Sunday, 31 March 2019

Trinket Sew Along

You know I'm a sucker for a quilt-along, especially when I already have the pattern. So when Alison Glass announced a quilt-along for her Trinket pattern, I was in! I've had the pattern a while, but it's foundation pieced, which, whilst I can do it, I haven't always enjoyed. This was the push I needed. I had just finished the extra rainbow cushions, so I had all my Alison Glass stash ready and waiting - it was clearly meant to be.

The 40 blocks in the pattern are split into groups of ten - here are my first ten - I've made multiples of some of the blocks so I'll have a lap quilt when I'm done - they finish at 4".

And the second ten blocks:

And you know what - I'm really enjoying the foundation piecing, and it's even pushed me to make progress on a few other foundation piecing projects!

Row, row, row your boat [A Finish}

I was on a roll this month with Finish Along finishes. This is one that has been my list for a while but without much of a plan. A few years back I made a similar cushion for Mia, with the word for "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" on, as this seemed to be her favourite nursery rhyme when she was little. I'd share a picture of it here, but it is well-loved and in desperate need of a wash... I knew I wanted to make one for Jess, and in the future I will make one for Josh. It was very clear that Jess's nursery rhyme of choice was row, row, row your boat, and we had so many variations... one for every member of the family, few complimentary! More for our entertainment that hers to be honest. But the version with the crocodile was a favourite.

So I can't tell you how pleased I was to find a pink (her favourite colour) crocodile print fabric. And even better it was on sale! I have no idea what range or make it is, as the piece I got didn't have that information on the selvage... Jess then picked out the fabrics for the front. I then edited her choice, which was very heavy on the pink. Interestingly she likes quite a light, baby pink over hot pinks. I also added the green to tie it in to the backing.

I wrote out the embroidery on paper before transferring to the fabric - just freehand. You always hope you spell it right when you do that! I embroidered them in Finca perle 16w, through both the front and the wadding, then added a couple of lines of hand quilting.

Another finish along finish. You can find my original list here.

finishalong logo 125px

Awesome Ocean [A Finish]

The Manatee is my husband's spirit animal. He declared this while watching a documentary in which they featured - the shots showed the animals gently floating without a care in the world. A minute after he declared this, the narrator, Prof. Brian Fox, continued with "The manatee is the most spherical animal on Earth". You can imagine my delight and the hysterics that followed!

All this by way of introduction to my latest finish: the Awesome Ocean Quilt, pattern by Elizabeth Hartman. Featuring the Manatee! And seahorses, octopuses (Octopi?), fish, turtles and whales. I love this quilt so much. The background fabric is Moda Grunge in a light bright blue, and it just makes this quilt glow!

I'm also pretty pleased with the colour layout, which I planned with crayons, but then once I'd decided that a specific block needed to be peach and the next pink etc, I didn't actually lay out the fabrics I was using until the blocks were all mostly made. So some luck and some judgement...

I nearly ran out of peach fabrics, in my quest to not repeat a print - thanks to Helen @archiewonderdog for helping out! I've since restocked my peaches as so many great peach fabrics have come out in the last few months. I think there may be a couple of repeats, but I think I've done pretty well!

The backing is a whale print I picked up a couple of years ago in an Instagram destash. I bought about 9m so have loads left - every baby born this year is getting an ocean themed quilt with this as the backing! The quilting is in a pale mint green Aurifil 50w, which seemed to blend best with all the fabrics, and I quilted waves! This quilt is not small, and it was quite a workout pulling it through my machine, but I love the resulting quilting.

This is a long time finish along lister, but I'm pleased to say that this is the final list it will be appearing on! You can find my original list here.

finishalong logo 125px

Friday, 29 March 2019

Ice Cream Soda [A Finish]

When I wrote my Finish Along list at the start of the year, I added my Ice Cream Soda quilt. At that point I hadn't even finished piecing all the blocks. I still had five or so blocks and 8 half blocks to piece, all the joining pieces to add to create a full quilt top, all the papers to remove, borders to add, basting and hand quilting and binding to do. Whilst I was enjoying working on it at that point, finishing it in this quarter seemed a little unrealistic.

But I did!

I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy and the first few weeks of Joshua's life, piecing, piecing, piecing! Adding the joining pieces and putting it all together was something I hadn't been looking forward to - it's never fun to manhandle a large quilt. But I found a rhythm and I actually thoroughly enjoyed it! I made an effort to remove the pieces as I went which made it easier to manhandle and less of a single tiresome task at the end.

The borders caused me some issues - I have no idea why, but I had to use the seam ripper way too much for such a simple task - but I'm so glad I added the narrow dark border and the wider light border. The dark is Kona Gotham Grey and the light is from Modern Backgrounds by Zen Chic (Moda). It's scrappy looking without being scrappy!

Dad helped me baste the quilt... it got a bit squiffy in the process so one corner of the wadding has been Frankensteined - I'm blaming him... but you can't tell. I then hand quilted it. I used Finca Perle #16 thread in a variety of pale colours and did straight lines in three directions across the main pieced section of the quilt. I then picked bright pink to add a couple of lines in the border.

I tried a new binding technique on this quilt. I wanted to hand bind it, because the rest of the quilt is hand sewn (except those borders). Egged on by a friend, I decided to machine it to the back of the quilt, then turn to the front and secure with a running stitch to mimic the hand quilting. I used a peach thread for this. It took a while to get into a rhythm, as I was sewing through a lot of layers, but not all the layers of the quilt - I didn't want the thread to show on the reverse, but I needed to make sure I went through both layers of binding and the at least the quilt top. I found that whilst when I quilt I can put 6-8 stitches on the needle at once, with this I had to do it a stitch at a time. But I love the result and will definitely be doing it again.

This quilt has been a labour of love. There are so many special fabrics in it - the very first fat quarter I ever bought, fabric from the first real quilt I ever made, fabrics I used in the quilts for my children... so many memories. Increasingly as the project went on, I included fussy cutting as well, so there's plenty to find - otters, seahorses, whales, zebras, tulips, cocktails, ice-lollies, flamingos, cats...

I tried not to repeat the print fabrics within the blossoms, but I failed. There are two fabrics which I repeated! I didn't notice the obvious one until I had nearly finished the quilting!

The pattern was a block of the month from Tales of Cloth, an Australian shop. It was so lovely to get a package of papers through the letter box each month. The papers (and packaging) she uses are 100% recycled/recyclable and are so easy on the hand when sewing with them (I find thicker papers much harder work). The pattern is a joy to stitch - you can thread a needle and sew all the way round before needing to cut your thread and start again - that's my idea of nice EPP. It's also a pattern made up of smaller blocks so you get that sense of achievement of finishing blocks and the opportunity to use lots of favourite fabrics. I'm not promising I won't make this quilt again in the future! I'm keeping my tatty papers, just in case. I couldn't resist getting another picture of the quilt this morning in the sunshine!

The quilt is backed with an Asda duvet - pineapples! All of the hand piecing was done with Mettler threads. The finished size is 68" x 68".

We took the quilt for a photo-shoot at Blea Tarn in the Lake District as part of our weekend away, so here's a picture of my crazy girls too!

finishalong logo 125px

Sharks Dinner BOM: Block 4

Well, I'm still going strong and keeping up with the Sharks Dinner Block of the Month. Here is block 4.

I've picked out a background fabric and if I don't start the applique and quilting soon, I know I'll regret it, so hopefully there'll be some movement on that front next month.

For more information, check out Shark's Dinner blog here.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Ten blocks, four projects

Back in early 2017 I made ten blocks from the Quilters Planner. I shrunk the original 12" patterns to 6" and used an orange rose print from Floral Garden by Chloe's Closet for Moda as my colour inspiration. But I only made 10 blocks - and at 6" each they weren't going to make a quilt no matter how much "neutral space" I added, so they have just sat in a box for the last two years. Last weekend I decided it was about time to do something with them. I set myself a bit of a challenge and within 24 hours I had four finished items:

An Open Wide zipper pouch - nice and large. I used the tutorial by Noodlehead to insert the zip, but the panels are a bit bigger than her pattern - 12" x 9". That used four of the blocks (two on each side). The lining is the leftovers from a duvet I used as quilt back over a year ago - it was the perfect green!

Two Speedy Vinyl Pouches using a recent pattern from Aneela Hoey. I made the large size from the pattern and they are perfect for holding EPP pieces. There will definitely be more of these in my future - I want to make the other sizes, but also adapt the pattern to make some even bigger ones. I can definitely recommend this pattern! I used the same duvet cover leftover to line it.

That sand dollar block is both my favourite and the one with the most work in it!

And the most impractically-coloured cushion I've ever made! By some miracle I had the same white fabric lying on my desk to add sashing! The back of the cushion was made using a leftover fat quarter of the original inspiration fabric, and this tutorial for inserting a zip. Jessica has claimed the cushion, but I guarantee it will not be white for long!

I have some more blocks from the Quilters Planner, but the full 12" in purple and teal, and a single bock in purple and peach. My next challenge will be to either use them or donate them...

Thursday, 21 March 2019

World Book Day

There is a chance that World Book Day may be my least favourite day of the year. It's a test for parents to find a costume... and of course Mia didn't pick out a character that appears in the Asda selection of fancy dress outfits, did she. No. She decided to be a nameless character from a book called Ten Little Superheroes. If you're unfamiliar with the series this comes from, and you have kids up to maybe 6 or 7 years old, then you need to hunt these books out because they are brilliant: we started with Ten Little Pirates and progressed to Ten Little Dinosaurs. Then Ten Little Princesses, Ten Little Monsters, Ten Little Elves and finally Ten Little Superheroes. And then the World Book Day book this year was Ten Little Bookworms. We are crossing our fingers there will be more in the series, as these are a firm favourite at bedtime.

So as I said, Mia picked the superhero above. I have to confess I'm quite proud of her - no princesses (though it would have been easier), no pink (well not much), and something that no-one else was likely to have. It was International Women's Day the next day and I couldn't help but think that I am raising two very strong (in the best sense) women (God help us... and their little brother).

But of course, this was not a costume that was available in the shops, so I had to make it. Thank goodness for Ebay and cheap T-Shirts. And for the Elsa cape we had in the dressing up box. The tunic was pretty easy - the centre pink belt was cut from a second T-Shirt and helped pull in the over-sized adult T-shirt... didn't quite get it on her waist but never mind...


But the crowning glory was the mask! Of course her superhero didn't just have a basic mask. Oh no. Her superhero had a whole hat... I found a tutorial online for making fleece hats, and just extended the length so it had a long back and I was able to cut away the front for eye-holes.

We added turquoise leggings and sparkly turquoise sequin trainers and ta-dah! All that effort, a pretty good likeness and because she had picked someone so obscure, nobody appreciated it! Ha ha!

And of course, Jess had to get involved too.... I found a witch costume in the dressing up box, and shoved a cuddly cat at her - the witch from Room on the Broom!

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Geo Diamonds EPP

Another new start.... whoops. And it's more EPP! The Geo Diamond pattern was designed by @naomialicec and she is running it as a block of the month, sending out pre-cut papers each month for a year. Each month's block is the same so I won't post about it on the blog every month.

I've picked blue, green and orange as my colour scheme - I had to try really hard to avoid pink, but the finished quilt will be for Joshua eventually. The greens are both Kona: Pear and Leprechaun. The orange is Art Gallery (thanks, Naomi) and the blues will be from my stash - so far I've used Constellations by Lizzy House, Blossom (Riley Blake - my new favourite blender), and Sprinkle (Cotton and Steel), but these will change each month as I have a few others to swap in.

The repeat patterns you can get with multiple blocks are brilliant, so go and check it out!

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Coming Home [Month 2]

Well I'm still on track and I've completed month 2 of Sarah Fielke's Coming Home quilt.

This month was the star points and the appliqued star in a circle. I broke out the applique paper again and thoroughly enjoyed the applique process. I'm also really pleased with how neat it looks. And all that practice will hopefully pay off next month as it's going to be all about the applique when we fill in those corners!

Friday, 1 March 2019

February Furtle

It's been quite the month! Having three kids seems to suit me. So far at least. I have loads of energy, the house is tidy and I'm sewing. Joshua is napping, and generally a happy, laid back baby, and the girls have accepted that he won't be going back in Mummy's tummy!

I finally finished Joshua's quilt; I completed the top of my Ice Cream Soda quilt ready for quilting; I made two more rainbow cushions for birthday gifts; I finished the long running Architextures and Botanics quilt; I finished my two-sided Hidden Agenda in Tula Pink fabrics and low volume. I finally bought a hoop to frame the owl embroidery I did back in January. And I started an embroidery.... more on that later this month as it deserves its own blog post.

I started a new quilt: the Cherish pattern and papers from Tales of Cloth, paired with Tabby Road by Tula Pink; I made a couple of blocks for the Summer Sampler 2018, I started the Coming Home quilt; made a few more Lisa the Unicorn blocks; kept going with my Mandolin quilt (and prepped a load more); kept up to date with the Sharks Dinner block of the month and pulled out the Down the Rabbit Hole quilt to make a start on the applique.

Linking up with Archie the Wonder Dog for this month's furtle.

Archie The Wonder Dog

Ice Cream Soda

It has been a while since I talked about the Ice Cream Soda quilt on my blog, so here's a bit of a recap This was the block of the month programme from Tales of Cloth back in 2017. I didn't keep up but I did keep going. Even though I didn't touch it for the majority of my pregnancy, towards the end, it became my project of choice. I powered through the last ten blocks and the half blocks and I actually enjoyed joining all the blocks together- something I had honestly not been looking forward to.

I think one of the reasons I really enjoyed this quilt, was because there was no plan, all fabrics were up for grabs and it was mindless sewing as the blocks were simple and quick to put together. (I am on the hunt for a new quilt pattern that ticks those boxes).

The borders are the only machine pieced part of this quilt. And they were objectionable. I don't recall the last time I had to use the seam ripper as much and I have no idea why it caused me so much bother. But I'm glad I did the extra work of adding two borders as the dark grey really frames the piecing.

Let the hand quilting begin!

Joshua's Quilt [A Finish]

When Mia and Jess were born, they both had quilt waiting for them. Joshua wasn't so lucky. Part of the reason was that we didn't find out for certain that we were expecting a boy until very late in the pregnancy, and then I couldn't find a pattern I liked or fabric I liked. Eventually I hit on a quit kit on Craftsy in one of their own brand fabric ranges. I took a risk. It's easy to take a risk when you can buy all the fabric for a quilt, including backing and binding, and postage from the US for under £50! I just didn't ever get to making it.

A few weeks back I dug out the fabric. The kit came with a fat quarter bundle and I was suprised to see that it included 18 fat quarters when I only needed 15. So the three lowest volume ones ended up in my stash - less practical with a vommy baby! But even more surprisingly, it also came with a cheater panel.

The pattern was great - I layered up the fat quarters and cut them four at a time. It took me just two days worth of nap-time to piece 92 half-square triangles and put them all together into a finished quilt top. Took a while to baste it up and then a couple of hours to quilt it.

Back to that cheater panel.... before Jess was born I bought some minky to make one of those nest cushions for a baby. I didn't make it and didn't miss it. It just so happened to be a good match to the fabrics. So I put the two together. I had plenty of fabric for binding, because it was a one-yard minimum cut, so both got bound in the light grey. So very quickly Joshua had two quilts. And I think he likes them!

I really struggled to capture the colours. That last photo is probably closest...

This is a Finish Along finish. You can find my original list here.

Two More Rainbow Cushions

At the end of January I finished my Alison Glass rainbow triangles cushion. It was much admired, as I mentioned at the time. And it just so happens that both my mum and my mother-in-law have February birthdays, so I pulled out all my Alison Glass fabrics. It turns out I have quite a collection... I may have added a few as well. I started cutting triangles for two more cushions.

Rather than hand piece, this time the cushions are machine pieced. Machine quilted. Machine finished. As these cushions were rather unplanned, the backs are a bit of a scratch job.

I used the grey Diatom print for my Mum's - it's lighter, and she likes light. For Linda's, I pulled out all the dark Stitch fabric I had left - in multiple pieces. It would appear it has come from two different sources as they are slightly different colours.... I decided to use the leftover triangles (all of which were pink and orange), to make a definitive break between the two fabrics and you can't tell they are different, and it's actually my favourite cushion back of the three - I wish I'd done the same on my own!

So that's two unplanned finished - they barely even appeared on the WIP list!

Sharks Dinner BOM [Month 2]

Just a quick post to boast that I am also up to date on the Sharks Dinner Block of the Month. Here is my third block.

I struggled to properly capture the colours of this block. This is with a filter applied that better reflects the colours - pink and orange are hard to photograph. In real life it's bright and vibrant and not as yellow as it looks!

The advice for this quilt along was to mark your pieces so you know which bit goes where. The pieces themselves have many edges and many angles and a couple of different ways of going together - most of them wrong. I religiously marked up my first block and it went together like a dream. I was lazy with my second block and learned my lesson. The third block was marked up to within an inch of its life and it went together like a dream.

Of course I haven't started the applique and quilting process. Soon!