Thursday 24 September 2020

Kindred Spirits QAL - Week 2


Week 2 of the Kindred Spirits QAL has been all about regular straight piecing.  Maintaining my scrappy approach, I haven't made identical Grandmother's Cross blocks, and that meant I got to play with lots of beautiful colours!

You can maybe just about tell from the photograph that my first block (the purple/orange one) is a good quarter of an inch too big.  I have been using my Janome machine this week as my Pfaff is in for a service and I forgot that my quarter inch foot on the Janome is already a scant quarter.  Consequently, all of my seams are a little too scant resulting in a larger block than is required.  The second block is grand (even if I might catch a few of those points when it gets stitched in to the quilt top).  

I think that I will re-make the first block in a few weeks when I have more time.  I might also switch out the two centre squares in it while I'm there as they aren't providing enough contrast with the orange ones.  Maybe a little aqua print would work better?

Another lovely week of Kindred Spirits QAL.  Next week is all about curves to grow a sunflower!!

There's still plenty of time for you to join the Kindred Spirits QAL class if you'd like to have a go.  Just visit the Just Jude Website for all you need to know.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Kindred Spirits QAL - Week 1

When I first saw the design for this quilt I decided that the pretty little block in the top right, just beneath the Flying geese was going to be my nemesis here.  Everything else looks fairly familiar and possible under Judith's tutelage, but that one was going to make me squirm.  And, what do you know, it's Block 1 of the QAL 😖 !!!

So, I calmly chose my background and three fabrics to incorporate in the block and then sat down to listen to Judith's video tutorial.  I find it so calming to hear Judith's clear, measured instruction and my trepidation (because machine appliqué isn't really my forte) dissolves as I watch her methodical process.

After testing my stitch lengths and widths just as Judith demonstrated, I was off VERY SLOWLY.  I used that little slider speed control on my Janome to restrict how fast I could go just so I didn't accidentally get happy feet and rush into disaster.  There was much tongue sticking out in concentration for this little Friendship Reel block, I assure you!

You can see that my curves became less wobbly as I progressed around that centre shape (the very top curve of the photo has some distinct hiccups occurring).

As my curves smoothed out, my confidence grew and even though I kept my speed at granny's driving pace I managed to get around all those twists and turns in a relatively neat fashion.

So much so that I'm not even embarrassed to show you this close up - yay! Sarah -1, nemesis - 0!  What a great start to the QAL.  I am so looking forward to next Monday for the next blocks!!

For all of the details on this fabulous QAL, please go to Just Jude Designs. Registration is easy and it's not too late.

Sunday 13 September 2020

Homemade Happiness

I stitched some rather late gifts for our Threads Across The Sea visit that never was (thank you Coronavirus).  The other lovelies have long since spoiled me with their gifts which we would have swapped in person had we been able to.  I just didn't get my act together quickly enough in my making and when I did, I created another delay by not being sure I liked what I intended to make.  

Cue a little alternative inspiration from the Fat Quarter Shop Floss Tube channel and a root around my long forgotten cross stitch supplies and voila I had plans for these sweet hoops.  Although I've been tinkering with a little blackwork since Lockdown, it has been many years since I attempted any cross stitch.  I used to stitch a lot and it was nice to have a little play again.

There's one for Judith

one for Trudi

and one for Di too.

You can find the Fat Quarter Shop cross stitch pattern here. My hoop is just 5" since I stitched on 18 count aida instead of the 14 count suggested by the pattern, and I finished it with a little lace glued around the outer edge and turned over the lace picots toward the front of the hoop.

I'm really hoping my Threads Across The Sea buddies like them since they're a little diversion from a quilty gift.

Monday 7 September 2020

Kindred Spirits Quilt Along


Kindred Spirits QAL by Just Jude Designs

I am beyond excited to be joining in with Just Jude Designs' very first Quilt Along which starts on Monday 14 September.  Doesn't it look brilliant?  If you fancy joining in, you still have plenty of time to read all about it and gather your ideas and supplies, just saying'.

The Kindred Spirits QAL is just what I need for a little push to refresh and expand some of my skills, since I've gotten a bit rusty.  Over Lockdown I found that SALs and QALs seemed to work well for me at a time when I was struggling to maintain focus, so I think the structure of having a weekly assignment will be just the ticket for the autumn through winter months (runs mid-Sept to end Jan).

At the end of last week I couldn't wait to pull fabrics and get myself all ready for the big lift off.  I decided that since I have so many 30s fabric left over from my abbreviated Dear Jane adventure, I'll use them up for a scrappy version of the quilt with a variety of white on whites forming their own scrappy background.  I'm looking forward to making fabric choices week by week and seeing the quilt grow!

Now, I just have to wait patiently for Monday 14th.  Are you joining us?

Sunday 6 September 2020

Betty Bag Swap

To combat the fact that my lovely Threads Across the Sea (TATS) friends and I have not been able to get an in-person meet-up this year, we decided to join in a little socially distanced stitching by way of a swap. Remember those?

We wanted to make a little something for each other - no pressure, just fun. We opted to test drive Judith's fabulous new You Tube class and make our "secret" partner a Betty Bag.

Of course, I soon discovered that it's not easy to keep the secret of who you are making for when the four of us know each others' tastes so well.  I tried a bluff with this fabric pull - for a partner who likes Tilda? or who likes teal? or who likes pink? Not sure I was really fooling anyone though ;-)  The secret wasn't the main thing though. We were each having fun doing what we love for friends we love, and that's what matters.

It was so brilliant taking a class with Judith again, even if just virtually.  The Just Jude Designs Betty Bag Class is such an accessible watch and Judith has filled it full of tips on how to use your machine, your quilting bar, your zipper foot, so you learn lots along the way as you construct the Betty Bag stage by stage under her fab tuition.

The Betty Bag has lovely features that allow you to learn how to incorporate magnetic clasps, letterbox zippers and top zippers, single fold binding and hardware fitting.  None of it is scary as Judith walks you through it one step at a time, and the beauty of buying the You Tube class is that you can repeat any section as often as you like. I did!

Betty is a cute little bag for times when you want to carry a minimum.  It would be a fabulous holiday pouch to carry a couple of credit cards (see the slots in the pic above) some loose change and your passport or tickets, assuming of course you are keen to travel currently.  Alternatively, it would be really handy for nipping out to the shops with your cards and your mask!

I added a few little zipper tab bling things

and a cute handmade button on the front.  Perhaps I got carried away, but my partner can adapt the bling if required.

My finish was a little bit wonky, so I've encouraged my partner to learn to stand with one hip tilted to take the bad look off it ;-)  This is not a pattern fault, but user error when aligning the magnetic snaps - apologies partner xx

Of course, you'll want to see the one I received too -

The lovely Di nailed it with her fabric choices on this version 

so beautiful

and I love the cute multi coloured zips with those handy ring pulls.

I LOVED sharing this project with my TATS friends and cannot recommend Judith's class enough.  Please do go and get it for yourself.  My advice - watch it all the way through before you do anything else. Just enjoy and follow the process, and then have fun re-watching and making your own beautiful Betty Bag!

Looking forward to a little more TATS socially distanced sewing soon!

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