Artnextdoor's Blog

My place to be creative

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Creative Week 3

It was half term for my youngest son last week, so I spent as much time with him as I could – I love having him home, needless to say not much of my creativity was allowed to show, after all homework is rather important.

Although, when he wasn’t doing homework and we weren’t out enjoying ourselves, he spent time on his X-box which is in the same room as my sewing station which meant I could actually be with him and he let me sew.

I am still working on the scrap quilt blocks, and have now decided I need 16 blocks to make a decent sized lap quilt (approximately 60” by 60”), I will make 17, the spare one will be used to trial the quilting out on – I do have enough scraps after all.  When this ‘spare’ one is finished with I will bind it and use it as a pot holder – no waste!

I have others from previous weeks to add to the collection.  All will measure approximately 12” before framing and 151/2”(unfinished) when framed.

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Creative week 2

This past week I have made four scrap quilt blocks but they have yet to be framed and squared up, I have run out of the mauve framing fabric I used on the last two so will have to hunt through the hand dyed drawer for something to go with it all – I may end having to dye some fabric yet but we’ll see.

creative week 2 acreative week 2 bcreative week 2 ccreative week 2 d

I have also worked on the grid quilt constructing three of the eight rows, working from the bottom up (no reason, it just happened that way!)  The photo is sideways as my design wall (still isn’t finished – I have lots of works in progress) is currently only 2 foot wide.

creative week 2 grid quilt

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Quilt and Craft Show Calendar


7th – 10th

Creative Stitches/Hobbycraft


8th – 10th

Spring Quilt Show


14th – 17th

Spring Knitting and Stitching Show

Olympia London

21st – 24th

Sewing for Pleasure: Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch/Hobbycraft

NEC Birmingham


4th – 6th

Creative Stitches/Hobbycraft

Excel London

5th – 7th

Spring Quilt Festival


12th – 14th

Spring Quilt Festival


26th – 28th

British Quilt and Stitch



16th – 19th

Quilts UK



7th – 8th

Springfields Quilt Show

Spalding Lincs

21st – 23rd

National Quilt Championships

Sandown, Esher


8th – 11th

Festival of Quilts

NEC Birmingham


30th August – 1 September

Great Northern Quilt Show



12th – 14th

Creative Stitches/Hobbycraft


20th – 22nd

Scottish Quilt Championships


26th – 29th

Creative Stitches/Hobbycraft



10th – 13th

Knitting and Stitching Show

Alexandra Palace, London

24th – 27th

Crafts for Christmas


25th – 27th

Autumn Quilt Festival



31st October – 3rd November

Knitting and Stitching Show



1st – 3rd

Autumn Quilt Festival


7th – 10th November

Crafts for Christmas

NEC Birmingham

21st – 24th

Knitting and Stitching Show


28th – 30th

West Country Quilt Show

Shepton Mallet

I am lucky (not that my husband thinks so), to live very close to one of the best quilt shops in the UK – The Cotton Patch they have one of the best selections of products I have ever seen, (browse their website to see for yourself) if they haven’t got it is it worth having? Denise and Nadine are always very patient with my sons when they do their annual Christmas shopping trip. They attend many of the shows including the Festival of Quilts in August, last year they seemed to transport the entire shop to the NEC.

This year Liz at the Cotton Patch has let me know they will be demonstrating a number of patchwork and quilting tools including the True Cut Rulers, Sizzix Cutting Machines and Dies, Antex Mini Iron, Gem master and Fabric Master, Rowan Fabrics, Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen and HQ18 Avante as well as Grace Frames at Sewing for Pleasure (March, NEC), Quilts UK (May, Malvern), Knitting and Stitching (October, Alexandra Palace), West Country Quilt Show (Shepton Mallet, November) and the Festival of Quilts (August, NEC) where Marti Mitchell will also be on the stand demonstrating her templates.

Creative Grids are also in attendance at the shows in Duxford (March and November), Malvern, and of course the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham, offering a vast array of ‘I didn’t think of that’ tools, rotary cutters, mats, basic rulers and their specialist rulers.

I hope my calendar of events is helpful, if I have forgotten any shows please let me know so I can update my list. Oh don’t forget the website links give all the info on competition deadlines, ticket prices, locations and workshops etc., some give trader info too.


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Reinventing the bird

I have been quickly reinventing the bird, no not really obviously but by moving a few lines, turning other straight lines in to curves I have a new bird design, probably not new as nothing is new these days but this is the product of my thinking and my EQ7 programme with assistance from my mouse. These curves are a little more difficult to stitch but I love a challenge – so watch this space for the bird reproduced in fabric.
birdy curves

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Easter is a coming!

I know it’s only February but Easter will be upon us before we know it and this year I intend to have a table full of chickens.  No not literally but as place mats and a table runner so I have been working on birds.

chicken sketch


chicken 1

Chickens for Easter may be the priority although Christmas has only just gone I have looked at cardinals.  Not a native to the UK, I know I like the colour and that little plume on the top of its head, making it an ideal candidate to square up and turn into a patchwork block for next Christmas.


Above is my starting point, and after scouring my patchwork books, below are just two of my sketches and my block without its legs and obviously in the wrong colours – I just wanted to give it a go, find out what I need to work on, apart from the colours!

sketch book


I don’t like the triangles, to me it looks like the poor thing is all crunched up or has a painful back, perhaps I could use applique to make the creature more curvy. This block measures 15” square so could end up in my scrap quilt as I did use up some of my scraps to make him. A work in progress, thank goodness for EQ7, it saves on all the drawing!




bird work in progress 1bird work in progress 2

He looks a little fat or his wing is too small and his head well, a bit of work definitely needs to be carried out.


Creative Week 1

I promised myself that I would try to blog something every week, that  is if I made anything!  This last week I have finished hand piecing the Dutch Rose block,

dutch rose

made the twist using 1/4 square triangles for a quick to machine piece block (something I will be trying with a number of other quilt blocks to make them easier and much quicker to put together), 

twist paper pieced

The twist paper pieced.

Twist quick machine pieced

The Twist made using 1/4 square triangles machine pieced

cut out ready for assembly a quilt using a few of the many charm squares I have

Next project cut ready to piece

and framed two scrap blocks so they measure 15” square.

framed block 1framed block 2


Patchwork and Quilting Catch Up.

Well here we are just starting the fifth week of 2013.  It feels an awful long time since Christmas, but I am glad the days are growing a little longer day by day, the light levels are increasing making stitching that bit easier and we are seeing the sun, ok I am seeing it today on and off.

040213we dont get snow 3

It’s amazing what a couple of weeks can make.

I have been busy since my last post.  I have designed, made and given away 4 Christmas table runners, a Christmas candle mat, 2 small quilts,

dan Bennett fabric quiltscrap quilt 1

Christmas tree ornaments and pencil cases.  I have made – a larger quilt top for us (yet to be finished!), a tree skirt, a long table runner and a dozen placemats (long since put away, a hundred small stars had to fused in place); a jumper for my little son, designed several quilts yet to be made

and started looking at blocks with a view to redesigning them so they are easier to make (using 1/2 square triangles rather than odd shapes and or ‘Y’ seams) and with a view to using pre cut fabric packs.

This idea came about after I had seen a video tutorial from the Missouri Star quilt company on the internet which produced the star above from 2 10” fabric squares in 3 colours A, B and C.  These squares are laid right sides together as follows A & B, A & C  and B & C, stitch around the edges 1/4” seams, then cut along the diagonals to create 1/2 square triangles; arranged as above. this creates a star 25” square (finished).  I started to think that if a star can be created like this why can’t I add extra lines into blocks (I have so far looked at those above and the carpenters wheel) to create half square triangles to make construction easier and quicker.  Care needs to be taken not to stretch these triangles, as the edges are all on the bias.  The blocks above have been worked by paper piecing first of all so I can be fully aware of the construction and feel of them before rearranging, plus I have some hand dyed fabric left from a couple of Halloween hangings I made last autumn.

The first one above is fairly simple and can be made from half square triangles and squares or completely from 1/2 square triangles as described above, although if made from 10” the finished block method, would measure 25” the same as the star – a very quick quilt.

This week I intend to make a start of a scrap quilt, quilt design 1 (from the album above) finish the block for design wall 3 and work more on the redesigning idea.

Oh just a last thought I have had a mad time working on a possible but very ambitious quilting design – if I can draw it, I must be able to quilt it mustn’t I?

ambitious quilt design 1