Wednesday, 30 April 2014

WIP Wednesday [Cheerio]

I was planning on showing a mini quilt in progress tonight. But Little Miss Mia has been a star today and happily sat watching the snooker in her bouncy chair, so what I actually have to show you is a finished mini quilt!

I got my copy of Love Patchwork and Quilting through the post on Saturday morning and found the Mini Cheerio pattern by Camille Roskelly. I had to wait until Sunday afternoon to pick the fabrics, which were loosely based on this Design Seeds Palette. These colours are not "normal me" at all but I fancied trying something different.

This was my first layout but I felt it lacked a little pzzazz.

So I  made up another block in navy and asked for opinions on Instagram. The majority said with navy, so this morning I stitched it up.

I got out my free motion foot again for the straight-ish line quilting (I've now officially run out of quilting needles) - I love the texture this creates, then cut a skinny binding - 2" according to the pattern - this was my first time doing such skinny binding, but it totally works for this mini quilt.

I used fabrics from my stash: the following Kona solids: mango, canary, banana, corn yellow, school bus, candy pink, nautical, cerise, pomegranate, brt pink and coral and Art Gallery Pure Elements in Verve Violet (possibly). To these solids I added a Tula Pink print, Art Gallery Lace Elements in yellow, an orange stripe and a yellow leaves print from Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander, navy text from Architextures also from Carolyn Friedlander, coral from Minimalista from Art Gallery, a peach print from Tule by Art Gallery, a Rosalie Quinlan print, and a few other prints from my stash which I don't know the name of.

The background and binding are both in the cross hatch print in white from Architextures and the backing is Notting Hill by Joel Dewberry.

Normal service should now resume after this spur of the moment sewing - I have three quilts all quilted and ready for binding which are next on the list.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Scrappy Keyrings

Mum, if you read this before the weekend, just look surprised!

Just before Christmas my Mum and Dad both bought new laptops and new laptops bags - identical laptops in identical bags... after a few times of picking up the wrong bag, Mum asked me if I could make her a key ring of some sort to identify hers.

I've been a bit busy since Christmas and inspiration never really struck. Saturday morning I had a brainwave. Scrappy key rings. Free motion appliqued. I made one for Mum and one for Dad.

I made up a template for the tag and drew round it generously on piece of felt - twice per key ring. I then arranged some small scraps on one of the tags and using a small amount of glue, stuck them in place. As the machine was already set up for free motion quilting I attached the scraps that way.

I then free motion quilted a pattern for the reverse of the tags - on the green tag I played with the circles on string which I had loved when quilting my neon stained quilt, and for the blue one I did the organic "straight" lines.

I trimmed the tags down then placed them wrong sides together and again using the free motion quilting foot I stitched round the edge, sandwiching in a piece of ribbon as I went for the ring itself.

Not bad for an hour's work and a few very small scraps used up.

FairyFace Designs

Sunday, 27 April 2014


My quilting marathon continues! Yesterday and today I've been quilting my Three Peaks quilt. Not very long ago it looked like this...
This shows the colour of the quilt best
This quilt has been around a while with no purpose, so it never got beyond the completed quilt top stage. But now I have a baby quilt I want to quilt with a spiral and I've never done it before, so rather than jump in at the deep end and make a total dog's dinner of a quilt I want to give away, I decided to use this quilt as a practice.

I started off by checking out a couple of tutorials here and here. I decided to start off by marking a spiral using a pen that has run out of ink - it works a bit like a hera marker but is more accurate. Then I free motion quilted the first few rounds. I then changed to a walking foot and continued outwards.

With hindsight I should have free motioned a few more rounds, as it was tough to keep the line smooth for the first part I did with the walking foot. Once I'd got going, I found that setting the machine to needle up when I stopped rather than needle down gave me a smoother line. I used the edge of the presser foot to space the lines and this made for very dense quilting. But I really like that. If I needed a quickler solution I'd use the spacer bars. Also - quilt clockwise. I didn't. And it meant I was shoving the whole quilt through the machine all the time. If I'd quilted clockwise the bulk of the quilt would have been to the left of the needle. You live and learn.

The front of the quilt is fantastic - I love it.

The back of the quilt isn't quite as great.

As I worked outwards the fabric distorted and stretched and ended up with pleats and folds. The fabric hides it well, but next time, I will stop half way and re-baste to try and keep it smoother.

All I need to do now is hope that I bought fabric to bind it.

As I've done something this weekend, I'm going to link up with Sewjo Saturday

Friday, 25 April 2014

Free Motion Quilting and more on the Microstitch gun

After I posted earlier this week I had a few questions about the Microstitch gun I had mentioned. I had heard about it from a friend and recently my supplier of reasonably priced basting spray (which I love) has stopped shipping it (something about spray cans and the Royal Mail....). And me and pin basting are not friends....

Before I go any further, I paid for mine, I'm not being asked to review by a supplier etc,. I got mine from Amazon in the UK for approx £23. It works by firing little plastic tags through the layers of your quilt - like the tags you get on new clothes, but smaller. The gun came with 1800 tags half in white and half in black.

I basted four quilts: The City Sampler at 90"x 90", a lap quilt and two baby quilts, and I used about half of the supplied tags. It seems pretty easy to buy additional tags and probably works out cheaper than the basting spray overall.

If you aren't comfortable spray basting larger quilts, then this is a good alternative - I have basted and quilted a 116" x 116" quilt with no bother though. This system also removes the need to for chemical glue and spray which is another good thing in a house with a new baby.

There were a couple of disadvantages with the basting: to put the tag through the layers, you push the needle on the gun through all layers and pull the trigger. The needle is not tiny. With regular cotton I think it will be fine and washing will return the threads, but with the finer weaaves such as Art Gallery I'm not so sure. I'll have to pop a tag in an Art Gallery part of my Arabella Hexagon quilt and report back.

The needle was a bit temperamental, but I quickly learned what I was doing wrong, and could avoid it for the most part, and knew how to fix it once there was a problem.

The final disadvantage versus spray basting (but not pin basting) is the need to list the quilt from the table to get the needle through.

Today I quilted this, pieced by my mother-in-law. It quilted up just as well as spray basted quilts. I purposely quilted over a couple of the tags and I had no issues at all.

So far, so good. I have a feeling that the most annoying part will be going over the quilt and removing all the tags once I'm done - for this reason I basted in a grid so finding the tags would be easier.

My weekend will be a combination of more quilting - two baby quilts - the plan is spirals. Big ones. And a grizzly baby who had her first immunisations today.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Neon Stained [Quilted]

It isn't finished yet, but today my neon stained quilt is officially a step closer. I have finished the free motion quilting. Warning - this post is photo heavy as I dissect my free motion quilting! Ive found loads of inspiration online for the quilting ideas and it's all pinned on my Pinterest board.
Progress shot!
First up a shot of the whole quilt from the front (I totally lucked out with the light in our living room this afternoon to get these photos which show the quilting off so well)...

...and from the back (I've heard rumours Ikea are discontinuing this print - does anyone know if that's the case in the UK too?).

I think this may be my favourite quilt ever. I have taken each block of colour and individually free motion quilted it in a variety of filler designs - some were successful, some less so, and there are some that I want to revisit again in the future.
I love the texture of pebbles (orange top left) and the really dense straight (?!) line quiltilng in the green. I was also really pleased with how the circles on string turned out (bottom right green).

The green in the top left was an attempt at combining different patterns. I love the ideas I had here but I want to work them through better and think about them a bit more, then try them again. Also new for me was an attempt at wood-grain (orange on the right and large yellow at the bottom right) though I lost my way a little. I found this idea online and I think I need to look at the pictures again to see where I'm going wrong for a wood grain effect. To me this looks more like swirling water.
Another attempt at combining patterns in the green on the right. I was also really pleased with the hearts in the yellow on the left. Less successful was the pink quilting.... I'm not sure I even like it, so may leave this pattern out of my repertoire in the future....

I love the effect of the very dense cross hatch in the yellow at the top. The yellow fan effect was less great - I think I need to mark this in the future and the lines needed to be closer together for this quilt. I didn't mark anything on this quilt at all....

More lovely dense straight line quilting in the pink top left, and more of the circles on string which I loved in the green and yellow and orange along the bottom of this shot.

Overall I'm so pleased with my free motion quilting. Lots more practice will always be needed, but I've learned what's worth practicing more, what needs more thought and what to abandon over the last few days quilting up this top.

All of the quilting was done in Aurifil 50 weight thread with the same thread top and bottom: 3660 (pink variegated); 1147 (green - I think); 1104 (orange); and 4658 (variegated yellow).

A huge thanks to Sarah at Narcoleptic in a Cupboard for such a fantastic quilt along - two years later I may get this quilt finished! If I can find the fabric for the binding, which is in a "safe place"!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WIP Wednesday [quilt tops and quilting]

This weekend we had loads of family round - my parents and brother came to stay for the long weekend and on Sunday 17 of us sat down to dinner including a six-year-old, a 13-month-old and Mia. Of course that meant not much sewing time, but here and there I have done a few stitches.

I've been working a lot on my Neon Stained quilt. I'm free motion quilting each block using a variety of fillers - Pinterest has been invaluable for inspiration and I've got a board dedicated to quilting inspiration

Progress is being made but you can't see it very well from the front - I've quilted all the pink and all the orange.

The back shows it better - I love this Ikea print.

The green and yellow are still to do and my aim is next Monday when I'm showing a local group how to free motion quilt - this will be a great way to show them the results - I'm nowhere near perfect but the practice I'm getting from this quilt is really helping.

All of this practice will come in handy - yesterday I managed to baste the monster that is my City Sampler quilt. And with all the family here for the weekend I finally got it photographed!

I used a microstitch gun to baste for the first time - we basted four quilts in total - one that my mother-in-law has made, which I'm going to quilt, my Three Peaks quilt, the Arabella Hexagon quilt and the City Sampler. Once I make a start on quilting I'll have a fuller idea of how successful it is, but the actual act of basting was just so easy and straight forward. If quilting goes well I could be a convert!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

WIP Wednesday [lots of quilting]

It's been a week of quilting and basting. I've been working on four different quilts. I've set up my machine for free motion quilting and started off with my Skill Builder blocks. I was quite pleased with the result...

So I moved on to my Neon Stained quilt. I want to try lots of different fmq ideas on this one - some are working out better than others...

The third quilt is all hand quilting - when I get a few moments I'm quilting my Thread Along quilt. I'm using #12 perle cotton in white and mostly doing echo quilting. So far I've done the centre and just about made a start on the main blocks.

And the basting? Hexies. Two weeks after cutting the squares, I've basted 125 1.5" hexagons for a quilt for Mia.

It's amazing how much you can get done in a few snatched minutes here and there :)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Free Motion Quilting

It's been a while since I successfully free motion quilted, but with a good clean (it's hard to clean your machine properly if you've never be shown how to before) my sewing machine appears to be behaving - for tonight at least. So whilst Daddy did bath time and tried (unsuccessfully) to convince Mia to take formula milk from a bottle), Mummy managed to quilt these two blocks...

Not bad for an evening!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Finish Along [Quarter 2] - ever so slightly stupid...

So, once a baby hits six weeks old, everything clicks - routine, sleep, feeding.... right? And I get time to sew, right? Hey - can you see that pig flying pas the window? I know that the reality will be snatched sewing moments here and there, even if it's only just five minutes while Daddy changes the nappy. But that isn't going to stop me putting together a really stupidly long Finish Along list - I just never know what will take my fancy.

Arabella Hexagon Quilt: I started this just last week - you can see why in this post here - and needs to be gifted in mid-May, so I need to get this basted, quilted and bound.

Arabella Hexagon Quilt II: In boy colours. Apparently black and white are some of the first colours a baby sees so really this could be for a boy or a girl but is definitely more boy-ish

Mini Swoon Quilt: I started making 6" Swoon blocks before Christmas - I've made three and want to make 9 in total, but all the fabric is cut.

Neon Stained: I have lost count how many times this has appeared on the list. This quilt's success will depend on my inclination to do some free motion quilting...

Three Peaks:  ... This quilt is good friends with Neon Stained - it would be unfair to split them up. This still needs basting - maybe I'll have a massive basting session next week....I had planned to hand quilt it, but maybe I'll machine quilt it to get it done now (the quilt has never really had a purpose) and try out some different quilting ideas.

Hexagon quilt for Mia: Since Mia was born the weather has been crap, but there are mutterings that we will have a great summer (yeah right). But in preparation, I want to make a lightweight small quilt to go over her car-seat/buggy. I fell across some lovely fabrics in greys, pinks and turquoise and found a flannel to back it. I'm not going to use batting. I've cut the fabric ready to use for 1 1/2" EPP hexagons (that's huge for me) and now need to get stitching.

Thread Along quilt: It's basted! Need to get on quilting it now. By hand.

City Sampler: I have just finished the quilt top - all sashed and bordered. Now I need a large space to baste her and take some photos. This photo is still from mid January laid out all over my bed.

Sleep suit mini quilt: I love this sleep suit which Mia was given.
I had to include a photo of her somewhere!
I love the colours and the pattern. The plan is hexagons (again - are you seeing a theme here) and some embroidery I've designed in some kind of nine-patch layout... it will definitely have red binding!

Skill Builder Quilt: It was on the list for last quarter and I don't want it to feel unloved so I'll pop it on here to to keep reminding me of it. Maybe I'll get a couple more blocks quilted.

Aspen Frost Quilt: This is such an easy quilt - lots of chain piecing - I just need to get on with it.

Purple Crosses: this is currently a pile of blocks which were made for me by the girls of the Stash Bee. Over a year ago. I want to make a quilt for my Great Aunt, who I don't get to see very often. I'll be visiting home in June and taking Mia to meet her Great Great Aunt and it would be nice to have this finished by then. I have a fair amount of trimming to do, followed by my favourite - long seams - and then some as yet unplanned quilting.

Grey and Red Ferris Wheel Quilt: I don't know quite how this one will end....

Sewing machine cover - apparently my free motion quilting problems are because it's getting grotty.... so I need a cover.... I've started with some scraps....

Ok - I'm going to stop now. Some need to be finished, some are realisted. Some are totally unlikely! Linking up over with Katy!

Finish Along 2014