Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Hello lovely people.  I am a little late with this, but here is my "Around the World Blog Hop" post.  The lovely Sarah at Mila + Cuatro tagged me to answer some questions.  Welcome, if you haven't visited before.  I am being all sensible in this post, because it's best not to act too crazy the first time you meet people.  Just saying.

What am I working on?

Well that is a little bit of everything at the moment.  I can't say too much because it includes Christmas sewing.  It also includes Gypsy Wife, Hubby's Zombie Quilt, and my Tula Pink Next hexie pillow (which you will have seen far too much of if you are on Instagram!).  I have also been putting together two little dumpling pouches for the lovely Deborah and Tanya, who linked up to show their ABC quilts in my last post.  Girls - I will need to get your addresses so I can get these in the post to you.

Dumpling puches - I love you so

Talking of which my ABC quilt nabbed me a prize at the local Spotlight Quilt Expo last weekend.  Yes it did!

For the avoidance of doubt, I was not the only entrant, okay!

I spent Saturday night making a Queen Elsa costume for Princess.  She had a Frozen party in the weekend, and needed to look her best!  I used the McCall's pattern (which seems to be the go to pattern for this costume).  It was relatively simple to make, although I do not recommend trying to get it finished in one night - it's doable, but very stressful. Sewing with all those stretch polyester fabrics was an unwelcome change after cotton.  And a 5/8" seam seems really wide and strange after getting used to a 1/4" seam in quilting!

The cape was definitely a success

And she loved the party too.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, to be honest it doesn't really.  I like modern fabrics, and other than that, a bit of pretty much anything.  I just sew what I feel like, which is very liberating, but also appropriate given that is my hobby, and what I do for relaxation.

Although I do make some things to order.  Like Hubby's Zombie Quilt.  I am sure I have shown you the post-apocalyptic anti-zombie army recruitment posters before?  I suspect this may be a relatively limited genre in quilting.  The next block I have planned for this quilt has stalled because Hubby needs to buy some cotton for printing on - these blocks maxed out my tolerance for text in quilts.




Why do I create what I do?

Well that is because I was lured into quilting and sewing by BQF (best quilty friend).  But now I do it because it is relaxing, and rewarding, and I like buying fabric.  Too much.  Heh.  Sewing is purely a hobby for me, and welcome downtime from work.  It is a real pleasure to make home made gifts as well - the difficulty if finding people who properly appreciate them!

How does my creating process work?

Sheesh - this one is tricky.  I don't really know.  I have spent so long on the interwebby and Instagram, that I think the ideas that I like just permeate my brain.  A quilt can be anything from carefully planned, to a spur of the moment thing, just because I feel like quilting.  Other projects start for other reasons - like Hydee sending me the Gypsy Wife pattern as a gift, or because I love a fabric line and I really want to make something with it!  I make quilts both from patterns and my own ideas.

I don't think I can be any more specific than that.  Of course I have told you before that I will try just about anything - so sometimes my process if driven by a sheer determination to prove I can do something, even if the end result wasn't something I was intending to create.

Eight of my granny squares were made by Sarah - we met through Charm About You's annual block swap (Sarah got some fabric in return!)

So that's it from me.  I'll be linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.  I haven't been organised enough to link up some more blog hoppers, but if you'd like to visit some cute blogs further afield than New Zealand, I can recommend visiting Tiina in Finland (who would you believe has her own Blog Hop post up this week - serendipitous), or the very lovely Jennifer from Glinda Quilts in Wales.



Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The long awaited ABC quilt wrap-up

Hello lovely friends!  A long time ago now, I promised to post a final wrap up and link party for those people who stitched along with me and made ABC quilts from the book S is for Stitch.  I finished my first quilt for the wee man, and then in a moment of weakness decided to make one for Princess as well.  That has been finished too, and is hanging on her wall.  It is sugar overload - and there is no other way to describe it.

So - not the best shot, but you can see the log cabin pattern!

It is hard to take a good picture of the whole quilt in her room, so here are a bundle of close-ups!

M is for mermaid

For the binding, I used a thin stripe in sage green and cream that matches the spot fabric I used for the embroideries.  A Spotlight special, which was even better!

For some of the blocks, I added new designs - including M is for Mermaid, and U is for Unicorn.  Princess tells me that she doesn't like the mermaid's hair, because it looks like an ice-cream.  Right, because that's what I was thinking of when I did it?!

Q, R, V and W

This is first time I have tried hand quilting.  I machine quilted first, in the ditch of the blocks, and then I hand quilted with variegated thread in the middle of the first strip of the log cabins.  I ended up being a lot more consistent with my stitching near the end.  And, to be honest, hand quilting wasn't that painful!  I used this Sarah Fielke tutorial as a guide.  I may even hand quilt again ...

I, J, N and O

I used a mix of all sorts of fabrics for the log cabins, and then split them into blue/greens and pink/purples. Those of you with a keen eye for liberty lawn will notice there is even a few strips of my precious liberty stash included.

U is for unicorn - because every alphabet quilt needs a unicorn

And some Heather Ross wild flowers and briar rose. Princess doesn't know how lucky she is!

X marks the spot
For some blocks, Princess decided that she preferred the embroidery from the "boy" section of the book.  This included "X marks the spot" which is one of my favourite uses of an X block.  No xylophone here!

S, T and X

With the onset of Frozen, the snowflake has become a favourite too.

The quilt is on the wall above Princess' bed.  It is all very pink friendly ...

Yes I must replace those thumb tacks with a proper hanger at some point ...

This quilt was such a lot of work, but I have been very, very proud of finishing it - all the embroidery and then the blocks too.  The log cabins were made with 1.25" strips, so that the blocks finished at 8" once they were sewn together.  It was a labour of love, but I am pleased I did not rush it in the end.  Also, I have learned to enjoy embroidery (who would have thought, right?!).

So, if you have finished your quilt too (or even the top), link up and show me.  The link party ends on 14 September, so that will have to be the last date.  Hubby will randomly pick a winner, who will receive an unexpected treat - so make sure I can contact you.


   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Shush goings on and 10 quilting confessions

My goodness my long lost friends.  What happened to August?  Which one of you stole it away and didn't let me write a single blog post??  I have been so out of touch with blogland that I was not even aware of the current craze to reveal 10 quilting confessions, until one of the lovely ladies at the Monday Modern group mentioned it.  Anything that involves a list is my kind of craze, so I though I would tell you my list, in between a show and tell of a few projects I have been working on.


The Tula Pink Prince Charming Gypsy Wife quilt continues (try saying that fast three times).  It's a love hate relationship.  I love looking at it.  I'm not loving making it quite so much!

  • I think I can do anything sewing related if I practice enough.  Don't take me the wrong way, I don't think that I will end up being great at everything.  For example, I will never practice FMQ enough to be as good as Angela Walters.  And I'm never going to produce haute couture clothing.  But I will give anything a go, and think anything is possible.  No talk of being scared of zippers here.  No siree.  Just watch a YouTube tutorial and give it a go.  The worst thing that will happen is some unpicking.  And the odd tantrum.  But I can live with that.
  • I've learned to really enjoy hand sewing.  I know, right?  Three years ago when I started, I would have NEVER believed you if you had told me.  But these things sneak up on you.  It's the same for other hand work like embroidery, cross stitch and English Paper Piecing.  Perfect for a tired night after work, in front of the TV.

Yes I keep making dumpling pouches.  Sneaky cute little things that they are.
  • I like pre-cut fabric.  Uncool right?!  But there is nothing like the simplicity of a charm pack or jelly roll for a quick baby quilt.  And all the fabric blends.  I'm fine with an easy fabric solution that looks good.  But don't think that means I reject yardage.  Nope.  I like that too - which brings me to the next point.
  • Fabric collections.  Yep, I'm the worst.  Give me fat quarter bundle of a whole fabric line and I'm happy, happy, happy.  I love how it all works together, and the effort that the designer has put in to balance feature and plain prints.  It's all good.  I do believe that the best quilts are made from mixed lines, and I have broadened my stash for this purpose, but a quilt from one line can sure be easy and satisfying.  Like Tula Pink.  Or Heather Ross.  I am an unashamed fan girl.  

And I've finally started some of the poster's for Hubby's zombie quilts.  Good things take time!
  • But while I'm on the fabric topic, I have to say it - I love low volume.  Not that I've managed to make many low volume quilts.  But I don't buy batiks.  It's important to leave those for the batik lovers.
  • Dense machine quilting.  Don't like it.  I admire it, and think it looks great on feature quilts (I'm thinking of Renee's amazing Tardis quilt - which I covet), little wall quilts, placemats etc, but I don't want it on a bed quilt.  Just not my thing.  It's too stiff.

I have started the Ginger Crush block of the month from Treehouse Textiles.  This replaces Citrus Sweet Love, but is completely different (in the best possible way).  I loved CSL but the journey was a long one, so I am enjoying the simplicity of this new project.
  • I am always on the hunt for the quickest and best way to do something.  Glue basting?  That's me.  Self threading needles for burying threads?  Yep.  Not burying threads?  Even better.
  • Machine binding.  Every time.  I sew the binding to the back first, fold it over, and sew down on the front.  I'm not going to change.
  • I've learned to appreciate the difference a new needle and rotary cutter blade make.  They're just easier to use.  I don't like the cost though. 

I'm keeping up with the Once Upon a Time sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  Stupidly cute.  But I'm probably just as proud of keeping up as anything else.  I seem to be slowly learning some stickability in my old age!

  • I'm a list writer.  I've done this for the last six months and it has been really good for me.  Since I've been back at work full time, a short list of goals has made me much happier about my achievements.  Otherwise I had a real sense of not getting much sewing achieved, which wasn't true.  A list is a good way of seeing what you have managed to do.  The List is VERY flexible though - I do not want it to make me feel bad if I can't get it all done.  So I am very inclined to move things to the next month if I can see it won't happen.  And adding things just to cross it off.  Heh.
  • I have slowly come to the realisation I do not like having too many projects on the go at once.  I do like a few, or else I suffer from boredom. However having many projects just makes me feel overwhelmed and like I am not achieving anything.  So I have had a real focus on finishing recently.
So tell me - what are your sewing confessions?  Your loves and hates?  Diversity is great - if we all liked the same things we would fight over the fabric.  Someone has to love the brown batiks, after all!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Howdy visitors.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Paper piecing ballerinas

I have been waiting for a break in the weather to take photos of my finished citrus sweet love quilt (Can't. Believe. It's. Finished.) but the sunshine only ever seems to come put when I'm at work.

Another wee project I've started in the meantime is a ballerina bag for Princess. She has recently started ballet lessons, which are ridiculously cute. All the little girls tiptoe around in lilac leotards with little ballerina skirts, having a lovely time. Hubby foolishly promised Princess I would make her a bag for her ballet gear when she started, but I've never quite got around to it. 

When I spotted Juliet's new pattern on Instagram I was all over her like a rash offering to pattern test - it looked perfect for job.  I totally was not creepy or beggy about it.  At all.  Right, Juliet?  Anyway it worked, because she sent the pattern through for testing.

This is to help you visualise what it will look like finished ...
It went together exactly like the instructions!  The only unpicking I did was due to my own stupidity, and had nothing to do with the pattern (the old wrong size fabric trick, and other such fun).

I think the result is fantastic - she is such a graceful ballerina - although these photos do not do her justice (blame the rubbish light, not my photo editing).

Pre-quilting

The block is 14" square, and I do not think you could make it much smaller, because two or three of those pieces were itty bitty.  But the great thing about paper piecing is that little pieces are no problem.  In fact I tend to have more problems with the great big pieces.  I have recently learned to use a few blobs of glue (from my Sewline glue pen) to fix the fabric to the paper - which keeps those big pieces from moving around until they are sewn in place.


The pattern did not have shoes, but I thought some pink at the bottom would balance her colours out.


I added some fabric to the top and bottom of the block, to make it the right size for a little Princess tote bag, and then quilted it in straight line quilting.

I now have to make the block for the back of the bag - I will be using Juliet's ballet shoes block for that.  Très perfect, huh?  But there is a little problem in that I am out of the aqua crab utensils fabric.  I need to have a rummage through the fabric boxes to see what I can find that will blend.  I definitely have more polka dots though - one must never run out of pink polka dots, you know?!  So finishing the bag is a job for another weekend!

I hope you have had a lovely weekend.  Nice of you to stop by! 



Saturday, 21 June 2014

Another Sew Together Bag

Yes, it has happened again.  I have made another Sew Together Bag.

To get this underway, I went hunting for fabric that went with the zip colours I already had stashed away.  It was lucky I didn't get smothered by all the fabric and Hubby needed to call in emergency services.  I may have had one of those moments where you realise you have lots of lovely fabric that needs to be used up before you buy more (I've since fallen off the wagon and bought more - naughty).

The koi fabric, on a deep grey background, is by Zesti from Spoonflower.  I bought this over a year ago (together with the coordinating scalloped pattern I used on the ends) and it has languished in my stash ever since.

It's a Sew Together Bag

The orange cherry blossom fabric inside the pockets is from Spotlight.  Hubby likes all things orange, and somehow he has turned me from a hater to a fan over the last 10 years.

It's the inside of a Sew Together Bag

The grey lining is also from Spotlight, but the binding is from a range called Hello Kyoto.  I liked the hot pink - I thought it was nice and fresh.

It's the outside of a Sew Together Bag

I went all crazy and outside the square and did my straight line quilting in orange.  I was a bit nervous about how it would look, because I very rarely deviate from white.  But I really, really like it.  I will be trying coloured cotton again.  I can see how different colours would really change the look of the fabric.

Yep, you've got it - it's a Sew Together Bag.  Again.

The bag is so, so much easier to make the second time around.  If you are thinking of giving this pattern a go, I say DO IT.  The first time will suck a bit, and then you will get the hang of it.  I only checked the pattern this time when it came to the big zip on the outside.  That isn't to say it still didn't take me a fair few hours, but it was definitely a more enjoyable experience.  There will be more of these in my future - I have no doubt!!  (note to family members - please act all excited and pleased at Christmas, okie dokie?!).

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and TGIFF over at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Howdy visitors!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Nearly wordless WIP Wednesday (heh)

Well ... you know I can't say nothing.  That's pretty much impossible, because I'm a big ole blabber mouth.  But I'll try to be brief!

So I've started on Gypsy Wife.  It's awesome.  There's a quilt along happening at the moment, but I'm way behind and out of touch with that, so I'm kind of doing my own thing.  I've decided to do the quilt in sections.  I've managed to finish sections 2 and 4, and I'm loving it.  You may recall that I have decided to make the quilt using Tula Pink's Prince Charming collection, together with the odd neutral thrown in for variety.

Pershing block

Courthouse steps block, half square triangles and bordered square in square blocks

I've also been buying fabric.  What's new?  These are some snippets from fabric.com, including Pretty Potent by Anna Maria Horner, which is luminescent in real life, and the pretty pink liberty lawn fabrics on the right.

Pretty fabric nom nom

Oh, and I've also been pottering away on the ABC blocks.  I meant to get through a whole pile of these in the weekend, but something intervened.

Aren't they purdy?

Yep - the last post-out of fabric for Citrus Sweet Love arrived, so I finished my quilt top.  It  is absolutely horrendous weather here at the moment, so no glamour shots.  But never fear, because there is going to be a big old blog post All About This And How Awesome I Am Finishing It.  I might also mention the cool people that designed it and stuff.



It's pretty uncool to rave about loving your projects, but I'm not very cool, so I'll rave away.  I'm loving this stuff at the moment.  Yay for me.  Remind me to come back and read this when I'm whining on about my sewing in due course.  It's inevitable.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and other lovely places.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Super Simple Baby Quilt 5

One of the things on my to-do list for May was finishing a snuggly baby quilt for the wee man.  For those of you not in New Zealand, I can tell you that it's getting a smidgen chilly in Auckland now.  Not polar vortex chilly, but definitely put-the-fire-on-and-wear-multiple-layers chilly.

I thought the brown binding with mossy splodges was very Seuss-like

Now the wee man has quilts, but not a snuggly, buggly, lined with fluffy candlewick quilt.  The poor deprived little dear.  So I did what all crafty mummys do, and dragged out a jelly roll of Lorax fabrics that I may have bought when I was pregnant.  Good things take time, you know.

I sewed five strips from the jelly roll together to make the non-bordered patches, and trimmed them to 10.5" square.  This meant I got 4 blocks from each set of 5 strips.

For the bordered strips, I sewed three of the jelly roll strips together and trimmed the blocks to 6.5" square.  I got this meant I got 6 of the little blocks from each set of 3 strips.  I bordered the smaller blocks with 2.5" strips of white so that they ended up 10.5" square too.  All done.

Basting - not my friend

The most time was spent mucking around figuring out the layout.

Once it was all done I ummmed and ahhhed about the quilting.  I didn't really want to practice my free motion quilting, but in the end I decided that I should just suck it up and give it a go.  I channeled my inner Leah Day and got going.

I quilted the whole quilt in a pattern Leah Day calls "snake paisley".  Personally I think it looks like echoed flames.  It was okay for a first time, but that's about it.  There are various things that could have made the experience more pleasurable - a supreme slider, a quilting table, some machine quilting gloves, and a little more care.  I think I need to make sure I'm really keen on free motion quilting before I invest more money in gadgets though.

Attempts to take outside photos were thwarted by the rubbish winter light.  Sigh.

It took me about five hours.  It's fair to say that I had the hang of the pattern near the end - however my stitches were not as smooth and lovely as they should be.  Oh well, that is what practice is for.

How are you all?  What have you been up to?  In other news I had purchased the EQ7 quilt design software (for the Mac).  It seems this will be fodder for many blog posts.  Hopefully I use it lots!

Linking up on Friday to Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  Howdy visitors!