Friday, 31 May 2019

Dachshund Cushion [A Finish]

Turn back the clock to November 2017 and I started a project. I was going to make a dog quilt for Jessica. I made one dog of the three required for my planned layout. And then it lay abandoned. I suspect it was the foundation piecing that caused it. This dog has then appeared on nearly every Finish Along list since, and gradually been downgraded from a quilt to a cushion, still with no further progress made!


Well last week was the week! I got it out, Jess decided she still wanted it (I had thought about making it for Joshua but she gave it such a good reaction, I couldn't - Josh will get other things...) and she "helped me" chose fabrics and cut them out (no children touched a rotary cutter in the making of this cushion). And then she helped me piece them.


The ear is a flap - I'm a bit worried it'll be pulled off, so I've sewn about 5 lines of stitching with the machine! I hand quilted it and added a back and it's done. It's off the list! The Committee will be happy!


The foundation pattern is by @jo2owls and was in issue 52 of Love Patchwork and Quilting. Obviously it's a ridiculously odd size, so I need to try and either find a weird shaped cushion pad, or hack about a cheap pillow to make it fit. But that's fo another day! For now, this is a Finish Along finish. You can find my Q2 list here.
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Thursday, 30 May 2019

Moon Moth Embroidery [A Finish]

So this was all but a finish about 6 weeks ago... I had most of the embroidery done last quarter and it only took a further evening of sewing on the sofa to get it done. And then I left it for five weeks. And it was only this week, in my drive to finish stuff up before the end of my maternity leave, that I finally got round to framing it in a hoop. It took about 10 minutes!


This is the final of three panels, two of which I finished earlier in the year.


But I enjoyed sewing these so much, that I've ordered another four panels to stitch up next. Two unicorns, a fox and some Sloths. All the patterns are by Aimee Ray, Littledear on Etsy. All of the embroidery is done by hand in DMC threads - a mix of 2 and 3 strands. I used stem stitch rather than the split stitch that Aimee instructs, as my stem stitch is far, far neater than my split stitch. But there's also satin stitch and backstitch included. I think the moon moth may be my favourite so far!

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

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Monday, 27 May 2019

Trinket [A Finish]

My Trinket Quilt is finished. I joined in the #trinketsal over on Instagram and I loved it. You can find more information about the quilt in my previous blog post where I showed you the finished quilt top. But now it is quilted and bound as well.

We took it out and about for some photos and found some beautiful rhododendrons/azaleas at Belsay Castle!

The backing is an Asda Duvet of fossilised Dinos. Except when I came to baste it, it wasn't big enough. I used the pillow cases in the contrast print to add a section and broke it up with the four left-over Trinket blocks. This is the best photo we got...


This was one of those quilts which I knew exactly how I was going to quilt as soon as I had decided on the layout. In the past I've had issues with the backing shifting when I do spiral quilting, and I've never done it on anything this big, but this time, with one teeny exception, it went off without a hitch! The binding is the charcoal text print from Alison Glass's 2019 Sunprints.

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

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Sharks Dinner [Month 5]

We are now onto month five and block six of the Sharks Dinner block of the month and I'm really enjoying following this one. Here is my sixth block:


And miracles have happened this month - I actually started to applique the blocks to a background fabric: three are now attached and papers removed. Next step is to start some quilting!

EPP Blocks [May]

I've worked on quite a few EPP Blocks this month, all of which will one day become full quilts. Though I'm not committing to when that day will be! Quite a lot of those blocks use Tula Pink fabrics. I love the fabrics, and it seems a shame to whizz them under the machine, when I can enjoy sewing them by hand which takes a little longer. But when I'm using Tula Pink, I like to break up the busy-busy with some solids. I ordered some Kona coordinates to go with my hoard of Tabby Road. This is my latest block featuring Kona Sprout:


But Tula has her own range of Designer Solids, which are lovely. I picked up a fat quarter bundle last year, but they weren't labelled. A friend and I have spent many a Monday evening trying to work out which was which! So when I restcoked my fq bundle from the lovely Saira at Olve and Flo Handcraft, I was delighted to find that she labelled the solids.No more frustrating Mondays for me! I have made myself a shade card.


This lives in my bullet journal, which comes everywhere with me, so always on hand! I've been using the Tula Solids in my Hexie Shutterburst blocks, featuring Zuma. Here's the latest!


And also in my Brimfield blocks which I resurrected this month. Can I get this quilt finished for Halloween 2019.... or Halloween 2020?



I find these blocks, featuring De La Luna, make me really indecisive. I take forever to pick my fabric selection and I even baste a few pieces in different fabric before making my choice. I don't do this for any other project! Maybe it's because I just have the fat quarter bundle I bought and no additional yardage (except of the faces), and a block easily leaves a fat quarter looking like this....


I'm also keeping up to date on my EPP GeoDiamond blocks: this is the third one. And not a Tula print in sight!


This is a block of the month from Naomi Alice - you get the papers in a little package of loveliness each month!

And finally, I made a little bit of progress on my Alexandria Quilt - this is one of six white/low volume blocks in this round.

I was able to make this because I was able to sew whilst Mia had chicken pox. While she was off, she was still quite active (she didn't seem ill at all after the first couple of days but was off for over a week). I didn't want to pull all my sewing down and set myself up comfortably. But whilst clearing out the conservatory earlier this month, I found a wooden tray - originally it had a toy of some sort in it. I lined it with felt and it is now absolutely perfect for sewing on  my lap, keeps everything together and I can easily move it out of the way when I am next required to go to the kitchen and get a snack... or make a bottle.... or change a nappy... this is how we roll!


Mini Dresden Pincushion [A Finish]

Just after Joshua was born, I was scrolling through Instagram and happened upon this year's Mini Dresden Party #minidresdenparty2019 and as Michael was holding the baby, and it looked pretty quick, I decided to make one up. An hour or so later I had a little Dresden, all appliqued to some background. I obviously had my normal Dresden issue... there are not the same number of blades in this as there were in the pattern... this always happens to me!


I used scraps from my Mandolin Quilt so they are mostly Spirit Animal by Tula Pink but with the odd added extra! Then I got distracted by other pretty things and Baby Joshua...Fast forward to writing my Quarter 2 Finish Along list. The Dresden was still lurking on my sewing table, waiting to be finished as... something. I added it to the list. And then last week, I was looking for a piece of fabric and stumbled across it. I thought it would be a quick finish as a pincushion. Just whack on a back and stitch up the opening. Easy. I cleared my desk of loose threads, random binding clips, and various pairs of scissors, cut the backing, sewed my seam and then had a brainwave... those random binding clips... what about adding some flappy bits for them. I was sure I'd seen something like that on Instagram. How hard could it be. Famous last words. I should have gone and looked for a pattern. But I didn't.

I unpicked the seam I had finished and I made some flaps and basted them in place. I decided they were too long and would get caught in the seam. Then I trimmed them down and re-finished them and rebasted them. I sewed it all up. Lovely. Sewing the gap closed was a bit of a mess as the flap was in the way. Put some pins in the pincushion and added a few clips for a quick photo shoot, only to find that the flaps were a bit... floppy.


No way I was unpicking again. So I folded over the flap, and secured it in place with a row of hand-stitched running stitch in perle cotton. If anyone asks, it was a design decision I had planned from the start. I now have narrower, sturdier, less floppy, flaps. And a finished pincushion I'm a little bit in love with.

Note to self: there's no such thing as a quick finish; don't change your mind halfway through a project; plan! This is a finish along finish. You can find my original list here.
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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!