Sunday 23 October 2011

Birdie Stitches and Bees

It's been grey, wet, windy and generally miserable all weekend so here are a few bright and cheery bits from my weekend sewing time.

Yesterday afternoon we had another gathering of Bee Blessed and busied ourselves making disappearing 9 patch blocks

I did make more than one block but just forgot to take the photos!
and piecing a quilt top together from all the fabulous D9P donations from our blogging friends.  Check Judith's post for a photo of the gorgeous scrappy D9P quilt top.

We also have our Bee's first fully finished quilt top this weekend -

First Bee Blessed finish - "Monkey Fun" quilt

Isn't it great?  Thanks to Susan for sending us the quilt top and the fabrics to complete the border and binding.  I think you'll agree this will be fabulous for any little boy!  Fear not, there are several other quilts approaching completion as well - we've been working hard to keep up with all the beautiful blocks you've been sending and that we're whipping up ourselves!

In the hope of not falling behind again with Birdie Stitches I put a boost on the stitching of the October block.  Just in time for the November one to come next week!  I omitted the spiders from the original design - spiders and I cannot co-exist even in stitchery!

Not so sure if this one is still a bit Hallowe'en-ish for me (I don't do Hallowe'en) but I did like the voluptuous pumpkins.

Hope your weekend has had some bright and cheery in spite of the wind and rain!

Saturday 22 October 2011

Journal Cover

Sometimes it feels good to make something small enough to start and finish in one brief session.  There is much to be said for some near-instant gratification.  Last night this little fabric notebook cover was it.

Journal cover in Heather Bailey Nicey Jane

Cover laid out flat

With thanks to Caroline's lovely tutorial it didn't take long at all to put this little trial cover together.  I did change her directions just a little towards the end (because I'm too lazy to slipstitch the ends closed) and am delighted with how it turned out.  Having made this one up quite simply it would be fun to get a bit more creative with the cover design next time around, and these would be great little festive gifts.

Notebook inserted into cover

Inside of journal cover with flaps

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Shagpile Quilt?

Well, not quite ...  Don't think it's a goer as a concept myself, but the rug provided the only layout space with any decent light for taking the picture in our house today.

Photo is sideways (looked weird when I tied to rotate it) - the right hand side of pic is actually the top border.

I beavered away today cutting into the lovely Ravenwood fabrics and making 22 futtery Greek/Roman key blocks for the borders of my custom designed Secret Quilt.  It is very peculiar to be making this quilt top from the outside (borders) inwards, rather than the normal way, but I was nervous about making the centre of the quilt first and then ending up with border panel sizing that wouldn't work or would cut off half a key block. So, this was how I decided to tackle it.  Not sure yet that I'd want to do it again unless absolutely necessary.

This is probably the last decent pic of the Secret Quilt that I'll be able to show.  Future snippets will have to be a bit more cryptic (if my photography skills are up to it) in order not to spoil a Christmas surprise.

So far, it's been fiddly and scary 'cos I'm making this one up entirely by myself and it's not just lovely repeating square blocks.  But if I can get there, hopefully it'll be appreciated and that will be worth all the effort and mild panic over the maths!

Thursday 13 October 2011

Secret Block Practice

I finally got the design for my Secret Quilt off the page and on to fabric this week.  Since I didn't necessarily trust my math calculations and design, I made a practice block first.  Here's how it turned out -

You may recall that this block will be one of many on the borders of a Secret Quilt which I can't talk about too much but will show little peeks now and again.

So must get my head down now and get those border blocks rolling out of the machine in the real fabric!

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Crochet Gift Reveal

Remember this sneaky peek a few days ago?

Well, I can show you now because they've arrived with their new owner.  It was these ...

A little set of crochet coasters for Susan - just to say thank you for her thoughtfulness and kindness since we have become blog friends.  I hope she likes them!

And I added one of my little brooches - just because.

Thank you Susan!

In need of therapy ...

It's finished and I love it, but this cushion has highlighted my need for therapy.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised when I tell you that I like to feel in control of my life.  But today I discovered this does not help in my quest to add to my quilting skills.

For my latest cushion design I had hoped that I might be able to try a little of the sketching technique to applique the letters of my niece's name to her gift.  So I practiced, and I practiced and eventually it got this good (!?!)

Uh oh! More than a bit sad really.

Some more practice and I managed to do a little better (top sample in photo below)

but it still didn't really look good enough to go on the cushion.  So, what should a control freak like me do when faced with this dilemma?  Fake it of course! - (see bottom sample in photo above.)

I'm afraid my sketching efforts just didn't look good enough to make it on to the actual cushion.  So it was back up with the feed dogs and carefully trying to sew it neatly but deliberately not make it too neat! And, to create the illusion of slightly more random 'sketching' I controlled my sewing around the letters TWICE - how's that for warped thinking?! Is there such a thing as random control or controlled random?  I really do need help ....

In spite of my psychological issues, I am really chuffed with how this cushion for my niece finished.  I adore the Riley Blake Rainy Days and Mondays umbrella fabric and it was great fun to hand quilt around some of the little brollies on the front.

With a little creative assistance from my lovely friend Judith, I decided to make the back more interesting with the addition of a contrasting band on the envelop backing and little button and tab closure.  And, even though I didn't make the grade to do the sketching technique this time, I'm still pretty pleased with the applique lettering on the contrast band.

I was enjoying myself so much on the back of this cushion that I added a few fun accent buttons too - little hearts and a star.  This was lots of fun to create - and it's destined for a very fun little girl.  Should be just right!

So, here are all three sisters' (ages 15, 9 and 2) cushions ready for the festive gift swapping -

I can hardly believe I've actually made all of these myself, and am so pleased that that's three less pressies I will have to trail around the shops for!

Friday 7 October 2011

Another Cushion Start

I've made a start on another cushion pressie for one of my nieces using this little lot of Riley Blake gorgeousness -

Isn't that brolly fabric just so cute?

This will be the front piece and then I'll do a wee bit of quilting in the ditch to hold it all together and then, if all goes to plan (she says very cautiously), I'm going to try a wee bit of hand-quilting with perle cottons to pick out a few of the umbrellas in the central panel.

And, if all that goes well, I might try something else new to me when I make-up the cushion back, but more of that another time (I hope)!

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Cute Crochet

Not feeling up to the rigours of quilting too much lately and trying to stave off the boredom of post-surgery recuperation I picked up the crochet hook and some lovely cotton yarn to make a dent in my wee list of 'crochet to do'.

First up, I have some recipients in mind for these cutesy brooches - I love how they turned out and want to keep them all!  But I'll be good and give them to the folks they're intended for.

I also wanted to craft a little something for someone special but I spent ages trying to decide on colours, pattern and what to actually make.  Can't reveal all just yet, but here's a cryptic sneaky peek -

Monday 3 October 2011

Soul Blossoms Cushion finish

I have been trying to muster the energy to sandwich and quilt my 24" soul blossoms cushion, but last week was a bit harder than expected and it seemed to take forever to make the progress I was hoping for.  But despite the lack of speed and a few brainless moments while quilting I do have a finished cushion for another festive pressie.



quilting close up

Two cushion gifts ready and waiting

So, that's two down and one more to go for a full set of gift cushions for my nieces.  Must get no 3 on the go soon!

Sunday 2 October 2011

Hive of Activity

Sorry about the pun, but if you'd been at my house yesterday afternoon when the Bees descended upon it you'd know that I really couldn't title this post anything else.

It was our second meeting of the Bee Blessed group and it was time to get busy laying out and piecing all those wonderful wonky star blocks into quilt tops for those who could use a little blessing and thoughtfulness in their lives.

I wish I had had the foresight to take a snap when the Bees were busy laying out blocks all over my living room floor - it was like patchwork carpeting!  Here's what my room looks like

now imagine the sofa on the right pushed all the way back and that entire space covered in wonky stars!  Why didn't I think to lift the camera?

 My normally spacious kitchen/dining area

swarmed with Bees and was transformed into this -

It became the hub of industry as these wonder women, stitched, ironed, trimmed and laughed their way through a few hours to quilt Susan's beautiful quilt top

piece a blue boy quilt

sorry about the blurry pic

a pink girl quilt

and a blue mix/girl print quilt

Judith and I can't thank the ladies enough for all their hard work yesterday, nor our blog friends for your generous block contributions - you're all amazing!  Thanks so much!

Next time we hope to get them finished and make a start on something new.  Those of you interested in the next blocks should keep a wee eye to the flickr group or Judith's blog.

Saturday 1 October 2011

Check out Susan's Giveaway!

Okay, I don't really want to tell you this but I guess I should play nice and let you all have a chance for this smashing giveaway that Susan is running.

She has 8 fqs of American Jane, Punctuation fabric to giveaway to one lucky commenter (hopefully me).  Check out her post for details of how to enter (no big hoops to jump through).  Thanks, Susan, for another fun opportunity!
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