Thursday, 28 February 2013

WIP Wednesday [Quality time with Jane]

I should have gone to bed about two hours ago, but I am addicted. To tiny little 4.5" patchwork blocks. In the last four days I have made 11 Dear Jane blocks and finished an eighth. I just can't stop. For those of you who missed my last post, I have a plan to use the quilt as you go technique on this quilt to make it more manageable - I hate sashing, so this breaks down that task into small pieces, and I want to hand quilt this project, which would simply not happen if I was working on the full quilt. I've decided to work on 9 blocks at a time and today I've been working on the first of these.

B-3: Mirror Image. The fabric is one of my all time favourites and is from Art Gallery. I used curved piecing on this block.

B-2: Sweet Tater Pie. This fabric is one of my more recent favourites, Architextures and was a challenge for me. After my not quite so successful attempt at applique at the weekend I changed the technique this time round. I ironed the freezer paper to the back of the shape I was appliquing and used the freezer paper to help me turn over just the seam allowance and to keep it smooth. And it so worked. I think I have found my preferred method and I am so thrilled with how this block turned out!

C-3: Rayelle's Fence. This fabric is one of my weekend purchases. I'd seen Natalie Lymer's fabric on line, but never in person because it's so hard to get Lecien in the UK, so when I found this at the weekend I was over the moon. I rotary cut this block.

A-5: Cathie's Campfire. The fabric for this is the very cute birds on a wire print from Noteworthy by Sweetwater. This was foundation pieced.

B-4: Chris's soccer football Field (I'm British). I think this is my favourite of the day - I made it whilst talking on the phone to my mum! The fabric is Anthology and I foundation pieced it.

C-2: Streak of Lightning. This one was a challenge. I didn't fancy either inset seams or reverse applique - the two obvious ways of doing the block, so I moved some of the seams... which made it very straight forward to piece with a foundation. The two outer diamonds are then appliqued. I think I will need a lot more pratice at appliquing tight corners, but again, I'm really pleased with the result. The fabric is another Art Gallery (I think from the Lilly Belle range).

C-1: Trooper Green's Badge. This was another straightforward foundation pieced block. The fabric is from Ruby by Bonnie and Camille.

And finally I finished off A-4: Courtney's Stethoscope (some of the names of these blocks are weird). I started this block back in January and decided to do it using English Paper Piecing. I finished the EPP in Budapest and then remembered it needed the borders adding using machine. I finally did this tonight. It's another Art Gallery fabric - I just can't help it - they're so pretty!

And here are the first nine all together - the ninth is the first block I made back in January.

I can add this to the four I made at the weekend, which I blogged about here.

Jane really has been making herself comfortable. I now have 19 blocks completed, 206 to go! If you're working on a Dear Jane, feel free to join in the fun on Flickr and check out our Dear Jane blog.

Linking up today with WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 
Now I should really go to bed!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Ruby Curves - a finish

Another day off. I could get use to this! And today marks another finish on my Quarter 1 Finish Along goals. The Pac Mania Jelly Roll quilt is finished.

I started this quilt as part of a class back in July last year. The pattern is from Jelly Roll Dreams by Pam and Nicky Lintott and I used a Jelly Roll of Ruby which I had got as a Christmas present. The background is Kona Snow. I signed up for the class because I wanted to work on my curved piecing, and it was really good practice of shallower curves before I tackled my Mod Pop quilt.

However, in my eagerness to learn to stitch curves I overlooked the practical aspect of a quilt that was mostly white in a house with two dogs (not to mention my husband). And once I had realised this I I fell out of love with the quilt.

I picked it up again over Christmas when I was going through what I had done in 2012 and decided to get it finished and a home would present itself. So I put it on the Finish Along list, pieced what was left and made a scrappy binding from the Jelly Roll leftovers. Just a few weeks later we learnt that a good friend's husband had lost his long fight with cancer. Every quilt has a reason, even if we don't know the reason when we start out.  Just as soon as this quilt is washed (I don't always wash quilts before I give them, but there would seem to be a light muddy paw print on the back of this one...) I will be sending it to it's new home where I hope it will bring comfort as our friend grieves.

At the end of the first quarter I'll be linking up with Leanne

she can quilt

Monday, 25 February 2013

I like days off!

Today was a good day! My sewing machine disagrees.

I wanted to spend some time this week free motion quilting. I wanted to finish my Pac Mania Jelly Roll quilt, because someone I know needs it. Two hours of quilting and I had finished a medium sized free motion stipple in all of the background, leaving the Dresden sections unquilted. The binding is ready so this may be a finish tomorrow!

I also wanted to quilt the first two blocks in the Skill Builder BOM.

I made a good start... then my sewing machine decided it was done with free motion quilting for the day and was only going to tangle up. So I turned it off and walked the dogs. I won't show you till it's done, but for now, these are the threads I'm using - I think I need to reconsider the pink...

When I turned the disgraced machine back on after sausage and mash for dinner I decided not to fight it, and to piece instead of quilt. A few weeks back I made a block for my project for the Emerald Challenge - it was Lynne's ET Phone Home block.

The plan (still mostly in my head) requires a second block, so I decided to stick with the foundation piecing theme and picked the Lone Star block from Six White Horses (I've had this on my to do list for some time now). It went together very quickly, and I love it.

Next up the plan in my head has to become an actual finished item. This could take slightly longer!

I like days off - another four to go!

Edinburgh and Jane

It has been a fantastic weekend! Yesterday we went to Edinburgh. I haven't been back since I finished my degree and it was so good to be back - I called this city home for four years, it's where I met my husband and it is full of wonderful memories. But we weren't there for a trip down memory lane - six of us headed to the Edinburgh Quilt Show. It's not the biggest show, but there was plenty of choice and there was no danger that I wouldn't spend any money! Here's my haul:

I picked up mostly fat quarters to add to my stash: I love the feeling of wanting to start a project and being able to pull some fabric immediately. I'm also becoming more confident in putting together fabric from different ranges to create a truly unique look, and I get the variety by buying fat quarters. There's some Joel Dewberry's Notting Hill, Denise Schmidt's Chicopee and FMF, and Natalie Lymer's Folk Tale and some Essex Linen - it was great to finally see these fabrics in person. I also got some more Color Me Retro, lots of batiks for another project I want to start in the next few weeks, some good value Bella Solid Charm packs (I have a plan for these too) and a Dinosaur panel to make for a little boy I know. As well as some more fat quarters which I just liked! That purple one in the middle - that's possibly my favourite purchase of the day - it's a Hoffmann Fabric called Spring Fever, and I used the green version in my Stained Quilt - I was looking for more of the green, which I loved, and found this instead. Worst fabric purchase of the day goes to Suzie for this orange "bargain" (this photo doesn't really convey how horrific it is) - she's determined to make something with it that we all think is wonderful - good luck, Suzie:

After the show we had dinner at our favourite pub - The World's End on the Royal Mile. If you're ever in Edinburgh, this is a must! We examined our purchases and worked out who had spent the most - it wasn't me! Thank you to Suzie, Sue, Linda, Lexi and Louise for a great day. Needless to say, no sewing was done yesterday!

But today it was! I normally plan what I will spend the day doing when I have a day to spend in front of my sewing machine, and today I was going to make a couple of Dear Jane blocks, because it's been a while, and then move onto other things. But I got rather hooked on those pretty little blocks and I've spent all day playing with them!

I prepared eight and made four: F3: Snowball. I foundation pieced this block and the fabric is Art Gallery Bazaar Style.

D5: Cathedral Window: my favourite block of the day using my favourite fabric from yesterday. I foundation pieced this one, too.

D3: Jason's Jacks: Another Art Gallery fabric - Lilly Belle. This was applique. I tried the method using freezer paper, where you place the dull side onto the back of the fabric and then fold over the seam allowance and iron it to the shiny side. It worked ok, but my curves aren't very smooth. Next time I will try the opposite....

And B1: Batchelor Buttons: the background here is yet another Art Gallery fabric (I seem to be developing quite the addiction), this time from Poetica. Again I'm not wild with the applique. I made myself a circular template then gathered the fabric round it, nice smooth edges, pressed it, then removed the template, by which stage the curve wasn't smooth any more. But from a distance, and in the final quilt, it looks fine. But my applique definitely needs some work.

Whilst I was in Budapest I had a brainwave about my DJ quilt, which I had forgotten about until today. I want to hand quilt it (I know, I'm mad), and the easiest way for me to do that will be to work on small sections, so I'm going to use the quilt as you go technique and join it all together following Leah Day's tutorial. This will work well because I was planning on very narrow sashing between the blocks anyway. So I've split the quilt into 9 patches which I will make up and quilt. Of course, I only remembers this after I had prepared my eight, somewhat random, blocks. Will try harder next time :) That reminds me - I still need to finish off the yellow block I was working on in Budapest....

One other piece of news for the day - do you fancy another Bee? I found this one today - the Get Your Hex On bee, for everyone who loves English Paper Piecing - there are still slots left in Hive 3 if you'd like to join the fun - you find more information and the sign up form here.

Get Your Hex On

Friday, 22 February 2013

Friday Night Sew In: BOM and Improv

Handmade by Heidi

Tonight was Friday Night Sew In and I stayed in a sewed!

First up the February blocks in the Skill Builder BOM. I cut these out on Wednesday before I was distracted by Color Me Retro and I did a few seams last night, but got them finished tonight.  This is the Em Dash Block...

I can't tell you what to two fabrics at the top are, but on the bottom is a purple from Rock and Romance from Art Gallery and a pink from Noetworthy by Sweetwater.

And secondly the Mood Block

The pink is Lace Elements from Art Gallery, the green at the top is Wild Garden for Westminster Fibres, the yellow postmark fabric is Free Spirit (I think) and the green in the bottom right is a Nancy Halvorsen fabric...
These two blocks aren't my favourites in the quilt, but they are growing on me each time I look at them! And they are great for showing off some of the bigger print fabrics.

The background for both blocks is Kona Coal.

I then did a few more blocks of Steph's Hot Cross Buns quilt - maybe a set of four a day for the next week ... that would get me close to done.

And then I had a thought. We are going to the quilt show in Edinburgh tomorrow and I want to take my camera - it was new at Christmas and I don't have a case for it yet - so case making mode! I pulled out the scraps I've been creating from the paper piecing I've been doing recently and did something that is so alien and uncomfortable for me - improv piecing. I just went for it - how hard can it be. I made myself a piece of fabric from scraps big enough to cut a front and back and a strap (of sorts). I ironed on some interfacing, "quilted" lots of lines and put it together with a lining made from a Kona ornage (maybe Kona Apricot) that came through the post this week from Simply Solids.

It was all a bit fiddly in the end, because it's too small to feed under the foot easily for the top stitching, and turning the strap through was a very interesting experience. But it works - it protects my new camera. Bu only just - any smaller and the camera would not fit! The fabrics here include Architextures, Ruby, Color Me Retro, Mama Said sew, Art Gallery Floral Elements, Summersville, Noteworthy....

Quite a successful evening!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Sew Thinky Thursday [People]

SewThinkyThurs button

This week's question:

What is one regular thing you do for yourself to keep up your creative mind? Do you go to a guild, out for coffee with a friend? Are there people / activities you do regularly or as needed? 

Quilting can be a very lonely hobby - just you and a machine. And sometimes that is exactly what I need. A quiet house, a cup of tea, two puppies and lots of fabric - that was what happened yesterday afternoon and I loved it.
Free Motion Quilting is one of those tasks best done
when "lonely" - hubby can't hear the telly over my machine!

Patchwork can also be a really sociable event! At our local quilt shop we can end up in hysterics - I'm talking about you, Sue and Suzy!
Photo from Kim: Me (on the far left and mostly not in shot), Margaret,
who had spent most of the day trying to convince them that
 the doll they were making didn't really want bright pink bloomers,
and Suzy and Sue very proud of the dresses and bloomers they had made!
Though I think Kim, Margaret and Nicola who work in the shop have to go and lie in a darkened room afterwards! Or just sewing with MIL or AIL (Aunty-in-Law) quietly at home. Through quilting I have met some wonderful people and made lots of friends. And that's without even touching on what happens online.
Linda (MIL) and Aunty B (AIL)
I once read a very cheesy saying in a cross stitch magazine: "I cannot count my day complete til needle, thread and fabric meet." And even though it is really corny, it's kind of true. Every day I try to find some time to sew, even if it's just a few seams - it's more to relax than to get the creative juices flowing.
A little EPP is great for when I only have a few minutes
I made this for a swap and I am seriously tempted to make one just for me

And walking the dogs is also time for me to think about the projects I'm working on and the projects I want to work on.

Charlie (Archie got a photo in yesterday's post)
What about you?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

WIP Wednesday [Colour Me Retro]

Look what I got my hands on today!

Colour Me Retro from Art Gallery fabrics!!! I didn't think it was available in the UK just yet, but Kim at the Fat Quarters has it in! And will have some fat quarters at the Edinburgh Quilt Show this weekend!

I hadn't intended to buy this today... but we ended up at the shop, and it just had to be bought. I took a while to decide between this colour way and the green one - I'm pretty sure I'll be back to get the green one!  And of course once I had it, I just had to use it.

I've been looking at all the plus quilts online for a while now, and I have a jelly roll pattern for a plus quilt but I've never got round to making myself one. Today was the day. A day off of work and I have a cushion cover pieced.

Archie decided that he liked it too.

I had planned to make the next two blocks in the Skill Builder BOM and the fabric was cut before I went shopping. Maybe I piece them tomorrow :)

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced - she was saying that she's having her bathroom refitted and it reminded me how "individual" ours was when we first moved in. Check out the bathroom suite! It was the first thing we changed!

I'm off to may a cuppa and read some other WIP Wednesday posts!

  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 18 February 2013

More BOMs [Gen X]

I've been playing catch up again tonight and making the February blocks for the Gen X Sister BOM.

Gen X Quilters Sisters' Ten BOM 

This month's block is called Susannah and was beautifully easy - I do like fiddly, but sometimes straightforward is nice too!

I've made both blocks in a couple of hours including distractions.

The fabric is Paparazzi from Red Rooster - it's a ten fat quarter pack I won in a giveaway over a year ago and I'm really like how the fabrics are working for this quilt.

I've also been playing at putting some fabrics together: I had some of the aqua blues out for another project and the pink Flea Market Fancy ended up on top of them in the pile on my table - once I'd seen it I couldn't get it out of my head, so I pulled a few more fabrics from my stash (and possibly bought a few too) and now I have a beautiful pile of fabrics and nothing to do with them - so watch out - I'm looking for a new project.

And last Saturday I ordered some Art Gallery Rock and Romance for another project I have in mind....
Rock n Romance Half Yard Bundle in Heartbreaker
Picture borrowed from
And I've also ordered Art Gallery Poetica for a Double Wedding Ring I'm starting in a few weeks time.....
Poetica Half Yard Bundle in Seafoam Symphony
Picture borrowed from
I really must get some projects finished in the next couple of weeks before I start something new - a week holiday next week will definitely help!