Friday 14 September 2018

Baby patches

I'd made four baby quilts for people that I knew had recently had their baby boys. But it turned out that there were also 2 others in the group (unknown to me) who also had boys. It didn't seem very fair that four out of the six received quilts and 2 didn't. So I set about finding a reasonably quick and easy baby pattern. Disappearing four patches seemed to fit the bill quite well. Starting with six and half inch squares, two background and two colour and then once they were sewn together, just slicing 2" from the centre line and rearranging the now nine patch block that results from the slicing. There are plenty on Pintrest to check out.

Raiding the stash is so good when you can find fabrics that work together well and you also have the backing on hand. Here is quilt number one:

Once I had made the centre I was rather concerned as I didn't think I liked it any more, or something didn't seem to work. Once I auditioned the turquoise and found the trees in my stash (hurrah!) it seemed Ok again.
What else to put on the backing to stretch the trees - what else but leaves? So here's the backing.

And another friend asked, 'are they tomatoes?' Yes they are, what fun, here's a close up. And I'm getting the hang of those corners where I'm doing a kind of treble clef pattern in the border. Practise, practise, practise it really is the only thing that works.

So what about the second one you ask? Well, for that I began with a kind of check or tartan. It had a number of colours I could have pulled out, including red - but that is a strong bold colour best used sparingly I think. It also had brown, but in the end the green and yellow won out.

Again, once the centre was together I wasn't sure about it.
Thank goodness for quilty friends. I have one who is very good with colour and especially borders. She suggested the narrow tartan then the creamish background before yellow as a final border. I think it works just fine. And again, fun fabric from the stash for the backing. This time its cabbages!

So two more quilts on their way for babies. I have such fun doing these, they are quick projects and the satisfaction of completing them and using up some stash is just great.
They both finish up at 44" by 55", a good size for a cot, or on the floor, whatever.

Until next time,

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Floppy feathers

Its always surprising to me how different patterns can look in different colour ways. Easy simple bricks is a very basic pattern that I did earlier here.  But I chose just one fabric, the turquoise giraffes to put into a different collection of fabrics. The collection had purples and oranges in it, like this:

Its a brighter look and I really enjoyed picking out those colours. I began with the white with circles that have orange, purple, turquoise in it and initially included a soft palette of those colours in one fabric too - but had to discard that as it didn't really fit once I had everything else. Again, strange how that can happen when you expect a fabric that has all the right colours in it, to complement others and yet it just doesn't fit. No matter, I'm sure its time to shine will come.

I really enjoyed doing the floppy feathers so tried that again with this baby quilt.

The purple fabric (given to me by a friend quite some time ago) seemed to be a good one to create the border with, but wouldn't you know it, wasn't quite enough. So I find that's where the creativity/ingenuity has to come in. I stretched it a little by putting some plain purple in as well. And the eye doesn't really notice it, seems we do focus on the whole. But here it is:

And the backing - also in my stash, just seems to work really well:

The orange binding seems to work too, I really like it when I have everything on hand and have fun putting it all together. And baby quilts seem to come together in no time, I think it's my favourite size to quilt. 

One final shot of the whole and then it goes along with the others made earlier, to new babies and their parents. That's the other wonderful thing about making quilts, getting to give them as gifts. Such fun. 

Until next time,

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Colourful Birds

I don't know how you feel about panels, but at times they can be an inspiring way to form a quilt. A friend of mine bought a panel of birds - beautiful watercolour birds. And since her other half is a twitcher, and the illustrations were indistinct in terms of being a particular bird and perhaps not being rendered completely accurate - (which can frustrate bird watchers I guess) she thought this was a good option.

My friend, however, was not confident to quilt the panels, having put all the borders on. So I volunteered, since I really do enjoy free-motion quilting. So I set about stippling around the birds, not outlining them as we wanted them to stay kind of free-form. Aren't they cute?

The artist is Connie Hayley and I love her colours and style. Having done the stippling, I did a stitch in the ditch around the first small white border, but on the second white one I thought I'd give some leaves a bit of a try. I'd done them on a placemat previously, and thought they might fit in this border. 

They seemed to work well, so consulting my friend, asked whether she might also like some in the green border - she thought that might work too, so there they are. I think the binding will be a dark shade like the central framing of the birds, either that or a green, we'll see what works best. 

For the backing, a lovely beige/light brown grunge type fabric works well. 

You can also see I did a very large loose stipple around the border with birds in it - they wanted to fly freely! I really enjoyed doing this and my friend is delighted with it, which always helps!
One final photo of one of the birds, they really are lovely. 

So that's what I've been working on this week. 
Until next time,

Friday 3 August 2018

Harlequin finish

I wonder if anyone else can relate to the experience of gathering fabric, admiring it, seeing all the pretty colours and then also seeing a great pattern where you could use those pretty colours all together? Well, that was my joy when I first saw 'Postcards from Sweden'.

To me it had a harlequin flavour, you know the jester type people who dressed up in multi-coloured solids, wore a pointy hat with a bell on the end? Well, maybe my mind just works in weird ways!

But when I saw that Sandra from MMM quilts had a quilt along with the pattern back in April, I thought I could join in. I managed to cut things out, but the deadline for completing kind of came and went and I thought perhaps I was one of the last, OK the very last, to finish mine. But maybe not?

Here it is, just a small size:

I didn't adhere strictly to the pattern, but added some of the fabrics I had. This seems to be a very versatile pattern that doesn't seem to care what colours are put together, they seem to work. And yes, the very observant will notice, that the binding isn't quite completed, but that's tonight's task. And it makes me happy.

I saw that Louise from Quilt Odyssey had quilted hers in straight lines (I should have read more carefully I think hers were and inch apart, not the width of the quilting foot!) I thought that looked great.
So I set to with bright orange thread and it worked very merrily.
The backing fabric is lovely and bright too, but I really don't want to quilt another straight line for a while:

So to have a complete change, I thought I'd do a very simple pattern of bricks, but this is more so that I can practice some more free-motion spineless feathers, or perhaps floppy feathers sounds more complementary?:

Whichever way they go, I had great fun doing them over this small quilt and it seemed to unify the whole and bring an added dimension to it. 
I did them diagonally on the quilt, to direct the eye towards the diagonal rows created by the colour of the bricks. 
Again the backing fabric shows them off really well:

This will definitely be one of my 'go to' patterns now, a lovely variety to the stipple I often do, or a paisley type leaf pattern. 
So that's what I've been up to lately, what about you?
Until next time,

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Bears and Engines

I've been having fun using up scraps and making baby/toddler quilts again. They are very satisfying as they come together quickly and the bright colours always make me smile.
The first is based on some fire engine fabric my mother in law gave me some time ago (in years I'm talking about). They framed up easily and then I was surprised to find that when I put this blue ish fabric near them and it seemed to work really well. It has a small floral, so not something I would have normally chosen, but isn't that the fun of patchwork? Fabrics you don't anticipate playing well together surprise us.

An overall stipple is also very easy quilting, so that happened quite fast too. And then a stripey border, also always fun. And there is number one. A close up of those engines, very cute. 

For number two, I've had this book for a few years (since 2013) and made several quilts from it, one with stars and one with hearts. It's a great one as it uses 2 and half inch strips for most of the quilt.  I knew it had a pattern for Teddy Bears that I'd often thought of making. This was the time. 

And here they are, Edward and his friends Elvin; Evan and Eli:

I think they're cute and again, fabric all from my stash - a winner for sure! I enjoyed doing these so much and they came together so quickly that I thought I'd incorporate one on the backing. Here he is, Ezra Bear:

And as a change up from my usual stipple, I thought I'd give this paisley/leaf a bit of a go. It worked quite well too, just on my domestic machine.  I used a variegated embroidery shiny thread on the top and Rasant in the bobbin. It's a combination that seems to work well for me. 

I do have a couple more baby quilts in the pipeline and a larger sampler type quilt I'm quilting for a friend, so we'll see how far I get on those this week. 

Quilt Stats:

Engines: 53" and half by 42"
Wadding: Cotton/Polyester 60/40 blend
Thread: Rasant and Embroidery

Teddy Bears: 50" by 46"
Wadding: Cotton/Polyester 60/40 blend
Thread: Rasant and Embroidery

Hope you're enjoying whatever you're stitching,

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,