Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pixellated Heart Baby Quilt

Presenting my scaled down version of Katy's Pixellated Heart Quilt from Issue 1 of Quilt Now magazine - ta da!

Those fold lines have come out a bit too clearly in the pic - ugh!
I loved this quilt when I flipped through the magazine's first issue and decided that it would make a perfect baby girl quilt option for my cousin whose second baby is due at Christmas.  (For my boy option see this post.)  As the original is more or less double bed sized, I opted to re-size this one using 2.5" cut squares for my pixels.  So, this quilt finishes at 42.5" square.

I had intended to quilt it with straight line grids either side of the seam lines but after stitching all of the horizontal lines I called it quits because it was getting a little bit stiff.  I guess that was just a bit much quilting for pixels of this size.

Anyway, there it is - pretty, pink and suitably baby girlish!

Also adding that this is another FAL finish - yay!

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!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Scraptastic Tuesday - Wonky Star Baby Quilt

Are you joining Nicky and Leanne for Scraptastic Tuesday today?    I missed the first link up last month so I'm sharing my scrap related musings today.  The question of what constitutes a 'scrap' is one I think (and write) about quite often.  My time reading other people's blogs has convinced me that everybody has their own ideas on this. Nicky has a useful little list of what she considers scraps here, but I'm sure you all are already thinking of one or two other definitions to add to her list.  Leanne's thoughts on the subject are interesting too.

Perhaps scraps are simply those pieces of fabrics we don't consider 'stash'.  I'm shrugging my shoulders because I'm still not sure and my brain is always telling me that scraps are really only very small pieces.

Anyway, enough waffle. To counteract my brain's notion of a scrap and picking up on Nicky's first listed definition of a scrap - "anything left over from making a quilt" - today I am sharing this baby boy quilt top.

Cute little owls.
The wonky star / 9 patch mixed quilt top is made up of about 90% leftovers from this plus quilt which I made for my cousin's new son last year.  The "scraps" of that quilt were probably in the region of fat eighth sort of sizes, give or take a little and I have supplemented them with a few other fabric scraps in order to stretch them out to a quilt size.

I just love these teeny weeny foxes!

The original woodland themed fabrics were too nice to throw away and yet too specific really to be used in much else than a baby quilt.  Determination to raid my stash and scraps for project fabrics before resorting to purchases has impacted the quilt top somewhat in that it's not as ordered and balanced as it would have been had I chosen an all new fabric selection.  (Control freak alert!) But, therein lies the challenge and point of making scrappy quilts, right?

I treated this quilt to my wavy line quilting and think the yellow binding has really helped to re-balance some of the stronger blue tones a bit.  My same cousin has another baby due on Christmas day so if it's a boy, he can have this partner quilt to his big brother's.  If it's a girl .... well, I have something else in mind for that.

Happy scrapping!

Linking up to Scraptastic Tuesday.

Oh and before I forget, this finish qualifies for one tick off my Finish-A-Long Quarter 4 list!  Yay!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Mega Pinnie Winner!

I'm a bit late with this lovely news, but take a wee look at what arrived here a week or so ago ....

It's a mega pinnie from Sheila herself, and now it's all mine!  It seems that Sheila's original giveaway winner didn't make contact and so I got lucky in the re-draw.  So sorry, original winner person, you really did miss out on a beautifully made pincushion/caddy.

What I hadn't realised was just how "mega" these mega pinnies actually are.   See what I mean? (Pic above to demonstrate scale.)  It's ginormous!!

Sheila, thanks ever so much for brightening up my week when this arrived.  It's fab and I love it's little handle which mean I can hang it off my wrist when my arms are full of other supplies and I'm relocating downstairs to do some basting and laying out!  Sorry that I didn't get a chance to publicly thank you for this before now, but I know you understand why.

And, if you are now thinking you could do with one of these mega pinnies yourself, well, you're in luck because Sheila has a free tutorial for whipping one up on her blog.  Check out the link here (it's no 6) to give it a go.

Again, thanks a million Sheila!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Bee Blessed November 2014

Time for another Bee Blessed block of the month!

Pinched from Nicky's IG feed - with permission

Ever since I saw these blocks on Nicky's IG feed back during my summer hols, I've been looking forward to introducing them here to Bee Blessed. Nicky has shared this link to the blog post where she found her own inspiration for the blocks.

What follows is a quick "how to" with measurements as these blocks are so simple that calling this a tutorial is a bit grand really.  I also have no idea what this block is called and haven't seen any other tutorials for it so I will refer to it as the 'Strip Step' block.

As you can see below, the block is made up of six strips which I have labelled A-F for cutting instruction convenience.  When choosing your fabrics, please use a white solid for the square steps and keep to mid to strong range colours for the strips to give a really nice contrast to the white squares.While Nicky choose to keep each of her blocks in one colour way, we are going to mix ours up for a super scrappy look.

Cut 6: 2.5" squares (white solid)
Strip A cut:  10.5"x 2.5"
Strip B cut:   2.5" square and 8.5"x 2.5"
Strip C cut:   4.5" x 2.5" and 6.5" x 2.5"
Strip D cut:   6.5" x 2.5" and 4.5" x 2.5"
Strip E cut:   8.5"x 2.5" and 2.5" square
Strip F cut:   10.5"x 2.5"

1.  Lay out your cut pieces into strips as in the photo above.

2.  Using scant 0.25" seam, piece each strip together and press the seams away from the white squares.

3.  Next stitch the strips together using scant 0.25" seam to form the block, this time pressing the seams open.

4.  Trim to 12.5" square.

This block could hardly be easier, honest!  Take a look below for more layout possibilities for this block (again courtesy of Nicky's IG pics).  Don't you just love them?

So go, on grab some 2.5" strips and get stitching!  

PS If you were interested in these blocks for yourself, Nicky has also shared with me a tip regarding the orientation of the background strips.  As you can see in the IG pics copied above, the background strips will orientate differently (some horizontal, some vertical) according to the layout you choose and for Bee Blessed we are happy to work with that for our quilts.  However, if you like things a little more ordered when making your own quilt and would prefer all of the background strips to run in the same direction as in the photo below (again Nicky's)

you will need to make some of your blocks with the white squares positioned running from bottom left to top right, as well as the top left to bottom right version I have shown in the instructions above.  Clear as mud?  Hope it makes at least some sense.
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