Baby Girls and Hello Luscious

… are the perfect combination. At least when it comes to quilts.

helllo luscious baby girl quilt

See? Clearly I have no need to further extoll the virtues of the Hello Luscious collection by Basic Grey for Moda, but apparently I’m going to. I LOVE it. If it had a scent it would smell of jasmine, freshly cooking doughnuts, baked peaches in brown sugar and syrup and vanilla ice cream. Outside on a warm summers day with the smell of cut grass faintly in the background. And a Pimms for the grown-ups. Hmmm. Seems I’m getting distracted daydreaming about the Scottish summer (it’s June! I need a shaman to come and do a sun dance. we have plenty rain this year), so will move on.

hello luscious baby girl quilt

It’s such an old collection now that’s it’s super-hard to find. If you have any girls in your life and you find some, even one charm pack, snap it up because said daughter will always love it. I stashed a few charm packs, despite having no daughter – I used 2 for this quilt.

hello luscious quilt

Pretty colours and patterns huh? Not too babyish and will grow with a girl until – well probably forever. Definitely late teens. I did take out some of the greens and replace them with white squares (cut from stash). I’m not a huge green fan and although I like it in this collection, I felt the balance was slightly off for my tastes. And I feel the colours are so rich and well, luscious, together that they somehow can seem a bit “muddy” when all together – hence replacing the greens with some white. It definitely made the rest of the colours “pop”.

hello luscious on the sofa

But after I made the quilt top I thought I had added a few too many white squares. 3 or 4 too many. I was on a deadline and really didn’t want to unpick. So I did a little applique heart using a lovely fabric from Cori Dantini for Blend fabric – cori_dantini_good_company_scalloped_in_pink So pretty… I have a quilt in the making in  Cori Dantini fabrics, the colours remind me of a pack of refreshers, remember those sweets anyone?

cori dantini applique heart

And somehow that heart draws your attention to it and away from the slight white square imbalance. Or I tell myself that! I really like it, and it felt like a little special gift to the wee girl. A little hand stitchery in a variegated pink perle 8 cotton finished it off.

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You can see the quilting on a few of these pictures; I did loop de loop quilting which I love on child quilts; actually I am beginning to love it on all quilts. Somehow the swirls and loops look fun and elegant at the same time. And it is a fun design to do – like when you are a kid, painting with bold flourish! Stippling is a much more restrained process; at least it is when you are trying to make it even and attractive.

Backing is a Tanya Whelan print from Sugar Hill which actually goes really well with the collection, although I was unsure when it was first picked out. This quilt was commissioned by my neighbour for her very precious first granddaughter – a neighbour whom I adore so much that I was willing to relinquish a bit of my precious Hello Luscious stash – and her really lovely daughter and son in law. The baby girl (who is a cutie) is called Rose, so we were keen to have roses on the back; Suzanne chose this from my stash. And her name on the front of course – again in the Cori Dantini print above.

back of hello luscious quilt

Her parents gave this to her at a little party they held for introducing the baby (the baby’s family lives in Norway), and it was so great to see how much they loved it! Incidentally I took a little present I made for her room – a quilted cushion made with a California girl charm pack (fig tree quilts for Moda) and Summer Ride by Sarah Jane on the back (I just love this print with a passion!), which also turned out very sweet.

california girl patchwork cushionwee wander summer ride1

I was kind of sorry to see this quilt go, despite having no real use for it in my house, but I’m really glad it’s gone to such a good home where I know it will be used and loved by a darling family. Batting is Quilters Dream Orient, size approximately 46″ x 52″.

hello luscious child quilt

I think I am feeling the need for making some quilts for our household now! So much letting go. Of quilts. Yes, I think I am a batty catless cat lady who needs to get a grip 😉

Night night lovely creative folk; hope your treasure making is going well.

Till the next time, Poppy xxx

Minute Monday

A minute to read this – or minute as in teeny weeny makes, either way – here we are:

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A Harris Tweed coin purse, requested by a friend of mine, who didn’t want it big enough for cards, just a nice pocket size. Lined with a bright blue cotton which matches that thin vertical stripe left of centre – turned out very sweet!

And then some monogrammed drawstring washbags for our friends’ four children as they are all off in a big caravan for 6 weeks around Europe. They are Aussies and naturally adventurous (they’d have to be – 4 little kids!?! I feel I need to psyche up and the have cavalry on speed dial  when I take 4 kids to the park…). It made me smile that they wanted some personalised prettiness for their journey.

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The kids got to choose their own fabrics from my stash. I am always amazed at the choices children make. Emily is only 6 and chose this lovely retro Tanya Whelan print called lulu Rose from her Delilah collection (Freespirit fabrics). Size 9”x10” approx.

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Angus is 4 and liked this bunting print above from Reunion by Sweetwater for Moda. I like it too – it’ll grow with him better than the cars I thought he might have liked.

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That picture is one lying flat. You can see the channel I made for threading the cord through. I used a spring-loaded cord lock (like you get on rucksacks) rather than a traditional drawstring – I think it makes them look more substantial and the opening stays shut better.

My friend wanted them to have a waterproof lining, so I lined them in a white PUL – “polyurethane laminate” – which is a polyester knit  laminated on one side to make it waterproof. It is slightly stretchy so you have to be a bit careful sewing it. I would have liked to use my walking foot, but needed to use a teflon foot because of the shiny side.  The sewing then went OK – except I had to turn the tension dial WAY down. Then all was good! Although my friend said to just use a bit of cut up shower curtain (!!!), I am obviously far more safety aware than that – this PUL contains no lead, phlalates or BPAs so are suitable for products intended for children under 12. It also inhibits the growth of fungi, which is good for this purpose, especially because these kids will be throwing their toothbrush in there with their wee shampoos and soap apparently. It can be washed at 60 degrees, so all good. I would like to try “procare” at some point too – a foodsafe medical grade fabric with similar (but even better!) properties to PUL – and less stretch…

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I know a bad picture, but I had to give them up in a hurry. This is the four together. Charlotte’s washbag is Paula Prass’ “Par Avion” from the Flight of Fancy collection for Michael Miller, an old print, but rather lovely. I never have managed to use up the bit I have somehow. I was glad she chose it. Isla’ chose princess castles from Happy Ever After for Riley Blake. Apparently they were all very pleased with their finished bags – phew! You get no sparing of feelings from unsatisfied children…

I used steam-a-seam2 to make the monogramme appliques, and a well-washed, almost felted dark grey jersey I had lying around. Steam-a-seam 2 is the best I’ve found for reducing fray on letters. I hand- stitched them on to be sure they won’t fall off. Fingers crossed they still look good after a few washes. It’s OK though, the family are heading back to Australia in a couple of months, so I won’t know if the monograms fall apart 😉 It’d be a bit embarrassing if it happened before they lleft though… (I’m sure it’ll all be fine really!)

Ok, maybe forget I even attempted a “quick minute” Monday. in my dreams. Speaking of which… Night night all, hope summer is treating you all well and the creative juices are flowing freely! Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Paint by Numbers… and more random sewing

Well, this is an utterly misleading title. It actually refers to this beautiful print by Erin Michael called Paint by Numbers sky from her Lush Uptown fabric collection for Moda.

I think it’s stunning – modern, funky, just the right blue with a hint of green, fresh colours and a fun twist. This is a large size cosmetics/ washbag, and has been snapped up already by a neighbour of mine! i can’t say I blame her. I made a flat zippered pouch as a “set” , for maybe keeping lippy, mobile phone, keys etc orgnaised in your handbag – and then snaffled it myself to hold my hexagons sewing (oh yeah… this 1” hexie quilt will keep me going for a while. I think I’ll need a bigger pouch). I’m actually thinking of making a bag with this print.

Speaking of neighbours and friends having cleaned out all my stock – oh we weren’t? Well they have, bless them, very complimentary they were too, which is always an ego boost. I had made more toiletry/washbags; it’s rather amazing that they are so popular.

I say amazing, but I too find all sorts of uses for a pretty zippered pouch, so I shouldn’t be surprised, and it’s nicer than a tupperware box holding your stuff.

The Alexander Henry Spotted Owls in Smoke is a particular favourite fabric of mine. The owls are so grumpy! And yet so beautiful at the same time. It’s a really special print. I have made 5 of these so far, and each time they are snapped up (or I’ve gifted and they’ve been very well received).

As for the Harris tweeed which entered my life along with, inexplicably, a wee crush on Aragorn, I have made more toilletry bags (very similar to on previous post) as a couple of commissions from neighbours. And a lovely tea cosy. 

Tea cosy… well I see it’s inherent beauty, but I’m a bit meh.

But a cafetiere cosy… well. much more suited to modern times – and I rather like this classic fabric being used for such a modern phenomenon. Well, modern in Britain anyway. When I was little (not THAT long ago!), it was quite acceptable for folk to only have Nescafe instant in their house, and be oblivious there might be another way. I know… and within spitting distance of our French, Spanish and Italian cousins too. Shameful.

It took my husband a minute to work out why the cafetiere cosy was so tall; it fits a standard 8 cup cafetiere just perfectly – with the plunger UP to let the coffee brew. And now my husband is an official FAN. He is quite into his coffee…As for me – what I really need is a mug cosy to keep my cups of tea warm enough to let me finish one… I’m too distractable to sit in the same place for the length of time it takes a cuppa to go cold!

In fact I had enough stock for a little pop up shop over a cup of tea with my neighbour and some friends. It has been quite fun! And allowed me to replenish some fabrics. I really am a loon. I have no idea why I feel the need to sew quite so much!

And judging from my fellow sewing bloggers, I’m not the only one!

Seriously? Why would I sew up so many zippered coin purses? I really must start listing them for sale!

Well, I have commission stockings still to make and a quilt, so I should go. And that’s before christmas presents, which may or may nont be handmade this year, it’s a close run thing. But I did just get this rare print panel for my 4 year old son who adores maps and knowing where things are – he’s so his father’s son! (I am only getting better to answer all his questions.)  I’m going to make it into a wall hanging for his room. It is a rather fabulous print! It’s the world map panel from “what a world” by Jill Macdonald for P+B textiles, measuring 44” x 24”. I’m quite thrilled to have tracked it down!

Till the next time,

poppy xxx

Parting is such sweet sorrow

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… and sorrow is was. My boss, colleague and good friend with whom I’ve worked for 10 years, is leaving Edinburgh and moving his family to Durham, where his lovely, talented wife has found a job which is perfect for her. The problem with being two married doctors (which they are) is that when you specialise and reach consultant stage, it can be difficult to find two jobs in the same city – obviously there are limited consultant jobs in each speciality in each city. So with sadness, I said farewell to a man who has nutured and encouraged me professionally, and has been gracious enough to also listen to my views, opinions and learn from me too – what a rare and beautiful thing that is for an employee, particularly for us doctors – the medical profession can still have those vestiges of the male-dominated profession it once was, and upon whose principles it was founded. But this guy is special enough to see past it all, and all my medical skills and achievements have been because he enabled me to believe in myself and brought out the best in me. Still wanted to slap him sometimes!

Anyway, enough of the sorrw and on with the sweet. This is a sewing blog after all! It was hard to think of a suitable gift. I had thought a large sofa quilt, but I don’t really know what their new house will be like, or how they will choose to dress it – I would hate for the expense and amount of work involved in making a quilt to go to waste.

So I settled on a family set of washbags/ toiletries bags, trying to second guess all their tastes, but keeping them fairly neutral, so that even if they don’t love them they should still find them useful…

Firstly David, the man himself:

(These are all cotton fabrics, structured with polyester batting, lined with white cotton canvas)

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Coastal “painted planks” from Makower.

Next for his wife:

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I love this fabric from Tanya Whelan – Blue Paisley from the Delilah collection for Free Spirit fabrics. I bought it for myself, but decided to part with some as they are such a special family to us! I was keen that their bags in particular coordinated together. Then decided to try and do so for the family!

The two girls – one is 18-ish, the other is about 21 or so. Both girls are very nice, clever and pretty, albeit with two different personalities (quite how it should be!) – they will go far!

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Fabric is Freebird Geranium in Sky by MoMo for Moda, yes I know I love it lots!

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I’ve had this piece of fabric for about 5 years, having made a bag with some of it. I really love it – it is a large scale print, so sadly you can’t see the whole print on a washbag, and I forgot to photograph the reverse! It’s Par Avion from the Flights of Fancy collection by Paula Prass for Michael Miller. I bought more of the brighter “spring” colourway, but have struggled to use that one somehow, whereas this one, ordered as an afterthought is more versaltile. Funny how that happens.

And finally for David’s son, who is 10. Not yet a teenager, but will be soon – how hard a brief is that? Anyway, I chose this fabric:

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It’s “Bottlecaps in Multi” from the Going Coastal collection by Emily Herrick for Michael Miller. I struggled to find this in the UK, and when I did it was on offer (YAY!!) but there wasn’t much of it (boo). Anyway, My husband has chosen a washbag for himself after his last one fell apart (not one of mine, to be fair he’s had it years) in this – I love it when he asks me to make him something. I hope the kid likes it. He’s a gorgeous, well mannered boy, I wish it was easier to make fabric things that a boy would actually like!

And the family photo, smile everyone:

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I wish this lovely family all the very best for the new chapter in their lives and all their exciting adventures!

Meanwhile, I have acquired a piece of this beautiful Harris tweed in a pink check as my friend would like a bag made in it.

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There may be enough left over for a toiletry bag – I think it would be beautiful, and make a lovely gift! Having held the fabric in my hands I can see why it has its own act of parliament governing the right for the fabric to “wear the orb”, a particular label, which is the mark of Harris Tweed. Apparently it must be

“Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.”

It’s also very expensive. It’s like the champagne of cloth 🙂 I’m looking forward to working with it.

Till the next time,

Poppy xxx

ps you can email me at poppy@cuckooblue.co.uk

or visit my flickrstream at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cuckoo-blue/