Friday 11 January 2019

A little accountability....

I'm sure we've all seen the meme on Facebook or Instagram this New Year about a resolution to finish the things in 2019 that I started in 2018, having bought the fabric in 2017 and the pattern in 2016, and had the idea in 2015..... you get the picture.

Well, I have a confession - I am a starter of new shiny things....... and I know I am not alone in this. So this year, in an effort to get all the things I've started to a point where I might be able to a) call them finished and b) gift them to the people they've been promised to, I decided the 2019 #finishalong was exactly what I needed. 

So far I have 30 things on the list, but I have divided them up across the quarters. Here's the things for this first quarter:

1) Anna Maria Horner quilt
The top is finished, it needs backing, quilting and binding, and gifting to my sister.

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7) Range backpacks
I have 6 of these in progress, which stalled for various reasons since the summer. They need to be finished and given to their intendeds.

8) Booklet Pouch
To be a Christmas present for my niece Emma - that's Christmas 2018! Due for delivery on 22nd Jan, this is the number one priority.

9) Sloth cushion
This has been a top for over a year, it is now at least quilted and now needs making into a cushion and gifting to my niece April.

10) Atomic Starburst quilt
Another 2018 Christmas gift, for my partner's brother's partner's daughter, Kacy-Leigh. I'm slowly working through quilting this, then just binding to go.

11) Aaaaaand another 2018 Christmas gift
I have the fabric and pattern for this but that's as far as I've got - this is for Kacy-Leigh's sister. (Before anyone thinks I'm a rubbish some kind of step-auntie-in-law, I gave both the girls a clue block for Christmas which I've done with another niece in the past and which worked well then. Not so well this time, neither of them could even remember seeing them this year..... )

12) And last but by no means least, wedding bunting. For my youngest sister who is getting married on 6th April, and I need to make 44m of bunting and around 100 napkins for her....

Now, I understand that may not seem many to those of you with 20+ items on your list, but I think this is a quarter for me to be realistic and focused as all of these HAVE to be finished before the end of March and I can't afford any other distractions.

Now, did I mention I was a starter of new shiny things? Well, in the interests of full disclosure, I started the FAL in 2014! I just checked that one post and luckily, none of the things on that list are on my list as it stands today. But only because I'd totally forgotten about one of them when I made my list last week, and it is still a WIP so will appear later in the year. What I'm trying to say is, you have my full permission to pull me up and slap my wrists if I let this slide again.

Friday 7 September 2018

Nearly there......

Well here we are, in two weeks time we'll all be on our way to the glorious Eaton Manor Country Estate ready to enjoy the first Sewing Shindig.

Two weeks...…

Fourteen days....

And in the words of Chris Tarrant as he used to say in the lead up to THAT time of year 'You're not ready, are you?'

So here's some info that you might find useful while getting everything prepped.

Class Specs – Quilt As You Go Cushion

QAYG basics – completing cushion front

Cushion finishing – how to make portholes, add details with perle cotton hand stitching, cushion back (envelope or hidden zip)

Completed Cushion – 18” square
Supplies –
-          Plentiful bag of scraps of makers choice – coordinating colours, or lots of fussy cuts, or a rainbow of different scraps, selveges, whatever appeals
-          Wadding scrap at least 22” square
-          Backing for cushion front – fabric scrap at least 20“ square
-          Sashing (if that is the chosen finish) – 1 FQ per sashing (more than one sashing may be used)
-          If doing a porthole finish instead then a piece of fabric at least 20” square (plus a piece of muslin at least 20” square) (if the maker wishes to make more than one porthole then double the fabric requirements)
-          Cushion backing – 1/2 yard of fabric
-          20” (or longer) plastic zip if wishing to do a hidden zip
-          Neutral coloured thread for the quilting; makers choice of thread to match the fabrics used to finish their cushion
-          Perle cotton or 12 weight thread if the maker wishes to do some hand stitching to finish the cushion
-          A finger pressing tool can be handy but not necessary
-          Pencil
-          Sewing machine – 1/4” foot, zipper foot if a hidden zip is being used, regular or walking foot that allows for a zigzag or overlock stitch

The aim of the class is to complete a cushion cover over the weekend but if the project is not finished then the participant should leave with the knowledge and ability to do a scrappy QAYG cushion front and finish it with some or all of the following skills – a porthole (reverse applique) to set the QAYG panel in, how to make either a envelope or hidden zip cushion back, how to add hand stitching to their project to enhance the finish. 

Quilting Design class
This is a hands on free motion quilting class,  looking at the different options for quilting a block/quilt design.  Well look at the different options, explore how they might look, and how we could enhance a basic design. 
Some preparation is required before the class if you wish to quilt out your design during the retreat weekend, (or at least make a start on it).
We can discuss the basics of free motion quilting if you need a quick refresher or some encouragement, and we will do lots of playing with designs on paper before finally hitting the fabric up.
Class requirements:
Sewing machine (complete with power lead, presser foot and manual)
Free motion quilting foot for your specific machine
prepared quilt sample
Wadding and backing for sample
and/or Fat quarters/wadding for playing/practicing on
Threads appropriate to your fabric choices.
Basic sewing kit
Fabric marking tool of choice (no Frixion pens)
Pencils/rulers for designing on paper
Basting pins

Quilting Design Class Sample Piece - you will have received class specifications with instructions of how to construct this - you will need to do this before the retreat.

Aneela's class specs: 

The project is a great way to learn and practise stitches, explore ideas and inspire your projects.  It is also a helpful exercise in finding and developing your own personal embroidery style.  Once completed - anytime you need a dose of inspiration, flip through the pages and revisit your ideas to kick-start your creativity.  
This is a great beginner to intermediate level class.  Please see the materials list for items to bring (page 2) and ensure you have everything you need on hand.  It is very important that you arrive with your fabric pieces cut as there will be plenty to cover during the class. 
We will be looking at embroidery basics including tools, stitches, application of patterns and more.  We will learn how to use basic stitches to explore techniques and create fun new textures and patterns.
During the class we will be stitching the embroidered pages for your sampler notebook.  You will be able to continue your stitching and complete the notebook at home.  

 Materials list
For the class, you will need fabric for the 'Pages' part of the project only.
Please cut your fabric pieces at home and bring them with you on the day. 
To cut your Pages, you will need 5/8 yard of any of the following fabrics (see note below) -
- Unbleached cotton calico (this is what I used for my project in the book).  This can be found in the haberdashery department of John Lewis.
- Cotton - white, cream or very pale colours.
Note - When selecting your fabric please ensure that you will be able to see through it to trace the designs during the class.  You can check this at home by placing your fabric over any of the patterns in the book to see.  If you wish to use a fabric that you can't see through enough to trace the patterns you will need to print a few of the designs onto some sheets of Stitch Stabilizer such as C&T WashAway Stitch Stabilizer.  To do this, please see Printing on Stabilizer on page 15 of the book.

Please bring the following materials with you -
Copy of Stitch And Sew by Aneela Hoey published by Stash Books(C&T Publishing)
Fabric (see note above) - Cut into 6 rectangles 11" x 9"
Embroidery floss such as Aurifloss, Cosmo, Anchor, DMC or similar - at least 6 different colours
Optional - Aurifil 12wt Wool Thread (in addition to floss)
Embroidery needles - can be found online, John Lewis etc.
Size 24 Tapestry needle
5" embroidery hoop
Small pair of sharp scissors
Embroidery marking pen such as Prym aqua trickmarker or Clover water soluble marker
Long ruler marked with inches

Additional items
If using fabric that is difficult to trace through -  a few sheets of Wash Away Stitch Stabilizer printed with designs (see note above)
If using dark fabric  - you will need a chalk marker for marking page edges

More information will follow this weekend about all the fabulous sponsors who have generously donated goodies for you all! Now, I bet you're all ready for THAT!

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Sewing Shindig, September 2018

Following the success of the Stitched Sewing Organizers Sewalong, I've been in need of a new project. So I'm happy to announce a new boutique sewing retreat, Sewing Shindig, to be held in September this year, in Shropshire.

We have three fabulous teachers - not only quilter extraordinaire Trudi Wood, and talented quilt designer and maker Susan Standen but also the fabulous fabric and pattern designer and author Aneela Hoey!

Classes are optional and if you prefer you can just enjoy a long weekend of social sewing working on your own projects in the company of like minded quilters. More details of the classes and teachers will be available nearer the time. 

Of course, no retreat would be complete without shopping opportunities and I'm excited to say that the lovely Saira from Olive + Flo Handcraft will be supporting the event with a pop up shop on site for the duration. 

The venue is the beautiful Eaton Manor Country Estate in Church Stretton, near Telford. We have four gorgeous properties on the estate plus a huge banqueting room for meals and social sewing. All rooms are twin share, each with an en-suite bathroom. You can either book with a friend, or we can pair you with another attendee.

Arrival is on the afternoon of Friday 21st September, when you will settle into your cottage, meet the other attendees and teachers and enjoy a group dinner. There's plenty of room to either sit and chat or even crack on with your sewing that evening. On Saturday and Sunday there will be the optional classes or social sewing time. Buffet breakfasts and lunches and sit-down dinners will be provided, along with soft drinks, tea and coffee. Checkout will be by 10am on Monday 24th September. (Of course, if you need to get home on the Sunday evening, that will be absolutely fine, but you will have access to your room until you leave, so no sewing spaces piled high with luggage.)

All meals will be catered by our professional chef, so no sewing time will be wasted in the kitchen! 

Places are limited to 30 for this special event, and the price per person is £395. Payment can be in full on booking or in three equal instalments in April, May and June. To reserve a space, email your name, address, phone number, preferred payment option and any special requirements to

Hope to see you there!

Thursday 19 October 2017

Let's talk about interfacing, baby......

Ok, so that doesn’t scan quite so well as the original song lyrics, but since I decided to write this post, I can’t get that Salt’n’Pepa song out of my head. And I have to find something to make interfacing a fun subject!

 “Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be, let’s talk about it…..”

 So there have been some questions during the sewalong about materials and in particular, interfacing – weight, brand, type etc. In the book, there is a whole section describing the different types and their qualities, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. I just want to highlight that a few of the projects in Stitched Sewing Organizers rely on a specific type of interfacing to give the best result. When writing these particular patterns, the thickness of the recommended interfacing was taken into account when calculating the maths part of the instructions. For these projects, the particular finish shown depends on certain characteristics in the products used. Aneela has also recommended the two brands she has used most, and which she used in the process of developing the patterns.
For instance, next week’s project, the Project Tote, has stiff handles with fabric bonded to them, and the Fabric Boxes and Sliding Box rely on similar materials to keep their structure. The use of double-sided fusible interfacing means the fabric has a smooth, firm bond to the handles, or boxes, and prevents the lining of the boxes and inserts from bagging. The heavy weight means it has the required stiffness to give the structure. 
It’s this heavy-weight interfacing that is hard to replace or substitute. As per the book recommendations, Fast2Fuse Heavy by C&T or Pellon Peltex 71F (single-sided) or 72F (double-sided) will both give a successful result. The thickness of these products has been added into the calculations for the pattern and for instance, using a thicker interfacing could mean that the smaller Fabric Boxes wouldn’t properly fit inside the larger box, or the insert wouldn’t fit into the sleeve for the Sliding Box. With regards to the Project Tote, the handles may not properly fit and could be very difficult to sew in with a thicker product, especially if you’ve also used a pieced fabric for the body.

Just a gratuitous photo of my cat 'helping' me with the interfacing

(BTW…..If you absolutely couldn’t get the double-sided fusible, or you already have the single-sided and don’t want to buy more, then you could try using something such as Wonder-Under or possibly basting spray to bond the fabric to the non-adhesive side. I haven’t tried either of these methods so can’t guarantee the results. Also, keep the heavyweight interfacing scraps as these will come in handy when making the Covered Tape Measure project later in the sewalong.) 
There are other brands of heavy weight interfacing – for instance Vilene, Sew Lazy, Timtex – however, they all have different characteristics, some are stiffer and less pliable; some are sew in, not fusible; some are less stiff and more flexible; none have been measured and included in the maths involved in developing the patterns in this book.

If the pattern calls for woven or medium weight interfacing, then you can use other different brands or non-branded products. For instance, the Project Tote materials list suggests DecorBond for the bag body, but you could use a different brand medium-weight, fusible fleece, duck canvas or even layer up light-weight interfacing to get the desired result. If you’re using a pieced fabric such as patchwork or a quilted piece, then the wadding/batting would give you the necessary body. For woven interfacing, you can use Shapeflex, Vilene G700 or other similar weight interfacing.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the many stages and samples Aneela goes through when devising patterns, and the things she tries and works at until it comes good. It takes a lot of prototypes being made during this process to come up with those instructions that are straight forward to follow and that will give you the same finish as the item in the photos. Materials are recommended because they work successfully and give the finish that makes us all want to rush out and buy her latest pattern. I understand we don’t all have limitless funds, and I’m really not trying to bankrupt anyone (least of all myself!) by insisting you all go out shopping (although in my experience, we don’t need much encouragement in that department!).  But I guess what I’m trying, in a long-winded way, to say is that if you go another route, use another brand, and don’t get exactly the finish in the book, it may well be the materials rather than the pattern (assuming you follow it properly) that are why.

Oh, and if you’ve no idea what song I was referring to at the start, and you’re not of a delicate disposition, it’s this one. I warn you though, it’s an ear worm!


Saturday 7 October 2017

Stitched Sewing Organizers Sewalong Finale Prize Bundle

So with a couple of days to go, let's look at the sponsors contributing towards the grand finale prize bundle.....

I hope you're all armed with your copies of the book, and have got the first project ready to go. I'm going to be prepping as many projects as I can tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you all on Monday with the first post!

Thursday 5 October 2017

Stitched Sewing Organizers Sewalong - the prizes

I thought it was time to give you a taster of the lovely weekly prizes we've got coming up from our incredibly generous sponsors......


Come back over the weekend for the details of the fabulous grand finale prize we have lined up, along with all the sponsors who have generously given towards a bundle worth around £250!

Monday 25 September 2017

Aneela Hoey's Stitched Sewing Organizers Sewalong

Ok, it's been a while, well, over a year, so let's see if I can still remember how to do this.....

Aneela Hoey has written a new book. It's called Stitched Sewing Organizers and is packed with patterns for fantastic pouches, brilliant boxes, wonderful cases and nifty notions.

And what better way to celebrate this new publication than with a sewalong? The Instagram based event will start on 9th October and we have some fabulous Instagram contributors lined up who will each make one of the 15 projects from the book and post on IG on the appropriate Monday. What a great way to start the week!

Now, I know what you're thinking..... "hey, Pennie, 15 weeks from October - there's a certain holiday going to get in the middle of that!" And yes, you'd be right. BUT these projects, quite apart from making excellent gifts also include some that will be perfect for alternative gift wrap. We'll be having a break mid event for the seasonal festivities along with an extra special giveaway in Christmas week.

So, where do you come in?

Well, firstly, you need to get yourself a copy of the book. It's available on Amazon as well as from numerous quilting shops.

Each Monday an inspirational post will appear on Instagram. There may be hints and tips. There may be accompanying blog posts, there may be Facebook posts and tweets. There will not be instructions.

During the week, there may be other posts from other contributors showing their versions of the projects to give you extra inspiration.

Sewalongers (or should that be sewersalong?) will then make their own versions of the projects to be posted on IG using the hashtags given in the button above, and tagging me. All those projects will then go into a random draw to win that week's giveaway prize. The posts will need to be on IG by Midnight GMT on the following Sunday. There will be reminders during the week, don't worry.

Now, I know many of you have got a head start and projects have already been made. And you can post those.... under the following conditions - it must be a NEW photo - it can't be an image you've posted previously.

Also, in order to qualify for the giveaway prizes, the project you post must be as per the pattern. Exactly as per the pattern. I know people love to modify things to suit their own needs, and that's great.... for your second version. But for the purposes of the sewalong the projects need to be as per the book. This 'rule' is a late edition, added after the first week of posts, so for week one only, modifications will be allowed. 

As well as the weekly giveaways, there will be a roundup week before Christmas which will feature a special giveaway. You'll need to post an image of all the projects so far to qualify for this giveaway.

And then in February, when we get to the end of the event, a montage of all your projects will enter you into the grand finale prize draw.

So here we go with the FAQs:

When is it?
The event starts on the 9th October 2017 and runs through to 12th February 2018 with a break for Christmas and New Year.

Who's posting what and when?

9th October - Handy Fold Up Pouches - @stitchingandbacon
16th October - Green Tomato Pincushion - @stitcharmony
23rd October - Project Tote -@lilabellelane
30th October - Fabric boxes - @elisabew
6th November - Fold Up Sewing Folio - @tennjenny
13th November - Boxy Project Pouch - @emilydennis
20th November - See It All Pouch - @heartofcharnwood
27th November - Sliding Box - @lorena_in_syd
4th December - Drawstring Pouch - @amistabaker
11th December - Triple Pouch - @imstudiolou
18th December - Round Up So Far & Christmas giveaway - @tuppencehapennyquilts
3rd January - Welcome Back! - @tuppencehapennyquilts
8th January - Two In One Case - @willowbeckdesigns
15th January - Big Zip Pouch - @annamariegalvin
22nd January - Covered Tape Measure - @kitkabbit
29th January - Needle Book Plus - @guicy_guice
5th February - Book and Tool Folio - @modernhandcraft
12th February - Final Round Up and Grand Prize Draw - @tuppencehapennyquilts

Where can I buy the book?
Amongst other places.......

Owl and Drum | | | Search Press | C&T Publishing

Where can I get supplies?
Our contributors have recommended several suppliers where they have bought their interfacing, vinyl, zips etc from. PLEASE NOTE: for some of these projects, their success depends on using the exact products Aneela specifies in the patterns. Using other products may result in a less satisfying end result.

For fabrics, you can either raid your stash, or if you feel like splashing out on some new choices, don't forget to check out our sponsors and their lovely fabric shops: Sew Hot, Sew Stitching Happy, Pink Door Fabrics, Owl and Drum, Fabric HQ, Crimson Confection, Sunny Day Supply, Stash Fabrics, Simply Solids, Olive+Flo Handcraft, The Village Haberdashery....

In the US most interfacing, vinyl and notions supplies can be found at JoAnn, plus Zipit on Etsy for zippers
In Canada, Emmaline Bags and Funkymonkeyfabrics were recommended.
In Australia we had recommendations for Handbag Hardware Australia's on Etsy, along with, Spotlight and Lincraft on Etsy.
In the U.K., were recommended for all the Pellon products, and Dunelm for interesting vinyls.

A quick Google search should help you find alternative suppliers.

What's the skill level required?
The projects range in skill level, but each project has a detailed and precise set of pattern instructions, and over the course of the sewalong, even beginners should be able to tackle all the projects with growing confidence.

What will the prizes be?
We've been very fortunate to secure prizes from a number of organisations, including Cloud 9 Fabrics, Sew Hot, Aurifil, Make Modern Magazine, Love Patchwork and Quilting, Dritz, C&T Publishing, Fabric HQ, Stash Fabrics, Simply Solids, Olive+Flo Handcraft, Sunny Day Supply, Zipit, Crimson Confection, Owl and Drum, Pink Door Fabrics, The Village Haberdashery, and Sew Stitching Happy.

What hashtag do I need? Who do I need to tag?
You need to use the following hashtags on your project posts - #stitchedsewingorganizerssal, #stitchedsewingorganizers, #aneelahoey. You should also make sure you tag me - @tuppencehapennyquilts

There is now a Facebook group too -

I missed the start, can I still join in?
You can join in at any time, but you can only win the weekly giveaways by posting the correct project on the appropriate week, and for entry to the final draw you will need to have made all 15 projects.