Friday, April 17, 2015

CQ Quilt bee blocks

Today is a bit of a funny day, and I wasn't sure what to do, despite a long to do list. In the post came some blocks from Sue B, which she made for me after my last blog posting. So I finished sewing another block which was prepped ready to sew. A little unpicking was necessary as I had the first row
wrong.

 
Several of the strips came from my stash of Moda scrap strips. Neither of the packs I've bought have been my style, but they add to scrap projects very nicely.
 

 
I added this block to the three I'd already made. I'm pleased with the secondary design as the block itself is very simple.
 
 
Then I added my four blocks to Sue's six blocks and don't they look great, Thank you Sue.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quilting progress

There's a lot of quilting going on here, but not on any of my quilts. I have been quilting the three Siblings Together quilts from Helen. The first gave me grief, who knows why so I left it for a few days.


 
That was yesterday and today number 2 went on the machine and quilted like a dream.

 
I even got number 3 on the machine too.

 
Jane has offered to help stitch down the binding but I'm hoping if it goes to our Guild on Monday that others will want to help too.
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Christmas Tree skirt

I saw this tree skirt on someone's blog about three years ago or more and it is a pattern from Fat Quarterly e-zine. I bought it as a back issue and there started my relationship with Fat Quarterly as a reader, contributor and retreat attendee. All because this pattern caught my eye on someone's blog.
 
 
 
The fabric's I used are a Moda basic white on white with small swirls on both the front and back and scraps of Kate Spain and Bonnie & Camille. Only the Kate Spain fabrics are Christmas themed. I particularly like the scalloped Bonnie & Camille fabrics which look great on the roofs of the houses.
 
 
I had tried to freehand machine quilt on my Bernina, but it wasn't successful. I was trying to do tiny swirls but the tension was poor and the stitch length irregular, so my first job was to unpick the earlier quilting and remove the tacks and pins. Then I loaded it onto my longarm. You can see from the photos that I stayed with the swirls theme and made them larger.
 
A few quilting tips:
  • Take inspiration from your background or backing fabrics for your quilting
  • Work in from the side and then back out to the side so there's no need to sew in ends.
  • Break the quilting down into smaller portions.
 I was surprised how quickly I got it quilted and I was then ready for binding. I decided to buy some premade binding. Another tip is to read the packets of binding. I have no idea why, but I imagined there were three metres in each pack. This was after doing some quick maths to work out how much I needed. Fortunately I remembered that the piece almost took up the full width of regular fabric - so a diameter of 40". I was delighted that the shop had a third packet of binding as I envisaged a long internet search to find a match. And yes I did do a happy dance in the shop.

 
I felt that there was a vast sea of white above the roof tops of the houses, so I dug out my Kandi Kane and two sizes of hot fix jewels. The crystals are brilliant for when you should be doing a French knot and don't want to do a French knot.

 
They are quick and easy to glue onto the project. I just scattered the smallest crystals and adhered them almost where they lay. I then had to unplug the tool and wait for the tip to cool so that I could change it to a bigger tip. Then I took slightly bigger crystals and scattered them closer to the houses. They give a lovely sparkle and fill the whiteness. 


 
The last job should have been to sew on the buttons, but I decided that I didn't like how I'd machine down the binding so I unpicked it all and hand sewed it down instead. Annoying but it had to be done.
 
 
Then it was onto the buttons. Now why hadn't I anticipated during my several visits to town for supplies that I would need five buttons? I will admit that they are similar but don't match and come from Janine's Mum's button box which she gave to me a couple of years ago.
 
It's finished and ready to join our Christmas tree in the loft. And now that it's finished, I'm pleased with how it has turned out. My friend Dorothy can't now tease me that she's finished hers and mine is still a UFO. Now it's finished Dorothy, you'll have to find something else to tease me about. And you may not know all the other UFOs that I have.

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kilner pin cushion


I bought a Kilner jar when I was in Winchester in May 2014 as I wasn't sure I could buy them in Jersey. Of course when I got home and actually ventured into Le Lievres, they had them in all of the sizes. It would have saved me time at airport security as they wanted to see my "jar of jam or chutney". It was actually fabric stuffed into my Kilner jar to save room as I was travelling hand luggage only, but only just!!

Now here's a tutorial to make a pin cushion jar using:
One Kilner jar which cost under £3. The small jar cost me £1.50
5" circle of fabric
3" circle of wadding  - I used an iron on wadding
Scraps of wadding to stuff the pin cushion
Glue - I used glossy accents. diamond glaze would also work well. I wouldn't use a hot glue gun as the glue is too bulky.
Compass to draw the circles

 
Firstly I ironed the wadding into the centre of my 5" circle of fabric. This is from the Country Girls range by Riley Blake. I quilted the pin wheel in the centre and then tore up some scrap wadding to use as stuffing. I put some wadding behind the fabric to give it more firmness. Then I ran a large machine stitch 1cm in from the edge of the circle to gather the circle.
 

 
Gather the circle evenly until it's about the same size as the top.
 
 
Stuff the inside of the pin cushion, insert the lid into the pin cushion and pull the threads tight. Turn the lid over to make sure you're happy that your design is central. Then run a thin bead of glue around the inside of the screw top lid. Drop the pincushion into the lid and screw it tightly onto the jar. This will help the glue set. Leave to dry for at least an hour.
 
 
I thought long and hard about how to finish the inside of the lid without adding to the bulk and I had a flash of inspiration. Take out the metal lid and glue it down. I put glue onto the fabric surrounding the wadding and also onto the metal part of the lid. Screw onto the jar again so as to set the glue. A seam ripper is useful for folding down the fabric and a cotton bud for clearing up any glue which lands where you hadn't planned!!
 
 
I think this method gives a neat finish.
 

I gave one of the jars for a birthday present to Jane and added a mini charm pack and a few Fat Quarters. You could add some washi tape, buttons and flowers to the belly of the jar, but I like it plain.






Saturday, April 11, 2015

Planning another Siblings Together quilt

I've been so inspired by all of the quilts that I've been seeing, that I decided to plan another inspired by two tops by NickyShe.

 
My month in our Guild bee isn't until August, but I thought I'd be prepared, just in case someone needs to swap months. It's also a good procrastination excuse.
 
If you'd like to make one or more of these blocks for yourself or my Siblings Together quilt, the instructions are as follows 

Please make one or more of these 12” blocks (finished). Unfinished size is 12.5” Use tones of any one colour in each block. This will be made into a charity quilt for a child, so anything goes – bright is good, no pastels, grey, brown or black please.
 

Cut:
White or white on white         Six 2.5” squares
Fabric A                                  10.5” x 2.5” strip
Fabric B                                  2.5” square
                                                8.5” x 2.5” strip
Fabric C                                  4.5” x 2.5” strip
                                                6.5” x 2.5” strip
Fabric D                                  4.5” x 2.5” strip
                                                6.5” x 2.5” strip
Fabric E                                   2.5” square
                                                8.5” x 2.5” strip
Fabric F                                   10.5” x 2.5” strip

 
With reference to the picture, sew each fabric to either side of a white square. Press seams open. Then sew the six rows together. Press seam open again. If your block won’t lie flat – press and place a square ruler on top of the block – the steam and weight will help make the block lie flat.
 
 
I also need half of the blocks with the white squares going top left to bottom right with horizontal strips, so please feel free to make one or more of those instead.
 
 
 
I love the quilts Nicky made as they are graphic and striking but use simple 2.5" strips which you can use from jelly roll scraps or in my case I started with strips I swapped with other attendees at Fat Quarterly Retreat.
 



Friday, April 10, 2015

52 weeks of blogging


I've just come across this idea over at Shruti's blog. I know I've already missed three months of prompts, but I think it will inject some variety into my blog posts. So come back tomorrow for a blog post about a small make.

April is when we will be teaching and learning from each other. Tutorials will be the theme for this month. You could write tutorials this month or write about your favorite tutorials from someone else's blog and include a link to it.

Apr 06: Tutorial - Item : Write a tutorial for a small item. A mini quilt, mug rug, bag, pouch absolutely anything that you want to. Or share a quilting tutorial written by someone else that you love.
Apr 13: Tutorial - FMQ Design : Write a tutorial for your favorite FMQ design. Or share one that you love.
Apr 20: Photography Tips : Tell us about your photography tips.
Apr 27: Tutorial - Technique : Tell us about the technique that you love. It could be anything - binding, piecing, applique absolutely anything!

May is the month when we have school holidays here in India. So this month will be about vacations. It might have some posts that will be more in general.

May 04: Favorite Holiday Destination : Tell us about your favorite holiday destination. How was your trip? Who did you go with? What did you do?
May 11: Trip Essentials : Every trip needs different stuff. But I'm sure there are some things you just HAVE to carry with you for every trip. What are those?
May 18: Carry with you - quilting : Is there any quilting stuff that you carry along with you? If yes, what is it? And do you really work on it when you're there? If not, why not?
May 25: Dream Vacation : What is your dream vacation? Who will you go with? What do you plan to do?

June will be the month we will focus on fabrics!

Jun 01: Favorite Fabric Line : Tell us about your favorite fabric line. Who designed it? Why do you love it?
Jun 08: Favorite Fabric - Neutral or Solid : Tell us about your go-to neutral or solid fabric. Why do you choose it every time? How much do you buy each time? Where do you buy it from?
Jun 15: Favorite Fabric - Backing : Which is the fabric that you usually use for backing your quilts? If you use a different one each time, how do you choose the backing fabric? Do you piece your backs or use a single fabric?
Jun 22: Favorite Fabric - Designer : Who is your favorite fabric designer? Why? Which design of his/her is your favorite?
Jun 29: Favorite Fabric - Material: We all use cotton fabrics for quilting. Have you used any other fabric? How was it? Did you like it? Why? didn't you like it? Why?

July is all about notions.

Jul 06: Cutting Tools : Tell us about the cutting tools that you have and love to use. How does that help you make your work better? Is there anything you'd like to change about them? Is there anything you wished you had?
Jul 13: Templates and Rulers : Do you use any quilting templates or special rulers? Do you love them? Is there a template or ruler you wished they had made?
Jul 20: Marking tools : What are the marking tools that you use to mark the fabric? Temporary and permanent. Are there any tools you's like to have?
Jul 27: Other Notions : Are there any other notions that you use and love? Are there any you hate? Tell us about them.

August is all bout threads!

Aug 03: Thread - Brand : Which is your favorite brand of thread? Have you used other brands? Why is it your favorite? Where do you buy it from?
 Aug 10: Thread - Color : Which is your favorite thread color? How often do you use it? How much of it do you have right now?
Aug 17: Thread - Weight : What weight thread do you use for piecing? For quilting? Have you used threads of different weights? How was your experience? Any recommendations?
Aug 24 : Thread - Type : What type of thread have you used? Want to use? Monofil, Polyester, Metallic? Any tips on using that thread?
Aug 31: Thread - Storage : How do you store your thread? Bobbins? Any tips on thread & bobbin storage?

In September, we will be talking about sewing machines.

Sep 07: Sewing Machine - Yours : What sewing machine (s) do you currently have? Which is your favorite?
Sep 14: Dream Sewing Machine : Which is your dream sewing machine? What do you love about it? How much does it cost? When do you plan to buy it? Have you seen / used it? How did you feel?
Sep 21: Sewing Machine Names : Does your sewing machine(s) has a name? Why did you choose that name?
Sep 28: Sewing Machine Maintenance : How often do you clean / service your sewing machine? Have you had any problems with it? How did you solve them? Any tips about maintaining your sewing machine in excellent condition?

October is a month when we talk about storage.

Oct 05: Storage - Fabric : How do you store your fabric? How do you wish you stored your fabric?
Oct 12: Storage - Notions : How do you store all your notions? Any tips on storing notions?
Oct 19: Storage - Patterns : How do you store your quilt patterns? How do you save your online PDF patterns and eBooks so that you can find the one that you want when you want it.
Oct 26: Storage - Finished Goods or Quilts: How do you store all the lovely quilts that you have made? Any tips to store them so that they are always in excellent condition?

Holidays are fast approaching and it is time for making those lovely gifts! So the theme of November will be handmade gifts.

Nov 02: Wishlist! : Let us start with you! What would you like to receive this holiday season? Feel free to share your wishlist so that your family and friends know what to buy for you!
Nov 09: Gifts for Boys: What would you recommend making for the men in your life? Little boys or bigger boys both.
Nov 16: Gifts for Girls: What would you recommend making for the women in your lives? Little women or the elder ones.
Nov 23: Gifts for Pets: Do you have a pet who is a family member? What would you make for him/her?
Nov 30: Little Gifts : Share your tutorials or gift ideas for little gifts that can make great stocking stuffers.

December will mark a near-end to our blogging journey together. It is time to look back at how far we have come.

Dec 07: Review resolutions : Go back to your first post of the year and see how many of the new year resolutions you have achieved. how far have you come? How do you feel?
Dec 14: Blog journey : You have been blogging fairly regularly for the entire year now, ahs that impacted your blog? How? Has that impacted you? How?
Dec 21: Dream Sewing Space: Remember your dream sewing space? Go back to that post, and see how close are you to your dream? What have you done? What do you have to do?
Dec 28: Way forward : Now that you have done an year of regular blogging, do you want to do that again next year? Any suggestions for the prompts?

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Crazy - finishing someone else's UFOs

You will have seen several quilts made by me on this blog for donation to Siblings Together. This is where Mary thinks we are with the approximately 100 quilts needed for this year's camps.

 
 
 
Very Blue Peter circa mid 1970s. Helen offered the group three quilt tops to finish and I rashly said I'd quilt them. When I looked in the cupboard where I store threads and backings, the cupboard seemed very bare. No Ikea Britten left or much else, so I thought. So I listed and measured the quilts I want to finish in April and then took the backings out of the cupboard to do the same.
 


What a surprise I had more than I thought and I managed to match four out of five quilts up with a suitable backing.
 
This pretty yellow and blue top by Helen was paired with a traditional cream backing from Treadles.
 
 
This Denise Schmidt top was paired with the last of my Carolyn Friedlander bargain wide backing
 
 
This fabric is only just wide enough for the top. Backing bought from John Lewis in their 50% off sale last summer. I will have to take a list with me when I go to London, just in case I encounter another sale.

 
And last by not least, a Quilty Fun top which needs a 1" sashing around the whole quilt and a small border. This is the last of this Ikea fabric and I wished I bought more.

Lynne Goldsworthy offered bindings for the quilts a few weeks ago and posted some choices on Instagram so they should arrive next week.  I will just have tow ait patiently for an online sale of backings as there are no modern backings available locally and I need a backing for my large Moda Building Blocks quilt.