Saturday 29 December 2018

Cosy Christmas Quilt Update

I can hardly believe it's more than 2 years since I started Lori Holt's Cosy Christmas quilt and the quilt remains unfinished even now!  But, I have made progress very slowly and now have a Cosy Christmas flimsy.

I love it!  It's wonky and quite inaccurately pieced but oh, it's such a cute design!!

I was going to baste it last weekend but, much to my disappointment, discovered that I'm out of 505 spray, so looks like it'll be another while/year before this quilt crosses the finish line!

Thursday 27 December 2018

Quilt Now BOM 2014/2015 - finally finished!!

A mere 4 years and 5 months after starting the very first Quilt Now Mystery BOM, I have actually got a completed quilt hanging on a wall!!

I have loved making this quilt (even the techniques that weren't my favourites) but am very pleased to  now have it where it can be enjoyed.

It's hanging on my landing just at the top of the stairs where there has been a boring blank space for too long.  Much better now! It's a tricky spot to get pics of, but hopefully you can see why I love it so much.

Sunday 9 December 2018

Chunky Cut Christmas Quilt

My Christmas fabric stash
(and I should own up that there's a bunch of Lori Holt Christmas fabric somewhere too).

I'm not quite sure how I ended up with so many Christmas fabrics but a restless Friday afternoon, knowing I had a Saturday night with a few sewing hours ahead, I decided it was time to reduce that stash a little bit.  (Yes, I should have been doing something more useful with my WIPs, but you know how it goes ....)

I made this pull which I think work fairly well together, look suitably festive and should make a bit of a dent in that Christmas box.

A super quick, chunky pieced sectional quilt planned out on squared paper and off I went, cutting and stitching the sections.

It required a little attention, but not too much brain power which was handy since I don't have much of that right now.

Eh voila!  Some Christmas stash busted and a big happy, no nonsense Christmas quilt top all ready to be quilted when I finally get some 505 for basting.  There's no way this will be finished for this Christmas, but that's grand, that wasn't really the plan anyway.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Scrap Vortex Finish

I have finally managed to bring all those scrap vortex bits (and their gazillion seams) together in a whole quilt top.  It was a bigger feat than I had anticipated and in spite of having enjoyed the 'leaders and enders' approach with which the quilt started, I have to admit I fell out of love with it a bit when it came to making all of those scrappy sections fit one another.  You wouldn't think it takes much, but when the scraps you're working with are quite wee, then any trimming can potentially render them unusable.  So, there's a bit more thinking and head scratching involved than perhaps I had energy for.

Nevertheless, I did get there and had a final flimsy measuring 54" x 61.5" , which isn't very big really but big enough for this one.  I even managed to reduce that B&C stash a bit more by adding a full B&C backing (IG destash 3m piece of Happy Go Lucky).

Don't panic over the falling out of love thing!  That was quickly rectified by some super quick wavy line quilting and a B&C red gingham binding (Vintage Picnic, I think) and now I'm all heart eyes for this scrapilicious little lap quilt.

Someone else likes it very much too - she's been using it as a mat to spin on!!

Saturday 10 November 2018

Tiny Tote's Tote

Super quick Christmas stocking filler for my little whirlwind.  She enjoys carrying a tote bag on the crook of her arm, especially Granny's one which is usually full of fun things for CT.  I was going to make her one for her birthday in the summer, but Granny kindly bought her a pretty pink handbag so there was no need.  Little missy loves the bag but it's got a curved, zippered top which is awkward for her little hands and less well defined fine motor skills, and the way it is designed also makes it quite tight for getting things in and out of.  So, I thought that for Christmas I'd resurrect my initial simple tote plan.

Aside from a nice little contrast band in the feature fabric for the handles, there's nothing "extra" on this tote.  No pockets, zips, closures for little hands to become frustrated by when filling it with all the teacups, toy frogs, pussy cats and pretend kitchen utensils a girl could want!

I was tempted by a lovely contrasting print for the lining but decided on a solid pale pink instead.  With her visual impairment, a patterned print lining can make it a little harder for CT to find what she's looking for in a bag so although not aesthetically my preference, this one will do the job much better.  I'm hoping that she will have lots of fun with her tote bag for a long time to come, or until she trashes it and mummy is 'forced' to make a replacement - how sad ;-)

Saturday 3 November 2018

Strippy Heart Quilt - Ta Da!

Here's the finished Scrappy Heart Quilt.  I need two tall, willing volunteers to help me get a proper shot of this quilt but since none are currently forthcoming, I'll have to make do with a floor shot.  Sadly, this doesn't show the quilt at its best but hopefully you can imagine its better than it looks.

I experimented with an echoed continual curve when quilting this heart and kind of regret it.  I feel I could have done better and am worried that it washed and dried a little oddly because of something to do with the quilting.  But, it's too massive to unpick and re-do, so I'm hoping that with time it will wear in a little crinklier perhaps, instead of just looking creased like it does now :-(

I know it's very hard to make out from the picture, but it is bound with a green print from B&C Vintage Picnic to finish the quilt.  I'm glad I chose it as it's actually a little more subtle than I thought it would be, whilst still adding a colour boundary and doesn't vy for attention with the heart design itself.

Another finish in the bag and soon to be gifted!

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Strippy Heart Quilt - Flimsy Finish

The Strippy Heart Quilt is now all pieced and it's rather large.  Took both of my men standing on the lounge chairs to hold this one up.  Not boding well for the quilting wrangle!!  But, let's forget that for a minute - isn't it pretty?

Remember that little pile of 2.5" strips I started with and wondered if it'd be enough?  Well, I had plenty for the low volume with a little to spare, but was about 60" short on the coloured prints.  Not too bad and not a problem given my healthy B&C stash to supplement from ;-)

I could photograph this quilt top from many angles and still not get it's best vantage - think that's just down to its size.  Although, it's big, it's not the biggest I've ever made but at 76.5" x 84.5" it's still going to be a doozie to squish through the machine.

I got the top all basted and only then discovered that the backing I thought would fit, doesn't.  So need to sort that before I tackle the quilting - gives me time to get my brave pants on!!

I might just love this one a wee bit!  (But I say that about them all, don't I?)

Saturday 20 October 2018

Strippy Heart Quilt - progressing

A wee bit of progress on the Strippy Heart Quilt to show you -

The top 8 rows and the bottom 12 rows.  Honestly, I have no idea why I decided to work a bit from the top and then from the bottom up.  Doesn't seem like my logical self, but no matter.

You can see that this quilt is not difficult in the complex sense, but it does require close attention to your cutting lengths and being organised and labelling everything so the rows don't get mixed. 

I've been enjoying it.  It takes about half an hour each time I pick it up to get into a wee rhythm with the laying, deciding, cutting, and piecing but I'm getting there.  Mostly, I just let the fabrics sit randomly as they come off the roll but now and again it does need a wee tweak (turn the strip upside down, piece in another 2.5" width, or skip a bit) just to ensure that there aren't too many occurrences of the same fabric in the same area or touching.  It's not an exact science and I promise, I am being much more hands off than usual! ;-)

This section is rows 1 -20 - I think it's growing really well!!  I think there are just 10 more rows to piece before there's a flimsy but my little strip rolls of fabric are getting to look awfully small - I wonder will it stretch?

What would you say is the dominant colour of this quilt as you look at it so far?  When I had it laid out on the bed for the pic I was surprised by how green it looked, but on the actual photo here I think maybe it's the aqua, or maybe not. Perhaps it's actually reasonably well balanced and scrappy?  What do you see?

Saturday 13 October 2018

Strippy Heart Quilt - Making a Start

I'm back to show you where I'm heading with this little 'quilt in a pile' I showed you last time.

First off, I should tell you this quilt is totally inspired by a photo I came across on Pinterest a long time ago and has been floating around in my head ever since.  To give credit where it's due, the inspiration for this make is known as the Have a Heart quilt by J Michelle Watts and there is a jelly roll friendly downloadable pattern for it here.  Please do have a look if you're interested.


As you can see from my sketch above, my original plan was to make a similar quilt but in a much smaller size as a wallhanging for my living room.  I fattened up the shape of the heart a little, drafting on squared paper, and then blocked out a squared off outline to allow the quilt to be made from scrappy strips.  

Of course, I haven't actually had the time to make my lovely wallhanging yet, but now that I want to make a gift quilt, the drafted design is quite easy to upgrade to a more suitable quilt size.  The maths was not difficult but there was a LOT of counting those wee squares to multiply them up.  I like that sort of thing, so was very happy to do it myself, but if you don't you could always buy the original pattern.

The first thing to do was to get piecing all those scrappy strips of Bonnie and Camille fabrics together.  These will be the focus fabrics for my heart.

I just kept piecing pairs together, then pairs of pairs together and maybe a wee addition of a strip in a different colour to keep the same colours from meeting.  Not too much thinking, just kept stitching ...

 ... and repeated with the low volume fabric cuts which will be the quilt background,

rolling them up into a continuous piece as I went.  I didn't press my seams at all and still can't make up my mind if I should have done as I paired up the pieces.  It would have made it quicker when it came to measuring and cutting, but it was no big shakes to press out a length, then cut it to size after.

Here were my two continuous rolls when I'd finished piecing.  Still not convinced it looks enough for the whole quilt, but I guess time will tell if I did the calculations correctly!

The next stage is to work to my list of cutting sizes to make up each row of the quilt.   It takes a bit more concentration late at night than I was hoping for ;-) but I am quite excited at seeing how it will actually come together!

Saturday 6 October 2018

Coming soon ...

It seems that even though I try to be disciplined and finish up my WIPs, I am always looking ahead to the next quilt (or the next 5 quilts, to be honest).  I think many of us are like that, aren't we? (Please tell me I'm not alone.)

Having knocked a few finishes off my WIPs list since May, I am itching to start another quilt that I really want to make as a gift.  If my calculations are correct, this little lot is a quilt top in waiting.  I've got to say, though, that this doesn't look anywhere near enough fabric for a reasonable sized quilt. (Puzzled and slightly worried look on face.)

SO, the next part of the plan is that from this bunch of strips I will create a continuous length of low volume strips and a second continuous length of the coloured prints.  Want to know what happens then?  You'll have to wait and see - assuming it works - lol!

Sunday 30 September 2018

Admiring Jane

I can hardly believe that I am finally able to share this finish with you!  Yes, at last I have finished my quilty nod to 'Dear Jane'.  A small nod, admittedly, at only 25 of the original 225 blocks, but a finished nod!!

Not only is it finished, but it is already hanging in my house making my hallway look cheery!

I'm calling it 'Admiring Jane' because she had infinitely more patience (and I suspect, time) than me.

Monday 3 September 2018

Double Charm Pack Quilt

Recently there's been a wee flurry of interest in my charm pack quilt and as part of that I received a request for fabric requirements if someone wanted to make the quilt using two charm packs instead of one.  So, since I did the calculations to answer the query, I thought that maybe some more of you might be interested in them - hence, sharing them here.

The original single charm pack quilt - details here if you are interested.
Two small apologies in advance - one for the super quick sketch of what the quilt might be like, and two for the unverified nature of the measurements. I really wish I had time to test them by stitching up a pretty quilt, but well, real life isn't allowing for that.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that my maths is still good and that these will work - if anyone tries it and can tell me if they're ok or not, that would be a bonus! (Edited - the lovely Sheila @budsmam on IG has trialled this pattern and all would seem to be well.)

So, on to the reason you've kept reading ...

Basically, you would be using two charm packs to make a quilt just like my single charm pack quilt above but with another internal border and an additional charm square round.  Something like this -

This bigger version would measure 51.5" x 56" finished.

You will need:
80 - 5" charm squares (Moda pre-cuts already contain all 42, so 2 charm packs will do)
39.5" x FWOF of solid border fabrics
15" x FWOF for binding
backing and wadding - needs to be a few inches bigger than finished size of 51.5" x 56"

  1. Layout charms as shown in the drawing.
  2. Cut solid border fabrics into 8 strips of 2.75" x FWOF (for the three inner border rounds) and 5 strips of 3.5" x FWOF (for the outer border rounds).
  3. From each of four of your 2.75" solid strips cut a 9.5" strip (for first border) and a 23" strip (for second border). You will have 4 of each.  
  4. From the remaining four 2.75" strips cut a 36.5" strip (for the third border).  Again, you will have four of these.
  5. Stitch all of your rounds together using 0.25" seam and adding solid strips for each border round to the sides first and then to the top and bottom of the quilt.
  6. When you come to the outer borders, sew the 3.5" strips together into a continuous length.  Use this length to add the sides first and then the top and bottom.  You will need two pieces 49.5" long for the sides and 51.5" long for the top and bottom. Trim any excess.
  7. Baste and quilt as desired.
  8. Cut 6 2.5" strips from your binding fabric to bind and finish quilt.

I hope maybe someone might find these useful.  Maybe one day, I'll give it a go.

(Again, apologies if there are any errors in my calculations.)

Thursday 2 August 2018

Scrap Vortex Progression

I haven't shown much of my Scrap Vortex quilt since this little bundle of pieces, but it did progress a bit more back in April/May time.

Working with the vortex scraps gets very untidy and the mess gets bigger as the pieces do!

I think I spent a rainy afternoon watching BBC iplayer catch ups and pinning all of these next seams ready to stitch on during the pauses and gaps in the making of my See-it-all pouches.  Though honestly, it was hard to keep it to just working as leaders/enders and it did take on a life of its own at times.

Gradually, the pieces grew until I needed to make some kind of decision as to where these are going.  So I've opted for blocks around 15" or 16" tall.  Originally, I tried to make them square but it was forcing thing a bit falsely (namely, trimming things a bit too close to seams for comfort), so I'm happy to grow them to whatever widths they work out at and will have some rows that are 15" high and some 16".

I love this scrap happiness!

This is where I got to.  None of those are completed rows, they're just various widths laid side by side.  I think I will keep this just a small lap quilt. So, next is to decide what width I'm aiming for and fill in any gaps in those top three rows and then do quite a bit of work on filling out the bottom row.  There are still plenty of scraps in the basket to do the job!! 

BTW - the problem with my blog comments seems to be ongoing (i.e. I don't receive notification of them by email and cannot, therefore, reply).  Blogger help forum seems to suggest the problem has been resolved, but it seems they forgot to tell my blog! So, if I don't respond to your comment, you'll know why, but know I am reading and appreciating that you took time to leave me your thoughts.

Monday 9 July 2018

See-it-all Pouches - A Comedy of Errors

A few months back when I was making my own See-it-all and Two-in-one pouches I did a little bit of secret sewing for gifts on the side.  My IG followers will know that I just spent the weekend away with my sewing buddies and with that event ahead of me, I desperately wanted to take them a gift I had actually sewed for them.

I tried to work from stash and after much deliberation about fabrics to suit each individually, I plumped for just using this fun bicycle print for everyone.  

These pouches use a continuous bias binding across the zipper sides and all the way around the pouch to finish.  Making binding like this was new to me and I did struggle a bit with the diagrams in the book, though fortuitously that same week I had seen this post from Geta Grama which helped demystify things and eventually, all the binding was stitched and pressed.  Though quite why the pattern called for so much to be made, I don't know.  I have heaps of it left over, like enough to do the final binding down both sides, around the curves and across the bottom for another pouch.  For a second pouch all you would need is to cut some straight binding pieces for the zipper side enclosures.

That these pouches got made is something of a minor miracle for there were so many mistakes in their making that you just could NOT make it up.  My mistakes, by the way, not pattern mistakes.

Firstly, there should have been enough fabric to make a fourth pouch for me with the bicycles, too, but a cutting error put paid to that plan, and you'll have noticed that my own pouch is a lovely floral and red combination.

Then, I had problems attaching the biased binding as the top enclosure of the zipper.  See those ugly wrinkles?  Ugh!

Eventually, I resolved the issue with a lot of help from IG friends - I starched the life out of the binding and re-pressed it, I reduced the pressure on my sewing foot, increased my stitch length and sewed very, very carefully. 

There were many attempts at getting these top bindings sorted - the yellow one was unpicked at least five times!!!  While they are not absolutely wrinkle free now, they are much, much improved.

My pouch fiascos did not end there peeps, oh no!

One of the pouches had a melting encounter with the back edge of the iron as I pressed the binding on a different pouch and forgot I'd set the poor, soon-to-be melted one just a little bit offside, but not offside enough!  Since the melt was right on the edge of the vinyl I managed to salvage the pouch just by trimming away the bottom edge.  So it's a bit shorter than the others.

Another one is a bit narrower than its sisters thanks to some cross transfer of the sharpie markings I had used to draw the template shape on to the vinyl.  No idea how that happened, but I did gasp after I has resolved the bias binding issue to find extra black marks half an inch into the vinyl!  Trim, trim, trim and breathe ...

Are you still with this saga?

I think by this stage I was getting a little bit discouraged and disillusioned about my clearly out-of-practice sewing skills.  Knowing that I had the final bias bindings to add along the sides, around the curves and up the other sides of all the pouches wasn't helping either, given the traumas of binding the zippers.

But you know what? They actually went on pretty smoothly and without the dramas of the first lot of bindings.  (My tip, use straight cut pieces to bind your zips and leave the bias cut binding to do the job of curves it is designed for.)

After that comedy of errors I can hardly believe that three See-it-all pouches were actually, finally finished and ready for the addition of a few treats before gifting!  They look sort of cute, in spite of their inadequacies, wouldn't you say?

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