My name is Collette and I am a quilter from Scotland. I have been a patchworker and quilter for over a decade and love to share what I have been making here.

Friday, 9 December 2016

English paper piecing tutorial and what's in the box free templates

As promised here is my little tutorial along with a link for the templates for my, ' What's in the box?' English Paper Pieced design. 

Some useful tips

  • It is very simple and can be enlarged or reduced in size as you see fit.
  •  To achieve the 3d look I suggest you choose a darkish toned centre and have at least one very light coloured section.  (Mine is cream in my example). 
  • Clover wonder clips are pretty handy to hold the pieces in place when sewing. 
Your templates are available to download here.  Please open with a pdf viewer such as Adobe Reader.  Remember to print at actual size and check the test square measures 1 inch.  
Cut out templates along the solid, black line.  When cutting fabric out for the templates, please allow at least a 1/4 inch seam allowance on the fabric. 

If you are unfamiliar with EPP (English paper piecing), please see my tutorial and video

1. Baste all templates to your fabric pieces using your preferred basting method.  I used glue basting for these shapes.
2. Take your centre shape and one of the top pieces and whipstitch together as shown in below photo a. 
photo a
3. Take the other top piece and repeat step 2.
4.  See photo b below and sew the two top pieces together where they meet in the centre.  Gently bend the centre section to allow for easier sewing.  
photo b
5.  Take one of your longer bottom section, making sure you have aligned this correctly with the bottom edge of the centre section.  Whipstitch in place as in photo c.
photo c
6.  Take the other long section and repeat step 5. 
7.  Sew both sections together as you can see in the photo d below.
photo d
8.  You have completed your first shape.  Layout as desired and stitch together. 

Collette x

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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Latest reveals of published works

Finally I can reveal some projects that have I had been quietly beavering away on a few months back.  They have since been published and I am very honoured to share them with you!

First up I made a charm pack friendly table runner for British Patchwork and Quilting.  I used a Moda charm pack by Kate Spain, from her Aria fabric line.  The colours in this line are beautiful.  Lovely and soft greens, blues, reds and the prints are so pretty!  This is a beginner friendly pattern.  I love making patterns for beginners.  We all were in quilting at one point or another and it is great to have straightforward, achieveable patterns to start with.

I love the photography of the table runner.  It really shows off the beautiful fabric.

I was also fortunate enough to have two projects published in this month's issue of Quilt Now.  I made a table runner with  big and little geese and a quilt based on building blocks.

Both were fun projects to make and I was fortunate enough to use some wonderful fabrics for each.

The building blocks quilt is a great pattern for showcasing fussy cut prints or those precious fabrics we all have that we all find difficult to cut up into tiny little patchwork pieces!  It is fun and can be improvisational too. I love the greens in this fabric line!  Oh and being a frugal quilter I used the remainder of the fat eighths to make a scraptastic binding.  I love the quilting on this one.  I used my go to thread, Aurifil 50wt and a serpentine stitch.  I then added a little green/blue handquilting just because I wanted to!

Follow the geese is a large table runner using little geese and larger geese.  In this pattern I show you how to use a no waste method for making a large number of geese in the same fabrics.  The fabric by Cotton & Steel is perfect for this icy inspired blue look! I quilted this using, yes you have guessed it, Aurifil 50wt and this time I added a grid pattern which is fun and simple to do.

Apologies the photos are not the best.  I took them direct from the magazines!

I hope you like the patterns and might even try some of them out! If you do please feel free to share what you make with me.  If you have Instagram then tag me and I will pop over for a nosey! @poppypoochie.  (link in my sidebar).
Collette x

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Thursday, 10 November 2016

slippers, scrap packs and teepees

Well what a few weeks it has been!  I have been ultra busy with quilting and have several deadlines looming.  More about those in a few months time!  I really hope you like what I have been working on!

scuse the odd socks!

I turned the ripe old age of 41 years too.  This was my first birthday since my mum passed away, so I felt a little sad.  These cute slippers put a little smile on my face though!

Of course all that quilting means a fluffy, oozy bobbin case in desperate need of several cleans.  I like to use the little brush that came with my machine, however, it doesn't get into all the little nooks and crannies.  So I will often get a cotton bud or two to get into those hard to reach areas.!

remember to remove your bobbin case when cleaning!

The wonderfully talented Lucie Summers was selling some of her gorgeous, screen printed fabric scrap packs on instagram last week.  I couldn't resist and bought two.  I am making something cute and fun with these.

I also managed to spend a Saturday evening playing with illustrator again.  I haven 't managed much pattern design or drawing lately due to deadlines so I enjoyed have this little bit of fun! I created a cute little teepee! 

Oh and of course, in other news Trump became president! But the less said about that the better I think!  
Collette x


Friday, 28 October 2016

My love hate relationship with social media

Do you have a love/hate kind of thing going on with social media?  There are times I love Instagram, facebook and Twitter.  I certainly enjoy sharing my process and my quilting work and love when someone admires what I do.  I really enjoy the sense of community there is on Instagram especially.  I have known many of the quilters I have contact with on Instagram for years, even although I haven't met them all in person (yet).  I loved watching Charlotte Newland's ( whom I was in a few quilting bees with) journey through the Great British Sewing Bee and going on to win it.  It was great to share in her excitement and success on instagram and facebook.  In fact social media has brought me many opportunities I would never have had if it didn't exist.

There are times when I really detest it all though!  There seems to be this underlying pressure (maybe in my head) to be very prolific.  The more you post the more engagement and interaction you receive.  However, personally  I find it very difficult to be prolific.  Many people tend to "appear" that they are making and creating ALL the time.  Their creative output appears intense and constant.  I say "appear" because, as we all know, social media is very deceptive.  Just because someone appears prolific does not mean I should strive to be that way or even that they actually really are!

Oddly enough, I watched the first episode in the new Netflix season of Black Mirror.  This episode was set in a future that doesn't seem all that distant from the world we live in currently.  Social media is everything in this story. People are rated constantly.  Interactions with other humans are rated.  Conversations.  Just living.  It was a chilling prospect of what we "could" become if we are not careful.

What are your thoughts on social media outlets?  Do you embrace them and love them?  Do you tolerate them? Or perhaps you take very little to do with them at all?  And if so why?  I would love to hear your views !

In other news I have been working on quite a few secret projects for a commission.  Sadly I can't share the finished projects yet.  I really hope they will be well received in the near future though!  Here is a sneak peek of the machine quilting.  Love this combination of Art Gallery Fabrics Linen and the Aurifil 50wt thread!
So all that machine quilting results in a very fluffy machine in need of a good clean.  It looks much better than this now!
Spot the fluff bunnies

I have been working away on my Liberty scrap hexies whenever I get a moment.  I have no idea what they will become.  I am just enjoying this purely for the process.  I bought two gorgeous scrap packs of Liberty and love the variety of prints.  So special and the detail is immense!
slow but sure progress
basting more

Oh and to keep things honest and real, I had a delightful session of ripping out quilting.  It just wasn't good enough and had to go!  
my seam ripper got a work out!

Collette x


Friday, 14 October 2016

What a week!

Well what a week I have had!  I had the most awful cold and cough which just ended last night.  I coughed and spluttered my way through teaching my patchwork and quilting class on Wednesday.  I spent most of yesterday in bed and lounging on the couch drinking Lemsips (bleugh).  Thankfully today is the best I have felt all week!

The students in my classes are currently working on Kaleidoscope quilts, learning about the importance of planning and colour placement.  They just finished double wedding ring mini quilts in our curved piecing course.  Here are a few of the finished pieces.
 Mandy's son(one of 4!)bought her this lovely bundle of fabric in oranges and greens, so she decided her mini would be for him!  How lovely eh?  She loves to hand quilt and chose to do so with a little kiss in the middle because she loves her boy. x

Sandra used Christmas sample swatches from the shop owner to make her beautiful, glittery, blingy mini table topper.  She even used metallic thread!  There were a few curse words I am sure when the metallic thread was playing up and breaking.  However, we both learnt that you can get a specific machine needle for sewing with metallic thread.  You learn something new every day!

On Monday we had a really sad event.  We lost our cat of almost 9 years, Tigger, to a blood clot.  He was a big, healthy and strong cat but it was just his time.  He was a character and will be sorely missed.  Poppy (our 13 year old cat) is still going strong so far and Spot, (our jack Russell terror) keep us company and we have been giving them extra cuddles.
Look at his wee white socks! x
I have also been learning more and more about illustrator.  Skillshare is an excellent resource for learning in bite size chunks and my attention span isn't the best.  I really enjoyed making this little design based on my fox illustration.  I scanned the artwork and then digitised it to create a repeat pattern and a free wallpaper for a desktop or laptop, (in my payhip store).  I really am enjoying the process and sharing my work.  I enjoy getting feedback on my work as it helps me grow creatively.  I am wondering what this one may be like on fabric! There is so much to consider between colours and lines, balance and flow of it all.
The Fox King
Oh and I received a lovely fabric order for a magazine commission!  Isn't it lovely? Can't wait to get the time to sew it!
Joie de Vivre Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics

Until next time!
Collette x


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Embracing technology in patterns and artwork

Since I posted about my inability to focus, I have indeed been excelling in continuing to be really crap at focusing.  I have been a distracted magpie again by shiny objects.

Those of you that know me, will know how much I love drawing and creating images.  A passion for fabric and patterns has grown out of my quilting endeavours.  So it seems only natural that I would experience a desire to turn some of my artwork into something practical.

printed on fabric
In the contemporary world we are overwhelmed with technologies and ways in which to share instantly and create very quickly.  However, within me there is still a need to get my hands dirty and create in a very hands on, traditional manner.  I love to draw with pencil and pens, I am enjoying learning the process of lino cutting and printing,  I love to block print onto paper and fabrics too.  I do love everything that the digital world offers us creative people too.  The ability to scan my little drawing and prints and then transform them into a pattern or an image which I can then rapidly alter the colour scheme of, is honestly exhilarating to me.  It adds another dimension and flexibility to my art that I just have to embrace.
fish, fish, FISH!

lino print

Flight of the moths
So I have been turning some of my lino print art into repeat patterns.  It is a steep learning curve but one I am prepared to work hard at.  It allows me to maintain a hands on approach but then embrace the technology and flexibility the digital world has to offer.  My patterns are available as free desktop wallpapers and also for your mobile devices in my payhip store.  My goal is to actually get some swatches printed off from Spoonflower and use some of them to make some patchwork creations.  I then hope to eventually sell some of them too!
Feel free to download the wallpapers and I truly hope you like them!
Collette x

Spools 'n' tools 
block printed on fabric 


Tuesday, 4 October 2016

this last week in pictures (with a few words)

This week I have been quite thoughtful about the passage of time.  I suppose that is understandable as it will be my late mum's birthday soon and a year since she passed.

I had a lovely visit from my dad's amazing mum.  She lives in Ireland with family but wanted to spend some time with my dad.  She is 98 years young!  She looks like a 70 year old and is still pretty sprightly and reasonably healthy.  This was the first time my two kids had met their Great Grannie!  

My dad recently gave me my mum's old sewing box and last week I managed a rummage through it.  It was strange to find a little Liberty label, (I have no idea what the product was) but I have come to love Liberty fabrics so much which made it even stranger.  
I also managed some sewing and got a chance to test drive my free jumbo clips that came free with Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  

I have been really enjoying a bit of lino cutting too.  It is a steep learning curve but it is great fun.  I carved a little fish and tried block printing in a traditional Indian block printing way.  This lovely piece is winging it's way to Lucy from Charm About You.  

Speak soon!
Collette x


Friday, 30 September 2016

I am a magpie who needs to focus

Do you ever feel like a magpie?  Flying around going about your business then you spot a shiny thing!  Oh yes, something shiny, new, different and you are distracted.  That shiny thing lies on top of a whole bunch of other things that are lovely but not very relevant but you are a magpie, so you must have them!  Before you know it your day is gone with a nice collection of shiny things but little actual work done.

I am a magpie.  The shiny things can be physical objects but are more often distractions.  You know the kind.  The wormhole that is the interwebs is the main offender.  " I will just check my blog and maybe write a quick post......" the voice in my head says.  10 minutes later I am watching GIFs of cats in space or involved in a heated online debate on pressing seams in quilts. (yeah right! - #sarcasm).  

So in light of the above, this magpie is trying her best to focus on focus this season.  Autumn is in full swing here in bonnie Scotland.  The leaves and trees are turning and the winds have picked up.  The big jaikets are oot!

I have so much on the go workwise.  It sometimes feels like a juggling act and add on our personal lives and you get the picture.  Anyone who follows my wee blog knows how quilting is my first love.  I recently rediscovered my love of drawing again.  From this followed some other discoveries.  I suppose I need to prioritise too.  I have paid work that must be done or we don't get a holiday that year.  However, I really do feel it essential that I make time for the other endeavours too.  As I mentioned in my #how to grow your creativity series, learning new things and exploring other creative techniques all feeds into my overall creativity.

This is were you come in!  I would love to hear in the comments section or on instagram ( remember to tag me @poppypoochie), how you stay focused.  What do you do to ensure as that you stay on task, looking at the bigger picture and not flying off with that shiny thing?
p.s. - Giveaway winner from creativity series was drawn by random number generator yesterday.  Number 4 is Lucy Brennan of Charm About You and has been notified.  Yay Lucy!
Collette x
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Tuesday, 20 September 2016

What have I been up to?

This has been quite an exciting week for me.  I had my first project published in the October issue of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine!  

This magazine was one of the first quilting magazine's I purchased way back when I was just learning.  There weren't as many wonderful magazines as are available now at my local supermarket.  I probably would have bought them all anyway had they been around!

So to have a project published and beautifully photographed in there is a special wee moment in my heart.
I used some lovely Moda Grunge fabrics in pink and blue.  The yellow was an organic cotton which I loved working with.
The bag features a foundation paper pieced sewing machine and spool designed by myself.  It is an easy bag to make and very sturdy.  Perfect for travelling to classes with your quilting equipment!

I was also lucky enough to have my zipper cushion tutorial published in the latest issue of Quilt Now magazine.  I loved making this cushion and gave it a concealed zipper on the back.  The fabrics are designed by Janet Clare for Moda and are a joy to use and look at!

Remember and pop in this Thursday for the concluding part of our #howtogrowyourcreativity series.  I will be chatting about how to maintain and revive your creativity when you are creative for your job!
Oh and remember the giveaway too!  Drawing the winner sometime on Thursday!
Collette x
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Monday, 29 August 2016

thoughts on blogging

The older I get the more life speeds up.  I am sure this is true for many of us, right?   Are we actually any busier than before?  Maybe the passage of time does actually, literally speed up as we grow older?  Maybe Mr Brian Cox has the answer to that mystery!

Social media is so instant nowadays.  It feels like a kind of "what have you done for me lately?" kind of vibe.  We all post photos of our projects,fabrics and daily lives and receive instant feedback but then I get a feeling of pressure to produce more glam bundles of fabric and works in progress!

Blogging, for me, is a slow, sometimes thoughtful, almost meditative process.  For a while there, it has been very much on the back burner (due to the summer holidays mostly).  However, I feel like I am rediscovering the process.

Blogging encourages me to slow down and think about where I am going, what I am producing and why.

In light of this I have been conjuring up a little mini series on the subject of "Creativity".  I am excited to have a guest post from a fellow creative lady who enjoys all different kinds of creative activity.  Lucy from Skinnymalinky Quilts will be sharing some of the ways she nurtures her creativity over the coming weeks, as will I.

This Thursday I will be sharing some of my creative process and the ups and downs involved.  Let's face it, there are always downs as well as the moments of inspiration!

In the coming weeks I would love for you to get involved.  This week I would love for you to share your creative process.  On Thursday I will leave a link up for the week on which you can share a blog post with a photo or a post on your process, what sparked your creativity off, or even a sewing/creating area photo.  Then we can all visit each other and get even more inspiration or find new things to try!

At the end of my little series I will have a little giveaway for everyone that has contributed via the link or on instagram (link in sidebar) #howtogrowyourcreativity  I am thinking of some fat quarters of fabric!

So join me on Thursday for my first post on how to grow and nurture our creativity!

Collette x

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

knitting a hitchhiker shawl

I love quilting.  I do.  It is a huge part of my life.  However, sometimes we all need to switch gear a little and do something completely different.

I am not a "natural knitter" but I do love the rhythm and soul soothing nature of the craft.  I adore sheep's roving, spun and turned into yarn.  I love the colours and the feel of it.  I sometimes think I would be quite happy to just knit and knit giant squares ( but my elbows would protest I am sure!).

This is why I am loving the Hitchhiker Shawl pattern available on Ravelry.  It is well worth the money and if I can do it anyone can!  I love using this self striping yarn and the effects it creates keep it quite interesting and surprising.  It isn't a hard pattern at all and is great if you really are not a "pro knitter" like me and enjoy dabbling now and again.  If you are intrigued by the name of this pattern then check out the wonderful designer's story behind it on Ravelry.

my first attempt smaller due to heavier wool love it though!

Collette x
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