Sunday, 24 November 2013

Skill Builder BOM [starting to catch up]

It's been ages since I did anything to the Skill Builder BOM except for very slowly sewing together hexagons for one of the earlier blocks. That particular block, and the second EPP block from April are close to completion, but not there yet.

Instead today I've been working on some of the more recent blocks and learning a few new techniques. Boosted by my new applique tools (you can read more about them here) I started last night preparing the pieces for the September blocks. I had originally planned applique, but I have quite a few hand sewing projects at the moment and my machine does do a lovely blanket stitch, so I changed my mind. Here is Liberty Floral

And Modern Beauty.

Two blocks that had me intrigued when the tutorials were first posted were the next two I tacked - curves.... but not your regular drunkard path.

Saturn involved an inset circle, and flanges which I've done just once before, and was far quicker than I had thought possible...

....and Candyland - free hand waves....

... and this technique created two blocks, so I think this quilt will have a matching cushion.

This is a quilt-as-you-go quilt.... I now have 11 blocks pieced and two close to being pieced. Only two are quilted, so I'm not really quilting as I go....

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

WIP Wednesday [pretty fabric]

I have some progress to report on a couple of projects I've talked about on a Wednesday before even starting them!

First up is the baby quilt (for my Baby): I've now made two blocks of this pattern.

I'm using English Paper Piecing to put this quilt together, which although slower involves sitting in an armchair, which my back seems to prefer.

But I am still spending some time at my sewing machine. I got her back from her service on Saturday - apparently I use her so much that she should really be serviced every 8 months - there was no grease left (I can't oil her myself) and the fluff had compacted solid..... these are the first three mini Swoon blocks - each one is just 6".
The one on the left isn't black, but a deep magenta
I've also started piecing the Aspen Frost quilt in some very pretty Downton Abbey prints.

But the thing I'm most excited about - this week has been a happy mail week (once I'd gone to the post office to pick it up): two packages from the States: some beautiful low volume fabrics, some Sweet Serenade from Basic Grey, and some sale fabrics and mini charm packs

And the most appropriately named fabrics ever - Happy Tones. These are simply gorgeous! And I have plans for them!

But I didn't realise my Local Quilt Shop would be stocking Sweet Serenade, so I may have bought some more....

At the back there is a 3m piece of my favourite. I don't know quite what I'm going to do for a quilt front, but I definitely know what will be on the back of it!

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday!
  WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Baby Blues [a finish]

I know I keep saying it, but everyone is having babies - I guess with the situation at work (impending redundancy) everyone is getting maternity before they go! Well, this is another quilt for another manager.

I can take absolutely no credit for any part of this quilt except for the piecing and quilting: the block, the layout, the quilting design... it's all Sharon's! Her finished quilts were just so gorgeous I didn't change anything - thank you Sharon for a great tutorial and inspiration (as always)!

The fabrics are all from my stash: Pearl Bracelets; Kona solids; Art Gallery Indian Summer, Oval Elements, Pure Elements; Painters Canvas; Sketch; Snow Queen; Tula Pink..... with a white tone-on-tone swirl print.

The backing is a print from Art Gallery's Luxe in Bloom and the binding is Pure Elements in Parisian Blue.

The bamboo is my favourite bamboo cotton blend, the threads are Aurifil - something beig-y for the piecing, white for the quilting on the top and a variegated blue on the bottom. The finished quilt is 36" x 42".

And at the start of January I will be linking up with Leanne, as this was on my Finish Along list for the fourth quarter.
she can quilt

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Final blocks [stash bee]

After a year and a half and some fantastic blocks, I've just completed the last two sets of blocks for Stash Bee.

October's blocks

and November's blocks - I love the method for making this block - it's from Moda Bakeshop.

We have made some fantastic blocks in that time - some that really pushed my improv-inability.... these are my contributions

I won't be signing up for 2014 - I think I have enough on my plate for 2014 already, but if you are interested in joining in then the sign ups are open - you can find more info here.

Thanks to all the lovely ladies of Hive 4 - it's been great sewing along with you over the last year and half!

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

WIP Wednesday [new project]

I need a new project like I need a hole in the head! But that has never stopped me before. I've been stalking Pinterest for a few weeks now looking for ideas for a quilt for Baby and yesterday I finally found it.

And I knew straight away this was the one, and I knew straight away the colours I wanted to use and the technique I wanted to use.
color air

So these are the fabrics I picked: Painters Canvas; Art Gallery; Lu Summers; Makower; Pearl Bracelets; Kona...

I printed off the templates and I'm going to make it using English Paper Piecing. 

So far I've started basting.

I've also been working on some bee blocks (I'm behind again): this is one of two blocks for Stash Bee for October. 

Because my Viking Sapphire is having its annual service, this old lady is having a run out - made in West Germany, smooth as anything!

And if you recognise the brown, it's because I used it at the weekend for my new friend, Tom! Totally hand sewn and now keeping me company while I sew.

And the mini Swoons I talked about last week... I've made a start!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Teddy Bear

Yesterday I did a class at our Local Quilt shop that was a little bit different....

Meet Tom!  A Teddy Bear.

He is all hand sewn and made of Moda Primitive Muslin in teddy bear brown and cream. He has joints (though I got one of the joints wrong).

The head took me all day yesterday, but the rest of the him went very together very quickly while I watched the football this afternoon. I've embroidered my initials on his paw - this teddy is not for Baby - this teddy is for me!

Friday, 8 November 2013

When energy and ambition converge...

That is exactly what happened yesterday! I got in from work, had a nap and then turned on my sewing machine!

I cut, pieced and pressed and before I went to bed I had a 6" Swoon block!

The half square triangle units finish at just 3/4"!

One block down, two more cut this evening, 8 more to piece. The fabrics are a total mixture from my stash. In this block I've used Pearl Bracelets, and Kona Peony. The background is one of the new Kona's - Shadow - It's a lovely light delicate grey (far better than Butter which I had been thinking about).

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

WIP Wednesday [lacking energy]

October was a busy month and I am exhausted! I haven't linked in a while due to illness and then my only WIP last week being tidying my house - incredibly boring but necessary.

This week I've been trying to catch up with some sewing, but all I really want to do is go to bed. This pregnancy thing is hard work!

I've made a few more City Sampler blocks. These are nice and easy because I picked and cut all the fabric months ago in a moment of energy, so it's only a question of piecing and pressing.

Block 61: Vienna: I lived in this beautiful city for 4 months in 2006 as part of my year abroad for University. I went back for a day during a stay in Budapest last year and it was lovely to be back - the Christmas markets were amazing, but my memories of Vienna are of the heat of the summer, swimming in the Danube and enjoying coffee and cake outside cafes while people watching. I did some studying too....

The fabrics are Kona Canary, Kona School Bus and Oval Elements from Art Gallery.

Block 62: Autumn. We went on holiday to the Lake District a few weeks ago and the colours from the trees and the fern and all the other plants I can't identify were stunning.
spot the deliberate mistake....
The fabrics are Kona Chinese Red, Kona Sunflower and a Moda batik.

Block 63: Aunty Barbara and Uncle Gordon. People and places are important. This block is for my Aunty and Uncle-in-law.

The fabrics are Pure Elements from Art Gallery, Kona Peacock, Painters Canvas and a moda Batik.

Block 64: Edinburgh: I studied at the University of Edinburgh for five years - undergrad and masters. I met Michael on my first day in Edinburgh. We got married while we were still studying there. I have so many wonderful memories of this beautiful city that it had to be included in my quilt.

The fabrics are Kona Jungle, Kona Peridot and a Moda fabric....

Block 65: Newcastle: Where I live now. Nearly.

The fabrics are a marbled yellow which I had left from Mum's tablecloth, a Sun Island Batik and Kona Carrot.

And finally block 71: Fireworks: I skipped ahead a little here for this block. Every year on 5th November we celebrate Guy Fawkes nearly blowing up the houses of Parliament. Or maybe we celebrate that his plot was foiled.... anyway - lots of fireworks and unhappy puppies last night.

The fabrics are a Moda batik and Kona Pomegranate.

Have you seen Camille's new Minis? It's got me thinking. When I was on my Swoon kick last year I did the maths for a 6" Swoon block to include in my Farmer's Wife Quilt.
the central green square is just 1.5" finished.
Inspired by this pin and this pin on my colour combos board, I pulled this stack of fabric for a little Swoony mini. I may substitute the Kona butter for light pink - if I can find the right one.

Of course ambition levels and energy levels are somewhat mismatched so there is every chance this fabric stack won't become anything!

But in a moment of misery this afternoon when I failed to find any maternity clothes that would ever fit me (pregnant or not) I did maybe order some fabric.... I finally used the voucher I won for the Fat Quarter shop for the Finish Along, and it seemed silly not to make the most of an order from the US. And then I found a 20% code for Pink Castle Fabrics who have Botanics on pre-order. I guess I'll have to let Michael have the new xbox now!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A Finish [Medallion Quilt]

I got this quilt finished last Saturday but haven't had a moment spare to put together this post since.

At the end of September I went on a quilting retreat and the project was a Medallion quilt. I'd never made a Medallion quilt before and I have to admit that it hadn't ever really been on my radar as a "must try". I am now a convert. Except for the long seams which I hate sewing, I really enjoyed piecing this quilt top.

The central star is templates (which I suffered well). The first pieced border is flying geese and I learnt a fantastic new technique for making four at once - unfortunately baby brain means I have entirely forgotten it.
 The next border is square in a square. Had I been doing this at home I would definitely have foundation pieced these blocks, as they were not as precise as I would have liked. And the final border was templates again. There were a few issues with this border, but with a couple of tweaks I had a finished quilt top.

Michael and I basted the quilt. I love my husband, but basting is not his thing. To call it a disaster would be unfair....but it was quite a disaster.

Quilting this top was a struggle. Having never done a Medallion Quilt before I was a bit stumped. The only thing I knew was that I didn't want an all over free motion stipple.I started by echoing the red plain borders with straight line quilting - 1/4" inside of each seam line all the way round in dark red thread. I then changed my thread colour to blue and echoed the seam lines in the square in the square border creating a zig zag line.

I knew from the start that I wanted to do some hand quilting. I used Fica perle thread in dark red for the centre of the quilt and in light blue for all of the corner stones and the central squares in the flying geese border. I chose a straight forward motif that was quite easy to mark on the quilt with a hera marker. All of the marking was free hand, which is why not all are identical. I took the quilt on holiday to the Lakes and while we sat in the flat avoiding rain I steadily quilted each of the motifs. It was exactly the relaxation I needed. By the time we went home I had quilted all of the motifs except the outer four, as I didn't want to lose the quilting with binding.

When we got home I added some more machine quilting to the final border, again using matching thread and echoing seam lines. Despite a week of not feeling well, I managed to get the quilt bound, and with just hours to spare before leaving to visit my parents I hand quilted the final motifs.

The quilt was made for my Godmother, Aunty Chris. She is one of the most special people in my life and is leaving me under a lot of pressure now I need to think about a Godmother for my own daughter. Last Saturday morning I very quickly embroidered a small label, attached it to the quilt then went to see Aunty Chris. She was so pleased with it and it was absolutely lovely to see her.

Quilt Stats:
Finished size 73"x73"
Pattern: Medallion Quilt from the book Shopping Days from Six Penny Memories
Fabrics: a total mix of fabrics my Godmother picked herself, plus a few additions including some Robert Kaufmann solids, some blue hearts from Benartex, Primitive Muslin from Moda and a cream from Red Rooster. The backing was an extra wide from Moda.
Quilting: a mixture of straight line quilting and hand quilting using Coats, Aurifil and Fica Perle.
Time taken: 1 month.

This is another finish from my Q4 Finish Along list!

she can quilt

Saturday, 2 November 2013

It's November

October has been such a busy month - work, holidays, illness, family. But not as much sewing as I would have liked.

Michael and I enjoyed a long weekend in the Lake District - a first and last holiday with just the two of us. The weather was dubious, but when you could see the landscape in between torrential rain showers it was stunning. This is one of my favourite spots in the Lakes - Elterwater in Great Langdale.

Last weekend was my little brother's engagement party. This time next year Michaela will officially be part of the family! Yep - I have a Michael and my brother has a Michaela! We're just trying to confuse Mum.

In between this I have done some sewing: I finished a baby quilt - Baby Paws.

I've been working on the Medallion quilt - this is finished and just as soon as I have the time I'll do a full ta-dah post for it.

I've done some City Sampler blocks, but I am a bit behind on these little blocks - the fabrics are cut, but I haven't had the time to stitch them up.

I've been working on a batik wall-hanging for my Mum

And I made a bag.

I'm linking up with Lynne at Lily's Quilts and looking forward to a quieter November.
Lily's Quilts