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!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Millie's Quilt. Finished

Yes, you read that right - I actually finished something!!!

This quilt started life as a little pile of Wee Wander that I bought from Natalie and Tracey at Pin it and Stitch at Quilts UK in Malvern last May. Unfortunately the girls had sold out of some of the prints but they were kind enough to point me in the direction of Little Laura's Haberdashery who had a few of the larger prints.

When I bought them I didn't have anything specific in mind I just knew that I needed these fabrics in my stash!

In June one of my husband's co-workers had a baby girl and I knew that I had to make her a quilt but between the all day nausea, constant tiredness and already too long list of WIPs/UFOs I didn't manage to make a start until the beginning of August.

I'd previously fallen in love with Susan's HR Fanclub Quilt and started fussy cutting some of the prints. As soon as I'd done this I decided that I wanted to add a few different solids. I had a look on-line to see if I could find anywhere that gave suggested matching Konas but all I could find were a few websites that named coordinating Cotton Couture. I don't know of anywhere in the UK that supplies Cotton Couture so I decided to wait a week so that I could compare colours in person at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.

I took some scraps of the different prints with me and with the help of two lovely ladies picked out Carnation, Candy Green and Dusty Blue as the best matches.

Picture courtesy of Anwen, aged 6.

As soon as I had the solids it didn't take me very long to get going again. In fact, as the beady eyed Nicky pointed out on IG I still had the entry stamp from FoQ on my hand! I was quite determined to get this quilt done, even if it did mean sewing with a toddler on my lap, and managed to get the top finished within the first two days of getting home from Birmingham.

Not sure how to quilt it I hung it up on our bedroom wall with some Washi tape and hoped that inspiration would strike.

This is where baby brain kicks in. I didn't take any pictures whilst I was quilting it and without the aid of 'Date Picture Taken' I have absolutely no memory of when I actually quilted this quilt. All I know is that I posted this picture of me adding some hand quilting whilst watching the GBBO final on iPlayer on the 13th of October!

I had a bit of a nightmare quilting this on the frame. The frame is set up in the attic where I have just enough headroom between the eves to use it. Last winter it was far too cold up there to do anything other than quickly grab a bag of hand-me-downs for Marged so the frame got neglected. When the weather got a little more spring like I went up to quilt my Soy Amado quilt (still not blogged that one properly) and noticed that there was mildew on the leaders. Thankfully I quick wipe with a damp cloth removed this and the frame didn't seem any the worst for wear. However, when I went to quilt this at the end of summer it became apparent that the changes in temperature that the frame was going through up there had warped the wood a little. It meant that the wooden runners which the sewing machine runs along during quilting didn't give as smooth a ride as usual. I also noticed that the pole that holds the quilt top in place didn't stay 'straight' when I was winding the quilt on. This combined with the quilting pattern I'd settled on and the fact that I was only quilting the background left my blocks very 'baggy' and I had gathers in some places.

The picture above shows the block which was most affected by this.

Tempted as I was to follow Susan's lead and pebble the background I knew from experience that although it gives stunning results it takes a very long time. I wanted something that was relatively quick but wanted to venture from my usual stipple. In the end I decided to go for a variation of the stipple. I think that I've heard it called the 'Riverbed' in the past but I'm not sure.

But I couldn't leave the quilt without at least a little pebbling so I pebbled around Millie's name.

I'm really glad that I did this as I feel that it makes Millie's name 'pop'.

The main reason why I'd left the blocks unquilted was because I wanted to add some hand quilting.

I kept it quite simple with just two lines running through the solid sashing. I used a matching colour thread in half the blocks and a contrasting thread in the other half. (Perle no8). I love the look of this chunky quilting but I think I could do with making the stitches a little longer next time - it might look a little neater on the back! (A vintage sheet, as if you needed to ask)

As I said in my goal setting post for ALYoF I made and attached the binding on Benji's Due date and then neglected it until January.

I sewed the binding down in short sessions here and there. I posted a picture on instagram and asked if anyone else tacked their binding down first. It turns out that I'm alone in this - most people seem to either use Wonderclips or binding clips or just keep the binding in place with their thumb as they go.

I've tried both of these methods and they just don't work for me. I find that clips get in the way of my left hand and make sewing uncomfortable. I can do it by holding the binding in place with my thumb but find that I'm having to adjust it all the time and that's not enjoyable either. I do enjoy hand sewing so really don't mind tacking the binding down first and it makes actually sewing the binfing down properly a breeze and gives me a neater finish.

One thing that doesn't work for me though is trying to hand sew whilst nursing. Trying to take a picture of this was even more difficult!

Anyway, I was soon finished and and with my husbands help I got some photos outside on a dry day!

But it wasn't finished yet. I needed to add the crinkle factor so I popped it in the washing machine along with a colour catcher and crossed my fingers. By the time it was out of the tumble dryer it was dark outside again and we haven't had a dry day since so you'll have to make do with a picture taken on our living room floor.

And lastly one of my favourite pictures as you can really see the crinkle added by the wash on the back.

Linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes as this was my goal for January.

And nearly forgot that this was on my FAL list and is therefore my first (and hopefully not last) finish of Q1. Linking up when the time comes with Adrianne over On the Windy Side.

Edited to add:

Turns out this was my last finish of Q1 :-( Adrianne you can find my goal setting post here and I hope that it's OK that I haven't written a recap/end of quarter post, I just haven't got the heart to do it with such a looserville number of finishes.

2015 Finish-Along