Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Donut Quilt!

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For a long time I have been thinking about making one of these. I just think they look enjoyably easy and I have seen some lovely results on Pinterest. So I decided to get it all together even though my sewing time has all but dried up and I have the huge medallion quilt to start. But you know, you need at least three projects on the go at any one time so you can abandon them in favour of the other at any given time.

So I ordered the pattern all the way from Canada. It's annoying that there is no PDF download anywhere but that's life I guess. It is nice to have a real printed pattern especially as I no longer have access to a printer or scanner. I decided this would be my birthday present to myself.

I think what got me going this time was the Atelier Brunette Remember Me fabric that I bought for the medallion quilt. It was so soft and lovely. I just wanted a project where I could use a big chunk of it. The Donut Quilt came straight to mind so I quickly ordered 2 metres from M is for Make before I could change my mind. It's cotton cambric fabric (similar to voile) so it's quite fine and soft. I shall have to prewash for once I think as it stands to just be very different from the donut fabrics.

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It's been nice to think about what fabrics to use for the donuts. I thought about peaches and perhaps a green.

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Then I thought about bright pinks and turquoises. But upon reflection I think that it might be more a combination of hot pink and the peachy colours so all of the above without the greens and turquoises.

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I am quite excited about the easiness of it. Cutting all the fabric was really easy and there seems to be little waste which is perfect for a scrooge like me. I managed to get it all cut out in a morning whilst Penelope played.

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Today I started sewing the donuts together which was also pretty quick work. Every fabric in this quilt is treasured so I am pretty confident that it's going to be lovely. I didn't prewash in the end so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

What I bought

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Birmingham Festival of Quilts 2015 was a good year. A lot more modern fabric this year which was brilliant for the likes of me. My favourite shops were there:

The Eternal Maker – bought the most from here
The Village Haberdashery – I didn't find the stall until the last few hours which was a shame
The Running Chicken – A favourite from last year
Mauds Fabric Finds – A new place I had not heard of. Lovely fabrics

The one shop that is missing from this list is M is for Make. I wish they would come one year as they seem to be my main stomping ground for online shopping at the moment.

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It's just a great opportunity to see so much fabric in one place. Hundreds of rulers, notions, charm packs, layer cakes and of course beautiful quilts.

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I always like the ones on the actual stalls. Like this Baltimore sample on the Moda Bake Shop stand. I'd love to make something similar one day.

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But of course the modern quilts always catch my eye. This quilt on the side of The Eternal Maker caught my eye and reinforced my need for some Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric.

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They also had some pretty cool cushions too which were very tempting. I have some gold lamé somewhere...

The negative was that there was not enough seating this year compared to last year. This surprises me as lets face it, there are more walking sticks wobbling about than you can, well, shake a stick at. So it really annoyed me that they had taken seating away this year. Poor mumple, she just wanted to sit in front of the quilts and have little breaks. In the end she had to go upstairs in order to have a sit down. Not ideal.

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Out of all the art quilts these big portraits shone out to me. Amazing. 

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The miniatures were brilliant as always.

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But the traditional quilts are always my favourite. It's partly the comfiness. This one looks so well loved. I love the randomness of the fabric choices. I just don't think I would have the guts to be so random.

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It's also the sheer skill. Just thinking how long they must have taken to out together and how perfectly all the blocks meet. I mean who has the time? This one basically fried my mind.

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And I always enjoy looking at hand quilting. It's just so much more amazing than anything a machine can do. I love it.

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It was a good year because right up until a few weeks before the show I thought I was going to basically not be able to buy anything. The maternity fund leftovers were basically nearly all gone. But, I was made redundant. Boo! But they gave me redundancy pay yay! So of course I decided to just blow some cash! Why not? Life has not been kind to me of late so I should just buy fabric right? Right? Er...

Yeah well. I went a bit crazy...


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Just loads of stuff!

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For a looong time now I have been collecting little bits of what I consider to be Posy gets Cosy fabric for my improv quilt. Mum said the floral one looked like an old nightie! It was £4 a metre on a discount stall. The white fabric I ended ip trawling through lots of stalls trying to remember where I'd seen it. It's perfect. I need to make one bag for all these special bits so that I can see what I have and get going!

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It was quite hard using one of my lovely zips on Rachel's birthday bag so I knew that having a few more for future bag projects would be a good thing. They really are lovely zips and now I can chop and change colours.

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Mumple bought me this as a birthday present. I wanted it last year but they didn't have it at the show. I ummed and ahhed over it as I had resigned myself not to make it, but the great thing about owning a pattern is that you can always change your mind later, but without the pattern it's often lost to you.

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After seeing it hanging up again I changed my mind. I have no strong urge to make it anytime soon though.

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The pattern itself though is wonderfully clear. I love how it shows you photos of the finished blocks. Just what I need. I fins it really helps with making the fabric choices.

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And the diagram pages were wonderfully clear. An allround good purchase! I am sad I missed out on the pattern she had in Quiltmania though. Maybe another one I need to search out for the backburner. For something called 'My Small World' though, it seems like not so small a project.

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Staples. I love Best Press, mine is nearly all gone from last year. The needles are like the don of all needles. They are so sharp! They slice like butter. I am always losing them. And the sheeting, well that's now my third bundle and I was tempted to buy two! It's just such great stuff and a bargain at £3.50. One day I will go to the actual mill as it is only half an hour away from my inlaws. I just need to sell it to the other members of the family as an exciting day out!

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This was my own bizarre purchase really. I just it for £2.50 a metre. I mean £2.50! I really have no idea what to do with it.

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Herein lies a tale of being organised. Mumple is buying me The Farmers Wife book for my birthday. At the show I saw that Fat Quarter Shop are going to do a big quilt a long with the book starting at the end of September just after my birthday! So I decided it was a sign. I too shall do the quilt a long! So I looked in the book on display and saw that the blocks were all 6 inches so I bought a 6" square so I could trim them all to size. I didn't NEED one. I mean you can just use a ruler. Mumple just uses two rulers really. Why would I bother buying a fancy expensive square. Well it is neon plastic...

Turns out they are doing the quilt a long with a DIFFERENT book AND the blocks are 6" finished so 6 1/2" unfinished so the square is nigh on useless! Boooooooo. Less haste next time.

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Here are my bargains. Big ones at the top were £1.50 each from The Shuttle and are the same lovely quality as last year. And the Doughty's haul was just as cheap £1.25! Now that's an excellent price for a fat quarter.

And there you have it. There were a few more fat quarters I bought for the Medallion quilt but I'll post them a bit later in another post. Birmingham done.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Jiiterbug quilt top

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We have been the house of illness this week. The small person has been languishing on the sofa dropping bits of cucumber everywhere whilst watch Peppa Pig. So I decided to finish off the Jitterbug borders. The quilt top is done.

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The only issue has been my slightly generous cutting. I start off well, but by the time I reach the end of the longest border it all begins to add up.

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Holy moly that wasn't the plan. Well it's too late now. Once it's all scrunched up no one will notice. It will annoy me though.

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I wasn't sure about these bright fabrics but when it's all scrunched up I think they look lovely.

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And the best bit is that I made it using a jelly roll I bought from the first Birmingham trip in 2010! Shows you that many of these things sit on the back burner for years.

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Here is the whole top laid out. It's pretty big, but our kingsize bed makes it look small. I just need a big enough floor space to baste it. I think that might have to wait a while.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!