Monday, 5 October 2015

Big Bear, Little Bear Quilt: A quilt in progress

My last post was a Sunday Stash post in which I showed off some fabrics from the Lewis and Irene range Big Bear, Little Bear.  It didn't take me long to cut into these fabrics and I can now show off a pieced quilt.

I felt the prints needed to be seen and not cut up into too small pieces, as this would not do the print justice.  I decided to have some pieces cut into smaller squares and bordered by 2½" squares.  The larger squares are 8½" before piecing and I think this size works really well with these prints.

I have a lot of 2½" squares already pre-cut and stored in colour order.  It is so nice to have useful squares of fabric on hand when you want to make a quick quilt.  Many of these squares have also been donated by friends who know I find these squares so useful.  I did cut into some some new fabrics as well.

The browns, coffees and creams of the Bear fabrics are not my usual palette.  I felt that I needed to be brave and add some bright colours to this quilt to make it feel very autumnal and to make it slightly more boyish.  I love the blues, greens and additional browns I added.  I think it makes this quilt a more interesting quilt for a baby boy as it is less predictable than baby blue or cream.

This quilt is now ready to be quilted.  I have a light fabric for the backing and a nice brown for the binding.  Here's hoping I find time to finish it this week.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sunday Stash #8

This weekend I just had to add these six adorable fabrics to my stash.  I popped in to Craft Den, saw these beauties and quickly had them in my possession!  They are Big Bear, Little Bear by Lewis and Irene and it was hard to limit my selection to just these prints as there are many more in the collection and they are all so adorable!

I don't usually work with browns and beiges as I think these can be tricky colours and I think they can look dated, but these look really fresh and modern and I can never resist critters and cutesy!  A work colleague is having a baby boy in the next couple of months and she has painted the nursery in neutral colours.  I think these fabrics could well make it into a quilt for her baby shortly.  They'll be stashed close by as they are definitely coming out to play soon.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Liberty Squares Quilt: A finished quilt

It is so great to show off a finished quilt, it has felt like a long time since I worked on a big project and could boast a finish.  This quilt has been a lot of work to cut, piece and quilt and has been hours in the making but I am thrilled with it now and I am never parting with it!

All the top fabrics are Liberty tana lawn.  It is so freeing to put so many different prints and colours together in this haphazard way.  Providing you avoid similar colours being adjacent to one another, I don't think you can go wrong.  I love the mixture of dark and light, pastels and brights, as well as large and small scale prints.  Most of these fabrics are florals, but I am glad to have sourced some Liberty prints with animals in them.  It wouldn't really be a very "me" quilt if there weren't critters in amongst the fabrics!

I decided to have a go at "stitch in the ditch" quilting for two reasons; firstly, I need to perfect this type of quilting and to "skill up", secondly (and more importantly) my usual choice for tramline quilting felt like just too much work.  Stitch in the ditch meant half the amount of quilting I would ordinarily do.  I know that it's not a great job, but I don't think it's too shabby and I am definitely going to practise this again in the future.

The backing fabric is not by Liberty, but is a cotton lawn and goes really well with the front fabrics.  I bought the fabric in a sale and don't know which company produced the fabric.  The only thing I can say is that I love both the pattern and the feel.

The binding is from stash -  a simple pink and white stripe which is sweet for the front and goes beautifully with the back.

I am so pleased that I cut up some of my most recent (and most limited) Liberty purchases.  Alice and the Mad Hatter both make an appearance in this quilt.

 Quilt Stats:

Finished dimensions: 57" x 75"
Number of 2½" squares: 1064
Over 100 different Liberty tana lawn prints included

This quilt is staying with us.  I love it and it seems to be a hit with Brutus, too!

Thank you for visiting!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Liberty Squares Quilt: A quilt in progress

In an earlier blog post I showed off some Liberty fabric purchases from the Festival of Quilts.   Normally I squirrel these fabrics away and save them for a suitable project, but this time I didn't stash all of the fabrics away.  Instead I started cutting some of the prints into 2½" squares (what else?) and adding them to other cherished Liberty fabrics.

Working with tana lawn is a real joy.  Believe it or not, it has been a pleasure to cut up 1000+ squares - the feel of the fabric, the colour combinations, the patterns.  I reckon there are over 100 different prints included here.  It surprised me that I have so many different prints, but it has been an opportunity to remind myself that I am very fortunate to have such a wide selection of such a quality fabric.  In this quilt I have now used up some prints from stash and I don't know if I will be able to get hold of them again.  That doesn't feel sad, in fact it feels really satisfying.  I am going to keep hold of this quilt for me and knowing that there are some fabrics making their "last outing" will make me treasure this quilt more.

This quilt is now ready pinned and ready for  and quilting.  Let's hope I can get that completed speedily so this quilt is keeping me warm very soon.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The end of summer

It was the first day back at work for me today after what have been lovely summer holidays.  It's always a struggle to get out of bed after having six weeks off and I will miss being at my sewing machine during the day, but September always comes around and it is time for me to start earning my next summer holidays.

I have three small projects to show you, and in typical fashion they are all pouches/pencil cases.  I continue to love making this little gifts, and now I know how to use my zipper foot they look better than ever.

First up is a little ballerina pencil case for my niece, Ava.  She's four and attends ballet class.  She has to push the furniture to the sides of the living room "to practise".  She takes her ballet very seriously and I loved making this simple gift and filling it with colour pencils.

The next one is for my friend Di and it has lovely Liberty prints.  Di lives in Australia and a couple of years ago I made her a Liberty quilt.  She recently got a new teaching job and I thought this would be a nice best of luck gift.  She's a classy lady, so it always has to be Liberty for her.

I included a strawberry fabric on the inside to remind her of English strawberries.  I always try to put a memory of home in there somewhere.  I hope that it will encourage her to come back to the UK!

The final one I made last night.  At 9pm I was supposed to be getting ready for bed and having an early night before returning to work.  That didn't happen!  I decided that I needed a new pencil case.  I opted for the most part for purple fabrics.  I do love purple accessories!  But I just included a couple of other colours to personalise it.  The cats had to be in there, as well as the red ladybirds.  They really are my talisman.  I also included one of my favourite Liberty prints, Ros, for good measure.  I think the pencil case was worth the last minute effort.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sunday Stash #7 - Festival of Quilts 2015 purchases

A trip to the Festival of Quilts always means I return home with Liberty fabric.  This year I was more restrained as I already have a large stash of Tana Lawn, but I made some great purchases nonetheless.  
I knew beforehand that I would buy some fabrics from the range inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.  I bought two fat quarters of Suzy Elizabeth, which has tea paraphernalia (tea pots, crockery, cutlery).  This is a good fabric choice for me.  I also got three scrap pieces of Gallymoggers Reynard.  I love these fabrics, but I knew I didn't need a lot of them.  I will fussy cut them and add them to the right project at some point.

I bought more scrap pieces of fabrics I have already but which are now in new colourways.  Here we have Strawberry Thief, Mauvey, Wiltshire and Ros.  These are already firm favourites in my stash and it's nice to add new variations.

I also purchased some scraps which are entirely new to me.  There are a couple I know like Tatum and Isle of Wight, but there are three others I don't know at all and I haven't discovered their names yet.

I also purchased this large piece of fabric, but I've never seen it before and haven't managed to confirm its name.  (If you know, please let me know in the Comments.)  It's a child-like print with lots of critters and flowers.  I love it because it's cute and it also has ladybirds.  I might use it to back my Scrappy Snowballs and Squares quilt.

I know that there is still a lot of Liberty fabric here, but I still believe I was self-disciplined and only bought what I *needed*.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Poppy's Rainbow Quilt: A finished quilt

This quilt feels like an achievement.  I imagined it on Sunday evening and by Tuesday evening it was finished, and everything (fabrics, wadding, backing, binding) came from my stash.  I didn't have to purchase anything extra.  Somehow (rather insanely) this makes me think that this quilt was free to make.  Who am I kidding?

Anyway, this quilt is following in the footsteps of my other rainbow quilt and other quilts made predominantly with 2½" squares.  But I added some 4" strips to make this quilt a bit different and also to reduce the amount of cutting and piecing I would have to do.

Pink has made an appearance in my rainbow again.  I think most girls will appreciate this addition.  I opted for a low volume backing with light grey flowers and mint green leaves.  I found a grey binding which I think makes the colours on the front really stand out.  The observant will have noticed that some of my new fabrics from the Festival of Quilts have made it into this quilt.  This one quilt now justifies all those purchases!

As this quilt is for a little girl called Poppy I included a couple of Liberty prints with Poppies on them.  You can see a couple of them in the photo below:

I opted for some straight line quilting again.  I quilted tramlines along all the width seams.  I changed the colour to match the rainbow them.  I can boast lots of Aurifil threads to make this possible.

Quilt Stats:

Finished dimensions: 41" x 52"
Number of 2½" squares: 140
Number of 4" strips: 7
Approximately 100 different fabrics included (Many thanks to my friend, Amy, who donated 50 or so squares from her stash.)

Thank you for visiting!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Sunday Stash #6 - Festival of Quilts 2015 purchases

I've been to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC again this year.  It was as great as ever - amazing quilts, beautiful fabrics, lots of inspiration.  This year I stayed overnight in a hotel and spent two days at the festival.  I will definitely do that again.  It meant I could peruse the festival and reflect on what I was seeing.  Last year I was just wired and hyper because I was so aware of time and wanted to do as much as possible, but I ended up feeling short-changed, as if I hadn't really "experienced" the festival.

I bought lots of fabric.  The "Sew my Stash" project really went out of the window.  Oh well!  Here we go with some (admittedly, not all) of my purchases:

This year I decided to buy lots of "stash builders".  These Honeycomb Dot Reversed by Riley Blake were a must-have!

These are other stash builder fabrics I purchased.  Some are older prints, but many are new like the Mini Pearl Bracelets.  I love ladybirds, so I had to get two of Tula Pink's new fabrics.  I expect I'll be using many of these fabrics in no time at all.

I made my first Cotton + Steel purchases.  Their fabrics are amazing, so I had to be good and limit my purchases to my very favourites.  I love the Melody Miller picnic range, but was restrained and purchased only four prints.  I also bought four fabrics from the black and white range.  So cute!

Following my Snowball and Squares quilt I am now drawn to low volume fabrics because I think they are more interesting than plain white.  I added lots of low volume to my stash and many of them have text.  I think these are going to be interesting additions to my future quilts.

My love for text fabrics is surely a result of my infatuation with Kokka's Lighthearted.  I just had to get more of these fabrics and in some of the different colourways.  I only saw one stall selling this so I got half metres to be on the safe side.

I was still drawn to cute, bold and novelty fabrics.  Here is a selection of some of my newbies.  Cats figure strongly again, though I also picked out some sea-themed fabrics and I have some notion of making a nautical quilt in the future.

I could not resist some of the scrap bags on sale.  I got some great grey, black and low volume fabrics from these and I know they will be used shortly.

This won't be the last time I mention this year's Festival of Quilts.  There is much more to report and reflect on.  I have some Liberty prints to show you soon, but for now we'll leave it at that.

Enjoy your summer sewing!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Scrappy Snowballs and Squares: A quilt in progress 2

The piecing of my current quilt is finished!  I cannot express how relieved I am to tell you that.  This quilt is turning into a mammoth project where my ambition has been running ahead of me and I have only just managed to catch up.  This quilt was originally going to be for a single bed for one of my nieces, but as I enjoyed working with so many different fabrics I decided to make it much bigger and to keep it for me and the husband.  Worry not - my niece'll get another quilt at a later date.

I have used so many different fabrics in this and it has been great to raid my stash.  Some of the first fabrics I ever purchased have been included, as well as some of my all time favourites, a handful of Liberty prints and donations from my sewing friends.  It's such a hotchpotch of colours, styles and images but I think it works.  I am getting much better at using up my stash and mixing it all up.

The low volume snowballs are a revelation.  Initially I had thought these would just be plain white but I am glad I mixed it up because it makes the quilt more interesting and a lot less predictable.

The quilt is made from 1388 2½" squares.  I must be crazy!  There are also 196 half square triangles.  That means there are 1584 pieces that I have sewn together.  And, just to confirm my craziness I am now wondering whether to add a chequerboard border to frame the quilt.  I need to think about that and see if I can face more cutting and piecing.  If not, the quilt top is already plenty big enough and will look amazing on our bed.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Scrappy Snowballs and Squares: A quilt in progress 1

This week I am working on another scrappy quilt and I have chosen to work with my current favourite sized square again - 2½".  This quilt will alternate between patchwork blocks and snowball blocks.  It's a very simple design but I hope it will have visual impact as I have picked out some of my brightest and boldest fabrics from stash.

There are some pastel shades in amongst these blocks but by and large the fabrics I've picked out are bright in colour and bold in pattern.  Many of the fabrics also have white backgrounds or patterns.  I have also included lots of fabrics with black backgrounds, which is not common for me, but I think they complement the bright fabrics.  Some of these fabrics have also come from friends, who have seen what I am making and donated a suitable fabric.  This is the joy of the 2½" square - other quilters will gladly share some of their stash with you!

I have not been exacting in how these fabrics are sewn together.  I have done lots of chain-piecing and hoped for the best!  This has made it quicker to sew together and also more "random" in composition, which I think works well in this scrappy quilt.

The snowball blocks are not yet made.  I have cut many of the low volume fabrics, but there are still many more to cut.  I decided against having a pure white contrast.  Instead I have used different cream and lightly patterned fabrics as well as white fabric.  Hopefully this will make the quilt more interesting and less predictable.

I have made a start on piecing the half square triangles for the snowball corners, but there remains still more to do.

Thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

When in doubt...

make a zippy pouch!

I'm starting to think I must have been a marsupial in a previous life.  All of these have been gifts and the recipients have loved them because they have all been made with them in mind.

Be warned - there are lots of photos to follow!

First up, a bag for a friend who is moving to Japan.  I got to use my Drunkard's Path die for this project to create the Japanese flag.

The other side is a mixture of Japanese and British.  Last year at the Festival of Quilts I bought this sushi and tempura fabric on a whim.  It turns out it would come in very useful.  All the other fabrics are redolent of Britain (weather, food, icons etc.)  My friend loved receiving this!

 Next up we have a leaving gift for someone who loves his cats.  I have made a created patchwork images of his cats as I did for my craft room.

The ginger boy has a black growth on his mouth, which I wanted to capture.  My friend sussed this straight away (phew!)  The black and white cat is like their girl cat as well with her white splodges and white chin.  He was thrilled with this, though I suspect I enjoyed making this project even more!

More purple and more cats in these next two pouches.

It's just so nice to put together random fabrics and to have a project very quickly.  Simple patchwork and straight quilted lines are always going to be popular with me.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Scrappy Dresden Plate Scrappy Quilt: A finished quilt

School's out for summer!  This means I am going to get loads of sewing and quilting done and I'm hoping to do regular blog posts.

The Dresden Plate Scrappy Quilt is finally finished.  I've really enjoyed this quilt but it has taken a lot more time than I had anticipated.  As a result I decided not to put any small Dresdens on the quilt because I just needed a finish under my belt.

I love the scraps I pulled together for this quilt.  There's a really fresh feel about it and I think it could be for a boy or a girl.  I make a disproportionate number of girls' quilts, probably because my stash has many more girly fabrics.  It's nice to have worked with a different colour palette.

The backing and binding, as well as the centre circles, are Dimples by Makower UK.  I used the pink version on my Rainbow Scrappy Quilt and it's already a firm favourite of mine.  I love the lighter version on the backing next to the darker version of the binding.

Quilt Stats:

Finished dimensions: 41" x 50"
Number of Dresden Plate Petals: 80
Approximately 40 different fabrics included

Here's hoping you are having some happy holiday time!