Saturday, 31 October 2015

Pink Plusses [A {lovely} Finish]

I'm so please to finally share this finish with you - it's been a while in the works and I've missed a few deadlines - the baby's birth, the baby's christening... unfortunately the weather has conspired against us for any good photos...

My new official quilt holder upper!

My sister-in-law, Steph, asked me to make a quilt for her friend back at the start of summer. We knew she was expecting a girl and Steph had a very specific colour scheme in mind: cream, beige and pink - not my normal go to, but very pretty. A found some ideas on Pinterest and Steph picked the pattern from those.

All of the fabrics came from my stash. I really don't know what the neutrals are, but the pinks include Art Gallery, Lily and Will, and Pearl Bracelets. I normally struggle with pink, as I never have the shade I need, but this pretty, girly baby pink seems to be abundant in my stash. After some grovelling around the dining room floor I had my layout. I started piecing this back in July...

There was a hold up at the end of July, when I realised that the backing I had bought wasn't big enough... but I found a replacement at Harrogate at the start of September. For quilting, I knew I wanted to do straight lines. I have a walking foot for my Brother machine, but I prefer the walking foot on my Husqvarna, so I waited to get the Husqvarna serviced before I quilted it. I'd originally marked some diagonal lines for quilting, but at the last minute I changed my mind and quilted a quarter inch on each side of all the seams. It has given the quilt a really lovely drape. The binding is a bit more Lily and Will.

The finished quilt is 48"x 36" - this is a great size for a baby quilt, as it's so versatile: when baby is small it can be used on the floor to create a clean safe area for baby to lie, roll and play, whilst when they are bigger it can fit a larger cot, or be used as a lap quilt until they are quite big.

I'll need to wash the quilt before Steph can gift it, but this is officially my first ALYoF finish since June... so I'm proudly linking up with Sew Bittersweet and Fibre of All Sorts

And this quilt has also appeared on quite a few Finish Along lists, so at the end of the year, I'll link up with Adrianne too (you can find my list for this quarter here)

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

WIP Wednesday [Farmer's Wife Weekly [2]]

Last week there were three blocks for the Farmer's Wife quilt-along, but in an effort to get ahead, I made four. I would like to have all the blocks pieced before Baby, hence trying to get ahead.

I started off with Katherine: I used a Safari Moon print (pink) with a lime green Kona solid and the navy is from Doe by Carolyn Friedlander.

The layout of this block confuses me. I don't dislike it but I don't understand it...

Then Old Maid: the peach fabric is one of my favourites and is from Geometric Bliss by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery. The coral is Michael Miller. This is one of those blocks that definitely looks best on point.

Then Susannah: the pink solid is Art Gallery and the green is Kona and I think the print is from Moda, but I don't know what line.

And my extra block was Nellie, mostly because it was opposite Old Maid in the book and was another rotary cutable block. Let me tell you, that this block has 50 pieces in it, and a lot of seams to match... it took a little longer than I expected. The turquoise is an Art Gallery fabric, and the yellow is Kona.

I have a confession. I stole some fabric from my daughter's stash. Yes. My 20-month-old daughter has her own fabric stash. She loved playing with my fabric scraps, but preferred bigger pieces, and I don't have many that I was willing to part with, so I bought her a scrap bag at our local quilt shop. It was full of strips of Art Gallery fabrics, width of fabric by just short of 3" wide. She loves twirling them round like streamers. Any Art Gallery prints (except the peach) you see in the above blocks are from her. Generously and unknowingly donated!

All of that sewing brings me to 11 blocks in total:

88 blocks to go! I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday and Gnome Angel.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival [The Burrow]

I nearly didn't enter a second quilt in this Autumn's Blogger's Quilt Festival, but then I remembered this one. This is my entry in the applique category.

At the start of the summer I signed up for the Harry Potter Mini Quilt Swap and spent a long time thinking about what to make... there are so many fantastic quilts and inspirational artwork on Pinterest, that I didn't really know where to start (these are just some of the pins I collected). I was re-reading the books at the time, and at the start of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry visits Ron's house, the Burrow: "It's not much, but it's home". Well, that was the inspiration I needed. Originally I had planed to foundation piece my vision, but that was a stupid idea.

Instead, I sketched out my idea, and then layer at a time, created the background hills, the trees and hedges, and finally the Burrow, nestled in the little valley. I used free motion applique for this quilt: everything was reversed, copied onto iron on sticky-ness, stuck to the previous layer, and then outlined using my free motion foot, in a somewhat sketchy manner. I added on widow frames, and beams as I went.

My original sketch

To finish off the quilt, I did some additional thread sketching for some greenery and a drive, to really bed the house into the landscape I had created. Finally I added the original quote using stamps (and praying I didn't spell anything wrong).

The finished quilt is only about 20"x20", but in some places up to 6 or 7 layers of fabric thick, before I even added batting and a backing. All of the fabrics came from my stash, and the threads are all Aurifil 40 or 50w. The downside of this swap is that my partner appears of have been hit with Obliviate (a memory modification spell) and has completely forgotten to send me anything.... and the swap mama appears to be hiding under an invisibility cloak... I'll just have to make myself something.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bloggers' Quilt Festival [Vice Versa]

Do you know I haven't finished a single quilt this year larger than a baby quilt? I know I have loads of excuses, but it doesn't feel right, not making a bigger quilt. And it means that I've had to go back to last year for this Blogger's Quilt Festival entry.

My entry is Michael's hangover blanky, made using last year's Block of the Month series from Gen X Quilters. This was a little out of my comfort zone, made from all solids, picked by his Lordship at the start of the year.

Although he knew I was making it for him, with a small baby in the house, I had fallen behind in early summer and as far as he was concerned, I hadn't touched it since about May. So I caught up in secret and then had to quilt it in secret. This is not a small quilt, and once it was layered up it wasn't easy to hide, but I caught snippets here and there, and embroidered the label while he was sat in the next room.. I think he was genuinely surprised I had got it finished. I think I was a bit as well.

So this is the first photo I took of the quilt once it was finished. This is Christmas day: Michael's cousin, second cousin, great aunt and my Mum... Christmases at our house are a little bit mad!

The full quilt pictures weren't taken until Boxing day when I conned my trusty quilt-holder-uppers to stand with it in the front garden.

I love the setting of the quilt blocks (though the bias cuts caused some issues when it came to squaring up) - and I had some real fun doing the quilting.

The fabrics are all Kona cottons: Canary, Lime, Tangerine, Denim and Purple. The background is Pepper, which turns out to be dark grey in bad light and a very very dark navy in good light. I like it.

The finished quilt is 75" x 75": it took 9 months to make, it's pieced and quilted in Aurifil 50w, and it is primarily for when my husband has a hangover!

This is my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival in the large quilts category.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Farmers' Wife Weekly [1]

The news of the day is that my phone has died. I did a system upgrade and it failed to I'm using a windows tablet and it will take some getting use to. . . I apologise for a lack of links in this  blog post.

We're three weeks into the Farmers' Wife quilt along with Gnome Angel and I have some more blocks to share with you.  First up is Coral.

 I cut into my brand new Carkai fabric by Carolyn Friedlander.  It is gorgeous. I couldn't resist this combination of orange and purple.  I rotary cut the pieces for this block and it went together very easily.

 Next was Caroline.  Another rotary cut block this time using mini Pearl Bracelets, Emmy Grace  and a low volume  which  I can't identify.

The third block is Betty.  Rotary cut from Cotton & Steel  and Pearl  Bracelets.

 I'm looking forward to next week  and planning a group shot at  the end of it.  For now I'm linking up with Angie.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

WIP Wednesday [My Small World Part II]

It's been about 2 months since I last did any work on this quilt top. Not because I don't like it, and only partly due to pregnancy. One of the big reasons for not working on it is because my stash lives upstairs and I sew downstairs. I've found it hard to plan the fabric selection for this quilt in advance. I need to pick the fabrics for one or two tiny blocks or sections at a time, sew them up and then see what colours I want next. This would involve lots of going up and down stairs. Having realised this, I packed a suitcase with a selection of my favourite fat quarters, and I've hidden it under my sewing desk. And I will NOT be opening it in the presence of my daughter! So with the secret downstairs stash, I can progress.

I cut all of the pieces of low volume sky at the start of this project, so that was a nice easy start to the evening. I then foundation pieced the triangle section - note to self: reverse it first! And then there was quite a lot of hand applique. I use freezer paper templates and wrap the fabric round them much like I would for EPP, with a bit of fabric glue to hold everything in place, and this technique seems to work for me. Once it's appliqued on I can just remove the back layer of fabric, and take the paper out!

I picked it up again at the weekend and made myself some tiny churn dash blocks and an arrow, and then reminded myself of quarter-square-triangle maths, It's total chance that the green on green pearl bracelets appears in two very similar blocks... showing that I really am trying not to (over)think the fabric selection.

There is still some hand sewing to finish on the section I've pieced: the petals aren't appliqued yet, and I didn't have an ideal fabric for the larger piece, so I'm going to embroider it.

There's still a few rows to piece on this section and some Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander arrived in the house today so I might be cutting into that soon!

Linking up with WIP Wednesday.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Finish Along Q4 [hopes and dreams]

I could really copy across my previous list for this quarter... but that would be dull. So I'll start with the hopefully achievable goals: First up I have the last few swap commitments to complete, and once these are finished, no more swaps for a while! I'm making a mini quilt for round four of the Schnitzel and Boo mini quilt swap: this is my fabric pull and this is the pattern I'm making.

The final swap is the UK Easy Swap: a zippy pouch for this one!

Last year I made advent calendars for my niece and nephew and this year I want to make one for Mia - I've seen some sneak peeks of a new Lilipopo embroidery design that I think will take centre stage, and these are the colours - they don't scream traditional Christmas too much, but are still seasonal and girly.

Next up are the baby quilts... firstly Inside Addition. I still have a few more blocks to piece before this becomes a completed quilt top.

The yellow and grey one. I need a better name for it. I also need to finish piecing it as a first step.

And the Pink Plusses quilt which should have been finished weeks ago! This is also my A Lovely Year of Finishes quest for October, so I'm hoping this will make it to the final link up!

Sticking with the small and hopefully achievable are a few mini quilts/cushion covers in various states of progress: The Karen Lewis quilt needs quilting and I have a plan.

Rainbow Squared: I smile every time I look at this so it will be a cushion. I love how the Woodland log cabin cushion that I finished earlier this year is wearing in so I'm planning on hand quilting this one too. But I need to be brave and pick a thread colour!

Rainbow Slivers - another one that just needs quilting...

Camper Van cushion: this hasn't changed in the last three months... it's cut and ready for applique.

Maisie's cushion: Another project that has sat languishing recently. Lots of piecing still to do for this one before I contemplate how on earth to quilt it.

I'm adding one extra cushion from my last list. I pinned the pattern I'm using for the Schnitzel and Book mini with the plan of making a cushion for us, so whilst I'm cutting and sewing curves, I'll make two, using the same fabrics I've shared at the start of this post! In case you were wondering: I love cushions, and find our sofa uncomfortable without them (though I admit I only need one at a time normally); my daughter loves playing with cushions; my husband does not like cushions. At all. But he is out-voted!

And I need to finish this hooded towel for Mia! The fabric has sat around for months!

Shall we move on to the less achievable dream section of the list? My mother-in-law is still waiting for me to quilt three quilts for her: a red and blue tumbler quilt; a batik and cream quilt, and a music themed tumbler quilt. She's been waiting a while....

I have got behind on my Mocassin BOM quilt, but it would be great to get this finished within the year, like I managed last year with Michael's "hangover blankie" - then this can be my "I'm-sick-of-being-pregnant blankie"!

My Gravity quilt - this goal is totally unrealistic. But you never know!

Last year my Joy Jelly Roll quilt was a somewhat disastrous finish when it shrunk beyond all acceptable limits. I have started unquilting, and it would be lovely to have this on the sofa for Christmas.... unfortunately the wool wadding absolutely stinks so this may be a step too far for my somewhat delicate stomach.

You know what - I'm adding the Pixelated Heart Quilt to the list too!

And if I don't make this dress for Mia soon she will be too big for it and then sod's law this bump will be blue (we find out in November hopefully).

I'm stopping there: there are so many other things I would love to finish this quarter (double wedding ring quilt, cushion for Mia, My Small World quilt, City Sampler....) but I know that the above is already a tad.... stupid. Maybe I can convince Michael to have a Daddy and Mia weekend between now and the end of the year so I can have a mummy and sewing machine weekend? I could get through a few of those cushions in a weekend.... right? Linking up with Adrianne.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Finish Along Q3 [round up]

It's that time again: rounding up my Q3 finishes. Or lack thereof.

But first I have a final finish to share with you today and it's actually a finish from months ago that I mentioned in my blog post rounding up the #handpiecedminiswap but that never got it's own blog post. On my original list was a zippy pouch extra for this swap. I used some fabrics that I received in another swap, as in a roundabout way I thought my partner would like them - she had said in the sign up that she liked Liberty of London fabric, but I didn't own any. Liberty of London are quite floral, and I had been gifted a C&S floral print which seemed perfect. I added in some coordinates, a little hand quilting, a matching pincushion and needlecase and had an extra that my partner seemed to like!

But how did the rest of my list go? Well, not great, but with a really good reason - I hope you agree! In case you missed it, here is the reason: Baby Craigs, due April, 2016!

Just like my last pregnancy, the minute I hit 7 weeks and 3 days pregnant, the sickness started and I had absolutely no energy. That was mid August, so I have a few finishes from July which I can link up as well as the zippy above. First up was the hand-pieced mini swap quilt.

And another swap: the Thimble Blossoms mini quilt.

Plus the extra zippy pouch.

And a third swap: the Harry Potter mini quilt. I had planned a zippy pouch for this too and that was another item on my finish along list. It didn't happen. I still have the fabric prepared, so maybe I'll make it for me one day!

That's it. There were 24 things on the original list and I finished 5 things. I think you'll be seeing a lot of the other 19 on next quarter's list!

Linking up with Adrianne for that final finish!

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

ALYoF [October goal]

I haven't been very successful with my ALYoF goals recently. I didn't make my July goal, with no real excuse. My August goal remained untouched. And I didn't even bother to make a September goal. But gradually I think my energy is returning - slowly. So I'm going to try a goal for October. It's a repeat.... my July goal was a baby quilt. The quilt is a christening present. The christening was last weekend!

It's a finished quilt top, but I do now have backing material, and I got it basted yesterday evening! Bring on the quilting!

That gives me plenty of time to get it quilted and finished by the end of the month!