Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Friends and stars

When I looked at my last post I was rather surprised to see it was March - and here we are in May. I haven't been inactive, however, one project has needed to be a secret until it was given away. I have a friend who had a special '0' birthday (not saying what number goes in front of the '0', I'm in awe of her).
I enlisted her family and colleagues as well as women who share our patchworking enthusiasm. Many people contributed their lovely words, some the blocks and one wonderful friend helped me to piece the quilt.
I then quilted a loopy flower in the sashings and into the border. She seemed to like it. 

The square within a square, or exploding square blocks were 4" for the centre, then the first square placed right side together on top of the centre, also 4", sewn around the edge with a quarter inch seam (then cut diagonally).The third square 5", again sewn right sides together with the newly created 5" square, which then once cut diagonally, opens up to around 6 and 1/2". 
While I had originally suggested to people that our friend might like greens and browns, some contributors understandably wanted to put their own personality into their blocks. For the assembly though, this led to some challenges of how to best place the orange and pink blocks! At least the whole seems to work. The final border which is a green based batik fabric, seems to help all the blocks play together nicely. 
This indoor shot shows the blocks a little more clearly, as well as the quilting. 

My second project is one where I now have the flimsy together: 
This will be a fund-raiser quilt for my mother-in-law. She asked whether I could make a quilt that her Weightwatchers group might raffle. She gave me several months notice which was good of her - I still have 5 months to quilt it, so that's plenty of time. 

This design was one I saw on Pinterest and made my own measurements, based on the thought that the centre square would be 2 and 1/2". 

The best part is, I had all this fabric in my stash. Most of the centres or stars, I think I've had those bits of fabric for years. The navy I bought sometime earlier this year and it looked so versatile I bought quite a chunk of it at the time. And its proven to be useful at least twice so far - a real win. 

I really enjoy making half square triangles from 7" squares right sides together, sewn around the edge, then cut diagonally to create 4 half square triangles. I trim the squares back to 4 and 1/2" and then the blocks go together quite easily. 

So, another project to add to the list of those not yet completed. Something must happen as we approach the middle of the year that makes these UFOs multiply it seems to me. 
The challenge is NOT to begin new projects - how hard that is!
I do hope to post a completed project soon, but with family visiting from overseas for such a short time, sewing has not had much of a look in recently. 

Until next time,

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Scraps and stash

I think my new approach in 2017 will be to follow the advice about being inspired by something and beginning it - read that somewhere on a quilting blog recently, can't remember where but it obviously struck a chord with me.
So I saw a quilt on Katy Quilts [] thanks Katy. While she mentioned a pattern from the Moda Bake Shop, I couldn't find that, so just worked out the sizes - not too challenging when you know it's a 2 and half inch strip start.
And I came up with this:
While I really enjoyed making the pattern, the bonus was that all the pieces came from my scrap box, or from my stash. I'm really trying to use up a lot more of what I have on hand and its such a good feeling when a piece you've had for several years (wow, have I really had that since 2011??) and to find just the right quilt to use it in.

So for the borders on the quilt, I auditioned several and then found both this deep brown Bali fabric that, along with an Autumn themed one that seemed to work and bring it all together.

I had fun including some pretty fabrics that surprised me by how they went together and 

how many 'neutrals' I had, that I hadn't seen before as a potential for that role in a quilt. So all in all I'm pretty happy with this flimsy and the next quest will be to check the stash again and see if I can locate a backing fabric.  Then will also be the challenge of how to quilt it. Part of me wants to do an all over, as this one is likely destined for our local hospice and an all over makes it softer and perhaps more suited to the undoubted number of machine washings it will get. But then look at all those intersections of neutrals - couldn't I have fun doing something interesting in there?

We'll see what wins. 
Until next time,

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Baby Blue

Sometimes I wonder how it is that I imagine I will achieve/cram a great deal into a short time. I planned to spend five days at our holiday place just on my own (plus my faithful dog companion). I thought I'd manage to do quite a bit of quilting, as well as walking along the beach. But what was I thinking when I packed 3 books, and at least 5 projects? At least this time I thought I'd brought my box of small bits of fabric, plus a basket and another couple of bags of scraps.

So I began one small project, but realised, no, I hadn't brought the piece of navy that I now needed to try as a border. So that one would have to wait - but that's why I brought all the other pieces of fabric, to either finish one of the projects (one that only needs to have its borders added, its a quit as you go; or the other that needs to be pinned up and quilted). But no, I felt like beginning another one. So fortunately, since its a baby quilt, I managed to get this one together - but really what was I thinking with the other projects and books - was I thinking I'd complete one each day?

This simple squares with the white sashing in between came together very quickly. I had bought a pack of scraps - they are so well co-ordinated by my local fabric shop, they are irresistible.  I added a couple of other fabrics I had - thanks to the box! Since its a baby quilt I thought a simple cross hatching and then some loops in the sashing would work well.

I'm happy with how it came together. The backing is a quieter pastel shade and I had just enough of the fabric I wanted to use, along with a co-ordinating green, to do the binding.
So I may not have achieved as much as I might have hoped, but it has been both relaxing and satisfying and the rest will just have to wait in line ......till next time.

Baby quilt size 41" square
Blocks 5" raw; sashing 2 3/4" raw


Saturday, 25 February 2017

Scrap Jar Flimsy

It's so good when something works out - especially when you're stuck and can't see a way forward.
I began this scrap jar stars quilt with the light grey background fabric in mind. I thought I had enough, so made up half a dozen stars. Then I realised I might not even have enough for nine stars (was heading for a dozen) when I realised that I didn't have enough fabric at all.

Enter wonderful friends - and their suggestions and fabric. The first friend who'd given me the fabric in a swap, sourced what scraps she could and that stretched it to the nine stars.

Then I auditioned various fabrics to figure what kind of border it needed - I thought it needed one not just binding. Again, friends to the rescue with opinions, trying their fabrics etc. We found one that was an olive green background but had strips of black, white and lime green. Yuk, not a great looking fabric, but those strips of black - they worked really well as a border.
So I added those, then tried again with the light grey fabric I had that was similar but not the same as the background I'd been using. Now, hurrah, it worked well because it had the border to break up the way the eye sees it.
So now on to quilt it (once I find something for the backing - the never ending quest to use up my stash!).
Looking forward to doing some ribbon candy around the squares that are formed where the blocks meet with their four colours. We'll see what else I think of as I go.

Until next time,

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Scraps get quilted

While it's not completed, it feels good to have this one further along the way. I'm enjoying doing different quilting on each of the 35 blocks - hmm, few more patterns than I realised are required. I may repeat some. But it's also giving me the opportunity to practise my ribbon candy quilting.

I have the feeling that last time I created a quilt almost entirely from scraps I resolved to only do a whole pattern over the quilt, but they are great places to try out new patterns and get some new muscle memory skills developed.

I was also very pleased that all of this fabric came from my stash. The backing I had been 'saving' for when I next make an Autumn quilt, then I realised that I have quite a few fabrics that will go into an Autumn quilt very well and this piece may not suit once they're all together. So why save it and purchase more when I can just use this now? Anyway, there it is, with just an additional 6" strip down the centre and the last scrappy square in the centre.  
It's quite obvious from the backing that I haven't anywhere near completed the quilting (12 of the 35 blocks done so just over a third, plus the bits of ribbon candy). But it feels good to do some quilting when I realised I'd only done piecing for a few weeks. 
Still, that helps to add to the projects to show next time - hopefully!
Till next time,

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Scraps on the way

I do enjoy working with scraps. There's something satisfying about taking small pieces of fabric, that I suspect others may reject (and I can't bear to part with), making them into a block and then piecing the blocks together to make a whole quilt.

So I'm currently working on two of these, the first I created some of the blocks late last year, but dug them out (thinking they were all put together) only to discover that I must have come to one of those 'Now what do I do?' points and set it aside. It never ceases to amaze me how coming fresh to something just helps to bring a new perspective and whatever stuck point we were in can be overcome more easily. Anyway, I moved a couple of blocks from where I had sewn them in, added some of the many beige/brown blocks I had, and presto, here is a flimsy now ready for quilting.

Its pretty windy here today, so I needed a couple of props to help keep it still while I tried to take a shot. Since you can't see the small pieces close up, here are a couple of my favourites: 
This has the deer in the centre which is from a quilt I made for my eldest son a year or two ago. See what I mean about not being able to throw small pieces away?
And then there's this one which has a piece of Christmas fabric that I must have used at some time - maybe in a runner or a gift for someone, I can't quite recall. But it makes me smile to see this little star: 

There are other little pieces of owl eyes, a small piece of music fabric and so on. Since my scrap quilts often go to the local hospice where one of my friends works, I like to think that maybe there's something that will recall a pleasant memory from life for those who may find it difficult to know what to say - either patients, family or carers. Sometimes a quilt or other item can just help to start a conversation. 

The second scrap quilt is a string cross that I need to add a final border to and then quilt, so I'll wait until the quilting is done to share that one.  Happy sewing!


Friday, 20 January 2017

Two Finishes

The New Year has begun with technically only one finish, the other was actually a Christmas gift, but I haven't blogged about it yet, so it's included here.
So this is it: 
It was a gift for a great nephew born in November. I guess you can tell his name. I had fun cutting out the small sections of the Hungry Caterpillar from the whole fabric. Then I put a few small borders around sashed it with the running pattern and added the checked border. The quilting was where I had fun and learned a new skill. I hadn't done any shadow type quilting to this extent before, so it was a learning curve, but a good one.

And while the cross hatching around the name looks effective, I must remember just how time consuming it is and its certainly easier if you're just doing it across negative space. Still as with most quilts, once its done it feels good to have achieved it and to hand it over.

The second is a bow tie, but in a different layout to one I'd done earlier in 2016. I decided to make it more scrappy too (the other was a blue/yellow combination). I chose to do a Baptist fan pattern which was also quite time consuming but lovely to see it unfolding.
Here it is on a bed before I'd added the binding. I did mark it up with dissolvable pen and so I gave it a bit of a rinse to get all the blue out before I put the binding on - that impatience to see how its going to look on a bed.
Then I laid it out on the deck (thankfully a lovely sunny day)

And finally the back, which was a simple print of three words: love, joy and peace which seemed perfectly appropriate since that's what I was having as I quilted it at our holiday place near the beach.
I'm pretty happy with that as a start to 2017. Now I still have to get back to that unfinished list from last year......