Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Henry's Quilt [A Finish]

A finished baby quilt to share with you today. This one is rather special as it is for my new nephew. The design and colours were picked out by his mother, my sister-in-law and I strongly resisted the urge to add orange...

The equilateral triangles were cut from 5.5" strips and I needed 192 of them to make the complete quilt, which measures 41" x 57". The edges were made using full triangles and then trimmed after quilting.

I quilted simply by echoing each seam line a quarter inch on both sides. The backing is Ikea Nummer - appropriate as the baby is half-Swedish, don't you think!

I have to confess that this isn't one of my favourite quilts. It feels like it's lacking something to make it pop - orange might have been the answer. But I was limited by the specifications I had been given, and my mother. But then, it's not really about whether I like it - I hope that my nephew will love it for many years to come - and maybe once he's older I can make him the bright and colourful one I had planned.

This is nevertheless, a finish from my Finish Along list

2016 FAL

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

November [review]

Well that month flew by, didn't it? I got loads of sewing done - not just blocks, but actual, real-life finishes!

The #100days100blocks ended on 24th November and I have 178 blocks now waiting to be sashed. God bless black Friday - I managed to get the fabric for sashing at a reasonable price! It's a shame that I hate this next step, and the idea of sashing three quilts does not fill me with joy. I think I will put this off until the new year! I've also been working on my Splendid Sampler blocks (see my last post), and the #365quiltchallenge blocks - the  next border is just about ready to share! I completed my first two Farmers Wife blocks in a few months too. I've made good progress on the Modern Building Blocks QAL - lots of little blocks left to go on this one - this is the top half of that quilt

But the finishes!

So from the top: my Bee-utiful Mini quilt; Hugo's quilt; Goodnight Improv quilt; Jane Austen cushion; Orla's quilt; ugly Christmas jumper pincushion; Inside Addition quilt

And I finished the log cabin quilt. I love this photo taken at the beach!

I joined in with a quilt along to make the Get Cozy mini - I made a slight alteration, and I've ordered some more fabric to make this into a toddler quilt.

December will be different again - lots of Christmassy preparations and I go back to work after my maternity leave! We'll see what the final month of 2016 brings with it!

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Splendid Sampler [Half Way]

My Splendid Sampler project has been a little left out of things recently amongst the glut of finishes. But last week I finally pieced the three blocks that I cut ages ago, and then I kept going, with a couple of the earlier blocks which I had been avoiding for no particular reason. I realised two things: it's been a while since I shared an update here, and I had finished 49 blocks - not only is that nearly half way, but it aso means I can lay them out in a pretty 7x7 grid for a photo of progress so far.

As you can see, I miscounted. And it tuns out I have 51 blocks, so not quite the even grid I had planned!

And here are some of the blocks closer up.

 #36 Inchy Hexagon Club
 #31 Blossoming

#64 Rising Star
 #60 Hearts and Flowers

 #63 The Icing on the Cake
Bonus Block: Summer Flip Floppin'
 #28 Stitching Fashion
 #29 Scrappy Happy Heart; #61 Traveller; #66 Happy Thoughts
 #50 Flights of Fancy

#53 Whirling in Circles; #62 Hen and Chicks; #65 Stripe and Flowers

#26 Dreaming of Dresdens

#67 Bobbin Chase
#24 Inspector Sidekick
#48 Whim

As you can see, I've finished quite a few as part of #saturdaynightcraftalong - it's a few hours of uninterrupted sewing, perfect for blocks that take a little more concentration!

Monday, 28 November 2016

#100days100blocks [Blocks 91-100]

Here's our final installment of 'ten things about Jennie'!

Block 91: Fight

I've just learned that one of my best friends has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has a hell of a fight ahead of her. It took me a long time to decide on a name for this block - it was nearly "Cancer Sucks" - too many people I know have been lost to cancer. But the thing is that other people I know have to fight against other illnesses too, so "Fight" is inclusive of them too.

Block 92: Grandad Reeds

This is for my maternal Grandfather - the one who called me poppet, served apple pies and was the eldest of six brothers, who went to war and all came home. His mission in retirement was to earn as much from his pension as he had from his salary. And I believe he achieved it! He passed away in 2008.

Block 93: Ben

This is for my husband's cousin. He is Jessica's godfather and one of the undateable - see below!

Block 94: Mrs. MacBeth

During the Second World War, my Grandmother, and her mother, moved to Patterdale in the Lake District. Whilst there, my great-grandmother worked as a housekeeper for Mrs. MacBeth. She had been at the Glasgow School of Art, a contemporary of Rennie MacKintosh. Although and old lady at the time, she was reknowned for her beautiful embroideries, and painted a beautiful tea set for my great-grandmother. Apparently, aged three, I saw the tea-set on my Granny's dresser and asked to have it. I inherited it a few years ago. I still love it, but sadly, my husband doesn't. One day I will display some of it - Michael you have been warned!

Block 95: Christmas is coming

Well, it is - we put our tree up today because today is the first Sunday of advent. On the day of this block we went to our first Christmas market of the season!

Block 96: The Undateables

These are my husband's friends: they come over every Saturday to play board games, drink beer and eat takeaway. They are all away this weekend and Saturday night is certainly quieter without them. They're a nice bunch of lads and sometime soon I'll have to think of another name for them as they are gradually all getting girlfriends, and engaged, and married...

Block 97: Decision

Life is full of them, isn't it?

Block 98: Sewing Machines

I have two sewing machines that I use regularly. One is a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire, and the other is a Brother Innovis NX2000. Both have good points and bad points, neither is perfect - a mix of the two combined with some reliability would be great. Both are currently being serviced so I'm using my mother-in-law's Big Bertha - a Brother embroidery machine - but I'm only using the sewing part of it! I am not confessing here how many other machines I have as there is a slim chance Michael might read it!

Block 99: Nap Time

Isn't it lovely when they sleep. Jess still generally has two naps a day. Mia decided that naps were for the week when she was a year old. I would love to nap.

Block 100: And they all lived happily ever after!

The End.

But it's not really the end, is it? No. I have a stack of of over 170 blocks all waiting to be sashed (my favourite part of the process...), basted, quilted and bound. Only then will it be The End. You may be watching this space for some time yet!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Bee-Utiful Mini [A Finish]

Another finish - I promise I'll start sharing some progress posts again soon, but believe me, a lot of progress is going on to get to these finishes!

For now, this has to be my favourite of the recent abundance of finishes (I was looking for a good collective noun I could use for my finishes and got very distracted - did you know that a group of Flamingos is called a flamboyance of flamingos - how good is that? If you have ten minutes to waste, try googling collective nouns!)

Anway. This project started out as many do, on a bit of a whim, and became, as many do, far more involved than originally planned. I had planned to embroider the cat for Mia, who likes cats, and either make it into a cushion by itself, or frame it in a hoop.

Bee Curious
The pattern came from the Moda Bake shop website and is called the Bee-Utiful quilt. It was designed by Pamela Morgan. She released 20 blocks finishing at about 12" (I think). I ended up picking out the nine I liked best, and shrinking them by 50%. I'm now going to bore you with lots of pictures because this is some of the best embroidery I have EVER done - no more just backstitch and the odd French knot - I've used backstitch, stem stitch, french knots, cross hatch, lazy daisy stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch, and raised fishbone stitch,

Bee Courteous

Bee Courageous

Bee Lovely

Bee Sunny

Bee Charming - he's wearing a Morris Man's hat!

Bee Simple

Bee Sweet

Bee Fruitful - this is the block I am most proud of
I decided very early on to frame the embroideries with scraps. I foundation pieced the borders suing primarily warm colours with flashes of green and purple. I then found a wonderful warm purple from the Moda Grunge collection that was perfect for the sashing and the binding.

I kept the quilting simple. I started off by hand quilting it, but it didn't look right, so I unpicked it and used the machine to just echo round each scrappy frame.

I used Finca Perle #16 thread for all of the embroidery. I'm using this thread increasingly for both quilting and embroidery: it's very fine and I've built up quite the collection of colours and I don't need to split the strands like I would with embroidery threads. Also, my embroidery threads are stored upstairs and these are in a zippy pouch close at hand - it's lazy, but it makes a difference! It finishes at about 20" x 20".

This is another Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.
2016 FAL

Monday, 21 November 2016

Goodnight [A Finish]

On a roll with the finishes at the moment! I finished this last week, but it's taken me until the weekend to combine weather and daylight to get some photographs. I tried to convince my little helper to hold the quilt, but it didn't quite work!

Anyway: this is a quilt I started back in July at a wonderful workshop with Sarah Fielke hosted by the lovely ladies at Simply Solids in Huddersfield. You can read all about the workshop here - suffice to say it was the hottest day of the year in a room where the large windows didn't open!

I had grand plans at the start of the day of a full quilt, but the reality was that the technique ate low volume fabric just a bit too quickly for my liking. I stuck with the single word I made on the day and knew that I was never going to get any further. I added a bit more background and quilted it up.

A bit of purple binding and I have a finish. It's 36" x 12" and might end up on Jessica's bedroom wall.

This is a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Inside Addition [A Finish]

This is a Finish Along repeat offender! But finally I can tick it off the list. I started these blocks last summer (as in summer 2015) on a whim. I had very little plan other than each block had a warm colour and cool colour - with purple muddying the water a little!

I had originally thought a cushion would be a good idea, then I realised they could make a baby quilt, then I realised just how many blocks I would need to make a baby quilt, then I added in the blank alternate squares. At no point in that whole process did I love it. And at times I hated it. I finished the quilt top this summer, and hated it. So it sat on a shelf.

Then my husband said two things in different conversations: firstly, two of his work colleagues were expecting babies, and secondly that he quite liked the quilt. Sorted. I found a backing in my stash, layered it up, quilted a cross hatch, bought some aqua for the binding and it was finished in just a few days.

And I have to confess that now it is done, I like it a little bit more. I've thought a lot about why I don't like it - I don't want to make the same mistake again. And I think it's because whilst I have no problem with scrappy quilts, which this is, I like my scraps to be in rainbow order. Or at least have some order. And this quilt has no order at all!

The quilt finishes at 40" x 45" and is made entirely from stash fabrics - even the white was something that I had left over.

This is a Finish Along finish - you can find this quarter's list here.

2016 FAL