Sunday, 9 December 2012

A little bit of sewing


I've not been blogging much recently partly because the whole family has been struck down with various lurgys over the past few weeks and partly because I've been sewing instead.

So I apologise for the photo overload!

I finally finished my Mum's 60th Birthday quilt!!  Her birthday was in March and the quilt has been sitting basted since April/May time.

She has been very forbearing but she did drop some big hints that she would like it finished when she visited in September.  So when she & Dad were scheduled to visit at the end of November I knew I had to get my act together!

I'd had an idea of quilting it with the handprints but after a couple of attempts it became clear that I just don't have the control when I'm FMQ to do that yet.

So I decided to do a big stipple and it turned out really well.  This is the biggest quilt I've made (82" square) by some margin so I was quite chuffed that I managed to wrestle it through my machine.  It definitely gives me some confidence to try and improve my FMQ and to tackle things other than baby quilts.

The pattern is Large Lattice by Amy Smart on Moda Bakeshop  and I made it using Twiggy fabrics and two Klona solids.

So having got a long standing UFO off my back (with an enormous sense of relief) what did I do?  Did I get going with another WIP?  No, I started something new!

I chopped in to my FQ stack of Summersville and made Jeni Baker's Side Braid pattern

Part of the top is looped over the line but I didn't want it trailing in the mud!
 It is a great pattern - I wanted some nice, easy, instant gratification and it certainly was.  I cut the pieces one evening and sewed the top the following day.

I've still got quite a lot of Summersville left so I think I'll add in a coordinating solid and make some wonky log cabins for the back.  I'm thinking red at the moment but not sure.

After that I decided I did have to get on with stuff.  I finished all the panels for the Perfect Zip Bags I'm making as teacher gifts using Elizabeth Hartman's pattern.  I'm now part way through construction so hopefully I'll have them done in good time for the end of term - I'd rather not be madly sewing the night before term ends!

Seven are made from a Tradewinds charm pack which I split by colour and the remaining two are from a Verna charm pack.

Right I'm off to find the Christmas decorations in the loft.  The wee man is determined we should do the tree this morning but I'd like to wait until this afternoon (mainly because I like a glass of mulled wine whilst I do the tree and 10.30am is too early for that!)


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

WIP wednesday


It has been a while since I linked up with

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
But I've got some things I need to crack on with so thought it would help motivate me! So lets start with finishes:

Hurricane Sandy blocks

Last week I saw this post by Jennifer of Knotted Thread and thought I'd lend a hand

Jennifer now has enough blocks but is still accepting donations of batting, backing and binding.

Then the comments on Jennifer's post lead me to this post by Erin of Vesuvius Mama so I decided I could make a couple of blocks for her too

It is nice to be able to help out in a small way.

In progress

Memory quilt - the shirts my aunt sent have now been cut up as have the solids

I'm hoping to get sewing with these tonight but it depends how much progress I make with my mountain of ironing!

No progress

Mum's quilt - after my quilting fail I haven't touched it but I have to get on with it as she is coming to stay in three weeks and I'd really like to be able to give it to her then (given that it was meant to be a birthday present and her birthday was in March!)

Teacher gifts - I'm planning to make zip pouches.  Supplies are purchased but I've got until the end of December so these are low priority at the moment.

Right I'm off to see what everyone else is up to - always dangerous as the temptation to start something new always increases with all that eye candy!


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2012

Yes it is that time of year again!

Amy's Creative Side
One of the biggest events of the online quilting community run by the fabulous Amy of Amy's Creative Side.  There are already over 300 quilts linked up and I stayed up way to late last night looking at a fraction of those.

So this time round it was quite easy to choose which quilt to share - the mini I made for round 3 of the Brit Quilt Swap.

One of my goals of 2012 was to join in more and after testing the water with a Rainbow charm Swap I decided to brave the Brit Quilt Swap and actually make something for someone I didn't know! To all you seasoned swappers that might not seem like a big deal but I was anxious, particularly considering some of the amazing quilters in the group.

I was assigned my parter and found that she didn't have a blog and had only a few photos on her Flickr stream so didn't have much to go on.  But she liked rainbow colours, cute embroidery and her mosaic featured a couple of appliqué trees so almost immediately the idea of a rainbow tree with embroidered animals popped into my head.

I had a leftover Layer cake square of a woodgrain print and my rainbow charms from the swap and was pleased by how close to my original idea it turned out.

Brit Quilt Swap 3 - applique finished Then I set to work with the embroidery.  I used Doodle Stitching Motifs by Aimee Ray, although I altered her racoon into a fox as I thought that was more appropriate for the UK.

The fox did cause some issues as initially he rather disappeared

Brit Quilt Swap 3 - disappearing fox But I replaced the white with a pale brown and that sorted that problem. Originally I had planned a pieced rainbow border but I got as far as the piecing before realising it was going to overwhelm everything else. I kicked about some other ideas but in the end decided it didn't need a border. I wanted to keep the quilting simple (mainly as my skills in that department are a work in progress) so I quilted round each leaf and then quilted 'grass' using two shades of green. I bound it in brown solid, although I found I was just short so I added in a scrap of an Ann Kelle print with a brown background.

Once it was bound I loved how that scrap seemed to carry the rainbow leaves out onto the binding - funny how these things work out!

So here is the finished item Brit Quilt Swap 3 - Finished!
I was so pleased with it, completely different from anything else I've done but I would happily have kept it. I loved the whole swap and enjoyed getting involved and trying something new. The only tiny downer was that although I know the mini arrived at its new home, I never got any acknowledgement. But hey, I don't know what was going on in the recipient's life and I had a blast making it so that was enough for me (that and receiving my own fabulous mini!).

So thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to visit some of the other wonderful quilts in the festival.

The stats: 
 Size: 12" by 12" 
Special techniques: Raw edge appliqué, Embroidery 
Quilted by: Me 
Best Category: Mini quilt/ROYGBIV quilt

Friday, 26 October 2012

Ups and downs

Why is it that sometimes the things you thought would be straightforward turn out complicated and vice versa?

That has certainly been the case with my sewing this week!

But before we get to that how about a little finish?  I made this little quilt for a work colleague's new baby girl:

I decided that there was nooooo way I could justify buying more fabric so I searched through my stash and found a bundle of five pink fat quarters from Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry together with a yard of the pink dogwood I bought in John Lewis when I spotted it for £5 per metre.

So I googled 'baby quilt five fat quarters' and that led me to I'm a ginger monkey and a gorgeous little quilt.  So a few calculations and a decision to throw in some cream as all the Modern Meadow prints were quite large scale and off I went.  I was pleased by how well it came together.

It took a bit longer to finish than hoped because of my sewing machine going AWOL but once back I quilted it in about an hour!  My free motion quilting is definitely getting better (on small items, at least) - I gave stippling a go for the first time on an actual quilt and although there are one or two sharp turns I'm pleased with the effect.

It will be packaged up and posted off tomorrow.

Talking of FMQ that was also my down this week.  I finally got round to making a start on quilting my Mum's Twiggy lattice quilt and it was a bit of a disaster.  Buoyed up by how much better my FMQ has been I was feeling pretty confident, particularly as my plan was to quilt a handprint on each block so I thought I wouldn't have to worry about getting stuck in a corner or anything like that.

Unfortunately I failed to realise the different the weight of a massive quilt would make!  At 83" square it is the biggest quilt I've made and the weight of it made it hard to manoeuvre and as a result my quilting was jerky and basically a mess!  Ah well that is overconfidence for you!  I will unpick, regroup and rethink how to roll & support the quilt to allow me to move it more easily!

On the plus side I made a zip pouch that turned out much better than expected!  No photos (again) as I finished it last night and completely forgot to photograph it until mid afternoon by which time it was too dark.
I'm not great with zips - I put them into the cushions I made as teacher gifts and they turned out ok but my previous attempts at pouches were not great.

However it turns out that some good instructions can work wonders.  I used Oh Fransson 's Perfect Zip Pouches pattern and it was great.

Other news - I offered to make my aunt a quilt from some of my uncle's shirts.  We are a close family and it is difficult being the other end of the country and not being able to offer more support during this difficult time.  So I asked my mum to float the idea and once she had explained what I meant and that it wouldn't just be the shirts 'cut up and sewn together higgledy piggledy' (to quote my aunt) she was keen on the idea.

So these arrived last weekend

And after some thought and surfing I have decided to make a version of Smokey Mountain Stars by Bonnie Hunter.

I'm planning to reverse the light/dark because the shirts are predominantly pale blue so the stars will be lighter and I'll use dark blue/navy for the background.  I'm wondering about adding a couple of fat quarters into the mix - possibly rust red and gold to pick up the colours of the top shirt and the yellow in the second from top.

Right I'm off - J is away visiting his best mate this weekend so I can sew as long as I want without feeling.


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

What I've been up to

Gosh - over a month since I posted.  Things have conspired against me and September saw very little sewing going on.

Firstly my sewing machine threw a wobbly and started skipping stitches when I tried to do anything apart from a straight line.  I know from experience that this means it is time for a service.  No where in my town services machines but a my LQS takes them in and they are collected by the service engineer and then returned.  Last year when I enquired I was told they were collected once a fortnight so I dropped off my machine just before the appointed date.

This year I was told that I should just drop it in, they would call the engineer and he would collect it within a day or so.  So I dropped off my machine and waited ... and waited ... and waited.  It turns out I had been given the wrong info, the situation was still the same as last year and I had dropped off my machine, yes you guessed it, the day after a collection.  So I was without a machine for 3 weeks!

So what is a girl to do?  I did a little bit of embroidery and a lot of fabric shopping (hoorah)

From Saints & Pinners
Flea Market Fancy and Metro Circles

More shopping
And then when I got my machine back it was a big rush to make a quilt for my husband's boss who is expecting her first baby.  This was delayed a bit by a sad trip to Scotland for my uncle's funeral (expected as he has been ill for some time) and as a result there are no in progress shots but here is the finished article

Helix baby quiltHelix quilt - back

The pattern is Helix by The Tulip Patch (great pattern, even with all the HSTs I could definitely see myself making it again as the instructions are really clear and it went together easily).

Fabric: Klona cream and two prints from Pure Scandi collection.

Quilted with a simple straight lines on the diagonal.

I've also finished another baby quilt (it just needed quilting and binding) but the weather has been miserable the last few days that I've not been at work so no photos yet!  I'm working at home tomorrow so hopefully I'll get some then.

Bye for now

Silly Banana's photostream

Helix baby quiltHelix quilt - backShoppingMore shoppingGnoma ClausBrit Quilt Swap 3 mini received
Bought - Japanese charm swapBrit Quilt Swap 3 - Finished!Brit Quilt swap 3 - embroidery done....Brit Quilt Swap 3 - disappearing foxBrit Quilt Swap 3 - applique finishedTrial embroidery
Brit Quilt Swap 3 - hello partner!Layout for cushion 3Cushion top 2Cushion top 1241 ToteBrit Quilt Swap 3 mosaic
Monsterz wonky cross baby quiltMonsterz baby quilt - backMonsterz baby quiltWonky cross baby quiltSummersvilleIMG_9980Siblings together - quilt top 2

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Mine! All mine!!


Well yesterday was a bit hectic - the wee chap went back to school (year 1) and luckily he was pleased to go back.  The little lady was less impressed about going back to nursery but luckily her best pal arrived at the same time as us so they ran off happily to play - tantrum averted!  Work was busy and then the rush to collect the kids.

So it was a nice little excitement to open the front door and see a card from the postman.  As I wasn't expecting anything else I was pretty sure it was my Brit Quilt Swap parcel.

Luckily on Wednesdays I work at home so after dropping off the kids I headed for the parcel office and then raced home.  Opening the box here is what awaited me:

So I opened it up and inside were

Gorgeous scraps, Green & Blacks Chocolate (my favourite!) and such a pretty package.  It didn't stay pretty for long as I ripped into it.  And then I actually let out an audible gasp

I am so happy that I got this fabulous mini from Mary of The Wool Palace - she really ticked all my boxes.  All the quilts in the swap were lovely but this is one  that I actually coveted.  When Mary first posted a picture of it I feel in love with it and am blown away that it is actually mine.

The picture doesn't do it justice - it is beautifully pieced and the Oakshott cottons glow against the linen background.

The swap was great fun and I'm so glad I took part.

Right I'd better get on with some work!


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Goodbye August

Wow I can't believe that it is the first of September already.

August has been fun but not very productive on the sewing front - the Olympics, our first year of school holidays which required some juggling, and the little lady's sleep (never great) going to pot again has meant that my time and enthusiasm for sewing was limited.

So in many ways I was glad I had signed up for the Brit Quilt Swap round 3 as it forced me to do at least a little bit of sewing.  It also meant I tried out some new things and generally has fun.

I'm so pleased with the final result:

I just hope my parter likes it!  It went off in the post yesterday along with a few extra goodies

Chocolate, fabric scraps and a pincushion made with my trial embroidery
 I will definitely join up for some more swaps in the future as it was a great experience - can't wait to see what I get!

Other sewing this month included a scrappy quilt for the cat - black cat and new cream sofa was not a good mix so this little number was produced.  I cut a 2.5"x5" piece from every scrap big enough and randomly pulled them out of a bag.  It is my first scrappy quilt and it turned out better than expected - I enjoyed seeing all the fabrics from the projects I've made over the last couple of years.
 It was also a chance to try out some free motion quilting without worrying about messing up - the stippling went surprisingly well, the pebbling and curved lines need more work!

I decided to try something other than quilts and Dolly was the result (we are not good at names in our house)

She is the Baby pattern from A Bit of Whimsy Dolls (her nappy & sleep suit are from the Baby Bunting pattern).  I'd highly recommend the pattern as it was straightforward (took me a couple of hours) and makes a lovely little doll - the little lady was well chuffed with her!

That is about it for August - I had hoped to have this baby quilt finished

but when I sat down to quilt it a couple of evenings ago my machine threw a wobbly and kept skipping stitches.  It seems only to be an issue when I try to FMQ - straight stitching is fine but curves or loops are a disaster.  I think it probably needs a service (at least I'm hoping that is all it needs).  So depending on what happens there September may or may not be more productive!

I'm linking up with

Lily's Quilts

and I'm off to see what everyone else has been up to.

Bye for now