How did I sew without one?


I have seen these finger pincushions for an age now. And I thought, that looks useful, I wonder if it really is? But not buying one and for some reason thinking that the 15min it would take to stitch one was not 15minutes that I had, I never got round to it. average cost of viagra per pill


But I kept thinking about them, so the other day I bit the bullet and got down to it.


And REALLY, why have I not made one before?

It was so quick, and it is now soooo useful, I thought I would share with any of you who have never seen one, let alone made one, how to stitch one.


Take a 4 1/2in square of fabric:

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Fold in half diagonally RS together. Stitch along the aligned raw edges using 1/4in seam allowance. (Sorry I forgot to use a contrasting thread for photography purposes!) On the second side leave a gap in the middle of about 1in:

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Snip the excess fabric from the corners :

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Turn RS out and poke out the corners:

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Stuff with polyester toy stuffing or similar: buy viagra generic

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Stitch closed:

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Pull the two corners on the long side of the triangle around to meet, and holding them securely, over lap and stitch together:

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And that is it, all finished:

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I use it on my left hand index finger, as I am right handed, but really you just pop it on whichever finger you feel comfortable with:

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So if you have few minutes to spare today, you can make one of these and then transform your stitching life!

Happy stitching!

Churn Dash

Churn Dash blocks are pretty traditional.

They have been around a long time.

But next time before you sew that traditional block together, have a play before you stitch and see what happens:


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It's fun to see what could happen when you you play about with stuff, it doesn't take long and won't hurt!

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Sizzix Blog Hop: Spring Wreath


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For those of you who have not stopped by before, I hope you enjoy seeing the sorts of things I stitch!

For my Spring Project I used the Plain Leaves Die. For all the patchwork dies, I am used to cutting my fabric with the Sizzix, but for the appliqué that I do I use the die to help me design the finished project and then to cut all the shapes from Freezer Paper! The Plain Leaves gives me one of my favourite applique shapes. There are endless ways to make great applque with this shape.

When I started to think about all the possiblities that this leaf shape offered, I cut shapes to play with from coloured craft paper. I choose to use the Large leaf (you get two sizes on the Die).  Cutting the leaves from craft paper easily on the machine really opens up the ease of designing!

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Here are some of my ideas:

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I decided on a wreath of reds and pinks cut from my scraps with a green stem.

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For this project I needed:

Background Fabric, 20in square ( I used Moda Essential Dots)

Wadding/Batting, 22in square

Backing , 22in square

Freezer paper to cut 29 large leaves

Red and pink fabric scraps

Green fabric for the stem, 1 1/4in wide, 36in long, cut on the bias

Binding for the mat, 2 1/2in wide, 90in long (three strips cut from the width of the fabric)

To begin:

1) Cut the fabric for the background and press into quaters and diagonally. This will help you with placement.

2) Cut the freezer paper on your Sizzix.

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3) Make the circle for the wreath stem by joining the bias strip to form a continuous loop. Then fold wrong sides together into thirds, and either tack/baste down the centre by hand or, I use the largest stitch on the sewing machine. This will easily pull out later.

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4) Position the circle on the background fabric. I often use a plate to help centre this! Pin with the raw edge side down. Applique in place. Remove the tacking.

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5) Prepare the leaves. Iron the shiny side of the paper to the wrong side of the fabrics, allowing enough room to cut them out and adding the seam allowance.

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6) Turn the seam allowance over to the back of the shape and tack in position. The freezer paper shapes cut on the Sizzix gives a nice crisp finish!

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8) Pin the leaves around the stem. I have 10 in the centre and 19 around the outside. Applique down starting on a curved side, not on a point. Remove the tacking and the freezer paper before the last half inch of the shape is sewn down.

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9) Once the applique is complete layer with the batting and backing fabric. I quilted around all of the appliqué. I filled the background in, by dividing it into quarters, and filling each section with lines marked 1in apart. You can see this here on the back of the piece .

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10) When quilted you can trim the backing and batting and then sew on the binding. I use  2 1/2in strips, that you can cut on the sizzix, folded wrong side together and pressed to make a double fold binding.

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Don't forget to pop over to the other blogs this week:

Wednesday 20th March  , Laura Taylor

Thursday 21st March , Hadley Gordon

Friday 22nd March, Anna Draicchio




To make the week even more exciting, you can enter this exclusive competition to get started with your patchwork and quilting adventure….. CLICK HERE to enter! The closing date is 28th March at 10am GMT.

Favourite Gadget

My friend Jennifer has shown me this before:

It is the round turntable cutting mat from Mathilda's Own. I have a turning cutting mat so always thought that one was much the same as another. Sorry, I was wrong.

This one turns so smoothly you would not believe. But it does not slip when pressing down to cut.

So if you are looking for a little luxury in your fabric cutting life, I suggest you hunt one of these down and treat yourself!

It is so good when cutting templates. Those of you who have sewn my Kaleidoscope Hexagon quilt( check out Nicky and latest quilted version of the pattern! or any other great quilts that have those handy templates will see the benefits!

In the meantime to cheer you up on this wet and grey July day in the UK, I have give away of some lovely fabric from 'Adorn It'. Check out their fabrics, they are always so sweet and a bit funky! 

Just leave a comment on this post to add a little sunshine to my day!

Sizzix Big Shot!

I must admit I am not big on gadgets, always adhering to the belief that all you need to stitch a quilt is needle and thread and a pair of scissors.

However, over the years I have still managed to acquire a (large) number of rulers and sewing machines (yes I know! I have more than one back up, and more than one Featherweight to take when I travel!) as well as having templates especially cut to go with some of my patterns and classes!

So when I was asked by Sizzix  if I would like to have a go of their machine, the BIg Shot that cuts shapes for patchwork I was a bit sceptical. Surely I had everything that was going to make life easier in the world of patchwork.

Well I was wrong.

This was delivered,

and duly unpacked. I had asked for the Apple Core template as I figured it was a hard shape to cut accurately and then sew together smoothly.

I layered the fabric in the template 'sandwich', inserted and wound the handle! And out came fabric cut perfectly. I was amazed! From chatting with other people over the years I had been led to believe that this winding the fabric through was a bit of a struggle with other makes of cutters. But not with a Sizzix!

So out pops the sandwich, open it up and take out your pieces. I started off cutting a single layer of fabric, but soon decided to move up to six! Still smooth and easy! 

I then sewed some patches together to see how accurate the piecing was, and you guessed it, it was great!

And in fact it was all going so well I just kept cutting. It wasn't until I actually sat down and thought about all the patches that I had cut from fabrics in my 1930's stash, that I realised I wanted to sew a project in different fabrics!

So due to my over zealous cutting, due to the user friendliness of the Sizzix, I am offering all the pieces I cut for an Apple Core top (well enough to get you started!) to anyone who comments on this post by next Monday. I will select a comment at random, but you must have commented on a patchwork gadget experience, (good or bad!)

I am happy to say that my comment regarding the Sizzix is that it is great! If you are looking for a gadget to make cutting easier, with no measuring and sharp blades, then go and look at a Sizzix Big Shot!

So, 'Happy Bank Holiday Monday', hope you have some stitching to keep you inspired!

Klosjes Blocks

Every once in a while something will catch my attention and I really need to stitch it for no logical reason. (Actually now I see that in print, it probably accounts for about 99% of my quilt making!)

Anyway, a while back I started seeing Klosjes Blocks popping up all over the place! These are Spool blocks, but they sound so exciting in Dutch (I think it's Dutch, forgive me if I got that wrong!)

I wanted to stitch some but didn't want to make templates, I wanted to use the rotary cutter.I needed the 'quick stitching fix' approach! So I have made my blocks using Jelly Roll strips, ie: I used my 2 1/2" wide strips of fabric from my stash and my Creative Grids Half Square Triangle Non Slip Strip Ruler! These create a 6" finished block. This is what I did.

Take three strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide. One is the centre of the block, the other two frame it.

From the fabric for the centre cut a 2 1/2" square:

From the other two fabrics cut 2 strips from each 7 1/4" long:

Now using the triangle part of the ruler trim off the corners of the strips:

Layout the block and sew!

Stitching wise, I sew the frames around the centre square, then sew the mitres.

I am working on a scrappy version that will keep me going for a while I think!

What I love about this is that one ruler does it all, and I can just dip in and out of the pre cut strips!

Y- seams

I have been reading a lot about Y-seams lately and mainly how folks don't like sewing them!

I am not proud and I am happy to admit that they don't bother me.

I am happy to sew them and happy with my results. Not always perfect, but they turn the corner and the star usually looks like a star! But I did buy a book that promised you need never have to sew them again, in the name of research, because isn't that why we buy every quilt book/

Anyway the book is Stars by Magic by Nancy Johnson- Srebro, and in it you don't even have to cut diamonds, let alone set in seams.

I have had the book a while, and I have had this quilt for nearly as long, as I stitched it using Nancy's methods almost as soon as I had the book. I was addicted. I love it! I still am not bothered by set in seams, but for those of you who are, this is a great book, give it a go!

Some of the 6" stars:

Full quilt top, 18" star in the middle srrounded by 6" stars.

More Hera Marker Goodness

Well, it seems that others of you out there might quite like their Hera markers too! Amy and Anita like theirs, and Lori has now brought one, so I hope she likes it too! Take a look at Lori’s Irish chain quilt that she has finished… in 2 weeks flat. I definitely think it is pretty fast!

Over here at Linen and Raspberry, Jean shows how to use the Hera to mark grids for applique placement. And this is a picture that I found in my files of a Hera being used to help make really narrow bias stems.


PLEASE let me know if this picture is yours, or you know whose it is? It was a really helpful tip, and for the life of me I can’t find where I noted its source…. and I would have preferred to give a link.

Although the Hera I use most often is the Clover one, I have alovely Japanese one that I brought from here.

In the same vein as the Hera marker, North Country and Welsh quilts have been marked by scoring the fabric, and these women would use a bodkin or tapestry needle stuck in a cork (to act like a handle). And if you are really desparate I have marked the odd line with my thumb nail…. it does the same job, but I wouldn’t want to do a lot with it!!

I am off to the land of Marie Claire Idees and Quilt Mania  (ie France) for a holiday, so I am busy packing. The Boys have wet suits and body boards, while I have an ever growing pile of stitching!


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While I am away I have a quilt in Fabrications Magazine. It is the Antique Hourglass. I can’t wait to see the article, as they always do such a nice job!

Enjoy your August!

Hera Markers

Lori was talking about how she marks the lines for diagonal or cross hatch quilting, and I wondered if she had ever used a Hera marker.

So many people have not experienced the wonder of a Hera marker!

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You must excuse me as I can become almost evangelical about this tool. It is originally from Japan, and the one I use is made by Clover. It is an inexpensive tool for marking given the fact that it will never run out!

I use it to mark grids so that I can follow the line to quilt, either by hand or machine. It is great as it is non invasive, and if I mark a wrong line, when the quilt is finally washed, it will just disappear.

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The lines last along time, so there is no rush to quilt once they are there. I mark the lines when the quilt top is on batting and backing , and if I am saftey pin or tack gun basting I do this afterwards. But if you hand baste or use 505, then you can do this once the quilt is all together!

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This is a Burgoyne Surrounded quilt that I am working on, that I mark with a Hera for the cross hatching. It is such an easy desigh to quilt, but soooo useful and effective!

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Baptist Fan Quilting

You must go over here and see what these great ladies say about my favourite type of quilting!

I just love this utility quilting which goes under  so many names including Metodist wave, Baptist fan and Elbow quilting. My beginners all learn to hand quilt this way, as it is easy to mark and easy to quilt as you are always working on the bias which has the most ‘give’ and therefore it’s easier to make the stitches. And you always work in one direction so no twisting and turning to get the quiltin the right place. Please give it a go.

I have even used it on the border with Big stitch quilting here:


And I saw this lovely example on this great quilt for auction on ebay the other day:



Whatever  quilt you use this on it will look great, believe me! If anyone wants more information on how to go about it, let me know, incase I am brave enough to do a tutorial!?