Tuesday 30 June 2020

A Bit of a Furtle in June

As the last few months have all run into each other it follows that my blog post is similar.

I haven't as yet lost my enthusiasm to get some UFOs done and dusted making use of all this extra time.

First up isn't really a UFO as it was only started a few months ago in anticipation of a birth - baby not quite due but her quilt is awaiting............

For the binding of this quilt I brought the backing forward to the front and machine stitched it down. I have never actually done this before and am quite happy with the result - I wanted to use the same fabric as backing for the binding so it made sense. I followed a tutorial on The Crafty Nomad

My next big task for June was to tackle the quilting of my Irish Chain that I made I think back in 2018/19. I was inspired by Rita at Red Pepper Quilts. Her tutorial for her version included diagrams to ensure nesting seams and I followed it slavishly. I wanted it to be made from scraps but with a controlled coloured focus too. So I plotted it all out on EQ7 and off I went. I really enjoyed making the blocks for this. There were 25 blocks, each containing 49, 2.5" squares so a total of 1225 squares - crumbs!!

Once again, I went against the habit of a lifetime and stitched the binding down by machine. I have always enjoyed hand stitching a binding but lately find too much hand stitching sore on my hands so am now quite happy to use the machine. The finished quilt measures 72" square and I am so pleased with it, there are a lot of fabric memories in there.

Next on the production line is a current work in progress, I have started to quilt it so shouldn't be too long to declare a finish. It's another scrappy number that I started piecing in the couple of weeks running up to lockdown. I started playing with scraps and did a bit of improv log cabin.

Final arrangement of logs -

I quite liked it and decided to keep growing it medallion style. 

I rather fancied a round of these little 3 -D pinwheels but stopped after four, too much like hard work.

If it was to be an actual quilt I had to go a bit bigger so really shopped my scraps, big and small.

I stopped at this point, about 57" square. It's a bit of nonsense really but kept my mind occupied at a difficult time. And as I say, I have almost finished quilting - I'll show it finished next month along with the snazzy backing that I pieced from stash.

During all this frenzied quilting of the last 100 days I might have started piecing another top - it is a disease isn't it? I have a drawer labelled, 'Kaffe, batiks and Kathy Doughty'. I came to thinking they had spent long enough hanging about and set to wondering what I could concoct. I didn't have much of any of them, the Kaffe fabrics were mainly wovens, not many batiks in there, but a gorgeous bundle of Kathy Doughty brought back from Oz in 2018. So far I am calling it my Marmite quilt but I secretly love it and it will take its place as next in queue for quilting.

So this was my final layout of the 8" blocks but as I snowballed all the big squares I created bonus HSTs never realising they would trim down to 3" finished patches. Well I had to use them too, silly not to.

And that's a wrap for June folks, thanks for having a look.
As usual I am linking to Archie's Furtling Adventures.

Archie The Wonder Dog

Sunday 31 May 2020

Furtling through May

Continuing on immediately from last month, I can confirm another lockdown finish with my very large Bella Solids Sampler from 2017.


A bit picture heavy - after joining the three sections I went back in to quilt all the solid white sections, just crossing over the lines already there to give a checkerboard look. I loved the binding and for the first time, I machined the binding down. I was more than happy with the look of it and it saved me 4 sides of an 85" quilt. 
It was just after I started quilting this one that I found out that my niece Jaime was rather more front line NHS than I 'd realised. As a physio I had no idea her skills would be required for patients on ventilators, I hadn't put it together in my head. I was so full of admiration for her that I wondered if she might like to have the quilt. After it was finished I did a bit of sleuthing and was assured that she liked it and now she has it, is chuffed to bits. So am I for it to have found such a worthy home.

My next project is actually for Jaime's sister, Hope, who is expecting her first baby, in 9 weeks time.Both girls were born in Australia so I wanted a nod to this in my quilt. Lewis and Irene have a range of "Small Animals", one featuring Aussie animals - I chose the one on an ochre background and am using it for the backing. I have constructed simple sashed blocks for the front, each block appliqued on my embroidery machine with a cute animal.

The appliques were done on plain white cotton. I wanted the sashing to be a pale grey blender and already had a grey Makower "Dimples" but felt it a lttle dark. I got "Pearl" online and actually love it as a low volume blender but it's a teeny bit lighter than I envisaged for this quilt but it is for a baby and has a lovely soft look. The perils of online shopping, I must keep a swatch file for the future.
So only the quilting to do on this, it is basted and pinned but a cut finger this week has prevented a serious quilting session.

I now have three quilts to quilt starting with my scrap Irish Chain which I look forward to seeing as a proper quilt. 
In between sewing and quilting this month I managed to pull off a knitting "commission" for my Granddaughter Ava who spotted, George the dog on one of my books. Not a natural knitter I found this pretty difficult especially when I had to find and use tiny circular needles. I was taught to knit with my right hand needle firmly tucked underarm. Trying to knit with teeny wee circular pins had me feeling like a Borrower. But George was finished and his continuing progress had been a source of Face Time fun for Ava. George has now gone to his new home and is much loved.

And finally................in our local park the other day -

Before I go, you might remember that at the start of lockdown, way beck in March, I linked my Etsy patterns here, for free. As we begin to ease out of tight lockdown I have decided it is time for them to return to work and they will be relisted on Etsy.

Archie The Wonder Dog

Thursday 30 April 2020

More Lockdown Furtling

So, continuing in the spirit of last month's blogpost, I think I'll continue to catalogue my makes since then rather than comment or chew over our shared experiences.

I left you all with the completely scrappy log cabin which I felt was made with a fervour I rarely display in the sewing room. After making the Log Cabin section I decided to grow it into a medallion style quilt and kept going, rather ignoring my personal plan to finish UFOs during lockdown. I made another quilt top - this came in at about 54" square and has joined the "waiting to quilt and bind" queue.

Highlighted below is the three dimensional windmill block - I did think for a couple of minutes of making a whole border of them - no way!

I showed my first Lockdown Finish last month, my Bee Quilt. 
The next finish was a good bit quicker to pull off, and that was My Small World, pattern by Jen Kingwell and I recall the online frenzy of us all trying to obtain the pattern that was published in a magazine. I really enjoyed making this, it was very footery, using up scraps and piecing small shapes and blocks. I think I started it in 2016, made decent progress, even got the sky section quilted and then - it was overtaken - and condemned to the box under the bed..........
In 2018 on our Great Aussie adventure, I was lucky enough to visit Jen's shop, Amitie Textiles in Torquay. Oh such a glorious store and I was ridiculously excited to see the original My Small World, draped across a table. Sigh.
So two years later my version saw the light of day and I finished off the quilting. I gave it a faceless binding and it is now on the wall. My Small World could not be a more apt title.

In between all of this frantic activity in the sewing room, I also made enough face masks to keep my close family going should the need arise and only this week, in Scotland, they have become advisory for shopping trips so my time was not wasted. 
My next Lockdown finish is a biggie. Back in 2017 I started following the Bella Skill Builder quilt run monthly by the Fat Quarter Shop online. It was to be my first quilt using just solids. 
2017 was a busy year for my family but somehow I must have kept up with my blocks and planned a way to enlarge the original pattern and to construct it to allow QAYG. I even roughly layered up the three sections and then they were condemned, can you guess? - yes, to the box under the bed........
until this month.
Out they came, the layering up was tidied and pressed and then basted and pinned. For years now I have pinned only but I have found the basting stage of this quilt quite soothing. Each third of the quilt draped across my sewing table nicely, allowed me to tug and smooth, baste and pin as well as listening to the radio.

And then came the quilting. I kept giving myself little targets. Two days to baste each third and then two days to quilt. Well, I am delighted to report that today I have completed my straight line quilting, using my walking foot as a guide, it's done, approximately 180 rows of it. Here are the three chunks awaiting joining, followed by a close up of some of the quilting.

As I trimmed, I realised that the rather graphic backing fabric (an Ikea duvet cover) might work as binding. I'll keep that to hopefully show off a finish next month.
I also managed to find 90" wide solid white fabric that will give me joining strips that don't need to be made with joins. If you know what I mean.

This full on approach to my UFOs is definitely keeping me going through these strange times. My days would be terribly long without this obsession.......

Next in line is my Irish Chain quilt, top ready to progress.
I also need to get on with a planned quilt for the arrival of my first Great Niece at the end of July. It is to feature most of the machine embroidered animals I showed last month in the baby book and is quite time consuming, a good thing eh?

Keep on keeping on, and stay safe and well.

I am linking as always to Mini Archie's Furtling Adventures

Archie The Wonder Dog

Tuesday 31 March 2020

Furtling in a Solitary Style

How the world can change in a month! I plan to concentrate here on recent sewing pursuits.
 I find myself in a Grandchild free zone so thankfully my sewing, being allowed out for a walk, and being fortunate enough to have a garden all makes it easier to cope. Face Time is a big help too.

So March saw the joint birthday of two grandchilren, brother and sister, just 7years apart! For Ava's first birthday I made rather an elaborate fabric book with each month depicting a significant development in her first year.

Before her brother Murray came along, we were blessed with another Grand daughter Macie and she turned one last November. For her birthday I made her a Patchwork Pup.

Murray's birthday book was quickly conceived and executed with the help of my new embroidery machine. It was great fun to make. I was able to use little scraps of faux suede for some animal faces that I found squirreled away, which proves that things do come in handy.

Although I won't see them at Easter, I still felt the need to make little bunny bags for the kids after seeing Judith's great free tutorial. Again I made use of my embroidery machine and managed to source a pattern for a bunny face. Whilst doing that I also found a bunny's bottom, not something I say every day. I constructed the bags from fine calico with a solid yellow lining and then picked out bunny details and ears using a patterned fabric in pink or blue. Ignore silly arrow, it's that iPhone motion thingy.

Moving on from bunny bottoms, I have also worked hard on an older project. Back in 2015 I was still a member of the Stingy Brits online bee with a great bunch of girls. I think it was our last project, and for our sins we came up with a hexagonal shaped centre portion for our quilts , made our own and then sent them off on their travels.By some miracle I have found an image from my old blog of my own centre.

There was a bit more added to this to make it hexagonal (much of which looks a bit odd now but hey ho) The next sketch is our basic outline of a whole quilt and if I recall we sent off our centres plus a large square block and an infill triangle block.

It would be a long time before I attempted any sort of construction and by then I had changed my mind about inserting the rather brightly coloured (my choice) 16" blocks. I still have them and will put them to good use but for this quilt I wanted a lot more LV to tone in with the triangles I had received. So I set to and made 6 x 16" blocks with some precious scraps of my focus fabric (??) for the block centres.When construction had taken place I then hit on the idea of a little applique dresdens to break up the LV and add a bit of balance.
With enforced stay at home time on my hands I put on my biggest girl's pants and attempted to quilt, having layered up at my last monthly Social Saturday sewing group.
I started in the centre and did concentric circles went so far until it became obvious the shape would dictate the rest of the quilting.
In a mad moment I opted to free machine the big square blocks, treating each patch with a different pattern and referring back at times to a cushion I had made in a previous life, at a Sheena Norquay workshop.
I think I became a little obsessed, it isn't perfect, but I like the texture and it won't be looked at by any quilting judges.

and the front -

I did wonder about trying to square it off but thought I'd just embrace it's shape and (I found it too hard) Binding the weird angles was interesting too. It measures 60" across from any straight edge to another.
Thank you to my Bee Mates for their contribution, I am so glad to call this a finish.

Whilst finishing I couldn't helpt starting to play with scraps, just to keep busy (wink) I began sort of improv log cabin using creams and beiges on one side and darker beiges through orange to pink on the other. No real measuring but a lot of trimming later I have 16 little 6" blocks and I think I am going to use those blocks as the centre of a quilt sort of medallion style. Before the final trip I added a bit of wonk and I quite like it so far.

As always I am linking to Mini Archie's Furtle thro the Blogosphere

Archie The Wonder Dog

Say home, stay safe, stay well. x

Monday 23 March 2020

Free Patterns

Following on from my discounted pattern last week, the Covid 19 crisis has intensified.

Many of you will be isolated and perhaps looking for a new sewing project.

If you click on the FREE PATTERNS page above you will have access to three patterns which are yours, free, at the click of a button.

Enjoy, and stay safe everyone.

Sunday 15 March 2020

Uncertain Times

There's no denying we are experiencing unprecedented times - we are all thinking and talking about one thing.

So in an effort to divert myself and offer a litttle cheer I thought I'd figure out how to discount one of my popular patterns.

So from today, 15th March, untill 22nd March, you can get a huge 50% discount on my Mega Pinnie Pattern.
Just use this link and it will take you directly to my Etsy shop. If you need to enter a Code it is Mega7.


Enjoy xx

Saturday 29 February 2020

Leap Day Furtling

I felt the need to make sure I blogged this month especially the 29th February!!

So I feel I have been quite busy in the sewing room this month but will wait until March to share a couple of gift items that I'd like to remain a secret.

I was in the mood for a little scrap playing but lately have liked to keep my scraps in some sort of colour order, have moved on from the dog's dinner stuff that I have indeed produced in times past.

So I started with scraps of a Lewis and Irene range, Big Bear Little Bear and hopefully keeping to a sort of controlled palette I added strips to squares until I had 4 blocks by five.

I then found just enough pale aqua from another scrap box that lightened things up and picked out aqua details from the Bear fabric, added some little connecting squares and managed to have a quilt top completed. I had lots of fun trying to achieve the block size (7") and am delighted to have also found a metre of fabric in my stash to back this little quilt. I'll store this one.

I can't lay claim to this next project as it was achieved by Grandaughter Ava a few days ago. I gave her a pile of pre cut scrap squares which she assembled and then sewed on her machine using a 1/4" foot for the first time. I ironed, she sewed, and I was delighted at her squeals of joy as she realised she had actually joined the pieces together. We used a piece of fleece for the back and "bagged it", a technique that she found "magic".

And today she was at my design wall working on 2 1/2" squares....................


And to finish - remember I told you about the hoodie I'd been knitting for three years? Ripped down, it has become this -  the guilt has now slipped from my shoulders, phew.

As always, am linking to Archie's Furtling Adventures.

Archie The Wonder Dog


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