Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Acres of Purple

October was my month as Queen Bee for Hive 4 of Stash Bee. I posted my tutorial at the start of the month and  so far I have received blocks from 8 lovely ladies: Lynn, Jenn, Cyndi, Carol, Kelsey, Diane, Caroline and Pauline. And I know there are more on their way.
These were my trial blocks!

Here are all of the blocks together so far!


Don't they look stunning?

Thanks ladies!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Quarter-Inch Hexagons

I've flipped!
Four different black fabrics plus a splash of orange
Each of these hexies has a side measuring just 1/4". I may just dream about hexagons tonight!
This photo shows the inch markings on my cutting mat
The hardest part is removing the papers...
I'm hoping to include this tiny sewing machine(with a couple of embroidery stitches for the needle and reel) in my Hoop La La swap.

Monday, 29 October 2012

MSM Swap Round Two: Place mats and Embroidery

I have the week off work this week - heaven. My Mum has come to stay and we're indulging our hobbies: Mum does water colour painting and I do patchwork!

Today's focus was the embroidery on the place mats I'm making for round two of the Modern She Made Swap. I'm making a set of four place mats that together make a star within a star within a star....


Two of the place mats will have an embroidered panel and two will have applique, and today I finished off one of each. Firstly, here's the applique


And here is the embroidery:



It's my own design and drawn freehand. I'm using DMC threads to coordinate with the fabrics, and a mixture of backstitch, french knots, satin stitch, chain stitch, running stitch and cross stitch. I then added a few hexagons - the edges are 1/4" long. Nice and fiddly!

I need some more supplies before I can finish these off. But I have plenty of other things to be playing with for the rest of my week off! I picked the fabrics for my Hoop La La swap item:
I'll be adding a tiny piece of black to these nice citrussy colours - if my idea works!

I hope my partners like them!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Friday Night Sew In: October: Hexagons

Handmade by Heidi
I spent yesterday evening playing with hexagons. Back in the summer I started a cushion, that became a table runner, that became a baby quilt, that returned to a table runner.

 I've now got the point where it is along as I need it, and I've included all the colours, but it's quite straight.

I spent yesterday basting some more hexies, so I stitch them to the edges so that not every row is four hexies wide. I've also basted some of the backing fabric I'm going to use as hexies, so I can have some of the coloured ones floating. That's the plan, anyway.

During the week, I had a bit of a mad moment .... I bought some more hexy papers.... for 1/4" hexies. The shop owner asked me if I wanted to sit down, and my Mother-in-law thinks I have totally lost it. My Mum asked why - because I can!

So I had a bit of a play and made a flower - it is just soooooo cute.
Those lines are the inch (and at the top the half inch) markings on my cutting mat!

I have plans to use some more of these in my swap item in the Hoop La La swap, so made a start on that too..... can you tell what it is yet?
I know - not much to go on!

Watch this space!

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, 26 October 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Autumn 2012

This weekend it's the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side

Amy's Creative Side

Since the last festival I have finished loads of quilts which I could enter, but I'm sure anyone who follows my blog will have guessed which quilt I'm entering.....and will probably be fed up of seeing it by now :)

The Farmer's Wife Quilt - here's the story and lots of photos!

In June 2011 some of my favourite bloggers joined the Farmer's Wife QAL on Flickr and I got sucked in! I had just learnt how to foundation piece, so I also joined the Yahoo group and "borrowed" my parents printer to print off all of the foundation patterns. I hate templates, and there were some blocks that would have been impossible to rotary cut - including some of my favourites!
Peaceful Hours; Spiders Web; Jackknife
Century of Progress; Night and Day; Wood Lily

I had been looking for an excuse to buy use batik fabrics. I just had to decide on black. Or white. I change my mind about 7 times before settling on black. (Maybe I'll do it again, but with white).
The weather has been awful here recently so we made use of the Methodist church
one Sunday after the service to photograph the quilt.

In January I also joined the Swoon QAL (I finished this in July and this was another candidate to enter). Although I liked the 24" block size, I prefer small and fiddly. I was planning to ask someone in the QAL who had already shrunk the block how they had done it, when it dawned on me! It suddenly clicked, along with the maths for cutting and sewing HST. The Farmer moved quicker after I learnt this skill, as anything I could rotary cut, I did. I think overall maybe two-thirds of the blocks are foundation pieced and the rest rotary cut.
Held up to the sun before I basted it

I don't like basket blocks. So I swapped out about 11 blocks and replaced them with others that I had come across, including a 6" version of Swoon.
Swoon; Maple Star; Card Trick
Nifty Star; Cathie's Campfire (ish); Fox and Geese

I finished piecing the last block in May and then started the sashing. I nearly gave up. I drove me mad. I did a small version of 36 blocks as a baby quilt for some good friends. It re-inspired me - and made me feel a little guilty because I was ignoring the full size one.
The bottle of whiskey at the end isn't mine
- but in hindsight it may have helped

I picked up a gorgeous extra wide batik at a quilt show - perfect for the backing, bought some black wadding and my mum was volunteered to help me baste it on her living room floor.

I got an early Christmas present - a walking foot and spent a week quilting it. I finished it just two weeks ago.

Wednesday night I washed it. I hadn't pre-washed any of the fabric, so it could have gone really, really badly wrong. Eight colour catchers in the machine with it. It came out fine! *relief*

And the final step: it's now on the bed in the spare room waiting for my mum to arrive tomorrow to spend the week! I can't wait for her to see it.

I learnt so much with this quilt: to not be influenced by the colours of the quilt on the front cover, drafting blocks, putting together colours, that I am absolutely addicted to QALs.... through this QAL I also came across some fantastic blogs, other quilt alongs, swaps and bees - such a fantastic online community!

The finished quilt is 80x100". I used a mixture of foundation piecing and rotary cutting. I quilted it myself on my Husqvarna using straight lines.
I'm not very good at rolling quilts neatly, but it seems
traditional to include a rolled picture :)

If you've popped over from the Festival, thanks so much for stopping by - I'd love to see you again sometime.

Categories: Bed Quilt, home machine quilted

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Pre-Washing: A confession

I don't pre-wash.

Well, not often anyway. I pre-washed the fabric for Mum's yellow tablecloth. I even pre-washed the wadding because we were trying to avoid the crinkly-quilt look because it would be a tablecloth.

I pre-washed the fabrics for Steph's quilt, because they were batiks. (note to self - MUST get a move on with this quilt!)

I didn't pre-wash the batiks for my Farmer's Wife.


A risk, I know. It could seriously have backfired.

Tonight was the night I found out whether this was a huge mistake.... or whether I had got away with it. I put in eight colour catchers! They went in white. Here's how they came out.

Of course, if it had been a huge disaster, I wouldn't be writing this post. The risk paid off and I now have a slightly crinkly and very soft Farmer's Wife Quilt. This was seconds after it came out of the tumble drier - it was sooooo warm I couldn't resist it - yes that's me in there - I look slimmer hidden in a quilt!
This is the best picture I could get of the crinkle


And here is the traditional rolled quilt shot!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Lots of applique to do....

Last year, Mum came to the quilt show at Harrogate with me and bought me lots of batik fabrics. I have used all of them in my Farmer's Wife Quilt. But we had another project in mind.

We found this website and Mum asked for something similar using batiks and bias strips (I'd learnt bias applique a few weeks earlier and made a celtic knot)

I loved this block and last Christmas I got a b ook full of patterns - I will be doing more of this in the future.

Earlier this year I finally made a start. I cut the pieces of batik and used iron-on sticky stuff to attached the pieces to calico, then started stitching the bias strips on top.

All of this is stuck and none of it is stitched!
It wasn't very successful. I struggled to catch all of the raw edges under the bias strip. Also, the original plan was a bit too big for the gap on Mum's wall! So it sat in a drawer for six months.

I added it to my fourth quarter finish along and yesterday I pulled it out. I decided to scrap what I'd done. I recut the batik - this time accurately, and pieced it in the traditional fashion. The finished piece is 15"x23".

I then picked the bias off of the original pieces and started it to reapply it. Today I've been stitching it in place (by hand). I've found that doing one piece at a time is better, because it prevents movement and makes it neater.

I still have a very very long way to go!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Incubator Quilts

I've made a few more incubator quilts over the last week or so and today I got them finished

I've used the left overs from Noah's Quilt which was made from flannels.

I got two quilts out of the scraps and then bought two fat quarters to back them.

I used the baging method to finish them off, then top stitched 1/8" in from the edge all round and did some simple quilting.

Two more donated to premature baby units at local hospitals.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Pink and Grey

I spent this evening working on the quilt I started last weekend in pinks and greys

I had a little help when I was laying it out - thanks Archie!

But I got it pieced

And Archie inspected it again.

It's not enormous - at the moment it's 39x31.5", but I'm planning some borders when I can pick up some more fabric. I'm hoping to make it up to 49x42 - still quite small. I got out a finished quilt and folded and pinned the edges to work out just how small, and it still covers my lap quite generously, so I think I'm going to go with it - also.... it will WOF for the backing.

Now to start thinking about quilting....

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Modern She Made Swap Round 2: Progress

I signed up for Round 2 of the Modern She Made swap. I have my partner's details.

I have a plan

I picked fabrics (and everyone picked their favourite - grey won)

I have made a start

If I hadn't cut the next pieces of fabric wrong, I would have completed the piecing!

Some embroidery and quilting and I will have 4 placemats ready to send!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Wassail!

I'm getting ready for Christmas over here!

Wassailing is caroling and "Wassail!" means "be in good health". It's a good word, isn't it! (the link will give you a sneak peek at my somewhat less than mainstream musical taste!)

The alphabet is a Tula Pink pattern, and one day I would love to make the whole quilt, but right now, I don't really have time, so I did a smaller mini quilt that I can hang up at Christmas (or I could have done if I had remembered to attached the tabs to the back!). The pattern is well explained, and the piecing was really quick. It really is the quilting that takes the time, but it is definitely worth it - I rustled this mini up in just a day, using fabric from my stash.

I shrunk the letters from 8x8" to 4x4" and spelled out the word with a sprig of holly appliqued on. This is my first project made entirely with solids - Granny had loads of different shades of greens in her collection.


What really makes this project great fun (and legible) is the quilting. I started with quilting in the ditch (harder than it looks I discovered) round each block, then I outlined the letter within the patchworked pieces and echo quilted to give it a really nice texture - just like Tula's original. Because I had shrunk the blocks there is just 1/8" between the quilting lines. I love my new walking foot!


I will be entering this in the Tula Pink Sew Along hosted by Sara - even if you don't have time to stitch anything up, there is a great blog hop with reviews of patterns!

Tula Pink Sew Along