Saturday, 16 May 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2015 - Kaleidoscopic quilt

It's that time of year again folks, all the big boys and girls are off to Quilt Market to see all the fun new fabric that we'll all be coveting and the rest of us get to watch jealously from afar. Thank goodness for Amy and her twice yearly Blogger's Quilt  Festival to keep us all happy looking at the fantastic creations of our online community! It's always fun to find new inspiration and new blogs to read.
I usually have a tricky time deciding which quilt to enter but this year I knew straight away which one I wanted to submit. I designed this Kaleidoscopic quilt for Quilt Now magazine last year and was delighted when it made the front cover of Issue 5!
This lap sized quilt was a real labour of love, 64 foundation pieced blocks was no small task. It was totally worth it though, this is one of my all time favourites. I love all the secondary patterns that this block gives and the colours just make me feel happy. There are so many of my beloved/ hoarded fabrics in here, which I'm sure contributes to its favourite status.
After all the machine work of foundation piecing it was a pleasure to take my time over the hand quilting. I'm a huge fan of chunky hand quilting with Perle thread. I don't have the patience for tiny. neat hand stitches but neat chunky stitches are right up my street. The texture that this type of quilting provides is fantastic, really snuggly, which is just what you need for a lap quilt!
I used three neutral shades of Perle thread in the low volume areas of the quilt and a dusky pink Perle thread to echo quilt the pink kites.
I contained the kaleidoscopic blocks with a scrappy low volume border and finished off with a black and white pezzy binding. I can't resist showing you the professional photo on the cover of  the magazine; I will never tire of seeing my creation right there on the cover.
So there you have it, I'm entering this in the Modern Quilts category purely because I designed this quilt on the iPad. You must check out all the other quilts in the category (and the other categories of course) and if you like this quilt or indeed any of the other quilts you can nominate up to 3 quilts for a Viewer's choice award. Nominations are open until the 21st May and voting commences on the 22nd May. I recommend getting yourself a cuppa and a comfy seat to trawl through the fantastic inspiration over there!
Thanks for visiting, I hope you'll come back again sometime. Catch you soon x 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Hexiestar tamed

Before I launch into the latest month of the Nellie's Niceties Mystery BOM  I thought I'd update you on the continuing saga of the trapped nerve. It turns out that I have 4 bulging discs in my neck and degeneration in 5 of the bones in the same area of the neck. Just in case that wasn't enough I've also got 3 partially torn tendons in my shoulder, nerve impingement, tendinitis and bursitis. According to the physio the shoulder injuries were probably caused by sewing related tasks. Who knew that quilting is an extreme sport?! Needless to say I feel justified in the amount of moaning I've been doing about the pain I've been experiencing ;) I'm now awaiting an appointment with the specialist but I have been warned not to expect them to be able to help. To top it all off Jess is having a rough time too and is currently awaiting an MRI. Such fun! If things are quiet around here you'll know why. I'm still very active over on Instagram though as that doesn't involve as much time or planning.
Right, now on with the BOM.
This month I've re-visited an old favourite, the Hexiestar and given it a bit of a face-lift to make a 12" square block.
As usual it produces a secondary pattern when combined in multiples.
You'll find the free PDF templates, info sheet, block layout and colouring sheet on our website. I like to layout my paper pieces in advance so I fiddle around with placement if I'm using prints. 

Thankfully I'm using solids this time. I glue baste all my pieces because I like the speed and precision it gives. One of the most common questions I've been asked about piecing the Hexiestar is how I baste the narrow triangles, so here's a pic to show you. 

I generally start by piecing all of the narrow triangles to the hexagon, then filling in the gaps as I go but in order to get some daylight progress shots I skipped that plan this time. I do recommend referring to the block layout sheet as the pieces are not equal sizes in the Hexiestar Tamed block. 
When filling in the gaps I start at the base of the narrow triangle and work my way out to the  point.
When it comes to capturing the point of the narrow triangle you can start at the point and work your way back down to the base of triangle if you are nervous about it.
I'm usually gung-ho about it though and just catch the two in-fill triangles together when I get to the point.
Continue until the hexiestar is complete, then "tame" it by adding the corner triangles.
Ta-da. One Hexiestar Tamed block.
If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom #hexiestartamed. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) 
Catch you soon x

Monday, 13 April 2015


It's that time of the month again folks! The new issue of Quilt Now magazine is now available in UK stores (actually, it was available last Thursday so I'm a bit late). Issue 10 is packed full of bright and cheerful projects to try out. The gorgeous cover quilt is by the talented chappy, Nicholas Ball.
It's lovely to see projects by lots of friends in this issue! Kerry, Justine, Di, Katy, Lisa, Trudi and Katy C to name a few :)

This month's BOM technique is gathered patchwork hexagons. It was a technique I stumbled upon in my search for 3D hand sewing techniques and I think it was quite fun to do.
The companion project for this month is a mini travel sewing kit. I have visions of this one disappearing to live with Yvonne when I get it back from the publishers...I'll give you the link to the online tutorial when it's live but the tutorial is live on the Quilt Now website now and for anyone who already has the issue the pattern is in there :)
In other news, Leslie has reviewed the Doris Project bag pattern on her blog today. I can't wait to get back to the sewing machine as I have a Pam Kitty Garden Doris bag in progress that I started right before the nerve started playing up, fingers crossed it will be sorted out soon!
Catch you soon x

Friday, 10 April 2015

By Hand and a discount!

Hello all. I'm still suffering with the trapped nerve issue which is positively doing my head in! I'm awaiting MRI results which I hope will guide the people in the know to sort me out! Sewing machine time is seriously limited, I'm talking 5 minutes at the very most before I feel like crying, so there has been lots of hand-stitching and pattern writing going on to keep my equilibrium. First, I pattern tested a new design by Julianna which can be either Foundation Pieced or done with EPP. It goes together very quickly and is really quite fun to piece. You can find the free pattern here. Here's my version using some lovely Denyse Schmidt prints.

I also joined an Anna Maria Horner swap on Instagram before the pain got really bad so I've had to drum up a design that I can hand-piece so I don't have to drop out. This is one quarter of it; that is a lot of piecing! Thankfully the deadline is June so I should have plenty of time to finish this one :) Typically for me it's a riot of colour so I hope it won't scare my partner off too much!

I've just finished up the last blocks (all hand sewn) for the current Quilt Now BOM and am really looking forward to finishing the top off so I can send it away to Trudi to work her magic on it. You just know that it's going to be epic when Trudi is finished with it! I'm so glad I decided to piece this medallion as we went along rather than leaving it all to the end or I'd be in major hot-water right now!   I can't believe that Quilt Now has been around for almost a year now, bonkers. I'm really excited to be doing the next BOM for them too!!! Sorry for all the exclamation marks it's one of those days.
Finally, because we all know I need another project like a hole in the head, I've started up another Wafers EPP project, to give me a break from the epic piecing of the swap project, using a lovely selection of prints from Art Gallery Fabrics. I'm loving these earthy prints!
This leads nicely to the discount part of the title. I've just restocked our Etsy shop with some of our instant download patterns/templates (including this one) as it appears that Etsy will now be dealing with the VAT issue. To celebrate you can get 20% off everything in the Etsy shop this weekend only (10-12 April 2015) by entering INSTA20 at the checkout.
Hoping all is good in your world. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Promises - Mystery BOM Month 3

I'm a day late posting this month's mystery block so please accept my apologies if you were waiting with baited breath. 

This month we are English Paper piecing a block that I'm calling Promises.
 I've prepared templates in two sizes this month: 6" and 12" so you have options for different projects. As usual there is a secondary pattern when multiple blocks are pieced together.
Some of the piecing is a bit fiddly but I hope you'll think it's worth a try. I recommend starting with the pieced kites. The templates are the finished size so you need to add your seam allowances to the fabric when cutting them out.
 This is how I pieced the rest of the block.
One quarter done then repeat the process to add the remaining sections. Please excuse the bumpy circle in the middle of the finished block, I haven't removed the papers yet. You'll find the information sheet, colouring sheet and templates on the website.
I was thrilled to find Wendy's Rolling in the clover block in our Flickr group again this month! It's nice to know I'm not sewing alone :) 
If you decide to join in I'd love to see your versions and it would be great to be able to share some more of your work here along with our Flickr group and of course on Instagram #nelliesnicetiesmysterybom. Tell your friends, the more the merrier :) Catch you soon x

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Time away from my sewing machine has meant more time playing with EPP. Let me introduce you to Nellstar. This eight pointed star is a delight to piece! I started and finished this 7" block using Recollection by Katarina Roccella in just a couple of hours.
I've started my second of four blocks because you know there's a secondary pattern in there, isn't there always?!

I did have to put it to one side yesterday for an urgent itch that needed scratching. A bundle of Elizabeth by Tula Pink arrived yesterday morning and I just couldn't wait to try this block out. I kept the central octagon as a whole for this 12" block, Elizabeth demanded to be the centre of attention.
I'm pretty much in love with both versions of the block. Just in case any of you fancy having a go at your own version of Nellstar I've uploaded a project set to our Payhip store. The set includes an advice sheet, templates for both sizes of the block and a colouring sheet for the bargain price of £2. If you search the hashtag #nellstar on Instagram you'll find lots of progress shots of the making of these blocks. As always I'd love to see your version of this block if you have a go.
Right, I'm off to watch the rest of Scandal. Catch you soon x

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Prairie points

Not much to report from these parts at the moment. Creativity is crawling along thanks to an irritated nerve in my neck that is giving me the equivalent of sciatica in my arm and shoulder which is just peachy when you need to move said arm to use the sewing machine! I've had to do some quick thinking to rejig my plans for the Quilt Now BOM to reduce some of the reliance on the sewing machine for the final few blocks.

As Issue 9 has just hit the shelves of shops in the UK I can show you what we've done so far and I have to admit to being delighted with it.
All of the fabrics are from various collections for Art Gallery Fabrics and they all play beautifully together. If you're on Instagram you can search #quiltnowbom to see pictures of other BOM quilts in progress.
This month's BOM technique is Folded patchwork Prairie Points. A super quick technique that demanded a fun BOM project - a travel memory game. I dug out some of my Laurie Wisbrun and Heather Ross hoard for a bit of fussy cutting fun.
The free pattern will be  is available on the Quilt Now website soon now. I'm off to finish watching the Great British Sewing Bee now. Catch you soon x