Sunday, 28 December 2014

LBQB Third Quarter Finishes

We've already seen one or two quilts taking shape now in the Little Blog Quilting Bee ... and quarter four is in progress!

These are the blocks requested by Celine (September), Vanessa (October) and Gina (November).

Celine also known as Espritpatch is a prolific seamstress! She introduced a few of the group to a pineapple block. These are generally Foundation pieced (or some refer to them a paper pieced but it's not the same as traditional English paper piecing).  She gave us a link to Generation Quilts which gives measurements for 6" and 8" sizes. We all made 8" blocks in the 'Dark X' option which looks like the photo below with a mixture of bright sections to keep it scrappy.

Vanessa provided us with a link to instructions for the Posies block which is part of the Trifle Dish Quilt at the Moda Bakeshop. (Just a note: If you follow this pattern from the website the instructions in Step 4 needed a little adjustment to ensure all the leaves were the correct way round.) Vanessa sent us some lovely Oakshott fabric for the background. We chose our own colours for the rest and she now has a beautiful fabric flower garden so I'm sure she'll be thrilled!

Gina's block was quite a simple one but very effective. She requested a scrappy 'trip around the world' block in blues or purples (or both)with some instructions if we needed them her at Quiltville's Quips and Snips!! This is a very simple block to make and it only took a few of us about 30 minutes from start to finish ... hopefully you can't tell!

Vanessa's Posies block gets the trophy this quarter for being the most fun (& also for spotting the mistake in the instructions before we cut her fabric)! Here you are Vanessa:  

LBQB Trophy Quarter 3 is awarded to Vanessa.

I have managed to forget what I've added into the packages this time ... some of my own goodies sneaked in their along with chocolate and some sewing accessories. I think I am going to be the last Queen of the LBQB group ... and for the final quarter I will have to prepare to post my block instructions soon.

I have been busy making these pot mitts again, they are super gifts and fun to do:

We've also been on holiday for a break to the Centre Parcs set in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham, it was a relaxing break (some of the days). Here are my not-so-little tree huggers:

We had a great time and have been enjoying the catch up as a family!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

LBQB Second Quarter Finishes

The Little Blogs Quilting Bee is well into its third quarter so I thought I would post a photo or two of the second quarter blocks I have made.

These are the blocks requested by Heidi (June), Claire (July) and Natalie (August).  

For Heidi we made a friendship star block. We were given a variety of options with this one and she linked to this tutorial from Delaware Quilts which gives measurements for lots of different sizes. We all made a 12.5" block but they were quite a few versions. You can see some of them on Heidi's Instagram feed.

I opted for 4 individual friendship stars and I snuck in a H for Heidi and a Bee! This was my resulting star: again made from the Curiosities range of fabric by Nancy Halvorsen.

Claire provided a colour scheme (bright pinks, purples or aqua blue with low volume for the background) for her single wedding ring block. All her instructions for the block are on her blog. It was one of my first adventures for a while with low volume prints too, I think it worked well!

Natalie said she would like a 'ric rac' block and her instructions came from Issue 10 of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I've made these chevron blocks before and they are really effective! Her colour choice was red on white (which I think was a white on white print) here's the result:

I am looking forward to seeing how all these blocks look when they are put together ... and Heidi's friendship star gets the trophy this quarter for being the most fun! Here you are Heidi:  

LBQB Trophy Quarter 2 is awarded to Heidi.

I'm still having fun adding into the packages some of my own goodies and trying to choose something to include that I think the Queen bee for the month might like. Among other stuff I sent a cactus pin cushion to Heidi, which I think I blogged about before, and Natalie really loved the pot mitts so perhaps I should do a tutorial?

With the third quarter well underway and my October block wending it's way as I type, I suggest you check out some of these little blogs and see what we've been up to!

Friday, 4 July 2014

The linky party!

So over at The Littlest Thistle the linky party has started and all the folks who bravely shared their works in progress (WIPs) have been busying themselves to finish some of their projects.

I went a bit mad and listed far more WIPs than I could possibly manage to complete here in this post. I have managed to complete a few of them but the rest will have to roll over to Quarter 3 of the Finish Along. 

Here's how I got on:

13) Alex's skirt - the link is here on Facebook.
22) New conservatory cushions - we love them! I wrote a post about them here.
23) Baby quilt - for my gorgeous little Ehsan the post is here 

and also 25) Scrappy Floor Cushion - which I finished just the other day:

This was fun to make! I used up lots of scraps, just sewing them together in random strips and then piecing the strips together to make larger ones until I had quite a large piece of patchwork. 

I used a round plastic lid to draw two circles for the top and bottom and quilted them to an old flannelette blanket for a bit more stability! The side gusset was a strip cut to the length of the circumference of the circle which I backed with medium weight iron-on interfacing to stiffen it a little.

I used ricrac in the seam round the top and added a zip in the bottom side seam to enable the cushion to be put inside (it was still a work of art getting it in there as I used a large, plump and fluffy Ikea cushion which I bought in their 'bargain corner' for £2). 

It is heading to my friend Laura's house - for her lovely cat Xeno!

I have also been busy with my Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt ... but more about that in another post.

Monday, 16 June 2014

LBQB First Quarter Finishes

So the Little Blogs Quilting Bee is well under way with the first quarter blocks all having a 'wonky' theme.

Now I know these have all arrived safely I can show you my wonky wonders!

I can honestly say this has pushed me away from my comfort zone ... anyone who knows me will tell you I am a perfectionist and don't do miss-match! I discovered that I wasn't the only one who cringed at the idea of not matching corners and making things symmetrical ... but in the spirit of embracing the challenge we all gave it a go!

Saying that, I think the challenges allowed some room for manoeuvre and the whole idea was that we would get an opportunity to do something that was someone else's style or colour choice.

These are the blocks requested by Lou (March), Jenny (April) and Joanna (May). 

For Lou who had requested a 'Wonky' star, we were pointed in the direction of this tutorial by Owen's Olivia. This was my resulting star: made from the Curiosities range of fabric by Nancy Halvorsen.

Jenny asked for a 'Wonky' log cabin block, in brights and solid colours so this is the resulting block. It was easy once I had located fabric in the right colours. 

Joanna provided a great tutorial for a wonky churn dash block on her blog. I ordered some Moda solids and once her background fabric arrived in the post I set to work. I found all the scrappy piecing fairly easy and planning the wonky squares was fairly quick, once I had worked round a flaw in the background fabric which reduced the available fabric considerably. 

However I will say that putting the whole thing together was not only time consuming but with all the little seams it was neither a pleasure to sew nor to press! I don't think it turned out too badly considering, here's the result:

I am looking forward to seeing how all these blocks look when they are put together ... and Lou's Wonky star gets the trophy this quarter for being the most fun! Here you are Lou:  

LBQB Trophy Quarter 1 is awarded to Lou.
With the second quarter underway and my June block wending it's way as I type   it will be interesting to see all the other new ideas our Little Blog Quilting Bee members will come up with.

I also had fun adding into the packages some of my own goodies and trying to choose something I could include that I thought the Queen bee for the month might like. 

I sent heart shaped coasters I made to Lou, here's her Instagram post, brown paper packages to our lovely Jenny containing a few of my favourite things and some allotment themed goodies to our green fingered Joanna, here's her Instagram post.  This has been such fun!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Don't worry, I have it covered!

When my hubby bought a second hand conservatory suite I must say I wasn't too impressed. The structure was solid but the covers were dated and had seen better days.

"We'll just get new cushions," he said, which got me thinking. There was nothing wrong with the cushion pads themselves, it was just the fabric that looked like it had seen better days. It had been repaired a few times and wasn't exactly what I would have chosen for style.

I have made loose covers before. For a few different items: suites, chairs armchairs and chaise lounges. I knew that although I needed lots of fabric it wasn't difficult,especially if you had an existing set of covers or a shape to follow. I also knew that I had in my stash some canvas weight furnishing cotton. It was the remainders of a roll of fabric I bought called Mintern, from Laura Ashley. It was left from curtains I made for my Kitchen in my previous house. I still have the cups and the table mats to match. 

My SIL got roped in to help me salvage the zips from the old covers and cut off the seams to prepare the old covers as pattern pieces. It was good to have some company as it was a rather monotonous task. I think it also demonstrated to her that if you start somewhere it isn't too difficult!

I sewed for a few evenings ... taking up the kitchen table as the fabric was heavy and I needed extra space. I also lined the cushion back pads, to allow me to take the covers off without disturbing the padding again.

I made about 15 meters of red piping (from some Laura Ashley Bacall in Raspberry) and am really pleased that I decided to pipe the cushions. This is the finished suite:

Here's a better picture of one of the chairs:

It was a big project and I'm really pleased with the results! 

I am linking up this finish with Kate's Finish Along as this is on my Q2 list of things I hoped to complete! 

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Instagram Success

A little over a week ago I reached 200 followers on my Instagram account ... which I thought was amazing, thank you!

I decided to have a little 'thank you' giveaway and made some cafetière jackets and a couple of pincushions. One was for the winner of the giveaway and one for my 200th follower.

This is a quick screenshot from Instagram:

The winner was chosen via the random number generator I found on line ... amazing what you can find to do the work for you ... and the winner is Janice Thomson (aka @janithom) who was 6th on my list.

Well done Janice ... send me an email with your address details and these will be on their way to you down under! 

I will have another giveaway soon, it was such fun!

Katie who blogs over at StVital was my 200th visitor so along with holding a giveaway I made contact with her and arranged to send her some goodies.  

She has 4 adorable kiddies and lives with her hubby in Canada. I love her quilting and her cakes but this has to be my favourite quilt on her blog:

It's a present, present! I hope she doesn't mind me sharing her picture with you, it was such a bright and fun photo, here's a link to the post where she has some more photos in lovely high definition. The binding has little white snowflakes all over, it's beautiful!

It's been a busy week at work and yesterday I was briefly at the Rawdon Summer Fun Day with the local Community Library Craft Group which due to torrential rain and 4 inches of mud across the whole of the field was bit of a catastrophe:

My daughter, Alex, has been off school with a virus and I think I have had a mild version of the same, although I wasn't feeling very well today I'm much better this evening. 

It does look like she might have recovered, she was out in the garden dressed as a blonde elvish princess:

I love the way she mixes up her fairy tales and took with her a basket of red delicious apples, don't they grow up too quickly! 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Hey partner!

Been busy with my planning & layout ... decided to go with a central appliqué panel and some happy Kate Spain "Summertime" ... this might take longer than I expected!
It's coming on nicely and it's great fun!
I think I have such a little blog I'm safe to show you how I'm getting on so far. I've added the cake toppings now and a few other bits since I took this:

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt swap

I came across the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram and was persuaded to join in - not that I took much convincing! 

So now I have been matched up with my partner ... whose identity shall remain a secret, I have been doing a little stalking through their profile, Instagram and blog to see what they like!

Apparently NOT batiks or bright colours ... preferring blues, greys and greens. Kate Spain and Denyse Schmidt are favourite designers and I can see why, they have some lovely collections! 

I thought I would give you a sneak peak at what has been under my machine tonight ...

Can you tell what it is? 

I have had a bit of fun getting this to work how I want it to ... only a little glueing needed to finish it off! 

Monday, 19 May 2014

For Baby Kazmi

I was delighted to hear that one of my previous colleagues, Tahier, had been blessed with a little baby boy a few weeks ago. They called him Ehsan meaning "perfection" or "excellence".

Both mum and baby were recovering nicely when I popped into the Maternity Ward late one night to see them. I was made very welcome and treated to dates and Gulab Jamun, a small syrupy doughnut ball which is a traditional type of sweet pastry served to guests. 

Knowing that he will no doubt be swamped with gifts and that there are strong links with Pakistan and patchworking I decided to make Baby Ehsan a more traditionally British patchwork quilt.

I started with lots of 2" squares cut from the Benartex Cool Britannia range of fabric (some of which had been happily 'rescued' from the scrap bin in The Skep). I had bought some of the Crowns fabric in dark blue in their sale and so I decided that this would make a great border, with white dot minky fabric for the backing. 

Cool Britannia - Landmark, Crowns & Cityscape

As it's a fairly easy design didn't take any photos of the piecing. I sewed the 2" squares together in a random order and placed them together to form rows, taking care not to place any two squares of the same print together. Normally it would take me a while to order the placement of squares on each row ensuring an even distribution of colours and prints. However as I didn't have lots of spare squares to play with, I didn't worry if there was not an order to the pattern on this occasion. 

I then sewed the rows together trimming the edges to ensure a crisp finish adding a small trim to the top and bottom of the squares before completing it with the outer border. Some of my squares were a little narrow, I had 'help' cutting them at the time! This means that the piecing does not join accurately at the corner of each square along the rows. 

When the borders were added I was amazed how quickly I had a quilt top! Generally I have not added chunky borders before, but this time I wanted room to quilt them with a free-motion pattern. Having added a fairly light batting, I basted the top and stitched in lines over the squared centre. This was not quite in the ditch at the points the squares didn't align, I suppose it helps to highlight the stitching which contrasts with the fabric. Hopefully it will add to the 'handcrafted' feel. This photo gives you an idea of the central panel although the colours are a little distorted:

I then drew a few bus outlines as templates on squared paper and, having had a quick practice run on a 5" square of fabric with batting to ensure tension was up to scratch, I pinned the bus templates to the outer border in various places.

Using free-motion quilting I then stipple stitched with buses 'drawn' at the points I had pinned the templates. I adjusted the exact position of the buses as I went, to fit with the stipple stitching. Once I had the outline stitched I removed the paper. This was a painful process for some of the buses and I resorted to a pin to wheedle the last bits free.

I have now had lovely cuddles with little Ehsan, isn't he just adorable! Tahier and Umal not only loved the gift but they have promised me lots more cuddles and have already sent me photos of him with the quilt in use!

Baby quilts are not just for bedtime ... I think they are so handy for tummy time, additional warmth in the car or buggy and as additional comfort & padding for a shopping trolley, swing or highchair!

I am linking up this finish with Kate's Finish Along as this is on my Q2 list of things I hoped to complete! 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Am I Mad?

I have read with keen interest some of the fabulous blogs that are joining in with this years Finish Along 2014 hosted by Katy at The Littlest Thistle. I missed the first quarter, so I have had a few weeks to prepare to share all some of my unfinished works in progress (WIPs) and to sort out which I think I might be able to finish .... at some point soon.

I think I would like to quote Yvonne over at Nellie's Niceties when she explained her reasons for joining in:

"It is such a good idea to share with like minded people your plans to finish projects and then look back to see what you have all, hopefully, achieved.  Or at least the steps toward finishing that you have taken."

The idea is to list your WIPs (proposed finishes) at the beginning of the quarter and link to Katy's 'linky party'. Then, during the quarter as you complete your projects you can blog about them or post photos on Flickr linking back to the 'finish linky party'.

So without further a do here is my list:

1) Maddie's cushion: This will be a replacement - unfortunately the first one I made (shown in the photo on the left) was stolen from the car while we were on holiday! I have made several of these already and they have gone down very well with the little people they belong to. I have completed the top, cut out the sides and base, but not started the rest.

2) Arthur's cushion: Similar to Maddie's cushion, but actually a little further on. I love these bright colours ... I find I struggle to get inspired by fabrics for boys sometimes.

3) Alex's hexie quilt: Some of these hexagons were started over 30 years ago by my hubby's mum. She died too young in early '82 and I was given the unfinished hexagons and cardboard templates during a clearing out session a few years ago.They came in a bag of stuff with a "could you do something with these?" suggestion, from my SIL who knows I like sewing. I have already split them up and have added more. I made some into a cushion for my SIL and I completed a smaller quilt for my niece so she had something of grandma's to keep.

4) Paletina pillow: This shouldn't be too difficult, the front is finished, everything is cut out. I have the zip and just need to sew it all together.

5) Alex's curtains: The material is Bacall, purchased from Laura Ashley in the apple 
colour way, ready for a newly decorated bedroom that without these isn't quite finished yet. Not a good photo, it's all in a plastic bag.

6) Maddie's Cardigan: Knitted and partly sewn up, the project isn't finished as I'm not happy with the edge of the hood, so I've had to pull it out and need to reknit it on smaller needles.

7) Draft excluder: A prototype I started to test out the heat 'n' bond. I have the houses appliquéd but have not completed the details on the doors and windows so they need doing before I can sew it up and use it.

8 - 12 are based on a design from Kellie at Don't Look Now called Worry Dolls I have cut out all the little people resembling my nieces and nephews to make them cushions:

8) Stanley's cushion: A footballer to go with his bedroom.

9) Arthur's cushion: A footballer to go with his bedroom.

10) Georgiana's cushion: A girl (looks like her).

11) Maddie's cushion: A girl (made from fabric from her baby clothes).

12) Thomas's cushion: A footballer - Thomas is my colleagues little boy, he's 3.

13) Alex's skirt: I bought this cute Paris fabric with a plan to make her a skirt for the summer. She's quite fussy though and I'm not sure if she's quite sure what she wants yet ... this will be interesting.

14) Georgiana's cardigan: Started about 7 years ago this will no longer fit my daughter so it's heading for my niece. It just needs a ribbon and some appliqué flowers. I hope it doesn't take me another 7 years to finish! 

15) Puddlejumper 1: Started last year, I was really happy with this - until my niece tried it on. She's long in the body and it was clear this was going to be too small for her to wear over warm clothes, so it got abandoned. This photo was taken at the cutting out phase:

16) Puddlejumper 2: Started last year at the same time as the one above, all I did was cut this out. It got packed away with the one above and I forgot about it until I found it the other day!

17) Daisy Kingdom coat: This Simplicity pattern (2778 on the left) was one I fell in love with and bought several years ago but I could never find double sided fleece. When pink/orange reversible fabric turned up in a local store (The Shuttle) I bought it and then couldn't locate where I had kept the pattern! I think the design is the same as pattern 4515 (on the right) which is shown in the type of fleece I have bought. I know a couple of folks have made it already and it looked great (some Flickr photos of Charity's coat).

DAISY KINGDOM COAT Sewing Pattern - Girls Winter Hat Scarf & Vest  Fleece Coat  4515 Simplicity size 5-6-7-8 lots of nice details. 2005 Daisy Kingdom

18) Wigwam: I must get round to making a few of these for the summer. I have some fabric and plans in my head but have not yet drafted the pattern. I feel excited about this but I know it will take up a fair bit of space to 'manufacture' them. This photo came from a Laura Ashley photo shoot and was in the 2009 catalogue .... doesn't it make you feel like packing up for a picnic?

la camping

19) Georgiana's cape: Alex has one that she loves and would like her cousin to have one to dress up with her in when they go 'adventuring' in the garden. The Vogue pattern needs adapting slightly for size but the fabric and trimmings are ready.

20) Postage stamp quilt: for years I have been 'salvaging' 2" squares from scraps of material that are left from other projects or are simply not big enough to make anything else from. I'd love to turn these into a quilt similar to Red Pepper's quilt in this link Postage Stamp Quilt Tutorial. She made hers from strips.

21) William's quilt: This was started over a year ago with the intention of it being ready for my son's new room. I did not have a studio at the time and it came out in the bedroom occasionally if I could set up a space to work in, or I would take it on holiday. It has been stored away waiting for me to get back to it, I have a ton of excuses as to why it has not been first on my list however it is denim and heavy so since I broke my elbow earlier this year I haven't even attempted to do any more with it. He has now been in his room a good 3 months ... I will have to attempt it once I feel I can manage. (Maybe a little at a time.)

22) New conservatory cushions: Nick bought a conservatory suite second hand and although it was described as in excellent condition ... the covers were truly shocking! I have some Laura Ashley fabric left from curtains I made in our house in Hull which I think will do the trick nicely and brighten it up for the springtime.

23) Baby quilt: I was delighted to hear yesterday that a former colleague of mine has had a baby boy. He sent me a picture and I popped into the Maternity unit tonight for a little peak. Don't you just love an excuse to make a baby gift? I have pulled some fabric tonight ... as if I haven't got enough to complete!

24) Embellished washcloths: I bought some Krama washcloths from Ikea the other weekend after I came across a great post from Probably Actually here: Divided baskets. I think Nova Flitter is actually responsible for the inspiration, although I can't find any elephant fabric which seems to be a must.

25) Scrappy Floor Cushion: I want to make use of the scraps I have saved, sewn together and not made anything of yet. I thought a floor cushion would be a good idea.

 I think this will be enough to share of my WIPs ... for now! Thanks Nessa for the reminder, I noticed you have completed one of your projects already!

Finish Along 2014