Friday, May 29, 2009

A Bit More

I did the purple block (eeek it's very bright!) and thought I'd lay them out without the brown inbetween bits just to see how it looked. I think it looks like the kind of quilt you'd find in a gypsy caravan.

The greeny pink block is still may favourite, probably because I have none of the material that made it left! The maths works out pretty well. You need two fat quarters for the solid triangle and 1/2 a fat qaurter for the strips depending on how big they are. I've depleated loads of my stash as this is a very big quilt. Part of me wants to rush out and replace the material I have used, but the other part of me knows it is good not to keep amassing loads and loads of material. Life is never easy.

Final red block at the weekend!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Note on Measuring

I asked my mum what the most accurate way to measure material was. I had been using the markings on my cutting mat a great deal, especially to establish right angles, but also for when material was bigger than my ruler could measure. My ruler collection is growing. When I first started my mum gave me a ruler she had snapped in half and a cutting matt with cm measurements on it.

And it did me proud for a good long time.

Then she gave me a giant square ruler which she was chucking out as she never used it. I think it's great! I use it all the time, but I do agree with her that it's often a little short.

One day though, I decided to upgrade my kit. I didn't need to really, but I think if you invest a lot of time in a hobby then it can be a real treat to indulge yourself with tools to make life easier. So I bought myself a Olfa Cutting Mat 24" x 36" in the sale at a Quilt show. I think a show is a good place to buy one as everyone is trying to persuade you to buy one then and there from their stall. This can make the discounts far greater than those found online.

I also bought my first ruler. One big, long 24x6" one to replace the snapped one. Having this allowed me to measure in the way my mum recommended. If your ruler isn't wide enough, then use two at once! So to measure an 8 1/2" strip. I measure 2 1/2" with the 15" square, then add the 6" ruler next to it. You'd think this would make all my blocks line up, but of course, there is plenty of room inbetween for me to botch it up!

Progress continues. It's getting rather garish. I half wish it was just my new green blocks with plain triangles inbetween, but there's no changing it now. I have to get to the bitter end. I think it will look great in a plain white room on top of white bed linen. Now for the red block. No one could call me subtle...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bank Holiday

This bank holiday I thought I'd save some money by staying indoors finishing things off. Now I am on the making strips part of the quilt which is a lot of fun. I am still amazed that I can look at a collection of fabrics thinking they go together, only to sew them together and realise they don't half as much as I thought they did. This quilt is all about bold bright clashing colours so it's even more difficult, but it's good fun just taking risks and living with the results. I tend to always put the colours I feel safe with together so I look at this as breaking out of the box a bit.

The whole 60° thing is a complete mystery to me so as a result I am relying quite heavily on the template rather than measuring with my ruler. I have been reliably informed by my mother that templates are OUT and rulers are IN, but I just don't have her expertise. There's something quite reassuring and foolproof with a template so I thought I'd just run with it and see what happens. The only good thing about 60° cutting is the stretch you get with the fabric which allows you do a lot of 'tugging' when you're sewing the blocks together to get them to line up. I'm sure it's all going to go drastically wrong at some point but until then I am happily cutting up strips and making blocks.

Here's how it is shaping up. I am not quite following the pattern instructions as I am using a lot of small scraps which have been in my stash for years. Two bits of material were childhood clothes! My mum once made a quilt out of her beautiful 60's dresses which she had lovingly saved. She probably could have sold them for a lot of money as they were beautiful, but she loved them so much, she wanted something forever to remind her of those great days. I thought that was a really nice idea so I have incorporated strips from clothes than just remind me of being young. I had saved them for such a long time, it seemed fitting to finally be able to use them for something. It means there are a lot of random seams in the middle of strips but I quite like the effect. It's a bit like Kim's washed and worn jelly rolls where you'll suddenly get a strip with a pocket on it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Making Things Club Night

Last night, Nicky, Cookie, Rex and I all met up behind Columbia Road in a small pub called the Nelson's Head, where they had saved a big table for us tucked away at the back. It was a really great venue and I am sure we will be going there again. Everyone was full of industry making various things. I made a new monster!

I had some trouble deciding on his face though. The options seemed to have a great effect upon his emerging personality, but here he is!

Monday, May 18, 2009

This Weekend

So what's been going on this weekend? Well now I have finished the baby quilt it's time to move up my list of things to do which is quite large as I really am bent on finishing off some of the half finished projects that are mounting up. So for 'in front of the telly' time, we have the quilting of the Broken Dishes quilt that I started years ago.

My hand quilting stitches are a bit uneven and too far apart at the moment. I also really need to start learning to hand quilt with a thimble though as it really cuts up my fingers after a while.

I also started a new project which I had been gradually amassing the material for since Chillford. I knew I wanted to do one for myself that was quilt big and was browns and reds, so at last I got the chance to lay out all the material and sit with it for a while. I selected the main material ages ago. It was a choice between these two: Park Slope and Birds of Norway from Michael Miller

So I had to sit with them all weekend and make some decisions. Eventually I bit the bullet and chose the Pink Slope and cutting began. Unfortunately I cut half of it wrong, which I blame totally on the book which had little diagrams of perfectly cut triangles, yet in the text told you to saw the tops off. You think I'd be able just to saw the tops off mine but it does work that way so it looks like I have enough leftovers to make the next speaker quilt. Anyway it's a big old quilt so it'll take a loooong time to cut the bits. I plan to do it nice and slowly so I don't make any more stupid mistakes.

The book the pattern is from is called 'Material Obsessions'. I find the instructions a bit awkward as I really would prefer to know the cut sizes of pieces from the start rather than following their written instruction which sort of depend on you having the ruler or template they are using. As I am awful at maths, I find this whole sixty degree thing a bit complicated so I had to keep making myself templates and trying to do it all without the 60 degree ruler. I basically ended up making my own in the end. I just should have bought one, but I am trying not to end up buying stuff all the time. Of course the minute I see a 60 degree ruler in at The Festival of Quilts, it shall be mine, oh yes!

I am sure I did it in a terribly ham-fisted way. I just hope it all works out in the end as the pattern is lovely. The book is full of contemporary designs using modern fabrics which I am quite into at the moment. Their blog shows the kind of thing I mean. I really like their modern applique designs. Here are some examples. Quilt 1, Quilt 2, Quilt 3 (the one I am making)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baby Quilt

I finally finished the latest baby quilt. The pattern is from the Jelly Roll quilt book, but smaller. I didn't tie off the thread on the back very well but apart from that it's far more accurate than other quilts I have made, and it's not too girly I like to think. I think it's time I actually made a quilt for myself!