Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Katy's HST class

I've been getting on with my homework for Katy's class this week. We started off making 48 x 5" squares in prints and 48 x 5" squares in a solid or background.  As I mentioned here, I was a bit short of time with one thing and another, so I grabbed a fat quarter bundle of Pearl Bracelets off the sewing table and a wodge of white on white for the solid, as it was all I had that was big enough to get all those squares from.  Fortuitously, in the bag I used to carry the fabric was my fat eighth bundle of Michael Miller's Mirror Dots, which I thought would provide a fab contrast, while continuing the circles theme.  

I didn't have time to plan or the brain power for maths on Saturday morning, so I just randomly selected fabrics that gave a rough rainbow range of colour, and started cutting squares.  Once we had a stack cut, rather than using the method of matching two squares, marking from corner to corner, sewing either side and then cutting into two, Katy told us we were going the bias route.

So we cut all the squares in half, and then matched the triangles and sewed together along the bias edges. As Katy said, learning to overcome the fear of bias sewing pays dividends in so many ways - not least in being able to sew curves with confidence.  

During my unplanned cutting, instead of the 96 expected squares, I managed to end up with 131!  Once they were all pressed and trimmed down to 4" and laid out on the spare bed which doubles for a design wall, I found I was one square short, so I rustled up a couple more and finished off the layout.

I'm going for an off-centred concentric rainbow squares kind of a deal.  Tonight, when I got home, I found out one of the various menagerie had decided they didn't like that layout and kindly rearranged it for me!  Luckily I'd taken a photo and could put it back in it's original format.

I decided to sew it together in blocks of 16 squares, and last night got the first three bits done and sewn together.  I took it super slowly, taking one pair of squares at a time to sew, then taking them back in the spare room to press and check the layout and line up the next one for stitching.  It means I'm walking miles between the spare rooms, but taking it very slowly and carefully seems to be paying dividends.  What do you think of it so far?

Hopefully by Friday night they'll all be sewn together and it'll just be a case of deciding what background colour to sent the finished mega-block into. I'm torn between dark blue, dark grey or dark purple.  I'm not sure white will really set it off -  - any suggestions? 

You'll be happy to know I did spot the mistake in this before I started sewing!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Update on a covet

So while I was in the shop this weekend I got chance to fondle and drool over the beautiful Glimma range that Annie now has in stock. Not only are there the scrumptious quilting cottons I mentioned here, but there are 4 gorgeous solids in lovely dusty colours, a couple of spotty linens, and some canvas - just perfect for THE latest bag pattern, the Aeroplane.

I was fairly taken with the colous on the little iPad screen, but in the flesh they are something else - the flannel grey has a hint of heather to it, while the slate is a rich intense stormy grey.  

So get yourself over to Annie's, either virtually here or literally over in West Hampstead, and get it while it's hot.  Just please remember to leave enough of the dandelion for me and my aeroplane.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Life is a roller coaster...

I'm sorry I was away for longer than expected, but the weekend in Wales didn't go entirely according to plan, thanks to a mystery virus that landed me in hospital at the start of the week with suspected meningitis.  I'm very happy to say, after many somewhat painful tests, including a lumbar puncture, that was ruled out, but I'm only really now back in full health.

After that less than auspicious start, I went back to work on Thursday to confirmation of a promotion I'd applied for.  As this will come with a permanent contract, and a rather juicy pay rise, you can imagine that was fantastic news after the last few months. 

Then, to round the rapidly improving week off, remember this? Well, guess where I spent yesterday? Yep, only in day one of Katy's fantabulous class.  And what a great time was had by all.  It was all a bit of a panic getting ready for the class as I wasn't sure I'd be well enough to go, and then I had a last minute visit from my lovely baby sis, so it was a bit of a case of grabbing a fat quarter bundle of pearl bracelets off the sewing table, whichever solid I had enough of to cut 48 x 5" squares, (which happened to be a white on white by Makower) and in a last minute flash of inspiration, the fat 8th bundle of the Michael Miller mirror dots. (OK, not inspiration at all, they just happened to be in the bag I wanted to use!)

So we learned all about half square triangles, Katy had us cutting the squares in half and sewing along the bias edges to get us used to bias sewing - useful for curves and all sorts of other stuff.  And we got them all chain pieced - this is something I haven't done often, but I can see the advantages - speed and thread-preservation mainly.

One of the most exciting bits for me was using the electronic Janome's Annie has for the classes - I've never used a computerised sewing machine before and got more than a little excited about the fact the needle would always stop in the up position!  And the speed control.... I'm thinking I can see what part of that new pay rise will be going towards.....

So here's a little mosaic of the day. We were sent home with loads of homework, because we all gossiped too much and didn't sew enough!  I have somehow managed to end up with 131 HSTs instead of the 96 planned, and having done my layout ready to sew up before next week's day two, I've still managed to end up with one missing, so I've got one more to rustle up this evening and then I can start sewing them together.  Hopefully, I'll have it finished by next week, 'cos I don't want to end up in detention.....

Friday, 10 May 2013

The 6th, and this week's final, covet of the week

So, all this week, in celebration of Annie's new weekday opening hours at the wonder that is The Village Haberdashery, we've had a daily, misnomered, Covet of the Week. Today being Friday, and the last weekday, this is the last in the mini series, but the question is have I saved the best till last??

 With her ranges Echo and Bella, Lotta Jansdotter brought us clean, Scandinavian design, and Glimma carries that theme on.  I'm loving this range, and having resisted the previous two, I suspect this one will see me parting with more hard-earned cash, as I identify that gap in the stash that only Glimma could fill.

The muted colours and simple designs are gorgeous, and I can't wait to see it in the thread, as it were.

Now, after all that coveting I'm off to Wales for a soul-cleansing weekend with beloved partner's family.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The 5th Covet

Last week, over on Lynne's blog, there was a write-up of a new quilting programme specially for i-pad called Quiltography. I was intrigued and went ahead a bought a copy. Not sure quite how long it's going to take me to photograph, measure, and name every piece of fabric in my relatively small (yes, beloved partner, I did say small!) stash in order to get the most out of it, but there was one feature I couldn't wait to try.

I saw a photo on Mark Lipinski's Facebook page and immediately thought it would make an amazing quilt. Quiltography offers a fab feature where you import a photo and it converts it into a pixelated-style quilt pattern, along with the number of pieces you need in each colour! 

For the life of me I can't work out how to load the photo of the quilt pattern, but take my word for it, it'll be great. There's even piecing diagrams for each block and then a layout diagram too, so hopefully fool-proof..... we'll see.

Anyway, you're hopefully reading this and wondering a) if I own the programme, what am I coveting, and b) what's this got to do with Annie's wonderful shop that this week's covets are celebrating?

So, here we go.... as well as all the wonderful patterned fabrics, Annie has an enviable collection of Kona solids - just what I need to do the design justice. So I need a Kona colour card with new insert so I can match that up with the colour suggestion in the pattern and try and make the quilt look as stunning as I think it could.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Covet and ye shall find.....

Well, I know strictly speaking it should be seeking that does the finding, but that doesn't fit in my week of coveting!  Look what Annie has running over on the LMQG blog.... only a giveaway of a free place on Katy's course!  Of course, what with all my coveting, and working in the shop, I can't enter.....  oh, the irony!!!

Anyway, wiping my eyes and moving on, here we go with day 4. Like many of the quilting community, I'm a little hooked on the texty fabrics which seem to be everywhere these days. I really love the vintage newsprints here, which are from the Collage and Objects in Vintage ranges.  

The more modern fabrics are The Land That Never Was - Fairy Tales, and who doesn't love a good fairy tale. I really fancy a Schoolhouse Tunic/Shirt made out of one of these.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Covet of the week, day 3

Ok, Day 3 of the celebration of the dangerous new opening hours for the best fabric shop I know.....

I thought I'd have a bit of a diversion from fabric today - don't want to get boring after all - and have a bit of a covet of one of the fantastic new classes scheduled this month.

Who wouldn't want to go and learn at the knee of one of the quilting community's true characters, who has an enviable collection of tattoos, a 'husbeast', and call's herself a ginger monkey??  I mean, imagine what a person like that could teach you in two days!

I'm scared of HST's but I love some of the blocks they make, so I really want to go on this course with Katy Jones, and not only have a great time, but overcome my fear.

More details can be found on Katy's blog and also on the shop site, so  make sure you get your place booked quickly while there's still room....

photo courtesy of Katy Jones

Monday, 6 May 2013

Covet of the week... Day 2

Ok, so here we go with day 2....

Today, I'm going for the Spot On Wide - at 108" wide, it's perfect for quilt backing fabric - also, because it's got that fantastic pebbles pattern going on, it strikes me as a bit of a cheat sheet for those of us just starting to attempt a bit of FMQ!!!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Covet of the week...

So, in honour of my favourite fabric pusher shop now being open from 10am-3pm during the week as well as the weekends, I'm having a daily Covet this week.

Following how much I enjoyed making the Renfrew top in the Nani Iro jersey, I'm going to start with the 'coming soon' Elk Grove Knits in the Poppies - I love all the colours and can't wait to add to my Renfrew collection....