Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Making up something


I have been fiddling with the idea of making a small sampler quilt of some of the blocks I keep seeing around the place. I've never really designed a quilt before. I am not sure if it will look nice or not or how big to make it. Here is my rough pattern I drew up.

It's either:

1.0" squares making it 27" x 18"
1.5" squares making it 40.5" x 27"

I'd like to do it with these kinds of bright colours and a neutral grey background like this or with my low volume backgrounds.

There are 13 different blocks. From top left to right

1. Goose Tracks
2. Bear's Paw
3. Father's Choice
4. Memory
5. Hour Glass II
6. Contrary Wife
7. Ribbon Star
8. Sawtooth
9. Hearth and Home
10. Bear's Paw
11. Four Patch
12. Weathervane
13. Wagon Tracks

They are all to be found in Judy Hopkins' book: 501 Rotary-cut Quilt Blocks. It lists every block in lots of different finished sizes. I wouldn't be able to work it out otherwise.

I have toyed with the idea of making the Moda Modern Building Block pattern as I like the idea of all the different sized blocks and the swatch like pattern layout. The only thing that puts me off is that it's a big quilt and I am sworn off them. I still like it though.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Quilt Inventory


Recently I took part in the Soak Instagram photo challenge. I've never done one before and I thought it might be fun. It's a little bit twee posting up so much craft stuff in a space that really isn't about that so I felt a little stupid, but hey ho, I am kind of tired about how the internet forces you to 'portray' yourself as you want others to see you so I just went for it.


The best thing about it was looking through everyone else's pictures. I really enjoyed it. I'll be sad when it's over. The last day's challenge which is today is called 'soakworthy'. So you have to show a picture of something you think needs this special quilt washing detergent. I decided that everything needs it so I took a picture of every quilt in the house (apart from the tiny ones and one I forgot).


So for posterity here is my list of quilts. 24 in total. That seems way to many to my mind. It also made me see why mum names her quilts. I always thought that was a bit twee and overkill, like you are giving a quilt airs and graces but I do think it helps you describe them. My mental names are so boring in comparison. I haven't named them after the patterns they are from purely because I forget those names so it doesn't help me call them up in my minds eye.


Here goes!
1. Christmas Joy - 2000 - Mum
2. Baskets or Butterflies - 2002 - Mum
3. On-point nine strip - 2004 - Mum
4. Conran half squares - 2008 - Me
5. Seaside Rose - 2008 - Mum
6. Country Album - 2010 - Mum
7. Broken Dishes - 2010 - Me
8. Hearts and Flowers - 2010 - Mum
9. Spring Bouquet - 2010 - Mum
10. The Country Quilt - 2010 - Me
11. Stars - 2010 - Mum
12. Wild Things - 2010 Mum
13. Yellow squares - 2011 - Me
14. Grandad's sheet - 2011 - Me
15. Material Obsessions crazy quilt - 2011 - Me
16. Always Believe - 2012 - Mum
17. Rosie Rabbit - 2012 - Mum
18. Penelope's Hexagons - 2012 - Me
19. Penelope's Chevrons - 2012 - Rachel
20. Nighty Night Owl - 2012 - Mum
21. Swoon - 2012 - Me
22. Swoon offcuts - 2013 - Me
23. MapleO - 2014 - Me
24. Batik Buck-eye - 2014 - Mum

Broken Dishes is the only one which escaped the photo as it was in a box. D'oh. (Update! I have since found two more quilts by mum in a cupboard). And of course it doesn't include any that I gave away or are two small to be folded. It's still quite a haul.

13 made by mum the machine
1 made by Rachel
10 made by me
(Plus the ones I missed out. 1 by me, 2 by mum)


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Postage Stamp Complete!


Gold star. Finally. After starting my postage stamp quilt project in October 2011… then putting to down. Picking it up again in Jan 2012… then putting it down, picking it up once again in July 2014… yeah yeah yeah. Finally, today, I have finished making the quit top. I have sewn my last 3/4” block. Phew. I almost ran out of the calico mum had given me. It really was touch and go and some of the Liberty fabric is all but gone. Small slivers remaining.


I really can’t believe I have finished it. I have spent some concentrated time on it over the past few weeks as I really would like to move on. I want to use all the precious leftovers in my scrappy Posie improv quilt. I feel that I have finally ferreted away enough nice bits of fabric in order to start this. I'm really pleased with the borders. I nearly didn't have enough strips of squares to do this. I had to cobble together a few emergency ones at the end. Of course I worked out the maths wrong so that the squares don't join up in the corners, but I just decided I didn't care.


All my planning was basically in vain. I predicted 4.5" blocks; they were 5 1/8". I thought the final size would be 36 x 52: it is in fact it's 47 x 66". I am not sure how this happened but it's all fine.


In the end I sewed each block into groups of 4, then groups of four into four (16 blocks) then sewed two 16 blocks together three times. So it all made for an even quilt. 8 x 12 blocks. All the blocks line up pretty neatly which is amazing. There was a lot of tugging fabric going on to achieve this.

I'm really pleased with the finished top. It feels very tasteful. I spent a long time choosing the fabrics so that I had a slightly purple colour bent. It really appeals to my 'little house on the praire' traditional quilt feel. Time for something really modern after this.

Now I just need to go to my mum's to beg some of her wadding from her enormous roll in the cupboard and piece my backing together from the discounted Liberty fabric I got at Birmingham. Oh and then hand quilt all the plain blocks like this 

Next projects:
Penelope's advent calendar - I really need to get cracking!
Sawtooth star quilt - so nearly complete
Hex purse - just missing a bit!
Fat quarter repro quilt - lost the pattern!

Why does my list never seem to go down?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Advent Calendar

I have been thinking about Christmas. Is this the year of the advent calendar or can I put it off another year. I could not bother at all, but if I am honest, the one my mum used to do for me was better than the actual day itself so I feel mean denying her of the same pleasure. The other thing holding me back has been the absence of nicely designed Christmas fabric. I find it all really traditional and boring usually. Lots of dark green and red which is not really my thing.

I ummed and ahhed with making something without pockets like this great felt number from Purl Bee. It does have pockets, but what are you going to fit in them? It is really nice though. I worry Penelope will chew/eat/lose the bits though and it will get moth lying formant in the cellar. I am considering it though.

Then Katie posted this bundle from Elephant in my Handbag in her fabric roundup and I thought 'Yes! this could either be gross or great!'

The fabric arrived and I am pleased to report I think it might turn out great! It's really crisp and vivid which I like and the pink and green colour scheme is much more my thing. I hoiked out some offcuts for the pocket linings. The colour scheme from the giant hexagon quilt seems to match perfectly so it will be a good scrap buster.

Advent Calendar

As for the design, well I am going to just copy the great one that Jess made for Mabel. I have no idea what the real sizes are so I am just making it up based on my smallest pocket being 3". That's big enough for some small plastic trash right? I really like Jess'. I hope mine doesn't end up looking like a disco traincrash. I have drawn up a grand pattern. I wanted it to remain as faithful to Jess' as possible. Did I get it right? Who knows!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

State of Play

Postage stamp block
There is no one project to talk about here, rather a whole heap of half started ones or ones on the boiler, such is life. It seems to just be the way I roll. I was trying to do things in order, one project at a time... The mini purse being my current squeeze. I have my mini hexagons all ready to back with vilene. I even cut out the vilene, I just need to iron it on. I have lost the vilene. I am loathe to cut more as it must be somewhere so that project is on hold. So I am floundering around with other bits.

I did find a nice offcut of linen (Ikea stuff from Sam's pencil roll) in the cellar though (where the stash currently lives) for the purse. So that was a result. I do have a whole metre of linen from the local cheap craft shop £4.50! But actually, it's not very nice. Sigh. This is very annoying. Just look at it! The one on top was from Ikea. It wasn't that cheap which is annoying as you've gone all the way to Ikea under the impression that everything is cheap.

So I jumped on the new linen when I saw it in the local craft shop. I never stopped to think it might not be the same. It's got these streaks in it that just look a bit like a regular pattern and it's not soft like the Ikea one is. They are just weird. I need to use it for something that will never see the light of day like a cushion lining or something.

Anyway back to the next project.

The big thing is the postage stamp project. I have moved on loads with it thanks to a full day off working on it. Here are the last 4 blocks all ready to trim down. When I first had Penelope, i tried to do a block and I totally ballsed it up. I thought I would never be able to get it right, but I am glad to report that once I wasn't in a rush, it all went swimmingly. The final blocks are all 5 1/8" square though instead of 5" which slightly confuses me. What an odd number?

I have made up the larger blocks almost. Just two more to make and the main part is done. Then I just need to construct the borders. I really hope I have enough precut strips of postage stamps left as they are time consuming to make. I am really keen to get this finished now that Penelope is in her single bed.


Monday, September 01, 2014

One inch Hexagon Purse


Another day, another piecing project to keep me occupied on the sofa. I am mad for it. Rachel and I decided to make mini hexagon purses. There are two that inspired me. This one by Jessie or this one by Leila. The second comes with a tutorial so I went for that. I finally went through all the dusty bags of Liberty fabric that mum gave me and separated it into tiny scraps and folded pieces which are now in their own special box. Some of them smell of my aunt, which I know is an odd thing to say, but she was infested with moth and was always using various moth deterrents which stank. Whenever I smell that same caustic, musty smell I think of her. One bag smells of that so I am afeared it will have moth, but I just stuffed it all in together so it's too late now!


My hexagons are going to be 1" as I got a bit scared when I saw how small the 1/2" templates were. They seem tiny at 1". I got my templates from Totally Patchwork. They don't seem to show any templates less than 1 1/4" on their website, but the man on the stall at Birmingham assured me you could just ring up and buy more. Maybe I'll make the proper smaller version if I feel bold.


My flex band is 5" though instead of 3 1/2", probably because I wasn't thinking when I saw it at Birmingham.


I've been using my wonder clips a bit to secure my fabric but you don't really need to. I find little appliqué pins a bit easier to be honest. but mostly I just use my fingers. It makes me think that 1/2" wouldn't be too bad after all. I stopped using the fabric glue as I find it hard to get the papers out afterwards and you don't get that satisfactory bump in the fabric edge to sew into. I am probably not gluing well, but I just thought it easier to sit their mindlessly sewing.


I didn't even cut my shapes very accurately but the more I do this kind of work, the more I realise you don't really have to. You can keep them square if you like. I just try not to waste fabric. So you can imagine me just dipping into my scrap bag, sniffing moth smell and watching the Bake Off. That's my rock n roll lifestyle.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ikea Teddy Bed

So I bought the Ikea Doll Bed. I had been thinking about it for some time. I thought that the pillow, mattress and blanket which come with it were pretty basic though. The pillow isn't even a pillow. It just wasn't cutting it. So I set about improving it. First I stained the pieces of wood with dark oak wood stain 3 times. Then I varnished them with matt varnish twice. All before construction. Then I set about making some new bedding with the stash of cheap fabric I bought from Birmingham at Fabrics Galore.

Firstly a new mattress
I just cut two layers of scrap wadding and covered it with grey stripe on one side and the grey dots on the other. It's not like a teddy is going to complain about it being hard. I bound it with some neon yellow ribbon I had so it matched the neon yellow thread I used to glam it up a bit. The Paul Smith grey stripe material worked really well but snapped my needle as the fabric was so fine.

Here is the other side. Simply flip it over and you have a new bed!

Secondly, a pillow
The pillow form itself I made using the white percale offcuts from Empress Mills which I got for £3.50. It's lovely soft fabric, a really great bargain. Now I want to go back and buy a whole load of it. The only purchase other than the bed that I had to make was the hollow fibre to fill the pillow form which was only £1.85 from my local craft shop. Then I made a matching removable pillowcase which I am pleased about.

20140831-P1370047 Thirdly, a duvet
What can I say? I had all the stuffing and plenty of the percale left so I just went for it and even sewed it into sections like a proper duvet. Then I made a matching duvet cover. It's a little baggy but aren't they all?

20140831-P1370060 Fourthly, a quilt!
I managed to finally finish off the jacob's coat quilt. I took it away on holiday and just went for it. It was really enjoyable. It used 100 petal shapes so I really needed two sets of Kim's precut petal shapes which I spoke about here. It was really nice to have such a variety of patterns. It made it look really antique. I had to make up the second lot myself which is a bit of a shame as it means there are some repeats in there, but I had all of mums dressmaking scraps and my own considerable stash.

I think Rachel's cat looks very cosy here.

I backed it with my precious fat quarter of Betsy fabric which I thought I was never going to use. So I am happy with myself for not hoarding fabric. It's really time to let go. I hate that I hang on to fabric, not wanting to use it as it's too nice. How silly is that?

If you look closely you can see that it's not very neat, but it does look very homemade. I didn't use a quilting frame and I did a lot of it in subdued lighting so it's not very crisp. You can also see how I quilted inbetween the shapes. It didn't take very long. And also I changed my original pattern by doing some blocks 1 1/2" and some 3 1/2, just to make it seem a bit more higgldypiggldy. It's all finished off with my cheap £1.65 bias binding. Done. I just wanted it to look old and a bit careworn which I think it does. Here is one last flat on view of the whole thing.