Friday, 31 October 2014

Joy Jelly Roll [a disastrous finish]

I know it's still a fair few weeks till Christmas, but I have a Christmassy finish to share with you nevertheless. This is the quilt that nearly beat me. Ten months ago I shoved it in a suitcase on top of the wardrobe in disgust. And it was all because of wool wadding. I'd never used wool wadding before and thought I would give it a try. A decision I have regretted. Apart from smelling like wet sheep (seriously) it doesn't like basting spray. As in, don't even bother trying to spray baste. I learned the hard way - after a whole tin of it. Because it doesn't work and it doesn't hold it together so when you come to quilt it, you get so many puckers you'd think you were making a pair of curtains!

The spray basting fiasco was just one in a series of  set backs. The quilt is made using a Jelly Roll of Joy by Kate Spain. I loved it when I saw the whole range lined up on the shelves of my LQS and knew I'd be making something with it, but what really sold me was the chevron print and how fabulous it would look as binding. I picked a pattern from the book Jelly Roll Dreams by Pam and Nicky Lintott that would mean I didn't have to cut up the Jelly Roll too much and lose the lovely big bold prints. Of course, because I didn't cut the Jelly Roll up as much as some patterns require, you don't lose much fabric to seam allowances. Meaning the final quilt is ENORMOUS! And I didn't buy nearly enough of the sashing fabric. But it took me a year to find this out and once fabric is a year old and you're looking for such a useful print as the red I had picked, I was sure I wouldn't find any. I was in luck though - after a desperate search of the internet I actually found a UK shop with it still in stock. This set back meant the quilt wasn't finished for last Christmas.

Two weeks ago I finally pulled the quilt out of exile, unpicked the minimal quilting I had done, rebasted it with safety pins, free motion quilted the sashing and this week added the binding.

But the quilt still smelled of wet sheep. Today was dry and blustery, so after a bit of googling on how to treat wool wadding I concluded that machine wash on a low heat and line dry was the way to go. Boy was I wrong. I took it out of the washing machine and it was a disaster. The wadding had shrunk so much that the unquilted parts were baggy - too baggy to go unnoticed. And the wadding had bearded through the fabric - not just where I had stitched through the holes created by the needle/thread, but everywhere. Everywhere.

We stuck it on the line, and examined the disaster.

The shrinkage on the long side was 7" - that's nearly 8% shrinkage. I'm gutted. I'd really fallen back in love with this quilt over the last few days and was looking forward to snuggling with it. Also that's about £150 down the drain in fabric. That's a lot of money for me. So now I have to decide. Once I've thrown the quilt in the bin (I truly believe it is unsalvagable) do I buy another jelly roll, and some more of the border and binding fabric which are still available (just) and some Kona red to replace the sashing (this fabric isn't available any more), or do I just move on. Forget about it. Put it down to experience. Never ever buy wool wadding again.

In hindsight I shouldn't have rebasted it with wool wadding (I was already dubious). But I did, because I'd paid money for the wool wadding (and on the silver lining side, if I hadn't used the wool wadding on this I might have used it on a quilt that had considerably more work and more importance). If I had quilted all over and not left the stripey sections unquilted, I would have been fine, because there wouldn't have been noticeable baggy bits. But it still doesn't resolve the horrific bearding that has happened.

This is my first real quilt fail, and I am so grumpy tonight. Any suggestions that might make this better are welcome, but I'm not hopeful. Someone on instagram suggested opening the seam and stuffing the baggy bits trapunto style, but I'd need to do it back and front. And there's still the bearding. I'm linking this post up for the Finish Along at the end of Q4, because it is finished. It's just not usable.

Finish Along 2014

And you know what - it still stinks!

Halloween Quilt [a Finish]

I accidentally started a Halloween quilt last week. In total I spent 6 hours on this quilt: one hour working it out and cutting the fabric (I started with a mini charm pack, but needed to double the number of charms and add sashing); 2 hours piecing the quilt top; 2 and a half hours pebble quilting it and half an hour binding it!

I started with a mini charm pack of The Boo Crew from Sweetwater and a metre of a Robert Kaufmann halloween fabric for the backing. I bought both last year from Fat Quarter Shop in the post Halloween sales. To bring the quilt up to a sensible size I cut another 38 charms from my stash: a couple of Kona solids, two prints from Aspen Frost by Basic Grey - it was the perfect green, and a couple of bluey-purples that have sat in my stash for years now. I added a generous portion of Kona black to make the quilt peekaboo sized and so it fit the piece of wadding I had left over from other projects!

Having used pebble quilting on part of the mix-tape quilt I knew I wanted to make a quilt for us with pebble quilting. But it's a labour (and thread) intensive way to free motion quilt, so a full size quilt wasn't on the cards - this was perfect. Even more perfect was Aurifil 4648. It's a variegated thread called Desert Dawn but it is 100% Halloween - purple, orange, yellow and small amount of white. I bought it to quilt my Neon Stained when I was planning an all-over quilting design but it wasn't right and the plan changed. And it's rather th odd colour combo if I'm honest, so I haven't had much chance to use it. This time it was perfect!

And to bind the quilt - a splash of Architextures! The finished quilt is 32" x 26" - not huge, but a perfect size for playing peekaboo!

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

WIP Wednesday [Christmas]

I know - it's still October, but Christmas isn't a million miles away - only 56 days in fact! I've been working on Christmassy themed projects today:

I finally got round to attaching the binding to my Christmas Jelly Roll quilt. This is the quilt that beat me last Christmas, but last week I finally got it re-basted and quilted. I resorted to kneeling on the floor to trim this quilt - it's HUGE - 70" x 90"!

I'll have a post in the next couple of days to reveal the finished quilt.

And then I moved on to the advent calendars for my niece and nephew - only 33 days till I need these to be finished! I had a play with the layout.

And I finished embroidering the pockets for the first calendar this evening.

Monday, 27 October 2014

7 Years Ago

Seven years ago today I got married to Michael. I'm British so I don't do gushy, but I wouldn't be without him!

I got a lovely piece of vintage jewellery and some chocolate from him today and I have very generously allowed him to go away for a lads week this week! I also made him this little mini quilt inspired by some of the pins on my embroidery Pinterest board

The whole piece is hand embroidered using one strand of DMC threads for the lines and "punched holes" and two strands for the writing.

He won't see this in person until he comes home next weekend, but I have sent him photos already!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival [City Sampler Cushion]

Whilst my first entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival was an easy choice, the second wasn't and it came down to two quilts - the one I've picked here, and the Mix Tapes quilt I finished last week. In the end I went for my cushion because you've seen the Mix Tapes pretty recently if you're a regular reader. If you aren't a regular reader, you can find the Mix Tapes quilt here and let me know if I picked the right one! :)

So squeezing into the mini quilts category by measuring exactly 80" all the way round, is another of my favourite finishes this year and another one that we use all the time: my City Sampler cushion. The background to this project was that I've pieced the full 100 blocks of Tula Pink's City Sampler and I want to quilt it a la Angela Walters. I can dream, right? So this was a practice before I hit the real thing. It also served two other purposes: getting the colour scheme of mint green, peach and grey out of my system and learning to free motion quilt on my new Brother sewing machine.

I love Tula's blocks - they are so quick to piece, very few complex shapes or matching seams, and even though they are only 6" finished, you can really show off your favourite fabrics.

I had a blast quilting this! It's the first time I had free motion quilted in the ditch - well, occassionally I hit the ditch, mostly I just got close to the seam! It was also the first time I'd quilted feathers on a real project (top left block in the photo above), and although they aren't perfect, it's given me the confidence to keep trying!

I've learned a lot about how I want to quilt the full size sampler. Maybe by the next Blogger's Quilt Festival I'll be able to enter that as a finished quilt!

You can find my other entry into the Blogger's Quilt Festival here.

Blogger's Quilt Festival [Nested Churn Dash]

It's Quilt Market time - that means two things: lots of time spent on Instagram drooling over pretty fabrics and patterns (I've seen three projects so far that I'd like to be spending some time on next year...); and the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

My first entry for the Festival this year was a no-brainer. It's my favourite quilt I've made this year: my Nested Churn Dash Quilt.

This was a tutorial from Quilt Jane, that I wasn't in love with until I saw some settings of different sized blocks. As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to make one. I started at the end of June and the quilt was finished within a month!

I decided to used a long-hoarded half-yard bundle of Happy Mochi Yum Yum in the warm colour-way and supplement it with fabrics from my stash and order some Kona solids so that the end result looked quite scrappy. I also threw in a couple of greens and blues.

The part I enjoyed most about this project was the quilting. I did lots of different free motion designs in all of the "background" areas of the churn dashes. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest collecting quilting ideas and then used as many as I could. Some were more successful than others!

before washing

after washing

After washing
In the background yellow I did a cross hatch - that was a first as well, and another style of quilting I've used a lot more since! The backing wasn't big enough, so was enlarged with some left over Happy Mochi Yum Yum.

And the binding is scrappy from left over fabrics.

We use this quilt nearly every day - Mia has her toys on it on the living room floor or plays peekaboo with it. It's been through the washing machine and tumble drier countless times already and it is much loved - just how a quilt should be!

I'm entering this in the home quilted category - there will be others far better than mine, but for me this was such an achievement and gave me so much confidence to keep on at custom free motion quilting, and move away from the all-over stipple!

You can see more information about this quilt in my original ta-dah post here.

You can find my other entry for the Bloggers Quilt Festival here.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Botanics Zippy Pouch [a finish]

Another zippy pouch finished (and gifted)! This is pouch two of ten from my original Finish Along list for Quarter 4. This was the photo that showed a zip and some lace. The zip is the same one, but the lace just wasn't working in the end so I left it out.

I started by perusing my Pinterest board where I collect embroidery ideas. I picked an Urban Threads design of Autumn leaves. The design comes with the leaves individually and with the leaves on a tree. The tree would look fabulous as the centre of a cushion - maybe one day.

The embroidery is done on Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in natural with DMC 3809. I used two strands to outline the leaves and one strand for all of the internal detail.

I did some more graffiti quilting - you can see it this time, because I didn't have a thread that matched the fabric. I think it's Aurifil 4654 - a variegated turquoise.

This bottom photo shows the colour better!

The fabrics are Botanics on the front and a similar coloured solid on the back, and more Botanics for the lining.

I used the same tutorial as for the red zippy pouch with rotary cut panels and boxed corners.

Finish Along 2014

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

WIP Wednesday [stipple]

Back in January I wrote a post called "Beaten" about a Christmas Jelly Roll Quilt. I had chosen wool wadding for the first time and discovered in disastrous manner that wool wadding and spray basting are simply incompatible. I shoved the quilt, with the small amount of puckered quilting, in a suitcase and exiled it to the top of the wardrobe in disgust! Needless to say it was not a Q4 finish for 2013. Well, it's Q4 again for the Finish Along and as this is a Christmas Quilt (in fabrics which came out and were purchased just before Christmas 2012 - Joy by Kate Spain), the quilt reappeared on the list.
This was last year - you can just about pick out
the single line of unsuccessful quilting

Whilst I've been off on maternity leave, I've been sewing with a great group of friends each week in a village hall - and village halls mean lots of space for basting. This week was my last opportunity to baste before I go back to work (there's a couple of weeks off in between - I don't go back just yet). I bought curvy safety pins and we had a group basting session (is it just me who thinks that would sounds rude if you're not a quilter?).

A certain someone has been a bit of a monster the last few days - refusing to nap and being awake for long periods during the night. She must be exhausted (I am). But today she napped. And instead of doing what I had planned to sew, I got out the Jelly Roll Quilt.

Mia napped for two hours and I stippled for two hours. She is a happy baby and I am a happy mummy, because after just two hours I finished quilting it. I quilted a basic stipple in all of the red sashing, leaving the stacked coins unquilted. It feels like a bit of a cop-out to stipple a quilt, as I know I can do other designs. But this quilt was so large, that tackling anything else seemed daft, and it was nice to do something so mindless for two hours.

The photographs are rubbish today - there are three reasons for that: I've lost the charging lead for my camera, so I'm using my phone; the weather is horrid; and Mia had just woken up so I was rushing. This is the quilt in my living room. Taking up most of my living room.

And this is the only photo I managed to take with the dying camera, and the only one you can see the quilting in.

Ad the backing fabrics I picked up in the post-Christmas sales last year:
Next up is one of my least favourite jobs - trimming the quilt.... and then the binding - which was made this time last year.

On a non-quilty note, I went to the dentist today. First time in 9 years. How bad am I. It's not that I dislike dentists, I'm just lazy and nothing hurt, so I didn't bother going... but whilst I have a maternity exemption still, I decided to use it. Despite the long gap, my teeth are asolutely fine. Which is good. My husband's teeth disintegrate when you look at them - it's a family trait. Let's hope Mia takes after Mummy, not Daddy!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday