Sunday, 31 August 2014

Cross Cushion [ A Finish]

Yep - you read it right - another finish. And I'm sitting with it right now as I type this!

Earlier this week I quilted up my cross cushion. This has sat around for a while, firstly because I didn't know how to quilt it, and then because my machine broke. Once the machine was back, this was the first thing I did last Wednesday.

The quilting is straight-ish free motion lines approximately 1/4" apart in the background fabrics. I've left the crosses unquilted so they pop.

This morning I pieced the cushion back. A recent reorganization of my sewing space meant it took a while to find the green fabric. I hadn't really planned on piecing it, but felt that on the sofa next to my Tula City Sampler cushion, which had a pieced back out of necessity, it would look a bit sad if it was plain. I used the curry leaves from Botanics (with a little pop of metallic) and one of the text prints I'd used on the front to make it a bit more interesting, and I continued my buttonhole success with three buttons.

The binding has been sat on my shelf, pressed and wound, for months now, so it was nice to finally be able to use it. I caused myself some bother by not checking I had the quarter-inch set after playing with buttonholes, but with a litte TLC it fits! I totally hadn't intended the pink to line up with the pink, but aaccidents happen.

Our sofas are quite large and it's so much comfier with a cushion. My mother and my mother-in-law agree. However, my husband doesn't require a cushion and has been making rude comments about the recent spate of cushion finishes, so there may not be many more for a while.... or if there are, I'll sneak them in when he's not watching!

The finished cushion is 19.5" x 19.5" - It was 20" square before the quilting! The fabrics are all from my stash and include Tula Pink, Kona Solids, Pearl Bracelets, Architextextures, Botanics, Alison Glass, Comma, and Art Gallery. The texty fabrics have been a bit harder to name as I don't have the selvages on most of them.

This is another tick of my Q3 Finish Along List - you can find the list here - I'm thinking of changing the title to Sleep Deprived Genius!
Finish Along 2014

Siblings Together [A {lovely} Finish]

Over a year ago a group of UK quilters started a bee to make quilts for the Siblings Together Charity. When we started I wasn't pregnant and I picked February to be my month. Quite fortuitous really given Mia's arrival! So whilst I was in labour the postman was busy delivering completed bee blocks. I'd picked the Love in the Mist block made scrappy and bright.

Inevitably it took me a while to get round to putting the blocks together. Initially I had intended not to use sashing. But it hurt my eyes. And it looks so much better with that little bit of white. Not so much that it shows every mark and has to be washed by foster mums every five minutes, but enough to brighten and lighten the quilt.

I wanted easy and quick quilting for this quilt. Unfortunately the week I had planned to quilt it was the week my machine died. And my Husqvarna just isn't up to fmq at the moment. So I plumped for a cross hatch, spaced at 4" using the Husqvarna walking foot (which I think is better than the Brother walking foot). I marked every line with a hera marker as I just don't get even vaguely straight lines by just using the quilting guides.

I think the straight line quilting works far better on this quilt than a free motion stipple, so it was obviously meant to be.

I wasn't sure I would get the chance to bind it before the end of the month, but my husband's mother's cousin's wife - we just call her Aunty Adrienne - needed some help binding her first quilt, so I used this quilt as an opportunity to show her (I hope I can get a photo of her finished quilt to share with you as it's fantastic).

I have to say that the binding, before it was cut, and even before it was attached was painful to look at, but once attached I think it's perfect!

So it's finished. It got dragged about the floor a bit to mark it, so I need to wash it before I package it up, but for now I can declare this finished. It came in a little larger than planned due to the sashing at 62" x 78".

This was my goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes in August.

And was on my Quarter 3 Finish Along list!

Finish Along 2014

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Harrogate 2014

Yesterday we took a trip to Harrogate for the annual Quilt Show. As well as making a few purchases.... there were some beautiful quilts on display. Lots were very traditional, including the first place bed quilt
By Liz Villalobos, quilted by Kay Bell
But a few more modern quilts (modern in my opinion) got in too
Colour Wheel by Liz Merckel (ribbons for piecing and Judges Choice)

Simply Red Stars by Chris Day

Line Dancing by Maureen Crawford (ribbons for sampler and Judges Choice)
And it was great to see another Tula Pink City Sampler - I loved the colouring
Tula Pink for Cara by Elizabeth Cutts
And I love the quilting on this one - inspirational
Nebula by Christine Marriage

Maybe I'll enter one of my quilts next year...

[If your quilt is featured here and you would like me to remove the photograph, please just let me know.]

Friday, 29 August 2014

Aspen Frost Quilt Along

Last Autumn I picked up the Aspen Frost quilt pattern from Cora's Quilts and some Downton Abbey fabric to make it for an impatient relative (in the best sense)!

Life got in the way and although I did all the cutting and pieced the first few sets of units, this is a project that has been gathering dust for a while.

A few moths back Shelley announced a quilt along - this is the kick in the bum I need!

Aspen Glow Quilt Along @ Cora's Quilts

So I'm definitely joining in - this is a quilt which will be finished by Christmas!

Note to self: take some better photos in natural light!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

WIP Wednesday [brother's back]

I got my machine back yesterday. Luckily all that was required was a needle realignment. So I'm sewing again! First up was to finish a quilt. But as today is WIP Wednesday, you'll have to pop back later this week to see that.
Sat on the back of the chair on my neon stained quilt
 waiting patiently for a photo shoot!
Second priority was a cushion cover. As soon as the machine broke, all I wanted to do was quilt this cushion. Typical. I started this morning, and what with naps and the new bedtime routine, I've just finished the quilting.

I love love love the texture of the quilting - I did free motion matchstick quilting in the background, alternating between horizontal and vertical lines, and I left the crosses themselves unquilted, so they really pop.

I'd love to say the free motion quilting went smoothly. It did for most of the cushion. I didn't change a thing. And then suddenly it started skipping stitches. So I cleaned it out and changed the needle. And it kept doing. I rethreaded, rewound the bobbin, tried a different thread, in case the machine didn't like amber... nothing worked. I was rather miffed. In the end I put the speed up to high on a practice sandwich and it didn't skip once. But then why didn't it skip once on the lower speed for the first three quarters of the cushion. I reckon men design sewing machines with this kind of inexplicable problem so that they get tea made whilst their wives are busy fuming. But I finished it!

Somewhere I have a backing for this cushion. However with the move to a new sewing space it. could. be. anywhere. Hopefully this will soon be another finish for you! The move had another effect - I couldn't sew for nearly four days and now my head is buzzing with new ideas I want to try out. You may see another rash of new starts in the next few weeks!

And speaking of finishes, I finally got a cushion pad for the enormous cushion I finished last month - the down cushions were cheaper than the nasty poly ones. It is soooo comfy!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Weekend and Weddings

It's the end of a long weekend here and it's been a good'un! A brief break from quilting (I haven't touched a needle all weekend) for a family interlude!

On Friday my husband's cousin, Vicky, was married to Karl. We had a fantastic day! The service was lovely, the reception venue, Alnwick Gardens, was perfect, the bride was beautiful, the groom scrubbed up well, there were a lot of laughs and spoons was played.

We finally managed to get a photo of my mother-in-law, her three children, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren - she's been wanting this photo for years!
Ellie-Jo, Phil, Jane, Steph, Linda, James, Michael, Me and Mia
We have then spent the rest of the weekend rearranging our house. Ever since Mia arrived, we've known that we need more space for her, but we were at a loss at how to achieve it. Mum had a brainwave while we were on holiday and this weekend we went through with it. The compromise is that my sewing space is now a fair bit smaller.

I haven't had chance to test it out properly yet as my machine had to go to the sewing machine doctors. I hit a pin last weekend and it resulted in nasty metallic scraping. But I got good news on Saturday - they were simply able to realign things and the financial damage is minimal - yippeee! I get to pick it up tomorrow.

And this weekend Mia turned six months old. Time flies!

We finished the weekend with a family brunch!
Dancing on the table
Me, Mia, Steph, Ellie-Jo and Jane
Mia, a balloon and Granddad
Not a bad few days! Back to normality tomorrow!

p.s. My Mum also spent the weekend with us but seems to have successfully avoided the camera in all cases except one photo which she wants me to delete!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

WIP Wednesday [broken]

I have broken my sewing machine. I hit a pin, the needle bent and now I get a nasty metallic scraping noise when the bobbin case is in. She is going to the sewing machine doctor tomorrow :(

For the time being I am back to sewing on my Husqvarna. One of the reasons I got the Brother was because of the issues I was having when free motion quilting - the machine was skipping stitches, regardless of the speed I was working. And now of course, since the Brother broke, all I want to do is free motion quilting.

And that has meant that WIP for this week is minimal, as I'm too busy sulking. I've picked up some hand quilting on a very very old WIP - I'm planning to post about it in more detail soon: for now, it's just phone pictures - sorry!

I've also made a few more mix tape blocks. I think I know what I'm doing with these blocks now - at least I have a couple of ideas. I've also cut another few blocks to get me up to 15 blocks in total - so much for only do a few because I didn't have the fussy cutable fabrics!

And I started quilting the Siblings Together quilt - I need to get this finished for my August ALYoF goal.

It's a bank holiday weekend coming up in the UK. My cousin gets married on the Friday - her hen do was Monday night and we had cupcakes with willies on - yes we were then thoroughly immature - the older generation were by far the worst!

And then we are spending the rest of the weekend rearranging the house. Wish us luck! It didn't get off to the best start - the shelf needs dvds underneath it to make it level... this will be fixed!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Two quilts or one?

I finished off the Wild Flowers quilt top that I was working on whilst on holiday with the borders. This is the part I find hardest about EPP - trimming the edges off the shapes and then trying to find seam allowances to sew together, which I've accidentally sewn down already. But it's done.

I needed a back for it. Whilst on holiday I searched every charity shop in Sidmouth for vintage textiles and came up with the most poorly made (homemade), faded pillow case. It was, however, only faded on one side. But it did have a fastening made of dark green velcro. The best part, was that it cost just 50p! I decided it would be the basis for the backing of my holiday quilt. I forgot to photograph it before I pulled it apart...

When I do EPP I cut large square/rectangular pieces of fabric which I then trim roughly to the right shape with scissors as I baste them. This leads to quite a bit of waste, which I saved with the intention of doing some improv piecing. The pillow case back, once trimmed of fade and ruffle, was too small for the quilt front, so I improv pieced a strip, bordered it with more purple and added it in. The second purple stripe hides a slight mark on the fabric which is now in my seam allowance.

And the bottom strip of  purple was to bring it up to size. The problem I now have is that I like the back as much as the front. And now I can' decide whether to put it on the back, as it will be a wall hanging and I will never see it... or to have it as a second mini. What do you think?

p.s. Do you like my new shoes which have photobombed the pics? They match the dress I'm wearing for two weddings in two weeks. I just need them to stretch a bit before those weddings.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

FNSI [Sleep Training]

Although our holiday was absolutely wonderful, sleeping was not. Mia refused to sleep in her travel cot, so I ended up sleeping on the floor with her on the travel cot mattress next to me... when we got back, we put her into the co-sleeper we've been using and had the night from hell - in the week and a half we were away she started rolling in bed and wanting to sleep on her side/front, and the co-sleeper just wasn't big enough. At this point I will say that the co-sleeper, which is a cot with three sides which can be height adjusted to match your own mattress, was the best thing we bought, especially as I have breast-fed at night. So Monday night we read up all the websites and decided that there was no way Daddy would cope with any of the cry-it-out methods of sleep training.
I slept all night in my own bed!

In the end we went for a method where every time baby cries, you pick them up until they stop, then put them down again. If they cry, pick them up again. If they lie in the cot not crying, leave the room. If they cry go and pick them up again.... ad infinitum. And you know what - it worked. It took us three quarters of an hour the first night, but less and less as the week has gone by. The first few nights she then woke every two hours for a feed - I guess what she use to do in the co-sleeper - but even that has improved. Touch wood this will continue. I even managed to get her down for a nap upstairs this afternoon!

All the extra energy means I can now sit up by myself!

The reason I'm telling you this? Last night was Friday Night Sew In. I use to take part every month, and then lost it when the host changed. I found it last month but couldn't take part because Mia was not in bed. But this month.... I sewed!

I set aside the evening to finish working on a quilt for my Mother-in-Law. Linda had made a 16-block quilt using different types of disappearing nine-patch/four patch/pinwheel. I quilted it for her back in July, but couldn't bind it before we went on holiday.

And once I'd finished with the quilt I found time to make another mixtape block

I'm just going to make these until I come up with an idea for what to do with them! Did you join in FNSI?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

WIP Wednesday [Hand Quilting]

I wasn't really planning on hand quilting this week. But then we also weren't planning on sleep training our daughter this week. Yet that is what we are doing... an once I've picked her up and put her down a fair few times, I want to sit in a comfy seat with some hand work.

Look, Mummy! I slept the whole night in my own room!
(I put her down on her back!)
Except I only realised this once she was asleep, and the hand sewing I wanted was in a cupboard. Upstairs. So I pulled out a project which hasn't seen the light of day in over a year.

When I started my Dear Jane Quilt 18 months ago, I knew I wanted to hand quilt it, but also that to hand quilt the whole thing would be way too much. I decided to use a quilt as you go technique and very quickly created the first section and quilted the first block. And equally quickly put it in a box and forgot about it.

But this is my current WIP whilst I'm stalled on a few other projects and I'm really enjoying it! And whilst you here... I need some help on one of the stalled projects... my Mix Tape quilt. I have five full size blocks and one mini.

Do I stick with this layout, or make another regular size block and fine a new home for the littl'un? Or make even more blocks to make it bigger? Help!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday!