Monday, May 25, 2015

Feather project bag

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Front and back together.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Bank holiday quilt finished!

 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.


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.

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!

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

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.

I really like the Geese and Ribbons I put in.

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.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Bank Holiday Block

A long bank holiday and absolutely no daytime napping... sigh. So today, after doing allll her favourite things, train, bus, museum AND playpark, I felt like weeping a little bit when she popped her head round the door in a chirpy manner just 20 minutes after putting her to bed. I was just in a happy place cutting out some fabric. So I did a test. I sat her down with a snack, 'Hey Duggee' on the iPad and her new jigsaw laid out in front of her, whilst I tried to do some sewing... and she let me! Well, for some time. It was amazing. It's a sign of the future hopefully.

I am really into looking through my Judy Hopkins book. It just has everything you would ever need. I mean how can you go wrong right? A while a go I saw the beginnings of a great looking quilt by Katy. I had the pattern for the Rising Sun block in my book sand I had some of the Cuckoo's Calling fabric so it seemed like I was destined to follow. I waited for a month thinking it might be a pattern in the next issue of her magazine but alas, no.

I have ground to a halt with the Jitterbug whilst I sort out buying some more white sheeting fabric. My star quilt is packed in the cellar so I can't finish that. My postage stamp is just as hand quilting stage and is reserved for evening work. My fractal quilt needs the next lot of fabric choosing for another block... But I wanted to sew! So I decided to just make two blocks like Katy's. So I made a nice cup of tea, took my time, and took over the new office desk which is not mine. It's great. It's big and not covered in my crap. Perfect.

I think being so peaceful and methodic really helped with my accuracy. I also cut all my units bigger than specified so I could trim them down before constructing the final block. I also used my swanky new iron to iron all the seams flat open. It really helps with some of the thicker seams. I really like this yellow fabric I bought at Duxford. It was one of the only things I bought but now it makes the trip worthwhile.

I am really pleased with the finished blocks. I had thought seeing as these are 12" blocks at finished size that I might create some 4" versions or 6" ones and cobble them all together. But... my blocks ended up somehow measuring 13 1/4"... I am not sure how that happened. So I might just carry on following Katy's modern sashing technique. So I might make some more blocks as these were a lot of fun to make. They feel very jolly somehow. I am going to run out of bird fabric though so it's time to think what else would go with them.

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.