Thursday, 13 August 2015

Sidmouth again

It's that time of year again - we've just got home from a fabulous week in Sidmouth. This week holds so many memories for us: it was where Michael proposed, 11 year ago. It was our destination the day after our first scan when I was pregnant with Mia, and was where we shared our news 2 years ago. Last year, Mia's first Sidmouth was a bit different from those of the past and if I'm honest, it was hard work, as Mia suckled all night and wouldn't settle.

But this year, her second, was wonderful. It was still hard work, but now that she's 17 months old, it was absolutely wonderful to see her enjoying the whole experience! She's talking so much and repeating everything we say - occasionally she's even starting to put words together. She's walking and running everywhere and she learned to dance at the ceilidhs in the Anchor Inn.
She does like the quiet book I made her!

Early morning bacon butty stop - it was still far too early

With Granny on the sea-front

With Grandad the Morris Dancer (she wasn't scared of Morris Men this
year, which is just as well, really)

Looking up the good concerts with Dolly

Dancing on the table (thanks Uncle Robin)

She loved watching the waves crash, but wasn't quite as keen when the wind whipped up the waves so much that even on the opposite side of the road, we got splashed. She also loved the seagulls - some one has to. And coronation chicken sandwiches were a huge hit!

We also visited Wrest Park, a stately home near my parents, and she loved running and playing hide and seek

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Thimbleblossoms Mini Quilt Swap

This was a tough swap. The swap was all about using a pattern by Camille Roskelly. It wasn't a Bonnie and Camille swap. And that's why I signed up - I love Thimbleblossom patterns, but I don't love B and C fabric. Unfortunately I seemed to be in the minority, and my partner was an avid B and C fan. I didn't get much further guidance on fabric, so with no B and C fabric to hand I decided that everyone likes scrappy rainbows. Right?

The next problem was that the patterns I love and the patterns she loved didn't have much cross over. I picked out the one that was common (because whilst it's important to follow my partner's likes, if I can't stand what I'm making, it's not going to end well). I chose Starlight.  The finished quilt, in the pattern, was 12"x 15". The swap requirements were for a minimum size of 16" x 16". Starlight is an equilateral triangle pattern, and my equilateral triangle maths is pretty much non-existent. I knew I needed to make it bigger, and I thought I had worked out how many extra units I needed. Fail.

I did get my GCSE maths. Honest. I realised I had cut only half of what I needed. Luckily I had done this well enough in advance to shove it an box and sulk for a while. And when I pulled it out again it just looked like a total scrappy mess. And not in a good way.

By being an ostrich and sticking my head in the sand and ignoring it, it was too late at this point to start again... so I ploughed on, adding a very dark navy for the larger triangles. And boy, did I underestimate how long it would take to piece this together. The number of seams coming together was not fun. It's not perfect, but all of a sudden, I liked it again! The dark triangles gave the eye somewhere to rest away from the scrappy madness! And it was just big enough (16" x 18"). I quilted it up with simple straight lines (there's enough going on in this quilt already), trimmed it and bound it. Ta-dah!

I really liked it, but was still very unsure whether it would suit my partner or not. I was happier with the extra I had created: a little zippy pouch! There was a mandatory three extras for this swap, so I added a few shop-bought goodies too!

My partner, Sew Hoity Toity received the parcel today and, to my huge relief, she is thrilled with it - I was very lucky especially with the extras I sent and hit on some of her favourites!

And I got a fantastic quilt all the way from Australia too. This came from @quiltingwithkim and a certain small person thinks it's for her...may be I'll share.

With some lovely goodies! Mia has been eyeing up the kangaroo on the shopping bag already! And that pincushion is in Kate Spain's new line, Canyon. I'm really tempted with a fat quarter bundle which I would then use, keeping with the theme, to make a Swoon quilt for our bed. But it's so hard to buy fabric without having seen it in real life!

The mini quilt I sent was on my Q3 Finish Along list, so that's another tick

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

So was the zippy pouch, but I'll link that up separately.

Friday, 7 August 2015

ALYoF [August goal]

I failed to complete my July goal, due to a slight backing miscalculation...but it's close enough that I don't think I need the added impetus of listing it here... let's hope I'm right. So instead I'm going to list a different baby quilt - the inside addition quilt. It needs another 20 blocks, which are already cut which need to be pieced.

This is for a friend who we'll be seeing in September and it would great to have it ready to give to them then.

Linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes

Thursday, 30 July 2015

July [in review]

I've had a really good month which feels like it's whizzed by! Here's what I got up:

I finished a large La Passacaglia Rosette

And the first of the New Hexagon Millefiori Rosette

I've also worked a lot on swaps

Cotton and Steel Mini

Thimbleblossoms Mini

Hand pieced mini swap

Cotton and Steel Angel Mini

I finished part 1 of My Small World and I can't wait to start part 2 - please can there be more than 24 hours in the day?

 I quilted a quilt made by my mother-in-law

 I started quilting my enormous City Sampler Quilt

And made myself a quick bookmark

Angel Mini

A week ago I was scrolling through Instagram on my lunch break and came across as shout out for volunteer angels for the #cottonandsteelminiquiltswap for the UK.

I was so excited to finish it and get it in the post that I
forgot to take my own photos, so Robin kindly sent me a few!
My head said: you already have a swap quilt to finish by the start of August which you've barely started and have no drive to even get out; your Cotton & Steel stash isn't extensive; you have a 17 month old daughter and plenty of commitments; you are supposed to be decorating this weekend because new carpet is coming on Monday...

My heart said: that stinks for the recipient, and when you were on the non-receiving end of a swap it was horrible. You should just volunteer and get on with it.

And this time the heart won. My journey from work to home is 20 minutes and because my new partner had given such excellent information in her sign-up form, by the time I got home I had a plan. I also had half an hour before I needed to pick my daughter up, so cut the fabric. Thursday night was our North East Modern Quilt Guild virtual sew along night, and by bedtime I had a finished quilt top. It was so refreshing to just sit and sew something beginning to end like that.

I used foundation piecing to get nice accurate Economy Blocks
I also lucked out in terms of fabric. When the swap started my C&S stash was mostly limited to the basics with the odd designer FQ. I had intended to buy some fabrics which my partner liked, but she hadn't been very specific so I had just used what I had. The parcel I received was incredibly generous and included a fat quarter bundle of C&S fabric, and I had also been tempted with a couple of Instagram destashes... so out of my new partner's four favourite fabrics I actually had two of them in my stash - the black and white cats and the Japanese navy print. And she said "don't be scared of black and white" and I had some more of the black and white collection. It couldn't have been more perfect! I also found that I didn't have quite enough of the Black and white basics fabric, so had to include the solid black - I'm so glad I did, because this quilt would have truly hurt the eyes otherwise!

On the Friday I basted and quilted it. I also made a little patchwork basket to go with it using this pattern, and rummaged in my scrap boxes to put together a scrap bundle. On Saturday I bound the quilt and on Sunday I posted it. Robin received the parcel on Tuesday! Less than a week start to finish - a happy recipient and a reinvigorated sender. Because it was exactly the kick I needed to get on with my other swap commitment!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Hand Pieced Mini Quilt Swap

I love a bit of EPP (you may have noticed) so when Jo announced a hand-pieced mini swap I couldn't resist. Now that Paula @mudpiesand pins has received her package, I can share it here with you! This one proved to be hard. I couldn't decide on a pattern, I couldn't decide on fabric... in the end I took my inspiration from an Art Gallery print which I use sparingly on the front, and then for the backing.

Photo borrowed from Paula

For the pattern, I settled on an excerpt from the New Hexagon Millefiori quilt and took the pattern for rosette one, shrunk it to use 2" finished hexagons (the original uses 3" finished hexagons) and then did just two rounds, rather than the full three.

There were some definite learning curves in this project: to make my own templates I started with some 2" hexagon papers that came free with a magazine. They were much thinner than I'm use to and I struggled to get neat corners on some of the tight angles on the triangles. Then I decided to try glue basting using a Tesco glue-stick. Don't ask me why I thought a swap project was a good guinea pig. The glue was much softer than that which comes in the sewline refils, and as such went on much thicker and then set like concrete.

.After I'd fought the paper out I posted on Instagram and know for next time that ironing may melt the glue enough to make it easier to remove the papers.... next time I'll know. There won't be a next time.

And going back to those dodgy sharp points... there were a few areas where things didn't quite meet and one bit where I ended up with a raw edge peaking through on the front. I managed to save it (though I nearly started again at one point) and looking at it just before I sent it off, I can't see where this was anymore. Phew!.

I always like to hand quilt when I've hand-pieced - it just feels right somehow. I got out my perle thread and did a little echo quilting. In the background I wanted to do cross hatch quilting and had a brainwave at the last minute to match the angels in the piecing rather than the standard squares. I'm so glad I did and I love how it turned out. I want to try and remember this next time I work with hexagons and need background quilting.

The only time the quilt saw a sewing machine, was to attach the binding!

I included some extras of course! A zippy pouch complete with matching pincushion and needle-case.

And look what I received in this swap: all the way from @donna8b in New Zealand - the piecing is beautiful and the quilting is gorgeous.

And look at the goodies that came with it (yes - Mia has decided that the pen and notebook were sent especially for her, and the chocolate didn't last long either. I must remember to open these parcels when I'm on my own and not surrounded by family!

And I have to show an extra photos of this gorgeous zippy pouch! What amazing fussy-cutting!

The hand-pieced mini swap was on my Q3 Finish Along list

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

So was the zippy pouch I sent as an extra, but I'll link that up somewhere else....

Saturday, 25 July 2015

La Passacaglia [Rosette 2]

I know I showed this on Wednesday, but it was not quite finished, and now it is, I felt is deserved it's own post. And some photos taken in daylight! And on a personal note, I think it will be nice for me to look back over each Rosette in the future, as each will tell it's own story...

The fabric: the fabric combination in this rosette was a total accident! Aren't the best ones! I placed an order with The Village Haberdashery - there was a sale, I was using my mobile and I just picked random fabrics which I liked, and which I thought would fit well into my stash. And when I spread them out I realised that some of them went together perfectly!

So I started the recollection print - the white background floral in the centre of the aqua flowers. And it just so happened that the Geometric Bliss stripe (the first round of pentagons and the centre of the outer-most stars) matched. In the same package were the two aquas which I have alternated for the pentagon flowers, and the dark teal Alison Glass Mercury - the paler is also from Recollection and the darker is a text print from Ayumi Mills. I then raided my stash to fill out the warmer colours: s solid bright pink, Architextures in peach (I love this fabric and I've now run out - anyone n the UK/Europe have some they'd like to swap/sell?), Domino Dot in peach, Sketch in a beautiful pinky coral and Art Gallery Floral elements in peach.

I wish I had more of all of these fabrics - enough to make a whole quilt. But I don't. I do have 2m of the floral Recollection print, which may be included in the quilt back - in a million years time. And I have the same stripe print in a knit to make a dress for Mia. Come to think of it, does anyone in the UK/Europe have this fabric as a cotton to swap/sell?

The story: Whilst a machine pieced quilt often reminds you of sitting at your sewing table, and possibly the TV programmes you were watching at the time, maybe the recipient of the quilt, hand-piecing travels with you and collects far more memories. Going back to first putting that fabric pull together: it was the first fabric purchase to arrive in our new house! I was working on this whilst away in Tenby - my favourite place in the world. And I worked on it during our journey to see my parents last weekend - though perhaps less romatically it reminds of the A1 more than the weekend in general!

This block is a number 2 rosette and will sit in the bottom right of the finished quilt. I've pulled out more fabrics today for the next few rosettes and I'm looking forward to the journey they take me on too.