Monday, 13 July 2015

2015 New Bloggers Blog Hop - Hello!

Hello, and welcome to my little spot on this years blog hop for the New Bloggers!

My name is Eleanor, and this is my cat Perdie


Perdie just loves quilts.  And fabric.  And the ironing board.  And watching fabric be washed.  And wadding.  She loves it all, she's just terrible at posing for photographs (and yet, better than me).  She's called Perdie after Perdita in 101 Dalmations - she was a teeny tiny little thing when someone found her, lost, on the road and thought she must be ours.  She's now a whopper who is supposed to be on a diet...

I've been quilting for 6-7 years now.  I started it a little while after I finished university, and I credit it with keeping me sane through some hard times!  I was delighted to find a craft that was mine.  I have an incredibly crafty family!  My dad works with wood and metal, my mum knits and crochets, my sister makes jewellery, my aunt makes cards, my granny did everything - lace, knitting, you name it!  Most of my stash is from some shops in the area and isn't particularly modern, but I'm currently trying to work through it in order to build a more modern feeling.  I also have some WIPs that have been hanging around a long time, so I'm trying to get those finally finished too!  Truthfully, I'm fickle - I like working on lots of things, lots of types of things and lots of patterns of fabric!  It may not be fashionable, but I just like keeping a variety of things going.  I work with my mum - I do most of it, but we're still a team and most things have both of our work in them, even if it's just binding!

I'm very lucky to have a studio to work in!  We used to milk cows here at the house, but not any more - all our animals are now on a farm that we travel to every day.  I took advantage and converted an old byre (cowshed) into my very own slice of heaven!  From 5 cows to this:

It's not that tidy at the minute!  It is, in fact, a total mess!  But I've turned up some interesting things when tidying one corner, of which later!  Do you see the awesome table in the left there?  My dad made that for me.  It has five sides, no two of which have the same length, and five corners, no two of which are the same as the corner isn't a right angle!  I LOVE my table - I can fit a whole quilt on there to work on, and I have these cool cupboards from IKEA that I can use to extend the table for something huge/unco-operative.

Here are a few photos of things I've done that I particularly like:
 I made this for a class I was taking - it was supposed to be for beginners, but I took it hoping more classes would be made available afterwards which would lead to a degree in textiles.  The other classes didn't happen, but I love this quilt.  It started off as a standard Jacob's Ladder, then I rearranged parts before it was sewn together.  My only regret is that I didn't have enough fabric to make it a 4 x 4 setting.  You can't see it here, but I quilted each colour in a different pattern - lines on yellow, stippling on white, spirals on pink and a micro squared stipple on the green.  All the quilting was in white, so it just lead from one to the other.  When you see it in person, the back (all white) looks like a whole cloth of the patchwork pattern.
 I made this for Fiddlesticks Fabrics, a shop I've made quite a few samples for.  While I don't like the quilting (black and white variegated) as the thread does weird things, I still love the graphic impact of this.  I called this "Newspaper" - black and white and red all over.  I'm absolutely useless at naming things!
 This was the other item made for the class I mentioned above.  I'd had the idea of a clock for ages, but not a pattern, then it suddenly came to me that I could combine clock and colour wheel in one.  Unfortunately, while the clock is made, I haven't yet worked out a way to get it hanging - the clock mechanism is about 3/4" deep so it can't lie plumb to the wall (which is also what is making it look not flat here).  Soon though!  Weirdly, the wheel works better in person than it does in the photograph.  I drew the numbers myself, and this was the first time I'd tried satin stitch.
I was asked to make this baby quilt last year.  It was to be Irish themed, with appliqués of a cow, shamrock, teddy, doll...  I drew the appliques myself and used the Irish chain for the theming - inch and a half squares!  I've included this here because I was quite happy with my appliques - especially the teddy and doll!


I had had the idea in my head for a while of a bag split into two sections.  When asked to make a sample from these fabrics, I decided to try the idea.  The two flaps are for the two sections - lift the top flap and you're into one half of the bag, lift both to be in the other section.  I love making bags!

Which brings me to the end!  However, if you pop back here over the week, you'll find some free patterns and tutorials for things including a bag, pincushion, something for Christmas and something scrappy!  To top it all off, I discovered I have some duplicate magazines (Love Patchwork and Quilting) due to an error in postage - I was told to share them at the time, but they got put to one side.  So now, I intend doing a little giveaway later in the week!

A few tips:

Don't get discouraged at what you see on other blogs.  Some people work faster than you, that happens.  They may have a better range of fabric available for them to buy than you.  What you need to do is take pleasure in what you do and use other blogs as a jump off point for yourself.  Enjoy the process of what you are doing instead of rushing.  Love the fabrics you have, they deserve that!  If they don't work quite as you hoped, chalk it up to experience.  If you struggle with something - ask for help.  Bloggers are so helpful - the New Bloggers group have helped me with etiquette, picture editing, social media buttons* - and if you ask, someone will help.  The same thing goes for techniques

*My flickr page is very much a work in progress, started after issues getting pictures uploaded.  Nothing to see there yet!

So, if you're still here, I'd like to direct you towards the other brave souls who will be posting their introductions this week!

My hivemates in Sewcial Swarm:
Corinne at mustlovequilts
Vicki at orchidowlquilts
and Karen at sugarfreequilts
And huge thanks to our hive mama Terri Ann of childlikefascination

Quantum Quilters, hosted by Yvonne of quiltingjetgirl:
Silvia at astrangerview
and Cindy at stitchinathome

New Bees hosted by Cheryl of meadowmistdesigns:
Abby at hashtagquilt
and Megan at sewstitchingcutequilts

And lastly the Sew Fabulous Hive, hosted by Stephanie of latenightquilter:
Julie at pinkdoxies
Carrie at thezenquilter
Lori at sewpsychd
and Cindy at sewingmoxie.com


If you do comment, I'd love to know what you think is totally under rated or over rated in the world of quilting!  What (patterns, fabric etc) would you like to see more of, and conversely is there anything you could happily live without seeing again?! 

A couple of quick bits of trivia about me:
I have one long sighted eye and one short sighted eye;
I have two degrees from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, loved it!;
I lived in France for a year;
I love reading and read really quickly;
I broke my elbow and it is now exactly like Jem's in To Kill a Mockingbird (oh, to read To Set A Watchman or not!).

31 comments:

  1. I'm not a big lover of batik or fossil fabric, although I did some some lovely fabric last week. I love your sewing room , the luxury of all that space . A big bright room . The blog hop had been great for ironing out those techy things hadn't it ? You made it into Instagram yet ?

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  2. Eleanor, what a great blog hop blog! And thanks for reading and commenting on my blog hop post. I will definitely blog in the future about my mom's UFOs. I am SO jealous of your quilt studio. I love all the space and especially the cool table that your father made for you. I wish I could see your modified Jacob's Ladder quilt in person. I love that you quilted the different colors in the quilt different ways. And I love your bag. I can't wait to see your tutorials. As far as what I'd like to see more of in the world of quilting, sometimes I want to know more about the fabric used in quilts (designer, etc). What I'm not particularly fond of are Sue Bonnet blocks.

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  3. Oh, to have that studio, it's amazing. If you had asked me what that space was used for before it became a studio I would have never guessed cows. I would love to see a before picture. And I love the name of your blog, there is something about cats and quilting that just go hand in hand. The poor little critters just can't help themselves. And I love the clock, that was a great idea. Do you think maybe you could put it in a frame in some way to help with the mechanism issue? It was great meeting you and I look forward to your future posts.

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  4. I'm visiting from New Bloggers Blog Hop. Your studio is beautiful! And I think your "Newspaper" quilt is very cleverly named. I don't even try to name mine. Good job.

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  5. I do love your studio! And I am so envious of your table. It is really hard to think of what I would like to never see again in quilting... everything is lovely in its own way. I suppose the Jelly Roll Race is way over done, but at the same time, people make it new again by adding all sorts of different cute appliqué. And most any pattern that I hate in one color way can be completely gorgeous with the right fabric. That is what I love about quilting! People are constantly making things new again, and one quilt pattern can turn out completely different quilts depending on the fabric chosen.

    So, I guess I will go with shortcuts. I don't mean shortcuts that have the same end result in a block (like a flying geese ruler versus doing them the old fashioned way... those shortcuts are awesome), but rather the shortcuts that dumb down a quilt into something boring. Some short cut quilts are great, and they have their place when you need to whip out something quickly for someone that won't really appreciate the work that goes into a quilt. But I love the detail and the process that goes into making a quilt, and enjoy looking at the piecing and seeing the story of how it was created and the time and care that went into it.

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  6. What a gorgeous studio, and the a hand crafted table from your father is not just special but so perfect for your use and functionality! Under rated in the quilting world... hmmm... I think that knowing what a quilt will finish at after quilting, binding, and washing is under rated. Patterns list the size of the pieced quilt top - but it shrinks a good deal from there to the finished product!

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  7. Love your sewing space - I'm a bit of an ikea addict and love to see what people use in their sewing rooms! Great clock and I love the use of the raindrop fabric in your bag. I really dislike realistic animal prints, other than that nothing else I can think of!

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  8. Your studio is amazing and to think it was for cows at one point!! It was so fun reading about your quilting adventures and life! Great questions, but I am drawing a blank!! I love learning anything quilting even if I never use it!

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  9. Your advice is great regarding what you see on other blogs and how quickly people sew and complete projects. I'm thinking there's some scheduling magic going on with when something is sewn and when it is blogged and I'm trying to find my own rhythm with that. Regarding what I think is overrated in quilting, I'm not going to name names, but there is one author that is renowned and thought highly of. I find her instructions difficult to follow as they are complicated just for the sake of promoting tools and I find that her instructions waste fabric. On a positive, I just want to see more fabric that I can't live without. :)

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  10. I don't like chevron fabric. So any time they want to get rid of it is fine by me especially the wide chevrons. Love the quilting studio.

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  11. It's lovely to get to know you better Eleanor. I am so jealous of ex cowshed/studio and that table with the drop in sewing machine. I also love your Jacobs ladder quilt and your bag. It is very hard not to compare oneself with others so I am happy of the reminder. I think the paper pieced pointy star like patterns that are always on the cover of a certain magazine are overdone.

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  12. Hi Eleanor, it's wonderful to meet you! I was a part of last year's new bloggers hop. There's so much that I see on your blog that I already love, especially the name of your blog (I'm a cat person), your sewing studio, and some of the beautiful work you've done. Your writing style is right up my alley and I look forward to following you on your journey. BTW, did you mention where you live? Somewhere in the UK, yes?

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  13. That looks like a cool bag, creative idea with the two pockets.

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  14. Your sewing space is huge!! Love the button rug.

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  15. Love your intro and your sewing space! What a neat history to your room :) It's funny how being crafty seems to run in families isn't it. So glad you're here for the hop and it's wonderful to get to know you better :)

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  16. Nice to meet you and Perdie. Love your corner sewing table. I've been trying to re-arrange my sewing room without success. But now I wonder if a corner table might work...hmmm...

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  17. Got my husband to check out your sewing room, as well as your clock! Both are beautiful...and yes what a piece of heaven that space is. Your advice is very wise; note to self. That bag! I love blue, and love bags; yours is so clever of a design. Cool to find out you lived in France for a year...ahh, I so wanted to do that...but I met my husband and, well...he's a keeper so it's all good. Hope to get HIM over there yet however. Love seeing Perdie asleep on the quilt on your machine. Aww!

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  18. I love your clock to bits. I keep thinking about making one, but I run in to that same problem. I'm suddenly so sure that I can buy a ready to paint clock kit on Etsy, so I may end up seeing if that's a possibility, then work out some way of attaching the fabric to the (hopefully) wood.

    Miss Perdie looks absolutely spoiled. I've always had a very strict no pets in the studio rule. Well, we have long haired siamese, and they shed like crazy. Add in the dog who doesn't know not to get in the way, and I think it would end up being a nightmare in there.

    In answer to your questions:
    Overrated: ridiculously expensive out of print fabric. If you didn't buy it at the time, you obviously didn't like it enough. If you're new to quilting, don't worry. There will be other fabric out there that you adore, just look past the Tula.
    What I'd like more of: mini-quilt patterns that I actually want to make. I'm not really in to the foundation piecing, so that's about half of them right there. After that, it's just a matter of taste. Maybe I should just get around to making my own. Also purple prints (again, that I like). I don't know why the designers I like seem so anti-purple, but I've sent them all emails, so maybe we'll see more in the future.
    Something I could live without ever seeing again: I'd love to say the seam ripper, because ideally I would never need it, but that's one of those "in your wildest dreams" ideas. How about unwarranted self-criticism in public settings? I feel as though so many of us decide to publish that inner critic, and we just draw attention to things that no one else would ever notice if we hadn't pointed them out. I'm certainly guilty of this, but I'm definitely trying to change.

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  19. At the moment I'm not loving the internal pressure I feel from all the stuff that's for sale surrounding quilting. I want to live with less but all the eye candy on the blogs makes me want it all. And, it is so easy to buy, buy, and buy with the click of the mouse. I do love the quilting community and understand that with it comes advertising. I just need more will power.

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  20. I really enjoyed visiting, will make a habit of it. I too have a ( quilty cat) he is always involved. :)
    I haven't managed to get very far with my blog yet- it is encouraging to see yours.
    I Love the Newspaper quilt! That is a perfect name for it.
    An idea for your clock.... I've made a few quilt clocks over the years, I found wooden quilting hoops ( like wood embroidery hoops but they are 1"- 1 1/2" wide/thick) in the size of my clock, or close. There are a few methods to use the hoop for mounting/hanging. One clock I used mounting board ( foam board about 1/4" thick) cut size of clock with a circle cutout for clock works. Used craft glue to attach board to back of clock then glued edge of foam board to the rim of the hoop. The tightening screw can be used to hang a ribbon for hanging- you can use both parts of the hoop, inner & outer rings, or just one. I've also, using the inner ring, laid my clock on the ring and wrap stitched the edge of the clock around the ring, when I didn't want to use glue. Those hoops really come in handy. :) I hope these ideas help you come up with an idea that works for you. :)

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  21. I really enjoyed visiting, will make a habit of it. I too have a ( quilty cat) he is always involved. :)
    I haven't managed to get very far with my blog yet- it is encouraging to see yours.
    I Love the Newspaper quilt! That is a perfect name for it.
    An idea for your clock.... I've made a few quilt clocks over the years, I found wooden quilting hoops ( like wood embroidery hoops but they are 1"- 1 1/2" wide/thick) in the size of my clock, or close. There are a few methods to use the hoop for mounting/hanging. One clock I used mounting board ( foam board about 1/4" thick) cut size of clock with a circle cutout for clock works. Used craft glue to attach board to back of clock then glued edge of foam board to the rim of the hoop. The tightening screw can be used to hang a ribbon for hanging- you can use both parts of the hoop, inner & outer rings, or just one. I've also, using the inner ring, laid my clock on the ring and wrap stitched the edge of the clock around the ring, when I didn't want to use glue. Those hoops really come in handy. :) I hope these ideas help you come up with an idea that works for you. :)

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  22. Love your studio. Such a cute story. Your pure love for the adventure of quilting is evident and quite inspiring.

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  23. Wow!! I love your post and all the comments!!! Just like everyone else I love your studio!!! The natural lighting, space, organization but best of all your ingenuity of creating a space from something unexpected. What us more impressive is not just the ingenuity of your creative space but that you followed through with the idea and made it happen!!!! That is something great about your entire post and you yourself is your ingenuity and the fact you execute the ideas you come up with. That is your best quality of all. People can come up with ideas but the fact that u do it the best!!!! I adore your idea about the purse with separate flaps and compartments!! Wow!! Great job with everything!

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  24. Such a wonderful introduction post, thanks Eleanor. Your studio is gorgeous!

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  25. I love that bi-sectional bag. Super smart! Your studio is amazing, I wish I had a great space like that. I like my studio, but it's on a dark basement. Lastly, I love that tip to work with what you have. I thinks it's great, because it's easy to feel discouraged when we see others with this or that machine or a colorful range of fabrics, but the reality is that we can make great work with whatever we have in hand. Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed reading your post. Following!

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  26. Love your studio. Love your cat. My cat is on a diet too. I inherited this cat when my aunt died. He just loves to be wherever I am. I will be visiting your blog again. I have bookmarked it. I am no a blogger, but I do enjoy visiting blogs. I love the bag you made too.

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  27. Nice intro post! Your studio is just gorgeous.
    As for overrated, I have to say Liberty fabrics. I just don't get why they are so expensive. I don't have any interest in those.
    Again, so nice to meet you!

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  28. Good to meet another 2015 New Quilt Blogger through the blog hop. I love your conversational tone in your writing and good to find another reader. As for overrated, how about outrageously expensive destashes? I saw a fat quarter being offered at the equivalent rate of $28 USD/yard. That's crazy.

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  29. What a unique story behind your sewing room! I love it! You have made some interesting things, in particular, I'm loving that clock! So clever! As for things that I feel are under-rated: a good sharp rotary blade and a brand new sewing machine needle. Overrated, I'd say ikat prints and chevrons. They were fun when the trend began, but now I'm just suffering from extreme overexposure!

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  30. Hello and nice to meet you. I love your colour wheel clock and the bag is genius! I too lived in France for a year, where did you live? Were you at Uni there? Something I find is overrated is Aurifil. Everyone raves about it, but when I tried it I found it snapped quite often.

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  31. Hi Eleanor. Your studio space is beautiful! Great job creating the applique designs. Your bag is a really creative idea. Did you create that pattern or adapt an existing pattern? I have to agree with others here that what I could go without is out of print fabrics at ridiculous prices. It's a shame the designer(s)/manufacturer(s) won't run a reprint of some of those popular lines.

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