Monday, 30 September 2013

Rhubarb and Custard [finished]

This is one of my longest running WIPs - I started it in Summer 2010. Unfortunately I did it in a class very early in my quilting career and we weren't given the instructions on how to put it together - it was my first attempt at quilt as you go and I didn't have a clue.

Roll forward to the beginning of this year and I found the tutorial by Leah Day for joining QAYG blocks with narrow sashing - a little light bulb popped on and since then I have moved this project from barely-touched-since-leaving-the-class, to finished quilt which I love.

The fabrics are a bit of a mixture but most of the heart/flower fabrics are from a Benartex range called Sweethearts. The layers were all joined together with some really poor (hindsight is a wonderful thing) hand quilting - I did it like I did embroidery, so the front is fine but the back not so great.

Speaking of the back... the plan was a chequerboard effect. Oh well!

This is a wall hanging - there is too much hand sewing for it to be a snuggly quilt, so I've popped a couple of hanging triangles on the back.

And this quilt even has a quilt label - mostly because there was one little bit where the sashing didn't catch the edge of the fabric - 3 years of floating around cupboard had led to quite a lot of fraying. The label nicely hides this little miss.

And what am I going to do with this quilt now - I'm going to hang it in the nursery of course, because Thursday's scan showed that we are (very likely) expecting a little girl!

This is one of my favourite ever finishes: It represents so much of my quilt journey and the learning curve I've been on for the last 3 years. I love the fabrics and it is getting finished at the perfect time in my life.

Just a final few notes (mostly for my benefit for the next time I use this technique for sashing) of what I learnt: I would cut the sashing strip for the back a quarter inch wider than Leah suggests - although the size she gives is the accurate size needed, it does depend on a very accurate quarter inch seam, and when I'm stitching through so many layers, I struggle to get it perfect. To keep things even it works better with a walking foot (which I find makes the quarter inch seam even harder to maintain). Turning down the speed of the machine was a big help too. I would also recommend reverse stitching at each end of each length of sashing - this is a weak spot when flipping it over and hand stitching. Also, removing the pins was important - I lost two machine needles in the space of ten minutes!

This was one of my Finish Along Goals this quarter, so I'm linking up with Leanne!
she can quilt

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Horsley Hall

I have just got back from an amazing weekend retreat! It was organized by Kim and Debbie from our Local Quilt shop. The venue was Horsley Hall in Weardale - it's about an hour's drive away from where I live and the journey is through some beautiful countryside, especially over the moor before dropping down into Weardale. Just a few minutes outside of Stanhope but it felt like the middle of nowhere.

The Hall was gorgeous - this was the great hall where we ate and sewed

and the drawing room, where we cut, pressed and relaxed

There were 23 of us - some I knew, some I didn't - we did nearly as much chatting and laughing as we did sewing!

The project for the weekend was a medallion quilt designed by Kim and Debbie and found in their second book "Shopping Days" which is inspired by nearby Beamish Museum.

I'm using fabrics chosen by my God Mother - it will be a present for her and I want to get it finished before Baby comes. I made really good progress and did the majority of the second pieced border - one more pieced border to go!

Thanks everyone for a fantastic weekend - especially Linda!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WIP Wednesday [back ache]

Tomorrow is my 20-week scan. We may get to find out the sex of the baby - though in the words of my consultant, I am "well-padded", so we may not be able to see.... I also have the beginnings of a bump, but to anyone who doesn't actually know me, I still just look fat. :) I have also developed a rather beautiful back ache - I can sit in an armchair or walk around for as long as I want and I'm fine, but my work chair, and unfortunately the chair I sit on when I use my sewing machine, and I am in agony... so I will have to limit sewing machine time (no chance of limiting work time....) - more hand sewing for me!

But the one thing that is helping a lot is a hot water bottle. A few years ago my mother-in-law made me a hot water bottle cover to replace the towel I had been using, but it was starting to look a bit tatty through overuse. I'm going to a sewing retreat at the weekend and I want to take my hot water bottle with me, so a new cover was in order.

Pretty linen blend fabrics.... I spotted these at the weekend and Linda picked them up for me today - I was dreaming about them last night!

Simple patchwork and quilting!

I'll share the finish with you tomorrow.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

WIP Wednesday [new toy]

I absolutely have to tell you about my new toy - Appliquick rods. Two steel "sticks" with various prongs and shaped ends - one holds the fabric and the other turns the over the seam allowance, using interfacing to create the shape, sticking it down with fabric glue and moulding smooth edges.

All of a sudden I can do consistent applique! Here are the two Dear Jane blocks I have made since buying my "sticks" at the weekend.

Linking up with Work in Progress Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 15 September 2013

I bee up to date!

100% up to date on all of my bee blocks! And I was quite a long wage behind! I pulled all of my stash out of the cupboard and spent nearly a week cutting fabric for bee blocks, a couple of baby quilts and a lot of City Sampler blocks.

Stash Bee will come to an end in just a few months time, but I still had July, and August as well as September untouched....

So here is July - even though Diane has already made a fantastic quilt top, when I contacted her to check whether she needed a different block as I was running so late, she asked for the same log cabin blocks either to use on the back or to make  matching cushions, so here are my offerings.

Log cabins really aren't my favourite things, but the end result when laid out in a quilt really is beautiful.

August was aqua and red for Chelsa. This is a colour scheme that's growing on me and I love this block. It was pretty straightforward to put together but I really struggled with the requirement for red and white fabrics - I apparently have mostly red and cream in my stash and it isn't quite the same thing! The block tutorial is here.

And September - my favourites of the bunch. I like blocks which are a little more complex and I love the bright colours. I really hope Cyndi does as well! The block tutorial is here.

Back in Spring (before I discovered I was pregnant) I signed up for another two bees. The Get Your Hex on Bee - I love EPP. But July and August just didn't happen on time: Here is July for Ana - she's making a small wall-hanging of flowers in batiks and this is my section.

July for Cinda was beautiful star blossoms.

And I pieced September this evening - a double hexie flower for Susan.

And I joined a UK only bee making quilts for Siblings Together. If I'm honest, I have been avoiding July's confetti block (tutorial here) - I'm really not comfortable with this kind of improv, go-for-it piecing. I tackled it this morning and although I can't say I enjoyed it, it is done and it isn't hideous - though you won't be seeing the horrific mess I made of the back - sorry Svea!

Suzy asked for simple log cabins - these went together so quickly - I met Suzy at the Fat Quarterly Retreat and I owe her a huge apology for nearly throwing up on her on the Sunday morning outside the Natural History Museum! Thanks Suzy!

And September for Leah - nice straightforward string triangles - the tutorial is here.

A huge thank you to everyone for your patience - I really hope I can stay on top of these going forward. A trip to the post office this week..... I also need to post an engagement card to my baby brother who proposed to the lovely Michaela last weekend!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

WIP Wednesday [baby brain]

Yesterday I proudly announced that I was up to date with the Lucky Stars block of the month. It would seem that I had a little episode of Baby Brain - I don't have an August block....

Yesterday was obviously not a good day, as my colleagues in Germany also found occasion to let me know that the German for Baby Brain is Schwangerschaftsdemenz....

Here are the NINE blocks which I do have

and here is my work in progress - block 10: half way there....

I haven't picked very baby fabrics for this quilt, just like the other baby quilts I've made this year. I hope that by making it age-neutral and a bit on the large side it can be loved even longer. And don't we always make a baby quilt with Mummy and Daddy in mind? I love Architextures, text fabric and Art Gallery and Daddy loves stash fabric that means Mummy can't go fabric shopping! A success on every level!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Lucky Stars [the plan]

So here's the plan - this will be a quilt for baby. That gives me until February. Which is good because the last block doesn't come out until 1st December. But of course, it's not that straightforward. I want to set my blocks on point, because there are 13 in total, with last December's "practice" block.

So I drew it out and the finished quilt just wouldn't be big enough. So I need to add in another 5 blocks. I'm already picking them out of the Carol Doak's book. But in the meantime I need to get caught up on the blocks already out there.

So here are this month's block - I had to do it straight away.

And the May block, which is made from 16 pieces and I may have been putting off....

10 down, 8 more blocks to go. And the challenge of picking fabric for sashing, setting triangles, border, backing..... oh, and I might redo the January block. I don't like my version and it's only 4 pieces!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Fresh Sewing Day [July and August]

It's been a busy couple of months with one thing and another... so busy that I didn't get to link up at the end of July, so this is a double round up.

A lot of my sewing hours in the last two months have gone on my City Sample quilt which is just totally addictive! I have rushed ahead and I'm up to block 55 - I just need to find time and opportunity to lay them all out together - for the meantime a mosaic will have to suffice....

There are 56 blocks here - one is a reject!
I am absolutely loving rummaging through my stash. I have just one rule - no two fabrics from the same line in the same block (I've broken it once, with good reason). However, this process has highlighted some of the holes in my stash: purples, fussy-cutable fabric and solids. We went to the quilt show at Harrogate yesterday and I worked hard to fill some of those gaps! I also fell totally in love with Tula's fabrics - Acacia is to die for!

I made a few other blocks too: another Lucky Stars block, another Rock and Romance Fireworks block and a few more Dear Jane blocks.

I am way behind on my bee block commitments.... thank you everyone for your patience....

And my biggest WIP (just in case you've missed it in my last few posts)....
According to my delightful consultant, I am well-padded
 (hence the less than clear scan).
....if anyone else tells me that the second trimester is wonderful and you will feel amazing, I will throw something at them. It's all lies! But I do seem to have a little more energy at least!

Linking up with everyone else over at Lily's Quilts

Lily's Quilts