Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Spring Quilty Adventure

I'm linking up to Quilt Story for there Fabric Tuesdays.  Be sure to look at some of the other wonderful projects that are out there.  I hope they won't mind that this is a WIP (work in progress).  It's just it's the most on a single project I've ever done in one day and I'm really excited with how it's coming along and would love to have some feedback.


Last weekend I went to visit my dear friend Kirsty (her blog = Fatty Unbound) in Brighton for some quality girlie catch up time, oodles of crafting and lots of pootling.  There was even time for an ice cream on the beach!

Now Kirsty isn't a quilter but when I'd found the shop Quilty Pleasures online. I knew I wanted to visit, as I'd never been to a *just* modern quilting shop before.  Kirsty was happy to pander to my crafting desires as we tend to encourage each other with our various crafts.  Anyways whilst I was there, I fell in love with the Hideaway line by Lauren and Jessi Jung. I bought myself a charm pack and 0.75m of the circles on snow.  Now despite this small purchase of the line (I keep wondering why I didn't go for the layer cake), I decided that I wanted to make myself a lap quilt using these fabrics.  There was no specific date or timeline to work on this project because I have several other things on the go.  But... yesterday was so perfectly spring-like, the colours in the fabric spoke to me and inspiration struck.
A view of the tree that is in front of my kitchen window.  It makes washing up feel less of a chore.

I decided to take this inspiration and see what would happen.  I didn't plan. I didn't design.  I just pulled out some co-ordinating solids (Kona Robin's Egg Blue and Lemon, plus Klona grass green and white) and wanted to see what would happen when I let myself loose with the blocks and fabric.  It's a first for me.  Here are a few progress shots that show the beginning of the day (afternoon):

Testing out fabric combinations and playing.

Blocks beginning to form

From these two photos it is difficult to tell how the project will look once the blocks are formed, sashing put in place and the colours allowed to settle together.  However I did take a few more photos of the blocks laid out in various layout ideas: 

Several blocks laid out on top of the backing fabric
However the above photo was taken before my quilting mission was finished.  I ended the day of 8+ hours of cutting & sewing with 14 blocks made (each = 8"), a design for the rest of the quilt, the backing figured out and it was all coming together happily.  Before I launch into sewing all the pieces together I laid them out on my bed (apologies for the wrinkled duvet!) and I think I'm happy with how it looks:

Now I've just another 6 more blocks to make to go along the top and bottom of the quilt.  These will be like the one that sits on its own with the 4 little squares in it.  Simple design but oh so fun.  The sashing will be bands of the solids and then a border in the Hideaway Egg.  Hurrah!

- I've changed the comments from Disqus back to Blogger, so I can reply to people via email.  This does mean that I've just lost a chunk of comments.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hand Quilting

I've had a conspicuous absence from my blog recently a I was lost in the spring rush where all academic deadlines occur at the same time. Now I have some space to breathe with just one week's worth of teaching left for this academic year. However before Christmas I will have a full version of my phd so it's going go be a tough slog but one where crafting will provide a much needed haven.

Anyways back to crafting, quilting more specifically. A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of the beginning of my sampler quilt that uses the Quilt as you go method. I've done another block, which I'm quite proud of because it represents the fruits of my first foray into the world of hand quilting.

I used the big stitch quilting style with perle 8 cotton thread in a navy blue. I'm planning on having this as the central panel of my sampler quilt.

I think I've fallen in love with hand quilting... I love the rocking motion and the thimble and the soothing nature of doing it. I'm surprised. I think I'll still be doing machine quilting too though :)

Although I've been blog absent I've been working on several projects that include: a 2 rib scarf in a blue variegated yarn with pink foil accents; the knitted tie (I'm going to write up a pattern for this as I've designed it specially. It'll be simple but for me a test of patience as it isn't the most exciting); some free embroidery; and another little hand quilted mug rug but that's another surprise present so no pics yet.

Now I've discovered the ability to blog from my phone it should be easier to update. Off for a crafty extravaganza in Brighton this weekend. Hurrah!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dog in a House and A Sampler Begins

The past week has been filled with Ph.D. writing, lecturing, some crafting and my 26th birthday celebrations.  I'm pleased to announce that there were some spare hours for quilting and crafting in amidst the other duties and joys.

My first finished mug rug I've named 'Dog in a House'.  There were oodles of firsts involved with this project: fussy cutting, free-hand cutting without a ruler, designing a block, free-motion quilting and doing a binding not just on right-angle cornered squares.  I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out in the end:

It was a little present for my Mum to have in her office whilst she works from home.  I started from the dalmatian (a childhood love of 101 Dalmatians) helped and then allowed the block to build up from there. Hurrah a titchy project all finished.  I'm hoping to squeeze in some time to make another little one for my Grandma's 85th birthday this weekend.

In other news, I attended the intermediate quilting and patchwork class at my LQS (The Workshop) just over a week ago, as a birthday present to myself.  It seemed ideal: a Sunday spent quilting with a few others and the loverly teacher. In the class we tackled 3 new (to us) blocks [bow-tie, half-square triangles and a sawtooth star], basic applique, free motion quilting, echo quilting and how to the quilt as you go method where you finish a block and attach them.  Here are my results:

The completed sampler block.

This shows off the quilting. I'm most pleased with the flower top-right, as it was done in one continuous motion and my first of the class!

The first block.  The bow-tie block.  Fun and easier than I thought it would be!

My first attempt at half square triangles.  The points were close but not perfect, though I did realise the peril of having used a directional fabric pattern when it came to putting them together.

My 1st attempt at applique using fusible webbing and then doing outline/echo quilting.  Not bad for a first go, though I think I'd use a tighter zig-zag stitch around the heart itself next time.

My sawtooth star.  I'm quite chuffed with this little fellow.  Since I was the only one in the class, who wanted to do this block (the others did log-cabins), I taught myself.  Not bad beside the missed points on the top and bottom middle triangles.  I want to use triangles more often.  I also like how I quilted around the little birds to highlight them.
This sampler is going to be turned into a full-sampler over a period of time but I think it will be a long time.  I'm going to tackle a different 10" block each time to learn new skills, practice different block layouts and use my tests/ experiments to become an object I love.  Perhaps it will be for my bedroom.

This birthday thanks to my crafting party (more about that soon) turned into a wonderful one.  It helped, as I'd been finding the thought of this one tough because it's the first one I've had after my Dad died last May (15th, 2010). Crafts (quilting and knitting in particular) have offered me solace at times when the world felt too difficult. It has taught me to be kind to myself and others.  I look forward to having the energy to do a UK based charity bee soon (post-May I'm thinking).  

Oh there will be a small giveaway happening soon to celebrate my first 1,000 blog hits...