Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Saturday Strip Club

As it's the last day of March I thought I should write a post and get back into the blogging habit.  I have a few bits and pieces to show off, and I must also confess to making some fabric purchases.  That wasn't part of the plan this year, so maybe that's why I have not been here recently.

 At the weekend I attended a sewing class at Craft Den.  It had the dubious title of "Saturday Strip Club" because we were learning different techniques to use with the strips of fabric you get in a jelly roll.  There was certainly a lively atmosphere so the name was a good title.  I chose to work with Lewis and Irene fabrics and I love the first lot of blocks we made:

Next we learned how to make a friendship plait.  I love this technique and the way it looks, and with the right tool it is a doddle!  So easy, so effective, so pretty!  I am glad I bought the special ruler and know this will appear in plenty of my future quilts.

It was at Craft Den that I made a significant fabric purchase.  I was facing such beautiful fabrics all Saturday and I think the fabric fumes worked their magic on me.  In typical fashion these are by Lewis and Irene and are from their Spring Hare range.  There were almost fisticuffs in the shop because I thought the last of the white hare fabric had been purchased by a friend, but thankfully Lynne managed to find a little bit for me.  Friendships are still in tact as a result!  I have no idea what these fabrics will become but I know the result will be lovely.  The fabric is just so special.  They are just perfect for this time of year.

 For those of you still visiting, thank you!  I hope to do some lovely sewing over the Easter holidays.  Happy Easter to you!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Plenty of Work in Progress

It's been a while since I blogged.  I've been very busy sewing but my progress has felt slow and un-blog-worthy.  There are no finishes to show off but I can share three works in progress.  I'll introduce them chronologically.

First up is my Mariner's Compass block.  Once a month I attend a Block a Month group where we learn different techniques and get what we term "skilled up".  We started off making a sampler quilt but in recent months our focus has changed somewhat and we haven't worked on the blocks for a while.  I can illustrate how far we have deviated from our blocks by sharing with you that last month we worked on Nativity bunting.  That's right - Christmas preparation in February!

I've decided I want to get my sampler quilt finished this year and I am going to make the blocks up in my sampler fabrics.  I love the fabrics and colours I've used in this, though I did have to purchase the green dot outer fabric, but I bought very little and everything else is from stash.  I made good progress but I need to finish it off.  Hopefully I will be able to show it finished shortly.

I cannot get enough of heart cushions at the moment.  I loved going through my stash and putting these fabrics together.  I love the cat print by Cotton and Steel.  I think the cat resembles one of my puss cats, Jackson.  I am going to finish this soon and give it to my niece, Sienna.  She loves all things pink and handmade gifts.

Now I have to make a confession - I made a couple of fabric purchases this week.  Eek!  I know that goes against the Sew my Stash mantra but the fabric had a particular purpose and I was using the scraps.  There is a great British company making waves in the fabric world.  They are Lewis and Irene and their fabric is amazing!  The rainbow quilt I made in January is in their fabric and I am now a devotee.  I bought only two prints; Dancing Hares on Aqua from their Spring Hare collection and  Balloons on Blue from their April Showers range.  I think I did well only to buy two fabrics, though I would wish to buy it all.  (Speaking of wishes, look at their Make a Wish range, it's adorable!)  I am totally in love with their Coastal collection and I am sure I will end up buying plenty of it.  It's that good I am willing to break my fabric fast for it!

Last night these two fabrics were burning a hole on my sewing table (does that metaphor work?) and I just wanted to get using them.  I decided to turn them into a little cushion and I liked a mini quilt from this month's edition of Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine, so that decision was easily made.

To make this a stash busting project I used scraps of pink and grey fabric from stash and I think they work a treat!  This will be pieced in no time and turned into a cushion soon after.

I may not have finished a project in a while but I am doing plenty of sewing and enjoying myself.  I hope you are all having an equally nice time with your fabrics!  

Monday, 9 March 2015

Wee Wander quilt: a finished quilt top

The word and concept "mindfulness" keeps cropping up in my life.  I see it mentioned on line, people mention it to me, I've seen books in bookshops with it in the title.  I've no clear sense of what it means and I've certainly not read up on it, but I think this quilt with its foundation piecing may have been an exercise in mindfulness for me.

I've made six of these foundation pieced stars in total and I got into a real rhythm; drawing the templates, cutting the fabrics, piecing, ironing, trimming, piecing, ironing a bit more.  This is my favourite fabric range, so it has been wonderful that I have enjoyed the process of sewing with it so enjoyable and meditative.  

When the six stars were finished I then cut simple squares from the rest of the Wee Wander range to create a form of sashing.  Some of the fabrics were just perfect for fussy cutting.  I thoroughly enjoyed placing the fabrics for the sashing in the right order.  I wanted to balance out the pinks and blues and have them work nicely with the low fabric prints.

My fear that I would not have much fabric left at the end of this project seems ridiculous.  I have metres of the fabric left.  I can clearly make many quilts with this range and I am sure that is what I am going to do.

Now I have to decide what to back and bind the quilt with.  This is where my Sew My Stash 2015 challenge falls down a bit because I don't think I have the right fabric in the right quantity to back this quilt.  I know I have lots of the front fabrics left, but I don't want them hiding on the back.  I'll have to think about what to do next and see if I can justify a purchase (eek!)  More mindfulness for me!

Happy stitching!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Two new projects

I have a couple of projects to post about today and I am excited about them both.

As I have mentioned many times previously I am trying to sew as much stash as possible this year.  My favourite fabric range in my stash is Wee Wander by Sarah Jane.  I love everything about it - the patterns, the images, the colours, the quality of the cotton.  I have had it in stash since February 2014 and my love for it over that year has never diminished.  I have used the odd small square in other projects, but I have not made much of a dent into the half yard I have of each print.

If I am serious about getting down my stash I have to stop hoarding fabrics, even my favourite ones.   I had justified holding on to it because I had not found the right project for it.  That's all changed now, though, as I am turning the mini quilt "Drawn Together" from Little Quilts into a larger quilt.

I'm having a lot of fun!  I've made three of the pink blocks so far and am about to start on the blues.  I love foundation paper piecing and this pattern creates such lovely shapes.  To make my fabric go as far as possible I am using lots of white fabric, which I think makes the shapes and colours really striking in any case.  I think these favourite fabrics are going to turn into one of my favourite quilts.

The next thing I have to show you contradicts the Sew My Stash mission because these are fabrics which have arrived this dinnertime.  How do I justify these amazing Kona Solids in such beautiful colours?  They already have a destiny and will be made into a quilt soon for Village Haberdashery's blog The Daily Stitch.  They are not going to be stash fabrics because I will be cutting into them this weekend.

This quilt will be my first pure solids quilt but I have already enjoyed playing with these fabrics and the pattern idea, so I doubt it will be the last.  When the fabrics arrived I spent a while organising them into their colour groups, which made me feel like a child again as I used to organise my Crayola wax crayons (happy memories!)  I won't be showing what I make from these fabrics until the tutorial is written and on The Daily Stitch.  Hopefully it won't be long.

Happy creating!