Tuesday 29 April 2014

Squeaking another finish into April...

I started quilting this quilt during the Lazy Bums virtual Global quilting retreat.  I had to use my hand cranking Singer because on the very first day of our retreat my Bernina packed up!

I had managed a bit of a grid on retreat and thought I should continue in the same way to complete the grid!  Well that idea has been seriously putting me off ever since and as my Bernina was back I was doing lots of other stitching.

Yesterday though I just thought I'd see how far I could get cranking out some more grid lines.  Before I knew it I had done enough to stabilise my quilt and then I got on with a bit of spiral in and out on my Bernina!   Susan really made me want to do it with her recent show attending hexy quilting though I had been think I should go with something swirly !

My next question was what to use for binding?

There are so many colours in this quilt I just didn't know which to pick so I didn't go for colours at all!  I chose a white spot on black!  I think it works well.  

And I machine stitched the whole thing on back to front as it were!   I used black top thread when stitching the binding to the front and used invisible thread in the bobbin so if my stitching wasn't quite hitting the binding at the back it wouldn't matter.

Have to say I needed it and it worked well!  As you can see!

So the end of April is nigh and I have managed to finish four quilts this month!  

So what shall I do until the end of the month!?  One and a half days left!

Finish Along 2014

Sunday 27 April 2014

Oops a new start!?

This new start has been passed by master regulator Helen so please don't be alarmed !

It uses the totally gorgeous Mixed Bag bundle kindly donated by Moda to the Siblings Together Bee.

We are making quilts for children in care in the UK.  They often get split up from their siblings and this charity holds holiday camps so they can be re-united!   

I look at my children and think how it would be for them to be split up and on the whole I think they would really miss each other....

The bee makes big simple blocks for a quick and stress free turn around and I have chosen something simple indeed!

Hadley chose a 16 patch last month and I have chosen a modified nine patch for the month of May

This block is made from nine 6.5" unfinished squares (6" finished).   Five squares are just that!   One coloured square and four background squares

The other four squares are 3 bar rail fence blocks made from three strips 6.5" x 2.5" unfinished.  When sewn together with a quarter inch seam allowance they make a 6.5" unfinished square (6" finished).

The block layout is like this - the rail fence blocks are constructed with fabrics in the same order and matching prints face towards the middle square.

Each row is pieced together in turn.  Seams should be pressed within the row in the same direction, the middle row in the opposite direction for a beautifully nested fit.

All rows are joined matching seams.

The final block should measure 18.5" unfinished.   

This simple block suits this bright and highly patterned fun collection of fabrics.  It is a great mix of fabrics which could be used in so many different ways!

Our thanks to Moda for the fabrics and to the other sponsors who have donated backing fabric and to Lady Sew and Sew who have provided the wadding!




I just hope my bee mates enjoy putting those blocks together!

Questions were asked....

A little while ago both Amy and Hadley asked how many quilts I've made in my lifetime {hasten to point out it is not over yet and I'm still making quilts} and how many projects I've got on the go at the moment?

Well today I am trying my best to answer and have updated my blog pages to provide those answers ...

How many?  

Well it took quite a while but I have now tracked down photos of almost all of them and they are listed in no particular order on my quilt gallery page.

I added 12 to the page and here are a couple of my favourites:

This quilt top is almost entirely hand pieced so it took quite a while to finish and my eldest claimed it as hers as it is in her colours or they were her colours then. 

(Black is her current fav colour and purple - you know like a bruise?!)

I think I even hand pieced those squares!  It is machine quilted in the ditch and across the diagonals of those squares.

Another favourite is a double sided one in recycled fabrics 

It was supposed to be two quilts but I was trying to reduce my UFO pile even then - sound familiar!?   The stars are appliqued onto an old sheet and I hand quilted it in cotton perle and added a scrappy binding.  And here is a close up of my label on the front - totally inspired by Clare I have to confess...

So if you count up all the quilts on my gallery page it comes to 28!   And add that to my quilt finishes in 2014 (a different page) - another 7 so far. Total 35 and counting....

Peanuts compared to the lovely Trudi !  I am sure she showed me 70+ and we hadn't got to the bottom of the heap!

What I'm working on now?

And as far as projects I'm working on - these are spread over two pages - my UFO list for 2014 and my tops for quilting pages - and they total 13!  I have felt rather overwhelmed in the past by the number of projects left to finish off but compared to those completed I think I am winning!  At last!  So it is ONLY 13 Hadley and Amy!  

And this one could be my all time favourite...

Quite excited as I have now purchased some backing fabric using my winning voucher from the super duper and generous Cindy in her Fluffy Sheep Shop.   Can't wait for it to arrive

I have my company of regulators - you know who you are! - who are determined to keep me on the straight and narrow so I can eventually catch up and finish all 13 of these projects.  Thank you all I know the bullying stern words are said with love and a real desire to help a serial starter.  

Maybe one day I'll be struggling to find things to put on my FAL list?  Well....maybe not...

Thursday 24 April 2014

It looks like I have quite a bit of stitching to do...

And I've been doing it!  

I made the last two blocks to fill up those gaps...

This is Bleeding Heart - all done leisurely one evening by hand as I didn't want to risk doing it on the machine 

This is World's Fair - did do this on the machine and I had all sorts of problems - all down to not paying atttention!

And then I started filling up the gaps around the edge - didn't want to have a zigzag edge with a load of bias edges!  So it was strip piecing triangles to make a piano key edging.  This breaks up the triangle shape enough so it becomes part of the background I think.

And then I noticed this block

And then I carefully unpieced the wrong bit

And then I decided it wanted to be that way and who was I to say no!  So I changed all the bits but the original 'wrong' bit and now I think it was right.

And here is the quilt top enjoying a bit of fresh air and sunshine...

This is a happy day!

Sunday 20 April 2014

Another quilt in the making!

I am getting back into my piecing groove and after catching up with my Star of Africa bee blocks I decided to revisit a project I had started pushing on a new path.

Call me lazy if you will but I get bored doing the same thing over and over again so the idea of making lots more propeller blocks - already made 45 - to make a quiltful had lost it's appeal.  I had already decided to intersperse some new 12" finished vintage style blocks amongst my propeller blocks. 

In fact I had made three

Well I got a bit distracted by some old and complicated circle blocks I tried to fit in with my squares and didn't come back till now!

The circles will join another UFO but I need more of those square blocks.   Looking through my vintage quilt books I was torn by all the different ones I wanted to try and I was only allowing myself five more.

At last I have whittled them down and am pleased to introduce

Nancyann's Choice

Winding Walk 

and Sunbeam 

And this is roughly how they will look in my quilt with a couple of additions...

Looks like I have quite a bit of stitching to do...

Saturday 19 April 2014

The library grows...

While avoiding quilting something I've been making more progress with my Star of Africa bee book blocks.  They have come from the US, Canada, Guatemala, Finland, Latvia, Germany, the UK, India and one from the Czech Republic which was part of a one-on-one swap!

I received them ages ago but didn't quite know what to do with them.  So glad I waited for inspiration to come as I loved setting them in the #booksforbabyquilt frames which really show them off I think.  Also I get to add cute fabrics to my stash and my blocks!  Win, win !

Anyway you have seen these 

And now you can see these !

So pleased with this project and thinking of a rough geographical layout (not to scale).

And then I looked at the quick demo block I had made and realised it couldn't represent the pride of Scotland and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure 
Island!  So it is back to the drawing board and I will try and recreate Long John Silver - who else?

Thursday 17 April 2014

Arrowhead Stars is now a quilt top!

I have put off doing my UFOs so successfully but each time I pick one up and work on it now I think why didn't I finish this - that wasn't so hard!

The answer could be one of many things

  • I am more confident in my stitching skills now
  • I am more competent in my stitching skills now
  • I have designed my quilt differently to overcome whatever problem it had
  • I have become more focused
  • I am cured of Startitis? - yeah you are probably right it isn't this one!
Whatever it is I'm not complaining.  I really had issues with this quilt as the blocks (half a very large star) were not the same size and there were issues with the bias seams which were everywhere!  

All my fault as my poor bee members had to contend with my design (based on the Arrowhead block by Wendy Hill from the Modern Block book) and few instructions on size.  I realise now that success is all in the detail!

3 arrowhead blocks..

My arrowhead star - too big to request as a bee block so I asked for half blocks

My original layout...

I have worked my way round it by coaxing those seams into meeting - bias can sometimes work in your favour.  I have turned some around so they don't meet - a design decision that one rather than a necessity - and filled the background with more triangles with a bit of bias stretch so they have become a harmonious quilt top!   

Have to say I like this design better than my original plan above which was to just have stars.   I also like the few partial stars in my background fabrics and might even call this quilt Eclipse.

Anyway my thanks to Emily, Susan, Cindy, Susan, Leanne, Rhonda, Diane, Jennie, Chrissy, and Sarah - I love it and hope you have got over the trauma!

And here is Eclipse!

May yet have to straighten that edge - thinking about it!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

The cord arrived!

The cord arrived and I duly got down to work cutting it into strips as the backing for my borders.

This whole quilt was quilted in strips and added together so when I wanted to add borders to all sides I added the top pieced layer of the borders and then left it. 

It wasn't so difficult to add the wadding - just a bit boring ladder stitching it on by hand and I machine stitched the backing fabric right sides together.  

The join is a bit bulky but the backing fabric is a fine needle cord - lovely and soft and not slippery and shifty like that velveteen I put on the back of my basket sampler.

The whole quilt is quite robust but then I thought it could be a great picnic blanket or travel rug so robust will work well!

I bought the shirting fabric I used as the binding at the same time as the backing.  I love it !  It is smooth like lawn and 60" wide so not many joins -always a good thing! For some reason it makes me think of tigers!

So now the photos...

This quilt makes me giggle inside and smile on the outside!It is 80" square. 

It is made from a whole host of blocks I received in the Wonky House Block Swap organised brilliantly by Jane @ Jane's Fabrics and Quilts. My thanks go to wonky house block makers Melissa Albertson, Miki Willa, Linnea Amodio, Leanne, Laura Ludwig, Christine Horlbeck, Sandra Rocca, Chiska Williams, Linda McKenzie , Peggy Bennett, and Helen who made a couple of extra blocks for me and there were many others who made trees, stars and four patches!  

I made the title in the border using the 'Just My Type' alphabet created by Kirsty @ Quietplay.  

I backed the quilt with a fine orange needlecord from Shaukat

And it is quilted using my Aurifil 28 mainly in the ditch but some extra details added to the blocks!

End of speech and overcome with joy!

Finish Along 2014

Monday 14 April 2014

Working away...

I started working again on this quilt, it is very nearly finished - I have added Quilt-as-you-go style some wadding to my borders and just need to add on the backing fabric!   Some orange cord!   Whacky quilt through and through!

But don't have enough - if it were cotton I'd use some other one but I haven't anything in the same weight so it is on order at Shaukat who are usually quick off the mark!

Then I started working on these Star of Africa bee blocks!  At last!

I have been wondering how to put them into a quilt that would do them justice.  Above was my first thought but it wasn't really doing it for me!

Fortunately I came across Ayumi's Books for Babies quilt pattern in her Patchwork Please book and I formed an idea!  

But I wasn't satisfied with that!  I wanted the books to come alive and characters to appear to come out of the books!  Megan,  {LucyandNorman} has been making fairytale blocks using Ayumi's pattern and appropriate fairytale printed fabric and ping the light bulb went off in my head!

I didn't need to recreate my bee mates creations {what I had been thinking} just find some printed fabric that suggested the book or country characteristics!

May helped with that as she sent me some Moomin fabric with her block..

The others I have made I have to admit stumped me for finding appropriate fabrics - nonetheless I tried to bring out something of the block or the country in colours and patterns!

Ganesha from Veena in India

Krisna from Tina in India

Krtecek the mole in a one on one swap with Di {Quiltova}

And Tatuana from Irene in Guatamala!

And now again I'm eagerly awaiting fabric so I can get the others done!


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