Friday, January 28, 2011

Scrappy Crochet Hook Roll Tutorial


I made this quirky crochet hook roll this week from my very favourite fabric - Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie Owls. I thought that a straightforward tutorial might be of interest to some of you so here goes, my very first tutorial!

Materials Needed:
Large scraps of the following fabrics - 1 feature fabric, one complimentary solid, 1 contrast solid for binding.I used Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie Owls and Kona Solids - a lime green and a navy.
Large scrap cotton batting
24" of matching ribbon
Small square Bondaweb or similar
Matching threads

Seam allowances are 0.25" unless otherwise stated.

Cutting List:

Front - from main solid - 5.25" x 8.5"; from feature fabric -  2 pieces measuring 3.25" x 8.5".
Front - fussy cut small detail piece from feature fabric - size dependent on pattern but approx 2.5" x 2.5".
Back (main panel)- from feature fabric, 11" x 8.5"
Back ( folded panel) - from feature fabric, 1.5" x 11"; from main solid, 1 piece measuring 2.5" x 11" and 1 piece measuring 7.5" x 11".

Assemble front:

1. Using Bondaweb or similar, seal fussy cut small panel to main solid front panel, centering carefully.


2. Using thread to matching contrast binding colour, stitch around edges of applique leaving raw edges. I used a triple straight stitch (topstitch) setting on my machine to emphasise the stitching. Stitches do not need to be perfectly square, slightly wonky lines add to the charm!


3. Pin feature fabric front pieces to main solid & stitch carefully.

4. Iron seams to darker fabric side.

Assemble back:

1. Pin feature fabric between solid pieces and sew, iron seams to darker side.

2. Fold in middle to give piece measuring 5" x 11" and iron.

3. Line up folded piece with main back piece and pin in place

4. Decide how far apart you want your lines for your hooks and mark in place.

I marked the edge seams 0.5" in from raw edge, and marked a number of wide lines at 1" each, then smaller spaces for narrower hooks at 0.5" each. I use a Clover Hera marking tool which marks a sharp crease on the fabric. I love this tool, it's one of my best buys ever! You could also use tailor's chalk or a water soluble pen.

5. Stitch lines as marked. Work from middle of fabric down to bottom.

Quilt front:

1. Place front piece on batting scrap leaving excess batting on all sides and pin in place.

2. Starting by stitching in the ditch of one of the seams, quilt using straight lines on the feature fabric out to the edge. I set my stitch length to 4.0mm and, using the side of my presser foot as a guide and moving needle position, spaced the lines differing widths apart for interest. Some are very close, others wider.

When first side is done, do same on other side. The centre panel of solid fabric is not quilted.

3. Trim excess batting using rotary cutter.


For this roll I used double fold binding. If you need detailed instructions on binding check out great tutorials on Jaybird Quilts or Oh, Fransson!
Using contrast solid, cut strips for binding. I cut on the straight grain to a width of 2". Cut 2 strips of approx 24" and join using 45 degree seams.  


Fold in half, wrong sides together, and iron.

Assemble Roll:

1. Line up back piece on top of front piece, matching raw edges, and trim any excess fabrics.


2. Pin binding in place, matching raw edge of binding to raw edges of roll.

3. Fold ribbon in half and pin on one side of roll, between binding and fabric. The folded edge should line up with the raw edges of the binding and fabric.

4. Stitch binding in place all the way around, making provision for mitred corners.

5. Fold binding over to back of roll and pin, ensuring mitred corners are lined up correctly and machine stitch close to the edge of the bindgin. Ensure that your stitching is picking up binding on the opposite side. (Or handstitch if you prefer)

6. Apply Fray Stop or similar to the ends of your ribbon to seal. Alternatively, turn the edges of your ribbons under and stitch to seal the end and prevent fraying.

You're done!

Fill with your crochet hooks, roll up and admire!! Alternatively, you could use this roll for makeup brushes, just adjust the width  of the stitched lines.

I hope that this all makes sense, let me know if you have any questions. And I hope you enjoy making it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bliss Charm Quilt finished at last!

 Tonight I finally finished the quilt I started at Christmas. It's been a bit stop and start in terms of the time I got to work on it but it was definitely worth it!

I made this using a Moda Charm pack - "Bliss" by Bonnie and Camille. The sashing is a cream & white fabric I picked up some time ago, and the binding is from the Freebird range by Momo.

I used Kristie's McKinley quilt pattern and adjusted it slightly to make it a bit larger. I also decided not to do the flowers as I liked it without when I saw it coming together!

It's quilted in the sashing lines between the squares and on the edges of the squares. I used a natural coloured cotton thread for the quilting and was really happy with it.  I did the lines approx a quarter of an inch apart and they are slightly wonky but I love the effect.

This is the first time I have quilted lines so close together and I did find it a bit tricky but as its for myself and I like it, I'm pretty happy with it. It's not perfect but I learned lots making it and it gave me so many ideas for the 2 other quilts I'm working on at the moment.

I found this pattern really easy to follow and I love the way the charm squares are separated out. The sashing and the quilting technique help them to "pop" out of the quilt.

Its backed with some large pieces of "Bloom and Grow" fabric which are paired with a solid cream cotton and this compliments the colours nicely on the back.

I ended up machine sewing the binding although I had intended to handsew it to finish, purely because I couldn't wait to get it done and see it in my room!  I got a good even stitch on it and it looks very nice.The pattern in this piece of fabric is a geometric print and I was slightly concerned that it wouldn't look good as I cut it on the straight of the grain instead of on the bias but the way it flows from large to small print looks very natural and adds interest to the quilt.

I'm totally in love with it! Even Himself, who was a bit sceptical about the blue and green charms working in our living room (which is deep red and cream, with brown leather sofas) thinks it is fab - high praise indeed! Looking forward to wrapping myself up in tomorrow night on the sofa watching some tv!

I've posted up this link over at Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story, on Sugar and Dots and Thrilling Thursday on

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Amy Butler's Style Stitches Bag Challenge!

One of my aims for this year is to get involved in some online sew-alongs and quilt-alongs. They seem like a great way to challenge myself to learn some new things, broaden my technical knowledge, get to know other bloggers and crafters and also to have some, hopefully lots, of fun! So I was really excited a couple of weeks ago when I saw a bag challenge over on JemJam, particularly because I had just bought the book the day before. So I entered there and then, bought my fabric and then did precisely nothing on it till tonight!

StyleStitches button

This challenge is to make all the bags from Amy Butler's Style Stitches book in 2011. Yes, every single one! All 17 of them. Eeeek!

Pretty challenging, not least because some of the bags look to be quite difficult technically, and Amy Butler's bags tend to be huge so I foresee a lot of money spent of fabric this year. (*sigh* I suppose if I have to I'll just force myself to go online and find some. No, I am not secretly doing a dance in my head. Really, I'm not. Really. OK, so I am!! I am going to start a new Pinterest board with fabric ideas for these bags. More anon....)

The first bag is the Cosmo bag above, which is listed as an easy make although I'm not sure, from reading the instructions if I would think it terribly easy! Although this might be because I realised (too late!) that the instructions in the book are not accompanied by pictures or diagrams for the most part. When I'm working with fabric and patterns I tend to be a very visual person so fingers crossed that I will be able to get my head around the written instructions. So possibly this will be just fine and striaghtforward to make, but I freaked out a little at the pages of instructions!

This is the fabric I am using:

The main fabric is "Memento" from the Amy Butler Love range and I adore it, the colour is deep purple blue with aqua, lime green, red, cerise and orange flowers. I have cut the main pieces tonight and happily have enough left over to make another small bag & other bits and pieces. The lime green solid is the contrast for the handles etc, and the small floral print is for the lining. This fabric is more lavender in hue than it looks in this pic (where it looks pink for some bizarre reason.) I'm hoping to get the remaining fabric and interfacing pieces cut tonight and then to start making up tomorrow for the deadline of the 31st January.

I also finally got around to getting my Pinterest account up and running this week. Have you heard of this site? It's my latest favourite thing! It is, in essence, a virtual pinboard where you can save pics, links, and all sorts of things. I have set up a few boards already - one for keeping track of the tutorials I love, or want to try. Another for my favourite fabrics. Also, an essential, an inspiration board. And an Owls board because, as you know, I love owls in my fabric and little softie owls (will have my own design coming soon!) So, a board for keeping track of my ideas for fabrics for the various bags makes perfect sense :-) I have a link on the sidebar so pop over and take a look at my boards! And join up, its great. I have had so much fun browsing through people's boards - and there is so much to explore, fashion, art, interiors, food, all sorts really.

Right, back to the cutting board here......

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Make Up Brush Roll for Facebook giveaway

Tonight I finally found some time to make a giveaway item.  I'm running this giveaway from my Facebook page, so head on over there to enter. I will post anywhere, Ireland or internationally, so its open to anyone.

This is made from a very cute floral print, pink on white and uses a fabric from the same range as a contrast. The main fabric is "Darla" by Tanya Whelan.

It measure 24cm x 20 cm and holds 7-8 brushes, depending on size.

It rolls up and has a ribbon tie sewn in. I love it! Its a straightforward make, perfect for gift giving.

*In case ye were wondering, the make up and brushes are not included!! :-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Progress Report! And opinions please!

I've been quiet on the blogging front this week - for 2 reasons. I have lost my good camera. Disaster! And I've been really busy working on 3 quilts. I finished the quilt top for the little girl's one tonight. (Sorry the pics aren't better, luckily I was too lazy to Freecycle my old camera before Chrismas so at least I could get some!)

I used 7.5 inch squares for most of it, with a small number of squares pieced from smaller squares. The dominant colours are shades of red and green (although some of the cooler green shades are coming up with a blue tone in this photo), but I used a range of bright, cheerful colours and prints to give it a vibrant, colourful look. The quilt top needs borders and I hope to baste it tomorrow/Wednesday and get it quilted by the weekend. I'm going to quilt it lengthwise in wide, wavy lines in keeping with the modern, contemporary look. I can't wait to see how it looks when its finished, there is such a difference between mid project and the finished object!

It took quite a long time to get the squares laid out in an arrangement that I was happy with, balancing colours, sizes of prints and dark/light shades. I really missed my camera here, I usually take pics of various layouts and then look at them on screen which I find very helpful. But I think I managed ok! I pieced the 8 rows yesterday and then this evening, pieced all the rows together. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I'll use a solid colour to bind it as the top is so busy.

 I've used a very eclectic combination of fabrics for this quilt. There are lots of Ann Kelle prints - the bright butterflies, stripes, the owls, the argyle print. Also some of the Bliss collection by Bonnie and Camille. Some lovely Michael Miller Ta-Dot and Daisy prints, Amy Schimler cat and owl prints, Riley Blake's Love Birds, Summer Song & Rainy Days collections and even a lovely Kokka Russian Doll print. Plus a few others too!

More detail here:

 I love this arrangement of the owls and the hedgehogs:

So I am pleased to be making progress. I need to measure it again tomorrow night and decide on whether to add sashing or not, if I do it will be solid white. I'm thinking either a solid red or a solid green for the binding - I'd love to hear your opinions! So please leave a comment if you would have a preference. I know what red I would use - one similar to the red dots in the photo just above, but if I go with a green I could use either a lime green shade, or a grass green. I think the darker shade would probably be better but still thinking about it. I'm veering towards the darker green if I'm honest as there's a lot of red in the quilt top, and also to bring out the green tones more.

I'm cutting the pieces for the boys quilt this week too. I'm using a different design for that one which I'm not going to attempt to explain at this time of night!

Finally, in my little report, remember this Bliss charm pack which I picked up at the Knitting and Stitching show?

It's now looking like this:

As you can see, I'm still in the middle of quilting it and there are pins everywhere! I couldn't get a decent picture of the whole thing due to the light/camera issue (plus the fact that Himself was watching something very important and not as willing to come out and hold it up for photos as he was for the other quilt). I am using Kristie's McKinley quilt pattern with some adjustments to make it slightly bigger and really enjoying it. I picked up the sashing fabric at the Knitting and Stitching show too and wasn't sure how it would work but its actually really nice against the Bliss squares - a picture in daylight would show the effect much better than the above pic - its not as mottled as it looks here. It's quilted on the edges of the square and the sashing in straight lines, quite close together. I have the horizontal quilting lines almost done and need to do the vertical ones next. Then just bind it and its done! Yippee, it will be lovely on our sofa as a throw and will fit in perfectly in our room. I found the basting a little tricky because the backing fabric was pieced with some stripes but got there eventually.

Ok, so that's my report. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the binding for the first quilt and keep your fingers and toes crossed my camera turns up!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy new year to me!

Today, I allowed myself a little retail indulgence with some of my Christmas vouchers and came home very excited with my purchases! I tried to do show and tell with Himself but he promptly hot-footed it out the door on an urgent errand to the..... credit union. So. Sitting here all alone (kids have childcare today, thank God, they needed the break from me more than I needed it from them! I never saw kids to run so fast in my life as they did this morning to greet their little friends :-) ) I thought I'd post a few pics of my purchases. Sharing is caring, right?? You'll be glad to know I didn't photo everything.

This is my favourite:

I love Amy Butler's bag designs and as well as the voucher I had to get it, it was 20% off! Bargain, right? (Cork ladies, Vibes and Scribes have 20% off all crafting books and have a brill selection!) Of course, then I had to go to Hickeys and pick up some Amy Butler fabric (sale there too of course!) I picked up this to make something from the book all for myself:

I know it looks a bit wonky in the photo, it was a bolt end so I got the extra bit (40cm, pretty decent!) for free. Wahoo!!!

I went to Eason's for a browse around and picked up another book, this time to help me be a more efficient person and eat better:

I thought it looked practical and lots of yummy recipes in there. I really need to cut back on the grocery bill so hoping the whole "economy gastronomy" thing works for me! I treated myself to a couple of magazines too

I love these 2 magazines and plan on sitting down with a cup of coffee in front of the fire later to read them.

I picked up other fabrics and quilt batting too but no pics today of those. Finally I got home to find a lovely package I ordered last week arrived:

Kate Spain's Fandango range charm pack for a quilt for our room. Love the colours in this one.

So there you go! Has anyone already got these books? If so, what do you think of them? Would love to hear your comments!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Challenge - I need your help!

OK, so in this post I am shamelessly asking for your help!

I found a fab challenge through a blog I read and decided I would like to take part. If you get selected as one of the finalists, you get to work with one of 12 amazing crafting bloggers - what a fantastic opportunity!

I entered my Charlotte Bag as my initial project - I am really proud of it, its all my own design, and I love the shape of it and the long strap.

So I would really love if you could do just 2 things for me:

1. I know I have lots of regular readers who are not signed in as "followers" of this blog. I would really love if you could follow the link in the sidebar to Follow my blog.
2. Click on THIS LINK for the competition site.
Then scroll down through the thumbnails and click on the photo of my bag (its no. 56) to link back here.

Thanks so much!

PS. - I am working on something nice for a giveaway next week - keep an eye on the blog and/or my Facebook page for news!