Friday 25 November 2016

Zipper Pouches tutorial

Wow, has it really been a month since I've posted anything? I have been busy I know. I've been attempting to complete two projects, this one:
Which is a quilt as you go. I've still to add the borders on, but its gone OK so far. There's also another quilt that is more traditionally sandwiched that is at the 'begun but not yet completed' quilting stage. But as Christmas approaches, I've been working on some zippered pouches as gifts for friends in our quilting group. 

Now these may be old hat to many of you but I hadn't had cause to insert a zipper in decades. So I felt quilt pleased with myself at getting to grips with how to do this as part of a lined pouch. Here follows some instructions if you too haven't done one of these in a while. 
First of all take some squares (mine were 8 and 1/2") of fabric. I did mine in two tone style which helps to use up scraps but also makes them a bit more fun. I also used pellon to help give some stiffener and structure. 
Also cut two pieces of lining. First of all assemble your fabric, pellon and backing (if you want to use one, I prefer to as it makes movement through the machine a bit easier too). Quilt as desired. I did some with cross hatching, some free-motion patterned. 
Next take your zipper and lay it face down onto the now quilted outer part of the pouch - right side up. 
Put your lining on top, right side facing down, pin and sew across the top (using a zipper foot on your machine). Sorry took this photo before I pinned! I paused along the way and opened the zipper so that I had an easier way to sew along the zipper without the opener/closer (head?) being in the way. 
Once you've sewn that one side of your zipper, lay your second outer section of your pouch right side facing up as before, this time to lay the zipper face down, you need to flip the lining over so that its right side is visible (as below). 

Again arrange so that your second piece of lining is face down, pin across the top and sew through the other side of the zipper. 
Next open up the two halves of your pouch so that the lining is right sides together on one side and the outer parts of the pouch on the other. Pin around but make sure you do two things:
Firstly open the zipper so that when you go to turn the whole thing out you can do that. 
Secondly, leave a gap in the lining, (around 3-4 inches) also so that you can turn it completely the right way once you have sewn around the edges. 
Lining above - note the gap to leave open between the two blue pins. 
The outer half of the pouch - the pink chevron is just the backing I used as I quilted it. 
I thought this 'in process of turning through' shot looked like some kind of animal with a green tongue poking out! That's the right side of the outer pouch coming through the lining hole. 
And hey presto, when you pull it all through you get these neat pouches. You do need to just sew that hole in the lining, otherwise all the bits and bobs you put in the pouch will disappear between the lining and the outer part. 
I'm enjoying the process, I've made around nine so far with a few more to go. Thank goodness its not December yet!

Until next time,

Friday 21 October 2016

Bow Ties

I've been having fun with this bow tie quilt. Not one that was on my goal list - must get back to those, I'm behind even from September, but meanwhile I enjoyed using my scraps, except for the backing for this one.
I was inspired by Sarah [Confessions of a Fabric Addict] and her post which I think was back in March or May where she used green scraps to make one a little larger than this. I'm clearly much slower when it comes to completing projects, but I had fun with the quilting too. 
You can see I did a simple quilt around the bow ties themselves and a little chain loop in the background pieces.  My free-motion quilting is getting a work out doing straight lines but I'm getting better at them and its far easier than changing to my walking foot and then turning the quilt frequently. 
And as I mentioned, I only had to get a backing for this quilt. This navy with a small gold coloured shape seemed to fit the bill. 
Not sure whether this might find a home at our local hospice. I don't currently have anyone else who needs a quilt that I can think of. I've also already begun cutting out more ties for the next quilt - more of a varied colouring for that one. 
But meanwhile I must get on and finish my other goals. This is one from September which may get completed this month. I like the on point setting and since it's almost together, with the corners needed, I'll just need to sandwich it and get on with more quilting. 
Until next time,

Friday 9 September 2016

Free-motion quilting

Well my September goals are still not progressed one iota, but perhaps by the end of the day they may move forward a smidgeon. Part of the reason is a beautiful quilt that I didn't do the blocks or assembly of - here below, the embroidery and assembly done by a friend.
She didn't want to do the quilting though, so I said I'd be happy to do a simple stitch in the ditch and then a loopy flower in the cornerstones and a kind of stretched figure 8 in the border.
So that's what I've been doing.

The quilt itself is just lovely - a graduation gift for her daughter. The buildings are local to Perth, Western Australia. My friend enjoys the embroidery (not really my thing on my machine) and so I was very pleased to help. 

I think the final product, once the binding is on, will be such a special graduation gift, one for her daughter to cherish over the years. So I feel quite chuffed to be a small part of it.  A little nerve wracking to begin the first stitches, since I've never done something (other than just a gift) for any one else like this before. I think she'll be happy with it though, so that's the main thing. 

Now speaking of main things, better get on with September goals!
Until next time,

Monday 5 September 2016

September Goals

We're already five days into this month before it dawned on me that means new goals! I think I was still lingering in August.
I have been busy, just not really on the goals I thought I'd be working on.

I'm working on a couple of projects - one for a friend who is sending things off to Tanzania (blankets for babies or elderly), and another who is raising funds for Burundi- her brother works with there.
The year since I made a quilt for the Burundi effort, seems to have flown by. This year my friend suggested bags might be a good idea. So I enthusiastically began the first one, thinking I'd take it easy with a ready made print in squares.
Having done the lining, pockets and all, I was feeling quite chuffed with myself, until I realised one rather large error once I turned it all through - (having secured the handles going over them several times of course!). Here it is in all its glory.

I'm sure being astute people you all realised its upside down!! If only I'd thought to check that before I sewed the bottom and side seams and then cut the corners off to make the squared bottom. Ah well, fortunately I had another duplicate of all the fabric so I did make another one. I guess I'll just have to keep and use this one myself - and let that be a lesson to me!

So, on to September. I think this will be completed into a blanket to accompany a couple of others to Tanzania. Here's hoping I can get it done. 

Another friend (thank goodness for them, but they can create work sometimes!) asked me about making a weighted bag, just a lap size for some of the Pre-Primary students in her and a colleague's classes. The inner part of the bag goes together quite quickly, but I thought an outer bag might make the washing easier, even though it has Poly-pellets inside. 

So I added a few bits and bobs and here are a couple just lounging around on the sofa:
What amazes me is the calming effect the weight seems to have on children who are somewhere on the autism spectrum. Any shouting out, or inability to sit still for a while seems to be addressed with the weight across their lap. Very glad someone discovered this at some point. 

So, I hope to get back to the quilting soon, but since September only has 30 days, I've only 25 left already!
Until next time,

Saturday 27 August 2016

Postage Stamp 2

Several months ago (January this year actually) I did a 2 inch postage stamp quilt that I really liked- such a great way to use up those scraps.
Only problem was it was rather small - 41" x 52", more a baby sized quilt. I've enjoyed seeing it laying around on a chair or bed, but since a friend of mine is soon to be a grandma for the first time, I thought it might make a nice quilt for her to either use or pass on to her son and daughter-in-law.

Here it is in the bottom left of the photo, with its newer larger sibling recently created.

So I thought OK, I'll have another go, using two and half inch squares this time to make it a little larger to go on a single bed. (This one is a 57" x 77" now). So I did some of the 16 patch blocks by hand at night, then as I laid them out on the floor, chose a little more carefully so that the oranges and reds were more scattered over the surface.

Another shot of some of all of those squares. So glad I didn't count them until I'd finished, not sure I would have kept going if I'd realised there were 824! Who am I kidding, of course I would have kept going. 
These things are definitely addictive! So I kept cutting more squares and adding to the blocks. I sandwiched it a couple of weeks ago and did the straight line quilting only a week ago. For the first white border I was keen to try some 'ribbon candy' I think its called. Scrap quits are great places to try new quilting I find. So I gave it a go. I'm quite pleased with the result, though corners will take quite a few more attempts until I'm happy with them.
I realised that in order to do the final border, I needed to make sure I knew where to put the frames for the quilting I wanted to do there.  So I actually put the binding on first - something I haven't done before on a quilt either. So having done that I'm debating about doing a more open figure eight kind of pattern in that final white border in the next day or so.

Still, its usable now and I have all those lovely reminders of quilts I've made in the past - lovely to glance at it as I go by!
One of my goals for August completed, so on to the next one I go - unless of course I get distracted along the way.
Until next time,

Tuesday 2 August 2016

August goal(s)

Yes, August, the eighth month of the year is actually here. I have posted various quilts along the way, but haven't always managed to post the goal and then the completed quilt in a timely way to link up with Red Letter Quilts, so here goes for August.
I have several quilts on the go (what else is new?) and as to what order they will get completed in I'm not entirely sure. First of all there's the 2 and half inch squares that began as me cutting scraps rather than putting them away - well, we know how addictive that can be! So I have quite a few all sewn up, but having made a 2 inch one of these - (likely to be given away as a baby gift) I realised I might want to keep a reminder of a number of quilts I've made and given away in the past and this could be a nice way to do it. So it may continue to grow yet.
Project number 1 - (for now).
Then there are these Amish type rolling stars that I've actually done half of - just need to stay focused and complete the other ones in varying colours. I like how they meet and create more space - Hmm, how will I quilt that? Oh yes, and I've remembered I was going to try another quilt as you go with a very narrow pale grey sashing on this one. Project number 2. 
Then I was making up a sample block for a friend who wanted to try a star and wasn't sure of the dimensions. Well, that led to me adding some more and then an alternate block to go with it. Not sure about sashing or quite what to do yet.... Project number 3:

And then I had some half square triangles that just didn't quite seem to be going together. I realised the one that I'd chosen as a feature and then tried to get others in the various colours, was the key one that was not really fitting in. Then as often happens, as I was tidying some corner where fabric was lurking, I found something that just made sense. Here's what I mean: 
The 'balloon' fabric - if you look closely you'll see that multi-coloured fabric is actually little hot air balloons, the one I was trying to match with blue, orange etc fabrics. Well, the one I found is the corners with 'rope' - how fitting is that for a hot air balloon? Needs to be tied down at some point, a bit like Project number 4!

Well, I could go on, Stretched Stars (Project Number 5) and I'd really like to make a Bookcase quilt for a friend (number 6) but I'd better not start anything else really had I.....

Until next time,

Hexie Dilemma

I wonder how many people are given 'leftovers' from others? I was recently given some hexagons, or more precisely half hexagons that the maker hadn't managed to co-ordinate together into a quilt. So I bravely (foolishly?) said, sure I'll take them on.
The fabrics were not at all my style and the colours were very varied. The maker had tried them in rows - but as I began to work with them I could see why that didn't work - there was just too much range in the colours. 
So I thought perhaps if there is a dark unifying colour around and between them, that might help, so I gave that an audition. (Ignore the beige carpet)

While that seemed to work for some, for others (particularly that purple in the corner) it didn't gel them together. 
Friends to the rescue! I asked a couple of my quilting buddies to help me play around with potential background fabrics. As is often the way, laying around was a soft colour that just seemed to work. So I used the soft fossil fern grey and then quilted with a loop all over. 
Here is the quilt laying in the back garden among the vegetables - of course.  It seems to work now - thanks friends. 
Here is a close up of the loops (we ditched the purple by the way):

And then I did a little peeping white with the grey for the binding and had fun putting a decorative stitch to help keep the white in place rather than just a straight line: 
But I still think I prefer the back, which doesn't show up all that well here, but is a soft white with a tiny blue flower - something I've had in my stash for so long I've forgotten when and where I got it but it just seemed right for this quilt. 
I showed the original maker when I was almost finished the quilting - she seemed pretty pleased with it. So, a win. Something I would never have taken on myself, I don't think hexagons are my thing, but I'm pleased that with the help of friends, we were able to take something that was likely to stay tucked away doing nothing to a quilt that I hope will bring pleasure for quite a while. 

Until next time,

Friday 22 July 2016

Scrap Jar Quilting

Its been a little while since I posted, well, last month anyway. But I have been busy making a bag for a friend,
putting together some hexagon blocks that aren't my style (from my mother in law) but have come together Ok - I'll post once I've done some quilting on them.
But for today I'm pretty happy with the progress I'm making on my scrap jars quilt.
I knew the stars would stand out for themselves because of their colour, so I wanted to quilt in the negative spaces, but how to do that? I also tend to use my scrap quilts as a place to practice some free-motion quilting that I haven't done before, so here I thought I'd try match-stick quilting. 
I liked the corners of the block where the four colours came together and so thought I'd give that a go.  I'm pretty happy with the result, but not quite sure that the location I chose to do it was necessarily the best. In the other squares where the star points came together, the quilting I've done has tended to keep the four triangles apparent, rather than making it one whole square. Not sure that I'd do that next time either but I enjoyed doing the six 'finger' type arrangement. 
I've also done a little bit of quilting in the cream border between the blue ones. So now, on to complete those fingers and those match stick bits on the edge and then binding - hurrah. I'm enjoying this but as is often the case, there are others coming along that I'm keen to get to as well. But this is a great way to use up scraps and kind of put me in the mood for more 2 and half inch squares, crazy I know but they do look effective as a postage stamp - but that's for next time!

Until then, 
Linking up to my favourite blogs,

Friday 3 June 2016

Once Upon A Time

It feels like something of a relief to say I'm almost finished this quilt. Almost at least means its likely to happen in the next couple of days, only binding to attach, the bulk of the quilting is done. While this has been a great project in many ways, I don't think its something I'm going to repeat in a hurry. There are a few photos of the quilt here, but I feel like celebrating!

The pattern is one from Kids Quilts ( a New Zealand based company that had a display at our Craft and Quilt show in 2015. At that time, three of us went in to buy the pattern together, then met regularly to encourage each other in our progress. Two of us hadn't done much at all in the way of applique, so that was a challenge for us. The sample was in pinks, but I had lemon, turquoise and greys in mind, so went with my own choice of colour palette. 

I put some of the blocks together in a timely way, keeping up with the others, but then seemed to fall in a bit of a hole (other quilts came along) and didn't get to piece this together or begin the quilting. Initially I thought I might complete it in November (we began in May 2015) when my niece was born, but that didn't happen. 

Then I sold my quilting machine, so felt I needed to wait until I bought another to even get to the flimsy stage. I did get it together though and hoped to quilt in April - that also came and went. I did, however, buy a new machine, a Brother that I'm very happy with, well mostly, but more of that in a moment. 
The final push to complete the quilt came with the realisation that the 2016 show was coming along, so 12 months and I hadn't finished my quilt! My two friends had done theirs, one residing on a guest bed for grandchildren and others to enjoy, the other sent interstate for a little girl to love and snuggle with. 
As the date of the show came closer (May 18) I continued to quilt and realised while I wouldn't quite make it, I was going to be very close. My new machine was proving to be wonderful, except the last little part of the needle threading process prior to using the automatic needle threader and perhaps the space wasn't quite as large as I'd hoped as I wrangled the quilt through the 'neck' of it.
Anyway, I went along to the show with a group of wonderful enthusiastic women, what fun! And I saw a Janome S3, a machine I'd had quite a thorough look at before I purchased my Brother (on which I got a great deal I have to say). And before I knew it, I had sat down, tried some free-motion quilting, oohed and aahed at the deal (included a hard cary case, a mannequin, dressmaking scissors, more bobbins than I know what to do with AND a fit for the purpose sewing table, as well as the Australian dollar price of $1299! What a deal!!)
So I now have another new machine. Am I crazy? Maybe I'll just be able to do even more patchwork and quilting? Maybe I'll sell the mannequin and hard case? Who knows, but I'm almost finished this quilt that had a lot to do with it in some ways, so I'm celebrating!

I think the elements of dragon, princesses, frogs and mushrooms are very cute. And I did enjoy the quilting. I think when I first saw it I was lulled along with the 2 and half inch squares, which I always like. The quilting looked pretty OK (it was fun) but I suspect I underestimated the applique process and assembling it all. Like most quilts though, once the hours are put in and the end product is there, you know it will likely last for a few years and so that makes it all worthwhile. 
My niece's first birthday is coming up in November, so I'm well and truly ready ahead of time!

Until next time,

Saturday 7 May 2016

Two finishes

I am very pleased to be able to show a couple of finishes that are on my 2016 list. The first is a scrap quilt I began in early March, my cross string quilt. But here it is all quilted up!
The legs and hand belong to my 'man about the house' (thanks for the help). Its not that big as you can tell, but good for a lap size and since it is going to my local hospice, that will work out fine. I have a friend who works there and she delights in seeing the bright quilts on the bed bringing cheer where it's needed.  That makes the work more than worthwhile, as well as the sheer delight I get from making things from scrap - and from my stash. 
A close up of some of those loops I did on my domestic machine - my new Brother Innovis NV410.  I used a water soluble pen to draw a line, then measured 5" from the top of the loop to the next row. My new machine is just lovely - I can quilt and not have any tension issues.  The Superior Bottom Line thread is a dream. 

I also built what I call my quilting table, up around my machine using foam. I then wrapped it in fabric, taped it on the back with heavy duty tape and then also put a thick plastic over the top. Its a much cheaper, easier option than cutting a hole in my table to drop the machine and make everything level. It fits right up next to the extension part that came with the machine, but goes to the edge of my table and also in front of the machine so my quilt is all on one level, no drag. So I'm really happy with that too. The photo gives you a bit of an idea. 
And a final one of the backing with all that loopy goodness on it. 

My second finish is one I began in November 2015 and got the flimsy finished but with the weather here over summer being too hot to quilt a large (ish) heavy quilt, I only began the centre around January. But finally winter is here and so I've been having fun with the borders in particular. Here it is, 'What colour is Indigo?'
Looking at that blue and white fluffy cloud sky you wouldn't think it was winter here would you? Nice how we picked a sunny spot and didn't realise the pool was there to enhance the blues! This one is for the man himself, who asked the question about the colour Indigo. This was my reply, based on a Moda Indigo charm pack. I added in a few more blues and beiges for the border of squares and I'm pleased with how the white with its blue swirls really helps it all hang together. Speaking of the swirls, here's a close up:
They make me smile when I see them. I haven't tried them that small or close before and I'm happy with the result.
And the backing, I like that too - and it does show the quilting off too. Best of all its lovely to snuggle under and my man is happy with it - only three days after his birthday, win all round. 

Until next time,

Monday 18 April 2016

Downton QAYG

I hadn't ever attempted a Quilt As You Go (QAYG) before and since that is the method that a friend and I are using for a sampler quilt we're teaching a group of complete novices to patchwork and quilting, I thought I'd better give it a go. This is the final result, but I thought I'd also mention some of the aspects I discovered doing this method. And this post has a few photos, just so you know.

I found the process of creating the blocks themselves and then quilting them, to be a very easy one. It was lovely to just be putting a 12" square underneath the needle rather than sometimes wrangling a much larger beast around the table. I did just a simple star in the centre, and also echoed the block shape towards the edge. Doing the crosshatching in the background areas was SO easy to maneuver around.
The process of putting on the sashings was OK too, although I don't remember ever being stabbed so much by pins as I seemed to during this stage of the process.

Then I added a final border because the quilt seemed to need something added to it, with cornerstones to link with the backing.

So here is one of the backing, which makes me smile: 

And a close up of that fabric that I was pretty pleased to find in my local go to fabric shop:

And finally, I did some very simple arches that linked with the cross hatching where they met. I wondered about doing some pebbles in the centre arch, but by the time I'd added the two-colour/accent binding I felt done with this quilt. 


I may have to wait for the dust to settle before I decide whether I'd do another QAYG. There are certainly some pluses, but I know I have another top just waiting to be sandwiched and it won't take me the time that this one seemed to! And adding that final border meant that I did still have quite a bit to wriggle around the machine and table as I did those arches. 
Still, I'm happy with the result overall. Not sure if this one is destined for my neighbour (she's been our neighbour for about 17 years and a lovely one at that, but best find out if she's a 'Downton' fan first!) or elsewhere. 

Until next time,