Thursday, 24 April 2014

Neon Stained [Quilted]

It isn't finished yet, but today my neon stained quilt is officially a step closer. I have finished the free motion quilting. Warning - this post is photo heavy as I dissect my free motion quilting! Ive found loads of inspiration online for the quilting ideas and it's all pinned on my Pinterest board.
Progress shot!
First up a shot of the whole quilt from the front (I totally lucked out with the light in our living room this afternoon to get these photos which show the quilting off so well)...

...and from the back (I've heard rumours Ikea are discontinuing this print - does anyone know if that's the case in the UK too?).

I think this may be my favourite quilt ever. I have taken each block of colour and individually free motion quilted it in a variety of filler designs - some were successful, some less so, and there are some that I want to revisit again in the future.
I love the texture of pebbles (orange top left) and the really dense straight (?!) line quiltilng in the green. I was also really pleased with how the circles on string turned out (bottom right green).

The green in the top left was an attempt at combining different patterns. I love the ideas I had here but I want to work them through better and think about them a bit more, then try them again. Also new for me was an attempt at wood-grain (orange on the right and large yellow at the bottom right) though I lost my way a little. I found this idea online and I think I need to look at the pictures again to see where I'm going wrong for a wood grain effect. To me this looks more like swirling water.
Another attempt at combining patterns in the green on the right. I was also really pleased with the hearts in the yellow on the left. Less successful was the pink quilting.... I'm not sure I even like it, so may leave this pattern out of my repertoire in the future....

I love the effect of the very dense cross hatch in the yellow at the top. The yellow fan effect was less great - I think I need to mark this in the future and the lines needed to be closer together for this quilt. I didn't mark anything on this quilt at all....

More lovely dense straight line quilting in the pink top left, and more of the circles on string which I loved in the green and yellow and orange along the bottom of this shot.

Overall I'm so pleased with my free motion quilting. Lots more practice will always be needed, but I've learned what's worth practicing more, what needs more thought and what to abandon over the last few days quilting up this top.

All of the quilting was done in Aurifil 50 weight thread with the same thread top and bottom: 3660 (pink variegated); 1147 (green - I think); 1104 (orange); and 4658 (variegated yellow).

A huge thanks to Sarah at Narcoleptic in a Cupboard for such a fantastic quilt along - two years later I may get this quilt finished! If I can find the fabric for the binding, which is in a "safe place"!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WIP Wednesday [quilt tops and quilting]

This weekend we had loads of family round - my parents and brother came to stay for the long weekend and on Sunday 17 of us sat down to dinner including a six-year-old, a 13-month-old and Mia. Of course that meant not much sewing time, but here and there I have done a few stitches.

I've been working a lot on my Neon Stained quilt. I'm free motion quilting each block using a variety of fillers - Pinterest has been invaluable for inspiration and I've got a board dedicated to quilting inspiration

Progress is being made but you can't see it very well from the front - I've quilted all the pink and all the orange.

The back shows it better - I love this Ikea print.

The green and yellow are still to do and my aim is next Monday when I'm showing a local group how to free motion quilt - this will be a great way to show them the results - I'm nowhere near perfect but the practice I'm getting from this quilt is really helping.

All of this practice will come in handy - yesterday I managed to baste the monster that is my City Sampler quilt. And with all the family here for the weekend I finally got it photographed!

I used a microstitch gun to baste for the first time - we basted four quilts in total - one that my mother-in-law has made, which I'm going to quilt, my Three Peaks quilt, the Arabella Hexagon quilt and the City Sampler. Once I make a start on quilting I'll have a fuller idea of how successful it is, but the actual act of basting was just so easy and straight forward. If quilting goes well I could be a convert!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

WIP Wednesday [lots of quilting]

It's been a week of quilting and basting. I've been working on four different quilts. I've set up my machine for free motion quilting and started off with my Skill Builder blocks. I was quite pleased with the result...

So I moved on to my Neon Stained quilt. I want to try lots of different fmq ideas on this one - some are working out better than others...

The third quilt is all hand quilting - when I get a few moments I'm quilting my Thread Along quilt. I'm using #12 perle cotton in white and mostly doing echo quilting. So far I've done the centre and just about made a start on the main blocks.

And the basting? Hexies. Two weeks after cutting the squares, I've basted 125 1.5" hexagons for a quilt for Mia.

It's amazing how much you can get done in a few snatched minutes here and there :)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Free Motion Quilting

It's been a while since I successfully free motion quilted, but with a good clean (it's hard to clean your machine properly if you've never be shown how to before) my sewing machine appears to be behaving - for tonight at least. So whilst Daddy did bath time and tried (unsuccessfully) to convince Mia to take formula milk from a bottle), Mummy managed to quilt these two blocks...

Not bad for an evening!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Finish Along [Quarter 2] - ever so slightly stupid...

So, once a baby hits six weeks old, everything clicks - routine, sleep, feeding.... right? And I get time to sew, right? Hey - can you see that pig flying pas the window? I know that the reality will be snatched sewing moments here and there, even if it's only just five minutes while Daddy changes the nappy. But that isn't going to stop me putting together a really stupidly long Finish Along list - I just never know what will take my fancy.

Arabella Hexagon Quilt: I started this just last week - you can see why in this post here - and needs to be gifted in mid-May, so I need to get this basted, quilted and bound.

Arabella Hexagon Quilt II: In boy colours. Apparently black and white are some of the first colours a baby sees so really this could be for a boy or a girl but is definitely more boy-ish

Mini Swoon Quilt: I started making 6" Swoon blocks before Christmas - I've made three and want to make 9 in total, but all the fabric is cut.

Neon Stained: I have lost count how many times this has appeared on the list. This quilt's success will depend on my inclination to do some free motion quilting...

Three Peaks:  ... This quilt is good friends with Neon Stained - it would be unfair to split them up. This still needs basting - maybe I'll have a massive basting session next week....I had planned to hand quilt it, but maybe I'll machine quilt it to get it done now (the quilt has never really had a purpose) and try out some different quilting ideas.

Hexagon quilt for Mia: Since Mia was born the weather has been crap, but there are mutterings that we will have a great summer (yeah right). But in preparation, I want to make a lightweight small quilt to go over her car-seat/buggy. I fell across some lovely fabrics in greys, pinks and turquoise and found a flannel to back it. I'm not going to use batting. I've cut the fabric ready to use for 1 1/2" EPP hexagons (that's huge for me) and now need to get stitching.

Thread Along quilt: It's basted! Need to get on quilting it now. By hand.

City Sampler: I have just finished the quilt top - all sashed and bordered. Now I need a large space to baste her and take some photos. This photo is still from mid January laid out all over my bed.

Sleep suit mini quilt: I love this sleep suit which Mia was given.
I had to include a photo of her somewhere!
I love the colours and the pattern. The plan is hexagons (again - are you seeing a theme here) and some embroidery I've designed in some kind of nine-patch layout... it will definitely have red binding!

Skill Builder Quilt: It was on the list for last quarter and I don't want it to feel unloved so I'll pop it on here to to keep reminding me of it. Maybe I'll get a couple more blocks quilted.

Aspen Frost Quilt: This is such an easy quilt - lots of chain piecing - I just need to get on with it.

Purple Crosses: this is currently a pile of blocks which were made for me by the girls of the Stash Bee. Over a year ago. I want to make a quilt for my Great Aunt, who I don't get to see very often. I'll be visiting home in June and taking Mia to meet her Great Great Aunt and it would be nice to have this finished by then. I have a fair amount of trimming to do, followed by my favourite - long seams - and then some as yet unplanned quilting.

Grey and Red Ferris Wheel Quilt: I don't know quite how this one will end....

Sewing machine cover - apparently my free motion quilting problems are because it's getting grotty.... so I need a cover.... I've started with some scraps....

Ok - I'm going to stop now. Some need to be finished, some are realisted. Some are totally unlikely! Linking up over with Katy!

Finish Along 2014

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

WIP Wednesday [Bees and Babies]

This week has been pretty productive - maybe we are starting to find that six-week routine - yep Mia is already six weeks old - the time seems to have flown by on one hand, but on the other it's like she has always been here.

So this week I finally finished sashing my City Sampler quilt- but it's so large I can't photograph it yet, so I will have to leave you on tenterhooks for a few more weeks until I can get it basted.

I can show you a baby quilt I've made - it still needs to be basted and quilted, and the plan for the quilting is circles, which I may practice on another quilt first - one where mistakes would be less noticeable than a quilt with so much negative space.

And I am UP TO DATE on all my bee commitments. At least I will be once I make it to the post office. These three sets are for the Siblings Together Bee 2: January for Dorothy - I find improv really difficult so I admit, I had been putting these off, but they went together really quickly and I like them now.

February blocks were done ages ago - but only because I was Queen and needed to make my models...

March for Sarah - I really enjoyed these blocks.

And April for Penny. I've made these blocks before and they are great - so much easier than they look using this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Arabella Hexagon Quilt

I have a finished quilt top to show you today! Last year, just after I found out I was pregnant, friends had a baby girl. I had put off making a quilt for them because I knew my hubby was going to visit them when baby was about three months old. However, an early pregnancy symptom was total lack of interest in a needle... so I never made a quilt for her.

Roll forward to this week and I realised we will be seeing the same friends at a wedding in mid May. Can I make a quilt with a small baby? Yes I can.

The design is my own and I've made notes while stitching it up to turn it into a pattern. I am still on a bit of a hexagon kick but this is totally machine pieced. I cut the fabric during short naps on Thursday and pieced it Friday and yesterday.

The background is a slightly mottled pale green and the hexagons are all from my stash and include some Art Gallery, Architextures, Pearl Bracelets, Kona Solids...

I know how I want to quilt it, but I need to buy some backing and binding still. And looking at the photos it needs a bloody good press...