Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Good Progress on my WIP

 It did take a while to make and trim all the HST blocks.  Then to make them into diamonds - remembering to make 'left hand' and 'right hand' diamonds for the pattern to work.

Now I'm starting to lay them out and sew sections of the quilt together.
 The larger blocks look like this
 Put together with the small diamonds they look like this.  This is one third of the quilt top.  I'm pleased with it!  Hope that my lovely niece will be pleased too with how her chosen fabrics are looking!
Enough spare time to make this postcard for a birthday swap.  Fun to use some scraps and add quilting to it.

Now time to go back to my diamonds and sew up a storm until my DD's break up from school on Friday!

Happy summer sewing!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Excitement of a Project Start!

 Oh the thrill of a completely new project with completely new fabrics!  The anticipation!  The possibility that this may be the quilt when all the seams are perfect, when all the corners meet! 

Aren't these fabrics fabulous?  Chosen by my SiL and niece for a specific quilt pattern that my niece has chosen for her 'Uni Quilt'.
 Added to these low volume prints that they also chose, all I had to do was to start cutting and sewing!   I spent some time procrastinating.  I want the quilt to be perfect, but I know that I'm only prepared to put in the time and effort to make it as perfect as it turns out, with just an ordinary amount of effort!
 All the coloured fabrics cut into the squares that are needed.
 All the fabrics cut and diagonals marked on the squares that needed them.

It hardly seems enough fabric to make a complete quilt top, does it?
 The first blocks finished.  Twenty four down, 336 to go!
 Here's the start of those HSTs.  They are going to take me a while to make, press and trim.  I'm sure that I'll have more to show you next week!

The pattern, by Karen Lewis of Blue Berry Park, was published in Love Patchwork and Quilting in October 2014.  I've been wanting to make it since I first saw it!  I'm excited that I'm finally doing so.
Rather more instant gratification gained by making these bead and knot necklaces along with some of my gal pals.  Perfect summer colours for me, although I confess to not being much of a necklace wearer!

Happy sewing and crafting, everyone!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Another Scrap Finish

 Another week, another finish!  This will be the last finish for a little while, though, as I'm about to start a quilt for one of my nieces that will take me a little longer to make.  More on that next week!

This is a 44" lovely, made from my 2" strips and squares, the surprise additional size that I cut when I was tackling my scraps.
 It will look less folded once it's out of the washing machine, I'm sure!

I put the strips together 'lasagne quilt' style, stopping once I'd got to a size that I thought I could cut up usefully.

I thought that adding the sashing and border to bring the size up a little was a good plan, and rotating alternate blocks seems to work well too.

I shall pass all three of these scrap quilts on to Project Linus at my quilt group next week.
After watching a terrific  Patsy Thompson DVD (thank you Avril!) I decided to quilt with a loop de loop vine.  My leaves need some work on consistency, but its a good start point for me!

You can see here the leaves  amongst the loops on the back of it here.

I'm off to fondle some fabric and perhaps even iron and cut it - planning and starting a new project is always fun, isn't it?

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Another Scrap Stash Quilt - and cake!

 Another little quilt finished!  50" x 42".
Sprawled over a sofa it is inviting a snuggle now that the weather is a little cooler again!
 I used the same 'loop the loop' quilting pattern as on the last little quilt.
 I do love this IKEA fabric that I've used for the border, backing and binding.
 I also made a couple of these clever little coasters that you can slip over the base of a wine glass, using the tutorial from 'Busy as Can Be'.  Just 7 charm squares and a few minutes.  Perfect for posting overseas to friends.
 Not too much other sewing done, though, as it was a birthday week in our house.

On the actual day a Victoria sponge was requested.
After the birthday treat of indoor sky diving (!) this cake - trying to recreate the magic of flight, but without the roar of the big fan underneath you!

Its been a tiring week, but a fun one.  Time to settle into some quiet sewing now!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Scrap Happy

 When I was sorting all my scraps I came across a pile of 10 1/2" square pieces of fabric.  Just a couple more light fabric squares added to them gave me 20 HSTs (Half Square Triangles) to play with.

This layout used just 16 of them.
 This used the same 16, but turned the corners to give a boxier look.
 This used all 20 blocks - much more satisfying and a slightly larger quilt.
 It was tweaked slightly, then borders added.

Here is it is basted and ready to be quilted - but not until the hot weather we're being subjected to at the moment cools down a little.  The room where I sew is roasting hot at the moment!

This remains a WIP!
 A little more sewing.  These four cards use my heart orphan blocks - layered with a slightly larger fabric square and sewn onto the card.  Quick but effective, I've already used one!
These took a little longer, but my DD1 was very pleased to give them to her friend.  It's fun to make these small projects with the fabric that my daughters think is most suitable for their chums!

I hope that you are a enjoying the weather where you are!  Happy sewing!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Scrap Quilt Finish!

 My 16 patches are sashed, bordered, backed, basted, quilted and bound!

I've also taken the chance to try a couple of outdoor quilt photos in this mornings sunshine.  I couldn't persuade our chicks to pose in the background of this first one, though, despite using the fence of their run.  They looked faintly bemused and went back to their dust baths!
 This shot shows the colour change between the centre four blocks and the others.  I'm pleased with that.
This shot shows off the square in a square highlights.

Overall the quilt is 45" square.  I originally intended to make the sashing and borders wider, but decided to live more or less within the constraints of  typical 'width of fabric'.  Of course, as I was adding the borders I realised that as I was making them with cornerstones I could have made them wider at least!  A lesson for next time!
 The quilting is a 'loop the loop' design based on something taught by Patsy Thompson.  I own one of her DVD's and was reminded of it by Avril recently.  A fun design!  Thanks for the reminder!

The backing is a bargain from IKEA.  I usually make a trip to see if there are any fabrics that I could use as a generic backing fabric once I run out of whatever I last bought - and although I don't love this as much as some of the prints that I've bought over the years, it's a lovely 56" wide blue grey fabric, which has a lot of appeal for me.
I had fun making the quilt.  As well as a scrappy top (and patchwork wadding) I decided to use all the part bobbins of threads that I had.  It feels very cleansing to have so many empty bobbins again.  I tend to have white, grey black and perhaps straw coloured threads on bobbins ready to go.  I would say that 80% of the time I use grey Aurifil for piecing, and quite often I use it for quilting too.

Time for me to go and start on the next scrap top!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Scraps in Sixteens

 The mountain of scraps has been tamed!

Here are my resulting piles of 3" squares.  Once I'd finished cutting the scraps they were re-loaded into a (slightly smaller) set of plastic drawers.  First back out are my 3" and 1 3/4" squares, ready to make the first of this set of scrap quilts.
  I've made the first set of 16 'sixteen patch' blocks.  The outer dozen are my pink / purple / bluish ones, with the centre four being the blue / green ones.

Although I've laid it out like this, I'm planning to sash the blocks to show them off a bit better.  I've bought some Kona 'Ash' to do that.
Do you like the little 'square in a square' blocks?  I've included two in each 16 patch, just like the example in 'Scrap Quilt Sensation' by Katherine Guerrier.

They definitely give it a little extra 'zing' don't they?

My plan is to work on this quilt before starting on the next set of sixteen blocks, which will just about be right for the number of 3" squares that I've harvested from my scraps.  I love to lose myself in my little bit of fabric heaven.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Scraps Galore!

 I've nearly completed the scrap cutting overhaul on two out of my three drawers - so it's going well! 
As expected it has been quite time consuming.  Also as expected, I've been distracted into cutting additional sizes as well, so 2 1/2" squares and anything 2" wide have also been added to the piles!  This does have the advantage that I am wasting even less fabric, though, which is a good thing.

It's lovely finding 'old friends' as I go through my scraps - some of them from my very earliest days of quilting, maybe 17 years ago!
In other news, our garden is enjoying a few minor changes too.  Our five pet chicks are now out of the fenced paddling pool in the kitchen and in their coop (RH in this picture).  Not too long until they will be big enough to be in the whole run!

We are also in the process of trading up trampolines - moving from 8' round to 9'x13' oval.  That's the biggest size that we can manage on the decking.  Our DDs are looking forward to it!

I'm looking forward to finishing scrap cutting so that I can get on with some scrap sewing.  Hope that you have fun goals too!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Small Delights

 I'm giddy with the thrill of another finish!  This might be the last for a while, as it's the final unfinished project that had been put away over the last year or so.

Completed size at about 18" x 14", this really is a mini quilt.  You may remember that it was a laser cut kit from John Flynn.  My accuracy leaves some thing to be desired, but I'm pleased with the overall effect.
 More small delights with these little fabric gift bags (from a tutorial from aspoonsfulofsugardesigns).

They are very easy to make by hand or machine and can either be used as tiny gift pouches or left open to make little 'trays'.  I think that they would be handy for jewellery on holiday - somewhere to put tiny things so that you can find them again!

 Another set of small loveliness.  A couple of gift sets (zippy pouch, fabric covered notebook, tissue holder) for birthday gifts for DD2's friends.

Can you tell that I'm between quilting projects now?! 
 So on to the next project!  These are my overflowing scrap drawers.

At one point I was trying to cut to a system and the drawers are labelled up with the size pieces that I thought I was going to use.

However, more often than not, at the end of a project I ended up stuffing random sizes of fabric into these drawers.  They are now so full that I'm no longer able to do that!

Careful examination showed the zip lock bags where I was keeping scraps according to colour - an idea that I love, but which, again, I'd failed to really follow.

I've now come to the momentous decision that I should actually cut these pieces into standard sizes.  It's going to take me a while!
The key difference this time is that I've decided what two scrap projects I'm going to try and make as a result of the cutting frenzy - which gave me three sizes to aim at. 

In addition I'm going to have anything sensible at 2 1/2" wide (jelly roll width) and 1 1/4" wide (my favourite binding width) as well as 5" (charm squares).

The list of sizes is hung up in front of me so that I can't get distracted into other sizes.  Its going to be time consuming to prep these fabrics but it will be very satisfying to make good use of them at the end!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

All the Trimmings!

 Trimmings.  Funny sort of word - it could be the little cut off edges, like here, or lace around a hat, or stuffing and food stuffs around a roast meal - before we even start to think about trimming sails or trimming a boat.....  Anyway, I was thinking about the first sort of trimming this week, as I set to work on the mini blocks that I was making for my 'storm at sea'.

This layout was the first that I tried.  I've tweaked it a couple of times now, but I haven't started sewing it together yet as I'm trying to find some secondary patterns.  I'm not sure that I shouldn't have done that before sewing the parts together, but I'm not sure that I have a household that wouldn't have fiddled with the tiny pieces before I'd got that far, so block making first seemed like the best plan!
 Whilst that layout is still under consideration, I decided that I should put some 'raw' fabric paint onto my favourite calico, just to have a reference chart.

 I learned from my previous Wendy Dolan inspired piece, and diluted the colours a lot more this time.

Of course, I think that I may have gone too far in the other direction.  Slightly paler than in my head!

This is the start point (fabric blocks, paint washes) of my next attempt.  I also used a little fabric paint that was supposed to puff but didn't, really.  More experimentation required!
This is the stitching start point, where I'd got the main lines down using the walking foot. 
This is closer to being complete.  Lines given more weight by going over then more than once,  curved lines and FMQ completed with a hopping foot.  I used a lovely variegated thread for the two different plants.

It's still not quite there yet, though.  I need to add a little more weight to the gate.  I need to add something in the bottom RH corner (perhaps a sketch pavement?  I'm not sure yet).

Overall I'm pretty pleased that it's a recognisable interpretation of my front entrance.  Lots of fun to do - and plenty more exploring to do on this technique.

Off to work on these two WIPS now!  I hope that you are finding some stitching time too!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A Puzzling Finish!

 Okay, not really a puzzling finish, but I wanted to try and reference the fact that this is a Suduko quilt!

It might be hard to pick out, but the nine blocks used to make the quilt are each made up of nine small blocks, which have between one and nine fabrics in them.

The quilt design was published in 'The Quilter' by Lesley Coles.

 It's one of the challenges set by my quilt group - Richmond and Kew Quilters - in order to generate a few special categories for our quilt show (which is still some way off).
The front is a little busy with a lot of similar sized prints.  I decided to make the quilt from my stash, so some fabric choices were based on whether or not I had sufficient fabric within the colour families that I wanted to use! 
 The stripe on the back is one of the fabrics from the front - I had just enough to eek out this seed print into a backing - phew!

Curly quilting all over - trying to make the whorls large enough that the quilting wasn't too dense as I wanted this to be another good snuggle quilt for someone.  After the exhibition it will probably go to Project Linus.

 I'm happy that it looks cheerful, even if it is difficult to distinguish the Suduko within it!

Another fast finish as I'd made the small blocks for this last year.  It's fun working through my WIP list and clearing project piles away as I go.
I've also started making another Wendy Dolan inspired piece.  I haven't travelled far to take photos as it's of my front gate!  Small patches of different textures added, along with a little puff paint.  Next steps colour and stitching.

My next WIP to work on is a mini storm at sea.  I started it some time ago but put it to one side when I wasn't pleased with my seam accuracy.  I'm now thinking that I either need to brace myself to unpick it or to carry on and complete it - just leaving it to one side isn't good enough!  Wish me luck!