Thursday, 21 February 2019

Your comments



Apologies to those of you who have kindly left comments on my posts for the last few weeks.  Seems Google/Blogger is at it again and not notifying me by email of comments left, so I've missed them.  The fix I found before doesn't seem to have worked this time, so I'm stumped.  Until this is resolved, I will try to reply to your comments in the comment thread.  Thank you for still wanting to join in the conversation!

Edited to add:  It seems Blogger won't publish my replies to your comments in the comments thread either!  A couple of your comments have come through by email now but a number of days late.  Not sure what's going on.  If I were sceptical, given these and the recent problems with Blogger, I'd say Google is wanting to make it difficult for people so they opt out of this free offering. But I'd only say that if I were sceptical ;-)

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Another late/early quilt

I have finally made a start on a quilt that my lovely son requested two years ago!  In my defence, I spent much of that time waiting for him to decide on a pattern for the curated bundle of maths / chemistry / engineering types fabrics I'd been collecting for some time.



I managed to source periodic table fabric,





chemical equations (chemistry student),




musical notation (DS plays trombone),





little vintage engineering drawings - aeroplanes,




and motor cars, 



and some rocket science ;-)




physics, chemistry, (physics student)





geometry,  (maths and further maths student)



 bike chains (he loves cycling for fitness),


a feint script print which is about mapping, latitude and longitudes (super keen orienteerer)


all set in a mix of other tonal script fabrics and DS's choice of turquoise and orange fabrics from my stash.

Most of my pattern suggestions were politely declined so I waited to see what DS would come back with.



He never did, but, when I made this quilt (above) for a friend, I could see the pattern's potential for use on the bundle of fabrics awaiting our/my attention.  It also nicely fulfilled the "no fussy stuff" brief.  DS couldn't quite see it though.  I think it was hard for him to look beyond the florals of the quilt I was holding in front of him.

So, I doodled ...




and I played with colour placement and his lovely eyes lit up. Yep, he liked them.  The mix of his colour choices (far right) was his favourite of the ones I'd offered.

So, there was a plan.

But there was no time, and he wasn't in a hurry, and so it sat unstitched.  Until now ...



We did some laying out and re-arranging, including the extra row on the floor because neither bed nor floor was big enough for all of it.




We decided on 13.5" unfinished squares, so while not the biggest quilt at 78" square, it is generous and definitely enough for a strenuous machine wrangle come quilting time.





When DS saw it all laid out he declared it 'better than he could have imagined' and has asked if, rather than it being considered a 'late' quilt, could it be his take away to university quilt?  He's a wee bit ahead of himself, but I am secretly stoked that he likes it this much!

Unfortunately, I encountered a big problem when I was trying to quilt it last weekend.  Just over half way through the quilting, I moved the quilt out from under the machine to start a new line and heard lots of little pops as the stitching broke in many of the lines.  It was so discouraging, especially after a whole evening's worth of work.  The stitch length was good, the tension wasn't a problem and the quilting looked lovely from the front.



But, all the breaks unfortunately make a complete unpick necessary.  Having consulted better quilting brains than mine on IG, I think the issue may be that the Aurifil 50 wt thread is just not strong enough for the movement in the wavy line quilting on the diagonal bias of the quilt.    


So, when I eventually finish un-quilting, I will use a stronger thread and possibly straight line quilting on this lovely quilt.  Officially I  have (hopefully) another year and a half before it's required in student accommodation, but it would be awfully nice if the unpicking was a little quicker than that.  So, here's to not losing motivation by acres of unpicking stitches and hope for an early finish, instead of it being two year's late.  You never know ...

Monday, 11 February 2019

A Plump of Cushions

Did you know that the collective noun for a group of cushions is a "plump"?  Well, so says Google anyway.

Colours are a little faded looking in the grey February light. In real life they are much prettier.

I've recently been on a cushion making spree inspired by tidying up some fabric left overs from quilts, and just wanting to make something smaller and more quickly finished than my quilts that take years nowadays. After the 30's repro fabric cushion, I raided a big box of Bonnie and Camille leftovers that needed organising back into my stash or scrap boxes.  I pulled fabric for 3 new cushions.




I made another cushion to Sedef's Scandi Throw Pillow tutorial (again re-sizing to 18.5").  The frugal part of me is bothered just a wee bit by how much fabric is "wasted" from this design, but actually because the offcuts are quite sizeable it will be possible to get other cuts from them another time.

So, this one was basically a rinse and repeat of the previous cushion.

The next two cushions are by FAR my favourites from this "plump".  I've been keeping a pattern in mind for these for a very long time.  Both cushion panels were published by Judith of Just Jude Designs in Quilt Now Issue 15.  Judith refers to these as dissected blocks as the traditional blocks have been expanded by a little border insert.  I loved the patterns when I first saw them and am thrilled with the results after sewing them myself too!

There's the dissected courthouse steps cushion -

I need to buy new plump fillers to pooch this out better.

I love the aqua and pink fabric colour ways I chose for this and if I lived in an all female household I would have a living room just these colours!

However, seeing as there are men in the house, I chose a little of Bonnie and Camille's navy boats print from Daysail to nod their direction.  The dissected Granny block looks brilliant, and you'll see I snuck in the pink and aqua anyway ;-)



I had a little work to do resizing both of Judith's cushion panels from her originals which I think were for 22" cushion fillers, but which I needed to be 18".  Courthouse Steps was pretty straightforward but my on point calculations for the Granny block were a little bit out and the main block came out at just 14.5" when I stitched it up.  Then, I only had enough of the background fabric remaining to cut borders to bring it up to 17" square.  My maths let me down this time, but I'm sure an 18" filler will squish in rightly, in spite of that.





All of these cushions were backed following Judith's fab tutorial for a covered zipper backing which is very easily upscaled from her 16.5" cushion dimensions.  It's a great way also to use some of the larger scale prints from my B&C stash which I find can be a bit lost when chopped into small squares, unless you fussy cut and waste a lot of the background.

I loved making all of them, all for different reasons, but I am mostly thrilled that I didn't forget to go back to Judith's patterns which I noted as of interest a long time ago.  There were so worth making!!

I have more patterns from books and magazines that are on my "one day" list.  It would be good to see more of them brought to life soon.  I'll bet you all have some of those, too!




Thursday, 7 February 2019

30s Repro Fabric Cushion



Recently, I was sorting the leftovers from the 30s repro fabric quilt I made last winter (above) and about the same time Sedef Imer's Scandi Throw Pillow tutorial popped up on Amy's blog. It seemed as good a prompt as any to make a co-ordinating cushion cover for the quilt.  (Any excuse, really.)



I chose to use 8 different fabrics in my cushion instead of 4 like Sedef's tutorial and I also enlarged the cushion to 18.5", so I was forced to do a little recalculating of the cutting but it worked out reasonably well, even if there are some rather large offcuts from this project.




It was really quite simple to stitch together after that, and you can see below that I didn't over complicate the quilting either.  In the ditches and 1" echoing for simplicity and speed.


Dolly seems to approve and I like the larger bold pieces of this cushion front.  They should work well with the chunky piecing of the quilt too.




Although this photo makes the backing dimensions look odd, they're not really.  Must be the angle I took the pic from.  This is my go to means of backing a cushion, courtesy of Judith's fab tutorial which is very easily upscaled from her 16.5" cushion dimensions.

Definitely scratched an itch with this project (saw a new tutorial and had to make) and used up more fabrics already in my possession.  All good!!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Cosy Christmas Complete

Hooray!  Let off the festive fireworks for my Cosy Christmas 2016 Sewalong quilt is finally finished - yippee!!

Now follows cuteness overload and too many pics which I shall justify hereafter.


 ...  because I need to show you the full quilt


...  because the first picture wasn't that clear, so I tried a different location (but it kept slipping off!)



...  because I tried to show you more of the details ...


 ...  half a quilt at a time



...  because this block is my favourite


...  because the red embroidery thread around the ric-rac is very clever


...  because he's sweet



... because, well just because 


and finally, because stripy binding is always a winner, but even more so when it's candy cane stripes!!

So there you have it, one late/early Christmas quilt for CT who really isn't quite ready for it anyway, but at least now it's ready when she is!  Huge thanks to Lori Holt's lovely pattern and sew along in 2016 even if I did fall a little behind ;-)


Thursday, 31 January 2019

Mini Archie's January Furtle

Archie The Wonder Dog


Do you plan to furtle?  Isn't that a fab word?  Furtle. Furtle. Go a-furtling - do you think you can say "go a-furtling"?  I like it, so I might say it regardless of whether it's correct or not ;-)  Oh, rebel me!

If you don't know what I'm waffling on about you need to check out this post on Archie the Wonder Dog's blog.  In essence, Mini Archie (MA) and his lovely friends are hoping to encourage us back to our blogs - dusting them off and starting to chat again about our stitching, or indeed any crafty exploit.  Go and read the post, MA says it so much better than I can.

Honestly, the little invitation to a monthly link up with other bloggers again is quite timely.  Following personal musings as to whether or not to continue or 'retire' my blog towards the end of 2018, I ultimately decided that I like the blogging medium and while I really miss the engagement that there once was through blogging, I'm not ready to stop yet.  Since then, I've really tried to post more often again which, of course, has been helped greatly by finding a little more time to sew. Long may it continue!  So, here's to connecting again and sharing and 'furtling' through more blogs.  Please do join in!




As you can see from my posts this month, I've had a fairly productive January and it feels great! Life doesn't always lend itself to this level of stitching activity and I am extremely grateful for it.  These efforts were fuelled by lots of preparation at the end of my Christmas break from work.  It seems that good preparation time really helps me make progress when I make it to time behind the machine.  





I've also been working hard to use up what I've already got - that's fabric, scraps, WIPs, all of it. Back in the high days of blogging and Flickr groups and Bees and swaps, I immersed myself in all that was going on and enjoyed building a stash to work from with options 'in case' someone made a particular Bee request, or I wanted to make something for a swap partner.  It was fun, it was exciting and I loved it.  I hadn't foreseen that I was about to lose my liberal sewing time and ability to connect in ways I had previously, so I have this lovely, but rather large stash and collection of scraps and incomplete projects that deserve better than to be sitting in ugly plastic storage boxes all over my bedroom.  (My bedroom also deserves better than the boxes!)  I expect it will take some time to make much of a dent in it all, but I have made a start and will keep on raiding my boxes before heading to the online shopping option.  The beady-eyed among you will now understand the proliferation of Bonnie & Camille projects lately, and still to come.

So, it looks like I have 2 goals for 2019 -
  1. find time for more - preparation and progress
  2. sewing my stash and scraps

It's a plan, right?  

I hope you have inspiring plans for your stitchy/crafty 2019 too!


Thank you MA and friends for encouraging us all to re-connect.





Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Little Makes

Little makes can be very satisfying, can't they?  Not only are they great at using up odds and ends of fabric, but there is quicker gratification than larger projects that take months, or years, in my case.  Not that there isn't a special sense of accomplishment in completing the more complex/grand/intricate or just sheer ginormous stitching feat.  However, I have been guilty of attempting too many of those at once, which is why my WIP list looks similar today to how it did in 2014 (!), and now and again it's lovely to allow myself a little diversion into more swiftly gratifying stitching.



Badly in need of some pot holders for my kitchen, I quilted up some of this Ikea dec weight fabric that I had left over from covering my mini ironing board quite some time ago (maybe 2 years?) .  Then I just cut 3 squares and a rectangle (to hold a casserole dish), rounded off the corners and added binding to finish. Pretty, practical and job done!!


More leftovers, this time from my Scrap Vortex Quilt.  I used three mini panels and paired them with some snippets of Irish linen to indulge my Bonnie & Camille penchant in a new cover for my diary (a very busy and essential part of my everyday).


I also had a bit of a drawstring bag making fest during my time off work after Christmas.  This lovely drawstring bag tutorial by Svetlana made these a breeze.  I cut all sorts of sizes to suit our needs. The re-sizing is so easy to do - whatever size you decide to cut your main bag pieces, just cut the casing 2" by the same width, easy peasy!

There are more bags, but Little Miss wasn't for parting with them for the photo shoot.  Most of these now house toys that Santa brought for CT - skittles, puzzle pieces, Mr Potato Head and all his various features, that sort of thing.  I'm hoping they help all the little pieces to have a place to live and stop everything getting turfed out over the floor all at once.  I live in hope ;-)

Still living in hope, perhaps more little things might be interspersed among the bigger quilts this year, but ultimately, any sewing time is much appreciated, big project or small!


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