Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Alexandria Quilt

I know that I haven't finished my Ice Cream Soda quilt yet. And I know that I haven't finished my Mandolin Quilt yet. But I'm making good progress on both. So when Jodie @ Tales of Cloth announced her latest block of the month, I didn't feel too guilty about ordering the free taster pack. This year's quilt is a medallion quilt, so the taster pack is the very centre section.

I'm always really impressed with how quickly these packages arrive from Australia. I had already decided to use my Zuma fabric for this tester piece at least.... but when I opened the packet I was quite surprised at how small the pieces were. Luckily Zuma has quite small scale prints! I spent a while deciding on prints and placement.

At the same time, Jodie shared an updated picture of where the quilt was heading.... not a finished version but enough to make me think. And I have to confess that I'm not sure. Looking at it, I don't think Zuma will work well for the whole quilt. So a change of plan: I got out my coloured pens and printed off the colouring sheet and had a play... this is what I'm thinking.

The fabric selection will be quite scrappy but within these coloured segments and the outer areas may change along the way. The Zuma centre I've made won't go to waste, though. I'm going to applique it to some Alison Glass fabric and mount it in a hoop for Jessica... because it's pink!

And whilst I was ordering from Australia, I've used some birthday money to buy the pieces and templates for another of Jodie's patterns, Cherish. And I'm going to pair them with Tula Pink's Tabby Road fabric which I happened to pick up in a destash recently... The Zuma fabric might just have to wait for another project! Now I'm trying to make as much progress as possible on my Ice Cream Soda quilt before the next parcel arrives, because I know that as soon as it does I will want to play with the new goodies!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Sharks Dinner BOM

It's the start of the year and there's loads of temptation out there in the shape of new blocks of the month, and there's no point in denying the fact that I love a good block of the month or sew along. But will you believe me if I say I didn't intend to do this one? No? Didn't think so. But I was struggling to pick a colour palette. Fabric Fox had a Christmas/New Years sale and I picked up a fat quarter of a Cotton and Steel floral print in pink, orange, red, cream.... and happened to also buy a couple of matching fat quarters totally by chance. They sat together on my sewing desk and answered the call!

January was a two-block month: block 1

And block 2:

I'm going to applique these blocks on to a black solid and hand quilt them individually with perle cotton. Just need to pick up the black.

You can find all the details for these blocks over at Shark's Dinner.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Architextures and Botanics [A Finish]

I started this quilt five years ago. My plan was a sampler quilt of 6" blocks from a variety of sources using fat quarter bundles of Architextures and Botanics, the first two fabric lines from Carolyn Friedlander, along with coordinating Kona solids.  I made 20 blocks then moved on to other projects.

Fast forward to 2018 and I was looking for a fabric plan for the final instalment of 100 days 100 blocks quilt-along hosted by @gnomeangle using Tula Pink's City Sampler book. Having made it a few times I was out of ideas for new colour palettes. It was a logical step, therefore, to pick up the Architextures and Botanics blocks and finally make enough for a finished quilt. In the intervening years, Carolyn had released a few more fabric ranges so I added in what I had from Doe, Carkai, Friedlander and Gleaned, as well as the newly released colours of some of her classic Architextures prints.

I found out that I was pregnant with Joshua just before the quilt-along kicked off. I had no energy and really didn't feel like sewing, but I knew that if I didn't join in in July, I would regret it in September when I was feeling better.... I wasn't feeling better in September but I kept up with the blocks and it made me keep sewing over the summer which did me good!

I kept the momentum going and made a decision not to use sashing in the final quilt. This meant I was more inclined to get it together as a finished quilt top whilst on retreat in October. But once done I didn't really like it...

I put it away. But as one of the few quilts I've ever made with no pink in it, and a  baby boy on the way, I added it to my quarter 1 Finish Along list. And when I got it out again, I quite liked it! Backing caused me trouble. I often use duvet covers as backing but I really couldn't find one I liked that worked with the quilt. Hidden away in a draw I had a huge piece of mustard Chroma by Alison Glass. I had intended to use it for a different quilt back but changed my mind. It seemed to work with this quilt. And added a flicker of pink!

It's quilted in Aurifil 50w in mustard. I free motion quilted "stright" lines approximately a quarter inch both side of the seam lines between blocks. The lines are a bit wobbly but it was much more enjoyable than using a walking foot. It's bound in Kona Gotham Grey.

This is a finish from my Q1 Finish Along list. You can find my original list here.
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Sunday, 10 February 2019

Hidden Agenda [A Finish]

This is very possibly my favourite ever finish - I know I've said that in the past, but this one is going to be hard to beat. This time last year, I attended a day long lecture/workshop with Tula Pink and it was inspiring. Having not really loved her fabrics in the past (but loved her patterns), I suddenly saw them in a new light, linked with my 2018 new year's resolution to try more fussy cutting). Fast forward 8 months and I confess that my Tula stash has expanded quite a lot. I found some UK shops with older ranges of fabric, splurged on a few destashes and found the odd piece of her fabric already in my stash. The plan was always (and remains) to make a Smitten quilt, but I'm well aware that I have plenty of fabric to make other projects as well! So when I saw the Hidden Agenda quilt pattern by Angela Pingle, this fabric sprung instantly to mind.... and we all know I love a rainbow!

And what could be better than rainbowfied Tula? I was ably assisted by my friend Tina, who also has a bit of a Tula addiction... she helped with layout ideas and provided some much needed red and a couple of other treasures!

I used as many lines as I could: All Stars, Stripes and Pompoms, Zuma, Spirit Animal, True Colours, Slow and Steady, Tabby Road, Acacia, Salt Water, De La Luna, Chipper, Eden, Elizabeth, Fox Field, and Moonshine. I also tried very hard not to repeat fabrics.

I did tweak the pattern a bit: originally it includes quarter square triangles, but I replaced these with un-pieced squares so better show off more prints.

Then came the brainwave: the low volume version: and rather than declare a new start, what about using it to back the Tula version? Then Tina suggested piecing it in a mirror image so where there was, for example, a 16" block on one side, there would e a 16" block on the other.

Th Tula side went together very quickly, but the LV side took a little longer as i ran out of energy at the end of my pregnancy. I did manage to get all the LV square-in-square blocks pieced in November, and the rest cut out over Christmas, but once Joshua had arrived, this went straight to the top of the sewing list!

Basting was interesting... inevitably the back and front didn't match exacly. I added narrow borders to the LV side in Kona white so i had some wiggle-room and at various places there is up to an inch of this showing. I'm good with that!

I quilted it over a couple of nap times. I free motion quilted "organic" lines top to bottom roughly an inch apart, using Aurifil 50w in white back and front.

Finally the binding: I had bought the black and white print from De La Luna for this, but it was justt too much! Instead I used Kona Gotham Grey, which works well with both sides of the quilt and frames it nicely.

This is a Finish Along finish! You can find my original list here.
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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Hidden Agenda: The Quiet Side

You may remember towards the end of last year I pieced a quilt top using the Hidden Agenda quilt pattern by Angela Pingle using my Tula Pink fabic stash in what I christened my Rainbowfied Tulafest. You can find my post about that top here.

I was thinking how good the same pattern would look made up entirely in low volume fabrics, but given my 124 (ish) works in progress, I didn't think that The Committee would appreciate another start. Of course, that doesn't normally stop me! Would it be crazy to piece it again in low volume and use it as the quilt back? Yes... but not quite as crazy as reversing the pattern too! But that's what I did! I made the square in square blocks back in November, and then ran out of energy.

I cut the rest of the fabric for the second side over Christmas, but the last few weeks of my pregnancy were spent on the sofa not moving, so it wasn't until after Joshua's birth that I sat back at my machine and finally started piecing it. One quadrant a day during Michael's paternity leave and all of a sudden I had a quilt top!

Next up, basting!

Owl Embroidery [A Finish]

It's my second finish of the quarter! I actually did all the hard work a couple of weeks ago before Joshua was born but it's taken me a couple of weeks to buy the hoop I needed to mount it.

This started life as a printed panel designed by Aimee who trades on Etsy as Little Dear. I've long-admired her embroideries but she is based in the States, so postage was always an when my sister-in-law travelled there 18 months ago, I took the opportunity to order a couple of panels - a mermaid and a moon moth - one each for the girls. I prepped the mermaid, and then I lost it... pretty special. So when a friend travelled to the States last November, I replaced the mermaid and ordered this owl for the new baby.

The embroidery is straight-forward outlining in a variety of stitches and while the pattern called for a lot of split stitch, I find my stem stitch is much neater so did mostly stem stitch. It's then finished off with some French knots and lazy daisy stitch. I thoroughly enjoyed this little project, which I completed over just a couple of days.

It will hang on Joshua's bedroom wall one he's moved out of Mummy and Daddy's room. I'm looking forward to making up the other panels too, and Aimee has just released some new panels in time for my friend's next jaunt across the Atlantic. And as for the missing mermaid? She'll turn up eventually and then Jess can have a mermaid too.

This is a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.
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Saturday, 2 February 2019

January Furtle

Archie The Wonder Dog is kicking off a new link up this month to give those of us who still blog a place to share a monthly overview, and those who don't blog any more to get back to it. A little furtle through the month!

My sewing month looked a bit like this...

Heavy on the EPP as for half the month I was too huge and uncomfortable to sit at my sewing machine. I made massive progress on my Ice Cream Soda quilt. I finished the last few block, laid it out and put together the first five columns.

I made three Mandolin blocks, two blocks for Shark's Dinner block of the month, and the centre of the Alexandria quilt. Watch out for some blog posts on these in the next few days!

I also jumped on the Tiny Dresden Party bandwagon and made a tiny Dresden block using scraps from my Mandolin quilt. But now it's made, I'm not quite sure what to do with it... once I've decided I'll blog about that too!

After Joshua arrived, I managed to get back to my sewing machine, and I've pieced the low volume back of my Hidden Agenda quilt. Basting will be a challenge.

And for my birthday, I finished my Alison Glass Triangle cushion - my first finish of 2019.

Most of these projects require blog posts of their own to show them off, and ideally I should have done that before I post this overview of January. But that hasn't happened this month. Once I get the blog posts wrtten, I'll lin through to them and in February I'll try and blog as I go ready for next month's furtle!

Linking up with Archie the Wonder Dog's furtle!

Alison Glass Triangles [A Finish]

Last Spring I signed up to a swap: baste forty 2" triangles with a pretty Alison Glass fabric, send them off and patiently wait for forty different triangles to come back. I signed up twice so I would have enough triangles for pouch panel.

Note to self... always check the requirements carefully signing up for things. I signed up because the swap was being run by friends... those same friends (I'm looking at you Maria @stitchy.stitchy) decided all basting should be thread basting... there is a very good reason I glue baste and this reinforced all my reasons. It. Takes. So. Long! And it is so dull... if I am going to spend time sewing, I want it to be productive. And thread basting does not feel productive. The 43 glue refills I used last year seem like a bargain!

Anyway, once I'd got over the thread-basting, I received a package of pretty little rainbow triangles. Which I then ignored for 8 months. I had vague plans of adding more triangles from my stash of fabrics not already represented. But I never got round to it, despite putting these triangles on my Finish Along list a few times.

It turns out last week Thursday was the day. For whatever reason, I glue-basted extra triangles and decided on a layout. A few evenings of piecing and I had a panel far too big for a pouch! But by a fluke, it turned out the exact size needed to make a rectangular cushion that would fit a cushion pad I already have! And as luck would have it, Saira @oliveandflohandcraft had a sale where I picked up some more Alison Glass to back it.

This became part of my new tradition of making something for me on my birthday each year... last year it was my Gypsy Wife that I finished, and while this isn't a full quilt, it is very pretty and I'm quite attached to it. Sadly, other family members also seem to be quite attached to it. Mia would like it...

My mother has tried to steal it...

And if I made one for every family member who has dropped "subtle" hints, I'd need to make another 6 cushions. It's not happening, guys!

This is my first Finish Along finish for the quarter. You can find my original list here.
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