Friday, September 15, 2017

FAL 2017: Meet the Host-- Sarah at Sew Me

Today's a chance to meet another one of the lovely folks hosting the Finish-Along!





"So, tell us a bit about yourself."

Aren't those fearsome words?  I get all a bit tongue tied, don't know where to start and wonder how on earth to make myself sound even mildly interesting.  Sweat beads form, my voice wobbles a little and 20 seconds later I've usually run out of things to add!  But, one of things I love about meeting people in a sewing context is that already we have something in common.  I find it's great ice breaker and conversation flows much more naturally.  So, here goes for my 2017 FAL 'Meet The Host' post.

Hi everyone!



I'm Sarah



and this is my family.

The handsome one and the mischief maker!

I'm wife to my hubby (first love and childhood sweetheart) and mum to our two children - a teenage boy, who has long since has passed me in height, intelligence and wisdom too it seems (what do mothers know?) and my Cutesy Tootsie daughter who is now two years old.  Yes, big age gap, long story and no, I am not the older, wiser and more mellow mother people kindly assured me I would be during my second pregnancy.  Well, older yes, but not the other two.



We live our hectic daily routines out here in a tiny little crossroads of a place called Annahilt in Northern Ireland, where it rains a lot I'll admit, but oh my, is it beautifully green when we are lucky enough to have sunshine to appreciate it!

I prefer tea to coffee, chocolate or cake before crisps, suburbs rather than city, white wine not beer, Buble rather than Bieber, (don't judge).  I cannot dance but I make a great chocolate cake!  I don't seem to choose favourites easily which makes me feel a bit odd when I can't answer what my favourite book or movie or colour is.  Colour might be red, but a good pink is in contention too.


I work to feed my fabric habit!

Sadly, there is a day job - how else could I afford to keep those fabric orders coming?  I work in finance and administration from home for the company my hubby and his business partner own.  There's a knack to working and living with your spouse. Since we haven't strangled each other yet we must be getting the hang of it reasonably well.  Of course, I'd love to "retire" and sew all day but really, it might get dull if my WIPs actually made it from beginning to end with no 10 month lulls and 3 more projects started in the meantime, right?


Oh yes, I dream of stitching more, much more, because I love it.  Knitting needles, crochet hooks, binca and floss, cross-stitch - they have all been part of my journey with stitching and getting creative.  I look back very fondly, though with cringing embarrassment, at having tortured my Aunt every Christmas first to teach me and then to help me with my knitting.  I remember getting excited in the senior primary school classes when Friday afternoon needlework came around and, as I got older there always seemed to be some kind of needlecraft project on the go at our house.  It fell by the wayside a little when I started working and had my son, but it wasn't too long before I was looking for some crafty outlet in my life.  I tried a few things that I thought might work for me.  Soap making, and card making were fun for a while but they weren't quite the long-term fit I was after.  I enjoyed them but they weren't quite "me".


In the summer of 2010 I pulled out some fabric I'd bought 9 years earlier (!) and started making a hexagon EPP quilt (pic above).  As I stitched and stitched that summer I knew I'd found my creative, soul-feeding hobby and if that wasn't enough of a sign, just before I went on my summer hols armed with pre-cut hexies and papers, an email dropped into my inbox telling me that my lovely friend, Judith was just about to start teaching classes.  Patchwork on a sewing machine?  Was I up for it?  Well, I'd try it and if it was a disaster I could always stick with EPP .  Fair to say, I've not looked back since that first night at quillow class.  My creative spark was fully alight and soon my cup and house began to overflow with fabric and spools and ribbons and I even learned a few designers names and could tell you what that fabric line was!




Discovering blogs was a MASSIVE game changer of course, because there was so much out there to learn, and generous and talented people were willing to share.  Blogging myself was another epic  moment in my stitchy life.  I joined the online community at just the right time (2010) I think, to catch a wave of flickr groups, online bees, swaps and general bloggy interaction with other people who share my passion.  It has been amazing!  And, of course the FAL is all part of that.  Sharing the journey of project finishes and having virtual cheerleaders is definitely better than sitting at home talking to a pile of UFOs alone!


Most of all, I love to make quilts.  Simple quilts, tricky quilts.  Big quilts, small quilts, mini quilts.  Machine piecing, hand-piecing, embroidery, EPP.  All have their place in singing to my heart. I enjoy bag making and crocheting and making small items too, though I need to draw myself away from the quilts to do them.  I think I have quite a broad range of tastes and likes when it comes to designs and fabrics but will admit to a particular penchant for Bonnie & Camille fabrics and colours (which I'm sure is no surprise to regular readers).



I love that when I sew I can switch off from the world for a while and just focus on what I'm doing.  I love that I can choose, depending on my mood, to sew intricate and brain-fuddling foundation pieced blocks or just simple squares and the results of each will be equally pleasing to me.  I take pleasure  that in my sewing, the creative and the intellectual come together (quilt maths, anyone?) and I adore that I have a hobby that the internet has allowed me to share and make friends through.  This is much more "me" than soaps and cards, it's "Sew Me".  See?



Anyway, my lovely readers and FAL friends, I hope you feel you know me a little bit better now after all that. And remember, tea or white wine when we meet, ok?

Now, I've kept you back from your stitching for long enough, so off you go and keep making progress towards those finishes!! I'll be cheering you on from here.

Monday, August 7, 2017

FAL 2017- Meet the Host: Lucy of Charm about You


Hello! I am Lucy, Charm About You blogger and one of the Finish-A-Long hosts, here to share a little more about myself.


I come from a creative family, everyone is an artist or crafty type - whether it's by profession or a hobby. My creativity and love of art was encouraged as I was growing up but it wasn't until I was at university when I made my first quilt. It was really, really bad. I used the type of wadding meant for furniture, it was nearly impossible to quilt and it put me off for a long time. Fast forward and after breaking my elbow in a roller derby accident, with two small children to look after at home, I needed a safer hobby and I returned to quilting.


Eager to learn, I got some great advice and support from the two women in my family that quilt, I read lots of blogs, tutorials and quilt books and then went for it. I made simple quilts and a sampler quilt, building up my skills trying out new patterns and techniques. The addiction gripped me and the more quilts I made the more I discovered which elements I was good at, enjoyed and wanted to do more of!


I live in Manchester, UK with my husband and our three kids. They are wonderfully supportive of me and put up with the piles of fabric and works in progress that have filled the house. During the evening I love to do hand sewing, whether that be English Paper Piecing, hand piecing or quilting. It's my time to relax and I find it really hard to sit without sewing now!


I was lucky enough to get a job at Patchfinders, a local quilt shop, where I also began teach quilting classes (and still do!). It was brilliant to be able to 'talk fabric' with so many people - I learnt a lot about style, colour, print etc. from being in the shop and witnessing the whole process of how people chose fabrics for their quilts. The same sort of inspiration and delightful insight into creativity comes from the people in my classes and is one of the many reasons I enjoy teaching.

Then this year I also started doing demonstrations on the Sewing Quarter shopping channel. It involves travelling to work and train journeys equal sewing time! One of my recent finishes was the Everything In It's Place Bag, which I wanted to make to hold all the sewing 'stuff' I can't live without. It feels so good having my supplies with me and there's such a buzz that comes with using handmade. 


The tangible products we create, the snuggly comfort of quilts and the fact that they are enjoyed and used is a big part of the joy of making. I am also drawn to all the possibilities of patchwork and quilting, the various techniques you can use, the choice of fabric - prints / solids / colours and all the patterns. Machine sewing is my choice for quick sews, the precision of foundation paper piecing and meditative chain piecing. More recently I have had to hone my skills at machine binding because I just don't have the time to hand sew binding on the quilts I make for work. Hand sewing would generally be my preference for patchwork and quilting, though I really love being able to switch between the two and do machine sewing when I have that need for speed.



Having insatiably explored various patchwork and quilting methods I share tutorials and tips on my blog, from cross hatch quilting to cleaning your cutting mat;  free patterns and fun things to make.


Visit my Etsy shop for patterns like the popular Stitchy Pie needle case and my most recent A Piece of Me pouch. Later this year I will be adding quilt patterns too, all being well!


I have a 'to sew' list, along with a notebook of design ideas - making them into patterns is my intention and my goal for the next few months is to make time to do that. I would love for you to come and visit me at Charm About You or jump over to Instagram and follow me there, I share all my finishes and everything I'm working on.


So how is everyone getting on with their Finish-A-Long list? Any finishes checked off yet? If not, don't fret - there's still about 7 weeks before the link opens... just remember that time flies when you don't stick to one project!

Hope you all have a great week! 
Lucy

Saturday, July 15, 2017

FAL 2017- Meet the Host--Izzy from Dizzy Quilts


Hi - I'm Izzy from Dizzy Quilts and it's my turn to tell you a little about myself!



I'm a mother, step-mother and foster mother to six children, grand-mother to one gorgeous little girl and wife to my soul mate. During the day, I manage a team of e-Learning designers/developers at a global financial company.

All of this keeps me pretty busy, but I've always made time to be crafty - when I was a little girl, my mom taught me how to knit and I made all my teddy bears knitted sweaters!

During my teenage years, I was a little too busy with school (and with boys!) to craft, but a few years later, when I had my first child, I started sewing.  I made some baby clothes and I made curtains mostly. I even took a sewing class to learn how to make garments for myself, but I never got the hang of that - nothing ever really fit right.

About 9 years ago, I walked into JoAnn's to get fabric for new curtains and spotted the cutest little quilt kits. I bought one, put it together and haven't looked back since! I was completely and totally hooked.

The first few quilts I made were very traditional - lots of small pieces, small florals, etc. I really had no clue what I was doing, but learned so much with the making of these quilts.

A lap size log cabin quilt made for my step-mom

I started making these quilts for pretty much everyone in my family.  And pretty soon, every bed in the house had a quilt on it.

Quilt I made for my sister-in-law - this is Bronx testing it.

I even made quilts as curtains!!
Around 2010, I discovered quilt blogs and the online quilting community.  That literally changed my quilting life!!  I started my own blog, met some amazing people and a couple of years later, found the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild.

Through the members of this guild, I learned about modern quilting and I fell in love with quilting all over again.

I started making modern quilts and building a stash of really colourful fabrics and solid neutrals.



When I first started quilting, my least favourite part of the whole thing was the actual quilting. My sewing machine was pretty small and wrestling with a big quilt in that tiny little space was painful and I very often ended up with puckers on the back of my quilts.  And then I changed two things: my sewing machine and my basting method.


I purchased my Juki TL-2010Q. It is literally a dream to quilt with. Lots of room to the right of the needle and super consistent, fast stitching.

I also learned how to board baste my quilts - which has saved my knees, my back and to a certain extent, my sanity!  :-)

And now quilting is actually my favourite part. I look forward to finishing a top just so I can get to the quilting. My dream is to some day own a long-arm machine, but I would need to get a much bigger house before that could happen!



Last year, I became the Vice-President of the Montreal MQG and that has been a lot of fun. The group is growing and we have such amazing people and quilters.  Each meeting is a great source of inspiration and I'm learning so much.



When I was approached to become a FAL host last year, I was so flattered and so happy. I love hosting these link-ups - so much inspiration and so much talent every quarter.

Thanks for reading and if you have questions, please leave a comment!  :-)

Izzy

Sunday, July 2, 2017

FAL, Quarter 3 Linkup!


It's time to link up your list of unfinished projects that you propose to finish in Q3 of the FAL. I am looking forward to seeing what you are planning to be working on over the next quarter.

The FAL is hosted by a community of bloggers across the world. Our hosts are:
  • Sarah - Sew me - Northern Ireland
Social Media Director
For those of you who are new to the FAL, it is a place to find motivation and encouragement to complete those unfinished projects that are hanging about becoming UFOs. Every quarter you post a list of projects you hope to finish in the next three months, and then at the end of the quarter, you post a link from your blog, Flickr or Instagram of each successful finish from your original list.

Each finish is an entry for wonderful prizes from our sponsors. There is no penalty for not finishing a listed project, so feel free to make your list long or short, as you wish. The 2017 Schedule and Rules for the FAL are on my permanent FAL page, let me know if you have any questions.

Here are the fantastic and generous sponsors for Q3 of the FAL - you can see each of their prizes listed under their logo (think about visiting them and saying thank you):  



As you may recall from last year, there was a return of tutorial week at the end of each quarter, between the opening of the link for finishes and the day that link closes. Are you enjoying this? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below! This will take place each quarter. Each host works hard to put these together so I hope you are visiting their blogs to encourage them. If you have a tutorial that you would like to share, please let me or another host know.

It's time to round up those projects you want to finish over the next three months, take a photo of each one and make your list. Please ensure that you have at least started your projects - pulled fabric with a pattern is now considered a UFO, and remember it is only finished projects that will get you an entry toward the above listed prizes. So while we love to see your bee blocks, the "finish" is when they are a completed, usable project.

It is very helpful if you tag your list as #2017FALQ3yourname when posting on social media: Flickr, Facebook & Instagram. Using the same hashtag over the quarter when sharing progress or finishes before the link, helps the hosts find your original list quickly - especially when this is done over a 3 month period. IMPORTANT: Don't forget to link your finishes up when the quarter closes.

The 2017 Q23link for your list of proposed finishes is now open below on my blog and on each of the hosting blogs. You need only link your list once, on one blog - and that link will show up on all of the blogs. If you are using Facebook, Flickr or Instagram, link a mosaic and put your list in the description. Katy of The Littlest Thistle has a great tutorial on how to link-up if you need it.

We also ask that you become part of the FAL community. Please check out the links of others - visit and comment on their lists. We all need encouragement to get those finishes done, so please share some of your own too. When creating your list there is one thing to remember....No deductions for not completing something so ..... Aim High! Nothing to lose!!! Well Now..... Get those lists together and get linked up. 

The Q3 proposed finish linky party will stay open until 11 pm EST, July 8, 2017- as we are global, you might want to check your time zone to determine your last possible time to link. Remember: you only need to link up on ONE hosting blog and it will automatically show up on all hosting blogs.