Tuesday 24 June 2014

What a week!

 Hurrah - another quillow finished (although this time I've neglected to take a photo of it folded into its cushion shape - perhaps I'll remember next week!

I can see why this pattern is so popular (thank you Benta for reminding me!) - it is fearsomely fast to put together!  The final quilt is a shade under 60" square.  I quilted with straw coloured Auriful in the background and a variegated purple in the star.
 The other sewing this week was on a smaller scale.  DD2 turned nine, and for her 'not a party, just three friends for a birthday playdate' (code for 'party warm up, next week there will be hordes of small girls rampaging around the house') we made sleeping bags and outfits for the toy dogs that I bought them.
 I neglected to get photos of their excellent projects, so here are my example pieces.

I made the samples, transferred basic shapes onto cereal box card for them to use, and then pretty much stood back to let the mayhem begin!
 Of course, it wasn't quite as simple as that.  After all, three of them claimed never to have used a sewing machine before....although within minutes they were all sewing away.  I had only designed things that had short straight lines, so it all worked out OK!

Quite how we got to making lacy black undies for them I can't remember, but it's likely to have something to do with the bear / no underwear rhyme that one girl made up!  Lucky I had some wide lace lying around..... oh the joys of having a good crafting stash!
This was the cake for the birthday.  Just a couple of days until the birthday party with a whole new cake and a whole tribe of girls round to craft and play!

Children's birthdays are magical, but awfully tiring, aren't they?

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Triple 'Yay'!

 My first 'yay' was hearing that I'd won this lovely book from Janet Clare - her new book which has some lovely projects in it.

It was even better when she posted the book so quickly that it arrived the next day - I felt very lucky!

I can reveal to you that the style is 'classic' Janet Clare.  Muted tones and colours that make you relax just reading through it.  If you aren't already familiar with her work then I suggest you pop over to her blog or get hold of one of her other books.  I particularly like the fact that although there are quilts to be made, there are other 'little projects' - sewn and non-sewn - which can all too easily cause one to drop what one is already doing in order to start (and perhaps finish!) another little item!
 Look!  Janet even personalised the title page for me!

Can you tell that I'm excited?
My second 'yay' was for my girls.  I am excited that my DDs took part (with 17 of their friends and some of the mums) in the local Race for Life.  They managed the 5Km with aplomb - and I'm very proud of my girls, the rest of the team, and of everyone who has supported them with either encouragement, praise or cold, hard cash!

Its not too late to donate if you'd like to help celebrate their achievements.  My girls ran partly in memory of a friends mum and partly in support of their grandpa.  They are part of the team on this JustGiving page

And the third 'yay'?  This one has been a little longer in the coming - I've been studying part time for nearly three years in order to complete my City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting (through the School of Stitched Textiles - distance learning, working to my own timetable).  Today I heard that I have passed it!

There will celebrating in the streets of Twickenham tonight (well, ok, maybe a glass of sparkling Elderflower cordial later, if I can persuade someone to go to the supermarket for me!).

Hope that you are having a good week too and finding reasons to celebrate.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Quillow Finished!

 A quilt on legs!  When you have stopped admiring my admirable quilt stand (otherwise known as DH) I'll allow you to admire the quilt instead - as I'm quite pleased with how its turned out!

Cobblestones (with halved cobblestone border) on the front.
 IKEA's 'numbers in text' for the back - extended with some lovely pink batik.
With one of my favourite ever stripy fabrics for the binding.  Chosen as it's on DD1's camp blanket, so we thought it would be nice to have it on this quilt for her teacher.

The backing is also appropriate, as this teacher (The Lovely Miss Stout, as she is ALWAYS called in our house) has championed DD1 right the way through school, and was instrumental in getting her dyslexia diagnosed, amongst other issues, as well as helping to get her additional help for school.
 This shot is where I'm trying to show you some of the quilting - I made an 'X' with feathers - partly as the idea of a great big kiss appealed to me, partly because that is what the quilt was asking for.

As planned, the rest of it was stippled.  I worked hard at trying to keep the scale of the stipple even, and I just about succeeded.
 You will have guessed from the title of this post that this quilt is hiding a secret - that it is also a cushion (or pillow, as my USA friends would have it).

The front used up lots of the scraps from the quilt - wish that I'd had a few more useful sized bits of paler pink too!

This shows it with the quilt all tucked away.
 On the back you can see the cushion cover / toe cosy when the quilt is unfolded.
 So, one quilt finished, it must be time to start another.  This is my fabric pull for one of those oh-so-fashionable (or maybe that was a while ago?) giant star quilts.  Perfect as my next project (another quilt heading for school!).
Lastly, following news that a member of my quilting group has been diagnosed with breast cancer, I made a quick 'ouch pouch' - or comfort cushion, if you prefer that term.  There are a number of different patterns on the Internet - crescents, hearts, plain rectangles - they are all trying to cushion the area between your torso and arm, particularly 'post op'.

I picked up the pattern (there is a full tutorial too) from emlibrary here - I like the idea of the bow / elastic to fasten it around your shoulder, if you so choose.

Perhaps if you don't want to quilt you might consider making a few of these instead?  Quite fast to make, and I'm sure that they would be well received at your local cancer treatment centre.

Tuesday 3 June 2014

Decisions, Decisions!

 Progress on the quilt has been quite good.

I production lined the making of the blocks, and then laid them out on my table to try and decide on a layout.

Of course, I should have remembered that I generally prefer an odd number of rows and columns if I'm using alternate colours for blocks.  I still wanted to use all the blocks, so cut the extras in half (one of them in quarters) and made a border from them.
This is the finished layout - shown here basted and ready for quilting.

I have even managed to start quilting.  I've started with freehand feathers out to each corner from the middle, but the rest of it will be tight stippling.

But what of the decisions?  Most of them (for example the layout) have been made. Well, I'm trying to decide whether to leave this as a quilt, or whether to turn it into a quillow.  A quilt means a faster finish, a quillow might mean that it is better used / more useful for the intended recipient.  Hmmmm.  Time for more pondering whilst I do a little more meditative quilting!