Monday, 28 January 2019

Mandolin Quilt [an update]

It's been 4 months since I last shared an update on my Mandolin Quilt. But I have been working on it behind the scenes. I now have 16 finished blocks, just four off the finish line. This shot is at 14 blocks when I was prepping the next ones shortly before Joshua was born.

And here are the two blocks I pieced while being induced.... 30 hours!

I'm not quite as up to date on my joining blocks, but those are pretty quick to piece once I've cut the fabric. But I've decided to move the goalposts... I have plenty of the fabric left (and I might have picked up a bit more in recent destashes), and I'm really enjoying sewing these blocks, so I'm going to go up to 25 blocks and make a quilt for our bed. So watch out for more updates rather than a finished top!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Joshua John Michael

We are now officially a family of Charlie! Joshua joined us at 4.47am on 19th January after 30 hours of induction and 8 hours of labour. He weighed 7lb 9oz... my smallest baby! He seems so much smaller than the girls!

We got home on Saturday evening and we're slowly settling into our new routine. Mia and Jessica are over the moon with their new baby brother. According to Jess, he is "adorble" and "so cute"!

As for me, I'm still on painkillers but no worse for wear. I'd love a good nap though! But that is tempered with my desire to be doing something! I'm not very good at sitting and doing nothing! So today I started tidying my sewing desk so I can use nap times to get back to my machine and introduce Joshua to the sound of sewing! I unburied the triangles I received as part of the Alison Glass EPP Triangle swap last summer. I also found the extra fabric I'd dug out to add in and the planets aligned and I found the spare papers too! So I made up the extras, adding in the brand new 2019 Sunprints text fabrics and settled on a layout. Something else to work on between feeds and nappies...

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Finish Along Quarter 1: The List

I am well known for my ridiculously long finish along lists. But this may be the most ridiculous - not just by volume, but also due to the fact that baby number 3 is due in just over a week! I looked back to when Jess and Mia were born: Mia's finish along list was just 7 items (my lists have definitely got more ridiculous since 2014). I finished just one - her quilt. Jessica's finish along list consisted of 12 projects - I completed two items but also, in re-reading those blog posts, I've learned that achievable finishes and variety are the name of the game - I did plenty of sewing that quarter, just not from the list! So with that in mind...

1. Hidden Agenda: this is possibly my favourite non-finish from last year - one side is pieced, but the reverse will be the same pattern, mirrored and in all low volume - you've got to love friends who have bright ideas! All of the low volume pieces are cut and stored in bags. The square in square blocks are pieced. And somewhere safe. But due to baby brain I have no idea where that "somewhere safe" is at the moment. Biggest challenge of the quarter may be finding those blocks...

2. Quilt for baby: I'm feeling a little bit guilty about this one. By the time Jess and Mia were born, both had finished quilts. That just isn't going to be the case this time round, but I'd like to think it won't be too long after he arrives. I bought a kit from Craftsy - I just need to make it.

3. Tula Nova: this has been on a few lists now, but I'm getting closer each time. The EPP is done, and the next steps - piecing the background and basting the EPP ready for applique are jobs best done without a bump. But after that it's all hand piecing and sofa sewing.

4. Mermaid embroidery: this is reappearing on the list after a gap because I lost the pre-printed panel. It came from the US, brought back by my sister-in-law, and then it disappeared - I literally have no idea where it is. So when a friend travelled to te US last year and offered to bring me some things back, I reordered it. And I will get it embroidered and in a hoop nd on Mia's wall before I lose it again.

5. At the same time that I bought the mermaid panel, I bought a moon moth panel for Jess.

6. And when I replaced the mermaid panel, I bought an owl panel for the new baby.

7. Architextures and Botanics quilt: this is the quilt top that cme out of the #100days100blocks2018: I wasn't sure about it when I finished it, but it's grown on me, and I've decided on a backing. But sadly, the backing needs piecing - another job to do post-bump. I've ordered a lovey mustard thread to quilt it!

8. Awesome Ocean: I think this may have appeared on every list last year. But progress has been made and you never know, this may be the quarter!

9. Fancy Forest: another old-timer on the list - it's not quite as far along as Awesome Ocean.

10. Lisa the Unicorn: this is a quilt my sister-in-law has asked me to make for a friend and I've actually started it since the last list (when I had only cut it out).

11. I'm adding Ice Cream Soda. I know I still have a huge amount of work to do on it, but it's my project of choice at the moment, and that momentum may continue - I'd at least like to make some progress - may be a finished top.

12. Summer Sampler 2018: this project keeps coming to mind at the moment: the blocks will all be made from Palm Canyon, and I think it's the summery colours I want to play with.

13. Easter Sampler: started nearly 2 years ago... will it be finished for Easter 2019?

14. Round of Cats: I'm still at the "one block made" point in this quilt and the longer I leave it, the bigger it will have to be as Mia keep growing...

15. Row row row your boat cushion: I've been wanting to make this cushion for Jess for ages, but I finally found the perfect fabric for it.... if you see a crocodile, don't forget to scream! (in pink!).

16. Dachshund with ears: I've moved on from a while quilt - this just needs to be a cushion and it will take about 2 hours to get there.

17. It's Just a Phase embroidery: because it will be very appropriate - progress has been made since this photo.

18. Penguin Party: I started this last quarter with a view to it being a Christmas quilt, but ran out of energy - but only after cutting all the fabric - it's all sitting there ready to go under the needle. Totally achievable!

19: There's a quilt for Mia on the list, there's a quilt for the new baby on the list, so I'd better put a quilt for Jess on the list: I bought a kit from Craftsy featuring Trolls - her favourite! I should sew it before she decides she doesn't like it any more - when does the new Trolls movie come out? It's mostly a panel so how hard could it be?

20. Bjorn Bear rainbow quilt: the reject, but Aunty Barbara wants it... all the blocks are made.

21. Alison Glass Triangles - I want to make a pouch with them.

22. Swap mini quilt for a swap with the ladies (and gent) I made my 365 quilt with. No photos cause it's a surprise. But it will be a rainbow and sewing themed!

23. Crayons quilt for a baby born back in October.  I haven't started it yet...But it will be scrappy.

Twenty-three is pretty normal for me. Right? I'm not crazy? Right?
finishalong logo 200px

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Finish Along Q4 Review

I started Q4 back in October with a newly found sew-jo and even a little bit of energy to go with it. But that didn't last - this third pregnancy is so much harder than the other two! But I do have an improvement on Q3 and its single finish. Q4 saw 5 finishes!

Whilst the direction changed quite a lot, I finished a Bjorn Bear quilt.

The Sloths and Unicorns quilt just needed quilted and binding.

I knew the Wee Braw Bag would get done - it had a deadline!

Threadfolk Embroidery

Sewing Date Traveller - I honestly didn't expect to get this done, but I'm so glad I did!

You can find my original list here. And my Q1 list will be up shortly (and just as ridiculous as ever!).
Marci Girl Designs

2018 in Review

2018 doesn't feel like my most productive sewing year. Even before I fell pregnant in May, finishes were few and far between. But having spent some time this morning going through photos, it turns out that it wasn't quite as unproductive as I thought. Plus I've grown a human!

So first up, the quilts:

Gypsy Wife - I love that it's a rainbow and I love that I finished it on my birthday. I love the low volume stripes. I love everything about it!

Summer Sampler 2016 - two years late but I still love the fabrics I chose. I also love that I was able to pick up a matching backing in the sale. I don't love that this quilt seems to have been "adopted" by my eldest daughter! Though it does look very cute on her bed.

The Kittens Quilt - rather a spur of the moment decision to make this one but Jessica's reaction to her own cat quilt was lovely. Not quite a rainbow but so pretty. And go to the original blog post to see the amazing Caticorn backing!

Round We Go - this was a labour of love. It was a quilt-along I kept up with. It was a mammoth task of applique and hand quilting. It was the only project I worked on consistently during my first trimester. It will always be a special quilt, but there were times when I couldn't wait to see the back of it. I love how good this photo turned out with the matching beach hut - entirely by accident.

Sloths and Unicorns - an obvious combination!

And Bjorn Bear - not the original version I had planned (which is in disgrace in a cupboard) but infinitely better!

I made quite the number of pouches, mostly from patterns by Aneela Hoey. The most useful is the Boxy pocket Pouch - I use it daily and it contains all of my EPP supplies.

Top: All-in-one Box Pouch; bottom: two in one pouch and two Inside Outside Pouches
The other mega-useful pouch/bags are the Totes Amazeballs Tote (pattern by Angie Wilson), which is huge and carries everything), and the Sewing Date Traveller, which I swore about when I made it, but which I also use every day.
Left: Boxy Clear Pouch; Sewing Date Traveller
Centre: Needlebook Plus; Needlebook Plus and Sewing Folio; Wee Braw Bag; Totes Amazeballs Tote
Right: Devon pouches and Wee Braw Bags
I finished a few hoops this year, but didn't do anywhere near as much embroidery as in previous years.

Floral Fields pattern by Threadfolk; Pineapple curved EPP pattern by Sew Motion; Breath pattern by Lolli and Grace and Cat pattern by Cinderberry Stitches.

But the year wasn't just about what I made, it was also about who I met. I made some amazing friends at the Sewing Shindig retreat in September - people in my phone exist in reality! And they are an amazing, crazy bunch and I can't wait to catch up with them again in 2019.

Our North East Modern Quilt Guild moved locations in March - we now meet monthly at the Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead. We also went on retreat and that weekend was another highlight of my sewing year - and will be again in 2019!

And February saw the best day ever, when I met Tula Pink at Simply Solids. I got a last minute ticket as I wasn't a fan of her fabric (though I love her patterns). Well that changed pretty quickly. She was an inspirational speaker, and a lovely, open person. And I fell head over heels in love with her fabric - it's proven to be a pricey change of mind, but I am now the proud owner of a large Tula Pink stash. This also helped me achieve my 2018 goal of attempting more fussy cutting - definitely something I have embraced, though it's still hard to cut a piece out of the centre of a perfectly good piece of fabric! This cushion was the EPP I started on that day with Tula - it will always be special!

And this leads me on to the projects I worked on this year, and love, but remain unfinished! Spot the Tula! These are projects I hope to finish in 2019:

My full-sized Tula Nova: all the EPP is done, but I have to piece the background and get appliquing! Brimfield in De La Luna - 2 blocks done out of 12. Mandolin in Spirit Animal - 14 of 20 blocks done. But I'm not ruling out going to 25 blocks. Awesome Ocean (and Fancy Forest not pictured). #100days100blocks2018 in all Carolyn Friedlander fabrics - it's a completed top, but needs layering. And Hidden Agenda in all Tula. This was an unplanned start but a fabulous pattern and I loved using all my Tula fabrics. The top is finished, but the backing will be the same pattern, mirrored and in low volume - it's started! Also not pictured is my Ice Cream Soda quilt - I've made huge progress on this recently so watch this space for an update.

But of course, I do like a new start so there will likely be a few other projects too - just as soon as this baby arrives!

Stats of the year:
It was an EPP focussed year: I used 43 Sewline glue refills!
I challenge myself every year to make 1000 blocks: in 2016 I hit that target; in 2017 I missed it by a smidge. In 2018 I missed it by a mile. I made 611 blocks, but 133 of those were hand-pieced EPP blocks!
I started the year with 94 projects on the WIP list and despite the finishes, I ended it with a stonking 121 items!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Other Christmas Sewing

This year's Christmas sewing was definitely a reduced service compared to previous years and consisted of bags and pouches and a single cushion only. But I'm pretty pleased I had the energy to complete them and they turned out pretty well too.

A few months back, I saw a Devon Pouch posted on Instagram. It was made by Saira, who runs the lovely Olive and Flo Handcraft fabric shop using the pattern by @sotakhandmade. It's a fairly straightforward pouch but with a front pocket and the option to add a coordinating fabric - so a bit more special than a basic pouch. I made four: One for a secret santa swap at our local quilt group, filled with an EPP pincushion kit;
 One filled with  a gift card;

 And two for work colleagues, filled with sweets.

I then made three Wee Braw Bags:

These two were made as Christmas presents for Mia's teachers and filled with a mug and some posh hot chocolate. Mia picked the mugs and fabrics herself.

And finally the smaller sized pouch to gift a necklace for my mother-in-law.

Ad then, slightly last minute, I whipped up a cushion in some Tula Pink De La Luna fabric. No quilting or wadding, just a front and a back, finished with a zip.