Tuesday 24 April 2012

Kaleidoscope Resurgence

There is more than one UFO in my sewing room but thankfully as of last weekend there is now one fewer to count.   It's not completed yet, but it has been promoted from UFO to WIP.

Last Summer I joined the Kaleidoscope Quilt-A-Long on Don't Call Me Betsy's blog and promptly cut what seemed like a zillion pieces only to discover that I had printer issues with the templates and my zillion pieces did not fit together as they should (all my fault not the QAL's).  Determined not to abandon all hope, I rescaled a Kaleidoscope block paper piecing pattern to allow me to make use of my ready cut pieces.  Eh voila, one Kaleidoscope top.

Then, throw into the mix one surgery and long recuperation and sadly said top ended up neatly folded on a shelf awaiting her turn for attention after the Christmas pressie fest and subsequent retirement quilt, gift quilt and Bee Blessed activities that have been keeping me busy.  But, as of Saturday morning she has had to wait no more.

I picked up my quilting plan

which thankfully I had already decided on(am generally a bit useless at deciding how to quilt), loaded up some bobbins and got to work.

I'd love to tell you that all my lines are straight and that this was a breeze.  But I won't lie on either count.  This is the biggest quilt I've ever quilted and, even though it's not that big (approx 50" x 60") to some of you more experienced lovelies, I can honestly say that this one nearly beat me.  Not sure if the problem was just the size or if it was the design.  Manoeuvring this much quilt through the machine and switching the angle every 10" was almost overwhelming.  But sheer stubbornness and brute force finished this baby -

You can see the quilt design better on the reverse.   Not perfectly straight but not so awful really.

I need a rest (and new shoulders too) to regain the energy to bind this one, but she's nearly done. Woohoo!

And, for the record this quilt will be mine - mainly because I have always wanted a blue and white quilt, but also because although I enjoyed the Kaleidoscope quilt-a-long I will probably never feel inclined to make another full kaleidoscope again!

Sunday 22 April 2012

Zips and a Tin Hat

This weekend had a lot of zips in it.  Some better than others it must be admitted, but these are the fruits of my labour -

pencil cases

coin purses and

cosmetic purses.

All these little bits join my other recent makes and will hopefully make themselves useful in a Bee Blessed fundraising bid later in June.

Feeling the need for some crochet fun this weekend too, I stitched up this 'tin hat' with a view to giving Bertie a makeover.

Much as I love Bertie, I want to smarten up his tin for the sewing room shelves.  Hope to finish his revamp soon.

And also this weekend, my Kaleidoscope quilt (pieced last summer)

has officially moved out of the UFO category and back into WIPs - more on that during the week.

Hope your weekend had some stitchy goodness too!

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Blow it in style!

Getting myself organised for a mini production line to end up with these cute little tissue pockets which I learned to make at Judith's Christmas gifts class last year.

Should come in very handy for turn of season colds and poor hayfever sufferers.

Although don't you find it hard to blow your nose on tissues this cute?

Saturday 14 April 2012

Before Reality Kicks In

This week has been a lovely blip in the reality of our routine, which is why I've been able to sneak off so much and get stitchy!  So, just before the craziness kicks in again let me show you this afternoon's progress on the two quilts I've been working on for Bee Blessed.

First up is the jelly roll quilt -

It's had a double border added and is appealing to me much more than it did previously.  I made the outer border pieced with leftovers from the squares made for the main blocks - I think it adds a wee bit of interest to the very plain stone coloured border.  I've never pieced a border like this and now I'm feeling like one of the cool people 'cos I did it and it worked!  (I'm very sad, I know.)

And then this charm pack lovely -

I really do love this quilt top - it's probably the colours that really make it for me.  Maybe this would make a good quilt to donate to a male Bee Blessed recipient.

Aaaahhh. (Sound of a stitchily satisfied me.)

Friday 13 April 2012

Playing with Bees ...

Well, not exactly.  More like playing with Bee's fabric, which is what I got up to this afternoon.  (Can you tell with all this sewing this week that I haven't had to commute to work for five whole days?)

Anyway, back to the point.  I've been playing with some of the Bee Blessed donated fabrics to see what can be brought together to make up another quilt and today I got to work with a lovely Moda Full Circle charm pack (black, red and biscuit colours).  From our donated stash I chose some nice red polka dots and a lovely print of mahjong tiles which had just the right colours in it, found some black fabrics in my own stash and voila!

First set of blocks (these even raised a positive comment from hubs as he passed by the sewing room) -

Second set of blocks -

First and second set together (I am falling in love with these) -

There is a third set of blocks to come (see the unstitched reds I've laid out at the bottom) -

Obviously the layout will have to change once I have more red bordered blocks to add in, but if I do say so myself I think this quilt is going to look fab.  I REALLY LOVE how simple and striking the blocks are and am now going to keep my eyes peeled for other fabrics that would look this good in this pattern just so I can make another one!

So if you donated the charm pack or the mahjong tiles fabric, now you know what's happening to them (hope you approve) and I want to say thank you so much for the inspiration!  I am enjoying this one very much.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Nul Points!

No Eurovision hasn't come early.  Nul Points is simply what this quilt top has!

My Jelly Roll experiment with the Missouri Star Quilt Co video tutorial was moving along nicely until I opened the second mini jelly roll.

Here's what I've learned (the hard way) -

  • Do not work with wonky, unevenly cut jelly roll strips! (Frustrated grrrrrrrrrrr!)
  • Do not work up half a batch of blocks to completion before starting the second half (because the solution to the problems with the second batch could have been applied to all blocks at once).
  • Do not despair - the world did not end just because my quilt has nul points!

I think that if I can find suitable border fabrics and add in a few pieces of the remaining pieced jelly roll strips this little (only 40" square at the mo) imperfect quilt might begin to look quite respectable.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Jelly Roll Experiment Progress

I promised to report back on my progress with the Missouri Star Quilting Company tutorial I referenced yesterday, so here goes ...

The basic process is just as simple as the video tute makes it appear and the result is a fun little mixed up block which has generally improved the appearance of my jelly roll fabrics!

After happily assembling one block I made up a further 7 from my strips.  I think these are beginning to show some promise - although I will play more with the layout to avoid some of the issues I can now spot in the photo that I didn't when I looked at the table!

My only little caveat about this little block tutorial is that once you slice on the diagonals you will be working with bias edges, so if that's not for you you might not want to try this.  My blocks were a little uneven in places because I'm not very experienced in working with bias edges, but I will trim them all down square again before joining the rows.

With my original 16 strips I have been able to make 8 blocks which measured up just under 11" unfinished.  (Just FYI - assuming you had a whole jelly roll of 40 strips FWOF I would think that you should be able to make 20 of these blocks for your quilt top.)

Anyway, I'm happy enough with the result of today's experiment and will break out the second jelly roll soon to make up another 8 blocks for my Bee Blessed quilt top.  Watch this space!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Easter Catch Up

Hello out there!  How was your Easter?  I hope you all had some time to relax, breathe in deeply and maybe have some fun too.

My Easter looked a little like this ...
Sweaty men in Lycra - my men entered the JK International Orienteering Festival 2012 in Bonny Scotland.
Day 1 Racing - Urban Race in Livingston.

Day 1 Racing - Urban Race, Livingston.
I got to play cheerleader and chief photographer.

Day 2 Racing near Dunalastair Water.
I got to stand around on cold Scottish mountainsides for some considerable time.
This cheerleading lark isn't all glamour you know!

Since there was nobody to photograph for a LONG time, I snapped the scenery instead!
Somewhere in that forest my 10 year old was navigating his way to the finish
where I was freezing my bum off waiting for him.

Day 2 Racing - Then I got to be the proud Mum and official team photographer!
Nearly finished.  Yay!!!!

Day 3 Racing at  Craig o Barns, nr Dunkeld.
Proud of Hubs too,  even if this competition did test the theory
of "it's the taking part that counts".  Both of my boys like to WIN!

This was our first big Orienteering event as a family (please note, I play the support role only) and although the boys would like to have fared a little better I hope they enjoyed themselves.  It was really tough terrain and a much more testing standard that they are both used to.  I am so proud of my (not so) little one for buckling down and persevering through this really tough challenge, and though Hubs was frustrated by his own performance I'm proud of him too!

However, after three days in the Scottish outdoors I was desperate and itching to pick up a needle/touch some fabric/press my foot on a sewing machine peddle (yes, my name is Sarah and I am a sew-a-holic), so as soon as I could get the laundry loaded in the machine, the grocery shop in the cupboard and everybody fed and watered for lunch today I snuck back into the sewing room for a fix!

There is currently a huge list of 'To Dos' that must be done/caught up with but after ticking three small things off the list this afternoon I did a dangerous thing ...  yep, I started something new.  Totally unplanned and spontaneous, and probably stupid too!

Last summer I was gifted two mini jelly rolls like this one

and today I decided to play with one of them.  I have been wanting to make a little quilt top from them for Bee Blessed for some time but to be honest with you I have had my reservations about these fabrics.  One day I liked them, the next I wasn't so sure.  I wondered, too, if they were a little like that bit in the Sound of Music when Maria explains to the dashing Captain Von Trapp that when she entered the convent all her worldly clothes were given to the poor, and when he asks what about the ones she is currently wearing she has to admit that 'the poor didn't want these'.  If I'm not quite sure about the fabrics myself, would someone want them as a donated gift?

Anyway,  today I decided that it's not all of the fabrics I have concerns about, just two of them - so I set them aside -

See?  I think these could probably be categorised with the browns that get a lot of folks upset.  Anyway, be assured, I didn't use them.  Now the balance of colour has shifted significantly in favour of the aqua and stone colours and I'm a bit happier overall.

So, the plan is this:

With the remaining 16 strips from my mini-roll I stitched up 4 sets of 4 strips, like so

(there is a fourth set, it's just not in the picture) and tomorrow ('cos I have another day off work) I plan to do a little magic on them a la this video tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilting Company.

If the result is acceptable I will deploy the second mini jelly roll and go for it.  If not I shall just chalk it all up to experience!  I'll let you see how I get on.

Monday 2 April 2012

Housing Crisis Averted!

When Judith put out the call for a Social Housing project to home the Pippi girls I set to it.

But oh dear me!  Poor Pippi has had to call the architects in several times to redraft the plans for her ramshackle abode.  I'm afraid when the builder (moi)  set to work it just wasn't good - so not good that I didn't even want to take a pic to share.

So, in came the architects with their measurements and plans and things improved slightly.  Only slightly, though 'cos on the next build Pippi's house had a roof that was narrower than the building. Probably not so great for keeping out the rain!

After a confrontation between the builder and the architect (yes, I fought with myself in a split personality kind of moment) we reached a compromise, took the building back to its shell and reconstructed the roof with a little more care this time.  Then and only then were we able to draft in the landscape gardeners to lay the lawn and square us all up to 12.5".

And ta da - Pippi has a house (complete with venetian blinds).

Bet you can do this much better than me - could be I'm brain dead and now in much need of the upcoming Easter break - so if you fancy making a wee house for a Pippi girl in this month's Bee Blessed block check out Judith's post here.

Waving Windmills Finished!

My Waving Windmills quilt joined a pile of quilts waiting to have the bindings and labels handstitched and sort of ended up slipping further and further down the pile.  But I resurrected it this weekend and finished her off.

Here she is -

Hope she'll be happy in her new home!

Sunday 1 April 2012

Bright Wonky Stars

We had another Bee Blessed day yesterday and there were so many quilt tops moving around Judith's house it looked like a slumber party in the making.  To see some of our finishes and our WIPs take a wee look at the pics J posted here.  It has been lots of fun and has taken not insignificant co-ordination to have all these projects coming together at once (and there are more that we didn't get pics of this time around).

I also managed to get the third little pram quilt (measuring 37" square) finished up this morning.  I love how bright this one is!

Here are the other two in this set just in case you missed them.

These Bee quilts were designed to make use of the blocks that we had left over from our early Wonky Stars run of quilts.  The blocks were just so lovely and now they have a home and the little quilts have a purpose.  Result!

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