Monday, 3 September 2018

Double Charm Pack Quilt

Recently there's been a wee flurry of interest in my charm pack quilt and as part of that I received a request for fabric requirements if someone wanted to make the quilt using two charm packs instead of one.  So, since I did the calculations to answer the query, I thought that maybe some more of you might be interested in them - hence, sharing them here.

The original single charm pack quilt - details here if you are interested.
Two small apologies in advance - one for the super quick sketch of what the quilt might be like, and two for the unverified nature of the measurements. I really wish I had time to test them by stitching up a pretty quilt, but well, real life isn't allowing for that.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that my maths is still good and that these will work - if anyone tries it and can tell me if they're ok or not, that would be a bonus!

So, on to the reason you've kept reading ...

Basically, you would be using two charm packs to make a quilt just like my single charm pack quilt above but with another internal border and an additional charm square round.  Something like this -

This bigger version would measure 51.5" x 56" finished.

You will need:
80 - 5" charm squares (Moda pre-cuts already contain all 42, so 2 charm packs will do)
39.5" x FWOF of solid border fabrics
15" x FWOF for binding
backing and wadding - needs to be a few inches bigger than finished size of 51.5" x 56"

  1. Layout charms as shown in the drawing.
  2. Cut solid border fabrics into 8 strips of 2.75" x FWOF (for the three inner border rounds) and 5 strips of 3.5" x FWOF (for the outer border rounds).
  3. From each of four of your 2.75" solid strips cut a 9.5" strip (for first border) and a 23" strip (for second border). You will have 4 of each.  
  4. From the remaining four 2.75" strips cut a 36.5" strip (for the third border).  Again, you will have four of these.
  5. Stitch all of your rounds together using 0.25" seam and adding solid strips for each border round to the sides first and then to the top and bottom of the quilt.
  6. When you come to the outer borders, sew the 3.5" strips together into a continuous length.  Use this length to add the sides first and then the top and bottom.  You will need two pieces 49.5" long for the sides and 51.5" long for the top and bottom. Trim any excess.
  7. Baste and quilt as desired.
  8. Cut 6 2.5" strips from your binding fabric to bind and finish quilt.

I hope maybe someone might find these useful.  Maybe one day, I'll give it a go.

(Again, apologies if there are any errors in my calculations.)

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Scrap Vortex Progression

I haven't shown much of my Scrap Vortex quilt since this little bundle of pieces, but it did progress a bit more back in April/May time.

Working with the vortex scraps gets very untidy and the mess gets bigger as the pieces do!

I think I spent a rainy afternoon watching BBC iplayer catch ups and pinning all of these next seams ready to stitch on during the pauses and gaps in the making of my See-it-all pouches.  Though honestly, it was hard to keep it to just working as leaders/enders and it did take on a life of its own at times.

Gradually, the pieces grew until I needed to make some kind of decision as to where these are going.  So I've opted for blocks around 15" or 16" tall.  Originally, I tried to make them square but it was forcing thing a bit falsely (namely, trimming things a bit too close to seams for comfort), so I'm happy to grow them to whatever widths they work out at and will have some rows that are 15" high and some 16".

I love this scrap happiness!

This is where I got to.  None of those are completed rows, they're just various widths laid side by side.  I think I will keep this just a small lap quilt. So, next is to decide what width I'm aiming for and fill in any gaps in those top three rows and then do quite a bit of work on filling out the bottom row.  There are still plenty of scraps in the basket to do the job!! 

BTW - the problem with my blog comments seems to be ongoing (i.e. I don't receive notification of them by email and cannot, therefore, reply).  Blogger help forum seems to suggest the problem has been resolved, but it seems they forgot to tell my blog! So, if I don't respond to your comment, you'll know why, but know I am reading and appreciating that you took time to leave me your thoughts.

Monday, 9 July 2018

See-it-all Pouches - A Comedy of Errors

A few months back when I was making my own See-it-all and Two-in-one pouches I did a little bit of secret sewing for gifts on the side.  My IG followers will know that I just spent the weekend away with my sewing buddies and with that event ahead of me, I desperately wanted to take them a gift I had actually sewed for them.

I tried to work from stash and after much deliberation about fabrics to suit each individually, I plumped for just using this fun bicycle print for everyone.  

These pouches use a continuous bias binding across the zipper sides and all the way around the pouch to finish.  Making binding like this was new to me and I did struggle a bit with the diagrams in the book, though fortuitously that same week I had seen this post from Geta Grama which helped demystify things and eventually, all the binding was stitched and pressed.  Though quite why the pattern called for so much to be made, I don't know.  I have heaps of it left over, like enough to do the final binding down both sides, around the curves and across the bottom for another pouch.  For a second pouch all you would need is to cut some straight binding pieces for the zipper side enclosures.

That these pouches got made is something of a minor miracle for there were so many mistakes in their making that you just could NOT make it up.  My mistakes, by the way, not pattern mistakes.

Firstly, there should have been enough fabric to make a fourth pouch for me with the bicycles, too, but a cutting error put paid to that plan, and you'll have noticed that my own pouch is a lovely floral and red combination.

Then, I had problems attaching the biased binding as the top enclosure of the zipper.  See those ugly wrinkles?  Ugh!

Eventually, I resolved the issue with a lot of help from IG friends - I starched the life out of the binding and re-pressed it, I reduced the pressure on my sewing foot, increased my stitch length and sewed very, very carefully. 

There were many attempts at getting these top bindings sorted - the yellow one was unpicked at least five times!!!  While they are not absolutely wrinkle free now, they are much, much improved.

My pouch fiascos did not end there peeps, oh no!

One of the pouches had a melting encounter with the back edge of the iron as I pressed the binding on a different pouch and forgot I'd set the poor, soon-to-be melted one just a little bit offside, but not offside enough!  Since the melt was right on the edge of the vinyl I managed to salvage the pouch just by trimming away the bottom edge.  So it's a bit shorter than the others.

Another one is a bit narrower than its sisters thanks to some cross transfer of the sharpie markings I had used to draw the template shape on to the vinyl.  No idea how that happened, but I did gasp after I has resolved the bias binding issue to find extra black marks half an inch into the vinyl!  Trim, trim, trim and breathe ...

Are you still with this saga?

I think by this stage I was getting a little bit discouraged and disillusioned about my clearly out-of-practice sewing skills.  Knowing that I had the final bias bindings to add along the sides, around the curves and up the other sides of all the pouches wasn't helping either, given the traumas of binding the zippers.

But you know what? They actually went on pretty smoothly and without the dramas of the first lot of bindings.  (My tip, use straight cut pieces to bind your zips and leave the bias cut binding to do the job of curves it is designed for.)

After that comedy of errors I can hardly believe that three See-it-all pouches were actually, finally finished and ready for the addition of a few treats before gifting!  They look sort of cute, in spite of their inadequacies, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Quick Apology

Hello Folks!

If you have left a comment on any of my recent posts and I haven't replied it's because Blogger hasn't been sending the usual comment notifications to my email.  After a wee bit of investigation, it seems this is a problem for more than just me and Blogger are working on it.  So, thank you so much for your comments and please accept my apologies that I haven't replied to you.  Fingers crossed Blogger will resolve the issue and normal service will resume soon.

Kay - I'm delighted you have finally broken into that B&C stash.  Make something magnificent to enjoy!!

Friday, 15 June 2018

Something to think about

Have you ever started a project, left it for a while and when you came back to it wondered what to do with it again?

I feel that way about these hexie diamonds, as I refer to them.

I think when I first cut a gazillion hexagons from my B&C stash I had thoughts of a quilt laid out in a diamond grid with a pathway of white/cream hexies separating them like sashing.

Three years on, and only 6 hexie diamonds actually stitched (!!!), I don't know how I feel about this project.

Have I stopped liking it?

Am I just disappointed because it's so lacking in progress?

What to do next -

do I hide it back under the bed and hope one day to be struck with inspiration? or that it might in fact just get 'lost'?

or do I make up more diamonds and see what happens? - there are many, many more hexies already cut for the purpose.

It has potential and options, doesn't it?

Maybe I could learn to love it again if I just spent some time with it.  I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel yet, I don't think. And, if it's the design I'm not so hot about any more, that can always be played around with later, right?

Perhaps I should nudge it up from that UFO list on the left over there into the WIPs?  Oh, go on then!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Triple Pouch

The last pouch I took a fancy to make from Aneela Hoey's Stitched Sewing Organiser book is the Triple Pouch.  I like multi-pocketed pouches and wanted just to see if I could do it.  I was a little hesitant though, as the instructions were lengthy and I'm not the biggest fan of diagrams in patterns, rather than photos.

I took on board advice from a few IG friends to pay very close attention to every word of the pattern and not to think it out for myself, just follow the instructions, and actually that did help and the pouch came together with a little less drama than I imagined.

There are a number of interesting construction steps in the making of this pouch, but I did get there - even if I had to re-do a few steps because I didn't read every word, then realised I should have.

Some of the folding and tacking was intriguing, but trust the pattern and it works (no surprises there).

This pouch has three large sections

and can you just see the little slip pocket in more of that navy fabric alongside the inner pouch?  There are two of those as well, handy for a little packet of machine needles or sticky fingertip thimble pads.

Full disclosure, the larger outer pouches of my make are not equal in size (and yes, it bothers me a little) because while the pattern can be followed well, I did find some bits awkward to manipulate though the machine.  At one point, many layers and very close to the pressure foot meant I didn't quite achieve the pattern's recommended half inch seam allowance.  So achieving it on one pouch side, but not on the other, means that one of my outer pouches is wider than the other.  Add that to some of the other dodgy bits that my photos disguise well and ... oh well, never mind!

The fabric I chose to use for this pouch is Katy Jones's Priory Square for Art Gallery Fabrics.  It has been in my stash for a very long time and it feels great to finally use it in a project.  Also, like all the AGF fabrics it has that beautiful smooth feel to it.

I'm off now to fill up the pouch!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Being Realistic

Dear Jane,

It's not you, it's me.

No seriously, it is me.  I want to have the commitment it takes to replicate your beautiful quilt design by EPP, but I just haven't got what it takes.  If we were to do the maths based upon my productivity so far, I think we could be talking about several lifetimes before this quilt would be complete, and well, unless I happen upon the elixir of youth fairly shortly, I don't have several lifetimes to spare.

So, I think my 25 blocks (sadly very far short of the full quota I hoped for) should become a pretty wallhanging as testimony to my efforts.  These little blocks have been wonderful and frustrating in equal measure, but it's time to admit that in this case I have bitten off more than I can chew, as it were.

Perhaps you will always be the quilt that got away from me. Or, maybe one day I will find myself flush with time and choose a quicker way of piecing your quilt designs? Whichever, for now I salute you, Jane, for your perseverance and for your patience with so very many teeny pieces of fabric and I dedicate my meagre effort to the memory of your inspirational quilt.

Kindest regards,

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

30's Repro Quilt Finish

Woohoo!  Another binding finish to knock those WIPs down another number, and of course, to have a gorgeous quilty finish!!

This quilt is 72" x 84", though the pics show it sideways because it was too long to hang on my line.  This one is for CT when she moves to a single bed (which will be a while).  I love that this quilt wasn't very planned and just came together for no particular reason.  Perhaps, I also love it because it was a little bit illicit, in that I should have really been doing other things, not starting a new quilt ;-)

A light gust of wind upset the shot but shifted the quilt into better lighting to reveal the texture of the diagonal serpentine quilting. I really like this stitch for a gentle quilted finish.

It feels good to have finished the binding on those three quilts that were so close to finishes as I reported when I was Taking Stock.  With all of my other WIPs still quite far from completion I'm not sure which should be my focus next.  Hmmm, need to have a think.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Twister Quilt Finish

Next up for a finish from my WIPs list is the Twister Quilt.  

She got a bit of diagonal serpentine stitch quilting attention and looks so good for it!

Then, I used this bright Joel Dewberry print, which was the inspiration print for this quilt's colour palette, to bind it.  I LOVE binding, have I told you that before? (Only a hundred times, probably.)

And then, there was proper sunshine to take a picture of the finished article!

This shot is just to show off that quilt texture. Isn't it nice?

Just like that 10 WIPs is now 9!  Go me!

If you like this quilt, you will find my tutorial here for this really satisfying simple block.  I am determined that one day I WILL make another one.  This one is being gifted later this summer to my one niece who hasn't yet had a quilt from me.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Vinyl Pouches

Back in November, when there was sew-a-long for Aneela Hoey's Stitched Sewing Organisers book, I tried out a couple of her pouch patterns but got no further.  There were a couple of the other organisers in the book I fancied trying, so a few weeks ago I decided it was time to have a go at them.  As you can see above I tried the Two-in-one Pouch and the See It All Pouch.

My poor Two-in-one Pouch has a rather religious vinyl middle - hol(e)y - as I had problems stitching the vinyl and it all went wonky had to be redone.  By the time the centre run of stitching is done, lots of other parts have already been stitched (like the zipper enclosures) and since the pouch is just for me, I was too lazy to want to start afresh with an unspoilt piece of vinyl.  Next time I will remember that stitching the vinyl with paper or tissue paper over the top of it works so much better ;-)  Actually, I wish I'd just thought at the time to add a folded strip of fabric down the centre to cover the holes I made.  Hindsight is surely a wonderful thing.

There was also a mishap with the positioning of my kam snap fastening and the two don't quite meet level.  It adds a bit of a tilt to the closure but I'll live with it.  Though it is still a mystery as to how it happened.  I've checked and double checked the pattern and my measuring but am still none the wiser as to why it should be 'off'.  I'm feeling very out of practice sewing little things and making so very many mistakes!!

Anyhow, the pouch will serve its purpose nicely as the holder of many things, no doubt, in spite of its shortcomings.  I kind of think that yummy coral fabric makes up for its little foibles!

When I tried the See-it-all pouch I had learnt my lesson and remembered to have paper between the sewing machine and the vinyl for easier stitching.  I had some pain getting a nice smooth turn on the biased binding strips that were used to cover the zips (yes, the straight bits).  All sorts of horrible puckering was going on, but many suggestions from IG friends and many, many trials later I got a better, though still not perfect, turn on the binding.  Oddly enough, I didn't have any such drama on the curved part of the binding - go figure!

So there you have it - two more pouches tried and finished.  The last one on my list is the Triple Pouch. There are very lengthy instructions for it and it looks a little scary but I'd still like to see if I can do it. Maybe I should start thinking about fabric options ...

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Bonnie & Camille Around the World Quilt Finish

I have finished binding my Bonnie & Camille Around the World Quilt!

It is made up of 2" squares (2.5" cut) from many of my beloved Bonnie & Camille fabrics.  It was pieced on my Singer 99k hand cranked beauty but quilted on my Pfaff Ambition Essential.

I had thought to quilt in the ditch on this one, but choose the serpentine stitch (wavy, snaky line) instead and basically followed what would have been the ditch lines anyway.  The quilting isn't as hidden as it would be with 'in the ditch' and I'm pretty happy with the result.  The fact that serpentine stitch is a very forgiving alternative to stitching in the ditch is a huge bonus!!

I am also congratulating myself on making a reasonable dent in my B&C stash with this quilt and the quilt I made for my friend last year.  Three boxes has become two, and pretty as they are all folded up, they look so much better as quilts!!

And, just in case you aren't tired of looking at this quilt yet either  ;-) here's a final shot - 

11 WIPs has become 10!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Taking Stock

It's time to take stock of where it's all at (or not) as the case may be.

By nature, I'm a finisher.  I like things to progress in their natural order towards a conclusion.  But of course, I'm also a quilter/sewist and I have far more ideas than time to finish - hence the WIP and UFO list of 11 items.  It might not sound like the biggest list in the world to some of you, but now that I find myself without any regular or lengthy time to tackle those items, it feels honestly rather HUGE to me.  

Ultimately, I'd love to reduce this list to three projects at any one time - one machine WIP, one hand stitching WIP and one crochet WIP.  This would leave choice of project when I spy an opening for some stitching amid the chaos of life, and also allow for small projects to be undertaken along the way without having loads of mid-progress projects cluttering up space (which they do).

Of course, that wish is the stuff of unicorns (I know... some of you believe).  Still, maybe I can do something to make headway reducing this list and freeing up headspace and storage space for the unfinished projects.

 Let's see what needs to happen -

Quilt Now BOM - I haven't taken any pics of this Quilt for quite some time, but there have been occasional efforts to progress the hand quilting. I've made it as far as the motifs in the outer border now and while it's slow, it is going to be worth it (eventually). 

Cosy Christmas Quilt - This one stalled somewhere after appliquéing the gingerbread man I believe. It's all in a box somewhere and I will get back to it.  However, Little Miss CT is still a wee bit wee to appreciate it, so there's no big rush.

Sarah Fielke's Happy Days BOM - There hasn't been any progress since this last shot of the completed quilt top.  In the absence of any free motion quilting skills of my own, I think that this might get some hand quilting attention when the time is right.

Dear Jane Quilt - there are 21 blocks stitched now (not all pictured here).  Still a VERY long way to go.

French Knitting Yarn Crochet Rug - I love crocheting with the yarn results from the French Knitting dolly.  It's chunky and squidgy but boy is it slow!  Though I have spied a gizmo being advertised which might speed up the yarn production aspect.  I need to investigate - could be a swizz.

Twister Quilt - Just binding and labelling required to complete this quilt now.

 B&C Around The World Quilt - Also ready for binding and labelling.

30's Repro Bed Quilt - Quilted and ready to be bound and labelled.

B&C Scrap Vortex Quilt - I have a small stack of scrappy shapes now from this leaders and enders project. Not one for a speedy finish yet though.

Crocheted Hexagon Throw - This project has been sitting on my UFO list because I really haven't touched it for an extremely long time.  It's too lovely to leave unfinished, so I need to think about how to bring it back into progress.  Maybe one for the autumn.

EPP Hexie Diamond Quilt - Another untouched project languishing on the UFO list.  I think I left it aside when I felt a bit 'meh' about the diamond shapes and didn't really know if I wanted to keep going with this plan.  I need to give it some more thought.  Though I have a lot of hexies already prepared that it would be a shame not to use.

So, while there are still a number of longterm projects to tackle, it seems the obvious place to start in reducing my WIPs is to finish the three quilts that just need bound and labelled.  After that I have plenty of options, don't I?  I'm not expecting to suddenly discover hours of stitching time each week (more's the pity) but I just don't want to NOT finish the projects I still love.  Progress is progress, even if it is just a little here and there.  Keep an eye out for my efforts to keep things moving!

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