Tuesday 31 July 2012

Loveliness by Post

A little while back Linda from Sew Nicely had a wee giveaway on her blog.  Now, I wasn't one of her winners, but Linda in her loveliness decided that she would send a little something to all of us who left her comments on her giveaway post.  And, just look what arrived at my house yesterday.

This not so little, non-winner pressie, has three beautiful purple hued fqs and a little tin of mints - if only I could really claim to be a domestic goddess Linda!

So generous - thank you so much Linda!

Don't you just love a wee bit of loveliness by post?

Monday 30 July 2012

Sew Many Plans - August 2012

There are now quite a number of projects on the go in my sewing room and there are still all sorts of plans whizzing around in my head for more.  So, I thought I'd try out a new wee monthly feature to encourage me to be sensible about my planning and to ensure that not too many WIPs become UFOs, and that occasionally a UFO even ends up finished!

August is going to bring two weeks off work and hopefully a nice little package of sewing time, so for this next month's plans I can afford to be a little more ambitious than usual - 

Grey wonky block quilt for my brother and sister-in-law - finish it. It just needs the binding and label handsewn on.

Orange/brown/aqua ladder strip quilt - again just the binding and label to handstitch in place to finish.

Bee Block - hipBees is finally off the starting block (no pun intended) in August with Reene as our Queen Bee for the month.  Reene sent us this Summersville loveliness to play with make her a house block with, so I want to make sure I get that completed for the first ever hipBees quilt - yay!

"Ruby" Wedding Quilt  - this will be a gift for my cousin's marriage in September.  I'll be happy enough if I can just get the quilt top pieced in August.

Gift Quilt - Decide on pattern and fabrics for another gift quilt to be made in September/October.  I'm currently considering a few of the patterns in this book as options, but we'll see.

Recycled Shirts Bed Quilt - make a start deconstructing shirts and cutting for blocks.

Hexagon Quilt - this quilt has been on the go for two years now on and off.  I would like to shift it from the UFO pile again back into the WIPs.  

So, looks like I have a plan. Ambitious, yes, but hopefully because I'm due some down time it'll be possible.  Time will tell ...

Saturday 28 July 2012

At a Slower Pace

I have been trying to make the most of the free evening space available to me while the normal routine has relaxed a little for the summer months.

The Not So Gross Quilt

Yellow Brick Road Pattern in Swoon fabric.

Hence the greater than usual number of quilts, quilt tops and other projects that have been showing up here in the last 3 weeks.

Wiggly Bags

Brit Quilt Swap 3 Mini-Quilt

Pencil Case extra for BQS 3

Bee Blessed block - Very Square Like Me

Bee Blessed Block - Antique Tile

It's a much quicker pace of making than I normally have time, energy or indeed fabric to indulge in and there are still a couple more quilt commitments that need to be taken care of in the next month or two.

Greys Quilt for Brother and SIL

Ladder Strip Quilt - gift for aunt

While it has seemed decadent and been thoroughly pleasurable to be so creative, it won't be a sustainable pace so I'd like to start something that's a little more long term, less pressured but ticking over in the background; something I can dip in and out of amid other projects, without losing too much momentum in the project itself.

I think I may have found just the thing.

I have been collecting this pile of shirts (mine, my son's and my hubby's) to make a scrappy quilt for my son one day. I'll need a few more but as this will be a slower project that gives us time to wear out/outgrow a couple more each.

A few weeks ago, when I saw the  Squares and Strips Bed Quilt by Cluck Cluck Sew I knew that this was exactly the pattern I'd like for this quilt and so now I have my project and my challenge:

  • It'll be scrappy and I don't really have great confidence with scrappy (especially when it's a bit limited and clashing like some of this pile of shirts).
  • I'm aiming for a single bed size quilt which will be the biggest quilt I've ever made.  The piecing doesn't make me nervous, but the quilting does.  Thankfully the pattern should lend itself to nice straight line quilting which I'll be very happy to achieve on something of this size.

So that's my plan.  Oh, and I hope to have it finished before next summer when it will be lovely and warm and very necessary to change the duvet on DS's bed to a lighter summer quilt! (Who am I kidding?)

Now to start cutting off those sleeves and buttons!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Couldn't wait to show you ...

this ...

 I actually did it - there is wonk where there should be, nice straight blocks and then more (deliberate) wobble on my quilting lines (I believe they are called 'organic' lines by those of you in the know).  I love it!

I know it looks a bit like a dog's dinner in the pic (especially the borders) as I whipped it out of the machine and on to the bed so I could get a snap on here to show you asap.  I can't wait to get it bound now so that I can pass it on to my brother very soon.  Have some lovely Kona charcoal waiting for the binding this weekend.

I also managed to quit the orange/brown/aqua ladder strips quilt which is another gift to be passed on in the next week or two.  Wavy line grid was my quilting pattern of choice on this one.  Not too dense the quilt has a nice soft drape to it.

It is destined to have orange binding which I know can be as controversial as brown in some quarters, but I auditioned an aqua/teal colour and just felt it dragged the quilt down surprisingly. I even asked my son to give his impartial opinion and he said straight away to go with the orange because it made the whole quilt look brighter.  So orange it shall be!

Hope to show you both finished before too long.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Wonky Progress

I have been working hard to unbalance my inner spirit-level and these are the resulting wonky centres of the quilt blocks.

What do you think?  Am I getting it?

Here they are all bordered up and (deliberately) trimmed straight to 12.5" x 18.5" blocks.  I still definitely see wonk in there though and am rather pleased with myself, if not mentally exhausted from constantly counteracting the intuitive.  Though, if you look at that centre block you will see that straight was definitely putting up quite a battle there.

I am pleased with these and they came together more quickly than I had imagined. Some nice straight ash sashing and borders next (breathing sighs of relief)!

Monday 23 July 2012

BQS 3 Finished!

I am a little ahead of the BQS 3 schedule with this finish, but there are good reasons.  Although the Brit Quilt Swap 3 is running until the end of August I didn't want it to become neglected amid some bigger quilt commitments which I've recently taken on.  So, in order to give it the time and attention it rightly deserves, I devoted time to it early.  And now, here it is all bright and happy and finished!

For the binding, I was tempted by scrappy but it sort of got a bit lost because the centre is scrappy enough.  So I decided to use one of the bright prints from the hexi wheels, but I didn't want the binding to draw attention out from the wheels or compete with them.  I hope I have achieved that with my choice of the green metro circle print and ultimately, that my partner will like it.

I chose to quilt simply on either side of the straight seams and I love the resulting double triangles and the little stars that appeared in the intersections of all those lines.  

I added two wee hanging corners at the top too, just in case my partner likes it enough to put it on their wall.

As a wee extra I stitched up this cute little Zakka pencil case from that book and I'm sure some chocolate may also find its way into the parcel when the time comes too.

So, there it is partner.  I really hope it's something you like and not a disappointment.

Sunday 22 July 2012

In search of my inner wonk

I am on a quest to find my inner wonk.

You see, I have trouble with wonky.  Even when I try really hard to be wonky, I end up straight.  It must be how I'm wired.  My wonky house would have made any architect proud

I promise you, at one stage of construction this was really quite wonky,
but somehow just seemed to "correct" itself under my hands!

and my wonky stars, well they only just about wonked!

Anyway, these gorgeous fabrics arrived/have been collected at my house in the past fortnight for a very special quilt and to make it work I need to find my elusive inner wonk, fast!

This quilt will be for my brother and sister-in-law and I just don't think that a straight as a die, traditional block is really them.  So when I saw their newly decorated lounge in shades of grey with no accent colour present I knew that I wanted to do something like this but without the colour splashes.  I absolutely love Faith's take on this quilt and my preference would be to include the colours, but it will be right not to include them for this particular gift.

So, do I think I can find the ability to do wonky without straightening it out by some kind of natural quirky fluke that I seem to possess?

Wonky trial block.
I did a trial block and I'm sort of getting there but I really do have to fight to stop some kind of inner spirit-level from winning every time.  Thankfully if all goes to plan there are only 9 blocks to have to fight myself over!!

Saturday 21 July 2012

Bee Afternoon

Today was our Bee Blessed afternoon - fabric, fun, friends and tales of firemen (leaving you guessing on that one...).

Evidence that we did do some work and not just spend all afternoon eating Janette's cheese, biscuits and fresh fruit platter and Marion's sweet treats -

Everybody hard at it.

Our lovely Ros has been working on a pair of Amy Butler quilts and today finished up the first one.  Isn't it fabulous?

The second one is going to be slightly different in the sashing and layout, but is equally gorgeous.  We'll try to remember to show you when it's ready.

 I was working on some more blocks for the next quilts.  Another Very Square Like Me Block

and a couple more Antique Tiles (I like this block design A LOT)

Fun afternoon and kept us all out of trouble!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Got the Wiggles

A short while ago, Emily put out a call for some help to gather Wiggly bags for her friend's local charity and children's hospital. I wanted to have a go at these little bags as I know that a few of us making a little contribution can suddenly make quite a difference somewhere, to someone.  And, besides they were quick and easy and fun to stitch up.

These simple little velcro pouches with tape ties are used for holding the hickman lines (catheter tubes inserted in the chest for the administration of chemotherapy and other medication) used in children's cancer care.  Emily has posted a Wiggly bag tutorial here.  If you fancy putting some of your scraps to good use why not drop Emily a wee comment on her post so she can send you the mailing address.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

The Not So Gross Quilt

This is the 'Not So Gross Quilt' - like it?

I could have just called it 'Steps and Stairs' but since it's made up of 144 white strips and 144 patterned strips which are then made into 144 of pairs before becoming the 16 blocks that make up this little quilt, I thought I should add the word 'gross' in somewhere.  But, since it's quite a nice little quilt top and not actually gross at all, it is the 'Not So Gross Quilt'.

If you fancy a little quick quilt gratification for a 48" square top, here's the 'how to':

Cut 144 white strips 2.5" x 4.5"
and 144 patterned/coloured strips 2.5" x 4.5" - 9 strips of same fabric needed for each of the 16 blocks.  (I used 16 co-ordinating jelly roll strips for this quilt and was able to cut all 9 patterned strips for one block from each jelly roll strip.)

Pair each white strip with one patterned strip, chain piecing all 144 pairs along the 4.5" edge. (Watch out for your bobbin thread running out, I had happily stitched about 20 pairs after the bobbin emptied before I realised - doh!).

Press all seams towards the patterned fabric (this is a gross part).

Now collect each set of 9 squares into little piles and decide on the placement of your patterned fabrics for the main 16 blocks.  It is important to decide on these before you sew the block together as the quilt is actually constructed from two different blocks (block A and block B) and you won't 
necessarily be able to swap the block placement once they are made up, unless it's with another block of similar layout.  

(The eagle eyed among you will note that I fell foul of this myself and the layout above is not the layout of my final quilt - so be warned, I speak from experience, though my error was that I forgot that rows 2 and 4 would start with a B block, rather than an A block.  Yet again - doh!)

The next step is to lay out each of your blocks.  The layout for each block is shown in the pic above.

Lay out all eight block As and all eight block Bs in piles to make chain piecing simpler.

Now chain piece the blocks and make up just as you would for any standard nine patch block until all 16 blocks are finished.

Once your blocks are pieced, trim them square and lay them out alternating block A with block B (and remembering, unlike me, that the second and fourth rows start with block B). Finally, piece your blocks into rows and join into a quilt top that's not so gross after all!

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