Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sew My Stash 2015 Challenge 1 Finished

I have completed the first challenge of Project Leasa's Sew My Stash 2015 and it feels great to have made a mini quilt in a short period of time and to have made something which I otherwise would not have considered.  Until Friday I didn't know I was making something "heart themed" and now here I am, proudly showing off my project and I am just so pleased with how it has turned out.

Now, I know this project is made from small bits of fabric, which means I have made no dent into the stash, but it has given me ideas for some bigger quilts that would mean reducing the stash considerably.  In that sense it's a small step towards something more significant.

I'm very into "rainbows" at the moment and this is going to be on the wall of my craft room shortly.  I've included some of my favourite fabrics in this wall hanging, so it seems apt that it should reside there.

I really enjoyed quilting the squares and triangles in coordinating threads.  I treated myself to four new spools of cotton to do this, which is possibly a little naughty when I am trying to reduce my stash, but I don't count those as stash.  Stash for me is exclusively fabric.  (That's my disclaimer in any case!)  However, I can boast here that all the fabrics (including the backing and binding) were already in my possession.

There a number of other people taking part in this challenge.  I've really enjoyed seeing their progress and ideas on Instagram.  To find other projects use the hashtag sewmystash2015challenge1 and you are sure to find some lovely hearty projects.

Friday, 23 January 2015

A Friday Finish - 2015's first quilt

I love a Friday finish.  I always feel I've met a deadline, even though the deadline is imaginary.  I think I like it because it means the weekend is ahead of me to let my creativity go wild and to devote time to a new project.

Today's Friday finish is my rainbow quilt which I only started last weekend.  It's not been as quick to make as I had hoped.  There was so much quilting of those tramlines, and then I quilted a fold (probably because I had not basted it properly) so I had to undo lots of quilting and re-quilt it.  It was a little frustrating.  I think my sewing machine got frustrated as well - the needle kept falling out and the tension went off.  I was panicking a bit because my warranty ran out last month, and isn't it always the case that electrical things break just after your cover runs out?  Anyway, I did some troubleshooting and I think I have solved the problem.  Here's hoping!

This is a big quilt (81" x 43"), but I wanted to include all the colours in the jelly roll.  I quilted using matching threads.  Some were exact matches, some less exact.  I know I have a lack of orange threads in my collection, so the orange strip was quilted with more of a golden brown colour.  It seemed to work.

I love the backing fabric and binding I chose.  I think a delicate grey works wonderfully against every single colour and is worth remembering for the future with other bright combinations.

This quilt will eventually be in my craft room.  There is a rainbow theme being developed in there.  We still don't have the storage from Ikea (grrr!) but when we do I will take photos of the room and this quilt in situ.

Keeping with the rainbow theme, my next project is going to use these fabrics:

As I mentioned on a previous blog post I am taking part in Project Leesa's Sew My Stash 2015 and there is a Weekend Challenge taking place now.  In summary, you have to make a project by Sunday from at least 75% stash and it has to have a "heart" theme for upcoming Valentine's Day.  I'm going to use all stash (promise!) and make a rainbow heart mini quilt to hang in my craft room.  I'm sure there are people making things for loved ones, but I've just made my fella a quilt so this project is going to be for my lovely craft room and is a homage to my beloved hobby.

I'll be posting updates on Instagram (I'm @stitchandpieces) but pop by on Sunday to see the finished piece.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Mid week much to report

Only a few days have past since I last posted and already there are new skills to show off and new projects to share.  At the weekend I went on a "curves course" with Lynne at Craft Den with some of my sewing friends to learn how to sew Drunkard's Path and Apple Core blocks.  I'd had a bad experience with curves before but I have been determined to have another go and it's one of my resolutions to make a Drunkard's Path quilt this year.  I feel quite smug now,  Not only did I enjoy myself immensely, but I produced two acceptable blocks and I am sure I could incorporate these blocks into my quilting repertoire.

Lynne used a Sizzix Big Shot Die Cutting machine to cut the individual pieces.  Guess what I now want to purchase?  It just removed all the stress and effort of cutting pieces and meant we could get on with the sewing.  I know I am coming to the party late as these gadgets have been around for ages, but it would make my Drunkard's Path quilt much more of possibility.

 I am meant to be sewing my stash this year, but spending a day in a craft shop meant I had to buy some fabric.  I fell in love with a Lewis and Irene Bumbleberries jelly roll and in no time at all I had sewn it together in a "loose" rainbow order.  This is without a doubt the softest quilting cotton I have come across.  It has an amazing texture to it.  From what I understand this is a relatively new company but their stuff is already making an impact and I love the fact that this is a British company.

This quilt is going to live in my craft room, where I am trying to have a rainbow theme.  My fabrics are organised into rainbow order and I've almost sourced all the right colour boxes to reflect this.  I like it when my husband comes and chats to me in the craft room, but he likes to lounge about and isn't a fan of sitting upright at the craft table.  At the weekend we bought a chair for him and this is going to live on top of that.  As it's for my fella I decided to buy some Lynette Anderson Pocketful of Daisies as he's a keen gardener.  I bought a lovely grey Lewis and Irene fabric for the binding.  I think these colours are so subtle as to keep the focus on the rainbow effect.

Just so I don't feel too guilty about all these fabric purchases I will show you that I am working through my stash and have been persevering with my scrappy blocks.  Last night I cut 125 2½" orange squares to make the last five orange blocks.  It's tedious at times but I am slowly getting there.

Thank you for visiting.

Friday, 16 January 2015

A Friday Finish

Whenever I don't blog for a while it's usually because my sewing has overtaken me and that's definitely been the case recently.  I have so many sewing projects on the go at the moment and I am determined to get some finished this month.

First up I can show two finished Kaleidoscopic cushions that are based on a quilt by Reene at Nellie's Niceties.  These have been fun to make and use up lots of scraps.  I'm going to make a couple more in different colour combinations soonish.  I fancy orange being the main colour in one of them.

I am still working on the scrappy quilt to go with these cushions in our living room.  Initially I was going to produce 16 scrap blocks and then add sashing, but I realised that I would have to buy the sashing and that seemed at odds with my determination to sew as much stash as possible this year.  Instead I have now decided to make more blocks and to make this one giant quilt.  I'm now anticipating making 49 scrappy blocks.  So far I've made 25, so I have just edged over the half way mark.  Psychologically that is significant - I feel I can repeat what I have made so far!

In the meantime I am also working on another project.  Someone has requested I make them a duvet cover.  I've never made one before, but I am making good progress.  As it's someone else's request I am having to use their fabric choices.  They fell in love with this fabric:

I would not have touched this fabric; it's not my thing at all, but I am having fun sewing the bits together and it's good to have a challenge.  I'm hoping to have it finished for next Friday.

Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year!

I know that I am behind all the other bloggers out there in wishing people a Happy New Year, but as the year is still less than a week old I think I can get away with it.

To mark the new year I have a brand sparkling new logo for the blog, which I've been keeping secret for a month or so.  I thought a new year appearance would be nice.  I have a ladybird in the logo because they are special and important to me.  In Germany ladybirds represent luck, prosperity and success and we could all do with a bit of that in our lives.  I hope you approve of the new logo.

I have a short list of goals for the year, but I am not being overambitious so as not to feel deflated by December.  Here we go...

1.  I want to reduce my stash and get some of the lovely quilts in mind out into the real world.  I have started to follow a blog Project Leasa who is running Sew My Stash 2015 on her blog and on Instagram.  I want to join with her and other participants on ideas on how to get down the stash and to use up as much fabric as possible.
I need to add here, this does not mean I am going to stop buying fabric, but I am going to be more cautious and choosy about what I buy.  I already know of two fabric ranges I want to purchase this year, (the Liberty Alice in Wonderland range and Lighthearted by Kokka) but I am not going to go overboard and make impulse purchases because I have so many lovely fabrics which I need to fall back in love with.  (What a disclaimer!)

2.  I joined Instagram last year but couldn't get on with it.  I am determined to change this as I know that it is really useful for connecting with others and seeing what is happening in the sewing and quilting world.  My aim is to post a photo each day, and more times than not it needs to be sewing related.  I'm @stitchandpieces if you are interested in following me.

3.  As I am going to post a photo each day, I need to do some sewing each day.  This might be something small, but it should be achievable.

4.  I want to be tidier and better organised.  Over Christmas my craft room has moved from a box room at the front of the house to a big room at the back.  (It's great and I am so lucky!)  My husband has painted it, put lots of shelves and storage in there and I have promised him that I will keep all the craft stuff in there and keep on top of the mess.  I am not naturally tidy, but I am coming to accept that being tidy will make my life easier and reduce the number of times I say "have you seen...?" and "do you know where... is?"  When the craft room is completely finished (i.e. when Ikea gets the shelves back in stock that I want) I will post a photo and compare my progress over the year.

5.  I need to learn how to sew curves.  Until I can do this I will feel like an amateur.  I had a go a few months ago, but it wasn't a success.  I really want to make a Drunkard's Path quilt this year.

I think all of these things are manageable and will also be very satisfying.

In the meantime I have already been working on reducing the stash.  I am making a quilt for our house, using my husband's favourite colours.  He loves autumnal colours, which is he also calls "earthy".  Brown is not a colour I am fond of, but it goes well with these other colours and we have a brown leather sofa, so it is acceptable.  I'm just piecing lots of 2½" squares together and then going to add some sashing to make this a nice big quilt.  

Some of these fabrics are the last bits I have of them and some are brand new fabrics I've never touched before, but which have been feeling a little neglected,  What I like about this quilt is that it will have an "I spy" element about it because, like many of my fabrics, it has novelty images and not just pattern.  There are also elements about it which really mean something to us.  My favourite fruit, for instance, is an orange.  We have chickens and they have also made it on to here.  There are strawberries, which we grow each year and Ezzie loves elephants.  There are also cats to be find and we love all things feline.  I have found a little ladybird fabric today which is also going to feature.

I am sure 2015 is going to keep me busy.  Thanks for visiting.