Wednesday 27 August 2014

WIP Wednesday: Back to the Penny Sampler!

So the Triangle top is finally finished and I was very good!  I didn't put it away like I normally do and flit to something else.  I made a quilt back out of this Tula Pink 5m fabric, from the Foxfields collection, that I bought here on Craftsy.  I really love this colour and the pattern is adorable.  So I pin basted it last Friday and it's ready to be quilted.

 Not quite in the quilting zone of mind just yet and facing a mostly empty design wall, I had the choice of piecing more London arrows or cracking on with Fat Quarter Fizz with an Oriental twist or hand sewing down some binding (my least favourite part of the quilting process!).  Of course the butterfly effect hit again and I didn't do any of that but decided instead to revisit my UFO's (unfinished objects!) 

I was feeling a little guilty that kids are back to school this week and summer is practically over and I haven't done that well on finishes for this quarter's Finish-A-Long.

I've got about 5 1/2 weeks to bust that list, (triangle being one I'm pretty much assured on) so I pulled out my Penny Sampler quilt from last year designed by Rachel from Stitched in Color. It's been on my list all year!

Maybe it was the trip to the zoo on my few days off last week with my little cousins, or maybe the chilly nights starting to draw in that prompted me to pull this one out.

I'm going for a wintery feel with this and not having finished it last year (Halloween sewing got in the way!) I'd really like to have the quilt top at least put together.  I'm very tempted to try hand quilting quite a bit of this one!

This was a project taught as part of a 3 month class on Applique, precise 1/4" piecing and Paper Piecing.  The design of the quilt is really different using a sampler approach to teach the three skills but also a broken border approach to contain the blocks which I really, really like!

There is a large outer border of diamonds that wraps around the quilt.  It's broken up by the inner border of crosses and a long filler block to showcase a favourite fabric. 1" squares are dotted about for a third broken border!

There are quite a few blocks and a lot of design elements to this one and I got as far as the applique and precise piecing last year.  So this week, I've been trying to catch up on the paper pieced blocks and some of those borders!

I think my favourite might just be the flower pot.  I did have a few problems joining the centre section on this one.  It's not quite as flat as it could be and I'll be attacking it with steam when it's sewn into the quilt top!  The coffee pot was easy and looks really big an dramatic in the quilt.  Kona Seafoam was used to try and balance the long hanging diamonds on the left as it is dominating the quilt at the moment,  and I need to balance it a bit better.  It is a really lovely shade though especially with the Kona Snow and Charcoal.  So I'll have to add a bit to the bottom diamond row to pull the eye away from the left a bit.  My new design wall makes these decisions so much easier and if I was to make this again I'd probably not put so much Seafoam in one place!

Of course this project being from last year, I had managed to lose the tea cup pattern that goes with the coffee pot!  There was an option to pay a few more dollars for an ebook at the end of the course which I didn't opt for, so I decided to try and make up a cup pattern in the style of Rachel's myself! 

Last month I bought EQ7 andrunning it on my Mac I had a few hiccups over a corrupted user but the support team at EQ7 were brilliant helping me get it sorted.  So Saturday, having the whole afternoon to myself and a working computer I gave it a go!  I have a new found respect for paper piecing designers! 

I spent ages trying to get the handle right so that the pattern would print in easy to put together sections.  EQ7 helps and gives you a warning saying that you have an inside corner - doesn't tell you where though!  In the end after much messing about, 2 cups of tea and quite a few rich tea biscuits I had an aha! moment.  
I opened the block library and searched for cups! Yes I know, I'm a dope!  I didn't find a cup but a basket handle which was perfect and I copied that.  The trick is to think in planes and straight lines.  Rachel's cup handle is a bit more rounded and much more elegant but I'm happy I got there in the end!  EQ7 gives you a blue outline when all is well, so nice to see after 3hrs messing around!

Of course when I printed the first one I forgot to hit reverse! So I now have two cups, facing in different directions!  That's ok too! It's my version of the quilt after all!

The last paper pieced block is this one called the Dala Horse - this horse is the reason I wanted to make this quilt in the first place.  When I saw him, I knew I had to make him and signed up straight away.  He's almost the last block in the whole quilt though so you have to work up to him!

Rachel has a new class on offer starting next week and there are still places left.  It's called angled and walks you through 5 quilt designs using triangles, diamonds and flying geese.  I've signed up (hoping to piece 1 of the 5 designs!) so will really have to get a move on to get the bottom row of diamonds done,  one more horse pieced, sketch stitch in the horse faces and assemble all these blocks together!  Luckily very few need sashing and I'm really looking forward to the assembly bit!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedLinking up toSew Fresh Quilts

Wednesday 20 August 2014

WIP Wednesday - Blame Craftsy!

There is something about text prints that I love and Oriental text prints are really hard to ignore!  I saw this print and loved the deep blue colour (no idea what it says!) so when I was buying fabric on Crafsty and realised that my shipping costs would be the same if I bought some charm packs and a jelly roll, or added in a fat quarter bundle, I didn't hesitate to pad out my order with this 15 FQ bundle from Robert Kaufman.  There was a choice between a blue or a red colourway and of course I went for blue!

As soon as I got it, I opened it up, admired all the pretty prints and then promptly put it away again.   It's been sitting on a shelf staring at me this past while and of course I keep walking by thinking, I must do something with that bundle!

Then I saw what Susan @ The Bored Zombie did with her similar purchase and then Fat Quarter Shop released a free pattern, Fat Quarter Fizz, using pretty much these colours so that was it.  My mind was decided for me!

The pattern calls for 20 FQ's and so I added some creams from stash and some lightweight denim material, I had been gifted from my Aunt, to make up the numbers.  (Hope this works - not used denim in a quilt before!)  There was some difference between the cuts in my stash and this bundle.  Some of my FQ's were 18 x22 and some 18 x 21 so a bit of lining up and trimming to cut 4 at a time was needed.

What I like about Fat Quarter Shop's free patterns is the clever way they show you to make a quick simple quilt.  In this case using two 6.5" rulers to cut 13" strips.

The 13" strip is then sub cut into a square and a rectangle and you take one large dark square and sew to a small light rectangle and vice versa and cut them up again! So that is what I will be doing this week.

I do have some left overs, some strips and 68 squares 4.5" x 4.5".

They will probably go back on the shelf for now!

Any suggestions for these?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedLinking up toSew Fresh Quilts

Monday 18 August 2014

Just Threads Finished Quilt & FOQ

Remember these blocks from last May?

They are the Moda friendship blocks our Thurday group, Just Threads, made as a group project.  There are over 30 blocks in this series and are available on Sylvias Stitches if you want to download them.  We each made blocks using Spring as the theme for fabric selection and chose a navy solid fabric to sash them which worked really well to pull the various blocks together.

We are hoping to raffle it next year for Irish Quilting week but this year we got it made just in time for the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  I didn't get to go to the FOQ but got to see the finished quilt on Paula's blog and Suzanne, who attended, kindly took some photos for me.

Suzanne also sent me a photo of Ireland's EQA exhibit, Winter Garden.  Thanks Suzanne!  My mini is the top right called Windy Winter Morning, aka Robin on a branch (I showed a close up of it last week).  I'm right beside Isobel's, Paula's daughter, who made the gorgeous Snowflake on a window. Meg and Claire from Just threads are also included.  Meg's is second left on the top with some frosty trees and Claire's is second right on the bottom row, a lovely snowy house scene!

This was my first attempt at thread painting.  Well first isn't exactly correct.  It took me 4 attempts to get it looking close to right!

During our last Irish Patchwork Society meeting Kate O'Donoghue made a really lovely landscape scene using a zig zag stitch and she urged me to give it a go so I googled  some Robin images for inspiration and looked up thread painting on YouTube.  I ended up using the following to make my mini :

  • feed dogs down & free motion foot on machine
  • top tension reduced from 4 to 2 (advice was to use 0 for metallic threads)
  • 2 threads in the same needle e.g. 2 shades of red/orange for the redbreast
  • lightweight embroidery thread in the bobbin 
  • zigzag stitch set at 2.0 and used moving the fabric horizontally to create straight stitches rather than the usual method of vertical to make zigzag stitches.  This meant stopping and turning quite a bit to keep moving the piece horizontally
  • 2 layers of stitch and tear under the top fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop (much easier to move the piece around too using the hoop)
  • thread painted first then spray basted the 3 layers together (as opposed to first attempt above!)
  • quilted a small loopy stipple pattern all around the Robin and branch to give the effect of a cold, windy, winter morning
  • faced the quilt (as opposed to binding) using this tutorial by The Silly BooDilly

In addition to all the settings above and the practice pieces, I learned to just take a breath and give it a try.  Once I had Robin #4 looking somewhat like I imagined I was nervous to do the loopy quilting - there is always that "I'm going to mess this up" voice talking away in the background.  I drowned it out with the "Be brave, breathe and just do it" talk I gave myself!

Nike would be proud their marketing campaign worked on me!  It wasn't that hard in the end though a little practice was required and I would definitely do this again!

Linking up to the Friday finishes:
 Crazy Mom Quilts and

Thursday 14 August 2014

Bee Blocks round up for July

Just a quick reminder, voting for Pets on Quilts has opened.  Wilbur has entered for the dog on quilt category at number 33.  If you could spare a vote that would be much appreciated!

Please pop on over to Lily Pad Quilting to see the prizes from the very generous sponsors.  There are lots of prizes and giveaways and a number of ways to enter for them.

I managed to get my Bee blocks off at the last minute in July and have yet to start August's but I thought I'd post an update with links to the tutorials in case any of these grabbed you to make.

Jennifer from A Quarter Inch From The Edge chose one of my favourite blocks for July Global Scrap Bee.  This is my scrappy version of the converging corners block from Film In The Fridge.  I love this block.  When tiled with 3 more you get a really funky cross with cornerstones in between.  Jennifer chose red, aqua and grey as her colour palette.  A brilliant block for using up scraps!

Speaking of scrappy blocks for Modern Irish Bee, Fiona asked us to make string blocks with selvedges along the centre line.  This was a little bit tricky as I don't normally keep my selvedges. A lot of fat quarters in my stash were cut from the other end with no selvedge info, so I had a good look to see what I could find to make 8 squares.  I thought I had hit the jackpot with some Halloween fabric that had the colours depicted with really cute owls but when I sewed them into the blocks I lost most of that cuteness in seam allowance.  I hope these squares scattered through out the top will work for the finished quilt!

Finally for Stash Bee Hive #10, Tabatha asked us for cups and saucers from Kate Spain's In From the Cold pattern for Moda.  The blocks are for a quilt for her little girl who loves tea parties!  I think it's a really lovely idea.  I've been catching up on Once Upon a Time, season 2 and totally taken with the Belle/Rumplestiltskin storyline (love Robert Carlyle as Rumple!) so I was hummimg  Disney's Beauty and the Beast making this one.

I liked the idea of using different fabrics to make the set look like it was made up of separate collections, as Chip, the cup in the Fairytale, is a little damaged and a bit of an odd one out from the set.
I wasn't sure about the saucer fabric, might be a bit too dark, but it will draw the eye in the quilt when it is pieced in so I left it as is and my version of Chip should be more than half way across the Atlantic by now if not there already!

Linking up to
Needle and Thread Thursday

Monday 11 August 2014

Around the world blog hop

It's Design Wall Monday and my turn on the Around the World Blog Hop.  The blog hop is pretty much a big game of tag ping ponging around the world between quilt bloggers.  I was tagged by Marly from the Netherlands last week to answer a few questions and in turn tag some other bloggers that I follow that make really lovely stuff and I think you would like.

So I'm tagging Tomomi who blogs at Slaney Handcraft and has the most beautiful quilting and fun art quilts on her blog.  I haven't met Tomomi yet in real life but I've seen her work on display!  Hopefully I'll put that right when the Modern Irish Quilters meet up this Autumn.

I'm also tagging Yvonne from Quilting Jet Girl, who I met on the Plum & June Let's Acquainted Blog Hop.  I love Yvonne's exploration of free motion quilting especially quilting in rocket ships here and there on her space quilt.  Please go have a look, it is really fun!

My third person I'm tagging is Kerry from Penny Dog Patchwork.  Kerry is a fellow dog lover, writes patterns for the UK quilt magazines and enters quilt shows. She was picked for Sewvivor and is working on her nautical themed project this week!  I love the work all three share and I'm sure you will too!

What am I working on?
Above photo is the design wall today.  Yes I finally have a proper design wall!  My uncle Tony saw my collapsible flannel sheet strung between a bookcase and a mirror and decided we could do better than than that and made me a 7ft x 4ft wall.  No, I can't reach the top but I do have a step ladder (those that know me, know I'm a shorty at 5ft tall!)

This weekend, Gordon helped me cover it with cotton wadding and the first thing that went up was my un-named triangle quilt.  Not sure what to call this one - I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any!

I also finished up the stipple quilting on mum's Table for 2 quilt , here's a little peak of the front of this quilt.  The quilt back is described in this post from last week.  Just binding and labelling to go!  This was 72" x 90" approx and probably the biggest thing I've quilted so far!

How does my work differ from other of its genre?
This is a tough one to answer as I'm not sure I'm any bit different from all of us, who can't imagine not playing with fabric and colour, and making quilts!  I like all sorts of colour except probably browns and I like a variety of projects from traditional piecing to foundation paper piecing.

I learned to quilt watching Craftsy and YouTube and reading blogs, trying out techniques and tutorials that others have freely shared, so I'm usually not afraid to give something a try!  One of my favourite online teachers is Rachel from Stitched in Color and she has a new class coming up this month all about angles, if you want to check out the details here.

I do like to try new things and recently tried my hand at thread painting for a piece for the Irish Patchwork Society for the EQA Garden display at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.

Ireland had the winter garden and it took a couple of attempts (4!) to get the Robin the way I wanted him.  (Robins on our side of the Atlantic are round, tubby looking birds that are really fiesty!)

Why do I write/create what I do?
For me quilting is quite different from the day job which is quite left brained, analytical and requires lots of communication.  Quilting allows me to play and zone out, getting lost in shapes and colour and I get a great sense of satisfaction coming up with a design, testing it out, finishing the quilt top, getting it basted, adding the quilting and finally sewing that last stitch in the binding!

I write to share about what I've learned and fun things I've found that may be of interest or solve a problem for someone else making a quilt!  To give back a little bit as I've learned so much from other's online freely sharing their work and experiences.

How does my writing/creating process work?
Sometimes a word pops into my head like Stars or an image like the Robin on a branch above but usually I see something in a book or a magazine that catches my eye and I start playing with shapes and colour.

This 12" block, the London Roads, published in McCalls Quilting, grabbed my attention.  I liked the idea of the arrows but not the colours so I decided to draw it out myself and see what I could come up with.  I usually draw the blocks out with no colour first to see what shapes I can find.

In the end, I thought a warmer brighter feel to this in a large quilt would be fun.  So, I redrafted with a scrappy look and came up with much larger blocks to give a throw sized quilt 70" x 70".

Things often change in practice so yesterday morning I took my design, as many low volume prints for the background and what I could find of pinks and oranges I had on hand and started cutting.

I'm happy with this so far and love having my design wall back to put them up there and stand back and see what works and what doesn't.

 So I think it'll be a busy week cracking on with these two projects.  Linking up to Design Wall Monday and
WIP Wednesday at Freshly PiecedSew Fresh Quilts

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