Monday, 20 May 2019

Coming Home [Month 4]

I am absolutely loving this year's Block of the Month from Sarah Fielke. There's so much variety of techniques, the instruction are so good and it's a wonderful challenge every month. I'm even enjoying the applique, which is just well because I think next month will be all about the applique!

And because I'm enjoying it so much, I am 100% up to date! This is the status at the end of month four. The tulip appliqued corners were last month, which I failed to blog about. I found the inny corners tricky and I may have to go back and embroider some strategically placed ladybirds... I made all the houses in the outer border this month using a mix of rotary cutting and foundation piecing, with appliques doors and windows.

This quilt will be for Mum and Dad when it's finished and I find myself taking Mum's taste into account far more than Dad's. He's a musician so I was pleased to get the red musical notation print in (it's an old Basic Grey print from a Christmas line). The ultimate challenge will be to sneak in some Tula Pink without Mum noticing as she really is not a fan!

Photographing this work in progress is proving tricky now... these photos show the quilt in five pieces as we haven't had instructions for the corners of this border yet, and it's pretty big. I had to wait for a calm day and photo it outside on the lawn... I often do this with larger quilts and individual blocks in between gusts, but I needed all five pieces in place at once... not easy on the North Sea coast! And as Michael is taller than me, I got him to take the picture from above... you can just see his toes sneaking in!

Looking forward to the next set of instructions on 31st May!

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Trinket Quilt Top

All of those Trinket Blocks. 138 of them. And 160ish half square traingles. Lots of little 4" squares. And of course that inevitably means that they have to put together... lots and lots of long seams. Commonly known as Jennie's least favourite job. It took me several days and a lot of self-control to not abandon the whole process.... but here it is, my finished Trinket top.

I am chuffed to bits that I didn't just follow the pattern - the chequerboard layout it contains is good, but it was so nice to do something original (I don't always have the imagination!).

The finished top is 64"x 88". Too big for the backing I chose before I had my layout brainwave. So Asda has kindly provided some fabulous new duvet covers for me to cut up. Now I need to find the energy to baste and quilt it.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Speedy Vinyl Pouches [A Finish]

I can't believe how useful the two Speedy Vinyl Zipper Pouches I made in March have been. I kept reaching for them to put something in only to find that they are full already. So I knew fairly quickly I would be making some more. The pattern by Aneela Hoey is, like all her patterns, excellent. The largest size in the pattern is about 8"x11" and is therefore perfect for orphan 6" blocks. I pulled out the four I made for the Summer Sampler 2017. The reality was that I didn't like my fabric choices and would not be finishing the quilt. I added some extra blue round the block to bring them up to size and used the original fabrics to source lining and binding. In this context I love these fabrics!

Please don't ask me what the fabric is.... I know it's Michael Miller and I know I bought a fat quarter bundle before Mia was born, so it's at least five years old... As with the Zuma pouches I made using the same pattern, these pouches do not have any wadding in them. By this point that was a conscious decision. I don't need the structure for how I use them, and they fit better in my sewing case. Speaking of which - here they all are, lined up on one side of my Sewing Date Traveller.

(The pouch on the opposite side is my All-in-one Box Pouch - pattern also by Aneela!)

As well as the four 6" blocks, I had also made a 12" block from the same Summer Sampler. I decided to make an upsized version of the pouch. This time, because I was making it 12" x 16" I needed the structure from the wadding. So I didn't forget it, I quilted the exterior panel to the wadding as a first step. I hand quilted it in #16 Finca Perle thread.

This large size is so handy! At the moment it's keeping my applique panels for Down the Rabbit Hole tidy and safe, but I definitely need another one for my Coming Home quilt too. And possibly a few more. So I'll be raiding the orphan blocks again... or maybe making new pretty ones?

These five pouches are a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.

Tula Nova Quilt Top

It's been ages since I blogged about my Tula Nova Quilt. But progress has been made - a little bit every now and again. I finished the EPP before Christmas but couldn't face the task of basting ready for applique with a bump. Once Joshua was here it was one of the first jobs I did!

I've appliqued EPP to backgrounds before - I perfected my technique with the 40 blocks for Round We Go. But this was A LOT bigger! I decided to use exactly the same technique and hope it worked. I pieced my background fabric with a centre seam. I pattern matched by folding one edge over, pressing it well, then laying it on top of the other piece, pinning in place and then top stitching in a matching thread. Very little of the seam will be seen and I'm happy with the result... the worst part is behind the EPP!

I then placed the EPP medallion centrally along this line and worked one side then the other. I'd left the final round of papers in the fabric at this point. Once I was happy with the position and everything was flat, I lifted a little at a time and stuck it down using my glue pen. I then very carefully lifted it across to my sewing machine, and using the longest stitch length, basted it in place about 1" from the edge, through the paper pieces that I'd left in. I then repeated this with the second side. It worked. No puckers. So far.

The came the hand applique. Because I'd left the papers in, I didn't have to turn edges or worry about keeping the shape accurate as I went. I didn't undo any of the basting stitches except in one little corner where I was developing a bit of a pucker. A bit of smoothing out and it'll not be noticed in the final thing! I then removed the basting stitches, cut away the backing from behind the medallion with a very rough and generous seam allowance, and removed the final papers.

Trimming it square was a bigger challenge than I had expected, and whilst it isn't necessarily square, it is even and central... I then added the borders in the same dark blue as I used in the piecing: I think it's Kona Nightfall. This makes it a bit bigger for sofa use - 68" x 72".

I've treated myself to some Tula Pink Pinkerville wideback for the backing, and it's all basted up ready for some hand quilting. The weather is due to be more "normal" (cold) this weekend so perhaps I will do quilt-along-a-Eurovision!

Dear Jen [Month 1]

Every so often I come across something on Instagram and I fall for it. Something I just know I'm going to have to jump on board with. And let's be honest, they are normally quilt alongs or blocks of the month. Well, this was one of them. Within about half an hour of Jen Kingwell announcing her Dear Jen block(s) of the month I had paid up! I then forgot about it until the day before the first patterns were released!

The plan is six blocks a month for a year. Easy. Except these aren't easy blocks. Jen's method is to make your own templates and then hand piece. Me and hand piecing are not friends, so I'm going to apply other methods.

This first month I have made two blocks using foundation piecing and the remaining four using English Paper Piecing. Can you tell which is which? I know in future months there will also be some applique and probably some surprises...

I really enjoyed picking out random fabrics and putting them together. It's how I created my Ice Cream Soda quilt and I've been missing that freedom of fabric selection. My brain keeps telling me that my Delilah quilt works like that too, so maybe I should make an effort on that front!

I've picked a chequerboard layout for my final quilt, so I'm doing half my blocks with dark backgrounds and half with light.

Looking forward to what next month has in store!

Friday, 3 May 2019

The List: An Update

You may or may not be aware that I am the proud curator of The List! I have a bullet journal, which I couldn't live without - it's what makes me productive and stops me forgetting things. Most things. And in that bullet journal is The List.

The List is a list of all of my current Works in Progress (WIPs). As the start of the year I had over 120 WIPs. I have certain friends, hereafter referred to as The Committee, who believe that 120 items is too many. The problem is that I am a sucker for a sew-along, and go bananas for a block of the month, and there are just so many good ones out there. And the start of the year is a bad time - everyone has new projects and I sign up for them. If you follow my blog regularly, you will be aware that I do also finish a fair few projects, but the ratio is generally to start more than I finish in any given month.
The Splendid Sampler. I've made lots of blocks, but not enough, and I'm not sure of a setting
Down The Rabbbit Hole: held up by the thought of all that applique, but back out and experiencing some progress
The List has long term projects on it: the earliest dates back to 2011 (if not earlier): that's my Vignette quilt. It's still on the list because I still love it and one day I would like to finish it. Other projects of a similar age have fallen off the list as I have fallen out of love with them and disposed of them in various ways. But the odd one remains. And the likelihood is that it isn't going anywhere soon.

My La Passacaglia quilt: very much still loved, but not added to in some time.
A double Wedding Ring Quilt, all cut out...
Then there are the ones I haven't started yet. They still count as a Work In Progress because they are needed in the near future. This part of the list includes things like an advent calendar for Joshua - I haven't started it yet, but need to soon to get it finished in time for December.

My original City Sampler which was I made whilst pregnant with Mia: I love the dense quilting, but with no deadline, it always gets pushed to the back of the queue.
Delilah... but hand piecing just wasn't doing it for me, so changed to sewing machine... but I still have to fight the templates
And in between are all the beautiful projects I continue to work on. Some slowly some fast! Earlier this year I had a serious review of the list. I removed some of those unstarted items that had sat on the list for a long time and remained unstarted. They've been moved to a bucket list, and I'm sure that gradually things will be moved from one list to the other. I also thought about projects that hadn't been touched for a long time and decided what to do with them if I didn't really love them anymore. One large project, for which I made only 5 of the required 20 blocks, was ditched. The blocks will be pouches and the project will be ticked off.

This quilt is a wedding present. It's their fifth anniversary this year. The sashing has put me off...
This needs quilting, but it's big and scary! And I'm worried I can't achieve what I would like to achieve
And of course, I've finished a fair few projects since the start of the year as well!

One of my many, many EPP projects. This doesn't have a purpose, so hasn't seen much progress.
I've accepted this won't ever be the full quilt. Now I need to finish it as a cushion...
So drumroll please! The current status of the list is.... 90 WIPs! Did I mention that that figure includes two new items just from this week? Just don't tell The Committee!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

April Furtle

It feels like the start of April went really slowly and then suddenly about mid-April it picked up place and just rushed to an end. We had a busy April with lots of family and Jessica's third birthday and I can't believe it's already May and just a month until I go back to work after my maternity leave!

Scrolling back through my Instagram feed, it doesn't feel like April was very productive. But the reality was that I made nearly 100 Trinket blocks, and inevitably that took up a lot of my sewing time! I had a plan, and I'd nearly finished piecing blocks, and then I had a brainwave and needed twice as many.... so whilst I've been sharing regularly over on Instagram, you've only seen about half the blocks. I laid them all out on Monday and I've started putting the top together and if it looks as good in reality as it does in my head, I'll be happy. For now, there is a lot more boring construction in my future, but hopefully a finish this month.

In fact, in optimism, I've purchased another 9m of wadding - enough for Fancy Forest, Tula Nova, Trinket and Lisa the Unicorn - you never know! Some of them may appear here too before the month is out (though probably not Fancy Forest).

I've managed to keep on top of some of my Block of the Month commitments: the Sharks Dinner block, whilst not lucky enough to get it's own blog post this month, is done, and I appliqued one of the previous month's blocks!

EPP Geo Diamond is also up to date! Though only just and pretty badly photographed!

And Coming Home is nearly up to date. I added the appliqued tulips this month, and whilst I should have also started on the next border, I'm happy that I can pull it back in May - I started today!

I made some pouches... three out of Zuma and four more which I'll share soon, once the fifth in the set is finished.

And some bunny pouches!

I made a few Meadowland blocks out of Pinkerville, and although I was worried by the first block, now I have four, I'm happy with it again.

I tested a block for @the_m_a_k_e_r - it's called Hexie Shutterburst and she'll be launching it later in the year. I've pulled out my Zuma for it and I'm planning a full size quilt.

I've made some progress on Alexandria, but I still haven't finished piecing chapter 1 and chapter two came through the letterbox last week. I'm hoping to make more progress this month.

And the girls have been doing some sewing. Mia is working on a pouch on her very own machine, and Jess has finished a cushion.

In other news, Weight Watchers is working well and I've now lost a stone since I went back after having Josh - that makes me two stone lighter than when I went back to Weight Watchers in January 2018. I've also started Couch to 5k...

I'm linking up with Mini Archie's monthly furtle!