Friday, July 31, 2015

A little Catch Up

20150731-P1420162 Birmingham looms. It is the biggest quilt show I have ever attended. It is a beast. It is brilliant. I love the NEC. Can I say that? It's just a great venue to cater for all those people and yet not be claustrophobic. And there are some secret loos that are never busy. It is ace.

We are enlarged to a party of four this year. Me, Mumple, Maggie and Rachel. It is going to be epic.

It's a good time and a bad time for it all to happen. Bad because I have just lost my job. Good because I just got my redundancy through and reckon I deserve some quilting treats to make up for it! So let's shop!

It's also a time to take stock of all projects on the go and all ones planned for the future. I always feel like you should finish off some projects so you are allowed to buy new stuff.

So lets talk about what's cooking...

20121228-IMG_2481.jpg Existing Projects
Star quilt
I still need to sew the final blocks together. Then find the last white sheet Rachel gave me for the backing. I think I have the wadding in the cellar somewhere perhaps. Not sure. It's too big to lay out here though and too big to get through the machine unless I put the sewing machine on a bigger table so I'll have to do it by hand. It's currently sitting in a bag in the cellar and I worry about the damp getting to it. I also worry that I don't like it anymore; it's so... flowery! It just needs to be finished.

20150731-P1420153 Jitterbug
I have been sewing my stripy borders. It's all cut out and I have sewn half of them. I do a little bit everyday at pootime. I will finish it! It's next on my list. I need to finish it so that I can wash it. I think it will be much nicer scrunchy.

20150731-P1420178 Postage stamp
Just quilting it. I need a binding for it though so I could use some Liberty stuff I find at Birmingham or just use a plain grey. It involves some kind of purchase.

20150731-P1420173 Penny's jolly little sofa quilt
I just need to bind it. I might use cheap yellow binding from the cheap craft shop. We have two other yellow sofa quilts which get a lot of use. I'd like to add this one to the fray so then I can wash them all on rotation. They get some harsh use. Penelope loves her quilts!

New projects!
Medallion quilt
Saw this in my Liberty Love: 25 Projects to Quilt and Sew Featuring Liberty of London Fabrics. It could be awful and fiddly and a bit of a train crash or it could just be splendid. I saw Kate from MisforMake's version and was totally sold. I love it. She always posts really nice instagram pictures of it all scrunched up. I think I would like my own scrunchy version. I ordered the big solid border fabrics from MisforMake, the rest can be done with scraps and fat quarters, but I might keep my eye out for some bits. I think it will be purples, yellows and turquoise just like hers. I might even use my treasured Lizzie House fabric. Can I bear it?

Posie Improv Quilt
I need to start this using all my lovely scraps of Liberty. I think I have everything I need for it. Maybe just another nice fat quarter of Liberty from a bargain stall or a nice peach or green solid.

So really I don't need anything much at Birmingham. But that's quite nice in a way as then you can just wonder around. Things I wouldn't mind looking out for though...

A dresden plate template - You never know...
More Kaffe Fasset shot solids - A good place to see the entire range
The Shuttle - Always a bargain
Petra Prins - It's tradition. I have to visit
The Eternal Maker - I have never managed to walk past without a purchase
Fabrics Galore - Always a bargain
The discount Liberty stall - I forget its name. It's ace.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Neutral half squares done

I love a quick project. This one has come together so swiftly. I was worried that I wouldn't like it. I just couldn't quite envision the end product nor be sure that the colours would really go together. But when I held it up today I realised that I love it.

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I am really into the improv log cabin blocks. I love the strips of colour; the peaches and purples; the dark spots of colour and the mix of neutrals. And I just made up the quilting. I love it.


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I love how the colours combine whichever way you fold it. I worried that the prints would look out of place but I love how the Denyse Schmitt fabric fits in. It's my favourite print of hers. The Kaffe Fasset shot cotton is mixed with chambray and Oakshott fabric. All very similar. The Kaffe Fasset has a beautiful softness to it though and a great set of colours so I think it wins over the other fabrics for me.

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Here is a view of the whole quilt. I did minimal quilting as I didn't want to make it stiff. I just went diagonally down the triangles and randomly round the log cabins. I used all of mum's scrap offcuts of wadding for this – 5 or 6 strips glued together – so it needed a bit more quilting that I really wanted.


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You can't really see the quilting too much. I think you can often lose the patchwork if the quilting is too dense.


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I love the binding. I have been hoarding this soft fabric from RayStitch thinking I might do some dressmaking with it, but I caved in. I decided to create smaller 2" binding rather than my usual 2.5" and to be honest I think I could have made it 1 7/8" but I hate it when you have to constantly tug and stretch it and it makes the corners harder.


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It just fitted in so perfectly with the colour scheme. It's a brownly green, perfect against the solid greens in the quilt. I always like a pin stripe border so this is great.


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Because it's also quite neutral it fits in really nicely against the tan stripes and neutrals. Exactly what I wanted. A few bits of tasteful colour and the rest looking a bit like the saturation had been taken out of it. I used to many precious fabrics. The swirly pattern on the right was one of the first fabrics I bought with my mum and Maggie Wise. I think I made them choose it all for me as I had no idea. I really love it.


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Just one more shot of it. Oh how I love it. I really shouldn't have used it as I was planning to use it for my Tova Dress one day. Let's hope RayStitch have some more! To be honest, I just don't feel so excited about the dressmaking side of things. Probably because I have never really made that much.


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With the quilting I tried to work my way round the log cabin in a spiral, but I am easily confused. You can see here where I had to cross over myself. I thought it was a mistake but now I wish I had done it more. All I knew was that the last quilt I quilted had 10 lose ends to bury per block and I am still getting rid of them! So this one had almost none.


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Here are some details. I love all the colour combinations.

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And the stripes and pattern ration worked out perfectly. I kept trying to separate the patterns but in the end I just had to do it randomly as I didn't have enough space and time to lay it out. A lot of this quilt was done during pootime. Pootime is the new naptime. You are banished for ages whilst her highness consults the winds and concentrates on her poo. SO I immediately start sewing madly until she comes to find me. It's not ideal, but I'll take what I can get. So small projects I can dip in and out of are best at this sort of stage.


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I didn't have quite enough backing fabric I used up the green fabric I bought in Liberty thinking I was going to use it as the skip blocks in my postage stamp quilt but chickened out in the end. I am really glad I did as it was far more perfect for this quilt. It was expensive fabric but I think it is well worth it as all the solids are some kind of special interweave or percale now. It's going to wash so well and be beautifully soft.

So two projects were realised here. My version of Brooke's lovely quilt and this stripey backing by Jaime. Now back to finishing two more WIPs and making y bag for Birmingham!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Neutral Half Squares

Afternoon sewing
It has been very warm and muggy here, almost too warm to muster any effort for activity. Oh how I wish there was aircon. I really wanted to finish my simple half square quilt that I started last friday though. I didn't want it hanging around. It was suposed to only take a few hours. So I sewed my log cabins from the scraps. It was very fulfilling. I had based it on this beautiful quilt that Brooke made. I wanted it to be a bit bigger though in order to show off the fabrics more. Unfortunately it's a bit too big to display properly!

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I am a bit sad now that it's not smaller, but hey ho. I have put it away and will take it out tomorrow and see how I feel about it. The great thing about it is that it was very cheap to make AND it was all stuff I bought at Birmingham last year so I cannot be accused of being a hoarder.

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I bought 10 fat quarters for £1 each which is amazing in itself. They were from The Shuttle. I think they are cotton Percale as they have that lovely smooth sheeting feel to them. I love percale. It goes really soft with washing. I just need to find some backing for it. I am going to rummage around through my stash. Whatever it ends up being, it needs to be cheap so as to keep with the theme. I feel like I have got something out of my head that has been taking root since I saw these fabrics at Birmingham. I'm really glad they weren't a useless purchase. I was worried at the time as I really like to go with projects in mind and buy specifically for them. But overall I am pretty chuffed. I just need to work out if I like what I have made.

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Here are all my colours together. Bold choices for me. I am not really a green person. I love the dusky purple with the peachy colour though. The patterns are all precious.  I love them so much.
Two prints from Wildwood by Elizabeth Olwen which I bought from The Village Haberdashery
Two precious Denyse Schmidt prints and some Heather Ross Far Far Away fabric

I think it's time to finish the border on the Jitterbug after this.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Spell of Inactivity

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There hasn't been much time for sewing lately. Trips away, Sport days, people staying... it all eats into your time. I did manage to sew endless strips of stripes for the Jitterbug. I need to iron them all flat now. Yawn. I have put it to one side yet again until I can face it. Big quilts. Bah... It's all a bit repetitive and there is never enough time. I am falling out of love with the whole quilt. I have no staying power. I need to keep on chugging! I insist it gets finished as I know it will look great in the end. So small bits every now and then. Sew it all. Put it down. Iron it all. Put it down. Sew some more. Put it down...

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But before that slog, I thought I would do something little, break things up a bit. I was really gutted that I didn't make myself a project case when I made Rachel one. I kept looking at the precious fabrics, thinking how lovely they all were. I just love looking at them. So I thought I might make a lap quilt instead. Something with similar improv log cabins again, but maybe add something simple to it which would show big swathes of the fabric.

20150614-P1410379 Nothing complex, but nothing too orderly like the Jitterbug. Nothing that needs matching up too much. Something a bit wilder like the drooping foxgloves and leaning salvias I see everywhere at the moment.

Day 284 - Maze
Everything is green and pinks and purples and whites. I decided that it all fitted my fabrics and thought I might add some greens and peachy colours to add some colour dimension. Mix it up a bit so everything was too safe. I feel a bit wary as it might not be as nice, But I am really interested in making more tense colour choices and this seemed a good testing ground as it is just a bit of fun.

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I don't really use green very much but I did have a small fat 16th from an Oakshott bundle which was very un-me so I thought put that in, plus a lovely dark green I had bought potentially to use on the postage stamp skip blocks but wimped out on. It's Kaffe Fasset. It's lovely and soft.

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So I sat and thought. Then I stopped thinking and just cut some squares. I decided to make them the width of my ruler (6 1/2") as that meant I could just cut without thinking. I sewed two half square triangles from every square and trimmed them down to the closest round number (6"). Then I just sewed two together, two more and two more until I had 4 strips of triangles. Then I lay them on the ironing board in the afternoon sun and stared at them for a bit. Do they work? Are they nice? I think I like the green, purple and peach combo... I think.

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In fact I think I wish it was just all solids. I am not 100% any of it but I feel quite bold trying it out. Those and the purples are quite subtle, they sit really nicely with the various neutral background colours. I feel like it might be tasteful. Well the bright pink stripes probably prevent that...

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I really need one of those wadding walls where people hang up blocks and think about them. The ironing board has its limitations. In the end I just drew up a quick pattern which would allow for the log cabins I would create from all the scraps. I sewed the strips which meant the final half squares are 5 1/2".

Half Square Improv
So I have drawn up a rough plan for a lap quilt measuring 38" x 55". Small but good enough for the sofa. Just need to make my log cabins. All the scraps are waiting, ready to go! I do like a quick project. So far this has only taken a few hours.

I kind of think I'd like them to be even bigger. I have seen two pattern which use big blocks which I am really tempted by. This one or this one. I'd love to use my dusky purple Kaffe Fasset fabric on one of these. I could buy the exact fabric I need at CottonPatch when I go to Birmingham. Anyway, back to the plan.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Feather project bag

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A while a go I did some small feather blocks in an effort to learn foundation Piecing. I really enjoyed doing them even though my iron broke. I wasn't sure what to do with them. I thought I might combine them with my fractal blocks I am making. Then I decided that perhaps I should make Rachel a project bag for her birthday. I have been amassing lots of purples, linens and stripes thinking that I might make something log cabiny / half squarey like this by Brooke.

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I decided to use my fabric pull - hark at me knowing all the terminology - and make Rachel a bag. I am such a nice friend. These are such precious fabrics that I almost can't bear to use them. I just love looking at them. I love the Kaffe Fasset shot cotton, it's so soft.

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So I cut into my stash deciding not to be so precious and haordy. I just cut some strips and put all the fabric away. It makes everything a lot easier. I do love improv log cabin in that way. So refreshing after all those precise points in the Jitterbug.

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I was a bit worried it would look rubbish to be honest. I never really know if fabrics go together. I feel blind sometimes. Even though they were all a similar hue I still felt blind. I reeeealllly like how this block turned out. I want to keep it and hug it and have it always.

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I am really pleased with how the green fabric held up against the purples. I love it. I want to make a whole quilt like this now.

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Front and back together.

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And specially because I love her, I am going to break into my uber cool zips I got at the quilt show. They are the perfect colour.

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I backed each external panel with wadding, quilted them a bit randomly and trimmed them to 13 x 12".

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I toyed with not quilting them at all but I did in the end as it makes the bag stiffer and allows you to do some stitching on top.

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Here is an idea of the size. An ipad fits in with room to spare. I think I'd rather use it to store rulers and scissors and bits of a project. I reallllly want to keep it. The sign of a good present.

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I'm really pleased with the muddy yellow lining. I wasn't sure it would go but I love it.

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And I even put a little felt in to store needles. I am very pleased.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bank holiday quilt finished!

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 I really wanted this to be a small project. Just a bit of frippery to be over as soon as it had begun. Luckily, Penelope allowed me to do some sewing whilst she was awake and whilst she was poorly. Silver lining and all that. So I completed the top today. The first three blocks came together quilt quickly. I am sad that my other colour combos aren't as nice as the original ones. They are sunny and jolly though which is good.

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The new adjustable computer table as been completely taken over by me. It's amazing. I can make it really high which is really useful. I love it! Check out my flat seams. Worth the extra effort. I didn't do them everywhere, just where they helped the fabric lie flat.

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I love the scrappy feel and the offset borders. It's really Katy's idea. I have half-inched it. But I am into it!

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I used up all my Alison Glass Sun Print fabric though. I am sad about that. It's really grown on me.

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I managed to insert a bit of tiny thangle action into the borders. I wanted them to be a bit like the MapleO ones with small details in them.

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I really like the Geese and Ribbons I put in.

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Just need a backing for it now. Nothing really right for it in the scrap bin so I need to get thinking. Maybe something yellow. The finished quilt top is 31 1/2" by 46". Each block was 14 1/12" once I had added the borders. Perfect for a toddler bed.