Friday, July 03, 2015

Neutral Half Squares

Afternoon sewing
It has been very warm and muggy here, almost too warm to muster any effort for activity. Oh how I wish there was aircon. I really wanted to finish my simple half square quilt that I started last friday though. I didn't want it hanging around. It was suposed to only take a few hours. So I sewed my log cabins from the scraps. It was very fulfilling. I had based it on this beautiful quilt that Brooke made. I wanted it to be a bit bigger though in order to show off the fabrics more. Unfortunately it's a bit too big to display properly!

I am a bit sad now that it's not smaller, but hey ho. I have put it away and will take it out tomorrow and see how I feel about it. The great thing about it is that it was very cheap to make AND it was all stuff I bought at Birmingham last year so I cannot be accused of being a hoarder.

I bought 10 fat quarters for £1 each which is amazing in itself. They were from The Shuttle. I think they are cotton Percale as they have that lovely smooth sheeting feel to them. I love percale. It goes really soft with washing. I just need to find some backing for it. I am going to rummage around through my stash. Whatever it ends up being, it needs to be cheap so as to keep with the theme. I feel like I have got something out of my head that has been taking root since I saw these fabrics at Birmingham. I'm really glad they weren't a useless purchase. I was worried at the time as I really like to go with projects in mind and buy specifically for them. But overall I am pretty chuffed. I just need to work out if I like what I have made.

Here are all my colours together. Bold choices for me. I am not really a green person. I love the dusky purple with the peachy colour though. The patterns are all precious.  I love them so much.
Two prints from Wildwood by Elizabeth Olwen which I bought from The Village Haberdashery
Two precious Denyse Schmidt prints and some Heather Ross Far Far Away fabric

I think it's time to finish the border on the Jitterbug after this.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Spell of Inactivity

There hasn't been much time for sewing lately. Trips away, Sport days, people staying... it all eats into your time. I did manage to sew endless strips of stripes for the Jitterbug. I need to iron them all flat now. Yawn. I have put it to one side yet again until I can face it. Big quilts. Bah... It's all a bit repetitive and there is never enough time. I am falling out of love with the whole quilt. I have no staying power. I need to keep on chugging! I insist it gets finished as I know it will look great in the end. So small bits every now and then. Sew it all. Put it down. Iron it all. Put it down. Sew some more. Put it down...

But before that slog, I thought I would do something little, break things up a bit. I was really gutted that I didn't make myself a project case when I made Rachel one. I kept looking at the precious fabrics, thinking how lovely they all were. I just love looking at them. So I thought I might make a lap quilt instead. Something with similar improv log cabins again, but maybe add something simple to it which would show big swathes of the fabric.

20150614-P1410379 Nothing complex, but nothing too orderly like the Jitterbug. Nothing that needs matching up too much. Something a bit wilder like the drooping foxgloves and leaning salvias I see everywhere at the moment.

Day 284 - Maze
Everything is green and pinks and purples and whites. I decided that it all fitted my fabrics and thought I might add some greens and peachy colours to add some colour dimension. Mix it up a bit so everything was too safe. I feel a bit wary as it might not be as nice, But I am really interested in making more tense colour choices and this seemed a good testing ground as it is just a bit of fun.

I don't really use green very much but I did have a small fat 16th from an Oakshott bundle which was very un-me so I thought put that in, plus a lovely dark green I had bought potentially to use on the postage stamp skip blocks but wimped out on. It's Kaffe Fasset. It's lovely and soft.

So I sat and thought. Then I stopped thinking and just cut some squares. I decided to make them the width of my ruler (6 1/2") as that meant I could just cut without thinking. I sewed two half square triangles from every square and trimmed them down to the closest round number (6"). Then I just sewed two together, two more and two more until I had 4 strips of triangles. Then I lay them on the ironing board in the afternoon sun and stared at them for a bit. Do they work? Are they nice? I think I like the green, purple and peach combo... I think.

In fact I think I wish it was just all solids. I am not 100% any of it but I feel quite bold trying it out. Those and the purples are quite subtle, they sit really nicely with the various neutral background colours. I feel like it might be tasteful. Well the bright pink stripes probably prevent that...

I really need one of those wadding walls where people hang up blocks and think about them. The ironing board has its limitations. In the end I just drew up a quick pattern which would allow for the log cabins I would create from all the scraps. I sewed the strips which meant the final half squares are 5 1/2".

Half Square Improv
So I have drawn up a rough plan for a lap quilt measuring 38" x 55". Small but good enough for the sofa. Just need to make my log cabins. All the scraps are waiting, ready to go! I do like a quick project. So far this has only taken a few hours.

I kind of think I'd like them to be even bigger. I have seen two pattern which use big blocks which I am really tempted by. This one or this one. I'd love to use my dusky purple Kaffe Fasset fabric on one of these. I could buy the exact fabric I need at CottonPatch when I go to Birmingham. Anyway, back to the plan.

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.