The Sweetest Things Sampler – the story behind the quilt

Sweetest Things Sampler - Dawn - Honeybee Cloths

It’s very nearly complete, just quilting on the border, the binding and label to sew on 🙂  – I have really loved making this quilt, so many lovely stories bound up in it, both in terms of the things which inspired it, and the lovely friendships formed throughout the course of our year long quilt-along. I’ve especially loved seeing your Sweetest Things Sampler quilts grow 💛 and how sweet this past year has been! So many stories come to mind – where to begin? 

Community

Key to this quilts story is the lovely sewing community which has grown round it, as without you, and you’re being part of it, there would’t be a quilt-along.

Over the past year my heart has skipped several beats seeing the stunning Sweetest Things Sampler blocks and quilts online friends have been making in places I can only dream of visiting one day – Australia to Alaska, and lots of places in between!

Our shared #SweetestThingsSampler page fetches together the beautiful quilts we’ve been busy making – it’s a real pleasure to see your quilts growing, and friendships forming on the way – doesn’t the internet make the whole wide world a much more reachable place! 

As well as our lovely online friends, four legged and feathered friends are very much part of our Samplers too. Block 4 – Nest  is inspired by our little feathered friends’ who put so much care and effort into nest building, weaving twigs, moss, and feathers together, just like the loving care which goes into making our quilts….

Nest block - Honeybee Cloths

While the little hedgehog in Block 8 – Prairie Point Hedgehog is actually inspired by a lovely Instagram friends @JenthePiecemaker, and the beautiful photos of her visiting hedgehog. 

Prairie Point hedgehog by Dawn


Helping, inspiring, encouraging

One of the most precious parts of the Samplers story is how much makers have helped, inspired and encouraged each other. It’s been a very strong thread running throughout our year long quilt-along.

Both myself and Michelle at CreativeBlonde designed six Sampler blocks each, for the Sweetest Things Sampler. Having Michelle along to co-host, as well as design and prepare tutorials for six beautiful blocks made the world of difference to me, and our quilt-along – a huge, huge thanks to Michelle from CreativeBlonde blog  💛

I thoroughly enjoyed each of the blocks and Michelle’s January block, the 12th Sampler in our sew-along with it’s lovely little sewing machine, and cotton reels (that seem to me, to be doing a joyful jig) really is the essence of “sewing a little happiness.” 🙂

Block 12 – Sew Happy

Block 12 made by Dawn, designed by Michelle Roberts

Little moments of wonder

Another theme which pops up time and time again throughout the Sampler blocks, is finding happiness in the simple things, those little moments of wonder, which happen when you’re least expecting them. 

Like, in winter, when trees have shed their leaves, there’s something kind of wonderful in the big bunches of mistletoe, hugging the tree branches…

Block 10 – Mistletoe and Mittens

Mistletoe and mittens by Honeybee Cloths

And how, even in the depths of winter, you can still find those little moments of wonder. It might be the bright winter sunshine, shimmering snow, the shy doe in the woods, or perhaps the little snow globe which shimmers when shaken….

Block 11 – Deer in the Snow

Deer in the snow

While Michelle’s blocks “Basket of Strawberry Sweetness”  and “Quench your thirst” reminds me of the nice warm, sunny days to look forward to….

dsc_5320.jpg
Basket of Strawberry sweetness, designed by Michelle. Made by Dawn

 

Busy little bees

Going back to the very beginning, when the quilt-along was just a twinkle in the eye – a certain day in the height of summer, sitting quietly and listening to the little bees busily buzzing and thinking how lovely it would be to make a quilt, have a quilt-along.

Block 6 – From our little hive to yours

cropped-from-our-little-hive-to-yours-x-honeybee-cloths4.jpg

It’s over a year and a half since that light-bulb moment – seeing the quilts makers have made, is for me the sweetest thing, seeing them pop up online is an absolute joy, brightening up the days. Thank you so much for following, it’s really truly lovely to have you along. 

Sending a quilted hug to each and everyone.

From our little hive to yours

Happy sewing

Dawn x X

Honeybee Cloths
Sweetest Things Sampler

ps. You can still find our free templates and tutorials for each block on the Sweetest Things Sampler page of Honeybee Cloths. 

A little piece of linen needle and thread….

Hand sewing is perhaps the type of sewing I like most, whether it’s paper piecing, quilting, hemming and, yes I don’t even mind darning socks too! It really helps me relax and put my thoughts in order. I guess you could really say it’s a kind of mindfulness therapy of sorts.

It can be done practically anywhere, and is perfect for spending long winter evenings cuddled up to some sewing, which is how this mini-project begun in early January – simply a small piece of linen, needle, thread and hoop – and often a cat too!

Pip loves nothing more than to cuddle up on a comfy lap, so hand-sewing is perfect, it doesn’t disturb her routine. Having spent 15 months in a rescue centre, before being spotted on a rehoming website, if there were any saying meant for Pip, perhaps it’s this one….

Life takes you to unexpected places, love brings you home

Pip’s a really good supervisor, and spends her days, busily checking the beds have been made properly; the clean laundry, still warm from the dryer is pressed; and if I leave my sewing lying around, she’s exceptionally good at un-picking too 🙂

Pip in our sewing corner under the stairs

The first step for our little handsewn project is to print out the quote and trace onto linen – dowload quote here.

I traced the quote onto the linen using a water erasable pen, able to see the quote through the linen simply by laying it on top of the quote. Alternatively tape the quote to a window in good daylight, tape linen on top, and it’s a lot easier to see quote through the linen – you have your very own improvised lightbox!

I chose not to use embroidery floss for the lettering, prefering instead to use plain simple dark grey Gutermann sew all thread. I doubled the thread and used a backstitch to sew the lettering.

Once your lettering is sewn, dampen the linen, to remove the water erasable pen. As some pen marks won’t erase once they’ve been pressed. Only once the marks have been removed press.

To complete the project a rough circle and some leaves is traced onto bondaweb – (the little leaves are really meant to be pussy willow – oops!)

Once the bondaweb is fused to the wrong side of fabric, the hoop and leaves, are cut out and positioned onto linen. Pressed, so each piece fuses to the linen.

If you’d like the template for the hoop and pussy willow, email me and I’ll forward it on.

In choosing materials for the pussy willow and hoop I went for those which had a subtle texture to them similar to a willow hoop, or pussy willow.

Lotta Jansdotter’s “Mormor” reminded me of the almost luminescent colour of fully opened buds, and Basic Grey “Fresh Cut” the grey unopened buds. For the hoop, Janet Clare’s A Field Guide no.1366-15 provided a subtle texture, for the woody hoop. It’s a really lovely versatile print, which would be equally perfect for the little wren I have in mind for a future block 🙂

Once the pieces have been fused in place either hand or machine sew around hoop and leaves.

It was one of those projects you could easily pick up and do for a few minutes, here and there and by the end of January, it was complete. I’m still deciding whether to make into a pillow, or use it in the larger nature themed quilt I’ve been planning for a while, which includes the little wren mentioned earlier – but that’s for another time 🙂

Till next time, stay snug and happy sewing x X
2016-02-06T23:01:00Z 2016-02-09T10:49:00Z