Monday, 30 June 2014

Helping Hands Paws

Three weeks ago we adopted two cats, Jackson and Brutus.  It seems to me that for making quilts, cats are as essential as a sewing machine.  There aren't many crafty ladies out there without cats, or that certainly seems to be the case in my crafting circles.  My previous cat, Granby, used to love sitting on my quilts when I was pinning them and was finally banished from "helping" me when he boxed my face as I moved him away.  I cannot help but love these pictures of the new boys. Firstly we have Jackson; he is clearly hinting at a mention in the blogosphere because he is clutching the Mollie Makes special on Blogging.

Brutus is not one to be outdone so he is making his debut whilst I am pinning a quilt.  I am certainly encouraged that our new additions are taking such an active interest in my hobbies.  By the end of the week my aims are to read the whole of the magazine and to finish this quilt.  Let's hope the boys don't distract me too much.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Crafting Saturday

Today really has been all about crafting and it's only tea time!  I'm really tired out.  Crafting is relaxing but it can also be tiring.  I feel exhausted right now so I'm not sure I will spend any more time on the sewing machine today.

This morning I went to pick up a parcel of fabric which I purchased on Thursday from Fabritastic.  It was the first time I had bought anything from there.  I'm impressed with the service - I put the order in on Thursday and the following day there was a parcel note from Royal Mail when I came home from work.  The fabrics and postage were also both reasonably priced.

The first lot of fabric is all by Aneela Hoey by Moda.  Most are from the Hello Petal range and a couple from the Posy range.  I should have bought the cats ages ago when I first saw them in January but I didn't and since then it's been difficult to source them.  I love cats and most cat fabrics so these are a great addition to my stash.  I keep pinning quilts with low volume fabrics so I am starting to collect some of these as I anticipate using low volume fabrics against bright coloured fabrics soon.

The elephant fabrics are by Michael Miller.  I've had them before in the robin's egg blue and in limeade (not pictured here).  I'm now adding orchid and sky blue.  I think these will end up in children's quilts and are good staples to have in.  The fabric on the left is also by Michael Miller, it's Ant Maze and will go perfectly in a boy's quilt I have in mind to make soonish.  I like to put boxes of fabric together to marinade so I can see them together; this helps me to figure out the patterns and style I want to pursue.

Now today's fatigue hasn't come from just collecting fabrics and putting them together for photographs.  Today I've been on a free motion embroidery course at a local craft shop, Craft Den.  I had a great time and was pleased to come away with a canvas which is ready to put on the wall.  I didn't find free motion embroidery easy but it was enjoyable and I feel that I did some "skilling up" and that with practice I would get better at this.  I'm not usually a fan of applique but I actually enjoyed this style of sewing over the top.  As a new sewer I know there is plenty for me to learn and today's class certainly got me using new techniques.  I'm feeling rather pleased with myself.  My husband is going to paint my craft room tomorrow so I think this canvas will find a home on the walls there this week. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Circus Quilt - A finished quilt

 I know this is not the best quilt I've ever made.  There are a few glitches; some of the points are off, some of my quilting isn't straight and some of the small squares would have been nicer if I'd fussy cut them.  And yet, despite all its shortcomings, I'm pleased with this quilt.

This has been an improvised quilt because I did very little planning and drawing and only bought the solids late on Saturday afternoon.  I'm pleased that in a short period of time I managed to make something that looks like something that was long prepared and mulled over.

The backing I bought only on Tuesday.  I had intended to buy some monkey fabric but the lady at my local patchwork shop picked out the large spots and these were a no-brainer.  The boldness of the dots with a white background works really well against the boldness and deep saturation on the front of the quit.  The backing is Michael Miller # CX-5291 Diddly Dot (what a lovely name!) and I'm going to purchase some more soon because I think it is such a dependable and worthwhile fabric for both the front and back of quilts.  I can envisage using it again shortly.

I love variegated thread for quilting and I also love a coincidence.  This quilt is destined for Australia so the thread by YLI called Great Barrier Reef by Luana Rubin is a perfect match.  Obviously, I doubt the quilt will be used in any scuba diving but the Australia theme was enough for me to put an extra smile on my face during the quilting.

I've learned a two key things along the way here.  Firstly, good solids can make a great contribution when you have only a small number of novelty or picture fabrics.  Secondly, scrappy binding is a fun way to use up fabric which can also make the quilt a touch more interesting.  I will definitely be doing this again in the future.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Circus quilt - WIP

I really love making a quilt from small amounts of novelty or patterned fabric and combining it with largely plain or sold fabrics.  I think that this combination makes the novelty  fabric pop when this fabric may be the smallest component.

A lady at work has asked me to make a quilt for a grandson who will be born shortly.  I had some scraps of fabric I bought cheaply last year which I thought would be suitable for this project, but I knew there would not be enough to make an entire quilt.  I think the fabrics are from Timeless Treasures.  I made a quick dash to my local patchwork shop and decided three largely solid fabrics would work well here.

I cut the circus fabrics and some solids into 2 1/2 inch squares and then pieced them together into these squares.  I was quite random about how I did this so none of the pieced squares looks the same.

Then I decided to bulk the quilt out my bordering the pieced squares with the solids.  I really like how these look together.  I think the solids really make the circus fabrics much more interesting and exciting.  On there own, they didn't really wow me; now I really quite like them.

I have quite a bit of the solid fabrics left so I am going to make my first scrappy binding.  I want this to be a project with very little left over.  I've had a look at some scrappy bindings on pinterest and I think they can work beautifully, I think especially if the scraps are not too long.  Unfortunately neither of the two local fabric shops in Sheffield opens on Monday so I cannot finish this today.  I haven't chosen the backing yet so that will be a fun shopping decision on Tuesday.