14 November 2015

Quick Update

My new quilt pattern will be ready for release soon. I'm tweaking the pattern here and there and working on some last minute edits. The newly named Penny Tiles quilt has arrived back from the long arm quilter with a lovely Baptist Fan design, I'm really happy with the outcome so once I'm done with the binding I'll share the full reveal! Exciting!

I'll also be planning some quilt kits hopefully! A loooovely delivery of Liberty Tana Lawns arrived this week for Sew and Quilt, so I've been busy petting and admiring for the last few days...

As well I don't think I could write a blog post today without mentioning the terrible events that have happened in Paris last night. So, so devastating. My heart goes out to everyone in France. This is a photo from my trip to Nantes this year, my first time visiting the country. I've never been to Paris, but its a place I've always wanted to visit and hope to someday. 
Have a peaceful weekend friends.

2 November 2015

Lori Holt's Cozy Cottage Calendar: Blog Tour!

Today I'm kicking off the Lori Holt tour for her newest release; the Cozy Cottage 2016 Calendar! Lori, of Bee In My Bonnet puts her unique quilty spin on this fun calendar which you can use and enjoy all year! As well, you have the pattern to make the mini quilt on the front cover...

… and these cute pillows! Don't you just L-O-V-E that flag border around the cottage block!? A perfect finish. 
For my cozy cottage block, I decided on a Christmassy theme going all red, which I figured would be really sweet as a Christmassy pillow, or mini quilt for the upcoming festive season (not that long to go!). I made the larger 8" size. Lori has included pattern instructions for a 4" block and an 8" block. Whatever I decide to finish it into, I know I'll be using the border like Lori, for sure!

If you're a fan of the delightful Lori Holt Farm Girl style, you'l love this. Quilty, country styled photos are featured on every page, so each month will be a treat to turn over. A big thank you Fat Quarter Shop for my copy, I look forward to getting organised in 2016! You can find it available to buy from them here. I also have copies available in my Sew & Quilt shop too, for those who want to order from the UK/EU. 

Have a great week friends! Its my birthday today, so I'm hoping for an afternoon of sewing, fingers crossed! Jessie, xo

Pssst… In other Lori Holt news new brand new Bloom Sew Simple templates have just been released and are now available at Sew and Quilt! Lori will be using these in her new QAL starting January to make the 'Bloom' quilt, which will be offered as a free pattern on the Riley Blake website. < Order your 'Bloom' Templates here >

1 November 2015

Glorious Gingham Quilt Finish

There aren't many times I would share a quilt finish with the backing as the first photo, but on this occasion its a necessity! Favourite. Quilt. Backing. Ever. It really makes the quilt. With an all solid pieced top, it could look quite plain and simple, but the backing really makes it all pop! In a big way!  

The front is pretty nice too ;-) The quilt was a project I did for Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine earlier this year, issue #23. I had a major thing for gingham at the time (and still do!) so we collaborated on an idea and I think it turned out quite well. It makes the perfect picnic quilt and I'm excited to test that theory out next summer since I didn't have a single beach day this year, boo! Yep, lots of picnics in the park and summer beach days I'm planning next year. 

It uses simple strip piecing so once you've got your fabrics cut and organised you'll speed through construction. I have quilt kits available at Sew and Quilt, which includes the fabrics for the quilt top only, the pattern (at this time) is only available with LP&Q magazine. I managed to hunt down back issues here, if you're interested in making one. As well, I will be releasing the pattern myself next year once I'm able to do so. I'm planning another version in printed fabrics too. 

The quilting is a little wiggly for my liking, but hey, thats life! I quilted in 'straight' lines with 1/2" spacing on the two end borders and then through the centre of each pieced row, and then again 1/4" either side. I wish now I'd gone with 1/2" all over, but I know for next time now ;-) I carried on the same fabric for the binding for a clean finish. It gives a nice contrast against the white borders on the front too. 

I also made a couple of matching cushions too! There's a peach coloured one to match alongside the yellow below. I'm selling the cushions, so if you're interested in buying them drop me an email :-) 

Always fun to see my name in print! Thank you again LP&Q! The girls over there are the best. Look out for their new sister magazine; Today's Quilter too, its fab! 

Pattern: Glorious Gingham by Jessie Fincham (pattern featured in LP&Q #23)
Quilted: Jessie Fincham
Size: 54" square
Fabric: Kona Solids by Robert Kaufman Fabrics, backing and binding; vintage sheet

I've also FINALLY found a place where I can take full photo's of my quilts outside so I'm extremely happy today! Its the little things eh! ;-) Have a great Sunday! Jessie

30 October 2015

Spell It With Moda Quilt: Finished

I've been getting quite slack on the finished quilts and blog sharing, so let me today update you on my FINISHED Spell It With Moda quilt. I started this quilt back in 2014 when the blog hop started, it was such a cool idea (good job, Moda!) and it perfectly tied in with my sister, Bianca being pregnant with her first baby ;-) so I had an excuse to pull out all my cute novelty 30s reproduction prints and primary colours for a happy baby quilt.  I think it took me about a month or so to make all the blocks and finish the top. They were so fun to do! Then of course I folded it up and put off the quilting 'for another day'… 

8 months later baby Benjamin was born, but alas the quilt wasn't ready. Doh. Festival Of Quilts prep, general life stuff got in the way, yada yada … it was always the bottom of the list. Then my patient (cough!) sister gently reminded me it was his birthday coming up in October, so perhaps I could finish it?? ;-) so I got to work last month and basted and quilted it. Finished the day before we travelled to London for his birthday, in typical last-minute-Jessie fashion. 

 It was the best thing gifting the quilt! Sooo special. They all loved it, phew! Aren't they a cute bunch too! 

I'm super sad not to have any better official finished photos though, I can only blame myself for finishing it in the late afternoon and not being able to take any decent photos. Hopefully these iPhone pictures will do! I used a really nice backing fabric as well, which of course I forgot to photograph. It has a really fun scrappy binding which works well with the low-volume and Kona Snow background.

Pattern: Spell It With Fabric by Moda (free)
Quilted: Jessie Fincham
Fabric: 1930s novelty reproductions, Ducks In A Row by American Jane, Kona Snow

22 October 2015

Coming Soon!

Are you like me and have ideas scratching around in your head or notebooks dotted about your house? I do, all the time! and they ALWAYS end up at the bottom of my to-do list never to see the light of day. Well, I couldn't hold this idea in any longer, and I'm so pleased!! Its a special quilt I've been plotting for *years* to release as a pattern, and since I often do projects for editorial titles I figured why not release this one myself?! Perhaps my English readers will think this design familiar? I drew my inspiration from Victorian floor tiles, which is a familiar scene in terrace and town houses up and down the country. 

I've used all my favourite fabrics, so it's 100% me, which feels amazing! And the best backing fabric ever, officially! Sometimes we just need some 'selfish sewing' don't we? 

The top is finished, prepped and backing fabric cut - now it's arrived with the long-arm quilter who can work some magic on it! While we wait for the finish next month I have a little helpful team of pattern testers, testing the measurements and dimensions for me ;-) then I'll be revealing the full finish at which point you can order the PDF or printed pattern at Sew and Quilt! Hooray! I'll be doing a few happy dances once this is all done! I love ticking things off my bucket list, can you tell?! 

29 September 2015

Daylight Company Desk and Sewing Lamps

It's officially Autumn now, and as the nights are drawing in (although as I type we seem to be having an un-seasonably warm end to September, which I very much welcome of course) we can expect the daylight hours to disappear quickly come late afternoon. So it's not always an ideal scenario for sewing for long hours into the night - and early hours, which I'm sometimes guilty of. So when Daylight contacted me to ask if I would like to review a few of their lights, I jumped at the chance. 

Daylight Company hale from the UK and are the market-leading brand of speciality lighting technology for the hobby industry across Europe. They specialise in 'daylight' lighting, bringing the natural light of the outdoors, indoors, using low heat/low energy bulbs that are ideal for close-up sewing work and perfect to use for long periods. 

They were kind enough to send me, not one, but three of their fantastic lights! I first hooked up the Task Lamp XL, as seen above, which sits proudly above my sewing desk. It has a 22" wide shade so it's a good size to spread the light around in a larger space. I honestly couldn't believe the difference it made when I first switched it on. It's fully adjustable vertically, horizontally and laterally to focus the light where you need it most. It absolutely booms light down onto my desk! It's dimmable for using at different times of the day and I find I often turn it down slightly in the evenings when its completely dark outside. During the daytime and especially at dusk, I have it on full. Funny how I probably use it in the opposite direction to general use?

You can really see the fabrics and colours you're using, there's no yellow tinge to everything like regular lights. To think I've gone from having a bulb hanging in the centre of the room (nope never got round to having a shade fitted, oops!) and a cheap clip-on lamp above my sewing machine, to all this! You can imagine my excitement when I go into my sewing room now and switch everything on! It's really like something out of the Starship Enterprise in there, goodness know what the neighbours think!

Over the weekend I had a major clean-out of the sewing room, I'm still not finished as it's all piled in the corner of our bedroom at the moment, plus I still need to go through my scrap bins, then I need to organise a little de-stash on Instagram (@messyjessedestash) if you're interested? So after my purge, I had a shimmy round and found space to fit another desk, covering my victorian fireplace I meticulously brought back to life when we moved in, but still practicalities call when you have a *tiny* house and a lot of fabric ;-) I digress. Back to the lamps! I then had the space to fit my other Daylight lamp, which is the super smart looking Ultra Bright Slimline LED Table Lamp. I've clamped it to the bookshelf with it angled above my my cutting desk. It has a long and flexible arm reach to bend where you need but without being floppy. The tube section where the light is, is twistable too! I thought that was quite nifty. If you don't have a shelf or didn't want to clamp it to the table you can purchase the base separately to use as a normal desk lamp. 

Back to my sewing desk I have the new Sewing Machine Lamp fitted. Like the other two lamps, it plugs into the mains, so you will have a wire loose at the back, which distracts me so I plan to use some self adhesive sticky dots (or similar) to trail it along the arm of my machine. It sticks onto your sewing machine using a sticky pad, which are very sticky I might add, so if you get one - make sure its in the right place first time! The lamp can then be slotted into place on the mount pad. Its fully removable, and comes with two sticky pads, so you can have another one fixed somewhere else and move the lamp whenever you need by slotting it into place. Easy, peasy. It has a flexible metal arm so you've got enough room to manoeuvre. It uses the same LED Naturalight as the desk lamps, but in a focussed area, which is ideal for use with a sewing machine. Though after testing it out for the last month I've found I can't use it in the evenings as its not dimmable and a touch too bright for me. I think perhaps, it could work better for me if I move it to the back of the machine and have it turned to the front so its not directly shining on my work at such close range? More testing required ;-)

Sewing, whether by machine or hand, can cause a great deal of eye strain so you really want to equip your area with an investment piece like the Daylight lamps. They will not only reduce eye strain over time but will also allow us to sew for longer intervals! Thats a win, win! 

I should point out, Daylight Company kindly sent me these lamps for free to review, however all views are my own. All the products featured are available to buy directly from their online store, with international shipping. I hope the reviews helped. Jessie