Monday, 24 August 2020

Plaidish Quilt [A Finish]

 You know me and a good sew along.... so when the Cariad Modern Quilt Guild organised a Plaidish Quilt sew along, I got drawn in! But it's been a brilliant decision and made a massive difference to lock-down for me! 

The Plaidish Quilt pattern is by Kitchen Table Quilting and is all squares and rectangles. The hardest part is selecting your fabrics and sorting them into lights, mediums and darks - if you get that right, you get the plaidish look!


Using a black and white filter on your camera is a really good way of checking the values of your fabrics - There were some fabrics I had originally picked out which really didn't work once I'd done this check... and even once I'd got to this point, I was worried that there wasn't enough contrast between my mediums and lights! I used only fabrics from my stash - purples, pinks, aquas, peaches and low volume. It was a lot of cutting, but once you've got that out of the way, the construction is split into three types of blocks and chain piecing is the way to go.

Everyone uses their kids as pattern weights, right? I backed my quilt with a purple duvet cover (courtesy of a random website) and quilted it all over in a stipple using a light purple thread. And the end results: I love this quilt - it's simple, striking and big!

But the best thing about this quilt is the community. The quilt-along ran over 5-6 weeks starting back in April and Cariad MQG organized Saturday sewing Zoom calls - and even though the quilt-along is over, those Saturday calls are still going. At the start I knew a few of the members from the Sewing Shindig weekend Retreat I've been on a couple of times, but now I know them a lot better and I love my Saturdays with them - it's truly been a highlight of lockdown! 

Monday, 10 August 2020

Flip Pocket and Four Pocket

 I made another two pouches in the last couple of months. If you've ever come across the pouches designed by Aneela Hoey, you'll know how amazing they are, and as soon as she released the patterns for the Flip Pocket Folio and the Four Pocket Case they went on my list! The biggest struggle was deciding what fabric to use on the outsides.

I started with the Flip Pocket Folio and decided to use a pattern by Berene Campbell (designer of the Hello friend block I used for a cushion and a pouch) - I love the Stitch On banner pattern but to make it fit I had to shrink it to 50% - that made from pretty tiny piecing, but the pattern is so good that it went together beautifully!

Lots of pink on the inside and this is the perfect pouch for all my hand sewing threads. Aneela's instructions are very clear and the vinyl sewing went without a hitch - though I can recommend  a teflon foot!

For the second pouch, the Four Pocket Case, I used a mini charm pack of Tilda fabrics from The Chromatic Studio - a added a few extra squares in from fabrics I already had to bring it up to the right size and then found the perfect binding fabric in my stash (Spectrastic by Guicy Giuce). I like using paler fabrics for the interior of zippy pouches with vinyl as it shows the contents better. And then I used a fabric I wasn't keen on for the pocket lining, because you can't see it at all!

I'm using this pouch to store all the bits for some Blocks of the Month programmes I'm working on.

And on both of these pouches I got to use my new toys: kam snaps! Now I just need to make a hundred more pouches for the rest of the snaps I bought.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Mini Series Sew Along

It's a well known fact that Alison Glass designs the best fabrics - turns out she runs pretty good sew alongs too. Last year was the Trinket Sew Along and this year was the Mini Series sew along. I was a bit on the fence to start with... the cost of the patterns was a little high... but in the end I couldn't resist. There were nine patterns sewn over 9 weeks each made up of the tiniest foundation piecing. And in order to complete the sew along, all nine had to be made into finished objects - that was the challenge.

I pieced four of the blocks using a rainbow of fabrics and a black background from speckled which has a copper fleck. These four became canvases for Joshua's bedroom wall.
The flying geese were paired with the Love pattern from @quietplay, released earlier this year to raise money for those affected by the Australian bush fires. I made these into my first Retreat Pouch which was a gift for Linda.
The crossed geese pattern was the block I struggled with the most: I just wasn't sure what to do with it. Until the Zip Around pouch sew-along appeared on my Instagram feed and I realised that this block fitted perfectly at this size. This was my second zip around pouch, and I made it slightly deeper - it holds my phone charger.
(you can see the copper fleck better on this project - it's the same fabric I used on the canvases)

I used the bonus block (diagonal stripes) and the hexagon block to make myself a new Kindle case - there's just something about the combination of orange and pink!

And the final block was the crowning achievement - and the one that attracted the most swear words! The triangle block by itself wasn't too bad... but six of them sewn together in a hexagon was another level. Picking the paper out of the back was painful. But this cushion is possibly my favourite make of the year so far! 

And the backing fabric is perfect and the label was the ultimate finishing touch!

Lockdown Pouches

Lockdown has proved to be a busy time for us: whilst my mother-in-law moved in and has been a huge support in home-schooling the girls and Joshua-wrangling, work hasn't let up - no furlough for me! I've worked on a few bigger projects during this time, but I have mostly been ddrawn to either hand-sewing on the sofa whilst watching Vera and Death in Paradise, or smaller projects for quick finishes. Pouches definitely tick that box!

I've made a fair few retreat pouches - these are made using a free pattern by @emmalinebags and are slightly different from a regular zippy pouch because you create a channel just under the zip and add wire frames. And it totally transforms the pouch into something amazing. I've made two large and two small ones so far - here is one of the large ones - a foundation pieced pair of scissors on one side (pattern by @quietplay) and some lovely Tula Pink fabric on the back.

And here's one of the smaller one - made with Liberty and hand quilted.

Both were made as gifts. But I did make a second small one which I've kept!

I've adapted the Hello Friend pattern which I showed you in my previous post and sewed it up at 50% scale for the front of another pouch - backed with a fabulous painters palette print which I picked up from Lovely Jubbly Fabrics

A few months, @CloudTori made a beautiful little pouch using cross stitch style blocks from a pattern by Fabric Mutt. I shamelessly copied it, using a lovely blue and green print for my starting point - and the reverse of the pouch. I sent this one down to my Mum earlier in the year.

Did you happen to see the Zip Around Pouch sew along over on Instagram? The pattern is by @elizabew and I got sucked in - I even broke out some Liberty fabric. This pouch was fun to make because the construction was totally different to the normal pouches I make. I can see so much potential with different sizes and both girls have requested one. For now, this one houses my headphone.

If I need a pouch in a hurry, my go to pattern is the Noodle Head Open Wide Pouch. I've made three just in July: one as a birthday present - the girls' friend had a zoom birthday party - her mum dropped off ingredients and then everyone made pizza over zoom! It was such a great idea. I made a Flamingo pouch and filled it with pencils and a notebook for her.

And then the girls wanted new pouches for our summer road trip to Granny and Grandad's house last week: Jessica requested pink flowers...

And Mia loves zebras.

There are even a couple of other pouches which I will share in a separate post...

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Hello Friend Swap

Early on in lock-down, Berene Campbell of Happy Sew Lucky released a new pattern - Hello Friend. She originally released it through a select number of fabric shops, as a way for them to raise some money in lock-down. Our guild, North East Modern Quilt Guild, decided to support this and arranged a swap - each member who wanted to join in had to buy the pattern and then make the block in colours and fabrics they felt reflected them as a quilter. We then swapped the finished blocks amongst the participants and each recipient chose to finish their block in their own way.

This is the version I made - it had to be a rainbow didn't it, really? And I loved the black rainbow sprinkle fabric for the background. My finished block went to Jules @juleskerry_s

And I received this beautiful block from Dona @creativeaccountant - I love it and it's a totally different colour scheme to what I would pick for myself - a really citrussy yellow and turquoise. I decided to hand quilt it and added a little bit of embroidery - Dona makes the best typos! Though not in this pattern!

I wanted to make mine into a cushion, but Dona challenged my stash finding a backing for it - in the end I pulled out the yellow lightning fabric and was amazed to find that it was a long quarter rather than a fat quarter. Had it been a fat quarter I would have struggled to get a back from it, but as a long quarter it was perfect - obviously meant to be. These fabric challenges meant I didn't want to follow the original pattern with a nifty binding look. Instead I bought some jumbo ricrac - I took a bit of a chance it would be the right colour turquoise - but it was.

Finishing cushions with ricrac may be my new favourite technique!