Tuesday 30 June 2015

Quilting, quilting, quilting!

 I've spent most of my sewing time this week quilting this wall hanging - my Round Robin from my quilting group.

No 'proper' photos of the whole thing, as it's about 72" wide, so hard for me to get a full shot without involving two people to hold it for me!

What you can see here is one of the diamonds that is filled with quilting.
 There are three of them - I'm showing them from the back so that there is a better chance of the quilting showing up.

Each diamond is 15" square and each one took about 2 hours to quilt. 

I started off with a couple of circles in each square but it was pretty difficult to see the blue wash out pen on the blue fabric, so I only used a circle construct on the centre diamond, shown below.
   I used a 'Graffiti Quilting' approach, starting in the middle and working out from there, adding different motifs as I thought of them.  When I'd made a large medallion I filled the rest of the space with a small stipple stitch.
This is on the back too -  a strip of blue breaking up the white slubbed fabric.

It's just as well that my new spools of white cotton arrived, even at 50wt each diamond took at least a bobbin full of thread, showing just how dense it is!

As you can see, I just used 1" wide parallel lines aside from the FMQ panels.

Next I'll be adding the binding and the hanging sleeve before washing out the blue guide lines.

Tuesday 23 June 2015

A Milestone, "Heart It" Finish and a WIP

 The milestone?  My youngest gaining her double figured birthday and turning 10!

Party cake was a replica (well, almost, my family pointed out all the errors like missing a crucial gap / obstacle) of the floating obstacle course that she and her friends had traversed for the first part of the party.

It seemed to go down well, and, of course, we have another set of Playmobil swimmers to add to our large stash of playthings!

 Then there was the actual birthday cake(s).  One lemon, one chocolate.

The birthday went well, with friends, family and fun all day long.

 Of course, Daddy had to play that he thought that she was '01' not '10' - a joke that she enjoyed, naturally!
My finish is one that I'm proud of.  I'm pleased to say that I've finished my version of 'Heart It' by Esther Aliu (pattern here if you feel inspired to make your own).

I'm delighted with how it looks!  60" square is as big as I want to deal with when I'm quilting something though!

 The binding is complete now, and I've even stitched a hanging sleeve on the back so that I can display it at our quilt group show later this year.

Its been such a lovely project and a good way to use some of my blue scraps!
 Taking a shot across the quilt shows you a little bit about how the grey 'bowties' are raised above the quilted surface. 

You might just be able to make out the different scale of the quilting in the scallops and hearts border - much smaller and tighter.  It makes the applique shapes stand out a little, which is what I want.

One project finished, another in progress!

This is my 'round robin' quilt - laid out, basted and ready for me to start quilting.  The ruler, plates and bowls were all to help me make some marks to guide my quilting.  I'm planning to start with a some walking foot squares and than add in some free motion quilting.

This plan might have to go on hold for the moment, though, as I've just discovered that I'm almost out of the white thread that I'm planning to use.  Perhaps I'll start and see how far I get!

Hope that you are having a good week with your chosen craft too!

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Sweet scrappy projects

I finished sewing down the binding on the big sister of the 16 patch quilt that I showed last week.  This is 40" square, so not a bad size.  I made it to use up some bright jelly-roll type strips and a metallic-y spray pattern background fabric.

Another finish for my Project Linus pile and a little more out of the scrap drawers!  Almost completed in March.....but I'm happy to have finished it now!
This is a mini scrap project - more photos next week - where I wanted to use up the bits and bobs that I'd created from either trimming my Round Robin created strips or that I created with the left over bits that came back to me from the fabrics that I'd provided.

Once I'd hit on my size and shape (I've decided on a wall hanging for above where a new sofa bed will go once the building work is complete) it was straightforward to decide on a layout for the existing strips.  I just needed one more strip to complete it.  So, by next week I hope to have completed the top, basted it, and perhaps even to have started quilting it.  A girl can hope!
I have also been diligently quilting my Heart It quilt.  Soon I'll be binding it, but it might be a while to complete that, as I'm still only hand sewing for about 20 minutes every day.  Much better than nothing, but it's going to take me a while to get around a 60" square quilt!

My other sewing project this week has been to make these 'anti-ouch pouches' - underarm cushions with a strap to hold them in place.  If you know someone who undergoes breast cancer surgery please think about making one or two of these for them.  They are fast to make (about 30 minutes including stuffing and finishing, I should think) and can make people much more comfortable.

I'm sending lots of good wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery to my cousin Jilly.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Hurrah! Getting on with Projects!

 This is my current sewing space - a corner of our bedroom which also houses 'the study' - laptop, printer etc.

Its not as big as the space that I usually have, but I realise that I am lucky to be able to dedicate any space at all to it!

I've only sewn through a pile of paper once (so far!) whilst quilting.  Not to self to remove ALL loose items from the surfaces first!
 More exciting than anything else happening (and that says volumes when you see the exciting progress on the building work!) is that my hand and wrist have improved sufficiently for me to be able to hand stitch (just a little!) again.

I started with the back of the binding on this little ' Angelika' (small quilt from leftovers of a bigger quilt).  I couldn't quite remember when I'd made it - but searching back on the blog I mentioned it and it's big sister in early March, so it was due to be finished!
 Yet more excitement, as I finally accepted that even with a hand that could sew a little, I wasn't prepared to let it loose on actual quilting (which for me is still a more difficult skill).

So, this hand quilting (from before my hand problems) on my Love Entwined will stay, but not be joined by any more.
 So, free from 'wants and wishes' I embarked on simple machine quilting for my LE.

I carried on using the same King Tut variegated quilting thread. The texture is very different to hand quilting, but it won't be clogging my mind as an unfinished piece!

Here are the four quarters of my (now finished for me!) Love Entwined project.

Look carefully and you'll see a snake coming out of one of the flowers on the left of this bouquet.
 These little berried were so close together that the machine foot wanted to catch under their stitching when I was quilting around them - but I managed!
 You can see that I simplified the pattern slightly - no additional tiny circles on the grey pointed oval shapes that make up a flower.
 The final corner.  I tried to major on a different part of the colour wheel for each vase and display, whilst bringing in enough of the fabrics from the other corners to tie them together.
 So this is the back of my baby Love Entwined.
(Shown before I stitched the hanging sleeve down).
And this is the front of it.  I'm thrilled to have finished this section - and full of admiration for people who have taken on the whole thing, which is much, much larger than mine.

I've really enjoyed making this, but I'm also happy that its finished so that I'll be able to display it (once the builders are through with making dust!).

I've just started quilting my Heart It quilt now, so still plenty more fun to be had in my little quilting space!

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Where once there was sewing.....

 This is how my sewing room looks at the moment.

What you can't see is all the dust hanging in the air from when they took the ceiling down.  We live next to a railway, and it looked as though there were a lot of steam train smuts from the pre-electric era that had gathered under that slate roof and above the ceiling.  Black dust everywhere, despite the best efforts of the builders to contain it!
 This is looking up through the joists to where the chimney breast has been taken down.

So far, just the cosmetic work has been started, and scaffolding put up outside.

Soon they will be taking down the left hand wall and building a 'floating' extension.

I've retreated to my 'cave' - our bedroom which is now home to my sewing machine, PC and our 'important' paperwork!
For light relief DD2 and I went out for a trip as she had a day off school.

We both like coming across labyrinths in the underground stations.  Just the sort of thing to help calm the mind, either from the concern about the builders starting or the excitement of a first trip to Oxford Street shops!

I did manage to get the Heart It quilt basted last week, before the dust descended.  As it's 60" square I'm working up to the idea of quilting it in my temporarily reduced space by quilting another project instead - I hope to have a photo or two to show you next week!

Hope that you are enjoying some early summer crafting!