Saturday, 16 June 2018

Celebrating Three

I realised its been a while since I recorded a blog and I hadn't posted my last three finishes. While technically I am working on my list of six unfinished projects, two of these recently finished items weren't actually on the list.
The first was made for a friend who just had her third grandson born overseas. She had a piece of fabric that she thought just suited an Australian reminder - Blinky Bill, a cute koala. As I couldn't quite bring myself to cut into it, it became the backing to a simple primary colours quilt - making it reversible really.
Here's the 'back':
 And then here's the 'front', depending which way they want to use it.
I was very pleased to find the fabric for these blocks in my stash, as well as the binding, which goes well with both sides, a blue and yellow cross hatch. The simple stipple worked well for both sides too so my friend is happy and next month will take the quilt with her when she travels to meet her new grandson. 

My second finish was a bit of a 'squirrel', or is that Magpie? I can't seem to get rid of any small scraps of fabric and small squares in particular hold their own appeal. This is the third postage stamp I've made, in variously two or two and half inch squares. I like the alternating pale pairing to let the other fabrics shine. 
I must have had this folded badly as you can see that crease across the centre. I know that the best place to 'store' a quilt is on a bed, but we only have so many beds in our place before the quilts find a home. This one is likely destined for one of the babies born to our MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group that I've made several quilts for. 

The backing is a sweet white with small coloured flowers. I went for a simple cross hatch with this one and then the swirls in the white areas- it always reminds me of a musical treble clef for some reason. That pink and white candy striped binding is becoming a bit of a favourite for me. One final close up of some of the cute fabrics - they make me smile recalling other quilts made along the way. 

So that brings me to number three. I can't recall just when I started this or really why it stalled along the way, but it was number one in my list of six. I had done quite a bit of the quilting last year or the year before and realised it was just a matter of a few hours and I'd be done. Anyway, finally here it is:

I recall making the star block so that I could figure out some dimensions for a friend in our craft class who wanted to make a quilt with a reasonably large block. I'm sure she gave her quilt away a couple of years ago, and while this flimsy came together quite quickly, I mulled over the quilting for a while. I free motioned in the cream areas and then finally decided to just shadow or outline the beige coloured squares and triangles. I think that's when I stalled. Going round in a square (if that's not a contradiction) was not the most interesting thing to do!! Sometimes you just need to get on and do it. So over about a week in short bursts I finally got there. A close up of some of the quilting, not flashy show level, but eyeballing and going for it can be fun. 

The backing I was really pleased to find, a navy with some little splashes of sparkle. It seems to fit quite well. This photo may make it look like its not sitting flat, but it is truly. 

So number one on my list, that leaves five! One is so very nearly finished just some more quilting to do (where have I heard that before?). So we'll see what progress I make this week. As long as I don't get distracted with anything new - my very supportive other half is very good at keeping me on track ('Have you finished that other one yet? You can't anything else until that one's done really can you?'). Hmm. 

Until next time,

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Wedding signatures

2018 started off as a big year for us, with our second son getting married in February at our beautiful holiday place. I don't have a photo of the couple, but here's the setting:

We were fortunate enough to have a day like this too, the wind (often present down here) dropped, the sun shone and it was glorious. I asked guests to sign a square of calico fabric, with the intent of making a signature quilt. They were very obliging and with the bride's suggestion of using the bridal party colours (pink and grey), I set about searching my stash for appropriate fabrics. 

People wrote wonderful sentiments, including this one: ["May your love, like this quilt always keep each other warm"]

I used the cut off half square triangles to go around the edge. I was improvising the pattern as I went along, needing to add some coloured squares to supplement the signatures to extend the size of the quilt. 
I simply quilted in the ditch around the signature squares - they need to be the stars after all. Then I had fun quilting some ribbon candy in the cream negative space. An inside shot as the light outside doesn't seem to show it up well. 

I do still need to add the binding, but that will have to wait until I leave this beautiful spot and can access my walking foot at home. 

Here's a close up of some of the ribbon candy and that lovely signature fabric for the border. I was so pleased to find this in my local quilt shop - the staff there are so helpful, but unfortunately it is closing down along with others of that chain as the owner is retiring. 

For the backing, I chose a soft pink and the title on the selvage was: Peace on Earth - though the fabric itself isn't specifically Christmas, it blends well. 

So there it is, a wedding memento for them to treasure as they head overseas to live and establish themselves. But I see holidays in the future for us as their destination, New Zealand is a beautiful scenic place to visit. 

It feels good to have this completed (or it will once I get the binding on) on the heels of my Bookcase quilt. Hope you've been having fun with your quilts too. 

Until next time, 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Books galore

I really like books, I used to be a librarian, so I guess it figures. But I also have a friend who really likes books and she has a big 0 birthday coming up in June. So last year I began making some shelves (of books) like this. A great way to use up scraps of fabric, such bright, fun colours.

And I used the letters that my machine could produce and began to name some, using a list of 100 most popular or well read books. That was in about August last year. Along the way many other projects came and went, but I did this project in bursts. 

It didn't see much action over Christmas and into New Year, but around March I thought I'd better get going on it again. Then this month I realised it really needed the big push. And here it is, only needing its binding on - which I hope to complete tonight. 

I chose black for the background as I checked out a few bookshelf quilts on line elsewhere and found the black appeared more realistic to me. I stippled it so that it flattens a bit, enabling the shelf contents to stand out more. My friend also collects tea pots, so of course I had to include some of those: 

I had great fun doing various patterns on the spine, some spirals, leaves, ribbon candy, feathers etc, I just went to town wherever I felt like it. And I went up and down on both sides of each book, so there's quite a bit of quilting on those 14 sections of shelving. 

She also enjoys cooking and often makes Delia Smith recipes - so Delia's titles feature. I was pretty happy with the tan fabric I found for the shelving. I has rows of small white dots so quilting lines around the edges of the 'shelves' seemed to work pretty well. It was all done on my domestic machine, free-motion, even the straight lines. I don't have a walking foot for this machine, so I've just learned to do it free motion rather than using a normal foot which tends to put too much pressure on fabric with wadding. 

Here's a shot of the backing, just a light colour. I used a light grey for the stipple in the bobbin, and black of course on the top. 

For the remainder I used a variegated thread which worked well. 
I know my friend will enjoy it and she has made just a couple of quilts herself so she'll have an idea of what was involved. Now I can leave it lying around and enjoy looking at it until I give it to her in June. 

One last shot out on the decking:

Now, what's next......


Sunday, 15 April 2018

Confetti and things

While technically I'm supposed to be making a Postcard From Sweden quilt, since mine may have many of the colours, but not the placement, I think it looks rather like confetti. Its also probably smaller, as I'm intending it for a new baby - not a specific new baby, just one that is bound to come along in the next few months.
This is just the flimsy at this stage, and I'm wondering about a navy border - I know a border is not part of the original, but once again, can't help myself doing something just a little different.
I am looking forward to seeing how others quilt theirs, whether people stick with the rows of wavy lines, or get all wild and creative. What works best? How to let the pattern and colours shine without taking away that ability to see different shapes everywhere.

I've also been busy quilting a top for a friend. She thought it was just a little big for her, so I offered as I really enjoy the quilting. Can you believe she found the centre part of this quilt in a second hand shop?

Just the blocks, not completed. I'm sure there's a story there, hopefully not work that family members or friends had to get rid of following a death, rather someone just shelving it for so long that in the end they just gave it away. Whatever, my friend was happy to complete it and so I was happy to do the quilting.

I had fun doing various shapes on the trees and houses
And you can't really go wrong with a stipple in the background. Since I'm away from home at the moment, I sent her the photos and she seemed pretty pleased. I'll get it back to her in a couple of weeks.

And then there's a little peak at the bookcase quilt I'm making for a friend's 60th birthday coming up. She's not a patchwork blog reader, so she won't see this here. Her birthday's not for a couple of months yet, but it's nice to get ahead of the game when you can.

This is proving to be great fun to quilt. But as I packed for our holiday place, I left one vital spool of thread behind. 

Here it is, as my husband's still home and he took a shot to ensure he passed the correct spool to a friend who's coming to our holiday place too - how fortunate am I? I needed something that would enable me to use black thread on the top, but since the backing is much lighter, I needed a softer grey to not stand out too much, but also not show through on the top. And this happened to be in one bobbin. But of course one bobbin was not sufficient, so thank goodness for friends and husbands I say!

Three projects are just not quite enough though, so I'm also working on a fourth, but more of that later next week I hope.

Until next time,

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Unstalled 3 finishes

While this post is called Unstalled, it had its inspiration about Stalling - thanks to Rachel for that post.
I have been busy, but haven't posted about 3 recent finishes. The first used up some four patches that hadn't quite fit in earlier baby quilts I'd been working on early in the year.
Here it is and I'm much happier with how its come together now. 

I quilted a simple large meander over it and some loops in the yellow border. The backing was a piece also on hand that kind of reminds me of Christmas decorations, but I thought it went ok here.

So that's the first of my 3 finishes. The second comprises some half square triangles I had kept left over from something I can't even recall now. Originally I put them all together, but a friend gently suggested that if I was aiming for a table runner they might be more effective with some sashing between.

We auditioned some fabrics and settled on the brown. I'm so pleased she suggested the broken up effect. I was very pleased to find that once I put borders on it, the piece fitted perfectly on a small glass coffee table I have. Satisfaction with piece number 2.

Thirdly, as I was sorting/tidying fabric - as inspired by Rachel's piece (I stall for many of the reasons she mentions there, boredom, needing to let something brew/stew for a while in my mind etc) I came across a piece that I had done a centre for and kept all the fabrics aside, but I think I was uncertain how to proceed. I'm sure this piece must have been begun 3 or more years ago. The colours are not what I might choose today. While I may have been following a pattern initially, I don't know where that went and so the rest was up to me.
This is what I ended up with.

I think I did get a little tired of all the four patch squares, but once I had settled on a layout I was happy to complete them. I enjoyed the stippling in all the cream areas and also gave some spineless feathers a bit of a go in the corners of the pink. I think my neighbour might enjoy this one, so its headed in her direction once I've completed hand stitching that binding (hopefully tonight!).

While there are many more project still in the works, including yet another postage stamp quilt (I do enjoy these)
I feel as though I'm well and truly on the way. Further progress soon I trust.
I highly recommend Rachel's article, its was very inspiring and I find the blog world and generosity of other quilters one of my main enthusiasm producers. Though as Rachel also suggests, often we are better off doing rather that spending too much time looking at what others are doing. So hope you get on with yours really soon.

Until next time,

Monday, 26 February 2018

Six, Seven, Eight...

Just prior to Christmas 2016, about two and a half months ago, I set myself the challenge of trying to make six baby/cot sized quilts for several women from a Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS) group that I'm connected with. Several of the women were pregnant with their second children and I had often looked after their first toddler for over a year or so.

I managed to get the first five done and then had a friend ask about a couple of the quilts as she had two nieces due to give birth early in February 2018 too. So we organised for her to have two of the quilts and she gave me some money towards making more quilts - she's a good friend and knows how I love to buy fabric!!

I completed this one which was the sixth in the queue:

Size: 43" by 46"

It was only after I'd passed it to my friend I realised I hadn't taken a final photo with the binding completed, but you get the idea. The blocks were from some fabric with bright coloured cars, but the navy background made the whole look a little darker than I wanted for a child's quilt. So taking the cue from the cars, I surrounded them with the bright orange, green, turquoise and reds, after framing them with either the grey or cream.

Then a couple of friends were having a go at a strip quilt. The sort where you get your backing piece ready, lay the wadding on top and pin those two layers. You then begin from one end of the quilt and sew through all three layers, strip by strip. Sounded like it was worth trying, so I gave it a go.
This is the result:

Or at least this is a section where you can see I had fun letting some animals pop up from time to time. It turned out that a jelly roll I'd had for several years was ideal with its yellows and greens. And of course being a jelly roll it co-ordinated well. A lesson learnt as the beginning of the quilt didn't seem to meld as well as towards the end. No matter, I'm sure a baby/toddler won't care and mum will be OK with it too. 

Size: 45" by 55"

You can see the lines of quilting that develop as you go. I still think I may do a stipple on the front to hold it a little more firmly as I had some sections that were a little larger than just one strip. It is a quick way to create a quilt though. So that was number seven. 

I also had a fat quarter of some cute fabric that also lent itself to choosing bright frames for the blocks. 

So this piece with its farm buildings, trees and windmills found a home with three inch edging/sashing pieces in the form of quarter log cabins and a wide couple of borders.

Again a gentle stipple was fun to go around it. I also made a bit of a challenge for myself getting that brown border to continue in the same direction not just for the border, but also for the binding. It does make the corners a touch thick, but thank goodness for a walking foot to help attach binding!
Since the background of the feature fabric had pale grey in it, I thought this piece with grey and lemon from my stash worked pretty well for the backing. 

Size: 43" square. 

So a win there too, as I am aiming to use up stash as much as possible in preference to having to buy backings. 
There are numbers six, seven and eight, but I have a feeling there could be more of these in the future. Small quits are such a satisfying thing to make as a result is provided quite quickly and you can try such different shapes and blocks for such varied results. 
Well, on to the other half dozen or so projects still calling out to me - they haven't really been forgotten, just on the back burner for a while. 

Until next time,

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Old Fashioned

A while ago I was glancing through Pinterest (as you do) when I came across this pattern called Scrappy Susannah Seemed like a good one to me, especially when I realised I could do as many blocks as I felt like to create a baby quilt.

While the four I have done to this point have been pretty bright, primary type colours and quite bold, see firstsecondthird and fourth, this number five cot quilt is more sedate, low volume, call it what you will, but to me it seems like old fashioned. Maybe its the fabrics or the combination with the pattern, but I enjoyed finding scraps and seeing it come together quite quickly from the large blocks.

And wouldn't you know it, from the fabrics I brought down I found the border fabric with its green butterflies edged in pink that seemed to fit the feel of the quilt really well. 

Below is a close up of the point where the two blocks connect, with the green and mauve. I'm grateful to one of my clever friends for showing me once how she loves the reverse of some fabrics. The green floral on the bottom corner left of the mauve/green junction is one where I originally had it on its 'front' side and it seemed too loud for the block. Being limited in my choices (being away from home at our holiday place and a twenty minute drive to the fabric shop where I'd probably been too often anyway for this trip!) I flipped it over and it seemed to fit in far better. 

And for the backing, again I searched through my limited basket and found a piece I've had for several years and I'd brought it for its pastel type colouring that I thought might suit a baby quilt in some form. Of course there wasn't sufficient so I needed to add borders, but I was quite happy with the stripe that comes from a Victoria & Albert collection, which also seemed to suit the old fashioned feel. 

The small gold rectangle in the corner is of course the 'extra' bit I needed but it does pick up the first inner border and binding from the front so I'm OK with it. You can also see the square quilting and small loops I did in the non negative spaces (or white and cream). Using a variegated thread means that the squares and the 'mandarin segments' as my supportive other half calls them show up with a lovely changing colour.   

Since a friend of mine recently had a 'great niece' I think this one will come out of the six I'm aiming at for our Mothers of Pre-Schoolers group - and I'll just have to make another!!

Quilt number six is sandwiched and ready to be quilted but as we sadly leave our lovely beach spot today it will have to wait until we get 'home' - though here has felt like home since I've been here since the week before Christmas. 

During that time we also had our youngest son's wedding, to his American fiancee. It was a beautiful day on the beach, rather like this. I hope to show you photos soon, but suffice to say everyone enjoyed it, even eldest son who managed to get some sunburn.  

But for now, we leave all this behind to return to routine and life as we currently know it. Having had an amazing Christmas and a wedding, truly unforgettable. 

Until next time,