Monday, January 23, 2012

Uh oh! I started something else...

I have been thinking about white polka dots on black since seeing this quilt . Mary from Molly Flanders provides endless inspiration for me. I love her style, the colours she uses and all the traditional techniques she employs to come up with fun quilts.

Anyhoo, as I was saying. Black and white polka dots. It's a dress fabric I purchased at Spotlight just 'cos. Then I was thinking...I love the look of all the bright colours set on the black, with some flashes of white. I got the coloured pencils out and did some doodling....

...and then some snipping, 2" strips of my 'bright materials', and...

...some newspaper template production based on this tutorial... make this little beauty! Needless to say I am thrilled with how it came out and will chip away at these blocks until I have enough (how many is enough?).

The thought of not having a quilt to handstitch in the woods gives me the heebie jeebies. I feel panicked as I near the end of quilting if I don't have something more or less ready to go. Is there a name for this? Quilt anxiety????

I finished hand quilting this 20" x 20" cushion cover. It is #1 of a pair I have been asked to make for my sisters friend after seeing the Christmas craftiNess. As per above, I have been somewhat distracted but am committed to finishing the second patchwork top for basting and stitching today.

Squares for #2 cut and sorted neatly. This is not indicative of my usual style at all. I am a super messy crafter.

The Skill Builder Sampler goes on. This is block 24, the curved 9 patch with a border. I didn't have any problems with this block and am pretty happy with the outcome. I even quite like the colour combo, pinks and greens. I think we have a week 'off' the SBS this week, then we will be away for a few weeks so I'll have plenty to catch up when we get back from our little trip.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Works in Progress

Sherbet Pips Tumbler quilt. I pieced this puppy together pretty quickly one day last week. I was surprised how easy it was. I didn't use a pattern or a template, just my ruler and cutting mat. Oh, and my rotary cutter. I cut 6" strips then cut them into tumblers with a 6" width at one end and 4" at the other. Easy peasy. They were a cinch to sew up and the seams match up!! Finally I have this scant seam thing going on.

I am almost finished hand quilting with embroidery thread, red for all non-red blocks, white for the red blocks for some nice contrast. The back is pieced but that can wait for another time. I am going to leave the sides all ziggy zaggy and challenge myself to bias binding it. Yikes.

These are my bright materials (as opposed to the His Dark Materials) that I have made into warm-cool HSTs. The trimming process is so - yawn -tedious but well worth the effort.

Option 1 - concentric diamonds.

Option 2 - little diamonds. A close contender but perhaps another time.

Option 3. The winner. Warm cool zig zags. This ticks off two wishlist quilts in one go. HSTs and zig zags. This quilt top is pieced and awaiting border inspiration and motivation. It will be hand quilted...right after I finish the other one.

I do believe I am up to date. See you soon. Have a great week.

Skill Builder Sampler Quilt Along

Block 23 - Drunkard's Path - YAY!!!

I started out with the 6.5" sub-blocks. This QAL is fantastic as we are taught to make our own templates and everything. I liked making this block and it didn't take that long soooooo I decided to have a go at the 3.5" blocks....all 16 of them...

This is how 16 little Drunkard's Path blockettes look. Pinning madness. A fair amount of unpicking madness too. This is NOT the type of thing to attempt late on a Sunday arvo after having had a house full of guests for days and days and a really whiny, tired baby.
Despite the rushing and not squaring up it came out OK. These tight curves are a nightmare to sew but I did it and that feels pretty good. It's all about persistence as Elmo would say.

My two Drunkard's Path blocks. I am SUCH a teacher's pet.

A few 2011 Finishes


This quilt! This quilt was in my head from the first moment I saw this fabric. I got a huge bundle of this beautiful material for my birthday. My colours. Greens. Aquas. Blues. So soothing. So...oceanic!

The logs are of varying widths,2.75" and 1.25", and the centres finish at 2.75" square. I randomly pieced the logs in rounds to end up with cabins of different shapes and sizes. I then added a cream/white border and trimmed to 18" square (mainly because this is the size of my cutting mat!).

It is also sashed with the same white/cream, 3''. It is hand quilted around all logs and along major seam lines giving a large scale grid. I used a Guterman variegated thread that worked perfectly. The binding is a navy and white spot that frames it well I think.

The back is a green and navy JoAnns (?) fabric I picked up at The Craft Depot on special. If I had my time again I probably would have used a plain fabric, perhaps panels of cream and aqua. We live and learn. The front is quite sparse and fresh looking so I don't mind that the back is busy. There is also a pieced 'window' on the back made from scraps which was fun to make and breaks up the print a bit.

I love love LOVE this quilt. We have been sleeping under it since the beginning of December when it was supposed to start getting warmer. Ahem. No one has bothered to tell the weather this so we now sleep under a pile of quilts - luckily there is no shortage. It is nice and big so there's no quilt fights in the middle of the night.

It was largely inspired by the classic Denyse Schmidt, and this quilt by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh,Fransson! and by the Daisy Chain Strippy Quilt


I got the fabrics for the body of this quilt for my birthday as well. They are all Heather Bailey PopGarden and Bijoux. I adore the,m. I was really stuck for an idea. I wanted it to be bright and I wanted all colour and busy-ness, no rests for the eyes. I was flickr-ing one day and came across the popGarden and Bijoux group and I saw this !
It was just the inspiration I needed. I did a few sums and decided on 2.5" strips. I chain sewed them all together until I had blocks of 5 strips. Initially I had promised myself that this was going to be a smallish quilt, not another queen bed sized monster. But I couldn't help myself. It kept growing. I stopped at 36 blocks. I could still be sewing these blocks!

The blocks went into a bag and under the bed for a bit as we had my in-laws out from the UK for 3 weeks. One day Nanny and Grandad took the baby out for the day. I got out my bright blocks and sewed them all together in an afternoon, added the skinny and fatty border and started to ponder the back. I had bought the green and blue floral prints specifically for the backing. I still have oodles of strips so I sewed them together too. And there you have it. A front and a back.

It is hand quilted with embroidery floss - time will tell how this holds up but so far so good (fingers and toes crossed). All different colours. The body is quilted in an organic baptist fan pattern and the borders are straight line quilted.

The quilting!
This quilt is also on our bed and is so deliciously soft and snuggly.

A satisfying , but not entire, stack of quilts of 2011.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A crafty Christmas

Now. Because I am so behind in my blogging this will be short and sweet.

Pillow I made for my Mama for Christmas with Amy Butler Daisy Chain scraps. She loved the quilt I made (coming up next) so here it is in all its grainy glory on my bed with aforementioned quilt. She loved it!

Noodlehead's 'Go Anywhere' bag. My husband calls it the Go Everywhere bag. The one on the left with the chambray/denim type fabric I made for myself. The buff cotton drill one I made for my baby sister. The print is another Amy Butler - just can't get enough! The linings are a pink chambray I had lying around, I seem to inherit off cuts and scraps! The weight of these bags are really nice and they are still soft. I am yet to use linings or interfacing for one of these bags.

Itty bitty squares pillow for my middle sister (recipient of 'Bloody Dresden' quilt). This is made from 2.5" scraps from the yet-to-be-blogged 'Bright Quilt'. All Heather Bailey PopGarden and Bijoux. Love these colours.

And although not technically a Christmas present, it was finished and gifted at Christmas time. This is a play mat/quilt I made for my brand new niece born in November. I helped my sis to make some cushions for the babies room before she arrived, leaving me with some rather large offcuts and a great starting point for pallette and style.

I stayed with greens and creams and because now we know she's a girl I threw in some cutesy pinks too. I hand quilted it in concentric circles which took a little longer than I had imagined. The end result is so worth it!

The back was made from my sisters off cuts. There is a matching ball, alas no photo.

What happened to 2011?

The last weeks of 2011 were a blur of activity and Christmas preparations. We had my husbands Mum and Dad over from the UK for three weeks in November. Then we all got sick, one after the other, including the baby. husband hurt his back very badly and was bedbound for 5 days, I played nursey-wifey-hosty-mummy. It was an exhausting and trying time to say the least.
Amongst it all I managed to continue crafting....but no blogging.
I am now hopelessly behind. I AM determined to get back on track but it may take a few days (=nap times). I have lots to show.

I will start with the Quilt Along progress. I am up to date in the Skill Builder Sampler which, all things considered is a pretty mean feat I reckon.

Without further ado I present Blocks 17-22.

Block #17 - Starry Night. A paper foundation pieced block. Love it. Love the technique. The precision. Love the end product. I don't love the waste involved although I'm sure experience makes one better. Am so happy with my work on this block. Yay!

Block #19 - Circle of Geese. the last of the foundation piecing. I had wondered how on earth people made this block. Now I know! Again, loving the precision, not so much the wastage.

Block #20 - Orange Windows. An unmitigated disaster. Partially because I didn't read the instructions properly and didn't allow for extra on the background block. Primarily because although I didn't have the recommended heat'n'bond, or similar product, I ploughed ahead. I tried to substitute Uhu glue. With little success. This was a machine applique exercise that I failed miserably. I am certain if I did it again, PROPERLY, I could DO it. I love the design and the colours, my execution not so much.

Block #20 - Circles. We were given a few different applique methods to try. I prefer to hand baste my shapes and then iron down on the template. I then hand, or needle turn, appliqued my circles into a Christmas tree configuration. I was just getting in the festive mood. I like needle turn applique. Who would have thunk it?!

Block #21 - Applique block 3, we could choose our own design and technique. I chose this Topeka Rose design. Very traditional. I was a bit concerned about how the modern fabrics would get along with such a traditional design and technique but I am thrilled with it. A lot of applique is in the prep, templates, fabric choices and cutting, basting and placement. Once I got into the groove it seemed to sew itself. I finished this baby on New Years Eve, so technically my final crafty output for 2011.

Block #22 - Flowering Snowball. The start of the curves skills. I have never sewn curves before. I must admit I was a little anxious but I pinned diligently and sewed slowly and voila this happy, and FLAT, block. I am looking forward to the rest of the curves blocks. I am crossing my fingers for a drunkards path block.

That brings the Skill Builder Quilt Along up to date. There are just 14 more blocks to go.

Much, much more to come.