Sunday 21 February 2016

Strip Tease - DONE!

My husband's grandmother was 90 recently and I decided to make her a quilt to mark the occasion.  I wanted to make something simple in colours which reflected her bright and fun personality.  

I opted for the Missouri Star Quilt Company Stacks quilt, the tutorial for which you can find here.  The tutorial is great and shows you how to put the quilt together very quickly.

I made a small change in that I switched the sizes for the patterned and background fabrics, meaning my coloured strips were 10 inches and my grey strips were 8 inches.  I did this to make the most of the fat quarters and mini jelly roll I had.

The jelly roll I used was the Simply Colorful II Junior Jelly Roll V and Co in Purple.  I also added various Kona solids, including Hibiscus, and other scraps I had (such as purple pearl bracelets left over from Sister's Choice).  The background grey is Kona Coal, which I bought for another exciting upcoming project but had just enough for both.  I think it is my new go-to background colour, I just love it.

I chain pieced the units together and I very quickly had a sew of 42 rows.

I then had a top ready for basting...

I pin baste on the floor, using masking tape to anchor the three layers.  I do like the convenience of 505 spray, but found it left a mark on a recent project.  Perhaps I was holding it too close?

I read some advice on pin basting which said you should not be able to lay your hand flat on any area of the quilt without feeling a pin.  If you can, add more pins!

I quilted it on my domestic machine using a new pattern I've never tried before.  Inspired by a class at the Stitch Gathering on FMQ patterns with Trudi Wood, I went for a flowering pattern (more on that to follow).

I bound it with some purple fabric I had in my stash using a two inch strip.  I went for this because it maximised the fabric I had, but also meant the stitching on the back was pretty much in the ditch (where I managed to keep it straight enough).

Finally, I gifted it to a very special lady!

Linking up with:

Quilt Story

Fresh Poppy Design

Sew Fresh Quilts

Sew Fresh Quilts

My Quilt Infatuation

Needle and Thread Thursday

Thank Goodness it's Finished Friday

Saturday 16 January 2016

Good Things Come in Small Packages

In 2015, I participated in various swaps and I have documented my efforts on the blog.  I have as yet failed to showcase the generous and beautiful mini quilts and gifts I have received from others - so here they all are!

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap

From AshleyPineapple who had (unbelievably) never made a quilt before!  Isn't it gorgeous?  I'd seen it on instagram and was overjoyed when it arrived at my house!

Scrappy Block Swap

This swap was organised by jessiemarie1202 and the blocks are from various others, all gorgeous and in colours I am lacking - thank you everyone!

Easy Swap UK

My mini was from jessiemarie1202, who was not only very thoughtful, but a mind reader!  Look how this mini perfectly fits on my dressing table!

 Stitch Gathering Notion Swap

My very kind partner made me this EPP set which has become a firm favourite and follows me from sofa to sofa!

Friday 8 January 2016

Baby Quilt

A very dear friend had a baby in August and I made him a wee quilt in September/October/November 2015. As ever, choosing the fabrics was the most time consuming part.

I used this pattern from the Moda Bake Shop.  In hind sight, I could have saved on fabric by reading the pattern through to the end before cutting, as the pattern uses charms but I was cutting from yardage.

I quilted it using straight lines along the zig zags.  

I used a spool of thread from a box of old bobbins my Mum gave me last year (therefore, irreplaceable) and ended up dangerously close to the end of the spool.

I used different colour threads on each stripe which made the back look great and really blended in nicely on the front.  I have never done this before but will certainly be trying it again.

 Welcome to the world little guy!

Linking up with TGIFF

Wednesday 6 January 2016

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap - DONE!

Happy New Year everyone!  It was a busy 2015 for me in terms of signing up to online swaps. You can catch up on my Stitch Gathering, UK Low Volume Plus, Scrappy Block and Easy Swap UK Mini Quilt swapping antics in previous posts.

Another of my "top of the swaps" commitments was participating in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quit Swap.  In 2014, I was impressed by the number of people involved and the fabulous results of talented quilters, and I was keen to join in this time round.

The criteria for this swap were more challenging than that Easy Swap UK Mini Quilt as my partner had specific fabrics (rather than just colours) she loved and she requested a Sew Together bag as her extra.  

I was delighted to have the opportunity to buy additional fabric of course, but had previously never considered using either Tula Pink and Cotton and Steel.  The former because I was not sure I understood it and the hype, and the latter simply because I did not have any - how do you choose? My first task therefore was to buy some fabric.  I went with the suggested pink and aqua theme and decided that if I was going to do Tula, I was really going to do Tula, and went for Elizabeth.  Again, it's not that I don't like it, I just couldn't imagine what I'd do with it.

I couldn't decide what to do for a long time and was getting perilously close to the deadline when good old Love Quilting and Patchwork popped through the door with a suggested pattern for a mini. Hoorah!  I wonder how many other swappers ended up with this pattern, just in the nick of time?

I quilted it using one of the patterns I learned at the Stitch Gathering class on FMQ with Trudi Wood, a flowering pattern to mimic the flowers in the fabric.

The Sew Together Bag seemed to have a reputation for being hard but having seen them pop up all over blogs and instagram and at classes, I was keen to give it a go.  I tend to just jump into these things and don't question whether my ability matches my ambition until I'm elbow deep in zips and interfacing.  It took a while and a lot of zip related head-scratching, but I got there.

It was the bag, rather than the quilt, which made me fall for Elizabeth.  I was quite tempted not to part with the bag in the end as I was so chuffed I'd managed to get it together and that I liked the fabric.

My advice for anyone considering making this bag but questioning their abilities is GO FOR IT!  As long as you have a walking foot, you can do it.  I liked it so much, I made another as a Christmas gift so the pattern is paying for itself!

I found the following very helpful blog posts when making these bags:

I really enjoyed all the swapping in 2015.  I received two gorgeous minis (coming up...), boosted my sewing skills and confidence, and met some lovely people.  However, I did feel I concentrated too much on swaps and not enough on personal goals, so I've decided to dedicate my sewing time to gifts for those close to me in 2016.  

And participate in two bees.  And sign up to a dressmaking course.  

Looks like I will never learn and will approach 2016 sewing with the same blind confidence and unrealistic perception of the time available to me that led me to believe I could make a Sew Together bag in the first place.  Happy New Year!

Linking up with.....

Sew Fresh Quilts:

Sew Fresh Quilts

Freemotion by the River:

Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation:

Saturday 5 December 2015

Easy Swap UK Mini Quilt - DONE!

This summer I signed up for my first ever swaps and, with my usual over ambition and enthusiasm, I didn't stop at one!

The first of these was the Easy Swap UK hosted by Nina of Bossy Oz.  The brief for my partner was either red, black and white, or rainbow plus low volume.

I went with red, black and white just to try something a wee bit different.  I added some light grey to the mix too.

Last year I participated in the Little Blogs Quilt Bee and Celine of Espirit Patch had requested foundation paper pieced (FPP) pineapple blocks.  I was intimidated by trying a new technique but soon realised FPP is easier than it looks and a guaranteed way to deliver clean lines and matching points.  You can see my first block from that bee here.

As my mini was going to be for someone else, someone I had not met, I wanted it to be something a bit special but still not too complicated to sew.  I instantly thought back to the pineapple block. My partner had said they liked log cabins too and I thought there was sufficient similarity between them to go for it.

I opted to quilt the mini using "Stitch in the Ditch".  I was using white thread and it was inevitable that I would be successful on the white fabric and wobble on the black.  However, it was my first time doing quilting like this and, again, I wanted to try something a bit special as it was a gift.  I didn't think my usual stipple would compliment the design at all so I braved it out. The front looks good and the back looks ace!

I sent it off to my partner along with some perle cotton in matching colours so she can use her favourite shades in other work.