief history of how and when English Paper Piecing started. She investigates the psychology and sociology that comes with a method of patchwork that is much more than ‘just a utilitarian patchwork technique’. In a series of short essays Florence discusses how our language is interwoven with sewing-related references, and how working with our hands has many physical and mental health benefits. Florence investigates how English Paper Piecing and the act of hand sewing is offering a new beginning to inmates, why many quilters embark on such long-term sewing projects, and what stories are hidden amongst a sewers stitches.
In her book Florence also features EPP quilt makers both old and new. We discover famous quilts of Lucy Boston and Albert Small, before being introduced to eight modern EPPers that Florence credits as inspiring her. For me it has been such a thrill to be considered as an EPPer that is good enough to sit alongside so many other wonderful quilters.
The final section of Florence’s book is where she gets down to the knitty gritty of English Paper Piecing. This section is full of techniques that are fantastic for the novice and experienced EPPer alike. This section is full of fantastic diagrams and photos that make understanding Florence’s tips and tricks a breeze. Florence tackles all of your EPP questions, what are the best tools, using templates, how to baste, wrapping different shapes and how to sew them together. She then goes on to explain in detail the subtle art of fussy cutting, a method by which you can create amazing eye-catching patterns in your EPP projects.
Florence has included two projects in this book, both designed in the Flossie Teacakes signature style, offering the reader a chance to create one (or more) of her fussy cut designs. The book’s signature quilt design is stunning, a feast for the eyes.
Readers who are familiar with Florence’s blog will know that her writing style is both informative but also reflective. Throughout the book Florence offers her own thoughts, ideas and insights as to why she pursues the craft of English Paper Piecing, but also why so many of us are addicted to this technique of quilt making.
This book is a must have addition to your Quilting Library. It has been a joy to be apart of this book and it will be something that I shall treasure forever. Thank you Florence and Congratulations!
Miss Leela x
Flossie Teacakes’ Guide to English Paper Piecing by Florence Knapp, published by The Quilting Company, due for release 14 May 2018