Sonya May hem

A stitch in my side

The Friendship Quilt

So anyway a couple of years ago I bought a charm pack of Michael Miller Happy Tones and “stored” it away carefully for just the right moment to present itself.  Stored as in the sense of hoarded and hoarded in the sense of “it’s too pretty to use on just anything so I have to be really certain before I cut into it because once it’s gone that’s it you can’t get it back and then what would you do and are you sure that’s what you want to have happen and really is it such a big deal I mean it’s only fabric and you can always get some more but you can’t really so be absolutely sure before you do that”.  Or something like that, I can’t remember the exact words…

Well, about this time last year I thought, hey it’s my BFF’s birthday in a couple of months – that gives me time to knock together a lovely little quilt.  I’ll use my Happy Tones!! And so I did…


Friendship Quilt 1

Thanks to Jamie for holding this up for me and complaining after ten seconds that his shoulders were hurting because it was too heavy…


Basic half-square triangles created with the Happy Tones and Prima Homespun White from Spotty.

I kept the design as minimal and easy as possible.  As well we know I’m not one to follow a pattern so this really did just grow from the initial HST design and move outwards.

Friendship Quilt 2

The border around the HST’s is a mini friendship braid for which I used the terrific pattern from here.  It was fiddly but well worth it as it gave extra texture.  I used Sarah Fielke Millefiori to create the braid.

Friendship Quilt 4

The final border was some stashed basic Spots and Stripes from Spotty as well.  A good standby as it just about matches everything colourwise and I love a good spot.  The machine sewn binding was more of the Sarah Fielke. The backing was organic cotton “House and Garden” Cloud 9 Fabric – sweet little pink birds with chartreuse leaves eked out with some Prima Homespun Pale Pink.  Quilting as always, was simply on the diagonal through the HST’s and around each border.

Friendship Quilt 5Friendship Quilt 3

And to finish it all off – a quilt label!!  Yes, I finally remembered to add one.  This I made myself using printable fabric sheets and my home printer.  The quote is a special one for me as my lovely friend (the new owner of this quilt) gave me a beautiful ceramic tag with this quote (by Dorothy Parker) on it for my birthday last year and it has become a bit of a constant reminder to me of how grateful I am to have her in my life.

Friendship Quilt 6

I finally handed it to her last week – a good eight months after her birthday.  Even though the date on the tag says June. Still, it’s the thought that counts.

Until next time,



Hex and hugs and sausage rolls (?!?)

A story in three parts…

Part 1 : Hex

So, I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I finished my hexie top.  Ta-dah…



The Full Hexie. All fabric from Spotlight precut fat quarters.

Now, I’m going to admit straight off that the longer I worked on this the less I liked it.  I felt my colour choices were too jarring and it just didn’t seem cohesive.  But, now that I’ve actually looked at it from a distance (and behind a lens) I don’t mind it at all.  For me though, this whole adventure in EPP has really cemented for me how much I enjoyed the process.  I relished the opportunity to do some hand sewing – although my hands haven’t quite forgiven me yet! – and the slowly building up each of first the petals and then the flowers.

I have further plans for other EPP projects in the future – this amazing gigantic hexie is a must as is this beauty. Oh, and maybe this as well

It really is an addictive way to spend a few hours.  I now have to work out how to back and bind it and this method from Badskirt seems the least confusing and workable for me. Another option is this one from My Poppet.  A lengthy period of thinking music required at this point.


Hexie 3

Hexie 3

Hexie 2

Hexie 2

Hexie 1

Hexie 1

Part 2 : Hugs

My niece, Charlotte,  is turning ten in November – I simply don’t know where all those years have gone – and frankly she behaves more like an 18 year old than a ten year old. But anyway, a curious thing as her birthday approaches she becomes much more of a hugs and I love you kind of a gal… I wonder what she’s angling for… hmmmm…. in any case as I have already made her a quilt, this time around I thought I would make a beautiful bed cushion for her using the Warsaw Mermaid paper piecing pattern.

Me: What do you want to be when you finish school and have to work Charlotte…?

Charlotte: A professional mermaid.

There is no convincing her that mermaids aren’t “real”. Gosh, won’t I look stupid as she walks (flipper flops??) across the  stage to collect her Mermaid Diploma from Mermaid Academy.  {lol}

Part 3 : Sausage Rolls

No other reason than I’d really like to eat a sausage roll today.  But I won’t.

♥  Sonya May ♥


Doctorin’ the Tardis

Oooh, remember that song… dreadful, but catchy…

I have a very dear friend who is a Whovian – she’s super smart, hilariously funny and a dedicated follower of The Doctor.  As her birthday approached late last year I had in my mind to make her something for her fabulously glamorous home in the city.  Something with a little elan, a certain je ne sai quois if you will. Well, what better than a paper pieced Tardis cushion!


Now, straight off I’m going to say this was one of the harder paper piecing works that I have done – a lot (lot) of little pieces to contend with, and I struggled with getting points and seams to match.  Notice the wibbly wobbly timey wimey windows.  But, overall, a pretty good job I think.

I used whatever was in my stash – I’ve been hanging on to the cloud print for some time and it was just the perfect background for the Tardis.  The large border has the look of the night sky to it with lots of gold and blue stars on a deep base.

I won’t show the back – even though I inserted a zipper, because in my excitement I made an error in where I was supposed to cut and well it’s not exactly pretty back there.  The Whovian doesn’t mind though – I just told her not to lean, sit, lie or use the pillow in any manner other than for looking or it may come undone.

This pattern was from Sewhooked available from Craftsy– it’s a free pattern as well (woohoo).  In fact there are stacks of fan fic projects out there for just about any obsession… Sherlock, MineCraft, Disney, Lego, Harry Potter, Star Wars and even Grumpy Cat!  If you really want to lose a couple of hours of your day check out Fandom in Stitches.

Sonya May Hem


It’s a kind of hexie magic

To the long list of things I am working on but may not complete —  I now add the hexie quilt.


I love a good polka dot (who doesn’t..??) and a mini chevron is the biz.  These are all fat quarters from Spotlight – of course – and since this was taken I also added in three more yellows and two more dark blues.  Brights seem to be my go to tones but I wanted it to have a little depth as well so added in a few pastel colours.

Nobody really tells you how awesome cutting out your shapes is. You cut and cut and cut and cut and cut. I’m using pre-cut papers, honestly who has time to cut out hexies before you cut out hexies.  Ridiculous.  These are 2″ hexagons from Sew Easy, about $5 for a pack of 100, I bought three packs (don’t ask) in Spotty.  And then I found a 2″ hexagon template with seam allowance in my LQS for $5.  A lot of tracing and cutting later…

And then you get to make up the actual hexie shape.  To keep things steady I used a couple of large paper clips to hold the shape while I basted.  Lots of tutorials out there but I like how Lori Holt works.

And wallah… 240 hexies later


And then the real fun begins.  It’s been quite therapeutic sitting there of an evening  stitching away.  I can generally manage one whole hexie flower a night. The first flower I did was random and it was awful so one night of sewing and one night of un-sewing. Simples.

Then I tried different layouts and had grand visions about cascading effects… yeah, not going to happen. So, I’m using a lovely old fashioned grandmothers garden layout.  My end aim is to have some white in between each flower so that each set stands on its own.


I really like where this is heading.  It’s old fashioned but with a modern touch.  And because when I’m working on a “project” I like to keep things coordinated and together, I made a little craft bag to keep it all in.  I’m like that…



Quilts: 1700-1945

or “let’s go to the gallery and then we can have lunch…”

What else can you do on an impossibly warm winter day in Brisbane than to head into South Bank and a visit to the Cultural Centre.  The Queensland Art Gallery is currently hosting the Quilts 1700-1945 exhibition until the 22nd September.  My friend and I had been planning to go for a while and were just waiting for the work/holiday stars to align and thus it was so.

Quilts from the exhibition are on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, as well as the National Gallery of Australia.  Thirty quilts are on display.

Now, my friend and I share a lot of common interests  – but crafting and more specifically sewing and quilting isn’t one of them (eating chocolate, fresh gyoza, and great British dramas to name a few, are) – so I was a bit worried that she might not be totally interested, but… this is the great thing with these exhibitions, they aren’t just for the aficionados but anyone who has an interest in history and anthropology.

Sometimes the story behind the quilt, who made it and why, is far more interesting than the end result.  Don’t get me wrong, all of the quilts were amazing and showed a dexterity and commitment that, when you consider the circumstances of their production, amplify their beauty.  I cannot imagine the patience and time it must have taken for these quilts – working by candle or gas lamp, no sewing machines and not a single rotary cutter in sight!

The most moving quilt for me was The Changi Quilt, constructed in 1942/3 by a troupe of Girl Guides in Changi Prison, the POW camp in Singapore.  The girls were aged between 8 and 16 and met secretly to sew this quilt for their troop leader, Mrs Ennis.  Each of the girls embroidered their name in a small patch.  It really is the most beautiful thing.  The only clothes they had were what they each wore in so the accumulation of enough fabric to make this quilt, along with enough thread to sew with, was in itself a challenge.  One of the girls’ mothers had brought a small packet of needles in with her, but these needed to last as it was all they had. The V&A museum has a video of one of the girls (as an adult) speaking about her time in the prison.

I also was inspired by the Chapman coverlet, an English paper pieced quilt made to commemorate the Duke of Wellington in 1829.  EPP is something that I am in turns fascinated and horrified by.  It looks so beautiful but I just don’t understand how it works.  But, the way this quilt has been displayed – fully on the front, and then when you go around to the back they have “framed” out some of the sections so you can see how it was pieced.  The original papers are still in place and that alone is like a piece of art. EPP still scares me but I have decided to give it a go!!  {I’m sure there will be a sad and sorry tale to tell when I start…}

There really were a lot of wonderful quilts on display – made with love, made to help pass the hours, made to give purpose to lives.  Pieced with scraps of cotton, felt, wool, military uniforms, bed sheets, old dresses and men’s suiting.  Fabulous iconography and simple shapes, muted tones and colours wilder than a hippies fisherman pants.

If you have the chance, go! There is also a side exhibit from local quilt artist, Ruth Stoneley who I will post about later. Don’t forget the gift shop either!  Lots of great quilting, sewing and craft books, beautiful limited print fabric and Hello Kitty Liberty cups! (yes, I bought one…)

For those interested, after the exhibition we had lunch at the GOMA Cafe, we both had the Preserved Lemon Risotto with goats cheese zucchini flowers.  It was delicious. We also shared a bowl of shoe string fries.  They were delicious too!



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