Thursday, 22 June 2017

Long Time Gone [Week 15]

Well this week was the week. The Pineapple log cabin blocks. When I first got this pattern, and was contemplating joining in the sew along, this was the week that scared me. Sixteen, foundation-pieced, five-inch-finished pinapple log cabins.

These are the last real blocks - just some checquerboards next week and then constructing the complete top. I knew that if I wanted to have a finished quilt by the deadline of the end of the quilt along, some forward planning would be required. So as I was cutting the many many many pieces of fabric for the other blocks in the qquilt, I made sure to cut strips to use for these blocks too. I've then been piecing them here and there throughout the project so I didn't have 16 to do all at once. By last weekend I had 8 done - less than I had hoped. But I've ploughed through the final 8 and I'm pretty pleased with how they look!

I can see the end now!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Long Time Gone [Week 14]

This week is equilateral triangles. In the pattern, this unit (all 30 odd of them) is designed to be template pieced. I do not like templates. I find my accuracy, which is normally pretty hot, goes totally out of the window when I use templates. So I created my own foundation pattern, and these units went together remarkably quickly.

They create two "blocks" for the final quilt and I am starting to think about putting this beast together....

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

#100days100blocks2017 [Blocks 11-20]

Whoops! I may have fallen behind on sharing these blocks with you (we're up to block 38 today!). I'm following along with the Tula Pink City Sampler quilt along again this year, and I'm using Garland by Cotton and Steel, along with of the C&S basics, and the coordinating Kona solids.

Here are blocks 11- 15

And 16 -20

I think it's going to be quite a bright quilt, don't you?

Long Time Gone [Week 13]

Week 12 was all about flying geese - 64 of them.....

Made up into 3 blocks.

There's just a few more weeks to go of this quilt along, and I am amazed I am still on track - but. There are some tough weeks ahead...

Monday, 12 June 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 23]

Another week and I am becoming more and more certain that this will be a 6-month hoop. The space is filling up, and I think I'm ready to move on. So I'm now working on "finishing" it - that may mean it becomes a six-months-and-two-weeks project, but I want to enjoy looking at the hoop once it's done, and not regret not"finishing" it. This week I started filling the gaps.

Monday 5th June: Butterfly chain stitch in yellow and orange at the bottom of the hoop. This was my second time using this stitch and I really like it!

Tuesday, 6th June: zig-zag chain stitch in dark pink, just above the butterfly chain. I found I had to add in some extra stitches to preserve the shape of the zig zag.

Wednesday, 7th June: Scroll stitch was a new one for me - in aqua, just below the butterfly chain.

Thursday, 8th June: Another new stitch was plaited fly stitch - this filled up the bottom box nicely.

Friday, 9th June: So I moved onto the box on the far right. I added a row of open chain stitch in green - this was another new stitch and I found it quite difficult to keep it even.

Saturday, 10th June: I added a column of wheat-ear stitch to the same box, in purple. I first used this stitch right at the beginning of this journey and this was the first time I returned to it since.

Sunday, 11th June: And rounding up the week, but not quite filling up the box, a column of twisted chain stitch.

#1yearofstitches #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches #embroidery

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Fussy Cut Sampler Quilt

I wasn't going to join in... but you know me and a quilt along. The first blocks started being posted on Instagram, and I'd had a rough day, after a terrible night (thanks, Jess), and making the first block, immediately, without planning, was just the pick-me-up I needed. I confess I didn't have the book at the time - I'd ordered it, but was still waiting on the post, so I was working a little bit blind. But here it is.

Of course the lack of planning, and working without the full picture in front of me (i.e. the book and how things would develop), whilst enjoyable at the time, has downsides. I just grabbed a few pieces of fabric that had been lying around from other projects. It wasn't until I had the pieces cut that I suddenly thought of the perfect fabric. Which was of course upstairs. And after the previous night, there was no way I was risking waking the girls by going on a fabric rummage.

The book arrived a few days later, and I unburied the bundle of fabric I had in mind. It's all about pineapples and flamingos! I've since unpicked that first block, and remade it using some of the new fabrics. I've also had time to peruse the book, which is absolutely beautiful. There are some blocks that feel very traditional, whilst there are others that feel very modern. There is lots of help to make fussy cutting work for you and lots of examples.

The problem I have, is a stash that is nearly 100% un-fussy-cutable. Or so I thought. This makes you look at fabrics differently - it's not all about the novelty fabrics. It turns out that more of my stash is fussy-cutable than I thought. I've added in quite a few stash fabrics to the original bundle of pineapples and flamingos so I can have a bit more of a go with the fussy cutting, but the fabrics aren'tideal. On the other hand, the patterns are ideal for the fabrics - bigger pieces (the blocks are 9" rather than my usual 6") means I can showcase the fabrics better.

I think there will be another quilt made from this book where I really commit to fussy cutting. Meanwhile, I'm already adding some more fussy-cutable fabrics to my stash!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Fireflies [A Finish]

I know! Another one! I often find that I pair quilts up, and work on them side by side and finish them very close to each other. This one is the partner of the Owls quilt I shared earlier. And it's appropriate, because this quilt is for the sister of the little boy who is getting the owls quilt. Sadly, she has had to wait a little longer to get hers - 2 years. Better late than never?

This is another quilt made using the Fancy Forest pattern by Elizabeth Hartman and I picked out just the firefly block and set 6 of them in a column. The background is Kona aqua and the corals are all from my stash: Figures by Zen Chic, Fossil Ferns, Architextures Cross Hatch and a random polka dot.

I really struggled with the quilting on this one. To start with I stitched in the ditch around the fireflies, then I did a stipple in all the background using a variegated aqua thread. It looked dreadful. I unpicked it all. I decided to quilt it like the owls and did a 3" cross hatch in the background in a pale grey thread that blended much better with the fabric.

The finished quilt is 37" x 45".

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

Owls [A Finish]

Yep - you read that right - a finish! 2017 is turning in to the year of the baby around here and that means a lot of quilts need to be made. I tend to work in arrears, so the recipient of this quilt was born in January. So only 6 months late - which is about average for me!

A few months ago I bought the Fancy Forest pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. At £22 it was about the limit of what I would pay for a pattern to be honest. But I am going to make sure I use it. This quilt uses just the owl block, and I picked the layout myself. My next finish will show you just the fireflies. I have another quilt in the works which is just the foxes. Then I decided to actually follow the pattern, and I'm making a baby quilt as shown, using all the animals. I know there will be another baby owl quilt in the summer, my mother-in-law has already requested a full size owl one (and I've found the perfect fabric for the negative space), and my eldest daughter has made it very clear that she does not appreciate all these quilts being given to other people - so I'm going to make the full size quilt from the pattern for us to keep. I think I'll get my money's worth out of this! And once I'm done with this pattern, Awesome Ocean, Elizabeth Hartman's latest pattern, may have be purchased as well. Not only do I love that this pattern is so versatile, it is also such a well written, well-illustrated pattern! Everything is rotary cut, and then there are lots of covered corners which could easily go wrong - but her diagrams are faultless - even at my most sleep-deprived I knocked out a firefly block with no problem!

The fabrics are mostly Kona solids, with the odd random piece for good measure. The background is my favourite part of the whole quilt: it's a navy with tiny pale blue stars from "To the Moon and Back" from Lewis and Irene. I've just ordered another 5 metres of it for our very own Fancy Forest! It's backed with a navy sheet.

Knowing how to quilt it was hard. In the end I stitched in the ditch around each owl, then did a 3" cross hatch in the background in Aurifil navy thread. The finished quilt is 44" x 39".

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

#1yearofstitches [Week 22]

The weeks just seem to fly by, don't they. And I'm starting to think that my hoop may not last the year - will this be a six-month hoop? I'll let you know in a couple of weeks...

Monday, 29th May: Blue twisted chain stitch - just a short line towards the bottom of the hoop.

Tuesday, 30th May: Tacked Herringbone stitch. This was a new stitch for me and I love it. I started with herringbone stitch in orange, then at each intersection I used yellow thread to do two small tacking stitches in the form of a cross. the end result was fab! It's on the far right of the hoop.

Wednesday, 31st May: Another new stitch: butterfly chain stitch. I did this with dark purple for the "wings" - that is the straight stitches, and then added a pinkier, lighter purple for the wrapping - it's right at the top of the hoop.

Thursday, 1st June: And another new stitch: laid work tacked with cross stitch. Using long stitch I laid out a simple grid, then at each intersection I embroidered a tiny cross stitch. It's right in the bottom right of the hoop in two shades of pink.

Friday, 2nd June: Little purple French knots to fill in the laid work.

Saturday, 3rd June: After some new stitches this week, I reverted to a line of three yellow cross stitches to fill a gap at the top of the hoop.

Sunday 4th June: Another L'Abeille Stitch to add to the column of triangles - this time I used pinky-purple.

#1yearofstitches #embroidery #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Friday, 2 June 2017

May [Review]

This year is going so fast - how is it June already???

May was a fun month - we had loads of family time with some great days out, and some plodging on the beach. The girls are growing up so fast and Jessica has such a mischievous streak to her! These are two of my favourite pictures from last weekend!

Mia on the left and her cousin, Ellie-Jo, on the right. They are BFF!

As for the sewing, it's been about blocks this month - 123 of them to be exact. I'm hoping that some of them at least will start to become quilts in June - lots and lots of baby quilts.

The #100days100blocks2017 has started again, and mine has a Christmas vibe, with Garland by Cotton and Steel.

I've joined in a new quilt along - the Fussy Cut Sampler quilt along - I'm only a couple of blocks in, but it's easy and quick so far and I get to use a bundle of fabric I got last year and have been impatiently waiting for a project.

And I've started the Summer Sampler 2017.

I did get a couple of quilts finished, but I still need to blog about those! I'm hopeful there will be more finishes in June!

Needless to say, with all that fun, I haven't touched the APQ resolution for this month, and the double wedding ring quilt remains exactly as it was at the start of the month!