Monday, May 14, 2012

Mothers Day sewing

I made my Mama a cushion for Mothers Day. She loves stars and bright colours so I dipped into my bag of tricks and went with a warm/cool theme. The soft, pretty look came about more or less by accident but I really like it. And she does too. I used this template . The block finished a bit small for my cushion so I just added a border. I really should think about these things before hitting print and cutting up all my fabric.
I thought this block might be a little more complex than any paper piecing I have done to date. I was right. It took me the best part of a day, coming and going, sewing and undoing. Below you can see the fallout from some frustrated and over zealous trimming. I didn't realise this until the whole thing was sewn up and I had started to hand quilt it...and it pulled apart. Nothing a bit of the old zig zag couldn't fix. As you can see in the above photo it doesn't detract too much from the overall effect.
It is backed with an old sheet and a piece of this cute DS quilts print. I use old sheets as I don't need to hem them and they tend to be quite sturdy.

This is block #32 of the Skill Builder Sampler QAL. I am up to date and still going strong. There are just 4 blocks to go and it should finish in 5 weeks. We (hubby, bubby and I) are headed for the UK on Wednesday for a whole month of holidaying and visiting with family (hubby's, not mine, I am a dinky di Aussie). I will have plenty to catch up when we get back as well as all the washing and cleaning. My Mum has been quilting along, I send her the tutorials each week and she's almost up to date too. I hope to be able to post her blocks and a finished quilt along with mine.
For Mother's Day my little boy shouted me the Wiksten Tova pattern and some fabric to make a couple up.
For my first attempt I used this gorgeous, hard to photograph, Kaffe Fassett shot cotton. It's a blue and brown and I love it. The overall effect is a grey but it just looks muddy in this picture doesn't it? It's the most amazing fabric in the sunlight. I made it on Thursday and have worn it twice already.
I must admit to being a little stumped about the pivot and sew method for getting the inset in. I really struggled and sewed the inset to all sorts of wrong bits, not to mention just plain old catching extra fabric in the seam. In the end I did three separate, careful, seams and it sits perfectly.
Tova #2, Amy Butler Lark. I made this on Friday and wore it to lunch with my husband (another Mother's Day pressie, aren't I lucky?). I love it! This fabric is TO.DIE.FOR. I want want want the whole collection just so I can have it folded and I can touch it occasionally.

Tova #3, the shirt version. This is a tiny black and white gingham I've had forever. I did all the top stitching in a hot pink thread for a bit of interest and contrast. I am going to wear it today. I finished the top stitching this morning as I was up at 330 with my restless toddler. He seems to be either already jetlagged OR already on UK time. Who knows?
Tova #3 detail. I had a bit more drama with the inset for this shirt. This fabric is a little stiffer than the previous two I'd made. I think it's wearable, I can't see any big problems in these photos. I think I'd like one of these in a voile, all floaty and pretty.
The dress/shirt takes me about three and half hours from start to finish. With a toddler that translates into pretty much all day, and some of the night too.

On quilting news, I have hit a snag. I made up a quilt using the shirtings from a previous post, just a plain old patchwork squares. I decided to machine quilt it and be done with it in a day or two.It was the first time I have attempted to machine quilt anything bigger than a cushion cover with my new-old Janome (which is a special quilting machine, by the way). It was going quite well until I got about a third of the way through then the tension went haywire, the thread kept breaking and the stitches were miniscule and ugly. I have given up and will hand quilt it AND unpick all the machine quilting I have done. I really need to practice my machine quilting and get to know my machine a bit better. I feel like I've been posting a lot of mistakes recently. Honest. And hopeless.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Keep on making things, keep on making things...

I have been a busy girl. Below is the stack of men's shirts I picked up to recycle.

I spent several hours cutting them into usable pieces, a very satisfying task!

A neater stack, nice and soft. A real departure from my recent bright forays. I have chopped them into smaller squares and have begun to stitch them together into rows to make a very simple patchwork throw. So far I have only used the front panels, leaving sleeves and the large back pieces for another day.

In Color Order HST QAL, this is Mays block. I pressed the seams OPEN on my HSTs for the first time. And what do you know? The block lies flatter. It takes a little more time but I think it's better overall. I just might be converted.

A little rainbow pouch to be posted to my little sister for her birthday this week. It will accompany a much larger gift which is to be hand delivered by my Mum ( is it crazy that I don't trust Australia Post with my quilts?)
And this is the finished product. It is the Fenced In pattern from The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartmann. The pattern came together really quickly. I added some extra borders to give it some real drop on a big queen sized bed.

Some detail - so many super vibrant, busy fabrics in this quilt. It was tough to part with it although I am a little tired of my brights and am looking forward to working with the more subdued palette of blues and shirtings above.

Border and binding detail. Nothing really 'matches' in this quilt but it works for me. I used that Heather Bailey Peony print primarily because I had enough of it, I like the splashes of red. The binding is an awesome herringbone strip in pink. I even took the time to match up the stripes when I made the binding.

Another cushion. Just scraps, this one is more about the quilting design than the piecing and fabrics. I marked diagonal lines after squaring it up, quilted 1/2'' either side of the line in each quadrant in the V shape, then at 1" intervals to create the overall design. Effective!

Last but certainly not least my block #31 for the SBS QAL - Cactus Flower. This block introduced me to inset seams. The instructions on first reading seemed intimidating but once I got down to it it was actually OK. I love how spiky it is.

Have a great week.