Thursday, 27 September 2012

Part 3

Right, back to my wrapping paper quilt, as it's been known. After some minor 'how do I barely have enough sashing when I thought I majorly overestimated' drama, the quilt top came together. I forgot to take a photo of the completed quilt top, so you'll have to make do with these two pics for now!

Yours truly, hard at work

The back of the quilt top. Isn't it beautiful! Love it almost as much this way round!

So, with the top complete I started to make plans for the back. Again the decision was made pretty quickly - I decided to use Orla's design. I had originally planned to have cream fabric on the back to match the print, but I couldn't find any that worked. So instead I went with this:

Isn't it beautiful? It's such a gorgeous brown. Feels really weird saying that having just finished reading Hadley's blog! For those who don't know Hadley, saying she dislikes brown is a major understatement.

I had in mind the exact ribbon I was after, and thankfully I found it :) Here it is, zigzag-stitched on.

So, stem complete, it was time to work on the leaves. I found a picture of the design online, traced it and created a cardboard template. After a lot of drawing and cutting (some of which done during a girly craft evening with friends and fondue, good times), I ended up with this.


There is one leaf of each fabric from the front of the quilt, and two in matching-ish solids. This was mostly due to budget constraints, but I actually really like the effect.

Making the leaves was really tricky! If you look at the design, you'd think that if you drew a line from the point through the curved bit, they'd be symmetrical through that line... but they're not. There's a very slight difference. It was a big enough difference to matter to me, but not big enough to be noticeable unless you lined the leaf up with the template. This led to a lot of confusion when trying to figure out if I was making a 'left leaf' or a 'right leaf':

- OK, when the template is this way up, it looks like the leaf on the left
- When it's traced onto the bondaweb, it still looks like a left leaf
- I then put this on top of the fabric, it still looks like a left leaf
- But the fabric is upsidown
- So it's an upsidown left leaf
- Is that a right leaf or a left leaf?!
- My head hurts

I got it wrong initially so the final product is a mirror image of what I planned, but that's not too big a deal :) The trickiest leaf was the Sunkissed one with the writing. It took selotape, baking paper, 2 rulers and a lot of patience, but I managed to get the word 'grow' in the middle of the leaf with the writing perfectly horizontal. Woop woop!

After the cutting came ironing...

... then a looooot of zigzag-stitching (challenging as broken sewing machine foot meant my machine wanted to go not-at-all or crazy-fast)...

<You'll have to imagine a photo of some zigzags for me, I forgot to take a close-up>

... and then it was done!

This photo actually captures the colours far better than any of the finished quilt photos, so enjoy it now! 

Come back next time for the quilting - my sewing machine foot was fixed and I tried some curves :)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Hi all! It's been a week since I last posted, but believe me, that's not because of a lack of sewing going on over here. Far from it. In fact I seem to have projects coming out of my ears right now! Not literally, that would be gross.

Anyway, that makes it perfect timing for me to get involved in making lists. Kelsey is hosting the 100 Days Hustle, where we make lists of things we're hoping to get done before the end of 2012, and give them all a good go.

Kelsey Sews

Now unfortunately, as per usual, some of the things I'm working on are being done in secret. So here is my attempt to write a list of projects without making anything too clear. Ho hum.

1. Finish frog project
Plans made, fabric purchased, cutting mostly done, sewing needed.

2. Start and finish London project
Plans made, fabric purchased.

3. Start and finish Mouthy Stitches bag and keyfob
I have my partner now, woop woop! Busy making plans, and will hopefully make a practice bag soon. Really pleased with the person I've been given, it's going to be fun making for her :)

4. Pick out fabrics for a quilt for hubby and I
Hoping to manage this so I can ask for them for Christmas! Buying enough fabric for a double bed-sized quilt might be out of the question otherwise.

5. Maybe make some little things for people for Christmas
Emphasis on the maybe and the little, we'll see how this one goes :)

6. Make my Texting While Sewing block into a cushion
Just need to get over my fear of getting it wrong and give it a go!

I think that's it for now. There are a few more ideas brewing in my mind, but I'm going to try and be sensible and tell them to shush until 2013.

Since I don't like having a post without a picture, here's one of the reasons why I sew:

Isn't it cute? It's only about an inch and a half tall including the wire. Picked it up from a lovely little shop while away with Laurence for our third anniversary.

Also picked up this one:

Can I get an amen?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Part 2

(part 1 here)
So, back to my wrapping paper quilt/Orla Kiely quilt/gender neutral quilt/lattice quilt/how many names does one quilt need quilt.

I left you questioning my sanity after admitting I used good old sohcahtoa (GCSE maths memories anyone?) to work out my fabric sizes.

With the edge triangle sizes sorted, the quilt top came together pretty easily :)

Lounge floor actually looks pretty neat here, considering this was taken during a sewing session!

Trying to avoid more ironing by hanging the sewn rows up

More rows appearing. Do any of my readers play strategy board games? That's Ticket To Ride on the right, good game.
On the bottom left is hubby Laurence's Biblical Greek book. His hobbies are rather more studious than mine! 
I fussy cut the sunkissed text fabric so that 'hope' and 'sunshine' were in the middle of the two full white blocks. 
It's such a lovely fabric :)

Nearly there!

I would apologise for the picture-heavy post, but hey, they're fairly pretty pictures!

Tune in next time for the completed quilt top, plus Orla's design on the back of the quilt :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Mouthy Stitches 2

Normally when I read blogs, I find one I love and read it right the way through from the current day to the beginning. There are a few downsides to this, e.g.:
1. You see the finished articles and then the process, which is a bit weird
2. You feel a bit like a stalker, knowing everything someone has done for the last few years
3. You miss out on current news, e.g. giveaways and, as is relevant here, swaps

But... I'd just finished reading Hadley's blog recently and clicked back to the recent posts and saw that Mouthy Stitches 2 was on its way! One of the reasons I was keen to give blogging a go was to get involved in the online sewing community; swaps, banter etc. So I was really keen to give this a go. And... I've been accepted! So excited.

We'll be making bags and 'key fobs' (keyrings in British English) for eachother. I'm quite excited that I'm going to be making something for someone who could be anywhere in the world who I've never met. It's bizarre, but fun! And someone's going to be making something for me too, which is pretty cool.

Here's the mosaic I put together to give my partner an idea of what sort of things I like:

Click on the image to be taken to Flickr, where credits for the images are :)

Aren't they pretty? Wish I could claim I made any of the above! I've been collecting 'inspiration pictures' for a while now, which came in very handy for making a mosaic quickly.

Anyway, wish me luck as I try to figure out what to make for my secret partner when I get one. I have a tendency to get rather stressed when trying to pick out fabrics/designs, but I'm looking forward to learning how to do this stage prayerfully/joyfully/well over time :)

Sunday, 9 September 2012

And finally...

... the making of the Orla Kiely quilt. I've been working on this baby since April, and it's become such a dear project to me. It's been really tough to give the quilt away in the end! But the couple really love it so that makes it much easier.

So, time machines at the ready, let's jump back to April. I offered to make a gender-neutral quilt for a lovely mum-to-be based on this Orla Kiely wrapping paper:

The first step, of course, was picking out fabrics. I don't know about you, but I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this stage. The hate bit came first with this quilt. I started my search on the internet and got very stressed, very quickly! Unsurprisingly I didn't have much luck finding fabrics which:

- Matched the above colours
- Matched eachother well
- Weren't too girly
- All came from the same website to avoid excessive postage costs

So eventually, after much stressing, I got into work early to give myself an hour after work to explore my LQS. I was quite nervous about this. The quilts I had made before were all based on fabric collections, where someone else had done the hard work of making things match. This time I would have to do it myself. So after a few deep breaths, I stepped into the store and... it went really well!

These are the fabrics I picked out. I felt so blessed to have found them! Not only did they match the colours, but they matched eachother too - red in the green, green and blue in the red, brown in the blue etc etc. Also I'd completely fogottern about the rule of 'some large scale, some medium, some small' but by chance I ended up with one large, 2 medium and 3 small, which is pretty well balanced. I walked out of the store with a big grin on my face :D I picked up the fabrics the next day after checking the amounts I needed, and they sat on my desk next to me. Every so often I'd peek in the bag and smile stupidly. Fabric geek alert!

Anyway, lesson learnt, LQS first and then internet if necessary.

I decided farily early on with this quilt to go with a diamonds-with-sashing pattern. Here is my beautifully artistic, incredibly neat sketch:

And so, I began the cutting. With mixed success. I only had 25cm of each fabric, and so I knew it was important to get things right first time. And so, of course, I made mistakes! Lesson number 2 learned - don't put so much pressure on yourself. Anyway, the fabric amounts did work out in the end, and soon I was creating sections like this:

The sashing is in a colour called biscuit, love that. Since the design for this quilt is so big, it came together really quickly. Until I reached the edges that is. I was keen to get exact half squares at the edges of the quilt. This would mean that the edges of the quilt top needed to be 1/4" wider than the exact half of the square... if that makes sense. Now some folks might have used a bit more fabric, sewed it in, and then trimmed it down to be that size. But not me. I don't know whether it was because I was aware that I didn't have much spare fabric, or because I'm a perfectionist or what, but I decided to do the maths. That's right, it was trigonometry time! Now, it's been a long time and I don't remember the other measurements, but you see the tiny little bit in the bottom left:

That needed to be 1/(2√2) inches long. Nope, I'm not joking. Instead of trying to cut fabric the length of an irrational number, I decided to approximate this to 0.9cm.

(By the way, it turns out there's a ruler, see this post, to help with this exact situation. I discovered this not long after figuring out the above!)

So, crazy maths aside, the quilt top came together. Until, duh-duh-duuuh, fabric size problems. The brown fabric has a directional print and the piece I had wasn't tall enough for the left-edge-half-square. The choices were (a) have the fabric rotated the wrong way, (b) buy more fabric or (c) try out precision piecing. I wasn't too keen on the idea of (a) and decided that I might as well try (c) before resorting to (b). And it went really well! On my third attempt, I managed to join these two bits pretty much perfectly:

It seems (or seams, haha) that I forgot to take a photo of the finished join. D'oh! So you're just going to have to take my word for it that it went well.

Join me again soon for more progress on the quilt top, plus a little bit of:

Since this post is based on the quilt when it was a Work In Progress, I'm linking up :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Little Things

Look what I found in a charity shop for 59p on my way home today:

Definitely cheered me up after a rubbish end to the day :) It's a pretty little pillowcase. Wonder what I'll make with it?

And as it's a Wednesday, here's my current work in progress:

I really need to get an embroidery hoop to help with the puckering! But I'm sure little Toby won't mind too much :) This is the label for my Orla Kiely quilt, need to get it done by Friday, eek!

Linking up:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, 1 September 2012

September Already

Anyone know how that happened?! August has been a busy month for me. Summer holiday, time with friends, time with my gorgeous nephews and all sorts of other things. A very fun month all in all. In terms of sewing, here are the three things I can show you!

From left to right, my Texting While Sewing entry, a little purse and a mysterious frog (whose project I can't mention here yet). But the exciting news from this month is that my wrapping paper quilt, or, as I later discovered it should be called, my Orla Kiely quilt is now done! For those who are new here, a mum-to-be who didn't know the gender of her baby gave me this piece of wrapping paper as inspiration for a quilt:

After being given the above, I started to notice the pattern everywhere I went. Mainly on bags, but notebooks and fabric too. I wondered whether I was going mad - surely there weren't so many items out there that matched this random piece of wrapping paper?! Eventually though the header at Red Pepper Quilts I found out that this is a very famous and much loved Orla Kiely design.

Anyway, apart from a label the quilt is complete. Just as I started sewing on the binding (the second time this has happened!) the baby was born early, and the lovely couple now have a gorgeous little boy. Once the label is added and the quilt is given I'll be adding a few posts here about it. I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

I hope you've all enjoyed August too. Linking up to the Fresh Sewing Day and the Small Blog Meet - hi if you're popping over from there :) What was the highlight of your August?

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