Thursday, 30 January 2014

A finish, a small finish, but a finish none the less!

What's this? Catrin linking up with more that a millisecond to go? Well, wonders will never cease ;-)

Back at the start of the month I set myself the goal of piecing a quilt back for Ella's quilt and getting the binding ready to go.

I'd already cut my fabrics so I have no idea why I'd been putting it off for so long! I sat down on Monday night and after an hour I'd pieced the blocks...

....all five of them!

And another two hours later I had a completed quilt back...

Winter - I leave in the dark, I get home in the dark. I take awful pictures that I should be ashamed to share
......and even some scrappy binding

You can see the colours a little better here.
I wonder what my goal for February will be?

Linking up with Shanna and Melissa for ALYoF

Friday, 17 January 2014

The Queen of last minute!

I've left it to the last minute again. I only have an hour and a half left before the linky closes!

So without further ado.......last years rollovers....

1.Oakshott quilt. 

It's been three months and they look no different to this!

2. House quilt. 

I have a feeling that this will look very different by the end of this quarter :0)

3. Liberty Bag. 

I think that a pouch is more likely than a bag.

4. Kaffe Snowball. I rolled this one up and put it in a bag at the end of the workshop and haven't touched it since - first job - Press all those squares!

And this year's additions....

5. Ella's quilt. My ALYoF goal for January is to piece the back for this one. My goal for February will be to finish it!

Back ready to be sewn up

6. Plus Quilt. My Dad's still waiting for his Christmas present :-0 I've decided on a giant plus. The fabric's all been delivered. Need to get going.

7. Summer Solstice. When Marelize put out a call for pattern testers it didn't take me long to put my hand up. I've trawled through my scraps and made my initial selection, I just need to wait for payday now so that I can order the white solid for the background.

8. Anwen's quilt side 1. I got some extra butterfly print from a discount LQS so I just need to add some extra wide borders, quilt and bind!

9. A quilt for Mexico. Alison put the call out for quilts for street children in Mexico. These charms have been languishing in my stash for far too long so I'm just going to sew them together and quilt. 

Cut and ready to go!

10. Caravan curtain bag. I may not be feeling the love for the Liberty bag any more but I really feel the need to make a new bag. Ceri was having a clear out the other day and found a pair of vintage curtains and offered one of them up for free on instagram. When it arrived I fell hard for the print and colours. A bag would be a good way of having this in my life everyday, I've paired it with some yarn dyed Essex in Denim and found the perfect zip in my stash.

Have I mentioned that I love Vintage fabrics?

Linking up with Katy hoping that she doesn't get too cross that I've linked before I finished adding pictures and the button - there may be some editing going on here!

Finish Along 2014
**Editted to add**
1.Katy is the best host ever
2. Blogger won't let me upload the pictures that I took tonight so I'm going to let you use your imagination whilst I go to bed :-) All done!

Saturday, 11 January 2014

A Lovely Year of Finishes - January Goal

I really need to sit down and go through my WIPS and piles for fabric earmarked for projects and actually write them down and plan what order I'm going to attack them in.

But, we all know how long winded my posts can get and the linky for ALYoFs is closing in eight hours, so I've decided to concentrate, for now, on the one project that I really want to get finished and out of the house.

Ella's Quilt.

Back in September I won Lucy's massive blogversary giveaway. One of the many prizes was a jelly roll from the Fat Quarter Shop. I didn't know which jelly roll until it landed on my door mat.

High Street by Lily Ashbury for Moda
I'd not seen this collection before and I can't say that it was entirely to my taste. There are a few floral prints that don't really appeal to me. However, I love the colours and there are a few prints in there that are right up my alley!

I didn't know what to do with this, I've never sewn a quilt from a jelly roll before, so it went to live with the rest of my stash for a while whilst I muled it over.

In the end I decided to go for simple. One day in November the car was in for an MOT, which meant that I couldn't get to work. I could have worked from home but that wouldn't have been fun! Instead I settled for a day at home alone (oh so rare) with the sewing machine.

After I'd cut some charms for Rachael's LV swap I got to work on cutting up the jelly roll and a lot of white solid from my LQS. (I think it's Ebor)

Sometimes, even I can be neat!
And then started sewing!

One of my favourite designs from the collection - I love it in all the different colours.
And pressing. And sewing. And pressing.

I'd decided that I wanted to get this quilt top finished before bed time. Only problem was I had to stop a few times. I had a doctors appointment (where she told me that I could start weaning myself of the meds!), Had to pick the car up from the garage and then there was a much needed haircut. I was still doing quite well, and it looked like I was on course to go to bed at quite a respectful time.

However. As I was preparing supper I received a message informing me that the location of that night's Christian youth club committee meeting had been changed. I'd completely forgotten about the meeting! That was another three hours lost :-(

But I'd set myself a challenge. I wasn't going to bed until this quilt top was done and dusted.

So this is where we were at 3:00am

Does this pattern have a name? I've most probably seen it on someone's blog and it's made it's way into my subconscious memory but I didn't follow a particular pattern.
I'd been posting my progress throughout the day (and night) on Instagram and the following morning, when they saw this picture, quite a few people stated that they couldn't believe that I stayed up until 3:00am sewing.

Am I really that strange for staying up so late/early sewing? Or is it something that you do quite regularly too?

Anyway, the following morning Endaf helped me get a daytime picture before work.

You can see the colours a lot better here.
And then the quilt top was folded up and placed on my WIP pile.

My LQS doesn't carry a great range of modern quilting fabrics, so I was surprised when they got yardage of this entire collection in. This meant that I could buy yardage for the backing without having to scour the internet and also saved on shipping costs!

I couldn't decide which print to go for for the back but then my child minder became a grandmother for the first time and at 50.5" x 50.5" (unfinished) I thought that this would make an ideal present. I went to the LQS with baby girl in mind and came out with enough yardage of the small flower print in pink to make a pieced back.

About a month later I was sorting through my scraps for a swap arranged by Kerry when I came across the left over strips for this Jelly Roll and decided that I would make a few extra blocks for the back but to change things up a bit I'd make the blocks 5" sq (finished) instead of 10" sq like the front.

So I cut some teeny tiny pieces of fabric (that central square will be 1" finished) and ended up with this pretty little pile.

When I finally manage to sit down and write my goals for 2014 somewhere near the top will be....

"I need to be more realistic about what I can achieve when it comes to sewing. I have a young family to care for and work five days a week. Added to this the lack of a designated sewing space I can't expect to be churning out five quilts a week"

With this in mind my goal for January is to have a completed quilt back ready to go (oh and a roll of binding!). If I do manage to get some quilting done then that would be great, but I'll be happy enough if I can set my goal for February as "Quilt and bind Ella's quilt".

Linking up with Shanna and Melissa for A Lovely Year of Finished for what I hope the first time out of twelve this year. Thank you girls for keeping ALYoF going for another year x

Thursday, 9 January 2014

That was close! My 2013 Q4 FAL round up.

There's nothing like leaving it to the last minute is there? I've just about managed to write about all of my recent (and not too recent) finishes which means that I just need make one last little reveal and write a round up.

she can quilt

So back in October I thought that I'd try to be a little more realistic in my goal setting and 'only' set myself seven (don't laugh too hard now) goals. To tell you the truth I'm not too disappointed in the results as there have been a few Christmas makes in between and there have been a few other things going around here to.

So how did I do? Let's see shall we?

1. Anwen's quilt. Quilt top ready? Check. Backing ready? Check. Wadding cut and ready? Check. Binding ready? Check. 

Just (ha) need to get this quilted and bound. - DONE

And being used

2. Birthday pouches. I'm really ashamed to say that three months after their birthdays Anwen and Esyllt are still waiting for their pouches! The main reason why I stalled is that the pen that I used to mark their names bled and I couldn't remove it. However as I was looking through my WIP ready to compile this list I noticed that the blue marks had vanished so I really should get on and finish these. - DONE

Along with some other small makes
3. Cian's quilt. As soon as I was told that my cousin had had a little boy I got out an Apple Jacks charm pack and cut some solids to match. I've noticed recently that the main reason why I'm not 100% in love with the quilts that I'm making is because they don't have the same level of negative space as the quilts I admire on-line do so I'm going to add quite a lot of white in a D9P based design. - DONE!

Solids left over from Marged's quilt.
Cian was born at the beginning of August but I didn't start piecing his quilt until the 3rd of November. He recieved his quilt on the 5th!

I started with some chain piecing..

And by the end of the day I had a completed quilt top.

With the obligatory name appliqué!

I really enjoyed piecing this quilt. The D9P is so simple but (in my opinion) very effective.

I had to leave it here as I had the small matter of a day job to attend. As soon as the kids had gone to bed I set about quilting.

Coming off the frame
It took a total of 65 minutes! 30 minutes to load the quilt onto the frame, 30 minutes to quilt it and 5 minutes to take it of the frame. This was a welcome relief considering I'd only just finished quilting Anwen's quilt (over ten hours quilting) although in fairness I had only used a large simple stipple.

A neat corner
I'd backed the quilt with a green ginghamish flannel that I'd found in Oxfam for £1 a yard! This was the first quilt that I backed with flannel. It won't be the last - it's so soft and cuddly!

Now, I've only ever bought one Moda Scrap Pack. Unbelievably this scrap pack had two WOF x 3" strips from Apple Jacks in it! There were also another two strips that were a really good match colour wise. I added a few small lengths of solids and we had a nice and scrappy binding. Now you see that picture above? I honestly didn't try to get the seam on the corner - there's no way it would have been that neat if I had! This was my second time sewing the binding down by machine and I don't think it looks too bad.

As soon as I'd finished attaching the binding I threw the quilt in the washing machine and went to bed. It went in the dryer as soon as I got up in the morning and was dry in time to go with me to work. There was just enough time for a quick photo shoot.

This is the best picture we got!
At just over 30"sq this is the smallest quilt that I have made and Anwen was just about able to hold it for me to get a few pictures. I also got some pictures during my lunch hour in the park.

And I struck lucky with the light!

When you quilt a baby quilt in 30 minutes you get stitches that slightly too long.

But that corner still makes me smile!
Then after work and a dentist appointment (Marged's first one) we went to meet little Cian.

Somehow I couldn't find the pictures that we took during our visit so I had to take this one off Instagram
He was sooo cute. And he seemed to enjoy his quilt!

4. Oakshott quilt. I've lost count of the number of times I've read on-line that Oakshott has to be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated so I held off buying any until I'd had the chance to see some with my own eyes. That chance came at the Fesitval of Quilts where I made a beeline for the Oakshott stand and fell in love!

It took me quite some time to decide on which collection I was going to go for but eventually decided on Impressions and limited myself to a charm pack. I then scurried of to the Simply Solids stand and the lovely Justine (along withLu and Nat) helped me choose Essex yarn dyed linen in Flax for the background. I have a plan and have already started cutting the linen. I see very simple piecing and simple straight line quilting in the hope that the Oakshott will shine! - Untouched, I'm really sad about this as I'm looking forward to working with the Oakshott.

All though this shot has given me another idea for a quilt design.....

5. House quilt. This quilt hasn't progressed since my Q3 goal setting post. Well that's a lie, I did cut the wadding and backing whilst I had the floor clear to cut the wadding for Anwen's quilt. I'm stalling as there's a very large blank canvas on this one and there's no way that the piecing (or the lack of it) is going to hide and quilting mistakes. Must. Get. This. Finished. Before. Baby. Turns, Eighteen. - Still no progress but I have an idea about changing this up a bit, I have a feeling that it will be near the top of my 2014 FAL Q1 list :-)

6. Liberty Bag. I may have mentioned before that a quilt shop (sells quilts not fabric!) in the town where I work sometimes has some vintage Liberty for sale. I have told Jen, the owner, that she's not allowed to put any more out in the shop as my husband is very close to killing me for spending all the housekeeping on fabric. She won't listen. I think that this comes from a sample book. It's home dec weight and just big enough for some fussy cutting which I'm going to pair with some cream sketch and hopefully turn into something that resembles a bag. I've ironed some interfacing onto the sketch and now need to bite the bullet and start cutting the liberty. Untouched. I've fallen out of love with the idea of this as a bag. It might turn into a pouch instead, we'll see.

7. Kaffe Snowball.I was lucky enough to get a last minute bargain and found myself at a workshop with Kaffe Fassett and Brondon Mably over the summer. I learnt quite a lot about the use of colour and the design process when it comes to making a quilt. I'm ashamed to say that at the end of the workshop I rolled up my flannel design wall and this quilt top has been squashed into a carrier bag since the workshop. I really should take it out and make some progress.(although I'm not holding my breath on this one) Good job I didn't hold my breath.

Three out of seven isn't too bad is it? Well, as I said at the start of this post, I'm happy enough - it just means that I've more to do during the next quarter!

How did you do? You still have over three hours to link up if you haven't managed to write that post yet ;-)

Linking up to Leanne at She Can Quilt for the last time :-( 

Although I've only played along for the last two quarters I really appreciate all the hard work Leanne has put into this little linky party. She commented on all my posts for Q3 which makes me assume that she does this for every link up. When you think that there are already over 300 link ups in Q4 that's a lot of reading and typing.

So thank you Leanne and enjoy your year off!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Anwen's Quilt - Number Two

Here's another tick off my 2013 FAL Q4 list. And It's one that I'm really happy to have finished. (Sorry about the lack of pictures at the start of this post - I hadn't started blogging when I started this quilt and didn't think to take pictures as I was going along)

After I finished Marged's Quilt, Anwen said that she wanted a 'blanket' too. I knew that if I I started making her a single sized quilt using EPP there was a good chance that I'd finish it just in time for her to take to Uni! So I decided that I needed to bite the bullet and learn to piece by machine. 

I did some Google searches and watched some YouTube videos and then cut up some fabric that I'd bought where I could find them. There's a mixture of quilting cotton and cotton poplin as Anwen had requested hearts and butterflies and at the time I hadn't discovered the on-line sewing community 'proper' and modern designer fabrics.

I'd drawn my own design out on squared paper, cut out my squares (and four triangles) using metric measurements and a pair of scissors then laid them all out on the living room floor. I then covered them with a rug because I was too scared to start piecing.

Some friends of the family had just had a little baby girl and I thought that it would be a good idea to make her a little quilt out of the fabric I had left over so that I could practice my piecing. Because this was before my blogging days I didn't think of taking a picture of the quilt before handing it over. It turned out OK but when I made my calculations when cutting out I hadn't worked the seam allowances properly - I'd thought that two squares cut at 5cm sewed together could be sewed to a square cut at 10cm!

By this point I'd found the Missouri Star Quilt Co and Marguerita McManus on YouTube and learned about the quarter inch seam allowance. I went to my LQS and bought myself a cutting mat, 6" x 24" ruler and a 45mm rotary cutter. 

Now if I remember correctly the smallest squares were 7.5cm. I cut them down to 2". Now, why I didn't cut them to 2.5" I have no idea. But it was only half an inch - surely it wouldn't make that much of a difference? Oh yes it would! By the time I got to the largest squares I was cutting 5 inches off! Needless to say, the quilt shrunk considerably. 

The next mistake I made was assuming that the foot that came with my sewing machine was a quarter inch foot. I started by piecing together the smallest squares, and then couldn't work out why my pieced 'block' was so much shorter than the border that was supposed to go next to it. I just cut the border down and then sewed them together. When I came to sew the whole quilt together I had to cut quite a few blocks down to fit which resulted in the top shrinking even further. I then had to use some of the solid that I'd bought to back the quilt to make a border to bring the quilt back to size. That done, the quilt top was finished!

Anwen's quilt - Number 1

Only problem was I now didn't have enough solid left for a backing!

I'd decided that I'd made so many mistakes in the making of this quit that I wasn't going to waste any more money on buying fabric for it. I'd already used the smallest scraps from this quilt to make Cara's quilt but I still had quite a bit left over. By this time I'd discovered blogs and fallen in love with so many different block designs. I used a mixture of the scraps left over from the front and the two solids I'd bought for the back and just improvised. There are some of the strips left over from Cara's quilt in there too. (I'd bought myself a quarter inch foot by this point too)

The original plan for the back had been to appliqué Anwen's name in the centre and to add alternating borders from there. I stuck to this plan for the centre and then placed all of my scrappy blocks around it sashed with the baby pink solid. When I had quite large areas of solid between the blocks I just added some of the largest scraps as a single piece. I added a border of the fuchsia pink and we had a completed back!

Anwen's quilt - Number 2
Similar to the front, the back was far from perfect, there were quite a few unintentional wavy seams, but I loved it, it was so much 'fresher' than the front.

I quickly basted it with 505 and laid it over the back of the sofa whilst I contemplated how to quilt it.

And there it stayed for quite some time. Days. Weeks. Months. It was so much bigger than the practice baby quilt, Cara's Quilt and Cadi's Quilt which I'd quilted with my domestic brother. Wrestling those babies through the meagre throat space had been bad enough and they were tiny in comparison with this. Another problem was I couldn't decide which side was now the front. Did I quilt to suit side number 1 or side number 2?

In the meantime I'd come to own a mid arm quilting frame (I know I've not really spoken about this on the blog - it deserves a post all to itself - I'll get around to it one day!) And decided to get some practice in on Get Shirty before finally deciding what to do about this one. And then I quilted Caleb's Quilt. And still couldn't decide what to do about Anwen's quilt. She was starting to get a bit impatient now. Whenever I was working on someone else's quilt she's ask why I hadn't finished hers.

In the end I decided that my main problem was deciding which side was the front and which was the back. So I un-basted. This was now going to be two separate quilts. I gave Anwen the choice of which side she wanted me to finish first and let her choose whichever sheet she wanted out of my by now substantially expanding vintage sheet collection.

Inspired by Susan's HR Fanclub Quilt I decided to pebble all the sashing and give each block the individual treatment. Now Susan did warn us all, both on her blog and on instagram, that peppling was VERY time consuming and that there were times when she regretted starting. BUT the results were STUNNING. On the off chance that you haven't seen Susan's quilt, please click in the link, you have to see this quilt.

Sooooooo, ten hours later, and after a little bit of trimming, this is what the quilt looked like.

Thanks, Marged, for giving us an idea of scale x
This is the best picture that I have for showing the colours in this quilt. I did take some pictures outside after I'd added the binding but the light was just awful.

See - awful, awful light.
Now are you ready for some close ups?

1. My terrible attempt at a feather. 
2. 'Caru Ti' is Welsh for 'Love You' It took Anwen quite some time to spot this! 
3.There were so many seams in this block I thought that leaving it unquilted would add a nice design element.

1. My first attempt at 'orange peel' quilting, rather unsuccessful but I do like how I quilted the pink HSTs.
2. Some free motion straight lines. 
3. One of my favourite blocks

1. One of my favourite quilting techniques. I liked it so much I used it for the darker pink borders. 
2. A quilted flower in a 'filler square' 
3. I'd started to run out of ideas for different quilting designs so just stippled this block.

1. Hourglasses which I attempted to orange peel quilt - there were a few too many bulky seams. 
2. A chevron block which I free motion straight line quilted. 
3. A Wonky log cabin with a different quilting design for each different fabric.

1. A completely improvised block, making the most of the scraps I had left. I used a leaf quilting design on this one.
2. Teeny, tiny piecing.

For the central panel I used a slightly larger pebble, and I think I prefer it. I quilted the majority of this quilt using Aurifil 50wt in 2423 but decided I didn't want a contrast in the borders so used 2530 here.

One thing about using a frame is that as you roll your quilt forward you have to keep on changing the thread. I managed this quite well (but found it very annoying) and only made one small booboo... 

But, hey, I actually quite like it :0)

I'm afraid that the lighting was so bad when I took these pictures that it's really difficult to make out the quilting. Take it from me, there is a great deal of room for improvement, but I don't care. This quilt took a large role in my development as a quilter, and I love it!

So, quick shot of the back,

Anwen chose one of my favorite sheets for the back, I'm so glad that this one will be staying in the house.

And one of the quilt in place.

Yes, she really does sleep with that many teddies on the bed. Makes laundry day a lot of fun for me.
As you can see above, the quilt is a little on the small side. I really would prefer it if it overhung the edge a little more and maybe covered the pillow. All that pebbling means that it shrunk a bit during quilting. It shrunk even further during it's first wash. I stupidly didn't take any before and after measurements, I'm going to try and remember to do this in future.

The best part about finally finishing this quilt is that Anwen LOVES it. She sleeps under it every night and even took it with her when she spent a few nights at my Mum's over the holidays. She also brings it out to the living room when she'd watching a film and fancies a bit of a lie down.

Despite all this use, I noticed tonight that I haven't got a single picture of Anwen with the completed quilt, so I sneaked into her bedroom and took a quickie.

There is actually a face under all that hair1
So there we have it. It's finished and finally blogged! All that's left to do is to link up to Leanne and the 2013 FAL Q4 finishes party!

she can quilt