Wednesday, 30 April 2014

WIP Wednesday - Designing Paper Pieced Stars

Seeing as I won't make the deadline for the triangle-a-long this weekend, I figured, as it's a Bank Holiday here this weekend, to try and make some headway on my baby Medallion quilt.  The last round planned for this are some stars and 4 hearts in the corners.  The whole design when finished should look like this:

Yes, it's very busy and I hope very colourful. I'm not even sure how to begin toning it down if I ever wanted to!

I scaled up the 3" hearts in the inner border to 4" and 6" for the last two borders. I've been playing with star shapes trying to figure out what will work best for the quilt.  The last border will be 6" and my original design above had a fat star with 6 points.  There are lots of ways to make a 6 pointed star, EPP diamonds, piecing with triangles or inset seams but to try it out quickly I decided to paper piece. 

After a bit of trial and error I came up with a fat 6 pointed star and a skinnier 5 pointed star using both Quilt Assistant and EQ7 which now runs on my old Macbook.

Paper piecing was quick and I think I can get 2 stars from each 10" layer cake so not too wasteful of fabric.  The fabric I'm using for the Stars is a layer cake from Me and My Sister with Kona snow for the background.

With only a few seams it went together very quickly and what's great about paper piecing is all the points are protected, especially nice when making star shapes!

 So now I've got 2 stars made, I need to make a decision.

I'm leaning towards the second one on the bottom.  I'm hoping when pieced together they will make a lovely chain around the quilt to finish it off.  What do you guys think?  There'll be 40 stars in total so 39 more to go!

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Sew Fresh Quilts

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Modern Irish Bee April Blocks - wonky log cabin

The last of April's Bee Blocks were for Anna for the Modern Irish Bee hosted on the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland blog page.  Anna chose a wonky log cabin block with a fussy cut piece off centre.

Pulling out brightly coloured scraps intermingled with low volume pieces was great fun.  Don't expect a tidy worktable making these blocks.  They are a great way to play with fabric scraps and really good fun!

I even managed to use the last of the scraps I received with this pincushion from Rosie as a swap item in the blocks.  So far the fabrics that Rosie sent me have found a way into all my Modern Irish Bee blocks and my Medallion quilt so all our group so far is benefiting from Rosie's kindness.  Love that!

Who would have thought wonky would be tricky?  It's been a while since I made a wonky log cabin block and I did find my first attempt turned out more square than wonky!

I think I got it on my second attempt though!  Much happier with this one.  Both are winging their way to Anna today.  The tutorial for this is by Aneela Hoey at Comfort Stitching if you want to give it a try!

Linking toSew Cute Tuesday

Monday, 28 April 2014

Design Wall Monday

 Guess what I've been doing?

Yup, I've been trimming half square triangles.  Somehow I managed to find myself in 3 Bee's overlapping for a good part of this year.  Completely unintentional.  I put my name in for a Bee and didn't think I was in time so joined another.  A week later I got the email saying welcome!  Kind of like bidding on 2 eBay items at the same time!
Still, it's been manageable so far and I've gotten to make some lovely blocks and amazingly I've found myself Queen Bee on 2 of them for May!  So it's been kinda busy here this month getting ready for that and making the blocks for April.

This block, chosen by Robin Sue Quilts for global Scrap Bee is called the Colorado Beauty and if the pinwheel spins the other way it's called the Lucky Pieces.  Funny how they get their names.  It's made up of just 4 coloured prints 4" square with a background fabric, trimmed to 3.5" as a HST and sewn together in rows.  A really fun quick make!  I made mine in yellow;  must be the the spring feeling as almost all I'm making at the moment has lots of yellow in it!  Some of the other members made it in pink and grey.  The grey looks really good for this block. 

So the second Bee bock was made last Friday evening, just as well as the weekend got away from me completely.   Trip to emergency room  - all is ok now - took up most of Saturday and then yesterday morning Charly the JRT killed a baby blackbird in the garden   I don't think I would have been able to work on this owl block after that. The blackbird parents were dive bombing her as she was shaking the poor little thing, Wilbur hopping around barking not knowing what was going on and me yelling for Gordon was quite eventful.  Eventually she dropped the chick, big happy head on her with feathers sticking out of her mouth and came inside.   So before all that happened, I put together a fussy cut sleepy owl block.

Nela from Stash Bee hive 10 chose a fussy cut log cabin style for our April block. I chose to use a scrap of fabric on hand from some quilt backing.  Nela's tutorial was to frame it in white with 1.5" strips and make a log cabin in bright crayon colours to frame it.

The only colour I struggled to find in my stash was purple.  I think I might just have to go and buy some purple fabric!

So this is state of the design wall (flannel sheet!) at the moment.  Test blocks for my turn as Queen Bee as well as some of my WIP's.  Looking kind of busy - a reflection of how the month has been! 

Linking up to Design wall Monday and
stitch by stitch

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Library Project update: Ticker Tape Wilbur Quilt

One of my projects that I've had to put aside for a small while, while I work on other WIP's is my ticker tape Basset Hound project.

This is one of my Library projects (Make something from the books and magazines you buy!) hosted by Chezzetcooks Modern Quilts.  I saw this elephant in Scrap Happy Quilting and thought it would be really cool as a Basset.

As it's linkup time I thought I'd share the progress I've made so far!

Wilbur has a head!  And that's about it!

I'm using scraps from my very first pieced quilt and they are from Karavan by Valorie Wells.  I'm liking the colours; they seem to suit a Basset!  The outline is hand sewn with Perle Cotton in orange and I spray basted this one as it is a small enough project (about 40" wide).  The traditional ticker tape method is to sew down with a straight stitch and let the edges unravel. 

Thing is I don't like it for his head.  Admittedly my straight stitching should probably be more towards the edge than that above but after sewing down this much I put the project away while I dithered about what to do. 

In the end I decided on a zig-zag stitch.  I was concerned it wouldn't give a nice outline on the back of the quilt but I like it a lot!

Unpicking the straight stitch quilting I didn't like so much!  Just for this small section it took ages!  Trying to unpick teeny starting and stopping stitches is headwrecking and it makes me wonder why I go to the bother of burying threads at all, they are really hard to get out! 

But the unpicking is done now and when I get some of my projects with a deadline completed, I know where I am with this, and I hope it will finish up quickly.  He does need a body, 4 paws and a tail after all.  So not a lot of progress but a little all the same and a plan.  So hopefully this time next month he'll be finished!

To see what everyone else is up to I'm linking up with
Chezzetcook Modern Quilts
Needle and Thread Thursday

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

WIP updates on lots of things!

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter!  We had yesterday off as a Bank holiday and the extra day helped me make some headway on a few projects.  I had over a week of no sewing, what with being away with work and catching up with family, so it was nice to have the whole afternoon yesterday, to get back into the swing of things and catch up on some TV programs I had missed.  I watched 5 episodes of Suits back to back while chain piecing  my triangles for Sassy Quilter's Triangle-A-Long.

I don't know why, but I had the idea of triangles being really difficult to work with.  I'm fairly rubbish at managing bias edges but starching twice and using lots of pins really seemed to make this part go together nicely.  I got 2 rows put together with no problems at all!

Points matching quite nicely too.  Only 9 more rows to go in my rainbow version of this Quilt-a-long. 

I'm all set up for chain piecing the rest of them!  They do shrink the row length quite a bit when pieced!

I did make some progress over the rest of the weekend on finishing Bachelors Walk and hope to have that to show on Friday and managed to finish my 4 blocks in our Thursday night group quilt.  I'm not too keen on the last block I made for this project and may make one more to swap this one out.  All blocks are free patterns for the Moda Signatures Quilt-A-Long and can be found at Sylvia's Stitches.

Finally, while the rest of the triangles are on the table for chain piecing, I used the space on the wall to put up my Hexagon Medallion Quilt for the Modern Irish Quilters QAL.  Yes I have 86 flying geese all made and am ready to sew them together, at long last!  Update for this is meant to be today! 

I have 4 hearts to piece for the corners and then the last border of 40 stars!  Nope I'm not finishing this one on time!  I was a bit tempted to stop at this border and frame it with a purple print but I've gone this far with it I might as well keep going and finish it right. 

So that's what's happening this week.  End of April is approaching and I've Bee blocks to do as well - going to be busy here in the crafty corner (ahem kitchen table!)

Linking up to

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Sew Fresh Quilts

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Signature Blocks

I'm just back from a trip with work, and not having any new sewing done for over a week I thought I might share a project in progress with you and get back to quilting hopefully this evening!   Our Thursday night sewing group decided we would work on a group project.  It's fun to be making something with other people and seeing their fabric choices and choosing fabrics that might tie the whole thing together.  To start with we chose some free block patterns from Moda with fabric choices to suit a Spring feeling. 

Moda released instructions for over 30 9" blocks under the Signatures quilt-a-long and Friendship quilt-a-long and they are still available to download.  Slyvia's stitches has a neat listing where you can access the block instructions with links to the Moda designers who chose the blocks.  Not all of the links to the designers are still live and if you are making any of these, read the instructions through first, especially the cutting instructions! I don't think there were any of us who didn't make a mistake or end up with a block too small at some stage!

My first block was the Courthouse Steps designed for Deb Strain using her Seascapes range.  The centre of all the blocks uses a 3.5" square in a light coloured material and the idea is for the block maker to place a signature there.  Imagine a whole quilt of 9" blocks with signatures in the centre; a nice record of a group project.  We're choosing pretty fabrics instead but a fussy cut motif would be cool too.  I'm using some layer cake squares of Kate Spain's Sunnyside range with some leftovers of Coquette by Chez Moi.  Some of the other blocks have vibrant pink and green in them and I'm hoping these will work with the other blocks. 

As I was making the second block I thought wouldn't these be really cool as quilt labels for the back of a project, pieced in somewhere?  I just love this label on the back of a mini-quilt I received as a swap item by Christina DiMarco and every time I look at it, I think, I must make a better effort at labelling my quilts!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Q2 FAL Goals

So quarter 1 of this year flew by like the gale force winds we had after Christmas.  I'm in complete denial about it, that and the fact that I didn't finish any of the projects I picked in January to work on through to the end of March! Zero, nada, nought!  How so? Because? Well I got sidetracked playing.  Playing with designs, playing with squares, making a baby Medallion quilt, learning about colour in fabric selection and generally just choosing to work on anything but my Q1 goals!

So this quarter I'm going to be a bit kinder to myself.  I've got 2 carryovers and the rest are current projects that I am already well into so surely there's a finish in here somewhere!


To be honest this is a wintery quilt which I may not want to work on in the spring but it is so beautiful I do want to have it done for Christmas this year so it's first on the list to give it the best chance!
  • Bachelors Walk 
So close to a finish, just needs a teeny bit more quilting and binding!  Is that cheating putting it on the list?

New Projects
  • Wilbur!

 This is a Ticker tape project with a  basset outline handstitched with perle cotton and filling in the spaces with scraps!  I started stitching down Wilbur's head and am now thinking of taking out the straight stiching and zig-zagging as I think I prefer that overall look for this one.
  • Mexico Quilt
Top is pieced (pattern from Creative Quilting Magazine by Sally Ablett), backing fabric just bought and washed.

I'm not a prewasher but I got this gorgeous owl fabric from a bargain shop in town so not taking any chances it got a turn in the washing machine.  Just need to give it a press and I'm good to go with this one!
I really love this quilt top.  These are not my usual colours but I just find this whole quilt top so pretty and soft, it just works so well for the living room where I hope to use it.  It's made with Noteworthy, Essex linen natural and a charm pack of Moda Bella Solid Neutrals.  No backing yet so will have to shop for this one!

  • Medallion QAL with Modern Irish Quilters 
This project has been tons of fun and we have a deadline in April so I'm aiming to at least get another border on by then if not the next 2
  • Modern Irish Bee Quilt
I was Queen Bee for January and have 20 beautiful blocks to assemble.  I love these and am hoping to add 5 more for a 5x5 layout.  Thanks to all my hivemates for these gorgeous blocks.
Using Patchwork Prism by Anna Maria Horner as inspiration this quilt top is a rainbow of fabrics from Minimalista and Florence.  I love how it is turning out so far!

  •  Colour Wheel

Finally my last on the list is only just in the planning stage.  I have all these beautiful hand dyed fabrics from the Irish Patchwork Society workshop taught by Paula Rafferty and I've bought the colour wheel pattern by Rachel at Stitched in Color.  I'm hoping to place these fabulous colours on different neutral backgrounds as a colour exploration.

So that's it, that's the list.  Wish me luck.  If the last quarter is anything to go by I'm going to need it!

Linking up to 
Finish Along 2014
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