Friday, 20 June 2014

Last FAL & A Big Girl Quilt... last.
Yes, my final FAL project for the quarter is done - it was a bit of improv piecing done by my friend Janet as an experiment, and donated to the Princess cause.
I trimmed it to size and enjoyed a bit of FMQ before binding with what I thought was white but is the palest shade of pink, but no worries, it looks fine.

I promise I'll do a parade, soon, of Princess quilts completed so far - I have 14 made and am aiming for 20 as per the fairy tale.
Another finish that I have managed this month is my Mystery Quilt a Long with Sarah Fielke & Spotlight in Australia. My friend Salley, from Sydney, always refers to this shop as Spotty so I have decided to call the quilt Spotty. I stopped short of the full pattern and also used my own stash fabrics instead of the SF ones, so didn't join in 100%. I also got a bit bored with the amount of circles and applique but we were warned that there was a lot of applique so I can't really complain. 
 So this one measures about 56" square, makes a change from the tiddlers I've been working on lately. I quilted it in a sort of spider's web which looks, ok - ish. I just couldn't capture it properly on film as my backing is plain white and we have had wall to wall sunshine for over a week now (honestly!!) so conditions a little bright.
 This one shows the quilting a bit better, if you really peer at it - not advisable.

I have long admired quilts bound in B & W but decided that a Spotty quilt needed spotty binding and I am delighted with it. Just a label now and I am ready to part with it - it is destined for my niece, who will be 18 next month. Hope she likes it........

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Running out of FAL titles

At the risk of becoming repetitive I can share another FAL Q2 finish - by now you know most of my projects were little 'uns. I do maintain however that it is just as easy not to finish a little project than a big one. This wee "Princess" quilt was made last year with leftovers from my Mod Pop quilt. All it needed was a bit of binding but there was always something more pressing that needed done. Now it's finished and here it is, pretending to be a grown up quilt.

For these little quilts I use a 1.5" single fold binding, attach to the back, bring to the front and machine applique to finish, one side at a time.

I mentioned in the last post that I had indulged in some fabric shopping - Hawthorne Threads had Shimmer in their newsletter a few weeks ago and I knew it was going to be the perfect choice for a longer term quilt project that I have in the dark recesses of my mind - the fabric is by Jennifer Sampou for Robert Kaufman and I ordered it in two lots due to some being out of stock already. 
The one at the right back isn't from the range but Hawthorne's website is so helpful and clever, they have "near matches" for you to consider and I am more than happy, it's another Kaufman. All of the fabrics have a metallic glint to them and I think they will suit my new project which I'm afraid I must keep to myself.
Unfortunately, my second delivery of goodness was preceded by this - grrrr.

It's not even the VAT that annoys me, it's the PO handling charge of £8.........considering you have to go and collect the parcel, I do think they're having a laugh!
In between all my cutting last week, (still making pre-cuts from scraps, slightly addicted now), I finished up a couple more blocks for Soy Amado/a. This first one was an old class sample showing how to plait strips (tute here if you are interested) - I added a border &quilted it.

The next two blocks were demo, sew along samples from a recent Mile a Minute workshop, look a bit like wonky log cabins.

I did do a little more thrifty shopping - this time it's for my Christmas in July workshop on 27th July. We will be making a Tree Skirt and my current sample is perfectly ok, I use it every year myself but I plan to make a couple more for presents. I got most of my fabric from Doughtys - they have some surprising designer fabrics sprinkled through their website and in their Christmas section, I think something to suit many tastes.
This is my current Tree Skirt, it can be backed with a print which then makes it reversible.

And these are the fabric combos for my new ones,

These are all by Anni Downs and selling at £6.99. I plan to combine the first two on the front with the musical notes on the back.

These are all by Nancy Halvorsen's Ho Ho Ho, I think an old line as the first one on the right was out of stock and I had to source elsewhere (at full price!!) I haven't captured the colour too well, the prancing deer are in a lovely aqua on aqua and will be married with number two for a more grown up side, with the novelty Christmas on the right appealing to kids.
I still have a couple of spaces left on the workshop if anyone is interested, just email me for details.
So, one more little UFO to finish and I have completed all of my FAL pledges for the quarter, feeling smug.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Organisation & Method

Foresight and planning - these are phrases I recall from my younger days as a (very) Civil Servant. I think they might have been categories in our annual reports on which we were marked.
So I reckon to be quite organised, I like a list as much as the next one.
Last week I revealed my recent obsession for Home Organisation blogs - I have lost my reading mojo and drift off to sleep planning neatness and waking hours I even followed a couple of suggestions- this is the inside of my OH's T-shirt drawer. Normally they would be piled one on top of each other with the poor ones at the bottom never seeing the light of day. Can't believe I have reached such a ripe old age without thinking of this, I mean, it's only filing after all, and one extra fold. He LOVES it. I put it into practice in my own chest of drawers and have achieved an empty drawer.

Next up, is the simple but effective way to store those long rolls of gift wrap that have a tendency to attack you when you open a cupboard. Using a £1.50 Ikea plastic thingy for storing plastic bags you do this - I had to add my own extra strong sticky fixers. It's mounted on the back of a cupboard door.

Neither of these ideas are my own but I am sorry, my bedtime blog hopping has not extended to saving or bookmarking inspirational sources.
This quest for better organisation stems from my sewing room, and the desire to find better ways to keep my fabric. My sewing table is big, sometimes I think too big (yes) as my OH has a theory that I am unable to see a flat surface without putting something on it. E.G., I have acquired three little fabric baskets in swaps over time and much as I love them, I just cannot display them - however, I can put them to work for me - all three fit beautifully into a drawer in my little plastic chest of drawers that I tend to keep little stuff in - you know, zips, ribbons etc - I plan to make more of these for the other drawers. Originals are made from Ayumi's well known pattern.

In a short break from all this organising, I got another Big Churn Dash cushion front assembled - Road 15 plus some lovely textured linen. Had to stop whilst I waited for a wadding delivery but good to proceed now.

Yesterday I was on Grandma duty and while she napped I thought I would make her some matching patches, the idea coming from more recent blog hopping that started with Craft Passion - check this lady out, she has a huge amount of ideas on her site. I saw the matching game on Pinterest I think and there are different versions but here is what I did.
First of all I grabbed some felt (from my felt drawer of course) and the colour was dictated by the biggest bit. I cut some 4" squares. I then went to my "Novelties" box and pulled some fun scraps. Those were cut to 3.5" square.
Pair fabric with felt
and stitch. I used a machine applique stitch but a straight stitch would be fine too, maybe you would get a bit more fraying.

I matched my bobbin thread to the top thread so the backs are quite pretty too.
Make 2 of each scrap. Before a rude awakening occurred due to a "Big Noise" (petrol mower outside), I had made these and have a few more cut to go -
So I thought I'd share with other grandmas and mums out there, such a good way to use up silly scraps. And they were a success.

If anyone is still reading, I might as well batter on and tell you about my morning's efforts. I did go into my room planning to sew, honest. But in the back of my mind was a feature I had stumbled upon when reading Lori Holt's blog. Now, when I started quilting my friend Sheilagh (whose fault it all is) used to keep her scraps, all in different dimensions and stored in ice cream tubs. I openly laughed at this and although it all makes sense to cut leftovers from projects as you go, this was not for me. Maybe since I joined in on the Zakka Sew A Long a couple of years back and realised how much fun it is to make little things too, I can see the sense in organised cutting. I have for some time, stored fabric by colour - oh, and novelties and pretentiously, batiks & atmospherics & linens....
Ikea Samla boxes
Last week I asked the question, when is a scrap, a scrap? So I have decided, that for me, it's when it's less than a fat quarter, but maybe an odd shape?? On my desk, I have a basket where I throw the offcuts from a current project, to be "filed" at a later date. So today, I started in on them. First of all I found some that suited The Matching Game, so cut and laid them aside for sewing.
And then, armed with my selection of rulers and a fresh, sharp blade, I cut. I made 5" squares, very useful as leftover charms can join them; I cut 4.5" and 3.5" squares; 3.5" strips, 2.5" strips & squares. I indulged my scraps and cut 2" squares but no smaller - I did do some 1.5" strips because these are useful for binding wee things. I also manged a few 6.5" squares.
The eagle eyed will spot some batiks - I don't have much left in this category - I don't hate batiks, but have always found them tricky to mix with other fabrics. Some of mine have been languishing in that drawer for - well, years, so along with some African prints and Aboriginal prints, I cut them into useable sizes - I was thinking they might play well with linen and of course, solids.

This will have to do for now until I decide on my pre cut storage solution

Despite all this thrift, I have indulged in a little online therapy but will keep that for another day. I really must go and make the most of our sunshine. (or maybe not, the "Big Noise" is at it again, sounds like a Monster Mosquito, think it might be one of those slab cutting saws, maybe I'll watch the tennis instead, who needs a tan?)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Another Mini FAL finish

Bright Hopes Quilt Block Pattern

As promised, here is another of my FAL finish for this quarter. Once more, it is a Stingy Bee make, the tiny blocks having been made by my Stingy Bee Mates.
As well as the Wee Granny Blocks from my last post, I asked the girls to make me small Bright Hopes blocks, this time using any old scraps but using a white centre square.
Bright Hopes uses partial seaming and leaves you wondering how it is constructed. If you want to make one yourself, you will find the instructions HERE.

And here is my mini - some of the wee blocks are actually mirrored, (including a couple of made by me!) so the pattern isn't too obvious but I love the scrappiness of it.

And like before, I asked for some scrap squares so I could piece a backing, another. 2-4-1!!

Having a break last week from Grandma duty I was able to storm on with some sewing (and tidying - more of that later)
Collette asked for Improv wonky log cabin blocks - I enjoyed making these although I struggled for solid fabrics especially as I began to need longer strips.
While I was making Collette blocks I made an extra for Alison & her Soy Amado appeal - I really did struggle to make it to size and put quite a chunky strip on one side, so then I thought it was perfect for a bit of machine embroidery - this time for a girl, Soy Amada. Have a look at Alison's blog if you're not familiar with her appeal, she has now completed 35 - yes 35, quilts for this brilliant cause.
And then I got on with the June blocks for Bee Blessed. These were a variation on the Bow Tie block and I used quite a mad selection of scraps for these.
I also got a proper quilt finished and bound but will try for some better photos before showing it off.

Monday, 2 June 2014

A Wee Finish

I was just checking my pledges for this quarter in the Finish A Long. I entered five projects, all very achievable, some may say silly.

I've now completed three of my tasks and I'll show off one tonight - it's one of my Princess & The Pea quilts and is one of two made with blocks kindly supplied by my Bee a Brit Stingy bee mates. I think they thought I was a bit loopy asking for such little blocks but I was happy to add a couple more quilts to my pile for the Princess.
The first blocks was a wee Granny and I asked for pinks and aqua on a white background. I also asked for a couple of 5" squares of anything so I could piece a backing. I love it and think I'd really like a big version...

And the back is nice too. Two for the price of one

In the spirit of the FAL, I'll keep the next finish for a separate post.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

That Was May

May was all about finishing off and making blocks, I also managed a cushion gift from scratch. So from top right you can see - My Churn Dash cushion, 2 blocks for Bee Blessed (I did correct the naughty wee patch that was the wrong way) 3 orphan blocks, re-sized & quilted for Soy Amado, & a finish at last for my Chinese Whispers.
We all had the chance to enter and view the stunning work in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. The results have been announced & very well done to all the worthy winners. Thank you to those of you who took the trouble to vote for my entries, I really appreciate it.


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