Wednesday 31 October 2012

Not So Gross finishes nicely

I mentioned in my last post that the Not So Gross Quilt had been picked up again after a "temporary" abandonment since July - ahem!

This was Not So Gross as I left her then

and here she is now

sporting white borders, quilting which is not wiggly lines (please note as it doesn't happen often!) and yummy Kona Cactus binding.

Wavy lines have become my favourite quilting style this year because a) I think they look good, b) they look slightly modern in style, thereby making me appear cooler than I am (who am I kidding?) and c) they are a relatively quick quilting method for a girl who's really more a patchworker than a quilter at heart.

However, this quilt top wasn't really speaking wavy lines to me when it came time to consider quilting her. I felt I needed to preserve the steps and stairs look of the patchwork and so some echo quilting in the white spaces seemed more appropriate.  When I got to the blank, and frankly not very interesting, space of the border I wondered if I might bring the wiggles back but experiment a little and try to make the wiggles overlap.  Then I saw exactly what I had in my head on this gorgeous cushion from Jeliquilts and knew I had to give it a go.

I would say while the first efforts were a bit dodgy (see right border), these intertwining waves got better as I went along (see bottom border).  I found it difficult to keep them wide so that the the shapes created by the interlocking lines of stitching looked more interesting, but think I was getting there by the third and fourth sides of the border, and it is something I would like to try again.

Not So Gross is now waiting patiently in line for her turn in my washing machine (where did all that laundry come from?) before she will be donated to Bee Blessed.

Details for making the blocks for this quilt are here if you are interested.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Lots going on

I have been reasonably quiet on the blog for the last few weeks but that doesn't mean that nothing has been happening around here.  Would you like to see some of the little things I've been up to?

Too bad, I'm showing you anyway, ha!

Firstly, I have been back at Thursday night class.  I was a bit gutted to miss the first week of the class when Judith was teaching needleturn applique but for the past two Thursday nights I've been working on satin stitch applique and sketching.


All of this technique and skill building is leading to making a choice of one of the techniques to make an applique cushion.  I feel some of my Ruby scraps may be put to use for this selfish make - watch this space!

During the week Judith and I got our heads together on a Bee Blessed quilt and, attempting to remember and recreate my Grey Wonky Blocks quilt, have worked collaboratively on these lovelies.

I just love those greens and am thinking that some of that Kona Green Tea has to find its way into my fabric shopping basket soon.

The next project start comes with apologies to Catherine.  I have been giving her a hard time for showing off Christmas makes already (sorry, Catherine!) and now have to confess that I had a hankering after a bit of festive fabric myself earlier in the week.  So, I started work on the stocking my son has requested for his teacher's Christmas gift.

I forgot how much I enjoy making Christmas stockings and think this is probably the earliest one I have EVER made. (And Catherine, you now have complete authority to give me a hard time right back.)

The Not So Gross quilt has also been resurrected since being shelved in July along with the Swoon quilt.  It has had borders added and quilting is now finished, but I'm waiting to finish the binding before sharing it with you properly.

And then today, I just had a wee itch to do something new, so here's what I'm up to now.

Wonky crosses are blocks I've wanted to try since I first saw them on Oh Fransson, and I was not disappointed in my play time this afternoon.  I still have half of the blocks to finish but I love the ones I have done so far (the two right hand columns).

This project was also about trying to be better at selecting and mixing fabrics and I think I'm getting there.  At first I wasn't sure that I could get away with mixing aqua, turquoise, teals and slightly greener aqua but I think it's going to be okay (fingers crossed).  Really looking forward to finishing this off when I have a few days off later this week.

Hope you all have been having fun too!

Sunday 21 October 2012

Eating my words

Do you remember this little Swoon quilt top I made in July?

Here's what I said about it at the time:

"It's very busy I'll admit, much busier than I would usually go for, 
but I think I kind of like it in a not-very-me sort of way."

Um, I might have to eat those words.  I've had plenty of time to consider this quilt top as it was left aside due to some unanticipated quilting commitments I took on in late July.  But the more I looked at it the less I liked it.  Just too busy for me and although I thought I could get over it, I couldn't.  Has that ever happened to you?

My plans originally had been to make this quilt and donate it to Bee Blessed so I really didn't want it to go to waste.  I thought that maybe if I could re-work it a little then it could possibly become a quilt that someone could love.

So, a little deconstruction back down into the original block elements, a little bit of biscuit coloured sashing and scrappy binding and Swoon is now a quilt I would actually be quite happy to keep.  It no longer gives me a headache trying to work out where to rest my eye amid the mass of clashing pattern, and I am happy that Bee Blessed will have a better quilt to share with someone who needs it.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Mmm Mmm

That's Mmm for Martha and Mmm for May.

Yup, meet my Martha May bag made from the absolutely fabulous pattern just published by Judith today!

I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this bag!

For me it was infatuation at first sight when Judith showed us Martha May on her blog a while back, so when she asked me if I would pattern test this bag for her, I almost bit her arm off for the opportunity (not literally you understand, but close to it).

The shape of the bag is cut from a template which you get in the pdf and then you're off following Judith's cutting instructions and methodical pattern steps.  The great explanations and step by step instructions with plenty of photos really helped me to feel confident that I was interpreting the stages of the pattern properly.  So, you fine folks out there are bound to find it just as accessible and, as Judith says, while it has been graded as Intermediate, if you have experience fitting zips you could very happily tackle this bag.

The pattern is now available on Judith's Etsy shop at a snip of a price. So, if you feel the need of a new bag for yourself for the autumn, or fancy making a start on some Christmas gifts for family and friends, stop reading this post now and get on over there and buy a copy!    And, if you're heading anywhere special in July 2013, buy the pattern now and then this could be your must make bag for the FQ London Retreat - just saying!

And finally, if you go a bit Martha May mad like me, you can even draw up a smaller scale pattern template and follow the pattern all over again to stitch yourself up a matching Martha Mini to hold your lippy!

Thursday 18 October 2012

For your pressie list

Hello Peeps!

Just a quick one today (and no pic, sorry) to drop you a link to a potential gift idea for you if you are a Melody Miller fan.  I hopped over to Alice's blog earlier and today she is showing a pretty bag made in one of the original Ruby Star Rising prints, AND her co-ordinating laptop!  Go on over to Alice's post and see the bag and the laptop for yourself.

Gelaskins is apparently what the customisation product is called and I popped in to that site to find laptop skins, ipod skins etc in some of the best Melody Miller designs (including viewfinder).  So, if these are up your street, maybe you can surreptitiously leave you laptop open at the appropriate page while playing festive CDs in the background for your other half to take the hint.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Be Free Little Birdies!

I know I've shown you my Birdie Stitches quilt before, but since finally finishing it in June those wee birdies have been all folded up beneath my sewing table because I haven't got around to hanging it. Shame on me!

But thanks to a nifty new power drill and my son's helpfulness cutting my bamboo hanging pole, we managed to hang it yesterday afternoon and I now have something to fill this boring, blank space above my sewing station.

And those wee birdies have come out to play!

Friday 12 October 2012

Little Things

I've been fiddling about with little things over the past week or so.

Another Crazy Scrappy Block for Bee Blessed  (I am really looking forward to seeing this quilt when we get the blocks all gathered and together)

with another one "by the way" for my own collection.  A couple of little crumb blocks, too.

I've been stitching up some squares from the Bee Blessed donated stash to bring together a small baby quilt top for the group to finish.

Oh yes, and one of these little beauties has come my way too!

Shhh, don't tell!

Thursday 11 October 2012

Cute and Fun

or so I thought!

Back in August I ordered some lovely baby pink and baby blue fleece with the intention of having a go at making a batch of little Baby Taggies/Feelies for a variety of purposes (gifts, craft sale makes etc).

For some reason I thought that making these cute little items would be fun, but sadly I haven't really been feeling that in this process.

I deliberately kept the fabric top a very simple four patch (a batch of which I actually made up on my summer holidays).  Earlier this week I picked up the four patches and decide to move them on.  Tons of ribbon later (these babies eat about 1.5m of ribbon each!) and some swift lessons in the fidgetty nature of fleece, I have a little production line going to finish up this batch of taggies for boys.

Although none of the fabrics in this project are expensive in themselves, I worked out that these cost just under £2 each in materials to make up.  At approx 9.5" square finished, I'm wondering if people would pay more than this so that they make even a little profit if I decided to sell them?

Not sure if it's the item itself I'm not loving making, or if I'm just not a production line type girl.  Hope I can find the love to get around to the girls' batch one day!

Just telling it like it is, so you know I don't always love everything I embark on.

PS - Remember the Slouch Bag I made at Judith's summer workshop?  (Which I do love!)

Well, now you can make one for yourself because Judith has just added the Slouch bag pattern to her Etsy site.  This is a mega versatile bag, loved by kids, teens and proper grown ups too, so if you are beginning to mull over potential Christmas present makes (can't believe I mentioned that word) this would be a fabulous pattern to get you on your crafty way.  Go on, check it out!

Tuesday 9 October 2012

First Finish of October

All ready and waiting to head Down Under later this month.  This gift quilt began life as the hopscotch quilt and then somewhere along the line became this Joel Dewberry concoction which I think will be much more suited for its purpose.

I wasn't sure I was making the right choice on the binding for this one, but I'm glad I chose the argyle print in the end.  It finishes the quilt off nicely without demanding attention to itself which kind of lets the quilt top do the talking.

At least that's one under the belt for my Sew Many Plans.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Great Big Kiss - quick tutorial

If you've checked in to find a tutorial on puckering up - I'm sorry to disappoint!  That's a whole other blogsite!  It's just a block tute I'm afraid, and I've called it the Great Big Kiss block because this block just reminds me of the big XXs that we add to the bottom of our greetings cards.

If you know the real name of this block, could you please share it with me?  It reminds me of a bow tie variation, but I cannot find the pattern in any of my books or online resources and I know I first saw a picture of blocks like this on a blog somewhere about 18mths ago but cannot remember where.

Anyway, as some of you may remember I made up loads of these blocks for this quilt which I made my son last Christmas.  This was such a simple but fun block and so I thought I'd write up a wee tutorial so I don't forget how I made them.  Thought some of you might be interested in it too.  So, with apologies for some of the pics being a little out of focus, here goes:

Cut 4: 4.5" squares solid fabric
Cut 5: 4.5" squares patterned fabric
Cut 8: 2" squares patterned fabric

Use scant 0.25" seams throughout.

1.  Take all 8 of your 2" squares and draw a diagonal line across the wrong side of the fabric. This will be your stitching line.  Top tip: as the fabric can shift under the pull of the pencil, I start my line from the centre of the square and draw out to one corner and then go back to the centre and draw the other half of the line out to the other corner - it really does help. Please note that for directional fabric it will matter which way you draw the diagonal, so you may need to figure out which way that needs to happen first.

If you look carefully you can see how I didn't pay attention to the
directional fabrics in this test block I made last year.  All of the full
squares are running with stripe vertical, but my little corners are a
mixture of vertical and horizontal.
2.  Now take 1 of your 2" squares and align it, right side together, to a corner of a solid square.  The diagonal line should cut across the corner not through it.

The square on the right is positioned correctly with the diagonal
cutting across the corner, not through it like the one on the left.

Stitch on the diagonal line.  Trim off the corner 0.25" from the stitching line and press seam open towards the patterned fabric.

3.  On the same solid square repeat step 2 adding another corner adjacent to the first.

4.  Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remaining 3 solid squares.  You now have four white squares with little patterned corners.

5.  Now you have 9 4.5" squares ready to be stitched together in the usual nine-patch way.  Lay out your 9 patches as shown below.

6.  Sew the blocks into rows, pressing the seams of the top and bottom rows towards the patterned outer squares and the seams of the middle row towards the patterned centre square.

7.  Placing rows 1 and 2 right sides together, butt the seams and pin in place to hold while you stitch the row together.  Repeat to join rows 2 and 3.

8.  Now press the seams of the fully joined rows open to give you a nice flatter finish.

9.  Trim your block to 12.5" square and smile at the Great Big Kiss you just made!

Hope it works for you!

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