Wednesday, 27 February 2013

WIP Wednesday #7

When you are out of the house for 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, and have to cook dinner, feed and bathe kids and read stories before you can clean up and sew, making progress is slow.  Very slow! But I am glad that I have been pushing past that wall of tiredness and switching on the machine. There is something about piecing bits of fabric together that I find so relaxing.  I have to tune out the world and focus on cutting accurately, making seams meet, pressing carefully and I get to watch a block appear before my eyes.


Given that I have just gotten over a stomach virus and now considering staying home in bed tomorrow to get over the head cold that has been plaguing me all week (and harassing me with an asthma flare up that has made me just want to sleep), perhaps taking on another QAL was not such a good idea.  But if I think of it as medication to keep me sane… I am so happy to be joining in! So I am following the Moda Friendship Blog Hop and QAL and loving every minute!

I was inspired by the gorgeous “Simply Sweet” fabric range I have used on Madelyn’s latest dress (made this week – just needs buttons).  I told you I was excited about this one, because of the fabric selection, right?  Well now I have an excuse to play with these colours some more! 


I bought the fabric at an end of bolt sale, so had a minimum 1y cut.  So I grabbed 1.5y of each the green and the white prints.  This means I have plenty left to make Emily a little matching dolly dress (and sqee! Just as I was considering drafting my own dolly version, Tie Dye Diva released it in dolly size!).  Unfortunately this fabric is hard to find now, so I can’t make an entire quilt from this range, but I have plenty to use in a few of the blocks.  And an order of coordinating prints on the way (woops – that stash busting doesn’t look like it’s going so well!).  How could I resist some of this Pam Kitty Love?

Photo courtesy of:

I managed to finish my CP cushion top, and nearly went ahead and quilted it so it was ready to stitch into a cushion cover when I eventually get to a shop to buy a zip.  Fortunately, sensibility took hold and I tucked myself into bed before midnight hit, and turned me into a pumpkin.  This block is so easy and quick to make, which makes me confident enough to cut into my Pieces of Hope stack.  Joining them and matching up seams was a little tricky, but I got the hang of it, and I think on larger blocks I will be wondering what I was worried about.


And thanks to Vanessa from Punkin Patterns, for her design wall post, I now have one of my own!  Mine is only small; 500mm by 700mm and I had room to go bigger, but  I chose to use foam board rather than polystyrene (for the sake of the vet bills I didn't want, as my cat loves to eat the stuff!) This was the only size available when I went to Officeworks on the weekend.  I paid the extra dollar and got the self-adhesive foam board.  Fabulous!  All I had to do was peel back the backing paper, smooth on some flannelette, and tape it to the back.  Done! 
(okay so my desk is a little messier than Vanessa's....)
I deliberated on turning it into smaller design boards to help with cutting and laying out sampler blocks, but the design wall won out.  I may go back and get some more but at $11.50 a piece I wanted it to be the size I would most use.  DH doesn’t let me hang quilts on walls… but he said nothing about design boards!
Okay, time to link up with Freshly Pieced and hit the couch with some knitting...  No sewing tonight, I am exhausted!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

WIP Wednesday #6

Hmmm.. time to reflect on what I have been doing in my creative zone this week and again feel like I haven't enough to show.  I am still settling into things, but I think I am finally starting to find my feet.  New quilting books have arrived and been drooled over, and I feel inspired more than ever to get brave with FMQ.

With the realisation that the month is nearly over and I have yet to find the time to buy batting, I think it is safe to say Madelyn's quilt will remain on the backburner for a little bit longer.  I could rush it through with some straight line quilting, but I think it might be the perfect canvas for some new (to me) quilting techniques, and given that I will be looking at it every day, I don't want to think "If only I had..."  The borders scream out for some free motion, don't you think?

I have finished my February Lucky Star I showed you last week:

Made a dress for my little girl, and cut out another:
(Seriously excited about this one - couldn't fathom a more perfect fabric and pattern combo!)

And started on a cushion to test out the pattern I want to make the AIP quilt with.  I am using a 4" block, however the quilt will be done with a 7" block.  I didn't have many scraps left big enough for the 7" size, and wanted to use my cherished Central Park leftovers. This will have pride of place on my lounge, along with the matching Blockapalooza quilt (that is waiting on final borders).

Next weeks goals:
  1. Sew up another dress  for my girl
  2. Finish piecing my Central Park cushion top
  3. Frolic on some fabric to practice FMQ
Linking up at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 17 February 2013

She's apples!

I haven't been too well over the past few days, but when my little Miss requested a pink dress I decided not to let a dreaded stomach virus keep me away from my machine!  I bought this fabric from Spotlight just before Christmas, when there was a sale on, and I was feeling motivated to make my little girl's summer wardrobe rather than buy it.  Unfortunately, as always, time got the better of me, and the fabric went straight to my stash,

The pattern is Tie Die Diva's "Sweet Summer Girls Halter Dress".  I loved being able to download it and use it straight away.  It is a really simple little dress to sew up, and comes in two sizes (baby-toddler, or little girl - 8yrs).  The hardest part is sewing the curved part of the straps to the bodice, but it's doable, and you get that out of the way straight up, and it just kind of falls together from there.  Exactly what I needed when I still had a bit of a foggy, achey head.

Unfortunately my camera wasn't focusing properly, and when I realised that the lens wasn't clicked in all the way, it was too late - she wasn't cooperating anymore, so these are the best shots I could get. She is never still for a moment - then complains when we have to walk more than a few metres.  No wonder, she burns off all her energy at a rate of knots!

I made the size 6 but her chest size (surprisingly!) is not much bigger than a 4 in this pattern.  It looks tight across the chest in these photos, but I think it is more that it is sitting a little too low.  I should have put a shorter length of elastic in the back as it falls a bit and then pulls across the chest.  Not the pattern's fault at all,  she has a little growing room.  She is 4 years old but generally wears size 6-7 in bought clothing, because of her chest size and giraffe legs!  I think it looks gorgeous in real life, and would definitely make another.  Although I have plans to make another of Tie Die Diva's dresses first - they are so easy and quick to make, yet so pretty.

The little headband is another ruffle headband, from the tutorial I used a couple of years ago for her Christmas dress.  I just love it!  Really easy to make, clever construction and it actually stays on her head (when she's not fiddling too much).

Have to finish with the obligatory twirly shot!

That brings my stash count down by 7 FQs.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

WIP Wednesday #5

I am alost feeling a bit unworthy to link up to Wednesday's WIP linky at Freshly Pieced today.  I made the mistake of clicking on a couple of other linked posts before posting mine, and lets just say - I wish I could magically pull a quilt out of the air to keep up.  There's some gorgeous things turning up in blogland lately!

I really don't have a whole lot to show for the week, except a few more grey hairs and bags under my eyes after our son was turned away from after school care last Thursday.  They will hopefully sort it all out soon so I don't have to fight too hard, but in the meantime it has meant even more driving after work, and less energy to do anything crafty.  I haven't even felt like knitting!  Fingers crossed that we hear some good news from them soon.

I did finish a little test block for Kirsty, at Quiet Play.  She has just released her new paper pieced alphabet pattern and will be turning these test blocks into a disaster relief quilt.  I tested the capitals and loved every minute, but it was a little more fiddly and time consuming than I had first expected.  Definitely worth it though!

Then I got going with my February Lucky Star block.  It seemed so easy after those tiny 5" letters, and I was on a roll... until my calendar started beeping at me to tell me it was time to put the fabric down and call the US for an international conference call.  So close to finishing, it was so difficult for me to drag myself away and pick up that phone, but my concience kept me out of trouble.

I am not too sure if there is enough contrast in this block.  I wanted to make sure I used dark blue, aqua and grey in every block so they tied together nicely, but perhaps a bright yellow would have looked good in place of the blue to give it a bit more pop.  I think they will look great together though and the main colours do look rather soothing together.

My little yarny WIP has been sitting in the naughty corner a bit - not because of the knitting or pattern but because of the yarn.  You can't really see it here, but the gradient I was loving so much in the ball has given me some disappointment in the form of specs of the next colour in the colour bands, and then, while every other gradient has been rather gradual, the darker purple shifted over only a couple of stitches to make it look like I have done a poor job of combining two balls.  I will knit on though, and move onto bigger and better things. (Woops, did I really just order 6 skeins of gorgeous Mosaic Moon Superwash to make something in my size?!)

Friday, 8 February 2013

I will finish it!

Oh no, I have missed the link up! I only discovered A Year of Lovely Finishes halfway through January, so I tacked it on my sidebar to trigger my memory when it came to February. But of course I still forgot about it!

I will pretend I am linked up though (shame about missing the prizes), and make a public finish commitment all the same.

My one "must finish" project for this month is Madelyn's big bed quilt. I spent a considerable amount of time in January growing it from cot size to twin size and adding borders before it got laid aside to finish the baby quilt. By dedicating it as my February finish, I hope to avoid it sitting as an unfinished quilt top as long as that baby quilt did! I have all the fabric I need, just need some batting, and some courage to make it happen.

The race is on: will DH finish building her bed first, or will I finish her quilt?

What are you working on this month?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

WIP Wednesday #4

That time again!  And I finally have a finished project.  I still haven't been able to give it to the new owner yet, but I doubt the new baby is reading my blog, so here it is.


My first finished quilt for the year - a simple charm square baby quilt that has been sitting as a quilt top in my stash for over two years...


I really wanted to give this an allover stipple, but I wasn't happy with my practice piece so as per usual, gave in to straight line quilting.  I definitely want to change that though.  I just love the freedom of free motion quilting, the swirly, happy calming shapes, the puffiness of a dense stipple.  So I am eagerly awaiting some lovely free motion quilting books, courtesy of my dear ole' Dad who sent me over some money for my birthday.  I had a fabulous time picking out books for me at the book depository.  Since receiving my kindle for Christmas a couple of years ago, I have hardly bought a real book for me.  Nothing beats a glossy quilt book for inspiration!


(Oh, and please excuse the sulking Lotta, she refused to let me photograph my quilt in peace and as soon as I would set it up, she'd be there, trying to get on it!)

The charms are Urban Indigo from Fig Tree Quilts. I love how well the backing goes with this quilt.  It's such a shame that I never finished these quilts in time to be of any use for their originally intended owners.  This quilt has a twin all quilted and folded in my stash, that just needs the ends stitched in (yeuck!).  I was so proud of my fabric find when I purchased the backing for these two quilts, that were destined for twins.  The boy quilt is a different pattern, but in similarly soft shades, of blue and green.  The backing for both quilts is the same fabric range, with lemon polka dots on apricot for the little girl quilt, and lemon dots on green for the boy quilt.  I had thought how sweet they would look all rolled up next to each other, yet their individuality would spill out as the quilts were unrolled.  Much like the twins have grown.

I did begin my February Lucky star block, but after I got 1/4 way through, I got sidetracked (this is becoming quite a habit!) and found an email with a pattern to test these gorgeous little letters.  I am testing for Kristy of Quiet Play, and am loving every second!  At least I was... I think I must push a little hard on my quilt ruler, as I have double jointed fingers and thumbs and it seems I have strained my thumb joint from all the triming that paper piecing brings.  I hope to find a solution soon, as I am totally loving this type of piecing! A little thumb resting tonight, and then 4 more letters to go and I can send my completed word block over to Kristy to stitch into her charity quilt for those who have suffered in the recent Tasmanian fires.
I think I am just in time for the party... Linking up here.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

A tiny bit sidetracked

We have our internet back.  So I did some blog hopping, and got inspired.
I pulled out my scrap bag and rummaged through, to make a teeny 4" courthouse steps block from the template I found over here. However in my haste, I forgot to measure the template, and mine is only 4.25" unfinished...  so it will need a sliver of something to make it match the rest of the blocks.  Because of course, once I'd started playing with scraps, I couldn't stop there.  So now I am going back through the piece-along and making all of the other blocks.
This is block three from the Pocket Patchwork piece along.  I really shouldn't have used that solid pink - I don't think it is actually quilting fabric as it is a bit see through, and thinner than the rest.  Oh well, I have learned what happens when you work with different weight fabics.  It is very difficult to line up the seams when working with thin and thick.  Especially with such tiny pieces.  That's my wedding ring in the corner just to give you a better idea of size.  And I have skinny fingers.
I misread the instructions, and cut double the amount of squares I needed for block 3.  So I decided to turn the spares into this sweet little pinwheel block.  Now I am not a big fan of pins (call me controversial) and prefer to rely on seams nestling up together to make my seams match.  Pins seem to make matters worse for me as it makes things a bit lumpy.  Especially with tiny pieces.  However, it was a bit trickier with the seams pressed open.  I didn't want to risk the bulk of the seam allowances being too obvios on little blocks.  Didn't do too badly - although that dark pink solid gave me a little grief again.
And here they are all together.  When I woke up this morning the final blog post in the series was available, revealing that they were designed to be turned into a mini runner.  I don't have any idea what I would do with a 4" wide runner, so I think I will turn mine into a doll quilt, or iPad pouch.  I am still amazed at how far even the littlest scraps can go, and I think I NEED to make another one of those courthouse steps blocks!  Too cute.