Monday, March 23, 2015

Fractal Block 2

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I enjoyed my first fractal block so much that I decided to make a second in the bigger size and try not to cut so many corners this time. So I sat down and tried to work out which fabrics I thought worked last time and which didn't. I spent a bit of time making a mock up just to see if it would help me choose the right fabrics. I know it's quite pedantic, but I am trying to improve upon my weaknesses so I am keen to experiment with anything that aids my fabric choosing.

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I have ordered some new fabric to fill in my gaps. I took out all the greys, the orange spots, the lime green and the bright yellow. I then delved into my stash and realised I needed two things; some dark fabric and some more yellow in the right hue. So I ordered some of the new Biology range by Cloud9, another bright pink fabric and some of the new Yoyogi Park also by Cloud9 in yellow. I can't wait to see it all! It's definitely a splurge but at least I am planning to use it straight away. It's only fat quarters. If it works out then I might make three more blocks and make it into a quilt! We'll see.

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I also had a think about my backgrounds, making sure the busier ones weren't next to each other. I really like the second one on the left that I got for Duxford for £2.50 Result! I hardly have any of the butterflies left which is slightly worrying though.

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I also numbered each segment of the pattern and remembered to cut all my pieces as mirror images so that they end up being the right way round if that makes sense.

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I also cut all my templates with a 1/4" border. I ironed all my fabric before I cut the pieces. I also ironed the fabric after sewing each piece... and hey presto! Suddenly everything lines up! So much neater. One unit down, only 7 more to go before we see if it all helps.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Foundation progress

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If you don't count the valentine's day mug-rugs then this is my first mini quilt. I am not sure what you do with them, but it's a nice quick, low cost thing to do.

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So after really enjoying making a mini traditional block, I decided to try making something more modern. I really liked the simplicity of Pattysloniger's Fractal block. I saw this instagram on Pinterest and it really grew on me as a good idea for a next project.

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I mean the first block had gone down really well so maybe I was ready for the more modern approach. It seemed perfect for the ever growing scrap bag. Plus I like to mix up one traditional project with one modern one.

How wrong I was.

I have really ballsed this up.

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First though, I should mention that the pattern is not at fault here. I really like the pattern. It's short and simple and best of all cheap! Horray! It has everything you need. Even a diagram of the colours which is really great for me as I am really bad at colour. I just can't put nice colours together. I need help. I loved the original one so I just tried to follow the colours. Of course I failed to realise that each segment would come out as a mirror image of itself so all my colour matching went tits up. And I should have numbered my fabric as I had no idea which of the two middle colour segments were which as they were almost the same shape. Note to self: Next time use stickers.

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As an idiot though I could have done with the seam allowance added to the pattern so I could have cut out templates for the shapes I needed to cut. Look at the orange segment, it's got a massive gap! I think I unpicked half of the segments. I sewed this one twice and STILL got it wrong.

I think this is because I just roughly cut out all the low volume shapes first with a pair of scissors. Very rough and ready. I cut them all a tad too small and very wonky which made lining them up almost impossible. Of course I am so tight that I ploughed on with them... a mistake really. It set everything off kilter.

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I then cut out all the shape templates again but with seam allowance and cut the coloured sections. I still managed to balls this up as I made them way too big. So I am left lining up bits that are too small with bits that are too big, everything was just OFF. My fault totally.

Maybe I should have read the book mum leant me on foundation piecing. Yes, that definitely feels like a good idea now I have ballsed it up.

In the end my finished blocks barely had enough seam allowance so I had to keep the paper on just so I could see where to sew. Nothing lines up which makes it hard to see the central shape.

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It's all incredibly sketchy. Some barely meet, others are huge flappy seams. The back is quite frankly a mess.

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But at least no one sees the back and hopefully once quilted, the seams will be ok and the lumps and creased not to visible. And if you stand really far away you won't see the wonky lining up. See it looks ok right?

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Uh-oh, look closely and nothing lines up by a long way. Back to squinting. I know I can do better than this. It just goes to show that being lax at the start can affect the whole thing. No more cutting out random shapes with scissors in the dark whilst watching House of Cards.

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I found choosing the fabric quite difficult. I realised the original had bright and dark blues in it and I seem to have no blue fabric. I had to use turquoise instead, but now I think not all turquoises are the same and the light blue Flights of Fancy fabric on the far right doesn't really fit. I'm really pleased with the Teensy Weensy Pine (dark green with little crosses fourth on the left) as it was sent to be by mistake so they didn't charge me! I'd been waiting to use the Cloud 9 bird fabric, third on the left, but I think the orange and grey spots don't really work, nor the yellow Katie Jump Rope on the far bottom right, which is weird really as I thought that would go and that the new yellow fabric I bought at Duxford would look too murky, but actually I think it works

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It's great to see it all together and work out which bits go and which don't.

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I also bought my first ever quilt magazine the other day. I try not to buy magazines anymore as I don't have anywhere to put them and I am loathe to have more stuff. I have a stuff problem as it is. But I was buying my mum one and Penelope her first one so I thought why not! Love Patchwork & Quilting were giving away some cool blue wonderclips which just sealed the deal! I love them! They are just so bloody useful and I have a real thing about plastic see thru things. I am just drawn to them. I really want these multi coloured clips! I just find that lovely notions make everything more pleasurable. Terrible really. And check out my tiger tape measure that I got for Christmas! It rocks. After doing so much unpicking with project I have added a swanky Ghinger seamripper to my wishlist.

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The pattern didn't tell you about the quilting which I think could have helped. I had to squint at the original instagram picture to get an idea so if it were me, I would include a diagram for idiots like me. Turned out to be pretty quick and easy... result.

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I used the birds on the back which I think worked well. And I bound it with the fat quarter Rachel gave me for Christmas!

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So now I am going to start another one straight away just to prove that I can do it perfectly. I know what will happen though, I will end up liking the first one the best. It is always the way. I love it already. I did think for the first time ever that I might just make a patchwork cushion. Gasp! Have I finally tipped over the edge towards that Patchwork jerkin? I thought that my Maple O quilt could do with a big cushion in matching colours and this might go if I made the bigger size. Let's see if I can make it perfect this time and find all the fabric scraps I used for the Maple O.

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Here's one last picture because I love it so. Gives you some idea of how ickle it is. 14"

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Close up! because... why not? Here it is by the front door. The light is refracting through the bobbly gross safety glass. Would it be too much for people to walk in and see a mini quilt on the wall? I think so. For the time being it will live on the bedside table... just for me.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Postage Stamp update

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I'm not really a fan of basting. I never seem to have the space. I get bored after a while and want to give up but it has to be done so it can be cleared away. I once left a quilt on the floor for a few weeks and it got dirty and dusty. So it has to be done in a day.

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Not sewing it by hand has been a breakthrough though. Pins are so much easier!

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And wonderclips on the binding are perfect. I have been waiting a long time to have enough. I just made it.

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So this is how my evenings are looking for a while. It'll be good to get this finally done. It's really lovely. I love the backing.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cotton + Steel Cowl

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I have resisted buying big bits of fabric, expensive bits of fabric. All new fabric for one project. Expensive fabric... Yeah, so I caved in. I have been watching all the Cotton + Steel fabric coming out and finally I was pushed over the edge of temptation by the Mochi lawn. I love them. I decided to make myself something to wear for Birmingham this year so I would feel chic and creative.

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Here we have Mochi Lawn - Speckled in Navy and Tokyo Train Ride Lawn - Mystery Food in grey,
both from The Village Haberdashery. The pink mini pom poms are from Ebay.

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I love the salve edges so I saved these so I can think up a project for them.

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As for the pattern. I followed the Figure 8 cowl pattern on The Village Haberdashery blog. Here is my review... The problem with easy patterns is that they don't account for the thickos like me. I think I am better with paid for patterns as they tend to spell everything out for you. In retrospect I should have treated the pom pom application like piping, but I am far too thick. Here is a catalogue of errors...

Mistake number one. Good work using the piping foot. But bad work not setting the needle a few steps inwards so that when you come to do the second line of sewing you can move the position over so that you are sure to sew over it so it's not visible. I found following my line of sewing very tricky.

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Mistake number two. I should have used cotton the same colour as the pom pom trim to apply it to the backing fabric then it wouldn't have mattered so much if it was visible. You can see I chose navy to match the backing fabric. It stands out. It's stupid. I am a doofus.

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Mistake number three. I made my cowl longer than the pattern specified. It said 175cm long. Ack well I am very tall so I tend to make everything bigger so it looks big enough on me. Showing a cowl on a 5ft waif is not the same as showing it on a 5ft 10 beefcake. I wanted to ensure it looks big. Of course it is really too big at two loops and too small at three loops. Silly. It works though, it's just not perfect.

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Mistake number four. Look up how to join pom pom trim before embarking on the project. Nowhere does it say how you join it nicely. I fluffed mine totally. Look you can see on the right. One pom pom end is fraying into the night as we speak. I just cut it and hoped for the best. I am basically an idiot.

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But I love it!

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I think three turns is okay. It will keep my neck warm which is what I wanted, and be good on the bike. I don't want a cowl that just sits on your chest like a breast shelf, I need it to be round my neck.

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I think I might prefer my cosmic lining to the octopi... Now I just need to brush my hair!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Mug Rug

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So I decided to make a no expense valentine's day gift. I delved into the scrap bag and pulled out some pinky reds.

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I chained sewed bits together.

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I didn't straighten up anything. I just trimmed one side and added a third piece.

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I cut templates out of scraps of paper.

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I cut out heart shapes from a template I drew.

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I cut darts in the fabric so it would bend smoothly. Usually I would iron the fabric around the shape but I couldn't be bothered so I just pinned this paper side down to the fabric and pushed the fabric underneath the paper with the needle as I went round. It was surprisingly successful.

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I pieced front and backs out of scraps. I feel really good about using up the scrapbag. I ended up preferring the backs if I am honest.


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I used scraps to make binding. Because they were short lengths I didn't want to add bulk by sewing them all together so I bound it the easy way. The corners were a bit of a handful though and look a bit messy.

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I did really thin border and found it helped using one thickness of fabric rather than folding the fabric in half first.

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They're a bit basic. I could have done better. But they are rustic and were easily completed.

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I found some scraps on the bias so decided to try making a round rug mug. It was a mistake really. It was a bit hard to get right. I made a bit of a mess of it and now the finished thing won't sit flat. Oh dear.

20150211-P1380550 But eventually all three were complete and Penelope and I made the cards.

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All popped into the post today. I hope they get there on time. I meant to post them first thing but Penelope was not in the best of spirits so I forgot all about it until the evening.

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I made a fourth one for my proper valentine, but let's face it, he doesn't want that kind of frippery so I thought I'd just keep it for myself! I have put it next to the bed so that I don't clunk my phone down on the hard wood when I check the time. I am quite pleased with it.

20150212-P1380560 Well, The back is kind of my favourite bit.