Friday 23 September 2016

Bloggers Quilt Festival: Modern Quilt Category

This is my second entry to the Bloggers Quilt Festival: Fall 2016 hosted by Amy Ellis of Amys Creative Side.

May I present to you Bluebell Woods entered in the Modern Quilts section.

Bluebell was made from Sherri Lynn Wood's book The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters using Score 1, Floating Squares. She is 50.1/2 by 43.1/2inches, and quilted using the serpentine stitch, Bernina stitch 4 set to length 2, width 2.5.

Can you see the bluebells, in three different shades, for as you know bluebells come in many different colours. The trees are arching over on the right, and the blue sky is overhead, peeping through at the top left corner. The gentle rain is falling softly on Bluebell Woods, feeding and nurturing the rich soil. Although I had originally intended to bind the quilt in green with a scattering of bluebells I didn't have enough left, therefor I extended the sky and the trees into the border and added only random bluebells on three sides. However I am pleased with the effect this gives.

I didn't plan the size, I just made the blocks and Bluebell just seemed to take on a life of her own. When it came to putting her together there was very little adjustment to be made. One block was too small by 3 1/2 inches, so I fudged a bit extra which blended in quite well, in fact although I know which block I have trouble seeing the adjustment. On another I added a small strip of background at the side. I did use the rotary cutter on the edges for a very light trim where they were very wavy, and one block was slightly too tall and had just over an inch trimmed off the top. Let's take a closer look.

Can you see the rain now?  If we turn her over.......

You can see underneath the surface, the rich dark soil which feeds the woods, and look, there are lots of seeds scattered, ready for the summer flowers, (but there again it could be because I bought the fabric on sale :)

I had the most fun making this quilt, and if you would like to read the inspiration and the story behind it start with post 1, post 2, post 3, post 4, the reveal, and post 5, the final chapter to find the secret behind the quilt, but make sure you read them in order.

Enjoy the festival, and make sure you remember to vote on your favourite in each of the different categories.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me, and if you consider voting for me I am most grateful, it would be wonderful if you came back.

Until next time
Smiles from

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2016

The time is here for the  Bloggers Quilt Festival: Fall 2016 hosted by Amy Ellis of Amys Creative Side

As I only started blogging in January this year (and I still haven't figured out how Instagram works properly yet, but, I have made some progress), this is the first time I have entered.  I love making small quilts and this one is one of my favourites, City lights, a special gift for my husband and my entry for the Small Quilts section.

The fabric used is Oakshott Lipari with Oakshott Colourshott charm centres in the 6 inch blocks.

It was quilted using the Serpentine stitch, no 4 on my Bernina with a stitch length of 2 width 2.5.  I used Aurifil  50/2 grey thread no 2605.  It shows up slightly lighter than I expected but it was the darkest grey my local quilt shop had.  The wadding used was Warm and Natural.  Can you see the way the fabric shines and shimmers?  The warp is black and the weft is iridescent jewel tones, it is even lovelier in reality.

This was the first time I made a pieced back.

The binding was made from the scraps, there wasn't much left at the end, good job Oakshott fabric is 54 inches wide.

I hope you like City Lights as much as I do, and in case you are interested, my husband loves it.

Enjoy the festival, and make sure you remember to vote on your favourite in each of the different categories.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me, and if you consider voting for me I am most grateful, it would be wonderful if you came back.

Until next time
Smiles from

Wednesday 21 September 2016

What Happened to the Rejects?

After a manic week work wise which included me catering for a weekend event which included, not only several vegetarians but three vegans, I now have the painter here.   It is impossible to sew, I am camped out between my bedroom and the kitchen.  I had to empty the bookcases in the dining room and carry all the books upstairs into the spare bedroom, then there was the pictures from the dining room and the lounge and all the bits and pieces, good job I prefer it a more minimalist look.  So this is what I held back from my post last week.

Just to recap I showed you the block I designed, Barcodes.

And explained a bit about the process with a pic of my rejects including.......

My first attempt.

 I loved the colours in the first one, so......

I salvaged it, by adding five of the block units, the ones at the top and right of the pic, and made it into a cushion (pillow).   I had to change the right middle one so it would fit in.  There is still a unit that is on the large size, but I managed to disguise the one on the edge which is now the middle block.  

Slightly unbalanced, but worth salvaging or what?  Perfect for my rocking chair, which has new blue seat cushions.

I used what I had for the backing, which has two colours to use up a 10 inch width of fabric strip of red and a smaller piece of blue.

I did my favourite serpentine stitch quilting and I also stitched just under 1/4 inch all around the edge to stop the bright backing from showing.

Now I'm thinking it would look great if I used Barcodes to make a scrappy quilt..........

And what about the gruesome reject?  Well I haven't binned it, but so far I haven't had time to do anything with it.   Although I do make cushion covers for the cushions we use at work so I could always add a border and use it up.  Some of the plain ones I made from dreadful fabric I bought when I was a new quilter have received several compliments, so I guess someone will love the gruesome one, especially if they are colour blind!!!  I need to have a think about it, maybe go radical, after all if I make a complete dogs dinner out of it I haven't lost much have I?  One things for sure, when I do get it done, you will see the whole process, however it turns out.

Remember this pic?  Sorry, no wonderful transformational pics to show you, in fact it got much worse, so much for doing out my sewing room.

This was the last glimpse you got of it, just a reminder the blue splurge is the thread catcher!!!

This is what I would like, see the aperture where the machine fits in so you can have it level with the table?  And look at all that space, it makes a great cutting table too, and it tilts so you can out it against the walk if you need the space for anything.  Perfect except for one thing, it is £899, or that's what it said yesterday, I have been told the prices are going up at the end of the month.

This is more affordable at £179, which will rise to £189 next month. It is smaller, and I won't be able to move it, but, with an Ikea table to the back, and maybe another at the side for quilting, it might make a very nice setup. It has lots of room for me to sit which the small cabinet didn't, I felt my legs were squashed and I couldn't get as close as I would like. It comes in white, beech and teak, I'm hovering between white and beech.

I will sell the small Horne Cabinet I already have which are about £400 new.  I have been advised they sell for between £100 and £150 secondhand, but mine is teak and a bit older so I will advertise it for £99 and settle for £80 which would make it a good buy.

If you would like to see more Horne cabinets check out the website.

But today the lounge and dining room will be finished and tomorrow the painter will start the transformation of the sewing room which is already cleared.  I already have great new lighting, LED lights inset into the ceiling, and now my north facing room is flooded with light.  It is the coldest room as it is above the garage, so I will look at a small electric fan heater.  I know they are more expensive to run but it will probably be for shorter periods as I do have a radiator in the room anyway.

So, from the confines of my bedroom I am sending you smiles,

Linking up with Lorna @ Let's Bee Social, Kelly @ Needle'n' Thread Thursday, Sarah @ Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? 

Monday 12 September 2016

2016 Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop

Hello Everyone, and Welcome to the first day of the 2016 Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop.

Cloud9 have generously sponsored this blog hop and supplied all the participants with a fat quarter bundle of 'Berry Harvest' made up of five fat quarters from their Organic Cirrus Solids range and curated by the hosts Yvonne, Cheryl, and Stephanie. All the blocks made for the hop will be collected and made into quilts for donation.

Today's host is Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl.

So, without further ado, this is my block.


Size:  12" Finished
Skill Level:  Easy
Press all seams to the side unless otherwise indicated.
Use a scant 1/4inch seam throughout.

Step One
Cutting Instructions:

From the Background fabric cut
4 @ 1.5" x 3.5" rectangles
8 @  2" x 6.5" rectangles

From each of the four focus fabrics cut
5 @ 1" x 8" strips.

Step 2
Lay out the Amazon and Sky strips as shown.

 Join the strips together, first in pairs and then joining the pairs together to make a 5.5" x 8" rectangle.

Repeat using the Iris and Lilac strips. 

Trim each strip set into two rectangles 3.5" x 5.5".

Step 3

Take one strip set and join one 1.5" x 3.5" background rectangle to the short end, stitch, and press.

Stitch one 2" x 6.5" background strip to each long side, resulting in a 6.5" square unit.

Repeat with the other strip sets.

Step 4

Arrange the four units together as shown and sew into pairs.

Sew the pairs together carefully matching the centre seam.  It is helpful to press this seam open to avoid bulk.

Step 5
Sit back and enjoy your work.


I thought it might be fun to show you the blocks I made in practice.

This was my first block attempt, it's funny how it can look better on paper than made up.  As you can see I attempted to use different sized blocks to create a more random effect. One block was too large and my attempt to use one on the edge didn't work very well, it just looked odd.  What this does show however, is that it looks great in multicolours on the pale cream background and has great potential for a scrap quilt.  What you may also notice is in my rush to complete the block I didn't check my scant 1/4 inch seam.  No problem making a scrap version, I just added a couple of extra strips, bet you didn't even notice.

My second attempt was using fabric I had been given and some scraps from my bin.

Gruesome isn't it?  I went for colours to give me maximum contrast, big mistake.  I've got news for you, it looks worse in real life.  Well, we all make mistakes..........

Want to know how I sewed my accurate scan 1/4 inch seams?

First I measured, you see although I use a 1/4 inch foot I can't sew a straight line for toffee, so with the help of a wall made of about 10 strips of masking tape,

I have something to butt up against.  Resulting in more accurate, and much straighter, seams.

I hope you like my block, but if it was not to your taste, why not hop on over and check out some of the other blogs, after all, with 70 new blocks over three days you are bound to find some blocks you like, and maybe one or two you love.

Here are todays other participants: 

Abigail @Cut & Alter
Janice @Color, Creating, and Quilting!
Lorinda @Laurel, Poppy, and Pine
Melva @Melva Loves Scraps
Renee @Quilts of a Feather
Kathryn @Upitis Quilts
Kim @Leland Ave Studios
Amanda @this mom quilts
Holly @Lighthouse Lane Designs
Irene @Patchwork and Pastry
Jennifer @Dizzy Quilter
Karen @Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats
Anne @Said With Love
Suzy @Adventurous Applique and Quilting
Sharla @Thistle Thicket Studio
Kate @Smiles From Kate  (Me)
Amanda @Gypsy Moon Quilt Co.
Sarah @Sarah Goer Quilts
Chelsea @Patch the Giraffe
Jinger @Trials of a Newbie Quilter
Anja @Anja Quilts
Daisy @Ants to Sugar

Tomorrow's host is Cheryl @ Meadow Mist Designs and on Wednesday the host is Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter, so make sure you look in to see who else has new blocks to share.    You wouldn't want to miss anything would you?  

 I also believe there to be giveaways of Cloud9 fabric bundles on all three hosts blogs Yvonne, Cheryl and Stephanie and you definitely don't want to miss that.  

If you do make anything from my block it would be great if you would give me a mention, and maybe send me a pic so I can show everyone.  Now that would be so cool.........

Until next time,
Smiles from, 

Sunday 4 September 2016

One monthly Goal September

My workflow has been pretty rubbish recently.  I was doing so well earlier this year, but since July it has been going downhill, and since August it has been absolute rubbish.  I'm calling a halt, time to get my mojo back and stop being a butterfly, going from one thing to another, not finishing anything.

At the beginning of the year I decided I was going to concentrate on getting rid of some UFO's, that I wouldn't start anything until I had finished two things, well that's gone out of the window hasn't it!

This month I am setting one monthly goal, to finish my circles quilt.  Here is a reminder of my progress to date:

All the blocks are finished and sewn together, it still needs the borders, layer, quilt, and bind.  

I am also pledging not to start any more new quilts this year, although I will be making a couple of advent calendars for gifts and maybe some small Christmas items, but they are quick and easy stuff and I will time limit them.  That sound alright to you?

So to make this official so to speak I am linking up with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts One Monthly Goal

That feels better already.
Smiles from 

Thursday 1 September 2016

I'm Feeling Blessed

So many of you have commented on my last post, enquiring after my recent fall and sending me such kind words.  I am completely overwhelmed by your support, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.   I am doing very well now and my memory is back to normal, I'm sure any glitches I have are just me having blond moments, well, yes, I admit I'm not blond but I was once, and yes it was a long time ago but I'm not going to say senior moments because I am FAR too young for that!!!

So what sewing have I done this week?  Not telling!!!  Can't tell because it's a secret and if you want to know you will have to tune in on September 12th when all will be revealed.

The reason is I am in the 2016 Cloud9 New Block Blog Hop which takes place from the 12th to the 14th of September and features their Organic Citrus Solids in the Berry Harvest Bundle in Shadow, Amazon, Sky, Iris, and Lilac.   Want to see the fabrics?

They are so lovely.

So, I received a fat quarter bundle and what I had to do was design a 12inch (finished) block.  That was the panic bit, for as you all know, designer I am not.  Yes I can change a few blocks around and add a bit to suit me but that is far different to actually designing.  Scary!   I had a fiddle around with pencil and paper, I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and what I was coming up with was absolute rubbish.  Oh the panic of it all.  Then it came to me, I don't know where from, I had a little thought and it just appeared in my head.  I did one which was a test block but I tried to be too clever and it didn't come out right, so I simplified it and it worked.  I have a block, it even has a name, yes it is very pretentious of me but it will probably never happen again so I have to milk it.  Can't tell you the name either as it is too descriptive.

We have to use between three and all five of the fabrics, but no others, I used all five.   You can see my block and the tutorial on Monday September 12th.  There are 70 of us I believe, posting over three days and I will also post the list of bloggers posting the same day as me.  I know there are some excellent designers in the hop and you won't be disappointed.  With so many of us you are bound to find at least one block you like and one you absolutely love, so don't miss it.  

The host on Monday is Yvonne @ Quilting Jetgirl, on Tuesday it is Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs, and on Wednesday it it Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter.

Did I tell you I am doing Cheryl's mystery quilt?  Here are my fabrics.

Last month it was cutting the pieces, this month it is making half square triangles and making the first block.  Guess what?  I am behind already.  Yes I know you can well believe it, but I am going to try and catch up this month.  They are A to E from left to right.  I hesitated because B is next to D and I'm not sure if there is enough contrast.  So, should I swap A and B? A uses the least fabric although not by a lot really.  What do you think, any thoughts?

My last thing to show you is my fabric haul.  My local quilt shop has a 25% sale, so I have stocked up on a few fabrics I love and hoping I won't have to buy any more until January when the Christmas sale will be on.  Especially as I heard Moda fabrics are going up 8.5% in the UK.

Beautiful linen texture fabrics by The Henley Studio Makower UK, I so love these, they are right up my street.  Plain, but with a little texture.

I got these too, Serenity again by The Henley Studio Makower UK I love the top two.  I'm not so sure about the patterned ones now I have them home, I don't usually buy patterned fabrics, but I can always use them on the back, or for a quilt to gift.  I also got a couple of 2 meter cuts of solids to use for quilt backs but I forgot to take a pic, it would be a boring pic anyway.

That's all I have today, but wait until next week!!!

Until then
Smiles from
Kate x

Linking up with: