Thursday, 27 November 2014

Sparkling Gemstones Finally Finished!

Remember this?

Gorgeous Trudi worked her magic on my quilt back at the beginning of October (yes, that long ago). Since then all it has needed is binding and a label, however with one thing and another I never quite got round to it.

Time to change that and get another tick knocked off that FAL list.

I've really struggled to take a decent picture of this quilt.  Either it has poured with rain and is too bleak and dark to see anything at all, or the sun is shining low through the windows casting deep shadows.  Sorry, these are the best I could do but I hope you can see how bright and beautiful this quilt is and get a better idea of Trudi's fabulous quilting.

One last pic to prove I added a label.  I've said it before and I'll say it one last time, this quilt isn't my usual cup of tea fabric-wise but I am ever so glad I spotted it's potential in the Jelly Rolls Quilts book.  It's bright and fun and I plan to use it LOTS this winter.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Butterfly Cushion Gifts

Butterfly cushions for girl gifts also made it on to my FAL Qtr 4 goals list. Now that they are all stitched up I'm pleased to be able to breathe a sigh of relief that when I finally find some time to think about Christmas shopping in actual shops, these are three less to have to scurry around for!

I drafted up a quick design for these 18" butterflies keeping the piecing very simple and I'm quite happy with the result.  They each were quilted with a few lines of echo quilting in the wings as you can see above and then given pretty fabric backs with co-ordinating zip enclosure flaps.  I really should have photographed the backs to show you because they are very sweet, but it is taking all my time to find decent enough light for the ipad camera to cope with just getting a reasonable pic of the main items these days, especially since most of my finishes happen late at night!  Anyway, I'm sure you can imagine pretty backings for yourselves ;-)

Pleased to be checking off that FAL list again!  3 down 3 more to go ....

Friday, 21 November 2014

Quilt Now BOM - part 5

Now I am really intrigued!

Part 5 of Reene's Medallion Block of the Month for the Quilt Now magazine involved some crazy patchwork and machine appliqued hearts.

Reene gave some choices for the crazy patchwork piece and I enjoyed playing a little with some of my machine embroidery stitches to fancy up the 'crazy' a little.  In her magazine article Reene says "If you're not having fun with this technique, you're trying too hard!"  and you know what, I think she was right! This was great fun!

Six of these quick pretties were to be made up as per this month's instructions and this is where I'm confused.

I now have 12 sixteen patch bargello blocks and 6 crazy heart applique blocks and I cannot figure out where's she's going next or how these all go together.  Oh, do hurry up Issue 6!!!

Thanks for a fun one Quilt Now and Reene!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Quilt Now BOM - part 4

I'm just about squeezing these Quilt Now BOM blocks in before the next instalment arrives!  When my aqua fabric arrived at the weekend I couldn't wait to get started on adding the border to finish part 3 and make a start on part 4.

Unpicking little bargello tubes.

Reene's chosen skill for the part 4 blocks was the bargello tube.  I'm not entirely sure I'm sold on the tube process, but that might be more because unpicking on such short lengths seemed to take too much time and I've been unusually impatient lately.  However, I can see how much quicker this technique would make piecing long bargello strips so it's a useful skill to know about.

Don't look too closely at my blocks as there are more wobbly bits than I'd like and some are just a tad under size.  I foresee a little fudging to fit them in to the remainder of this border!  I wonder what Reene has planned next?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Skateboard Cushion

Deciding that it is high time I crack on with my Quarter 4 Finish-A-Long goals I started with the easiest remaining finish on my list in the hope of motivating myself towards the others.

The skateboard cushion just needed a little quilting and a backing and voila!

A cushion fit for a boy!

I added some outline quilting around the boards and a little bit through the board designs to finish it up and there is a simple enclosed zipper in the back to keep it all nice and tidy.  I forgot how a filled cushion changes the shape of a design by rounding it out a little so, with hindsight, perhaps the skateboards themselves would have displayed better on the cushion if I'd made them a little smaller and had a bit more background.  Still, I cannot imagine the intended recipient with look at it this critically since he's only 9!

So, that's tick no 2 off my list.  Onwards!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Knitted Socks!

It has been a VERY long time since I have knit anything but this summer a chance conversation got me thinking and eventually led to a little self-challenge to knit some socks - you know, just to see if I could.

This pic is probably about attempt no 5 to wrestle those needles into submission!  I can't say I found it easy but it does get a bit better as you stick at it.  Manipulating four needles to knit over three was all a bit confounding to say the least.

Then, once I got the hang of that I had some issues with loose stitching where the needle sections joined.  I think I may have ripped back about a sock and a half's worth of stitches at various stages but eventually I had one stripey sock knit - yay!

That was encouragement enough not to give up and to get on with the second sock which was much easier than no 1.  And so, after a little blocking to make them a presentable pair I gifted them to a friend who was keen to have some handknit socks (though I think she may have been hoping for slightly more professional ones than mine). Anyway, she was graciously pleased with them and I guess she can always hide them under her winter boots so no one will see the beginner's errors!

So after my little self-challenge will I ever knit more socks? Actually, yes I think I will.  In spite of the initial tangle of needles I enjoyed it and as long as there's no hurry (I am super slow- took 4wks for pair no 1!!) I might try a few of the other patterns my IG sock knitting friends have been kind enough to suggest and share.  I also need to coax my own feet to get along better with the wool content of those beautiful self-patterning yarns so I can actually wear them myself.

If you are interested my wool is Sirdar Heart and Sole Wool rich 4 ply sock yarn and the pattern was on the back of the label. I used 2.75mm double pointed needles.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Quilt Now BOM - part 3

The Quilt Now magazine's Mystery BOM is actually now well into it's fourth part with part five due soon, but I have managed to fall behind a bit and am just catching up with part three now.

Last weekend, after a very long no-sew spell, I decided I would cut and prep all the little applique bits and bobs for Reene's skill choice for this third section.  In spite of everything else that was going on, I was convinced that these little vines and flowers would be good to pick up and put down in between grocery stocking, Christmas cake baking, cleaning, ironing and all the other exciting parts of a weekend playing catch up on life.

I was right!  This was just the ticket for snatching half an hour's stitching here and there and by Sunday evening I had flowers, leaves and vines just about where they should be, all neatly stitched and the pieced into the border along with the quarter circle blocks from part 2.

I have tried this applique briefly before with a workshop at Fat Quarterly Retreat.  I loved it then but the time limitation of a busy workshop meant I didn't get very far.  Despite my best intentions to keep at it when I got home, that little WIP is still in a plastic ziplock bag (shame).  Still, I hadn't forgotten the handy tips Mandy gave us at the workshop and coupled with some info from Sarah Fielke's Craftsy Class which I have just recently watched, I was well on my way to getting a nice result from Reene's instructions for part three.  As a skill builder this re-introduction to applique has made me really want to do more (maybe in 2015?) so thank you Reene for re-igniting that spark and for this gorgeous design which I am loving so far.

To complete part 3 I need to add a solid border.  As you can see above, I have auditioned a pale grey and an aqua solid for this purpose.  My heart said aqua, my head said grey because the mystery aspect of this project means I don't know if aqua is going to work with what comes later and grey is more likely to - well, that was sort of my logic.  My heart said aqua a bit louder, so I invited the IG peeps to share their opinion and ... aqua it shall be!!  Except, I didn't have enough so I am waiting on a wee piece to arrive before I can finish off part 3 completely.  I know you'll forgive me that little delay and I promise you will see it there when I have my part 4 bargello style blocks completed. Do I think I can squeeze them in before Issue 5 drops through the letterbox? Hmmm, wishful thinking perhaps!

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