Thursday, 7 May 2015

WIP Wednesday - Slow going

I keep on meaning to do a WIP Wednesday post. I plan to write the post. I write it in my head. And then, before I get a chance to turn round, it's Thursday!

Today has been one of those days.

This is what the area next to my sewing machine looks like right now.

Terrible night time shot as per usual!
I've just finished cutting out April's (yes I know it's May, I'd better not tell you that I only finished March's yesterday) blocks for Siblings Together Bee 2. I started at 9.30am. It's now 24.00. Obviously I've done one or two other things in between but still, a whole day to cut out two measly blocks? Oh, well, if I aim to draw the diagonal lines for the corner setting triangles tomorrow I might actually get to sew them together on Friday.

The main reason I have for wanting to finish April's blocks (apart from the obvious feeling of guilt about being late again) is so that I can get on with the heart cushions. I keep the block parts in the drawer of my temporary sewing table thinking that I might finish the odd heart here and there but it isn't happening. I need to just sit down and sew!

Oh, and my Kaffe Snowball is still waiting to have it's binding attached. Dealine for that one is May 14th. Right, I'd better get my skates on.

And look, it's only gone and turned into Thursday again!

Linking up with Lee 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And Shanna and Melissa as my heart cushions are my goal for May's ALYoF.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Double Heart Block

Remember those Birthday Cushions on my FAL Q2 list? (Still haven't finished them) I'm making them using this tutorial by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew. Whilst I was piecing the hearts I got an idea, played a little with Touchdraw and some graph paper and came up with this.

And so the Double Heart Block is born.

I must say I rather like it! As my month in the Siblings Together 2 bee was coming up I thought that this would make a nice quilt for a tween/teenage girl and put writing a tutorial of sorts on my 'to do' list. Hey! Look, it's the second of the month in which I'm Queen Bee and I'm finally getting around to it.

Anyway, here goes.

Makes one 12.5"sq (unfinished) block

Cutting Instructions:

You need three different fabrics for each block, although I suppose you could use the same fabric for the inner heart and the border.

Fabric A (Inner Heart)
  Two 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
Fabric B  (Large Heart)
  Two 3" x 4.5" rectangles
  Two 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles
  Two 2" x 4.5" rectangles
  Two 2.5" squares
  Four 1"squares

Fabric C (Border)
  Two 12.5" x 2.5" strips
  Two 8.5" x 2.5" strips
  Two 4.5" squares
  Four 1.5" squares

1. Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the wrong side of your 1" and 2.5" squares in Fabric B. I tend to draw an extra line half an inch away from the original line on any squares 2.5" or over so that I get bonus HSTs. Place the squares wrong sides together as shown above, taking care to make sure that both sets are mirror images of themselves (that the drawn lines on the bottom squares point in different directions)

2. Sew along these lines.

3. Trim 0.25" away from the sewn lines and press open (or to the side if that's your preference)

DON'T sew the two halves together yet. This is where the double heart block starts to differ from Allison's original.

4. Sew a 2.5" x 4.5" rectangle to the outside edge of both half block with a scant 0.25" seam. Again, seams can be pressed either open or to the side.

5.  Now add the other Fabric B rectangles as shown above. Press as preferred.

6. Repeat Steps 1-3 adding your Fabric C squares to your half heart blocks.

7. At this point we need to sew the two half together. I used pins to match the points on the hearts but forgot to get a picture.

8. Add your border strips.

And Voilà! Your have a Double Heart Block.

I'm going to ask my bee mates to go bright or go home with their blocks and hopefully I'll have a cheerful hugable quilt ready for July when this year's Siblings Together camps start.

Thursday, 30 April 2015


I finished something!

And I was only two days late.

Last time I showed you my #UKminiswap mini quilt it looked a little like this.

I'd asked on Instagram whether my partner would prefer to have the rainbow hexies or vintage hexies on their mini. The hope was that I would post progress shots of both in order to keep my partner guessing but who was I kidding? I'd left it to the last minute and only had time to make the one mini.

I started by basting my background fabric and my backing fabric to some wadding, I know that this might sound strange but I feel that when I'm hand appliquéing having a bit more body to the background fabric makes it easier for me to keep things straight. I then used a glue pen to place the hexies before appliquéing them down.

I was mainly inspired by this pin on my partner's Pinterest board and Nicole's recent activities. As much as I love Nicole's method of appliquéing the hexies I felt that doing it by hand would give me a bit more freedom to be creative with my quilting. I started quilting by adding one line of hand stitches around the flower using Aurifil No12. As much as I love the effect of hand quilting with Perle No8 I find the Aurifil much easier to work with whilst still giving a similar effect.

I then left the mini for a couple of days as I really didn't know how do carry on with the quilting. I half fancied doing some FMQ but since getting the frame I haven't attempted any FMQ the traditional way and didn't fancy spending hours reverse stitching so close to the sending deadline. In the end I decided to stick to straight lines with my walking foot using the hexies as a guide.

I also used a Hera marker to show where I needed to turn the quilt. After I'd added five lines of quilting I felt that it needed a little something extra. I had a tiny bit of a variegated Aurifil No12 in blue and added a single line of stitches around the star but not to the 'shoots'.

I love No12 and my machine deals with it really well, my only regret is that I didn't use a different colour. I think that the shade of blue I used and the fact that it's variegated makes the stitches look like I've marked the quilting lines with a washable pen and not bothered to wash it out. I really need to get more colours in this thread! (I only have three different colours at the moment, unfortunately I've not been able to find any UK stockists)

Before even starting on the quilting I'd been head scratching about the binding. On the sign up form for the swap we were asked for our favourite designers and/or fabric lines. Out of all those listed by my partner I only had one print! And that was the bias stripe from Scrumptious. I love a stripy binding but wanted the mini to have a more definite frame so toyed with the idea of adding a 'flange'.

I posted the above picture on Instagram and hoped that my partner would choose for me. Unfortunately she didn't comment but the majority vote was for the Dark Violet Kona at the bottom. This is what my gut had told me to go with too but I still liked the idea of adding a flange. Mainly as the quilt was quite simple and I though that it would add an extra little something.

In the end I decided to go for the Dark Violet but added a C+S Netorious in Plummy flange.

I followed Julie from Jaybird Quilts' tutorial and found it quite easy, however, if I was to add a flange again in future I think I'd start with 0.75" instead of 1" strips as I'd prefer it if the binding was wider than the flange.

So there you have it, my finished mini.

And I really must say I rather like it.

I love the way the dense(ish) quilting around the hexies makes them poofy.

I love the extra touch of the hand quilting. And that by carefully trimming the quilt I managed to keep that tiny bit of blue stitching there.

And I love that I managed to add a star to the quilting without actually quilting a star.

I added a label and to make it a little more 'me' I wrote it in Welsh.

Made with love

for ********
by @patshyncatrin.
Catrin Lewis
April 2015

Pity I ruined it by forgetting my first name!

I've had to cover the recipients name as although I posted it last Friday (the 24th - six whole days ago) my partner still hasn't confirmed that she'd received it. I really hope that this is because it's being held hostage in her local sorting office and not because the idiots have lost it. Or worse still, my partner has received it and doesn't like it so hasn't bothered to post on instagram!!!!!

I really, really, really hope that isn't the case as I loved this mini. It's my favourite make so far - a simple design where the quilting is important as the piecing (although there wasn't any piecing in this one, you know what I mean, right?) In fact, I'd say it's the most 'me' thing I've made so far, maybe not such a good thing considering we were supposed to be making to our partner's taste! Luckily I've already got number two ready to go and I'm keeping the next one. All. Mine.

Hopefully I'll get around to writing about the little extras I added to the parcel. I enjoyed making them almost as much as the mini itself.

Linking up with Shanna and Melissa as this was my April goal for ALYoF.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

And with Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday as I finished this on Friday. Last Frday but still Friday ;o)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Finish Along 2015 Q2 Goal Setting

I'm not sure why I'm bothering to enter the Finish Along as last quarter I only completed one item from my list! I suppose it does make me blog about the few finishes I manage though so here we go again.

1 & 2. UKminiswap Quilts

I've made a tiny bit of progress in that I've appliquéd the hexies onto one version and added a tiny bit of handquilting so all I've got left to do is to applique the vintage sheet version, quilt and bind both, make at least one handmade extra and get it in the post. Hey, I've until the 22nd (eight days) so completely doable, right?

3. Kaffe Snowball.

I've very nearly finished the quilting on this one, after MONTHS of procrastination when it came to deciding how to quilt it I went with a simple stipple.....

I have to finish the quilting on this so that I can take the Juki off the frame to quilt my mini quilts.

I went up to the attic this morning to take a new picture of this one and actually ended up finishing the quilting. I even managed to trim it!

I already have the binding ready to go so there is hope that I can finish this one.

4 & 5. Heart cushions.

Same old story, took the girls to birthday parties empty handed with the promise of a gift one day. Two months go by and the girls are still waiting!

I need to finish pressing the half-blocks, turn them into blocks, sash them, turn them into tops, baste, quilt, sort out backings and then turn them into cushions.

6. Irish Chain Cushion.

Same story as above. I've been using these as leaders and enders whilst piecing the heart cushions. As soon as the heart cushions are finished I'll concentrate on this.

7. Siblings Together Home Sweet Home Quilt.

You may have noticed that Mary, Jo and Susy put a call out for these great Home Sweet Home blocks. They were hoping to get around 150 blocks so that they could make five quilts. So far the have received over 270! I made six blocks and instead of sending them to the girls I asked them to send me 24 of the blocks that they've already received and ordered some fabric from Jude's fab sale as a backing. I need to turn these blocks into a completed quilt ready to send in July.

Linking up with Adrianne at On the Windy Side

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

April ALYoF Goal - UK Mini Swap

March was a washout. I did get some sewing under my belt, but not much and I didn't touch my March ALYoF goal (my Kaffe Snowball quilt). I did actually start quilting it last night and with a little burst whilst the youngest two were napping this afternoon and another little half hour after they'd all gone to bed I'm over a quarter of the way through quilting it.

So you'd think that the logical option would be to set this same quilt as my April goal....

Maybe not. I did say at the start of the year that I wanted ALYoF to help make sure that I got at least twelve items finished this year. If I keep on rolling over the same project then that definitely isn't going to happen!

So what is my goal for April? Well it's something that I have to finish before the end of the month. In fact it has to be finished by the 22nd of April at the very latest as that's the posting date for the #ukminiswap taking place on instagram.

I'd love to say that I just need to add the binding but....

This is what it looked like waaaay back in January when I wrote my FAL Q1 goal setting post and it hasn't really changed much. So I just need to appliqué the hexies onto my background, quilt it, add hanging sleeves (really must try to remember that one), bind it and label it! Oh, and before I can quilt it I have to finish quilting March's goal as my sewing machine will be up in the attic until I do!

I've already bought a few small extras to go with my mini quilt but would really like to add a little something handmade like a pincushion or a needle book - that might be pushing it a little though!

Yep, so that's my goal, not just to finish my mini but to get it in the post (anyone else tend to have things ready to go, hanging around the house waiting for you to remember to post it?).

Linking up for hopefully not the last time this month with Shanna and Melissa.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

I hate thinking of post titles

It's time to link up with Melissa and Shanna again for March's ALYoF goal setting. I've left it till the last minute again, mainly as I just couldn't decide what to set as my goal. I could have settled on one of the three birthday cushions I started last week or the nursing cushion for Benji which I really would like to make before I finish breastfeeding but something's been nagging me.

I have this really, really strong urge to quilt. I haven't touched the frame since the end of September/early October (that's nearly SIX months ago!!!!) when I finished quilting Millie's quilt. As soon as I'd finished Millie's quilt I loaded my Kaffe Snowball quilt.

I've just realised that I never took a picture of this as a completed quilt top with borders attached so instead you can have an insight into what my kitchen looks like when I'm sewing.

I already had a quilting pattern in mind and was raring to go but somehow never got around to it.

So this month I'm going to ignore the bee blocks (at least until this is done) and some kids will have to wait a little longer for their birthday pressies and whilst I just enjoy getting reacquainted with my frame.

Hopefully I'll manage to get the quilting finished before the end of the month as I might decide to give this to my brother on his thirtieth next month - I have the binding ready to go - surely nineteen days is enough to bind a quilt?

Linking as usual

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Scrappy log finish (maybe?)

Yeah! I managed a second ALYoF finish!

Back at the start of the month I set my goal of finishing Mali's cushion before the end of the month and yesterday I did the last little bit of quilting, inserted a zip and sewed the cushion together. Unfortunately I wasn't home during daylight hours today so I only have a night time picture to show you.

I quilted the front with a variegated pink Coti thread that I bought at festival last year since I couldn't find an Aurifil one anywhere (I've since bought some from the lovely Cindy).

The crosshatch with the lines around 1/4" apart does take time but I love the texture that it gives. I find that marking the lines with a Clover Hera marker makes things a lot easier and my lines end up being so much straighter than if I tried to 'wing it'!

I decided that I was going to back the cushion with a FQ of a green floral from Posy but couldn't decide if I should quilt it with the same pink thread as the front or a variegated green Aurifil so I put it to the masses on Instagram...

...and the answer was a definite green. On the front of the cushion the variegation in the thread isn't obvious but on the back I really like the extra something that it adds to the overall effect.

Unfortunately the night time picture doesn't show the quilting as well as it should.
 Whilst I was basting the front and back for the cushion I forgot that I usually prefer to add the zip to the back of the cushion. By the time I remembered I'd already cut the fabric and the batting so it was too late so I just added the zip to the bottom of the cover.

I can't say that I'm 100% happy with this finish. I can't quite put my finger on it. It might be that it doesn't have any white in it, which I do like in my quilts, or it could be the absence of Mali's name on the front. I must admit that I'm toying with the idea of adding it to the blue fabric......

But for now I'm calling it finished and linking up with Melissa and Shanna.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Work in Progress Wednesday

In an attempt to stop my posts about finished items (few and far between as they are) from getting quite as long in future I'm going to try and blog more about them along the way.

So today's Wednesday and I actually got some sewing done last week!

I've tried my best to make Anwen's friends a little something handmade for their birthdays. I started last year when I made Mali a little zippy pouch.

It was around the time that the Economy block was all the rage on instagram and I knew that I didn't have the time (or the fussy cuttable stash) to make a full quilt. Making this block out of my Aneela Hoey stash seemed to satisfy my sheep like tendencies a little :0)

Anyway, I've managed to make each member of Anwen's closest group of friends either some kind of pouch or cushion cover for their birthday and now we've come around to Mali's birthday again.

As she got a pouch last year I decided to make her a cushion cover this year. With her birthday being at the start of the year it's coincided with another ...along on instagram. This year it's the #scrappylogcabinqal . With a quick baaaaa I dove into my bag of Aneela scraps and pulled out all the strings. I started with a fussy cut little rabbit and then just added the next strip that was closest to the size required. I didn't pay any attention to value and little attention to colour (I just tried to make sure that I didn't have two of the same colour/print touching) and before long I had a cushion top.

It's around 18.5" square. I've bought a 18" cushion pad thinking that quilting and the actual cushion seams will take this down to around 17". I do like to overstuff my cushions.

You'd think that since this was last Tuesday and Mali's party was on Saturday I'd have basted this straight away in the hope of getting it finished, however, Mali would have to wait as someone else had already been waiting a lot longer....

And she's still waiting. Anwen went to the party on Saturday empty handed. Luckily Mali and her mum both know what I'm like by now and know that she will get something eventually. In the hope that Mali doesn't have to wait five months like Esyllt had to though I'm going to make Mali's Cushion my February goal for ALYoF.

And linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

And with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wish me luck!