Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Green, Blue and Purple

Do you remember my in-between projects post? Well I've started work on one of them :) My friend asked me to make the runner with green, blue and purple fabrics. Those of you who are on the ball will realise those are the same colours I used for my own table runner. I was keen to use different fabrics for this one, so I decided to go with brighter, cleaner colours this time rather than the 'murky' colours in my one. Side note - is there a 'nice' way of saying murky?! 

Here's what I came up with:

I love how I just about have enough of a stash now that I can create something new and different with fabrics I already own. In order these fabrics have been used for:
- Decorating a notice board
- Oven gloves
- Own table runner
- Lots of things (I have a bit of a thing for beige, is that weird?)
- Not much yet, but looking forward to using it lots
- Own table runner
- Border on one of the twins' quilts

I also picked up some white, sqiggly ribbon (which is apparently called ric-rac or rick-rack) to use between some of the stripes. I love the idea of having some white in this runner to brighten it up. Idea from here.

Here's how it's looking so far. I'm really excited about how this is going to turn out!

Linking up to Work In Progress Wednesday (which seems to have arrived a day early!)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 24 June 2012

There's a hole in my runner...

... dear Liza, dear Liza. Does anyone else remember that song?

Anyway, my table runner had, rather unfortunately, developed a hole. I made it before I had a rotary cutter and hence my rectangles weren't too neatly cut, and I hadn't much in the way of sewing skills back then! Despite its many imperfections this runner is very dear to me and so since the hole was bugging me, I decided to try to fix it.

You can see where the fabric's not properly sewn together in the middle :(

As with many things in life, it had to get worse before it got better:

When it came to sewing the new, properly sized piece in place I found a neat 'trick' way of doing things. I sewed a proper seam between the blue and cream fabric, but simply slipped the edge of the blue underneath the purple:

I then sewed the purple down on top, as close to the edge as possible, to keep both the purple and blue fabrics in place, and added an extra quilting line on top of the blue.

Ta-da! Good as new. Machine-sewing the binding back on was a little tricky, but I managed. I tried out using hair clips to help with the hand-sewing part, which worked pretty well. You can just about see from the left of this photo that when I originally hand-sewed the binding on I hadn't understood that you were meant to slip-stitch so that the sewing couldn't be seen. I really love this about the runner, as I love many of the imperfections.

And so I have a non-holey table runner back :) Question is, do I do it all again to get rid of the candle-wax stain?!


Tuesday, 19 June 2012


About a year ago some friends we met at university (who have now moved away from Bath, sad times) announced that they were going to have a baby. Very exciting! As you've probably guessed, I immediately started making quilt plans. A while later we found out that they were having a girl. So, I began planning my first little-girl quilt.

Picking fabrics was going to be tricky. My self-set requirements for fabrics (based on what I thought the mum-to-be would like) were:
- Owls
- Orange
- Not too much pink
This proved tricky and I spent quite a while looking for anything which would even vaguely work. Eventually I found this bundle at the appropriately-named Emma's Fabric Studio. Owls - check. Orange - check in small amounts, and I could add more in. Not too much pink - ermm... meeting two out of three requirements isn't too bad, right?

Fabrics from the studio, plus a little orange

How could you not love that owl?

The hardest thing with making this quilt was the waiting. I had asked for a rotary cutter, mat and ruler for my birthday (end of October) and the baby was due around Christmas. I knew it made sense to wait for the cutter before getting going, but it was tough! Eventually my birthday arrived and I could bring home my new toys (carrying the giant cutting mat on the train was a bit of a challenge, but we managed it). I had a few ideas for patterns, but eventually decided on one based on this quilt, one of the first quilts I fell in love with online.

So the cutting began (so much easier with the rotary cutter), as did the sewing. The blocks came together pretty quickly. The slow part was trimming them down to size - since I'd had issues matching up corners with the twins' quilts, I deliberately made the blocks too big so I could trim them to the correct size later. I spent a long, long time like this:

creating a right mess with slivers of fabric. It was all worth it though - my corners matched up exactly! I was grinning a lot as I put it together.

Completed quilt top, woop woop!

Finally I picked out fabric for the border and binding (neutrals, since this quilt top needed calming down) and backing and had a quick go at some embroidery:

As with my previous quilts, I enjoyed the quilting process a lot. I drew the lines on with a not-quite-as-washable-as-I'd-hoped orange marker and went with diagonal quilting as before. I think drawing the lines on took nearly as long as the sewing!

Quilted with binding added

I took the quilt with me on the train when Laurence and I went to visit my grandparents. I figured with 5 hours total train time that day, I could make some good progress on the hand sewing. I had 2 or 3 weeks left till the baby was due, so there was no particular rush. On the way there however, we had a call to say that she's arrived early! This was a very good incentive to speed up the hand sewing and I'd finished all but the last few inches by the end of the day.

This weekend we went to visit our friends and their now 6 month old little girl. Much fun was had by all, she has a hilarious laugh! I tried and failed to take a photo of 'happy baby plus quilt' ("umm, why have you taken me away from mummy and daddy and put me on a blanket?") so instead, here's the finished item, plus it in its new home.

That's all for now :)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

In-between Projects

I'm afraid there isn't much sewing going on that I can post about at the moment! I'm making progress on the wrapping paper quilt - the top is finished and I'm now working on the back. But other than that I am:

Wondering how to move forward with this project

I had planned to make a picnic-rug-quilt with these fabrics, but the design I put together requires pretty much complete accuracy to work. Considering that I made the first blocks in my pre-rotary-cutter days and I haven't yet resolved my 'foot isn't actually 1/4" wide' issue, this might not be the best way to go! So I'm not quite sure what to do here. The quilt definitely needs pinwheels though - they're so summery :)

 Love the pink pinwheel!

Thinking about cushion covers

Having had our cushions for nearly 3 years now, they're starting to look a little worse for wear. I picked up a couple of cheap cushions from Ikea so I can have a go at cushion covers. Wondering about going for sparkle punch (love the name and the design, don't know if I'd have the patience for an entire quilt so a cushion cover might work well) or some cathedral windows (I'm hoping these aren't as tricky as they look!). Laurence prefers the cathedral windows, what do you think?

Possibly making another table-runner

A friend has asked if I could make one as a wedding present for her friend. Exciting times! Hoping to meet up to pick out fabrics soon.

So all in all there's not a lot to show here! But I'm sure there will be more, all in good time...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Souvenir

When I'm working on a project, the fabric sits in a big basket which my grandparents gave me. This sits next to one of our sofas, and can conveniently be seen from the other sofa where we normally sit to eat/watch TV/do life. I love being able to glance in that direction and enjoy the pretty fabric :) Particularly if I'm working on a gift so I know it won't be around forever.

I did this with the doll quilt fabric and found that I really missed the fabric when it was gone! So I decided to make myself a souvenir:

I'm quite proud of myself with this one. I didn't particularly use a tutorial, just used a mix of ideas I've either already tried or read about. It was a little fiddly, but definitely worth the effort!

There are however two problems with this pin cushion:
  1. Having two layers of fabric in the middle means the pins don't slide in very easily
  2. It feels more than a little strange stabbing a heart every time you put in a pin!
I can definitely live with it though :)

In the interest of honesty, I'll show you the back. I'll blame the stretchy blue fabric for the less-than-central positioning! 

I think I might start doing this regularly - making a small project with the fabric from a big project I've given away. I love the idea of making a quilt like this one day which contains all the fabrics I've ever used. That's quite a way off now though!

PS The fabric basket was tidied recently which meant it wasn't full enough for me to see the fabric from my sofa. Does this mean I should un-tidy it?!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Twice the fun

Having shown you a couple of recent projects, I'm now going to jump back in time a bit and show you my first quilts. I'm afraid the photos in this post won't quite match the pace of the text because I didn't know I'd be blogging about this back then!

Back in January 2011 I became an aunty: my hubby's sister had gorgeous twin boys. What a wonderful opportunity to try making baby quilts :) My first mission was to find some fun boyish fabrics. Being new to quilting (and therefore not having much knowledge of fabric websites) it took me a while to find anything, but I eventually found a bundle of the Riley Blake 'Wheels' collection which I liked. I then began following a tutorial on how to make a simple baby quilt.

Unfortunately the bundle which arrived had pieces of fabric slightly smaller than advertised, so I began by scaling the plans down a bit. The quilts finished are 70cm x 70cm which is fairly reasonable considering, I think :) After figuring out sizes we (hubby Laurence and I) began cutting out squares. At this point I didn't have a rotary cutter and so it was quite a task! Laurence did a lot of the work - thanks love!

Figuring out the arrangement of the blocks was quite fun: we covered most of the area in front of our sofa with fabric squares. Decided in the end to split up the funky patterned squares with some plain ones to make the design less intense.

And so (or sew, heehee) the sewing began! Many, many squares to become many, many rows. I remember mostly enjoying the process, although I will say I'm glad she didn't have triplets! :P

 A little bit of embroidery. I consider embroidery to be a necessary evil.
Necessary as in I love the effect, evil as in I do not enjoy the process...

Next up, picking out fabrics for the border and the back. I decided to do one quilt in blue and the other in green so it would be easy to tell whose was whose. I picked out fabrics from a beautiful local fabric shop and was very lucky with the backing of one of the quilts: only 75cm was left in stock, just about enough! Perhaps being shortchanged on the Wheels fabric earlier was a blessing in disguise :)

And then quilting. Which I absolutely loved! I loved the comfortable, thick feel of the two layers of fabric plus wadding, and it was great to spend some quality time with the completed patchwork, feeding it through the machine.

Finally, binding the quilts. I picked out a great bright orange and as with the table-runner, hand-sewed it to the back of the quilt. Quite an enjoyable process, which went pretty quickly.

And so there you have it, two completed quilts. I had a lot of fun making these. They're not perfect (many mis-matched square corners, one hole appeared when I washed one which needed a quick fix) but they were my first quilts and I'm very proud of them. I hope they'll be much loved :)

 my eyes aren't really that dark, I just tried out the de-red-eye tool...

And here's the best photo in this post - the twins enjoying their quilts!

They're so cute, I love my nephews :)