Wednesday, 29 May 2013

WIP Wednesday [more blocks and quilting]

I have two WIP projects to share with you today!

Steph's quilt - anyone who reads my blog knows that this has been a bit of a long project. It's for my sister-in-law's 21st birthday. She will be 23 in October..... I got bored of piecing straight lines all the same, so I really had to make myself finish this one. Mum and I basted it at Easter and this weekend my husband was away so I could free motion to my hearts content (he gets grumpy with the constant whirr of the machine).

It took forever. Or it seemed to. It seemed much more hard work than Daniela's quilt, even though hers is quite a bit bigger - maybe it was the batik: it ate needles and it ate cotton. I got a break when I had to go to my LQS to buy a second reel of Aurifil....

Every second Tuesday I go to craft club at the local church. I have to confess, I started going mostly to gain some mother-in-law points, but I actually really enjoy it (I'm the youngest there buy at least 30 years!). And they have a large area of floor perfect for laying out a quilt, getting my cutting mat and trimming the edges of the quilt, without it trying to fall off the table every time I move.

I just need to make a scrappy binding and Steph will FINALLY get her quilt!

And my second project is the quilt I'm making for my Dad to give to very good friends of his. I need 30 blocks. I have 20. I need a finished quilt top by 7th June and a finished quilt by 28th June....

Linking up with WIP Progress Wednesday! WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 27 May 2013

Block On [part 2 - City Sampler]

More blocks to share today!

I started by trying to catch up on the Skill Builder BOM. Last month's blocks aren't quite finished yet - they are both EPP blocks so taking a bit longer. This month's blocks are Foundation Piecing - my current favourite! I changed the colour placement a bit so there was more colour and less grey.

I finished this block and thought I've browse through Bloglovin while I had some lunch. And right at the top of the list was a post from Sara at Sew Sweetness - the first three blocks from Tula Pink's City Sampler. I've had the book a few weeks and even when Sharon started hers I resisted temptation. But today resistance was futile... These 6" blocks are unnamed so you can name them yourself, so that's what I have done...

Block 1: Temptation (because that's what I gave into to make this block!)

Block 2: Ellie-Jo (because I should have been finishing her quilt instead of making these blocks).

Block 3: Whitsun (because it is and the colours are summery, even if the weather isn't quite as good today as it was on Saturday and Sunday.

The plan is to pretty much follow Tula's colour scheme in the book - so where she had made a pink block, so will I, but all of the fabrics are coming from my stash. Today's blocks use lots of Art Gallery, Architextures (no surprise there), Kona solids, Pearl Bracelets, some Chicopee and a piece of Kaffe Fasset - and a little bit of batik. Lots of the blog posts I've read about these blocks say how quick they are to put together. And they really are. What they don't tell you is how long you will take to decide on the fabrics....

There is a sew-along if you want to give into temptation as well - three blocks a week - 100 in total. Go on - you know you want to!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Block On [part 1]

I spent all day yesterday quilting. Lots of quilting. But it's too big to photograph at home without my hubby. So you'll have to wait till later in the week to see that!

But once I was finished I am setting aside the rest of this wonderful long weekend to make blocks, blocks and more blocks.

This week in between things I should be doing I've been playing with foundation pieced stars in various sizes. All are from Carol Doak's 50 Paper Pieced Stars

Kentucky (8"); Rhode Island (6"); and Wisconsin (4"). These were going to be part of an item for a swap, as we needed an Angel in one I was taking part in. Then at the last minute I wasn't needed any more. I'm not sad, because I really love these blocks and I'm sure I'll find a home for them!

This is my favourite (yep - Architextures)!

I topped these off with the April block in the Lucky Stars BOM - I'm a little behind, but not as much as I was!

Oh yes - more Architextures! I'm addicted....

I have more plans for tomorrow! But for today I'm taking the opportunity to link up with Kristy at Quiet Play who is hosting her first ever Paper Piecing Linky Party this weekend - what a fantastic idea - I'm off to check out some of the other blogs!
Paper Piecing Party

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival [Baby Quilts]

For the first time we get to enter two quilts in the Bloggers Quilt Festival! So I'm going to. This is my entry for the Baby Quilt category.

But that means making a decision between two baby quilts. Had I written this post at the start of the week it would have been an easy decision as only one of them was finished. But yesterday I finished the second one and now I have to decide. Apologies to anyone who is seeing the quilt for the second time in two days!

Because of the quilting on it I've gone for the quilt I only finished yesterday - Bubbles. This was my first ever attempt at pebble quilting and although it isn't perfect it's turned out so much better than I expected. I just love the texture that pebble quilting gives and I will definitely be doing more of this. The circles are Baltimore applique using a blanket stitch on my machine.

This isn't my favourite colour combo, but I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I actually really like it.

You can read more on the fabrics etc I used in this post here. Mum and Dad and baby (10 days old) popped into work at lunchtime and were thrilled with the quilt!

If you're interested to see the quilt that didn't quite make the cut.... another colour combo that I wouldn't normally play with!

Thank you for stopping by and to Amy for hosting this fabulous event!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Bubbles [an unexpected finish]

Not fully unexpected, as this was a quilt on my Finish Along list for this quarter. But really I hadn't planned on finishing it this week, or quite this quickly. It's for a friend from work who has just had a little boy called Caleb. Most people from work come in with their baby after a few weeks/months for everyone to ooo and aaahhh. But she has decided to come in just a week and a half after he was born. Tomorrow....

I started this quilt back in March and got as far as cutting out the circles. I drew round a selection of common household objects: plates and mugs mostly.

In order to avoid raw edges I used a light weight fusible interfacing and placed the fabric and the interfacing right sides together, stitched round on the line I had drawn, trimmed, clipped, slit and turned through. I then finger pressed round the edges, positioned them on the background and then ironed them in place before using a blanket stitch on my machine to applique them. That was last night.

So tonight was quilting. I've managed to break three of the six legs on my quilting table, but it turns out that I have a perfect mug in the cupboard!

 I've admired a lot of quilts recently with pebble quilting, and it seemed like an appropriate pattern for this quilt. But I'm calling it bubble quilting rather than pebble quilting: if you have a pile of pebbles you can't see the edges where they overlap. Where bubbles overlap you can see one behind the other - and I can assure you - my "bubbles" overlap. But as a first attempt all over a quilt (I've done bits on my Skill Builder BOMs) I'm thrilled with how it turned out - and even with the overlaps, it still gives the same texture which I love.

The backing is Love U by Deb Strain for Moda.

Rolled and ready to give to Mum tomorrow! Not bad for a school night!

The background fabric is Kona Lake. The circles are all from my stash: Mama Said Sew (Sweetwater); Summersville (Lu Summers); Noteworthy (Sweetwater); Oh Deer (MoMo); Pearl Bracelets (Lizzie House); apples from Robert Kaufmann; Punctuation (Moda) and some others which I have no idea about. It's quilted with a variegated blue from Aurifil and bound in Kona Tomato. It finishes at 33" x 46".

And this count s as a Finish-Along finish!
she can quilt

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Blogger's Quilt Festival [Pembrokeshire]

Pembrokeshire is my favourite place in the whole wide world. As kids we would spend summer holidays in Tenby. When I was eighteen I spent a great week-long holiday with school friends camping in Manorbier - we had such a great time we went back the next year and I took my boyfriend with me too. Just a few weeks later I went back with my parents to Saundersfoot and just last year I finally got my now husband back again for a week back in Tenby. I have so so many happy memories of this beautiful area.
Tenby Harbour

I love the castles, the towns, the cathedral at St. Davids, but most of all I love the coast line. The sea is a magical colour blue and sparkles in the sunlight, and the grass is a luscious green - all framed by the grey of the cliffs and the pale blue sky (most of the time!). And it was that colour palette that inspired the quilt I'm going to share with you for my fourth Blogger's Quilt Festival.
Lydstep Head - my favourite bit of coastline -
but too sunny to show the real colour of the sea!

Back in the Autumn I took part in the Travellin' Stitch Pic and pulled out this photo of the Pembrokeshire coast near Porthgain and ran it through a palette builder.

The idea was to use the palette and do some English Paper Piecing. I picked the ferris wheel pattern and started putting it together during a few days in Budapest in October. 

Over the Winter I spent a total of seven weeks in Budapest for work and this was one of the projects I took with me - I pieced it by hand, appliqued it by hand, embroidered it by hand and quilted it by hand - the only thing I did by machine was attach the borders and the binding (but I hand stitched the binding to the back - I don't always). Hand sewing it meant I had loads of time to remember all of my favourite places.

The embroidery is place names that bring back great memories too - Pembroke - the best ruined castle in the world;

Carew - the prettiest ruined castle in the world (even when it isn't sunny);

 Upper Frog Street - the best street name ever....I could go on....and on....

It was so nice to be so far from home, but working on something that reminded me of the UK and my family and friends. I gave the finished quilt to my Mum as a birthday present to hang on the wall above her desk at work as Pembrokeshire is just as special to her.

I'm linking up with the Wall Hanging Category in the Bloggerss Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side! And now I'm heading off to check out of all of the other inspirational quilts!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Foundation Pieced Finishes for Friday

It's been a long time since I was so glad it was the weekend. In some respects this week has gone by very quickly. But I am super tired.

Tomorrow is the wedding where I hand over two sets of place mats. So tired or not, tonight I had to finish the second set. And I have.

Four place mats with a 6" foundation pieced star on each surrounded by Art Gallery Floral Elements. I wanted to keep the quilting simple, clean and away from the piecing, to let the stars shine, so I did a grid of organic lines, randomly spaced but similar across all four place mats, using my walking foot and Aurifil thread.

So the final stats: each place mat is approx 15" x 11". The star blocks are from Don't Call Me Betsy and are 6" finished. The fabrics are all Art Gallery: Floral Elements for the background, Pure Elements for the solids and Oval Elements for the final fabric in he stars, the backing and the binding.

I think this may be the first time I've actually bound a quilt with Art Gallery and it was beautiful to use - there will definitely be more Art Gallery binding in my future! I think it's the neatest binding yet that I've done fully by machine.

And just in case you missed them, here are the other place mats completed this week - 6 in this set because nothing beats equilateral triangles like hexagons! The two sets are very different, but I really like both and I hope the Brides do as well (I'm a little less concerned about the Grooms!).

And whilst I was in binding making mode I made the binding for my little paper plane mug rug. I had been planning on using black. The Green was lying around from another project and happened to be sitting on top of the half finished mug rug. There is just a hint of green in one of the neutral fabrics I used on the plane and it lightened the whole thing up - perfect.

This little piece is 8.5" x 6" finished. The paper plane pattern is from Kristy @ Quiet Play but I shrunk it - I can't remember by what percentage - but it's smaller than the original. The fabrics for the plane are two Architextures farbrics - the accounting fabric in plum and grey cross hatch. I've added a small piece of Pearl Bracelets in Grey to get the third shade.

The background is also Architextures - plum cross hatch. The binding is Lemonade from Art Gallery's Pure Elements (and the back is the black text print from Architextures). I quilted a wavy grid across the whole thing then free motioned the loop-de-loop. I had envisioned a single, larger loop. But my hands decided not to do that!

This little mug rug is for me - it's going to join the collection of mug rugs I have pinned up above my desk at work!

And I nearly forgot! The Stars Place Mats are a Finish for the Q2 Finish Along - full steam ahead!

she can quilt

And I'm linking up with Friday Night Sew In too!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

WIP Wednesday [place mats]

I'm making really good progress on the two sets of place mats this week. The set of six triangular place mats for friends who are getting married on Saturday are finished. I planned that they can be put together in the centre of a table as a hexie table centre.

I cut equilateral triangles from 3.5" strips of fabric and each place mat is made up of 25 of them. I layered up the backing and the wadding and then put on the front face down, stitched round the edge, leaving a small hole for turned, turned through, top stitched round the edge and then added some hand stitching to properly close up the gap. I then quilted 1/4" each side of every seam line using my walking foot.

All of the fabrics, including the backings are from my stash. I love Architextures....(nearly as much as Art Gallery)

The second set of place mats are more traditional - rectangular. These are for friends who got married in March, but will be at the wedding on Saturday so I'm hoping to hand them over then.

I've used four of the stars from Don't Call Me Betsy's BOM and Art Gallery fabrics.

I have now quilted the first of four. I think this is all the quilting I will do - what do you think? All opinions/suggestions gratefully received.
The colours are right in this shot but it does show the quilting I've done

These four place mats will be bound with the turquoise spot fabric.

Today was also a good post day - my goodies arrived in the Modern She Made Swap round three.

I got a fabulous sewing machine cover, and gorgeous little pincushion and needlecase, perfect for the retreats I'm going on this summer! Ginny (Fishcreekstudio on Flickr) really got me perfectly: intricate stars, low volume paired with saturated colours, quirky fabrics (and a little bit of Art Gallery!)! Heaven - thank you Ginny!
Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Another Wedding, more place mats

This time in grey, white, black and red.

And triangles.

Six of them.

All of the fabrics are from my stash: Architextures, Art Gallery Urban Mod and Textures, Mama Said Sew, Noteworthy, Comma, Pearl Bracelets, Robert Kaufmann......

One of the six is totally finished. The other five aren't...

The wedding is next weekend!