Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Bits and Bobs

I've had a good run of quilting over the last few weeks - concentrating on my UFO's has been a good way to make progress for me - until this week when life (and holidays!) got in the way of sewing time!

A couple of weeks ago I went to an entertaining talk by Jo Avery at my quilt group, Richmond and Kew Quilters.  Pretty much defining what makes a 'Modern Quilt' with lots of examples to show us.  Her work is always fun - you might have seen it in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine - but you can also see some on her blog here.

I bought a book that she'd co-authored too: 50 Fat Quarter Makes.  Lots of small projects that look perfect for my DD's and I want to sew over the holidays!

Just as well, as I've only managed two small sewing tasks this week: patching a hole in DD2's leggings (!) and making a small zipper pouch so that I could walk DD2 and one of her friends through how to make them.  I managed it and the girls were very pleased with their pencil case sized pouches, even if I did forget to take a photo of them before they were whisked away!
This was my version - which has already found a purpose, housing my 'power block' (remote charger) and various leads when we went away for a few nights.

Not big, not clever, but a zipped and lined pouch is quite a good little sewing project to have under our belts, so to speak!

I hope that you are having happy summer sewing too!
Next week I hope to have made more progress on my Dear Jane again.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Small Stuff

Having put aside my Dear Jane for the moment, until I've got a clear enough floor to baste it (well, 'them' - see my last post!), I've been making small stuff.

Like this micro quilt - just 3 1/4" square, with an improv 12 patch middle, fully bound.  Fun to do to and inspired by Amanda jane at crazymomquilts.

I expect to make more over the summer - they are a good way to use a tiny bit of scrap stash with a fun result.
 More small things here - trying to see what I could make out of two tea towels from Poundland.  The answer was: a notebook cover, a tissue pouch, a zipper pouch and a tiny purse.  I had fun with these, but the tea towels I was using were quite loosely woven, which means that I'm not sure that these objects are going to last with much use.....

Thanks, Benta, for the original idea for the zipper purse and tea towel use, though!
I've also made four fabric postcards.

These two I took photos of, the other ones, errrmmmm......no.  It turns out that I didn't!

I also failed to take photos of another couple of personalised covered notebooks and tissue holders - last minute end-of-term stuff!
Lastly, with hardly any sewing, a bunting card to celebrate another significant birthday for a friend.

In between these I've been sewing a few of my little storm at sea blocks.

Now that the school holidays have started in earnest it's more difficult to work on larger projects but at least I'm getting my sewing fix in other ways!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Measure Twice......

Thank you everyone who weighed in with an opinion on my Dear Jane dilemma.

I decided that it would be nice to have a quilt on display that fitted the space, so after some deliberation, and knowing the width of the space, decided that I would change the layout.

I knew that if I had the blocks just 10 columns across that they would fit in the width of wall that I had available.  Great!  So I would remove the other three columns and use them to create four more rows, with just one more block needed in order to do that.

I created this block.  Totally unlike the Dear Jane blocks in execution, this is fusible applique with a little FMQ 'embroidery'.

I'm happy that it shows something that represents my family (I was pregnant with my first daughter when I started this quilt, now I have two wonderful girls of 12 and 10).  It records the time that it took to make the blocks on the front of the quilt not just on a label on the back.

I sashed around this block with new sashing fabric to denote that it was different to the others.  I re-jigged the other blocks to make my new rectangular quilt.

Just one error.  You are probably familiar with the phrase 'measure twice, cut once'?  Unfortunately, in my head I knew that the new wall under the window was HUGE, but the problem is that in real life it's not as huge as my quilt!!!  Doh!

I'm still laughing at myself!

I've carried the quilt top around the house, and I still haven't got anywhere else big enough to put it up!

I'm going to end up with a 'Jane in Two Parts' - there will be two rows above the new window, 15 rows below.  It is, I admit, an even more unconventional layout than I was thinking of earlier in the week (!) - but at least I get all the blocks on one wall.

Rods and brackets are ordered - I just need to get on with unpicking a seam and adding some more border strips so that I can get my (two for the price of one) quilts backed, basted, quilted, bound and finished!

I might just go and measure that wall again before I set to, though!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Dear Jane Dilemma

 I don't understand it.   Apparently the phrase 'standing on the edge of history' is rather too grand, in the opinion of my family, to describe coming to the end of making the last of my Dear Jane squares!

 I'm not sure that it was grand enough.  A twelve year journey condensed into a 13 x 13 square of blocks!
 These were the last ones to be made.
 And here it is, sashed.

Naturally I found that I hadn't got enough of the sashing fabric to add the last two narrow borders to frame it, so I went and bought something fairly similar, but still different.  All in the spirit of this scrappy creation.

However, I have a dilemma.  I have the (almost) perfect place in mind to hang the quilt when it's finished. It's the *almost* that's a problem.  The space (which is nearly finished - the window should go in later today) isn't *exactly* perfect.
It isn't as wide as the quilt.  So, before I baste and quilt this piece I have a decision to make.

Should I do the nearly unthinkable and shuffle the layout so that I have a rectangular quilt?  It would mean losing four blocks from it, turning the quilt into an 11 x 15 block quilt.  It feels wrong to be doing that in one way (the 'rule keeper' way) but right to make something that fits my space (the pragmatic, excited to display way).  What would you do?

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

A finish and a L O N G term WIP!

 I'm back working on my Dear Jane again!

I started it on 28th January 2003, just over 12 short (!) years ago. 

I've worked on it in fits and starts.  The last blocks I made were in August 2014, but I feel that the time has come to buck up my ideas and finish all the square blocks. I never intended to make the triangles, as I only have limited space for the quilt.
 It turns out that I stopped with only 10 blocks left to make!

These are the four that I've made this week, and I'm planning on making the final six next week.

I'm hoping to finish it completely before October.  Wish me luck!
This is my finish!  My 'Military Wives song' Round Robin quilt!
Difficult to photograph at 72" wide, but this was my best attempt.  The bulgy bit on the LHS is where it is hung over a wall light. 
 This is a clearer shot of the left half.
The top strip is the 'made up' one from bits and bobs and scraps by me to balance the top.
The second strip is by Nerida - the purple square represents a travelling soldier, always part of the family unit but not always in the same place.
The third strip was my 'starter strip'.
The fourth strip by Karen who knows one of the military wives choir members.  There is a Southern Belle block to represent her, chevrons to represent her recently promoted husband and the three purple accents representing their three children.

On the right hand side from the top down I have Jane's block which represents the blue airmail letters being a bridge of communication - squares for the letters, triangles for the questions and answers that they contain.
Then there is Benta's extra strip - some of the text of the song embroidered.
Third down I have Marjolyn's pieced strip, including a star of destiny, interlocked squares (representing families together) and delectable mountains for the ups and downs of life.
Finally I have some of Benta's hexie work - representing the heads of the choir from a high shot taken of them singing.

I'm so lucky to have such beautiful work from my quilting friends - it's been a pleasure to bring this quilt into a whole piece.

I should also remember to say 'thank you' to  Benta's friend 'Willit' for her inspired idea to add some orange flashes to the binding to help balance it.  They only just show up in the photos, but there are there and definitely add to the whole.  I let them fall at random around my binding (good for overcoming my control freak instincts!) and I'm pretty happy with how that worked out.

So, big thanks to Nerida, Karen, Jane, Marjolyn, Benta and Willit for their contributions to my completed quilt hanging.  I can't wait for the builders to complete their work (just three more weeks, I hope!) so that we can hang it in it's destination wall space!