Thursday, 27 April 2017

Zip Up Tray Pouch

You know when you see a new pattern, and you just have to make it? That's what I thought when I first saw Aneela Hoey's latest patterns. She's just released two: the Zip up Tray Pouch and the Open Out Box Pouch. Whilst the Open Out Box Pouch is still on the list, I now have my own Zip Up Tray Pouch!

I had to wait while the postman delivered the interfacing and zips I needed, but they arrived last Friday and I had my pouch before bedtime! It's one of those patterns, where if you read it through in advance it makes no sense... but if you do it step by step,, it isn't scary at all.

This was my first time using a separating zip and I made life harder for myself by having one which was too long and needing to shorten it in such a way that the pull wouldn't come off the end... and I misunderstood the binding instruction and had to do some unpicking. But it really works!

The one downside to the project was the final hand-sewing. Because the interfacing is quite firm (and has to be to give the pouch it's shape), it's harder to manipulate to allow for easier hand sewing.But some binding clips and the odd swear word and it was done! The zip would also have been easier if I knew where my zipper foot was....

The outside fabric and the binding fabric are both Cotton and Steel, and the lining and the ends are both Kona solids.

The pattern isn't one of the cheapest out there, but I intend to get my money's worth and make a fair few of these pouches - they would make great Christmas presents! Next up - an Open Out Box Pouch!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 16]

Here she is - this actually includes an extra day's sewing because I forgot to take a full picture on Sunday night - whoops!

Monday, 17th April:Satin stitch in blue to create vertical stripes on the right hand side of the hoop.

Tuesday, 18th April: I enjoyed the affect of the stripes so much, I did some horizontal stripes in lime green satin stitch on the left hand side of the hoop (and now much prefer this section of the hoop!).

Wednesday 19th April: Running stitch in dark green in between the green stripes.

Thursday, 20th April: Jessica's birthday, so I added a second heart, in pink, in the centre of the hoop.

Friday, 21st April: I struggled with what to do tonight, so added a line of back stitch in pink on the far left of the hoop.

Saturday, 22nd April: Blue chain stitch right across the top of the hoop - I'm not sure it looks great, so will require some more attention in the coming weeks!

Sunday, 23rd April:Arrow head stitch in orange, which some yellow echoes....

You can find my daily updates (except when I forget to post them) over on Instagram under #jenniesthreads1yearofstitches

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Very Berry Mini Hoop Swap

It's been well over a year since I last joined in a swap on Instagram. I think I burnt myself out in 2015. But I decided to join in the Very Berry Mini Hoop Swap: a 2" embroidery hoop is not a huge commitment! My partner expressed a love of sea and mountains, and I've been enjoying embroidery at the moment, so here's what I made.

I received this pretty little hoop in return from @quiltessential

And I may have bought a couple of extra hoops to have a play with too!

Long Time Gone [Week 6]

Six weeks in and still up to date!!! But I'm coming to the end of what I pre-cut so I'm going to have to schedule in a bit of a cutting party soon! This week's block is a bit of an odd one: the Plus a Star block. I like the plusses. And I have nothing against stars. But I struggled with the combination.

I actually spent a bit of time planning this block and even so, I'm not too pleased with how the star doesn't really stand out. I think in the grand scheme of the whole quilt, it will look absolutely fine and not be an issue. But today, critically appraising this one block all on it's own, it didn't work as well as I'd hoped.

Next up - eleventy billion mini churn dashes!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

#365 Quilt Challenge [Block Swap]

One of the best things about the #365 challenge has been the community that has grown up on Facebook. It's a UK based group - with some overseas friends too, and I've never experienced anything like it. Everyone seems to have really got to know everyone. There has been cheerleading when people have fallen behind; mutual moaning when a block had eleventy-billion tiny half square triangles; and shared success as members have completed their quilt tops.

To celebrate these friendships we had a little swap - 3" blocks, quilted and bound, whizzed around the globe! I signed up for three blocks - so I sent three and received three. The idea was that the blocks you sent should represent the quilt you made/were making.

Here are the three I recieved from Kirsty, Jackie and Fiona:

It took me a while to find the block I wanted to use. I needed one I could use as a colour wheel to reflect my entire quilt. Eventually I found the block for 7th September called 4 Corners.

A little bit of 4am stitching (thanks, Jess) and I got them finished and in the post before the deadline!

But that wasn't everything. Because when you make the quarter square triangle blocks, it makes 2 at once, so I made a fourth block. Which I turned into a pincushion.

Then I suggested a private swap with a member of the group who had been disappointed not to receive one of the three originals.But I made two blocks. This quilt has been tightly woven around my youngest daughter: I started the quilt as I entered my third trimester. I finished the centre section just a week or so before she was born, and I caught up and competed the rest of the blocks as she napped and played. So that final block has been made into a hoop for her bedroom wall. Because there is no way I'm giving this quilt to either of my daughters.

And then I swapped a few more. Five more. Which leaves me another left over blocks, so Mia can have one in a hoop too. But at the moment it's just a block.

Monday, 17 April 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 15]

Here's my little hoops after 15 weeks - that's over 100 days now!

Monday, 10th April: Twisted chain stitch in lavendar from the bullion knot wheel on the left over the top to the whirl in the top right corner. I went as far as the length of thread would take me!

Tuesday, 11th April: A new stitch from TAST (Take A stitch Tuesday over at Pintangle): double whipped chain stitch. I really like this one: my favourite chain stitch but bolder and pretty. I did this row on the left in yellow and orange.

Wednesday, 12th April: Purple satin stitch to infill the middle loop on the right of the hoop.

Thursday, 13th April: I took a line of orange chain stitch up the right hand side and created another curve in the top right with it.

Friday, 14th April - Good Friday: Double whipped chain stitch in green and bluey-green under the Guilloche stitch in the top right. I'm very pleased with how this combination turned out.

Saturday, 15th April: Purple stem stitch beneath yesterday's double whipped chain stitch.

Sunday, 16th April - Easter Sunday: Lime green chain stitch added to the top left of the hoop - this is my least favourite part of the hoop and I'm not sure this addition has improved it.

Long Time Gone [Week 5]

This week's block is my favourite so far: Trip Around the World.

A truly scrappy blocks, so I'm going to link up with Leanne and Nicky for Scraptastic Tuesday.

Scraptastic Tuesday

Tonight I took stock of how far I had prepared so far. Next week's block is pieced, and the week following is cut and ready, but after that I'm not so prepared. I continued cutting tonight and whilst it feels like I didn't make much headway, I'm at least further ahead than I was! I'm also making good progress with a few of the pineapple blocks - I'll need 16 of these in the final week and so far I've made four.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Long Time Gone [Week 4]

I'm still keeping up and I'm still thoroughly enjoying this project. This is week 4: Jacob's Ladder.

Nine blocks sewn together to create this panel. This is truly a quilt entirely from my stash and I'm really enjoying pulling out fabrics I don't normally use and rediscovering long buried scraps!

The pattern is Long Time Gone by Jen Kingwell and you can find all the information on this quilt along at Angie's blog.

Monday, 10 April 2017

#1yearofstitches [Week 14]

I think this brings me to nearly 100 days of embroidery!

Monday, 3rd April: a new stitch today: Moss stitch in deep pinky red, right at the top of the hoop.

Tuesday, 4th April: and another new stitch - whipped back stitch. I stitched the backstitch in navy and then laced it with sky blue. I created a corner around the cloud filler in the centre of the hoop.

Wednesday, 5th April: Blanket stitch in aqua, continuing from the line I did ages ago and taking it up round the swirl in the top right of the hoop.

Thursday, 6th April: I added some green blanket titch to the middle loop on the right hand side.

Friday, 7th April: some blue chain stitch to the same loop.

Saturday, 8th April: a row of aqua chain stitch around the Basque stitch wheel in the bottom left of the hoop.

Sunday, 9th April: Twisted chain stitch in pink up and around the loop in the top right.

This week's two new stitches brings me to 42 different stitches used within the hoop - I was surprised it was so many as I regularly go back to chain stitch!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Finish Along Quarter 2

Archie the Wonder Dog has raised a bit of a challenge: she reckons her list is longer than mine! Challenge accepted! As I mentioned in one of my recent posts, I'm taking part in the #100dayschallenge with the intention of spending a bit more time with my sewing machine each day, so I'm hopeful that progress will be made!

1. Frances Firefly Quilt: There are quite a few baby quilts on this list... this is just the first. And it's for a Baby who isn't a baby any more because I'm rubbish! The top is pieced and the backing has now arrived. I have a quilting plan and the binding is cut. In other words there is no excuse for this to not be finished by the end of the quarter. Earlier.

2. Allie Owl Quilt: A second baby quilt, for the baby brother of the recipient of the Firefly quilt. He is still a baby! But I'm still a few months late. This is another project that' already a quilt top, I've got the backing and batting and the binding is cut. Now for some basting.

3. Fancy Forest Baby Quilt: Baby quilt number 3.  And the third one using the same Fancy Forest pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. But this time I'm making the actual baby quilt from the pattern. I've started with a rabbit block, but the rest of the blocks are cut ready to go.

4. Alba's Stars Quilt: Baby quilt number 4 - I think we're just at that age - where everyone we know is having babies. Baby Alba is getting some star for her quilt. I'm using the pattern from Make Modern issue 14, but I've shrunk the block by 50% to make 5" blocks. Lots of them! One down, 62 to go!

5. Pink Christening quilt: I've been promising to make this for someone else to gift for ages... time I got on with it. It's going to be basic pink squares with some aqua flowers appliqued on top. Some of the pink is cut, but I haven't got much further...

6. My original City Sampler: This one has been waiting a while, hasn't it. Angie @ Gnome Angel is planning another #100days100blocks starting in May, and I'm yet to finish any of the quilts I've started form this book. This quilt is half-quilted, but intensively quilted, so will take a while.

7. Fireworks Quilt: Another repeat offender. I really, really need to get this finished, because I know how much the recipient will love it! I've made five blocks and have 11 left to go.

8. Alison's Quilt: This is a quilt I've been asked to make for someone else to gift. I'm using the blocks from Tula's City Sampler book, but I've enlarged some to 12" and some to 9" (not my normal direction!) as well as including some "other" panels, and filling strips - in very bright colours. I've made the first 3 blocks.

9. Purple City Sampler: This was one of the porojects I made blocks for during the last #100days100blocks and it's for Michael's cousin and her husband as a belated wedding gift. Again I feel I should get it finished before starting another.

10. City Sampler lap quilt: See above really - this was the other project from that sew-along. But this one is for us. The problem is, that I'm up to the sashing part. I hate sashing.

11. Unicorn and Mermaid hoops: I picked up some very pretty fabrics with mermaids, unicorns and horses on and I'm going to make hoops for the Girls - just the fabric, some wadding and a little bit of hand quilting. The plan is 8 hoops in total if I can fussy cut enough from them, so I can give some to my niece as well.So far all I have is fabric and hoops.

12. Easter Sampler: Back before Christmas I made a Christmas sampler with Sarah at Pretty Fabric and Trims, and now she has an Easter sampler. I've pieced the mini quilt and now I need to add embroidery and applique and hand quilting. Easter is a week and a half away.....

13. Balloon embroidery: you've seen this one before but the last couple of times it's appeared with it's bath-time friend. I completed the bath time embroidery hoop last quarter, so it's time to get this one off the list as well. And if it's anything like the other hoop, it won't take long at all.

14. Watermelon Quilt: Another regular. I made a pineapple last year, and cut the pieces for a matching watermelon quilt from my scraps. It's just some basic piecing and a little hand quilting, so I should move this forward.

15. Mermaid Doll set: I was so sure I would get this done last quarter.... but I didn't. It's a panel to create a doll and some accessories and it will be a gift for Mia. Everything is cut out, and a few hours should see this finished.

16: Red Riding Hood doll set: this is the same as the mermaid above, but for Jessica. Again, it's all cut out....

17. Woodland Quilt: This is another baby quilt: it's a kit, so I think if I actually make a start it will be finished very quickly. But I haven't started yet.

18. EJ+ Quilt: one of the blocks from #100days100blocks really spoke to me, and I decided to make a whole quilt of it. I'm slowing plugging away, making 4 blocks at a time. I'm not sure if I'll finish the quilt this quarter, but I'd like to piece what I have already cut and see how many more blocks I'm going to need.

19. Sarah and Duck Hoop: I feel really guilty about this one. It's a wedding present for a lovely couple who have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary..... It's an embroidery project and will take some time, but at the moment all I've done is transfer the design onto the fabric. Only once I've started will I get a feel for just how much time...and if I'm capable of doing it justice.

20. ABC Sampler: I don't know if I want to finish this one to be honest. I'm enjoying the process, but it's been sitting around for a year now. This is an important project for me because it opened my eyes to all the different embroidery stitches I could try and laid the way for exciting adventures in embroidery! Do I want to savour it and make it last longer, or am I just ignoring it really?

21. Cozy Little Quilt: This could have been a finish last quarter, but the fabric I needed to complete it was on back order and only arrived right at the end of March. Instead of rushing the finishing, I've let this one roll over.

22. 365 Hoop: one of those silly project... I've made a block, and I need to add some border, put it in a hoop and add the smallest little bit of hand quiting. That's it. But I haven't done it yet.

23. 365 Quilt Challenge a.k.a The Monster: The big one is so close to being finished. I "just" need to add the binding - but on a 96" square quilt that's 384" of binding to hand sew. Once I've made the binding that is.

24. R2D2 Cushion: I promised this cushion to my nephew back in January. Are you seeing a theme here? I made one at Christmas for another little boy I know, so I have the cutting measurements and pattern all ready. But it doesn't appeal as much as some of the other projects - I'm not really a Star Wars fan.

25. Summer Sampler: I wasn't planning on including this if I'm honest. And then it was announced as my APQ resolution project for April. And now I can see it as a feasible finish. So why not. 9 blocks to piece.

26. Travel Pouch for Steph: Another overdue promise.... she's requested scrappy like thi pouch I made last year

27. Aspen Glow: you must be bored of seeing this one on the list!

28. Mama Said Sew EPP: this hasn't seen the light of day in years. Since before Mia was born. But I got hold of a CHarm pack of coordinating fabric, and I have more still in my stash, so time to get it finished - I think this will likely be a smallish lap quilt.

29. Moccassin Dresden: Another of those pesky projects that I could finish in an evening. But keep putting off. I keep ignoring this one because there's a chance that the hoop I bought for it is too small. And if that is the case I may have to go back to the drawing board. But I won't know unless I get on with it.

30. A round thirty! Another baby arrived this week, and it's going to be a foxy number. I'm using the Fancy Forest pattern again for it!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

APQ Resolution [April]

I'll start off with a round up of the March project. Nothing. I didn't even touch it.

Moving on. And this month I'm going to make more of an effort.This month's project is number 11, which for me means the Summer Sampler 2016. This is perfect timing, as I've seen rumours that there may be another Summer Sampler this year - it would be good to have finished one before being tempted with another wouldn't it - i know - not my normal style! Also - these fabrics are just perfect for this time of year!

The original quilt design is 20 blocks. I've made 10 so far, scattered through this post.

The fabrics I'm using are a long hoarded bundle of Dreamin' Vintage by Jeni Baker for Art Gallery mixed with some Art Gallery Pure Elements. I even managed to pick up a large piece of one of the prints in a sale to have a matching backing!

None of the blocks are particularly difficult - in facet I've made an eleventh block already, so there is really no excuse to not make progress.

On a slightly different, but related note, I'm taking part in the #100dayschallenge this year. It started on 4th April and runs for, you'll never guess, 100 days. My plan is to spend a little bit of time each days sitting at my machine and doing some machine piecing - sometimes it's really easy to just slump on the sofa with hand sewing after a long day! These blocks are on the list to be tackled in the early days and I'm hoping this challenge will give this quilt some impetus!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Long Time Gone [Week 3]

I'm really enjoying this quilt along so far, and I'm staying up to date! Working ahead even! I've done a lot of the cutting in advance and although I'm not totally finished, it is definitely making it easier to get the blocks ready in time.

This week is a lovely little block called Crosses of the UK and the pattern calls for six of them.

Aren't they cute? They were also very easy to put together!

One of the big challenges of this quilt along comes towards the end: 16 foundation-pieced 37-piece Pineapple blocks in a week. I don't think so.... so I've started making them already - 2 down, 14 to go.

These blocks are great for using up scraps!

The Long Time Gone sew along is hosted by Gnome Angel and you can find more information here.

March [Review]

March was such a busy month for us! I went away with work, Michael was away on a stag weekend, we both went away to the Lakes, we had some fabulous family days out and we just didn't seem to stop! But I also got a lot of sewing done!

I pieced 54 blocks including the first 3 weeks of the Long Time Gone Sew Along

Some Fireflies for a completed quilt top. The pattern is Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartman.

Quite a few Quilters Planner blocks - this is my favourite, but I have no idea what I'm going to use it for!

Some traditional hand piecing for my Delilah block of the month - this is the second block.

And some English paper piecing: this is one of my Ice Cream Soda blocks.

I had a finish too - My Small World.

And a little zippy just for me.

I've kept up with the #snailday blocks, I've continued a stitch a day for #1yearofstitches, but I've fallen behind on my Dear Jane blocks and I'm not quite up to date with Down the Rabbit Hole. And as for March's APQ resolution project - I didn't touch it! The biggest news of the month is that picked up my fully quilted 365 Quilt, from Cath in Cumbria. I still have to add binding, which will likely take me months, but this mammoth project is getting closer to completion!

But most importantly, I've been having great fun with my sewing! And April looks set to be a good month too!