Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Woodland Log Cabins [a finish]

I just love how some projects start out of nothing - no plans, no long held desire to try a technique. Just the random placement of two random pieces of fabric on a shelf. That was exactly how this started. When I received my whimsical woodland mug rug swap package from Alison, she included a small piece of woodland print with foxes and racoons: bright green, blue, orange, coral and pink. Lovely as it was, it wasn't my normal type of fabric and I had no plans for it. I popped it up on the shelf to be put away when I next tidied. At around the same time I took a trip to a local patchwork shop and picked up a coral fabric from Modern Neutrals. I had nothing in mind, I just liked the colour. And it was these two fabrics which ended up next to each other - a perfect match!

I can't remember why I choose log cabins, but I do remember thinking that I didn't need to think about it any more because log cabins were perfect. I took advantage of a nap time and pulled some more fabrics from my stash, cut all the strips I needed, fussy cut the centres, and pieced.

I got cocky with the piecing - blocs 1 and 2 were fine... block 3 required major surgery - the kind where you need to repiece a section but you really don't want to unpick all the other seams around it. And block 4 only narrowly avoided similar surgery. That third blocks still isn't perfect, but you have to look really closely to spot it!

I hand quilted this cushion cover, just because. It's nice to have some hand quilting on the go and I didn't have any, so I pulled out the perle threads and colour matched. I didn't have a good green, but found a surprsing match in quite a minty green (not the lime green I had been after). The bright purple-y pink was a no hoper... it turns out that the Finca thread is really aimed at crochet, and it turns out fuschia pink isn't popular for this... I used 3 strands of embroidery thread. In hindsight I should have used 2 strands but you live and learn. Maybe a Finca colour chart should be added to my next shopping list!

I've backed the cushion with the remaining AMH flannel which I picked up in an IG destash and already used to make a hooded towel for Mia. Although there's not yellow on the front of the cushion, the pink is spot on and it's so snuggly!

The finished cushion is " by "
The fabrics used a nice mix from my stash including Summersville Spring, Modern Nuetrals, Figures by Zen Chic, some Kona solids, Art Gallery Natural Elements and Art Gallery Reminisce. The woodland animal fabric is from Timeless Treasures.
The quilting is in #16 Finca Perle Thread

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

And just in time it's a finish for A Lovely Year of Finishes

WIP Wednesday [dilemma]

We are so close to finishing the work on our living room and dining room... it feels like it's taken forever but we have been in the new house less than a month so we're doing ok really. And when I sit down and think about it, a lot of the work that needed doing was so I could get a space to sew in the lounge... we've moved the door to the cupboard under the stairs... we've got rid of the fireplace, we've totally replastered both rooms...we've painted and painted and glossed (I hate glossing)... we have new flooring... and tonight we need to put up curtain rails, curtains, shelves. And then we can bring in the furniture - I have a lovely new sewing desk - still in the Ikea boxes.

I can't wait to share some photos of the finished rooms, but for now all I have is a sneak peak at our new carpet! It's very brave for us! And this little monster stood up and walked by herself without encouragement for the first time!

Whilst all that is going on and I'm trying not to get too stressed, I have a very different dilemma: there are so many gorgeous English Paper Piecing projects out there and I don't know which one to start first.

I have a copy of the book containing La Passacaglia, and I have the paper pieces. So many people have done such beautiful fussy cutting of this quilt, but I don't have a fussy-cutable stash and it doesn't really float my boat. But I've pulled the fabric for my first cog and realised that even with "non-fussy-cutable" fabrics, there is still the opportunity to fussy cut and get a really special quilt in the end. This is quite daunting and I'm still working out how this will work best for me, but I know I can't justify acrylic templates and a mini rotary cutter.

Last weekend I received my copy of The New Hexagon book. If you like EPP and haven't seen this yet, I strongly advise getting a copy. The blocks are wonderful, so I had a think and worked out how I'd like to set them and that I'd like to use a rainbow of colours and low volumes fabrics.

And then I was browsing Instagram and fell over #thenewhexagonmillefioriqal. I spent a while looking at the blocks being posted and I just couldn't get my head around how these cogs came from that book. Doh. Eventually I found the instructions on Katja's site and I was BLOWN AWAY! The amount of work is huge, the quilt is gorgeous and I want to start NOW!

I've also signed up for the #handpiecedminiswap and this will be another EPP project, and I'm drawn to the blocks in The New Hexagon again - I posted two colour options on Instagram this evening and so far each has the same number of likes...

In the meantime, I am of course still working on Patchwork of the Crosses and I have a little progress to share....
Fussy cut in the centre in preparation!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Marsala Clams [A finish]

This is one finish I really did not expect to be sharing with you this week!

This was my first photo shoot on our brand new fake grass - I never need to use a lawn mower ever again! But I think the lovely bright green threw my camera off, as the colours, especially the background fabric, are a bit out, and it really is more brown in real life!

Marsala is the Pantone colour of 2015 and thus the subject of the Pantone quilt challenge. As someone who doesn't mind brown (I love the richness it gave to my Rhubarb and Custard quilt) Marsala is still a little out of my comfort zone. A hunt through my stash led me to pick Kona Burgundy as my Marsala of choice (I'm not a wine drinker so I can't tell the difference!). To this I added a fat quarter of Annali from Dashwood Studios - my only other "marsala-ish" fabric. Then I added coral/peach, lime green and some text prints. And by chance my recently acquired Karen Lewis Textiles scrap bundle also included some "marsala-ish" fabrics.

There have been quite a few clamshell quilts around lately (Rachel has hosted a clam bake QAL too) so I was inspired to dig out the 2" clamshell papers I bought a few years ago and give EPP clams a go. If you want my advice....don't. These little beggars are fiddly! Basting was ok... I used glue. But I really struggled to line the pieces up - they don't quite tesselate perfectly and what to do with the little tail of fabric at the narrow point was a mystery I never solved. Add in the fact you are piecing a curve and need I say more. So by the time I had 4 rows of 6-7 clams the wonk was noticeable and I was grumpy! I decided the project was a no-goer, packed the clams in one of the many boxes labelled "sewing stuff" and decided I wouldn't be entering this year's Pantone Quilt challenge. I was out of time with the move fast approaching.
This photo shows the colours far better - the two solid marsala
clams are made from the same fabric as the background...
But when writing my Finish Along goals for this quarter I was re-inspired and added on these dratted clam shells. I'd spent a lot of time already and it would be a shame to do nothing with them. And when the linky party for the challenge opened, I decided to dig them out - and it only took 20 minutes of searching through boxes to find them! It must be a sign. I was so inspired that during nap time last Friday I even added another two rows - on further inspection the wonk was getting worse as I added more clams to the rows - I added two more rows to the clams before the wonk became noticeable again. And by wonk I mean that there is no way the next clamshell will tesselate in any way with those that were already pieced!

I appliqued the clams to some more Kona burgundy, then using perle thread I've hand quilted echoes of the clams in the background, and outlined the pieced clams, all in coordinating thread.

The colour is totally wrong in this photo but it does show the quilting well
My sewing machine had it's first outing in the new house on Sunday morning - in the middle of the living room on the world's smallest table. I made my binding on my knees, with the ironing board balanced on the footstool (everyone does it that way, right?), and with the blessing of the house-moving Gods, I now have a finished mini-quilt! Note to self: 2" binding is just a little bit tight...
Doesn't my house look like a tip? We're living in one room whilst the builders finish...
Quilt stats:
Size: 15" x 13" - so this will be entered in the mini category for the Pantone challenge)
Fabrics: Kona Burgundy, Annali for Dashwood Studios, Architextures, Karen Lewis Textiles, Art Gallery fabrics, Cotton and Steel Basics, Pearl Bracelets and random texty prints
Threads: hand pieced with Aurifil 50w, appliqued with Gutermann (because the colour matched) and hand quilted with Finca Perle thread #16 and Aurifil perle-ish thread in peach.

Linking up with the Pantone Quilt Challenge

2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge: Marsala

And the finish Along (my original list is here)

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side
And you can see my previous entries: Tangerine Tango; Emerald Green; and Radiant Orchid.

WIP Wednesday [dreaming]

We have spent today working on a work in progress of a different kind... painting the living room and dining room. There is a reason I'm not a painter and decorator by trade... I'm covered in white flecks and green smudges and no sewing is happening... I am simply dreaming of having works in progress to share.

By this time next week I will hopefully have my sewing machine out and in the meantime I've been dreaming of new projects and picking out piles of fabric. Here are a few...[sorry for crappy phone photos - my camera was well-packed!]

 .. A baby quilt
 Another baby quilt
 Some Karen Lewis yummy-ness for a mini quilt
 random loveliness picked up in the Village Haberdashery Easter sale
 The beginnings of a new quilt for Mia
And another baby quilt

I won't be linking up with WIP Wednesday today, as I really don't have any WIPS to share. But watch this space for a finish and hopefully, eventually, some photos of my painting attempts!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

WIP Wednesday [by hand]

So we've moved. It all went very much to plan. The removers came on the Saturday and I can without doubt say that the 5 hours between them arriving and them finishing was the most stressful ever. It all seemed to plod along for the first 2 hours and then suddenly it switched up about four gears and as we were removing the last few things from the house, they were already moving in the new belongings - scary!

We spent the rest of the Easter weekend stripping wall-paper and decorating two bedrooms, whilst the builder moved a doorway, closed up a fireplace and built a new fence. We also did a mammoth Ikea shop! Unfortunately a slight mix up means that the plastering is only just happening today, so we'll be in a bit of a rush to finish the painting before the new floor arrives...

And until the new floor arrives on 27th April I can't build my new sewing desk, and I can't unpack my sewing and my machine....though my stash has been unpacked already!

And that means this week's WIP Wednesday is brought to you by hand. I packed a few different projects with me for hand sewing in these few weeks but the past week I've focussed in on just one of them - Patchwork of the Crosses. It's an English paper piecing project which I started this just after Mia was born - this time last year in fact, but it hasn't seen much progress in the last 10 months. Over the past few nights as the pressure of unpacking has slowed (waiting for that floor...) I've made really good progress: Another star... first corner block...

....and a sashing block.

I have fabric cut for nine blocks and all necessary corners and sashing, but I could very easily keep going, as I love the colours and low volume. But I have recently received my Millefiore Quilts book and there is definitely a La Passacaglia quilt in my future. I shouldn't start it whilst this is still in progress, though that has never stopped me in the past!

Of course the reality is that whilst I can't access my sewing machine, all I can actually think of is fantastic new projects I want to start immediately. And can't. So I've also been pulling lots of fabric piles together for various projects, so expect lots of newness when the sewing machine is released!

Linking up with Work In Progress Wednesday!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Finish Along Q2: In boxes

This is a tough list to write. My sewing is packed in boxes and it will be a few weeks before it gets unpacked so this list could be totally unrealistic - let's face it - my lists normally are! I'm consoling myself by puling fabric from my stash (which is unpacked) for a growing list of baby quilts! Here's what I hope to finish this quarter:

Lob cabin cushion: I've picked this project as my goal for a lovely year of finishes for April as it requires some hand quilting. I'm hoping my machine will be unpacked just in time to finish it off before the end of the month!

City Sampler: I would love to enter this into a quilt show at the end of summer, so I have a fair amount of work to do to get there. This year? Maybe next year?

Jennie Rayment Wall hanging: another hand sewing project to get me through the move! There's quite a lot of applique to finish then I need to decide how on earth to quilt it! Any thoughts?

Secret Sewing: this may be an unrealistic goal but it's being added to its third Finish Along list...these are the fabrics I'm using.

Skill Builder: again... you must be bored of seeing this one but I'd love to get it finished... Of course I may just start the new block of the month project instead!

Aspen Glow: another repeat never know, maybe this one will suddenly fall back into favour!

April showers mug rug: when I made Mia's hoop of a girl with a brolly I cut double the fabric so I could have a matching mug rug. It would be appropriate to have on my desk for April but that may be my most unrealistic comment so far!

Clam shells: I don't like clam shells. Far too fiddly. But having put all that effort in I'm definitely going to make the few that I have pieced into something. This is theoretically my entry into this year's Pantone challenge but the link up opens this week so another dose of reality may be required! Especially as when I looked for them this evening it turns out I may have packed them in one of the many boxes labelled "sewing stuff"...

Power of Nine: I loved piecing this quilt top but I'm still not quite sure how to quilt it. Of course, I might just start a full size one instead!

Rainbow Slivers cushion: this is partially pieced... I'd love to get it finished!

Double wedding ring quilt: this project has been on the back burner for over a year but we just finished decorating our bedroom in the new house and it will be a perfect match so it would be great to get it finished and on the bed! All of the fabric is cut, 7 rings are joined, the arcs are all pieced - it's just pesky curves and Y-Seams...

Cotton and steel mini quilt: I signed up for a few more swaps... I have a plan based on this logo...

...and this fabric.

I'll be making this twice - once with light background for my.partner and once with dark background for me!

As I said, I need to make a couple of baby quilts: one in grey and yellow - here' my initial fabric pull: it will be a half square triangle quilt inspired greatly by this pin. I may swap out the scrappy greys for a single solid grey and just keep the yellows scrappy.

And another in blues on a navy background with a pop of orange using Tula Pink's Modern Alphabet pattern to spell the baby's name.

Mia needs a quilt for her cot, and she seems to have a thing for cats, so I've bought Elizabeth Hartman's cat pattern and pulled out some pearl bracelets as a starting point.

In the middle of the move Karen Lewis posted some charm squares on Instagram and I was perfectly timed to grab some - normally they are gone in seconds and I miss out. I have managed to snag 20 in low volume and 20 in pretty colours and these will also be combined in some kind of half square triangle layout inspired by the same pin as above, to make a mini quilt for my study wall!

And a last minute addition to the list: I just found out an old school friend had a baby girl! Here are the fabrics I've pulled - I'm thinking the grey background (not the cream) and just a dash of Emmy Grace. I'm borrowing a design from Anne at Play Crafts (nature tones) which I think will be just perfect for a little girl. Thanks, Anne!

So that makes 18 on the list and I think I'll stop there!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Finish Along Q1 - how did I do?

Well, not bad all things considered! Here is my final finish for the quarter: the mini quilt for the UK Mini Swap. I'll write up a proper full blog post once I've (hopefully) added in some extras I have planned and sent it.

But this mini is just one of nine finishes!

January saw my first rash of finishes - four in total! I finished of a couple of swap items with January deadlines - a Whimsical Woodland Mug Rug...

...and a Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt.

As well as making a new mug rug for my desk at work

And with a final push and the help of my January goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes I finally completed my Essential Sampler quilt.

 And then things slowed down a bit. Life got in the way and I got distracted by pretty new projects! But I did get a few more things ticked off: My February ALYoF goal was the Trellis baby quilt.

And my March goal was the Preppy the Whale baby quilt

And squeezing in at the last minute - two more mini quilt finishes: Love

And Wild Flowers

That gives me 9 finishes!

The other 6 projects remain works in progress, with varying degrees of progress to report... Aspen Glow, the Skill Builder quilt, my secret sewing and the Jennie Rayment wall hanging have not been touched - but the wall hanging is packed in the "hand luggage" of the move so I can sew if I get the chance over the next 5 weeks of unpacking and building work.

The Power of Nine Quilt is basted and waiting for quilting, but I'm waiting for inspiration to strike

And the cushion cover in the same design as the UK mini swap is now half pieced (but not half-pressed!). So no doubt some of those projects will reappear on my next list!

I'm linking up with Adrianne at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side