Friday, 9 August 2019

So many squares

I know we all say how many scraps we have, but I'm one of those who can't bear to throw away all the small pieces. So when a friend recently commented how she liked this quilt:

I thought I'd have another go and make one for her. So I proceeded to gather all my 2.5" squares and fabric to make the half square triangles (from 4" squares right sides together, sewn a quarter inch around the edge then cut diagonally to yield 4 HST). 

I laid them out as I went along, but somewhere in the transition to our holiday place, I must have moved things around a little, as this is what I ended up with:

As well as the change in layout, it looks brighter than the first one, perhaps more red and yellow highlights. While I stuck with the feathers in the lighter sections, I chose to do curves in the darker squares. 

Then around the edges, I did some spineless or floppy feathers. 

This is probably the closest I've ever come to having the back appear like a wholecloth with the quilting. I delivered it today, much to her surprise and I think she liked it. 

As for my collection of scraps, do they seem reduced at all? Doesn't seem like it, but we know that they multiply in discreet, amazing and secret ways don't we?
Ah well, on to the next one. 

Until next time,

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Baby rectangles

I do enjoy making baby sized quilts, I've probably said that before, but the size, the variety and the way that they come together quite quickly gives a great sense of satisfaction. And I can pass them on to friends which is always lovely.

I thought I had posted about a couple that I made recently, but found I hadn't done that, so here are 2 that are the same pattern, but appear quite differently because of the different colourings of them.

This one for a friend's grandson:

Rather than using a white for the obvious 'ladder' that appears in the centre of the quilt, I chose a softer cream and interspersed that with a light patterned block that has the key colours of the quilt in it: turquoise, yellow and brown. The darkest fabric, the brown also features those colours. 

I also really enjoy doing the free form feathers or spineless feathers and doing those diagonally helps to focus the eye in that direction. Having the narrow half inch colour between the cream borders also helps to frame the centre well.

This one is also the same pattern, though I have also added another border onto it.

While having someone to hold it up is great for the quilt, having it flat on the ground does show the quilting more clearly. 

So that's a recent couple, on to the next one!
Until next time,

Monday, 29 July 2019


I bought a 6 pack of some fat quarters recently and it didn't make it into my stash, I saw a very simple pattern that I thought would work well for a baby quilt, so I began with the fat quarters. I did add or substitute one for some fabric from my stash as the fabric was too light to complete the pattern. The turquoise at the top here is the one I added to the quilt rather than a golden tone. It seemed to add balance to the quilt to me.

Windmills are very easy, particularly if you begin with two squares right sides together and sew the quarter inch all around the sides. Then all you need to do is cross cut diagonally as well as vertically and horizontally - that gives 8 half square triangles, making two windmills! All I needed to do then was work out how long I wanted the chunk of fabric to be and add some sashings. 

A friend had also given me some really cute fabric with foxes and other animals to use as backing. So it was on to the free-motion quilting. I thought I'd give swirls a go and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. 

And the backing worked really well with the few colours on the front, so that was a win all around. This was always destined to be a baby quilt, it was just a matter of which baby. A friend told me today that her niece is pregnant with her second child, so I'm ahead of the game!

I've even got the top of the two and a half inch squares together, I just need to join the backing and then sandwich it up, then on to more quilting. Just as well I love it!

Until next time,

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Baby Squares

When making a quilt from two and half inch squares, (as I'm currently doing) the appeal of 3 inch squares is quite strong it seems. Just that extra half inch - and the fact that a friend had gifted me some strips that size, called my name and I had to make some four patches. Beginning with the brightly coloured squares (second from the edge) I found colours that were either included or co-ordinated well. 

The centre went together quite quickly, then what to put on the border? I auditioned reds, blues, greens and then hit on this one that seems to work, perhaps because it links to the centre green. Since I'm also quilting another quilt that is a bit more intensive in the specific repeated pattern, the simplicity of the orange peel quilting and spineless feathers, which I really enjoy, made this a far easier and quicker finish. 

Here's a close up of some of the bright colours:

And I am so fortunate to have such wonderful friends who share their scraps, or pieces of backing they don't currently have a purpose for. Another friend gave me this cute sheeting that just seemed perfect for this baby/child quilt:

So I guess its on to the other works in progress now - amazing how much fun a small (this one's 45 inch square) quilt can be, very satisfying. I'll get the binding on and pass it on to my friend whose new baby grandson came three weeks early and has spent some time in intensive care.  

Until next time,

Friday, 28 June 2019

Christmas in July

Technically I am a little early for July, but a friend of mine asked whether I could quilt this panel for her. Her mother had done it some time ago, but hadn't got around to quilting it.
So here it is, the man himself with his reindeer across the sky.

I had fun with this, look at those reindeer go:

A simple stipple can be so effective in making the background recede and the main attraction pop a bit more. I did an orange peel around the squares in the border and then had some fun on the trees and roof tops:

Perhaps its only Down Under where we think of having a Christmas in July event, since its our winter and thoughts of cooking a turkey or hot dinner seem far more sensible. Perhaps in the northern hemisphere it seems a bit strange - but imagine Christmas in your summer and you'll experience what we usually do in December. 

So while I didn't put this panel together, I did enjoy quilting it and my friend seems pretty happy with it too. 

Until next time,

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Four Bears

I enjoy using scraps, making smallish quilts and particularly making quilts for new babies. So my latest finish ticks all my boxes. I have made one of these before and since its made from 2 and half inch strips, it goes together quite quickly. The fun comes in the quilting.

I managed to get a photo just as the sunlight was beginning to fade so there is a little shadowing but it also shows up the quilting quite well - just a fun loopy feather type shape that adds texture but leaves the quilt feeling nice and cuddly soft.

The gender of the baby was not known when I made the quilt, I thought it was quite nice that the first time parents wanted a surprise, so didn't find out what they were having (since knowing seems to be the norm). I found out last night that they've had a little girl, so these reddish/pink bears will be just fine - not that it would have mattered for a boy either since the bears are mostly brownish and really do we care about colours for babies?

The quilt finishes around 46" square and I had a lovely buttermilk yellow for the backing which was the right size - another win. So here it is:

Kind of looks more beige here, but trust me it's a lovely creamy yellow. I had enough of the brown from the top right bear for the binding, so this was all from my stash. 
All I need to do now is add the label and it will be on its way to the family by the end of the week. 

Now, back to all these 2 and half inch squares:

Keeps me busy and out of trouble!
Until next time,

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Runner and Rainbow

I have been busy during the month of May, three projects to show here, the first a table runner for a young couple getting married.
I chose some batik strips I had, joined them with a batik background and then it was just a matter of making it the appropriate length. The quilting I wanted to keep simple so that the fabrics still stood out. Since the groom was born in South Africa, I made the label with a saying I had heard from his father: "God writes straight with crooked lines" - it seemed appropriate with the quilting.

The second was a rather quick make for a young woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She loves rainbow colours, so it seemed appropriate. 

Its a quickly pieced large block with 3 and half inch squares and the centre diamond made from four half square triangles - a great scrap user. I auditioned all kinds of border fabrics and finally settled on this one I've had in my stash for years. 
And the backing a sheet I've also used on a quilt in the previous post. It shows the quilting well and is quite neutral with the large circles.

My third project I enjoyed, beginning with the fabric I used in the border then pulled out co-ordinating colours. The simple brick pattern goes together quickly and easily. I've made a couple with this pattern before. It also provides a lovely space to quilt spineless feathers on a diagonal. 

My handy holder up was around so I put him to work. Shame he's not around more often in this way! Just ignore the feet and slither of head showing at the top. I can't tell you how fiddly the small nine patch squares was in the first border. I think it's to do with my maths, but they seemed to take the same time as putting the centre together!
The backing was a couple of pieces plus a little left over batik to complete the centre section. Since the front was all stash I didn't mind buying a couple of small pieces for this. 

It went to a friend who's recently had a first grandchild. She seemed delighted with it. And I had fun putting it together. 
So it's on to the next project or projects, just a few on the go still.
Until next time,

Monday, 1 April 2019

Hearts and babies

I mentioned in my last post, Here, that the craft group that I, along with a friend teach each week, had been making a bag and quilt for a little girl aged 4 who had open heart surgery.
The quilt my friend and I put together is now completed and will be popped into the bag this week and given to the little girl.
Here's how the quilt turned out:

We had fun piecing the coloured blocks to co-ordinate with the rainbow blocks. And also the 'fun' of doing the calculations to cut the set in triangles! Phew, lucky my friend has taught maths. Anyway, I left the quilt with my friend all pinned in rows ready to be joined up. After completing the appliqued hearts, she very promptly (within a couple of days) passed it back to me. It was then up to me to find a backing - a sheet I had picked up that is proving to be very useful and versatile because of its large circles. 

And here's just a close up of the stippling around the hearts and the spineless feathers. 

When I mentioned to my friend that I would likely quilt spineless feathers in the white border she said: "Oh, couldn't you do hearts?" I answered truthfully, "Well, spineless feathers are much easier and I think they look rather like hearts anyway". She hasn't seen it other than a photo yet but she seems fine with it (thank goodness).  Looking forward to seeing how the recipient and her Mum like what our lovely group has put together. 

Then I went on to complete a quilt begun a couple of months ago in anticipation of a friend's grandchild to be born in April. As things often do, it didn't work quite to plan in that I hadn't quite completed the quilt and the grandson made his appearance a little early! 
I had fun with this one which was one that Sarah made Here, that she called 'Place Your Bet'. I adapted to make the size a little smaller (50" by 43") and was very pleased to have all the fabric on hand in my stash. 
Its a simple quilt that comes together quite quickly:

Again you can see the spineless feathers in the border, but also in the body of the quilt this time too. I think I may have to find another 'go to' pattern for variety's sake, but this one is really so easy. I don't know how you learn new patterns, but I spend some time doodling on paper first of all before giving the pattern a go on some real fabric. Then I progress to a quilt. Mine is all done on a domestic machine, my Janome that I'm very happy with. 

The pattern on the green I think of as loop de loops but they also remind me of the start of a musical clef. The backing was also another sheet I had been given, this time very suitable for a new born, with cute teddy bears and balloons. 

So this one feels like a win on many fronts - using up some scraps, a U.F.O. now completed, a gift for a friend's new grandchild and I'm feeling freer to move on to a new project, unless I really should sandwich and quilt up the 3 tops I know are lurking in my sewing room.....Oh and the table runner I need to complete to give to a couple getting married next weekend. Oh well, its all sewing that's what counts. 

Until next time,

Thursday, 28 March 2019

The clever women in the craft group that I, along with another friend teach each Tuesday, have been making some scrap blocks. We wanted bright colours as we are making a quilt and a bag (to put it in) for a four year old little girl who has recently needed to have open heart surgery. Isn't it lovely and bright?

A heart was appliqued on (which also helps to tell the front from the back) and it co-ordinates with the hearts on the pocket inside. 

You might also be able to see that the handles are made from the 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' fabric that was around a little while ago. 

So I'm still working on the quilt itself, so will show that a little later, but for now I think this is a very cute bag for a 4 year old!

I've also completed another quilt this month, hey I'm on a roll, this is my 5th item (4 quilts, one table runner) so far this year. You'll have to excuse the terrible background, no helper and I seem to have lost the crop ability on my photos (will explore that a little later). This has been mailed off to a friend who has been diagnosed with a rather horrible disease for which there's no current cure (motor neurone). I can't imagine what that journey is like, and it seems like such a small thing to send some care in the form of a quilty hug. 

Here is a close up of the squares and some of the quilting - spineless feathers, that I had fun with. 

This is a great pattern to use up scraps. The green I had only a metre of and the cream backgrounds are actually 2 different fabrics, but so similar the eye doesn't initially notice. And as for 2 and half inch squares, doesn't everyone have some of those? Hourglass blocks are great to bring out a secondary pattern to otherwise quite ordinary squares. I'm sure I'll be making another of these soon. 

I hope to be posting again soon, pictures of the finished quilt for the little girl.

Until next time,

Monday, 11 March 2019

2019 and labels

It seems remarkable to me just how long it has been since I posted a photo or wrote about any recent quilts I'm making. However, I have been doing a bit of an inventory of quilts - their photos and labels and so when I realised that last year (2018) I completed 24 quilts I felt a little better. While there were 2 or 3 that had been in progress for some time, most were begun last year. Also quite a few were baby quilts, so their size made them manageable in more ways than one.

I find baby quilts hold my attention for long enough, are a good size to work through my domestic machine and give me a great sense of achievement once they are completed.
This panel recently completed and now ready to be given away, is a case in point:

It was a panel that a friend gave me and so really the borders were the only parts to piece and then it became a question of how to quilt it. I did some lines on the rabbit body parts and then had fun with a leaf type shape after some tighter stipple around the characters themselves. My 'go to' clef type shape is so versatile in terms of the size it can be adjusted to, that I find it a really useful quilting shape to use - especially for borders.  

I also received some lovely background type fabric in January and paired it with some batik I had on hand to create this table runner:

Since I'm keeping this one, I'm pleased I like how it turned out. Starting with the churn dash blocks then put on point and adding the cream set in triangles, it came together quickly too. 

I was a little surprised to realise that from the 24 quilts I made last year, only 2 have stayed with me. This one that has so many small scrap pieces it serves as a lovely reminder of previous quilts made:

And the teddy bears which, who knows, may one day be a quilt for a future grandchild?

I don't know whether anyone else is a little tardy with their labels, but I know that if I need to gift a quilt then it has a label straight away. If a quilt is 'in waiting', that is I'm not quite sure who it's for as yet, but I anticipate giving it away sometime (as the quilt above), then its label doesn't seem to get made or sewn on straight away. 

As an ex-librarian who likes to keep a good and true record of all my quilts, numbering and photographing them, this can be a bit of a problem. While my record keeping of the numbers is quite good, and then often the photos, it seems the actual label making lags far behind. As a consequence, some quilts that are here at home may have a number recorded on paper, but no label to match - until this week. I now feel very satisfied that any quilt residing with me is now duly labelled and I have done the old fashioned print photos and file them in an album too. 

I know that electronic records are wonderful, but there's just something pleasant about being able to thumb through an album and recall quilts that I've made - for inspiration and satisfaction. 

So finally, the most recent quilt completed, labelled, ready for a friend's 60th birthday:

Some colourful strings, paired with a cream that allowed me to have fun with the quilting. Hope she likes it! And hope I stay on top of those labels for this year. 

Until next time,