Sunday, 27 March 2016

Sunrise Quilt [a Finish]

I've been a bit short on finishes this quarter - the focus has been on blocks. But I have what must be a final finish to share with you today. And it was the most important from my list at the start of the quarter. It's the quilt for the new Baby.

The pattern: this is heavily inspired by a pattern by Lee at Freshly Pieced called Wavelength. Unfortunately I'm unable to buy the pattern as I live in the EU, so instead I drafted my own foundation template at a size that would give me the right size finished quilt.

The colours: this palette has been knocking around my head for nearly a year - we get some spectacular sunrises on the North East coast in the UK, and the colours really are stunning: white, yellows, oranges, corals, pinks, purples, blue and navy. This seemed nice and girly and the idea of a sunrise also appropriate.

The fabric: I cut all the fabric at once. I didn't have enough of the light blue Botanics cross hatch for the background in my stash but knew it was just right - luckily I found some online in the UK, and bought enough to bind the finished quilt too. A couple of the navy prints I used may have fallen into my basket at the same time... The other fabrics are all from my stash and some of them marked the end of my stash of that particular print. Whilst I'm sad I've run out of a few of the prints, I couldn't think of a better project to use them on!

The fabrics I can identify include.... Navy: Timeless Treasures cross hatch; Figures by Zen Chic for Moda; Grunge by Moda; Domino Dots; two Cotton and Steel prints; Color Me Happy by V&Co; and prints from Architextures and Doe by Carolyn Friedlander. Purple: Emma's Garden by Patty Solinger for Michael Miller; Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander; Pearl Bracelets; prints from Kate Spain; Summersville Spring for Moda; and a print by Me and My Sister for Moda. Pink: prints from Tilda, Art Gallery including Lace Elements, Jungle Avenue and Emmy Grace, Alison Glass including Sunprint Mercury; Pam Kitty Picnic. Corals: Figures from Zen Chic; prints from Art Gallery and Cotton and Steel; Tula Pink; Painter's Canvas; Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander. Orange: Pearl Bracelets; Architextures by Carolyn Friedlander and Comma by Zen Chic. Yellow: Pearl Bracelets; prints from Art Gallery and Cotton and Steel, Sunprint Mercury by Alison Glass; Botanics by Carolyn Friedlander; Happy Mochi Yum Yum; Comma by Zen Chic. White: Doe by Carolyn Friedlander; Pearl Bracelets.

I pieced the 143 foundation units over the course of five-six weeks. I chain pieced 8 at a time and it actually went quite fast. But it wasn't the most interesting piecing, so I confess I often ignored it in favour of more exciting piecing. Until a couple of recent trips to the hospital with various worries about the baby - I didn't want her to arrive before the quilt is finished otherwise the quilt might never have got finished! A final push and the units were finished - why is it always the case that you think you are done only to find out you need ONE more?

The quilting: this was one of those quilts where I knew exactly how I wanted to quilt it as soon as I started: a spiral starting from the centre of the "sun". I free motioned the centre of the spiral and then got my walking foot out. There were a few places where I got skipped stitches but generally where a lot of seams came together at a point. In the past I've had issues with puckers on the back of the quilt when I spiral quilt... this went much better. There is still the odd pucker on the front which I couldn't avoid (and I wasn't unpicking) but once it's been washed a few times they will barely be noticeable. I used a very pale pink Aurifil 50w that blends nicely with a lot of the fabrics.

I took a bit of a chance with the backing and ordered the butterflies on cream print from Tiger Lily by Heather Ross. I got it on sale and took a chance on the colours. But it works and is nice and girly! The binding was a choice of more light blue cross hatch or Doe dark blue large cross hatch. I decided to go with a binding that merged with the quilt rather than framed the quilt.

The quilt is finished, Gran has finished knitting her coming home cardi. I've spent the last few days walking far more than I have in months in the hopes it will jiggle her out. Michael cooked curry last night... and now we wait.

This will be my final finish for the Finish Along this quarter. My only other finish was my pixelated heart quilt which I finished back at the end of January. I imagine most of my next quarter list will be very familiar! I'll be linking up with the Finish Along ladies next week!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

WIP Wednesday [Pineapple]

It's been a while since I made any blocks - I've been working on the Sunrise quilt for Baby - on Monday I got it pieced:

Yesterday I got it quilted, and I've sewn down half of the binding, so hopefully by the end of the week I'll have a finish!

Today I sat down to the #365blocks: the last one I completed was the block for 10th March. So two weeks to catch up. Today I focused on the most recent blocks - it meant I could enter this week's link up, and to be honest, they looked easier! I'll work on the mitred corners tomorrow. Maybe.

I enjoyed these blocks - nothing too complex, all turned out more or less the right size, I like my fabric choices except for the busy blue one... The green block on the left is called Pineapple flower which is appropriate for this week: one of the myths for inducing labour is to eat pineapple: further checking online would suggest that in order to get enough of the chemical that could have an impact, I'd need to eat 7 pineapples including the core. The most likely result of eating that much pineapple is indigestion, not labour! The small amount of pineapple I ate yesterday has not had the desired result!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A Dolls House

Last Saturday I went to my first sewing workshop in nearly 9 months! It was wonderful - a full day of uninterrupted sewing! The workshop was to make a small carry along dolls house - perfect for Mia and her little sister (who currently seems quite comfortable where she is, despite a small scare last Thursday - 3 hours monitoring her heartbeat and everyone confirmed she was ok and I didn't need the C-Section that they had mentioned at the start!).

Ahead of the workshop I not only picked out all the fabrics I wanted to use, but I also made a couple of inserts to add to the interior of the dolls house - the options are endless, but I knew we would have limited time on the day to decorate and prettify, so this was the solution. I grabbed my felt stash and made a kitchen, complete with fridge, freezer, sink, pans.... and a flower in the window (added after this photo)! In addition to the photo, is a small oven/cooker unit, with Sunday roast cooking inside! I've included some of Mia's favourite foods in the fridge/freezer: water melon, orange, tomato ketchup...

I also made a Grandfather clock - Mia loves clocks and we have a family clock in the corner of our living room. She also likes Hickory Dickory Dock, so there's a mouse as well.

10am is tea and biscuits time!
In the end we only really had enough time for me to make the doors and windows, and do a few embroidered flowers during the class, as most of the time was dedicated to cutting out and construction.

It was hard work, and I had to work quite fast to achieve my vision, but by the end of the 6 hours I only had the final hand stitching to do, which turned it from something flat, to the 3D. I finished the hand stitching last night, so I can now show you the outside.... the zips double up as drainpipes!

And the inside....

I wish I'd had time to add some detail to the front garden!
So many ideas, so little time!

The plan is that this will be a travel toy, so Mia won't get to see it until we go on our next long journey, which may not be until the summer. I can't wait to see her face!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

WIP Wednesday [Patchwork of the Crosses]

It's been a slightly sparser week in terms of blocks this week. I was really pleased that I was pretty much up to date on the Farmer's Wife blocks, with the exception of a few that I want to replace. Then I ran out of the white fabric I've been using. I sent a sample off to the shop I bought it from, discovered it was Makower 001 plain white, and asked for 7 metres (I have a sashing plan that is fabric hungry). The shop didn't have 7m but promised me a trip to her wholesaler this week. Unfortunately it seems that the dye has changed and rather than being a slightly off-white white, which I've been using, it's now a white white. Bugger. So I've bought the half metre they still had in stock, and I've taken a risk on some Ebay fabric - the listing said only 3m left so I'm praying it's an old bolt and is still the off white (if it isn't then 3m of white fabric is hardly going to go to waste...). And then once I've pieced the blocks, I'll have to rethink the sashing plan. Fingers crossed. In terms of falling behind, the schedule has changed to just one block per week, so catching up is still feasible if I can get the fabric.

No Farmer's Wife blocks, so here's a cheeky grin and a new cardi knitted by Gran

I haven't pieced a single #365quiltchallenge block. And this could be the week that I finally slip behind. It's been close the last few weeks, but I've always managed to get the blocks done for the weekly link up on Facebook, though often in a piecing frenzy in the last couple of hours, rather than one per day. This week.... not convinced that will happen.

No #365 blocks, so here's sunshine and a bubble machine!
So what have I been doing? Well, Saturday was lost to a nasty sickess bug. And then I'm nearly full term with this baby, so a fair amount of my time has been spent sitting on the sofa feeling uncomfortable. In between I have finished piecing the individual units for Baby's quilt, but I haven't yet pieced them together in a top. I reckon just a couple of hours and I'll have it done. But I haven't done it yet!

And, as you may have guessed from the title of the post, I have been working on my Patchwork of the Crosses blocks. There's something very 'right' about working on this project. I first blogged about it on 8th March 2014, just two weeks after Mia was born. It was my new pick-up-and-put-down project for nap-time sewing. I'd decided to have a go at nine feature blocks and scrappy sashing. I'd cut all the fabric for this plan. Two years later, and with another imminent arrival, I returned to this project and with some encouragement from IG and Facebook I've decided to keep going. I'm aiming for 25 blocks now. So on Tuesday I cut all the greys for the scrappy sashing for another 8 blocks, and I have this gorgeous pile of fabrics waiting to be cut for the blocks themselves.

And here is progress so far - I've even managed to find all the completed blocks for this photo!

Not sure how many more pregnancies and babies I'll need for a lap quilt, but we'll see how it goes!

And I've cut another 10 blocks worth of fabric for my Trapies project. I'm not sure I need another ten blocks to get to cushion size, which was the original plan, but I kept finding fabrics. Another EPP project with no end in sight!

I hope this isn't the inevitable slowing down in block production - chances are Baby is quite comfortable where she is, just like her sister was, and will not make her appearance for a couple of weeks - I'd like not to be sofa bound until then. On the other hand, she is more than welcome to arrive at the weekend! And if she does, I'll finally stop talking about being pregnant, which I'm sure will be a relief to you all. Instead I will spam you with Baby photos!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

WIP Wednesday [starting something new]

I know that the WIP Wednesday link up isn't happening any more, but I'm going to try and keep up with it, as a prompt so that I do actually blog. One of the reasons I'm blogging less is because a lot of the sewing I'm doing at the moment is 'just' blocks, and I worry I might bore you. But this blog is as much for me as for you, so prepare to be bored during this year of the block. On the plus side, at some point, next year (or more likely the year after) there'll be a few (hopefully) fantastic quilts coming out of this block drive!

First up my first block for a new project. A few years ago I came across the Basic Grey fabric line 'Sweet Serenade'. I liked it, but it's not very me. But that didn't stop me buying a few fat quarters. It then struck me how perfect it would be for a good friend, who in making her subtle hints about a quilt had mentioned "beach colours". I'm pretty sure that the blue is sea-y and the peach from this line is reminiscent of cliffs... and the music theme in this line is also perfect.

About the same time I came across an online sampler quilt called the Jane Austen Family Album Sampler Quilt. I'm not sure whether the friend I have in mind is a Jane Austen fan, but I am so I'll enjoy that aspect as well. I made sure I bought enough fabric at the time to finish the quilt top. But that quilt along finished in December 2014. I've finally got round to starting it today.

This first block is called Shining Star and is for Jane herself. Rather than following the cutting instructions, I foundation pieced this block in quarters. I had to buy a new iron yesterday and I don't think it's as hot as my old one, as I struggled to get the freezer paper to adhere to the fabric, which made it a little frustrating. But I'm pleased with how the block looks finished.

I've been continuing to work on my Farmer's Wife blocks, but have shuddered to a bit of a halt. First up, here are some of my recent blocks:


Rosemary - there were so many foundation pieced units in this block I thought I'd never finish!

Mrs Anderson

Hope - even the partial seam couldn't stop this being a lovely block to make
I have now nearly caught up: there are three blocks outstanding that are flowers or baskets, which I need to replace with more Jennie-friendly blocks, but apart from those, I am now back to working alongside Angie's quilt-along. But I've run out of the background off-white. I thought it was a Kona. Not so much. So I've sent off a scrap to the shop where I think it bought it from and I'm crossing my fingers they are able to match it. If they can't I do have a back-up plan. I have two metres of a similar off-white. It's so close that sometimes I think it's the same colour, but I'm not 100% sure. So I'd rather not use it if I don't have to. I think these 2m will get me through the remaining blocks, but it will mean changing my plan for the sashing. Watch this space...

And I've made two more Splendid Sampler blocks. I haven't committed to making all these blocks - just the ones I like. This is Simple Simon

And Focal Point

I had a bit of a whoopsie when I was cutting for Focal Point and mixed up the cutting instructions for the dark blue and the white. Rather than re-cut I went with it and I really like how it ended up. The next block is an embroidery one. Rather than make it for the quilt, it will be perfect for the nursery in an embroidery!

And finally I have been keeping up with the #365quiltchallenge blocks:at the end of February I was surprised with the release of the pattern for the centre medallion. It was a bit of a sod: partly because of the cutting instructions requiring accuracy to a sixteenth of an inch; and partly due to my own stupidity. Remember... when foundation piecing, the patchwork comes out as a mirror image to what you are intending. And because I went for a scrappy centre, this mattered. My colour wheel will spin the opposite direction to intended in the final quilt.

Quite a bad photo, but it does prove we got some sun in the north east!
Quite a lot of sewing, really!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

February [review]

It's March! Already! February just flew by! I feel like I did a lot of sewing, but don't have masses to show for it as I was mostly working on the individual blocks which I've already shared in these blog posts here and here. The final total for the month is 64 blocks!

I'm nearly up to date on the Farmer's Wife - as of last night four blocks to make. I made 10 blocks in February bringing my total to 40.

I'm nearly up to date on the #365quiltchallenge - I made 27 in February and have two 3" blocks and the centre medallion to catch up on.

I made three Splendid Sampler blocks, there's one I don't like enough to make and another waiting for me.

I've started Mia's big girl quilt (finally) with two blocks.

And just yesterday I finally made a little more progress on the Baby's quilt with 4 blocks, which is just as well because her due date is getting closer - Five and a half weeks to go! I've also made 3 hand pieced blocks, including some Trapies. At some point I'm going to need a plan for these...

On the less blocky front I finished off the piecing on My Small World and started the quilting. This accounted for 15 more blocks though!

And on the non-sewing front, we now have a two-year-old big-girl in the house - no more cot, no more high chair... her choice!

We had a lovely family party to celebrate with a fabulous cake made by Mia's godmother: flowers and trains!

How was February for you?