Monday 30 December 2013

Favourite Tutorials 2013

So the radio DJ is doing the annual wrap up of 2013, best movies, best moments etc. so I thought, as I'm tidying up this blog layout a little, I'd share some of my favourites. This post is for Tutorials I've stumbled across that I would love to make.  I've only made a few so far but I have great intentions!

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Happy Christmas!

Given this blog is named after two dogs I had great plans to put up a Happy Christmas image of Wilbur the Basset wearing a Santa hat.  Didn't quite work out that way!

He decided to eat it! Charly on the other hand decided it wasn't edible and had no interest.
This was as far as we got!

Merry Christmas everybody!  

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Christmas Table Runner Swap Received!

Look what I got in the post!

Sarah at Fairy Face Designs made this as part of the Modern Irish Quilt Guild swap.  I absolutely love it and am so lucky to have Sarah as a swap partner.  She put the penguin in the middle just for me!  And Happy Feet is on again this Christmas - how could you resist singing and dancing penguins? 

As part of the swap we had to make a Christmas Tree decoration.  It is perfect for my tree!  Sarah did all this while recovering from surgery and still finished on time.  I just about finished mine on time and had no excuses!  Hats off to you, Sarah , all your hard work is much appreciated!  Thank you!

Monday 16 December 2013

Polaroid Blocks for Global Scrap Bee

Remember Polaroids?  They are still knocking about.  We have a camera somewhere in the house with no film in it!  Nesta over at Ella and Nesta picked Polaroid Blocks for her turn as Queen Bee this month.  She picked them because they are so small and would be a quick make during the busy December run up to Christmas - so kind!  The only instruction was to make them using fussy cuts that little girls would like. 

So it being Christmas I used Riley Blake's Santa's Little Helpers fabric.  I made 2 blocks of the little helpers themselves and a few of the presents they are helping Santa make.  I hope she likes them.  The tutorial to make the blocks is here at Capitola Quilts.  They really are great fun!

Friday 13 December 2013

A Friday Finish - Christmas Table Runner & Binding Odd Angles

Whoop Whoop!  That's the sound of me doing the happy dance.  Please forgive yet another table runner post but I finished my project for the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland swap on time.  It's been posted and should arrive to my swap partner today!  I'm so happy with how this turned out. 

Also forgive the indoor photo, I finished hand sewing the binding down at the last minute and have no daylight photos.  In Ireland at this time of year approaching the shortest day of the year it's dark until well after 8am and the sun is getting low in the sky around 3.30pm!

I had a devil of a time choosing binding for this that matched both the front and back.  I pulled all that I could from my stash and in the end decided that the front was more important and so I chose this white with light green dots to keep a bright clean feeling to the project. 

Another lesson learned.  Don't pick backing because it's Christmassy and I like the pattern!  This runner, that I designed putting 3 star blocks together, has angles greater than 90 degrees so mitred corners on the binding is a little different than squared edges.  I backstitched 1/4" away from the edge.

And then I found the easiest way to create the mitred corner was, to hold the straight edge I want to sew next straight ahead of me and fold the binding straight up lining up with edge of the quilt sandwich.

Then fold it straight down making sure the binding lies exactly on top of the first fold.

 You get a little pocket that when folded to the back gives a nice mitred finish.

I did this the whole way round, all the odd corners, and folded the binding back and held it in place with some clips.  Then I hand sewed the binding to the back of the runner.

It's fairly dotty but I like it!  We also had to put a small Christmas decoration in with our table runner so I crocheted a snowflake from the December edition of Simply Crochet magazine.

Crochet drives me bananas sometimes and I had to rip out round 4 three times but got there in the end!

So now they are all on the way to my swap partner.  Hope she likes them!  
Linking up to Finish it Friday and


Wednesday 11 December 2013

WIP Tablerunner for Christmas!

This is my 100th post - yay!  It almost feels like a birthday and there should be cake.  I'm amazed how quickly this came around and delighted to be posting a Wednesday Work in Progress for my 100th!
The Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland Swap deadline is this week so this weekend it was all guns blazing trying to quilt my Christmas table runner.  After staring at it for a week wondering how to go about this I eventually came up with outlining - yes it did take me a week to come up with that!

I did think about a fancy free motion continuous star pattern but I wasn't brave enough to try it on this so close to the deadline.  On the next runner I make for my mum I might just give it a go.  She likes the fabric in this so much she wants one for herself!
For straight line quilting I normally leave my machine settings at the default but I noticed on the beautiful swap mini quilt that I received from Christina over at Feeling Sew Blessed that she had used a longer stitch length and it really stood out so I googled for a bit and found other quilters liking 3.5-4 as a stich length so I tried that.  I really like the stitch definition and it is easier to rip out which thankfully I only had to do twice!
So quilting all finished, binding next!  Can't wait to finish and pop this in the post to my swap partner!  I love swaps.  This is my 3rd this year and each time I've learned something new.  This was a great project and I hope to be posting a finish for it on Friday.
Linking up to
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Mini Quilt Swap Update

Schnitzel & Boo organised a mini quilt swap (any size from 6" square up to 24") last October with a postal date in November and this is what I got in the post last Friday!  I love the colours.  My swap partner Christina who blogs over at Feeling Sew Blessed picked bright from my likes list and came up with this gorgeous mini.
I especially love her label and the backing fabric.
The cost of the postage not so much - yowsers!  That was steep.  I posted my mini all the way from Ireland to Washington state for far less.
I even got a souvenir from New Jersey!  Thank you Christina, I love my new quilt and thank you so much for all the work gone into my parcel and paying that postage to ship to me internationally!  It is much appreciated.

Friday 6 December 2013

Evolution of a quilt block

I've been a bit under the weather this week and very busy with work so no time spent at the sewing machine.  Rather I've been buried under a quilt on the sofa in the evenings catching up on Vikings on the telly and playing with a block from The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer

This block is identified as Bachelor's puzzle from around 1931.  Tiled it makes a lovely pattern like this:
When I first drafted it into my Mac I started with no colour and deliberately didn't look at the coloured version to see where it would take me and just playing with it.
 Then I turned it on point and got this:
 which looks like way too much work and I think I'd cry making so many of these all the same.  Scrappy blocks might be an option!

Looking at the original again though I thought maybe fussy cut paper pieced blocks would be nice in this setting.
So I went back a step and came up with this design:
16 fussy cut squares might have been too much in the centre so I removed 3 and centered the last one.  Using 4" fussy squares this would be a really nice 40" baby quilt.  I'm thinking I might just do this with the Christmas swap squares!

So last night, feeling like staying by the fire and not going into the kitchen where my sewing machinve lives I revisited this and made the squares solids and came up my final version of Bachelors puzzle a-la- Ruth 2013! I'm calling it Bachelors Walk.
I like both colourways but am leaning towards the darker 4 colour option.   I think it would look really good in Amy Butler fabric designs too.  Tiled they look like this
 and adding in a few more colours
So I'm going to call this done now and stick with this as my final design!  Shopping for the right colour fabrics for this one will be fun.  I might just have to splash out and buy a Kona colour card!

So what do you think? Original or final result?

Monday 2 December 2013

Quilt Block Books

I treated myself to some quilt books from Amazon from birthday gifts last month.  I love buying books on Amazon.  There is something about getting that brown packaging in the post and ripping it open to find pristine shiny new books waiting for me that makes me happy. 

I spent a few hours late on Saturday browsing through them and then going back again to delve in deeper.  I picked two books on quilt blocks :  500 Quilt Blocks by Kerry Green and Lynne Goldsworthy and The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns by Jinny Beyer.  They couldn't be more different from one another. 

The first thing about both books that is noticable is the size.  500 Quilt Blocks is tiny.  It is a lovely size to have on hand at the sewing table and to leave out for inspiration but I'm finding it a little too small.  The book itself contains a how to section at the beginning which is very informative and concise, different coloured sections containing quilt blocks and variations of same (which is really lovely and helpful) in differing degrees of difficulty and 20 projects to make using these blocks. 

The five chapters are:
  • blocks for everyone 
  • simple blocks
  • intermediate
  • shapes and pictures 
  • patterns. 

Each block is photographed and then variations are shown and this is where I wish it was a little bigger.  As it is a small book approx. 6", the photos are small particularly the block variations.  Blocks are given in different sizes, 6" and 12" are common and even some in 10" and 14".  Each block has written instructions and the blocks themselves have a reference number which can be a little awkward. You need to refer back and forth between pages sometimes and it would be really nice if there was a spiral wound edition so it could lay flat. 

I think if I came across this book as a complete beginner I'd struggle with it in sections.  Templates are included and will need enlarging.  The blocks themselves are lovely and the variations are fun and likely to prompt even more variations.  The fabrics used are modern and the whole book has a lovely feel to it.  There is plenty in this book to keep a body busy for a while!

The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns has a very different approach.  It is huge in comparison.  It's a chunky hardcover that breaks the blocks themselves down into grids and number of units needed to make the blocks.  There are 2x2, 3x3 etc. and some of the blocks have grids 15x15!  The variety of blocks is enormous with over 4000 of them and they are presented with variations, historical context and source.  I really love this book. 

The blocks are presented in traditional fabrics so it would take only a little imagination to update them with more modern materials and there is a black and white base image provided with each block to help.  Already there are two or three blocks that have caught my eye that I think would be fabulous in a giant size.  There are no sizes given rather the base pieces required to construct the block are presented and you draft your own size.  This may seem daunting but I love it.  I like that part of quilt design.  The section on curved blocks and some of the more pointy triangles would be challenging and I like that too.  There is a section on drafting at the beginning that is mind boggling but I hope to spend some time over the Christmas getting to grips with that.

Even with all the challenges there are lots of straightforward blocks in this book from Log cabins to Stars to crossing designs.  This is a comprehensive book and I'm delighted with it.

So two very different quilt block books, approaching the subject from a different angle and both very instructional, sources of inspiration and enjoyable to browse through.  I would recommend them both!  I bought 500 Quilt blocks for £7.19 and The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns for £29.02 both from  Any other book recommendations?  I know these will keep me busy for a while but Christmas is not far off afterall!

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