Thursday, 7 April 2016

The other sewing

I started a Sew Together Bag.

And I finished a Sew Together Bag.

Then I made a pink quilt.

This was the front.

And this was the back.

Then I made a cushion cover for a skills swap with a former work colleague who now fires her own pottery designs, many with a Guernsey theme.

Can you believe that in return she gave me these:

Then youngest daughter picked fabric and pompons for two cushions for her room.

After which I made a cushion cover for my secret partner in the cushion cover swap I set up on Instagram.

And then I made another one.
Just because I had a wobble moment about working with softer colours.

And then I unfortunately made another one.
Because people don't always do what they sign up to do.

Organising a swap has been a HUGE eye opener to me.
I will never get people who willingly sign up for something on the basis of a set of rules they have re-read and then completely fail to follow through.

It is HUGELY time consuming (and frustrating) having to chase people and I'm afraid I lose a little bit of respect for them in the process.

In this swap there is one person who suffered a life-changing medical situation where she is currently unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair. Yet, she still contacted me to say she was not a flaker and would be finding a friend to mail her package. I would never have expected her to do that.

It just heightens even further the lack of communication from others.

So I had to make another cushion cover.

Then I had a temporary obsession with sewing together teeny tiny scraps into pouches and needed to make four before the scratch was itched.

I swapped mini quilts in person with the lovely Rhea at one of my favourite quilt shops ever.

I don't often get to see quilt stuff in person so when I did, I made a number of purchases.

Such as this pop-up basket. You buy the pattern and wires and you do the fabric choosing and assembling of.

And a Linden sweatshirt.
There was a sample hanging in the shop and it looked so nice and I keep hearing it is easy.

So this is as far as I've got.

And a Weekender Bag.

This is like the Holy Grail of bag making and although I don't actually need one, that is beside the point.
I need to make one.
So I've started.

I'm using Peltex, wadding and scraps of cotton canvas.
I may live to regret such a sturdy layering.
Only time and needles will tell.

And finally...I've started another quilt using these fabrics.
Just because.

I hope you know what that means.
I sent my mum some flowers this week with 'just because' on the delivery note.

She called me to thank me for the flowers but asked what 'just because' meant.

Just because
Just because I can.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Soy Amado sewing, sewing and sewing

Let's bring you up-to-date on all the Soy Amado quilts.

No. 76 is anonymous - unless someone wants to shout up.
A very kind person keeps sending me beautifully constructed whole quilts like this every so often but there is no note in them.

They're called 'SK8' because that is the UK postcode on the parcels. If there's anyone in Stockport in the UK who is making these for me, I am really touched.

Then there is No. 77

No. 78

No. 79

No. 80 was another anonymous one from 'SK8'.

No. 81

No. 82, another anonymous 'SK8.'

Considering how windy it was, that was a pretty good shot.

No. 83

No. 84

This one was taken in the German Underground Hospital, a leftover relic from World War Two and now a visitor attraction.

Over a mile of tunnels underground.
Water seeping through the cracks.
A damp, depressing atmosphere.
Makes you think.

And No. 85

In between all that I've done a bunch of other sewing, including helping to run my first pillow/cushion cover swap on Instagram.

That's a post for later in the week.

I hope!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Soy Amado Johannesburg Update

The first batch of quilts have arrived at the children's home in Johannesburg.

I am hugely, hugely appreciative that the end result looks like this.

But also a little bit sad in the sense that it is 'just' quilts and I wish I could do more.

I will continue to do this for as long as people send me blocks.

Which I hope you will.

Because I realise that in some ways they are more than 'just' quilts.

They are a representation that people around the world do care and we are all trying to help in the little ways that we can, with the skills we possess.

Thank you for helping me get this far.

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Fractal quilt

Hands down this is currently my favourite quilt.

Until at least I make another one.

It's definitely because I chose to see the pattern as a bit of scrap buster.

My usual plan of attack for scraps is totally random but this time I decided to see if I could get a bit of rainbow theme going on.

The low volume text fabrics were also scraps. The only yardage harmed was the grey text and for that I used a full yard.

With a few scraps left over for the next scrappy quilt.

Of course.

The Fractal quilt pattern is the last stop on the Fat Quarter Shop's Top 10 Videos of 2015 blog meanderings.

Initially, I did refer to the video which you can find here
You can also download the free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop here
Plus, you'll also need the kite ruler to cut the shapes and that can be purchased from here

The video was helpful but once I got the gist of it, I kind of deviated a bit from the instructions. As all the pieces are being sewn on the bias, theoretically, it could get a little wavy when sewing and the video recommends you starch each piece. So I didn't. What I did do, was use my walking foot to piece so you've got dual feed stitching, which I found really helpful in not getting any stretch.

Then really, you should pin,where you are sewing up to the centre dot (watch the video and then you'll know what I mean) but after a few blocks I stopped doing that. Reason being, I could feel with my nail where the join of two pieces of fabric met and I sewed maybe one stitch BEFORE the final dot and then secured off.

I know if you were pinning you would sew right up to and including the dot but that slowed the process down too much for me. By stopping one space before the dot, I knew for sure I hadn't inadvertently sewn into any of the other pieces and the Y seam behaved itself.

I also knew I was going to really quilt the top densely, so everything was always going to stay where it was meant to and we weren't gong to suffer a quilt disaster because I missed one teeny tiny stitch out in the centres of the Y seams.

On the back I used up two of the leftover hexagons and pieced it into Egyptian cotton off-cuts which are the most brilliant white and buttery soft. The off-cut bundles are very good value (at least they are if you're based outside the US and have no access to reasonably priced fabric) and can be purchased here

And then I heavily quilted the whole thing using clear monofilament thread on the front and white cotton on the back.
I really like the effect monofilament thread gives; great texture without the eye being drawn to the stitches.

I am so hugely in love with this quilt.

Oh and I should mention I made the quilt slightly larger than the one demonstrated in the video because I wanted to get the same balance of the grey kite shapes above and below the rainbow colours.

I actually contemplated selling this quilt because just how many quilts can someone have?
On reflection with this quilt, does it even matter.

If you'd like to see what other quilters have done with the Fractal quilt please have a look at the following:

I also need to tell you that if you make any of the Top 10 2015 Videos from Fat Quarter Shop and are on Instagram, you can use the hashtags  #fractalquilt and #FQSTop10 for a chance to win a Fat Quarter Shop $100 Gift Card. You have until 1 February.

A rainbow quilt with a rainbow.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Saving the best till last

I am finally finished hand quilting my Emperor's Wheel quilt and I feel a little lost.

For the past six months, when I've had some spare evening moments, I've stitched away at it.

I've straight line quilted it fairly densely, which has taken time but been completely worth it.

I am reliably informed the quilt is being held upside down - oops

It's given it a fantastic texture.

I originally blogged about the piecing of the quilt here which gives details of the pattern I purchased from Chris Jurd. It's been a brilliant pattern to just use up all those random scraps and will definitely be a family heirloom.

I just need to find something else now to do in spare evening moments.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

A self-indulgent quilt

Self-indulgent in the sense that I just wanted to cut up as many Anna Maria Horner fabrics as possible.
And also because I just bought her latest fabric line, Fibs & Fables and was itching to cut into it.

I started by thinking I was going to follow a pattern in a booklet I'd bought to accompany the Triangler ruler so I duly strip pieced two fabrics with different values and started cutting.

But by the time I'd done a fair amount of cutting, I'd gone right off the idea of following a pattern and just decided to play around with the triangles and see what I cam up with.

Which is how I ended up thinking this might not be a bad idea.

Even by my broad standards, it felt just a little too distractingly chaotic.
Solids felt too hard and restrictive so I went with a linen text fabric I found.

And sewed it all up to make this.

Then it was back to more random cutting to make it a border.
Because I felt it needed one.

And then it just felt balanced and finished so it was on to quilting it.

It feels rich and moody and luxurious and eclectic and I LOVE it.

The back has the left over border strips because I never work out beforehand the amounts I'll need.
It's too restrictive.
I'd rather guesstimate and then use any leftovers on the back.

Oops...missed a couple of parallel quilting lines there

And that's it.
My last complete quilt finish for 2015.

I think.
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