Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Fancy Forest Quilt: Bunnies

Having spent a lot of last year making blocks for various Fancy Forest quilts, I've found that I've lost momentum. I still really want a full size Fancy Forest quilt, but I'm accepting a slightly slower pace. I've already completed the foxes, and now I've got bunnies.

Next up are the Hedgehogs - they are cut and ready, and then the owls - fabric is selected. But also, Awesome Ocean starts soon - do I stick with the slow-moving Fancy Forest or do I make a start on the Awesome Ocean - this is a totally new pattern for me and may be more inspiring.


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Aves [Week 5]

Well thank goodness.... after week 4's Aves block, Week 5 was a dream! This is Wild Goose Chase.

Admittedly, some of the pieces are quite tiny. But definitely not the smallest we played with in the 365 quilt. The biggest challenge for me was finding a purple print I could fussy-cut to go in the "large" centre square (3" finished). I dug this piece of Tula out of the back of my stash and I'm quite pleased with it... note to self - more purple fussy-cuttable fabrics are required!

Monday, 26 February 2018

A rather imperfect Stitchy Pie

Back at our February meet up of the North East Modern Quilt Guild, we decided to make  up Stitchy-Pies as a group - it was a pattern a few of our members had expressed an interest in, and a couple of people had the wherewithall for adding kam-snaps, so we all bought the pattern from the lovely @charmaboutyou and set a date.

I am quite lazy, I'm not going to lie. So I generally take hand-sewing to guild so I don't have to lug my machine and associated stuff. As such, I decided to make up my Stitchy-Pie the night before: that way I had a finished one to show anyone who was interested, and for reference to see how it folded up. And also to warn against any errors.... by which I mean my errors, not errors in the pattern, because there aren't any!

The pattern is so easy to follow. I skipped the embroidery because I had a funky pineapple fabric I was desperate to use, and within an hour I had a Stitchy-Pie in need of some hand-sewing - another hour later and it was finished. If we could all please ignore the slightly off-centre felt inside - I'm not quite sure how that happened.

Remember I said I was lazy? Well that was my user error - the Stitchy-pie is finished off with bias binding, which if you pin it, like the pattern says, will lie beautifully. But if you don't pin it, like I didn't, when you add it, it stretches. And then you have a Stitchy-Dish rather than a Stitchy-Pie.... a considerably amount of tender loving pressing (and steam) later and it is now flatter, if not flat!

It's a lovely little needlecase, and, made correctly, would make a great gift for a sewer! My advice - don't rush, and don't take shortcuts!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Two-in-One Pouch [A Finish]

Just after Christmas, the #stitchedsewingorganizerssal kicked off again and the first project back was the two-in-one pouch. Whilst I haven't taken part every week, this was one of the projects I wanted to make since the start, but I decided it would make a great gift for my Mother-in-law - we bought her a subscription to the Mandolin quilt for her birthday, so this is a fitting gift to go with it.

This little pouch called for vinyl, double-fold binding, and a magnetic snap. I'm getting the hang of the vinyl. I have developed a deep hatred for double-fold binding, and it was my first time using a magnetic snap. The problem with double fold binding, especially on vinyl, is keeping my seam allowance consistent on the slippy vinyl, which means my corners aren't great... And with this partiucular project, I'd like you all to ignore the fact that the lining fabric is upside down... speaking of fabric, the outside of the pouch is a peacock feather print from Palais Jardin by Robert Kaufman, the lining is Riley Blake and the binding is Lecien.

This was actually my first finish of the quarter for the Finish Along, but I've had to save the blogging until now, because it was a gift. The birthday is now gone, so I can share. You can find my original Finish Along list here.

Marci Girl Designs

Monday, 19 February 2018

Aves [week 4]

So I mentioned something about week 3 being back in the comfort zone.... well week 4 blew that comfort zone out of the water! I have to confess when I first looked at it, it scared me, and it's not often a patchwork block does that. But this innocent looking 6" block came complete with templates, y seams and curves! That's a lot to fit into a small block!

I spent all week wondering how to do it. Do I sew it by machine, or do I make myself some EPP templates, or do I sew it by hand (without papers). Or do I do what some have done and just applique those leaves? On Sunday afternoon I put on my big-girl panties and just got on with it. By machine. And whilst it took me a couple of hours, and a few seams did spend time with the seam ripper, overall I'm quite pleased with it. I'm certainly pleased that it is done. And even more pleased that week 5 looks straightforward!

This block is part of the Aves Quilt - a block of the week pattern designed by Kathy Kerr of Green Avenue Quilts.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Curve Motion Medallion: Month 1

I'm on a bit of an EPP kick this year so far. I've started the Mandolin Quilt and the Tula Nova quilt, I'm still working on Ice Cream Soda and Round We go, and I'm also paper piecing some of my Farmers Wife blocks... but this new EPP project is a bit different.... it's curved EPP.

Doesn't it look smart in its box! This is the Curve Motion Medallion designed by Louisa at Sew Motion. Every month she sends templates for curved EPP, some lovely Alison Glass fabric, and for this first month we got a glue pen too. Next month's installment and then ongoing also comes with the background fabric you need and it's perfect for quilt as you go! In 16 months time I'll have a quilt. In theory.

The first month is the centre of the quilt and is made up of two rings: a smaller pinky-purple one...

And a much larger blue one.

This is the first time that I have done much curved EPP (I've done a little for my much-neglected Dear Jane), and I've been using flat-back-stitch instead of whip stitch. I was a little apprehensive when I started but that pink ring went together beautifully - it was far quicker than I expected and the stitch was far easier than I expected. The blue ring, which is the largest in the quilt, inevitably took a lot longer. It did seem to be endless, if I'm honest. But I know next month we're back to the smaller rings!

If you want to sign up, then head over to Sew Motion's website!

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Gravity Quilt

Did you know that it's been nearly three years since I last touched this quilt? Dreadful isn't it. I made ten blocks in June 2015 and then put it away and didn't touch it again. In my defence, we had just moved into a new house, and I fell pregnant with Jessica not long after. However, it is still quite embarrassing that I managed to finish the remaining eight required blocks in just one day. And at least part of that was spent trying to find the rulers that went with it!

Time just goes so fast and I have so many yummy projects to work on that all of a sudden a year has passed and I haven't touched something! This is not the only quilt I'm guilty of ignoring for a lengthy period (I'm sure @Archiewonderdog can provide you with a list!)...

But here are the new blocks, 2 each of four different blocks.

I've also cut up all the background fabric and I'm ready to piece a quilt top! This is optimistically on my Finish Along list for this quarter, and while I don't think it's a candidate for a finish - I'm planning some custom free motion quilting which could be a huge success or a disaster.... - I'm really pleased that I've managed to progress it a little.

The pattern is the Gravity Quilt by Jaybird Quilts

Monday, 12 February 2018

Mandolin Quilt [Month 1]

The paper pieces arrived for month 1 of the Mandolin quilt and I confess, they were prepped ready for sewing within the day! I love everything about this quilt - the fabrics are so much fun, and feel beautiful to work with - the needle just slides through them and the design of the block means you can do long seams without have to stop and start your thread! The ultimate relaxing English Paper Piecing. So here they are - Block 2:

And block 3:

I think you are going to need sunglasses when this quilt is finished! I also started on the filler blocks: I picked the new Alison Glass print Diatom in seasalt, which is a lovely white with a delicate pale grey accent, along with Kona silver - the coordinating grey. There's so much colour in the blocks, that I really didn't need to add anything more to the fillers!

I'm all ready for that next little package from Australia to land on my door mat!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Needlebook Plus [A Finish]

I've been joining in with the #stitchedsewingorganizerssal on Instagram - sewing the projects from Aneela Hooey's Stitched Sewing Organizers book - if you only buy one book this year, buy this one - it's so good! We're coming to the end of the sew-along and the penultimate project was the Needlebook Plus - an who doesn't needs a new needle book?

I used some of my new giraffe fabric on the front and on the pincushion, and my favourite - bright pink for the lining.

The leather strap is a trimming from the leather I harvested from our old sofas before they went to the tip!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Totes Amazeballs Tote [A Finish]

It was my birthday last week! My daughters bought me two books: Fantastic Beasts - illustrated version and Angie Wilson's Fussy Cutters Club - which I've been after for a while! 

I was given it on Tuesday evening, on Thursday evening I made two improv panels and before bedtime on Friday I had a finished bag!

Improv piecing is not my comfort zone, and fussy cutting is all new to me. The fabrics I picked were not all fussy-cuttable, but some had nice motifs I was able to include and others were directional and I managed to cut them straight. I picked a selection of navy and coral fabrics. This wasn't my first choice but there's a good reason for it: the pattern calls for a heavier-weight fabric to be used on the base of the bag - vinyl or denim or upholstery weight... I don't have much fabric that isn't quilting cotton, so I raided my wardrobe and picked a paid of jeans. I picked the pair that fit worst, but there's no denying that I could have continued to wear them had I not decided to cut them up! I will definitely be on the look out for some neon pink vinyl so I can still make a bag from the fabrics I had originally picked!

Most of the fabrics are Cotton &Steel with some (fairly old) Tula Pink thrown in and a smattering of Art Gallery and Stoff. The lining is a Sevenberry print I originally bought as a quilt back in a destash, but when it arrived it much heavier in weight that I expected - perfect for a large bag lining - and for this colour scheme! Not perfect for the outside of the bag where I used the jeans because it is white....

I added heavy-weight interfacing to the panels to give the bag structure. But I didn't have any - thank goodness for Amazon Prime... unfortunately the delivery driver didn't get the memo that I finished work at midday and had to get the kids at 5 and really a morning delivery would therefore have been best... as it was, he showed up at 4.30pm. It was quite impatient! I had got as far as I could by 2pm - I'd even added a pocket to the lining which wasn't a part of the pattern!

I had to wait until after bedtime to quilt up the panels and it was at this point I started to realise how big the bag was going to bed - with the added interfacing it was a large piece of fabric that was quite hard work to manhandle through my machine. But final construction was actually a breeze and look at the size of this bag - modelled by Mia for scale! If Jessica wasn't so wriggly, I'm pretty sure she would fit in it!

This is not a Finish Along finish because it was a spur of the moment decision to make it and I don't regret it for a moment!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Aves: Week 3

Week 3 of the Aves quilt was a step back into our comfort zone - a 6" rotary cut block. This one is called Birds Nest.

Of course, it still wasn't totally straightforward - some of the pieces were cut at eleven sixteenths of an inch!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

The Best Day Ever

Yesterday was absolutely the BEST DAY EVER! And I warn you, this post has a lot of photos! I spent it down at Simply Solids in Slaithewaite who were hosting a day with Tula Pink! Yes - Tula Pink. Now, I am not a fan girl - I like some of her fabric, not others. I love her books, but don't own them all - although the City Sampler is possibly my favourite quilt book of them all. In fact, I hadn't booked a ticket for the event - it wasn't until last week, when a cancellation came up, that I decided to go - but boy was that a good call.

To start with, I don't live near Huddersfield... I got up at 4am, and I am not a 4am type person. I did a couple of pick ups, we dodged the traffic on the M62 and made it to Slaithewaite in time for breakfast.
This quilt may have to be added to the list... I love it!

The morning was a lecture with Tula Pink in the local hall. It was amazing. She is an excellent public speaker, talking about the realities of designing fabric - her process, the process from an idea in her head to our local quilt shops. She had some of her quilts with her too. They were all beautiful! Bright colours, fabulous designs and the quilting ... it was as exciting to see some Angela Walter's quilting close up as it was to Tula's quilts. I will forever aspire to quilt like that!

After a lovely lunch, we attended a workshop with Tula. It was an English Paper Piecing workshop and we started her Tula Nova quilt.

Luckily for me, this was a quilt that was already on my list and I already had the papers for. Tula gave us tips on fussy cutting, basting and sewing - some of it I knew, lots of it was new! I am taking so much away from what she taught us! Here is the small start I made.

Of course, it would have been rude to make it in non-Tula fabrics, so I splashed out on some of her new All Stars fabric. I was fairly late coming to Tula's fabrics, and I've never really fallen for a line until Spirit Animal - her latest range with the otters.

But I embraced the day and pre-ordered some of the larger scale animal prints that she is re-releasing all shiny and new for this range. And they are beautiful! Totally different to what I normally buy, but so bright and colourful, delicious colours, and so many things to look at - the detail is amazing. I think I may have to reassess my "love her patterns, not sure about the fabrics" to "Love it all", because I have totally fallen for it, and I will look at all of her future ranges with new eyes!

Tula was so friendly and approachable. She was travelling with her Mum, who was just as lovely. The ladies at Simply Solids, Justine and Lisa, had worked so hard to make the day a success and it really was! And it was so nice to spend a day in a room full of like-minded people and meet in real life some of the people in my phone!

It really was the best day ever, and I'm still buzzing!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Gypsy Wife [A Finish]

I have my first big quilt finish of the year to share with you today - it's my Gypsy Wife quilt. I started this as part of the quilt-along hosted by @GnomeAngel back in the summer and decided to go totally scrappy for the blocks and low volume for the background.This was the recipe I had used for my Long Time Gone quilt and I love it. After a few blocks, I decided I didn't like it this time. We had to take Mia into A&E one Sunday (nothing serious) and while we sat in the waiting room, she played on her tablet, and I coloured in a print-out of the quilt - can't go wrong with a rainbow. And I started again.

Of course, I was well behind, and I stayed that way unfortunately. Even in the week after Christmas, I still believed I could make it  - a finished quilt top by the 2nd January. I spent a few hours cutting all the background strips (what a job... not just the cutting, but keeping them organised)! But I had to give in. There was just too much to do and definitely not enough time. So the 2nd January passed. I still had some blocks to make and the construction of the quilt itself looked like quite the task.

It was my birthday at the end of January, and for the first time in my life, I treated myself by taking a couple of days off work. Two whole days to sew - uninterrupted! Which was exactly what I needed to get this quilt done. I managed to get all the blocks pieced and a couple of the sections together ahead of my two golden days. But let me tell you, this quilt, and the construction part in particular, is not for beginners. It really stretched me - working out what seam to sew next, knowing I had some partial seams, and just making sure my layout was spot on. It was so much more fun than boring sashing! By the end of day 1 I had a finished quilt top, and that evening, at our local quilt group, I got it basted.

The next day I set up the machine to free motion quilt and 3 hours later it was done. I quilted it with an all-over free motion stipple with cream thread on the front and pale green on the back. The backing is a duvet cover from Dunelm and I love the large scale of it. 

I pulled all the dark greys from my stash and cut myself a scrappy binding and by 3pm the quilt was finished! How very efficient! My birthday quilt!

With the exception of the wadding, every piece of fabric in this quilt came from my stash. I made a vow this year to try fussy cutting, and I'm pretty pleased with the odd piece I included - I especially love the telephone. I also love that my quilt has "pissed" on it! Wonder how long it will take my mum to notice that! It's just such a happy, rainbowy quilt! I'm sad I couldn't get it done in time for the end of the quilt along, but I had a ball putting it together in peace and on my birthday!

This is a finish from my Finish Along list, which you can find here.

Marci Girl Designs

Monday, 5 February 2018

Aves: Week 2

The Aves Quilt started with a bang last week with the central medallion, and it didn't change for week two. This week we added a ring of flying geese to that centre medallion.

The ring itself was foundation pieced in 6 parts, and then we had the option of appliquing it to the centre, or piecing it. I decided to piece it, and despite thinking it would be difficult, it actually went very smoothly - I had a couple of gaps that needed a couple of hand stitches, where the points of the compass don't meet the ring of geese - this is a design feature (not an error on my part), but because the centre was foundation pieced, and I didn't sew into the seam allowance, there were just a few gaps. Ten minutes hand sewing remedied that! And I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Disco Kitty Boxy Clear Pouch [A Finish]

It turns out that Aneela Hoey makes the best zippy pouch patterns. I've made quite a few over the last few months from her Stitched Sewing Organizers book, but this one is a standalone pattern. I picked it up in her November sale and it's sat waiting for the perfect fabric, which arrived in December in the shape of Disco Kitty from Tula Pink. I added bright pink and aqua to the bright orange and then went for my sunglasses!

I had a couple of days off work this week to celebrate my birthday and I spent them both sewing! Heaven! I don't really know why I picked this up, perhaps I caught the colours out of the corner of my eye, but it wasn't in the original plan for the two days! On the Monday evening, I cut the fabric attached the interfacing and prepped the binding. 

I picked it up again on Tuesday morning, and by 10am I had a finished pouch. I love how great the instructions are and how quickly these pouches come together! I do not love double fold binding. And I do not love hand sewing it into the fiddly corners - but I love the pouch more than I hate the double-fold binding, so there may well be more of these in my future! Also - it's huge!!

I already have my next Aneela Pattern lined up... and yes, it has more double fold binding! But for now, this is a Finish Along finish! I originally planned to keep nail varnish and acessories in it, but it's too pretty and too big for that, so I expect I'll put sewing in it! You can find my original Finish Along list here.

Marci Girl Designs