Sunday, October 04, 2015

Farmers Wife 1930s Start

Finally! My book arrived! It was being held at the Post Office and then I forgot my ID so it took far too long for me to get my hands on it. I was getting a bit downhearted about how much catching up I would have to do until I spoke to mum. "Oh you could rustle up three blocks a day no worries"... Says the retired lady of leisure.

So I laid out all my tools and sat twiddling my thumbs.

Then I saw that their was a second quiltalong over on Carrie's blog! A US Version which was just starting! Yes! And the second one is handing out the first blocks as downloadable pdf patterns whilst people wait for their books to arrive. Punch the sky! Double result! Sorry about the excessive exclamation marks but I was so desperate to get going. So thank you Gnome Angel for making it all possible.

So whilst I was waiting last week I decided to make one of the blocks from the first four Carrie published. So although I am doing the UK based quiltalong with Kerry, i seem to have defected to the US one immediately. Is that allowed? But it does mean I get to just choose which block I'd prefer to make each week.

I don't have the space nor the funds to make a big quilt and if I am honest, i am a real lap quilt person. So I am not in need of every block. Therefore I thought I might just do one a week or none depending on how I feel. Of course I seem to like most of them so far so I need to play catch up every evening this week.

So behold Aunt block!


Not number one, not first Alphabetically but third in the US version due to its ease of construction. A nice way to ease into this whole thing. As for construction time, the answer is not that long! I managed to print out the pattern in the early morning before she woke. Chose the fabrics and cut them out during breakfast. Sewed them quite quickly after bedtime. I should have starched and ironed but there was no time. Just a bit of finger pressing.

As for my fabric choices, I am really pleased. It doesn't look like a train crash! I find choosing fabrics so hard. I don't want it to all be the same colour or the same family of fabrics. I want lots of colours going on. This is a bit safe but I am still happy.

Above is my fabric pull neatly contained in my new Tiger basket so I can lug it from sewing machine to cutting table to sofa. It is always near me so I can frown at it.

As for my tracing paper foundation piecing templates. Epic fail. The paper is too thick. It's pulling my stitches apart left right and centre, but it's really helpful to be able to see through it. I need some cheapo thin printer paper. I am scouting around for it. In the meantime I'll just have to make do.

Behold Block 1 of the UK quiltalong: Addie (I am such a turncoat). This was much harder and my seams were pretty lumpy. This will only get worse with the more complex blocks. I might swat up on Gnome Angel's open seam foundation piecing tutorial and her folded template one.

20151004-P1420813.jpg I started thinking about block three and felt a little overwhelmed! Seam central! Can I really bear it? I decided to give it a break and slope off to the US quiltalong and see what's cooking over there. I know I should commit to one, but I can't help myself! Being a member of two is twice the fun. Carrie at Gnome Angel is having a link party each week. I've even heard of one of those. But it seems like a great place to go and sniff round all the other blocks people have been doing. I really like checking out what everyone else does, it really makes me think about why a block works better or how a different colour contrast can change the whole design. It keeps me busy.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Rising Sun Quilt

So a while a go I made this small quilt, then I machine quilted it, then I realised how many loose ends I had to tie off and I abandoned it.

Arrrghhhh, they are everywhere! Now I realise why people don't quilt like that. I mean for Pete's sake...

Well, Penelope loves her sofa blankets and is already almost too big for it now so I thought I'd better just get on with it whilst I am waiting to start the Farmer's Wife quilt a long. So I started binding it thinking I can then finish tying up the ends afterwards. I am on the last side now. One more episode of The Bake Off should finish it off.

The only thing is that I think I preferred the first two blocks I made to the others and that I like it less now it's all together. I think maybe there is just too much of the sunprint text fabric perhaps. I can't quite decide. I do like the small blocks I put in the border which I copied from Amanda's MapleO quilt. But it is very jolly and cuddly. I do love Quilter's dream puff wadding. It's like hugging a cloud.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Farmer's Wife1930's Quilt-a-long

So I have caved in. After flipping through the first Farmer's Wife book that mum gave me, I realised that owning the second book which the quilt a long is doing over at Very Kerry Berry's blog, would be no bad thing. I think the weekly Periscope video swayed me! I might fail. It's a big commitment, but I'll give it a go. So with the birthday money that my inlaws kindly gave me I ordered the new book. The only annoying part is the waiting!

The quilt a long started this Monday and I am itching to start the first block. I'm not going to make the full quilt though. It's just too big. Instead I thought I would make every other block, picking out my favourites.

As for fabric. My first thought was to just use my stash. Lord knows I need to. But it wasn't exciting enough. So i bought some fat quarters to spice it up a bit. 

Kerry who is organising it posted up some links to 1930's fabric. Of course I had already decided not to use repro fabrics what with doing the Jitterbug quilt so recently. So of course I went and bought these repro fabrics immediately from Sew and Quilt. I'd not seen this site before so it's great to have another UK source of fabric. Gracie's Schoolhouse Classic range is perfect. I only bought two with matching plains because really I should be using my stash.  

Then I got even more excited about making it a bit more modern and bought these three "Cats Ballet Floral fabrics" from Stephanie at Elephant in my Handbag. I love Heather Ross.

So now my fabric selection is a complete train crash. I have lost the plot. The only thing I do know is:
  • Each block will have one plain in it always. 
  • Colours should not be too safe. I would like to intermix pink and peach and try and create combinations which shouldn't really work but do. 
  • Each block should use a scrap/stash fabric. 
  • Each block should have some element of colour contrast if possible. 
  • My backgrounds will all be greys, different ones as I am trying to use up scraps where possible. 

So my first block will use some grey offcuts from the donut quilt. A purple plain which sort of does not go and my new fat quarter in the centre. If it turns out gross then I might just make another. All I need is the book before I get too far behind!

Sorry if my pictures are a little rough and there are no links in my post but since embarking on my freelance career, my laptop now lives at work and so I haven't had evenings to edit photos and create blog posts. This is the best I can do until I settle into my new work groove.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Medallion Quilt

So I have been thinking the fabric to use for about my Medallion quilt from Liberty Love: 25 Projects to Quilt and Sew Featuring Liberty of London Fabrics. There is quite a lot so I ended up drawing out a diagram of the quilt and annotating what fabric I needed where. How organised! I often find the nicest part of the project is sifting through my stash and working it all out. I had some sick time on the sofa with Penelope so it was a nice slow thing to do in order to pass the time whilst the patient used me as a foot pillow. And now at least I have worked out exactly what I have and what I need.

I realised pretty quickly however, that I didn't have enough variety. I guess you are supposed to use scraps, but most of my scraps are either too small or the wrong colour. I wanted the whole thing to be pinks and purples and to match the other colours in the prints I had already chosen. I feared that is it was all too different that it would just look like a train crash. Plus the main borders use 1/2 yards of fabric and I really only ever buy fat quarters these days. So I ordered these from M is for Make.

You can just see Carolyn Friedlander's Plank in white for the low volume. I actually use low volumes a lot so I also realised that my stash of scraps might not be quite enough. Then we have Remember Me by Atelier Brunette which could be a border. The middle fabric is another border: Optical Origami Moon. I really like it. It's quite dark for me but I think it will work. Then the far bottom right is Triangle Tokens voile which is lovely and soft and might be a thin border. The two starry fabrics are Morn's Rays Silver and Ecru and will be small pieces to make up all the greys I need.

I thought that would be enough but in the end I bought quite a few bits for it from Birmingham. It was quite nice to know I needed some specific fabric but not very much of it so it wasn't going to break the bank. I just needed three fat quarters really:

A low volume
A grey
A bluey green

So off I went in search...

I ended up a big faves; Alison Glass' Sunprint – I've never seen this white on white version before but it's perfect.

Just one more grey to shake things up a bit. This is new from Cotton and Steel and it's lovely. I bought it from The Village Haberdashery.

Then all I needed was a bluey green to go with it all. That was more difficult as it is not a colour I use much and I couldn't really work it out amongst all the bad lighting. It needed to be just right. In the end I bought a few as I just couldn't make my mind up. I am sure they will get used in other projects.


We have the three bluey greens on the left. I think the middle one is the most daring. I think the top one is too green. The middle purples were extras. I just love the Monaluna Haiku range and was really looking forwards to seeing it in person so check it out. The stripes in the middle are a basic I was replacing. The grey stripes on the top right are also a stash basic which I love and probably won't need for this project, but the clouds go perfectly so they'll be in it and the mini peal bracelets are just another option on yellow which I already have. Good to have a backup.

That's it. I have more than I need and won't run out so I can get going choosing elements for the first central block.

I have decided to foundation piece is just because I hate sewing on the diagonal. I have not had great luck with it – all too stretchy. So I found this great tutorial from Penny Poppleton for creating a foundation block from the templates. Lor! opening up those huge sheets of delicate pattern paper with the two year old in the house was no joke. It was armageddon. At one point she was running round the house with a whole sheet wrapped round her.

But they are all done and ready to go. I have done them all on tracing paper and drawn each one purely because I have no access to a printer at the moment and it was easy enough to do on the sofa. So we'll see how I get on. Now I just need to choose my first fabrics.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Donut Quilt!

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

The miniatures were brilliant as always.

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.

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.

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

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...

Just loads of stuff!

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!


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.

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.

20150808-IMG_4267.jpg 20150808-IMG_4266.jpg
After seeing it hanging up again I changed my mind. I have no strong urge to make it anytime soon though.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.