Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Holiday Tutorial Series

Quilt Story

A few weeks ago I was approached by Quilt Story and asked if I would contribute to the series of holiday tutorials they were planning to run again this year.  It seems I'm going to be in very good company, with some fantastic designers getting involved.  The time table is as follows:

October 4th: Kerry from verrykerryberry tutorial: Hexagon Handle Holder
October 11th: Amber from A Little Bit Biased
October 18th: Sew Cal Gal
October 25th: Kirsty from Handmade by Kirsty
November 1st: Jesse from Messy Jesse
November 8th: Tabatha from Bending Pins
November 15th: Ali from a.squared.w
November 22nd: Happy Thanksgiving!
November 29th: Karen from Sew Well Maide
December 6th: Pennie from Tuppence Ha'Penny Quilts

I was really excited to be asked, and spent a good deal of my recent Cornwall trip planning what I was going to make.... and then replanning because every idea I have keeps popping up on someone else's holiday makes bog hop or tutorial!  

Anyway, I think I've managed to come up with a brilliant idea, and so on the 6th December I hope you'll join me to see what it is......

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Finger's crossed please...

First steps towards a very big change today.  All positive thoughts and crossed fingers very much appreciated. 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

A little pouchy distraction

At the moment, it can't be said that life is good.  For lots of reasons I can't go into, life is stressful, sad and exhausting, and I'm waiting for someone to turn on that light, 'cos right now, my tunnel seems awfully dark.

Anyway, in my effort to escape things for a while I decided to make a start on seasonal sewing and make some pouches I'm hoping will make appropriate Christmas gifts.

I wanted to see how the same pattern would look made in different ways as there are a number of possible recipients for these, and so I made a few different ones.  There's a lot of pressure from the title of the pattern 'Perfect Zip Bags' - my efforts were definitely better named 'Not So Perfect Zip Bags'!

First I did a patchwork version with Melody Miller, some Kona solids and some magic beans.  It was my first attempt at a lined zipped pouch, but I followed the pattern pretty carefully, and was really pleased with the outcome.  I interfaced both exterior and lining fabrics and added the interlining the pattern suggested.  The only thing I struggled with was the gusset on the exterior fabric, which the pattern said to do after sewing up the lining.  There also seemed to be a LOT of lining when it's turned in. 

Anyway, one of the possible recipients has passed judgement on this and it seems it might not be the worst present she could find under the tree....
So, next I made one in just one fabric - I've had this Stone Garden in the stash for a while - it was one of the first things I bought from The Village Haberdashery, back in February.  So far I haven't had the right pattern for it, but it seemed to be just perfect for this pouch.

I lined this one with a light olive green solid and it's pretty much the same on both sides.  This time, I cut the lining slightly smaller than the pattern said, added fusible fleece to the exterior fabric only, and no other interfacing or interlining, and I sewed the gussets in the exterior before I stitched up the lining, which was much, much easier.  I really quite like this one - there seems more room inside it.

Lastly, I wanted to have a bit of fun.  I'd been playing around with some Innocent Crush scraps, but I just couldn't get the right combo together for the wonky log cabin idea I'd had.  Then overnight I had an idea for recycling a pair of torn jeans, using a piece of the back with a pocket for one side and if possible actually just cut round the button and fly to make the front.  I cut it out, and then realised the front wouldn't work - there were just too many layers to sew through to join the waistband to the zipper and lining. 

Since I first saw Charlotte's
AMH Love wall hanging the phrase that always springs to mind when I see Innocent Crush is 'rock and roll', and so denim seemed a good accompaniment.  So, I combined the two ideas, still using the pocket piece for the back of the pouch and cutting one of the legs into 3" strips to border an AMH charm.  I interfaced the denim, as they were stretchy jeans and as I was sewing the pieces were getting all out of shape.  Once interfaced, though they worked fine.  I lined it with Kona charcoal, and used a dark grey zip, keeping the grungy look.

So, that's my weekend's work.  This evening I'm going to be clearing up the sewing room and rehousing the items that were on the shelf that fell off the wall yesterday morning.  As if I don't have enough to worry about, I now have whacking great holes in the plaster of the sewing room!

Ah well, as they say, 'it never rains but it pours', and 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.  I'm not feeling so strong right now, but hopefully soon....

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Double A Side has landed

OK, so it's all very well spending months sourcing just the right fabric for your 3-year old niece's birthday quilt, designing a double A sided pattern, piecing it all, finishing it with lovely borders, tying it with gorgeous variegated embroidery thread....  

but it's no flippin' good if you then miss the birthday!!  Imagine my horror yesterday when I realised Megan's big day was last Friday, not this week as thought!

Baaaaaad Auntie Pennie....

So, I just about managed to wrap it in more pinkness and get it into the post, special delivery, with a very grovelly card.  It took some doing, letting it go, and I think I might have to start again on the Heather Ross hunt to make another one!  

Anyway, I just got this......

I think she likes it!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Honey, I'm home!

Awww, quilting world, how I missed you..... The effort of trying to post via mobile proved just too traumatic, and my signal in not-sunny-at-all Cornwall was erratic at best so I have heaps to tell you and to catch up on!

I have finally figured out how all these amazing super-achievers get things done so quickly - they do absolutely nothing else..... I'm kidding of course, I know all you wonder-quilters have jobs and children to take care of really... or so you say!  With two weeks off, I got one quilt finished, another completely done and a significant amount of work done on a Christmas project.  I also initiated my friend Hilary into the joys of quilting, as we started work on Santa sacks and other Christmas goodies for her.  

In between sewing sessions I did a lot of dog walking - Hilary and I have 4 spaniels between us, so we did beach, woodland and sand dune walks to keep them all quiet enough for us to have the sewing sessions.  There were also quite a few afternoon teas, sticky cakes and yummy lunches consumed, so the diet starts now!

However it did rain, nearly every day, and on Thursday we got caught, whilst on a circular walk, by the worst rain storm I can remember.  I have never been so wet in clothes in my life - trust me, everything was soaked.  The irony was that it was sunny when we set off, so we left waterproof trousers in the car.  When we got back we ended up having to strip out of sodden jeans and wear the waterproofs instead so as not to soak the car.  Later that day, the area's website reported flash flooding...

Anyway, enough about my holiday, you want to see the work, right?

Well, I posted that I'd finished the raw edge applique circles quilt.  I finally decided to bind it with orange magic beans, as I found any solid binding just over-emphasised that colour within the quilt top.  The busier binding blended in really well, I think, and I'm really happy with this, it kind of disappears. I'm looking forward to being able to snuggle up under this on the sofa over the winter, with the bright colours really cheering me up on the dull days.  Alison's original tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew can be found here.

Mind you, it's already been claimed by a certain member of the household, who actually kicked bags off the top of it last night so he could curl up on it.  Think I might have a wrestling match on my hands!

I also got Megan's Double A-side finished, and I have to say I love it!  It's the first time I've ever felt slightly sad that I don't have a daughter to give it to! I hope she likes it, otherwise I'm reclaiming it.  I finished it slightly differently, as the quilt already had the borders around the edge, and I couldn't think of a binding that I liked that would go with both sides.  So it is not bound - I just sewed the edges together almost all the way round and then turned it right side out and hand stitched the opening, and then top stitched all the way round.   

 As doing it this way meant it wasn't going to possible to quilt both sides and as both sides were very different layouts anyway,  I decided to just tie it using variegated DMC embroidery thread.  As I'd used cotton / bamboo mix wadding, this is now a beautifully soft quilt, and I am really happy with my first attempt at a quilt without using a pattern.

I might not be making anything pink for a while though.....

Yesterday I had a great time helping Annie from The Village Haberdashery on her stall at the Knitting and Stitching show in Alexandra Palace.  I'm sure Annie's blog will tell more about this, but it was great to see other quilters there - I spotted a few faces from retreat 2012 - but my favourite part was the number of handmade bags being sported by visitors, along with some fantastic handmade coats and jackets.  Quilters are a colourful bunch!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

WIP Wednesday

Just a quickie today, if the mobile will handle the link thing!

Happy to say I have finished hand quilting the raw edge circles, so today I'm deciding on a binding.

Yesterday I made a start on putting Megan's quilt together and got the pink side done..... Except when I drew it out I didn't allow for seams, so it's a bit smaller than planned.  No drama though, as I reckon it'll look great with a plain pink border to frame

Hope the picture worked! Linking up with Freshly Pieced.

Monday, 1 October 2012

On the mobile....

I'm on holiday at the moment in lovely Cornwall..... OH is fishing, I get to do lots of sewing and walking of dogs on the fantastic beaches.  I'm trialling mobile blogger, so goodness knows how this post will come out!

Anyway, just wanted to let you know the spiral quilting is finally done! Just got to decide on binding now.....