Thursday 28 January 2016

Birthday Quilt in preparation

My brother has a special birthday this year and it's been in my head for a long time that I wanted to make him a quilt for it.  I know that working to deadlines isn't going to be my forte this year so if I have any chance of actually gifting him a quilt early this summer, then I need to make a start now and I need to keep it uncomplicated.

Scrolling my Instagram feed at the beginning of January I saw many quilts in the Layers of Charm pattern by the Fat Quarter Shop but one in particular was made in black and neutrals and bingo! I knew this quilt could be do-able for my brother.  Though I really wanted to add a wee pop of orange in the midst of all that neutral.  Don't know why, but I indulged my instinct and got approval from DS who was eyeing up the fabrics appreciatively as a whole.

Bro is a biochemist so I thought these lovely science fair fabrics with equations, the periodic table and suitably mystifying formulae on would be just perfect and not too twee as novelty fabrics go.

The cutting was quick and the piecing shouldn't take long either, even if I've only completed the first two rows to date.  Should be a good one to pick up and piece when I get a wee block of time at the machine and hopefully it will grow slowly and steadily until his summer celebrations.  Fingers crossed!

Monday 25 January 2016

Happy Days!

Are you singing the US sitcom tune now?  Goodbye grey sky, hello blue ....

Nothing much to do with the Fonz, these Happy Days are the name of Sarah Fielke's new BOM which is due to start on 31 Jan 2016.  (Still time to sign up at Sarah's website.)

It felt like a great idea when I was all mellow and rested over the Christmas holidays to sign up to Sarah's new Block of the Month - a piecing, appliqué and EPP project.  It seemed to fit in with my plans to just sew as I fancy this year and try something new too (step down piecing will be new to me, though I'm sure some other skills will be too).  I think I was enticed by more appliqué which I started last year on the Quilt Now BoM and maybe committing to a program will make me actually do it.

I love pulling fabric for new projects, don't you?  For this quilt I'm going to try a variety of low volume backgrounds, mostly white or grey based rather than cream, and a selection of pretties which are nearly all Lori Holt or other Riley Blake prints.  A 'Happy Days' quilt needs happy colours, doesn't it?

There's no point pretending I will be able to keep up with this BoM but I will try to do what I can and ENJOY it without pressure.  Actually, I'm very excited about getting started because I know from having watched one of Sarah's Craftsy classes that she explains techniques so clearly that it's a pleasure to have a go afterwards.

Bring it on!

Friday 22 January 2016

Dear Jane - starting to stitch: G-7

Having decided that I will work from the centre outwards of the Dear Jane quilt, I started with block G-7.  In case you don't know already,  the block layout of this quilt is 13 x 13 blocks surrounded by a border of triangle blocks.  The centre of 13 x 13 blocks are known by their position reference in terms of row (letters A - M) and columns (numbers 1 - 13).  So G-7 is slap bang in the middle and it's where I make my first stitches.

Of course, G-7 couldn't have been a nice wee straight line pattern, could it?  No.  Quarter circles to begin with!  Well, it's a year of giving things a go, so I did.  In the end the curves were no different really from EPPing apple core curves.  It's the teeny weeny squares and rectangles that required the most patience.

My very first attempt at this block ended in a less than satisfactory result after adding the borders and cornerstones by EPP.  I had a quick rethink, pulled out the scissors and seam ripper and decided that perhaps I'd get a neater result if I trimmed the EPP block and added the borders and cornerstones by machine.  This time the finish was much better.  So, that'll be the plan from here on in.  A wee bit of EPP for the pieced blocks but tidying up with machine finishing.

I'm going to try to work my block colours in a sort of Around The World fashion in a diamond direction and this pretty orange print is one of my favourites from my selection so centre stage it is.  The background fabrics for all of my blocks will be a variety of white on white print designs, but the sashing fabric will all be one particular white on white print.

I've chosen this wavy line print from Simply Solids. It's called Ramblings Linea, and it's really lovely.  I hope you can see it on the photo.  I know that white on white prints are not everyone's cup of tea, though I think they might be slightly more acceptable now since the low volume vibe took hold.  Anyway, I thought the linear design on this print might work well on small sashing pieces.  Time will tell I guess.

Eager to keep going I moved on to my second block which begins like this -

but after all that weeny piecing I haven't made it any further yet.  My eyes are in need of recovery time!!

So, there you have it, my Dear Jane start.  Only small, but it's a start, right?

Wednesday 20 January 2016

New Arrival Star Quilt

A new niece arrived in the world last week and as we all know babies need to have quilts of their own, so I needed to get my skates on and whip her up a wee star quilt.

I decided on a one block quilt which I have been wanting to make for ages.  A quick fabric pull, some maths and I was off.

The units are 4.5" square.  I would have gone to slightly bigger units except that my fabrics wouldn't have stretched that far.

I worked up each quarter at a time which made it very manageable. At 32.5" square I thought it was just a little small so I added three narrow borders, 0.5" white, 0.5" lilac and finally 1" white.  Again, the sizes of my borders were dictated by how much fabric I had left

36" square:  Not a great 3.22 am photo of the finish!

This quilt is a really quick make if time is on your side.  I did hit a few snags in my week and ended up pulling a really, really late night on Saturday to finish it.  But, it was done and gifted on Sunday to a sweet little black haired bundle in her daddy's arms.  Job done!

I'm a little amazed that I have a finish this year and it's still only January!  What happened to my plans to make this the year of starts?  Oh don't worry about that, I will have lots of starts to share with you in the coming days ;-)

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Churn dashes for Bee Blessed

Apologies that I am a little late this month telling you about the latest Bee Blessed blocks.

Bee Blessed have requested churn dash blocks for Jan.  These are probably my favourite blocks to make.  I love the clean lines and striking shape and, of course, the fact that they are really nice and straightforward to make is a bonus too!

My tutorial here provides nice, clear instructions to help you whip up a block or two yourself.  Bee Blessed is working with white solid for the backgrounds of their blocks and a coloured print for the churn itself.  Take my word for it, these are seriously nice blocks to make and they really don't take very long at all.  Go on, encourage the Bee Blessed team by sending them an addition or two to their fab charity quilts!

Friday 8 January 2016

Dear Jane

I did promise to come back and let you know my plans for these 1930s style fabrics.  This bundle has been curated mostly from Pretty Little Fabrics and Trims, with a few from Sew and Quilt and and wee pack of fat sixteenths to add to the mix from Tikki London.  Well, these and a few other fqs that Santa brought are destined for a Dear Jane Quilt.

As you can see I've already cut the paper pieces for my first block.  I'm very keen!

I first mentioned my interest in a Dear Jane quilt here back in 2011 but my plans got shelved because I got involved in so many other fun things.  However, through Farmer's Wife QALs, Bee Blocks galore, swaps and charity stitching I have always had that Dear Jane quilt in the back of my mind.

Have you seen it? Check out the original here.  There are some fabulous versions in more modern palettes too - just Google it or search Pinterest to see.

Well, on my browsing time whilst feeding Cutesy Tootsie I happened upon Brenda Papdakis's Dear Jane book on Amazon and it called my name just before my birthday last year, so I helped hubby out by ordering it for him to gift to me.  I'm kind like that ;-)

So now I'm going to do it.  I'm going to EPP those crazy little 4.5" squares.  Yes, I am.  There are 169 square blocks and then all the border triangles.  I'm not deciding now how many I will make or if I will add the triangle borders.  I think I'll just see how it goes.  Remember I did say this year I was going to sew as I fancy, so I'm not going to be a slave to any particular target.

As a starting point, I've opted to make the centre block first and then I will work outwards sort of treating it like a medallion quilt, adding little pieces of sashing and some cornerstones (which aren't in the original quilt).  I thought that by doing this I would have a continuously growing piece rather than a large pile of blocks which means I could stop really at any point when the quilt top is square rather than feeling obliged to finish it, or worse still leaving it as a UFO.  Make sense?

Well, here goes!!  Dear Jane here I come!

PS If you are interested in the book you can find it here.  For info, the book has very little by way of instruction, no measurements at all really for fabric or cutting, but it does have the diagrams you see above for all 169 squares and all of the pieced triangle borders too.  You could use it to foundation piece the quilt by machine or to EPP as I plan to.  There are many other Dear Jane resources on the internet which are easily found with a quick Google search.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Blocks 19, 20, 21 and 22

Last time you saw my Moda Modern Building Blocks they looked like this -

18 blocks of varying sizes between 36" and 12" square.  The remaining 30 blocks have all been cut and have been ready and waiting for some stitchy action, so on Saturday morning I got behind the needle and got busy.

From here on, all of the blocks are 6" finished.  The photos don't give you any idea of the scale but they really are quite little.

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 19
Block 19 demonstrated to me just how many seams I'm going to have to cope with in such small blocks and it does make trimming them a wee bit bumpy in places.  I'm not going to pretend all the points match up, but I do feel that it was an achievement that it finished on size!

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 20
I love the pattern of Block 20 and think those points might just all survive!

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 21
Block 21 looks squiffy here in the photo but it's not honestly.  Think it has something to do with my seam pressing.  I've since pressed them open and it does seem to sit better but I just didn't photograph it.

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 22
This one was a doozy.  48 itsy bitsy pieces make up this 6" block!  It did feel a bit insane as I started but I just concentrated on one small section at a time and it wasn't really as bad as anticipated.  I think if I re-made this block I would do it differently though.  The centre blocks on each edge would be better pieced as economy squares rather than as flying geese in my opinion.  I'm all about not creating unnecessary seams.  Hopefully, though there will never be cause to make a 6" block from 48 pieces again!  Mind you, I do think it's a lovely pattern and I do think it would work brilliantly as a larger one block quilt design. 48 pieces in a baby quilt doesn't sound quite so crazy.

22 blocks down, 26 remaining.

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