Monday, April 27, 2015

Jitterbug part 7

So I finally finished sewing all the sashing for the jitterbug and decided to try and get it moving again. I laid out all my bits and moved them around until I was happy. I think the finished quilt will be nice but it's hard to tell. I think against my green carpet it doesn't look so nice. I think it needs bare floorboards and a white, sunny room... doesn't everything?

The next step was just to sew it all together. It's not a favourite part of the process as big bits of fabric are a bit of a pain to get through the sewing machine, they just drag and need to be pinned and I really try to avoid pinning these days. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out though. There are a few places where things don't line up and there is a huge iron burn on one bit, but that's the love showing through right?

So now it's border time. I did toy with the idea of sacking the border. It feels big enough already! But I still have fabric left and I am keen to try and use it all up. It would be great to not have it in my stash anymore as I doubt I will do any more repro quilts as it's not actually my thing specifically.

I did something pretty monumental today. Well, monumental for me. I went to Fabrics Galore! Finally. I just tried not to think how far South London was and just got on with it. Before I knew it I was walking up Lavender Hill! It is a great shop; not as big as my rampant imagination had decided it would be, but still a great shop. Unfortunately they only had one repro fabric. Well glass half full, at least they had one. So the yellow fabric on the right is to be my backing. £7 a metre is my kind of price. So I am all ready to finish this quilt up.

I haven't quite bought enough backing as I am too stingy. I have 2 metres and the finished top is 56" (142.24 cm) x 72 (182.88cm)", so I am short on the width. But I thought I might put a long panel of the leftovers fabric in the middle to add some width. I seem to have lots of 4 square blocks left over so I will use those and other odds and ends. Plus I have run out of the £5 sheeting from Empress Mills! So near and yet so far. So I need to order some more before I can make the final border. Time for a break.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday bits

You might think that I have forgotten about the Jitterbug quilt, but this is not so. It's such a big beast though that after creating all the blocks I had a break from it. Here they all are, waiting for the sashing.

Then in little bursts I have been doing the monotonous tasks of cutting out all the sashing strips, 10 at a time. I only do one side of 10 so in total I have 6 sessions of this to complete. I am halfway. Yawn.

I have also decided to minimise wastage by sewing 1/2 in from my diagonal seam so that I can trim off the excess and have another half square triangle. I thought I might put a strip of them on the back.  In the evenings I trim them and mark up the next set. I am not sure how people power through and do all this in one go. I don't have the will. I know it will be worth it in the end though.

In other news, I finally sewed together my bigger fractal block and I love it. It has quite bulky seams which makes lining up the central circle sections difficult but I was far better this time. It's still not perfect, but it's close enough for me. All these bias seams make lining up the sections really difficult. I might keep the paper on when I sew the quarters together next time. 

I am ready to make another block! I have been thinking about making it into a quilt. One thought was to incorporate it into my sampler quilt but I feel it might stand out as being too foundation pieced so the other idea is to combine it with the teeny tiny feather blocks somehow. I have lots of little ideas running around.

Print Print Print Print

I really like this block. My interest in the Jitterbug is waning. I feel like I just need to get on and finish it so that I can move onto the next project. Time to trim my sashing.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Teeny Tiny Foundation Piecing

So the problem with foundation piecing is that I seem to be getting a lot of scraps. How small does a scrap of fabric have to be before it is consigned to the bin? I find it very hard to throw anything away, but I just need to cut down the size of my scrap bag; it's just ridiculous.

After today's exercise I feel the scraps I am finally discarding are too small to do anything with. They can go even though I love each and every one of them, sniff. I might do an even bigger cull and try to ferret out fabrics which are not favourites. I feel it needs to be contained to favourites as it's just out of control.

I came across these great feather blocks on @sewstitchinghappy's instagram and decided that they might be perfect for using up some of these scraps. So I downloaded the pattern by @whatabobbin from her Craftsy page. I really enjoyed making these. I did the bottom bit wrong on all of them though which is irksome. Booo. I still love them though. I got much better as I went along.

I realised that oversized scraps work much better, otherwise I spend along time unpicking. It is wasteful of fabric though which I am not keen on.

Other exciting news. I managed to melt my iron. See the block on the right! I left the iron on so I could literally moved from sewing machine to iron and back each time I sewed as I was hoping it might improve my accuracy (usually i just finger press). Suddenly I smelt burning plastic and saw that the plastic around the metal part of the iron was literally melting. I tried to iron a block and it burnt a massive mark on the piece and the ironing board. I guess the thermostat just gave up the ghost. I feel lucky that I was right next to it at the time as it could have gone up in flames!

I also made a right mess of my sewing table by pulling out loads of scraps. You can just about see the sewing machine mat that mumple made me peeking through all the mess. Time for a tidy!

Anyway here are the blocks. I can't iron them though! Booo. I need to go out and buy an iron straight away!

I'm annoyed I got the bottom part of the feather wrong, you lose feather somehow without it. And two of my background are the same which is annoying. D'oh

This was the first one I sewed together and I managed to lose the central stem. I got wise to that from then on. You live and learn. I only made three in total. I am not sure what to do with them now. Maybe incorporate them into something bigger who knows.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fractal Block 2

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Here are all my sections. I think I prefer these colours this time. If you look at the previous one you can se only one section remains the same.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Foundation progress

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.