Monday, 31 March 2014

A little update and a give-away!

A week or so ago Abby from While she naps put together a really interesting post about User testing your blog or online shop and if you have either I recommend you have a look over at her blog as it is a wealth of information for bloggers and small business owners. 
The user testing post in particular caught my attention as I often wonder how readers/customers find my shop, so I submitted my shop to Peek and waited. What came back was valuable feedback about how the non-crafty community use Etsy. Some people that are new to the site use it the same way that I use ebay, that is with little interaction with the shop or person I purchase from, I buy from Ebay as a brand not an individual seller or their shop.
After watching the reviewer take a look around my shop and then disappear off into Etsy's main site...well I felt a bit rubbish. 
I don't like feeling down about something I love doing, so I set about looking for a solution and over the last week I've read so many reviews and recommendations! I decided to go with Big Cartel as well as keeping the Etsy shop open and see how that goes for a little while. As you can tell if you've came over for a visit the blog has a new look and my new shop Issabella's patchwork quilts is in the tabs ^ above ^  (One of the pluses of being poorly on the sofa is a lot of internet time!) 
Now onto the give-away part of the post, if you would like to win a custom made crochet trim pillowcase leave a comment on this post telling me about your experiences shopping for handmade items, the good, bad, funny or awful and I'll use to pick a winner next Monday.

Give-away is now closed 

Sunday Morning quilts Bee and Mothersday

Around friday last week I was feeling less than stella with a sore throat and bothersome ear ache, so by Saturday lunch time it was no surprise to anyone that I was leaving work early to come home to hot drinks and my bed. I finally got back out of bed again around 2pm on Sunday afternoon, in BST no longer GMT, having lost an hour with the clocks going forward and boy did that confuse me for the rest of the day! 
I figured I'd get a little sewing done, its low impact and kind of relaxing-the sort of thing you do when you're feeling a little rough around the edges.

I had some Bee blocks to make for the Sunday Morning quilt Bee, we are each choosing a quilt from the book to make for our month and Francesca choose "Missing U" in deep blues surrounding a brown patch.

And Kim went with "Nap like an Egyptian"

These blocks are a lot easier to make than I first thought, however a triangle ruler or a template is a must for keeping the angles right

I still have a ticker tape block to *cough* remake *cough* truth be told I made one and utterly messed it up and need to pick up some more Kona white for the background before giving it another shot! 

That was all the sewing that happened over the weekend, my triangle quilt is still sitting on the wall waiting to be sewn together and the hexies are sloooooowly multiplying while I watch tv...the problem with this is I seem to bulk watch tv then nothing for days and days! 

I thought I would finish the post off with a little showing of my mothers day gifts, my little madam gave me the most beautiful dainty pink flowers and a card. 

The flowers are now on my dressing table looking lovely and brightening my morning.

as a small side note him in doors made my favourite Sunday dinner lamb kleftiko with lemon roast potatoes while the webpage i've linked to has no pictures (that always make me a little sad!)  it is the best recipe I have ever had for this dish and well worth a try if you have occasion for a roast.

Friday, 21 March 2014

An off plan sewing week

Do you ever have those weeks that no matter how hard you try you just can't seem to work on the projects you set yourself? I've had one of those weeks so I figured just to go with the flow and see what happened.

So I managed to pull a totally different fabric selection for this quilt top. I had envisioned something bold and striking last week, however this week I've gone with soft spring like florals! I don't normally use solids in my quilts but felt it was necessary to add the mint to keep things on the soft and calm side. 

There is a whole load of prints here Amy Butler, Pat Bravo and Cath Kidston to name a few. 
Once I'd sewn up the rows I decided the 3 seasons of ER I have stashed on sky+ were calling my name so I'd better find some handwork to be getting on with while Dr Green gets married to Dr Corday (I love blast from the past TV!) 

Hexies were the hand sewing of choice! 

I've got no plans for them yet but figure once I get some more together an idea will form, needless to say I didn't get 4 hexie flowers made over 3 seasons! I have zero plans for Tuesday coming and the house to myself - Don't need to be a fortune teller to work out there are hexies and ER in my near future! 

In other news I have resurrected my Twitter account, I set it up years ago and never quite got around to doing anything with it.

So the aim this time is to keep it current and uptodate...ish! If you'd like to follow me and maybe see some of the things that don't end up on the blog pop over, I'm easy to find @IssabellaTheCat 

Hope you've got some great weekend sewing plans in the works! 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Chunky quilting and blue sky

So as I mentioned in my last post I was going to try out machine quilting with Aurifil Thread 12wt   

I can happily say I loved it! Chunky heavy duty quilting makes me rather happy :)

 We headed to the beach this lunch time as it has been lovely weather today, so the quilt came with us. The beach huts were looking very pretty so thats where we headed.

It was so good to see that big bright blue sky!

I can't get over how vibrant this quilt is in the sunshine.

I've backed it in my favourite backing fabric Britten Nummer and bound it with this fiery stripe. I do think the Nummer calms down the quilt a lot, kind of like a cucumber and mint raita with a really hot curry! 

I've popped this one into my shop and hope it finds a happy home soon. 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Inspiration from fabric and a not very random quilt top.

Does anyone else find their inspiration in the fabric? Colour and print tickle my brain more than anything else and leave me feeling energised and wanting to create.

This fabric stack made its way oh so slowly from the states only to be held hostage by HMRC for an eye wateringly large sum (does anyone else think they actively look for our fabric orders?) Once I had freed the pretties and got them home I wanted to start cutting straight away!

Beaches and ice creams and sunsets and I think I need Spring to make an appearance! 
These stripes have made their way into a patchwork pillowcase that is nearly finished, well truth be told I *could* say it's finished but I'm deciding if I want to add any embellishments before its ticked off the list. 

The second half of the fabric stack shows my appreciation for Anna Maria Horner's designs. When some of the lines came out I just didn't have the fabric funds to get them so I swooped on them like a hawk this time around :)
The next 2 photos are ones that I wasn't intending to show on the blog (So please do excuse the clutter, creases and general lack of photographic quality!)  I photograph my quilts as I make them for a few different reasons, I took these so I could refer back to them for fabric placement while I sew.  

I am so pleased I took this photo then called it a night. I took my phone downstairs and got myself a snack then had a look at my photos and all I could see were Biohazard signs! I Really dislike this layout with these fabrics! 
The next morning I went into salvage mode, chopped up some more of the pretties from the stack and went with a "random layout"...Never has a quilt top been less randomly laid out! If I put the fabrics in a paper bag and pull them randomly I WILL end up with the same prints side by side, every blinking time! So as only another quilter can truly appreciate this is "a not very random at all, random quilt lay out"

Again please excuse the above photo it was taken as a reference photo, you know incase the random muddles its self up while I move it form the wall to the sewing machine. 

And this is where we are at now. I am very happy with how this one is coming along, it's my first equilateral triangle quilt top and I already have another in mind as I like this one that much! I have my eyes on a spool of Aurifil 12wt in a lilac variegated for some machine quilting so I will let you know how that goes soon! 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pretty pillowcase update

Over the last week I have had great fun making more pillowcases.

Matching up pretty fabrics to yarns is possibly as much fun as pulling fabrics for quilts! 

I loved working this raspberry pink yarn with the rose print fabric 

All of these pillowcases are now listed in my Etsy Shop if you fancy treating yourself to some pretty bedding :)