Sunday, 1 March 2015

Bee Blessed - March 2014



March Bee Blessed block is up on Judith's blog for you to have a go at.


It's a fab easy, peasy block this month made up from two colours of prints.  This is one of those blocks that takes longer to choose the fabric for than to piece it all together.  I hope you will consider giving it a go and sending us one or two for our donated quilts.  I think it's going to look great all scrappy and colour mixed!


Friday, 27 February 2015

Catching Up


You may recall that when I set my little focus list at the beginning of January I included on that list catching up and staying up to date with the Quilt Now Magazine Mystery Block of the Month.  



Well it took me a while, and another two issues of the magazine landed on my doorstep in the meantime, but as of now I am officially caught up - need to say that just before Issue 9 arrives!





Issue 6 introduced a skill I haven't tried before - reverse applique on these sweet flower shapes.  


My verdict is that I need a lot more practice with the final stage of 'turn under and stitch down' to be happy with these and this shot is the only one you'll see close up.  This was my first block and contrary to what I thought, I didn't improve as I went along!




Issue 7 involved a trapunto effect - extra layering of wadding - on some weeny pieced bow ties.


I hadn't tried this effect before but the piecing and layering were much more in my comfort zone.




Eight pretty bow ties later and I'm looking forward to seeing how these take effect when the quilt is eventually finished and quilted up.


It was a relief after all the itty, bitty piecing of the bows to discover that the fast flying geese of Issue 8 were created from MUCH larger fabric cuts!  This was a new to me way of constructing flying geese and not only did I enjoy the technique, but I loved the pointy results.


Not a single goose beak/tip/or whatever the pointy bit is supposed to be was harmed in the making of these.   Although I am so used to making flying geese a different way, I really would like to make the effort to use this fast, no-waste method again - will just need to do a bit of research on how to achieve different sizes.

So, all this catching up allowed me to add to some blocks from previous issues and complete a border -


It is so lovely to see it all coming together after weeks of storing separate block types and not knowing how Reene is planning to combine them.  I'm enjoying trying new things and being challenged by some of them too.  Now, I'm curious as to how the flying geese and bow ties will work in the next border round.  How long until Issue 9?



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Memory Items

Back when I suggested to my MIL that I could make Memory Quilts for the children of my brother-in-law, she asked if there was enough fabric leftover could I make her some "useful wee thing" just that she could have.  It breaks my heart that she should have to ask for such a thing because of the circumstances of her son's untimely passing, but I wanted to be sure not to forget her request when I had finished up the quilts.

I had some trouble thinking of what "useful wee thing" would be appropriate for her.  Table runners and mini-quilts didn't seem to fit as they would look strange in her home in these fabrics.  My in-laws are quite practical, non-fussy people so I didn't think that other little ornamental/soft furnishing items would be suitable either.



In the end I decided I'd make something that would be regularly used, practical and would remind her of my brother-in-law each time she had to get it out.  So, I opted for a peg bag.   I used fabrics in the front that my MIL had picked out as having memories for her when she first saw the quilts being put together - shirts she had bought for him or shirts that he had worn on days out with the children that she and my FIL had been along to.


The backing of the peg back is a soft loose weave denim type fabric from another shirt and was perfect for a more durable project as it was slightly too heavy to include in the children's quilts.



I then decided that the denim-esque fabric and some self-striped denim from another shirt I had been unable to use in the quilts would make good pencil cases/pouches and stitched up a little one for my MIL and a bigger one for my FIL too.  He's an artist so I'm sure he will have lots of pens and pencils to fill it and I made it big enough to fit a small sketch pad too.



So, here they are.  Memory items that no parents should ever need to have but which I hope will remind them in a positive way of their son.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Memory Quilts - trio of finishes



Finally, the Memory Quilts have had their last stitches stitched and been washed, dried and folded ready for passing on.  I've told the story of these quilts in a previous post so I won't say too much here, but just show you the finished quilts front and back.


Aqua Pixellated heart - quilt front




and pieced backing nicely crinkled from the dryer.



Red pixellated heart - quilt front


and pieced backing.  Happily, the three colour catchers I included in the wash worked a treat and there was no bleeding of any of the many reds used.



Random wonky stars quilt - front


 and pieced back.


I added a label to the back of each quilt.  They are slightly larger and less discreet that I might have wished but I want the children to understand what the quilts are.


The quilts have finished at 60" square each and I am pleased that they've turned out probably even a little better than I first expected.  I won't deny that I am relieved to have finished them, perhaps because of the weight of responsibility I felt for making them worthy of my brother-in-law's memory.  All that remains is for me to pray over them before I pass them on that they will be a blessing and a comfort to his children in time.




Saturday, 21 February 2015

Farmer's Wife Baby Quilt Finished

Ta da!



It has only taken three and a half years to make something with my Farmer's Wife blocks but it's done. All quilted and bound with pink scrappy binding.




This little sweet sampler quilt is headed off to Bee Blessed to be donated to the Royal Victoria Belfast's Mother & Baby HIV unit and I'm delighted it finally has a purpose other than sitting in a box on a sewing room shelf.  It also feels good to finish my longest UFO and remove it from the sidebar list after so long.


Friday, 20 February 2015

Options

Those of you on IG will already know that I dropped in a little news recently that a new arrival is expected here this summer.  I'm going to blame the hormonal fluctuations of my pregnancy for my inability to stay focussed on my stitching plans and encouraging me to flit from project to project lately.

One of the flits led to fabric pulls for very small baby quilts in preparation for our new family addition.


I really was only intending to pull fabric to hold aside.  I didn't plan to actually make the quilt tops but I couldn't help myself.  Those fabrics just looked to good to leave unworked - esp those wee foxes!



Totally inspired by this quilt on Pinterest I set to work chopping up little bricks 3" wide and of varying lengths.



Then, I paper pieced some little sail boats, forgetting as a I drafted my pattern than I should have done so in reverse.  Aw well, my boats are just sailing in a different direction but I'm sure the baby will never know.


This little quilt top measures 36.5" x 38.5" just big enough for a car seat, crib or a pram cover and I LOVE it!!!!

Once that was done, I couldn't wait to whip up a similar girl option because I don't know which I'm having and our Health Trust has a policy of not disclosing the baby's gender.


Back to the stash and I chose pretty pastels this time


and made little 6" versions of my Bee Blessed heart tutorial to replace the sailboats.  Aren't they sweet?



I love this one too



and some of the fabrics I included are really cute!

I have basted the quilts (after some dithering deliberation over backing fabrics for the girl quilt) and they are now ready for quilting when I get some more time at my machine.  Since they are only little I don't think it will take too long and then I will have the option of either quilt to cosy our newborn in when the time comes!  Which is probably a good job because I have no idea when I'll find time to sew after he or she arrives!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Siblings Together - Get Involved!

Last weekend, as I read through blog posts I noticed that Mary had commandeered the Lily's Quilts blog to share her plans for Siblings Together quilts for this summer.  Please go and read all about it here and find out more about the Siblings Together charity and why and how you can help Mary and her quilting buddies Jo and Susy create more fantastic quilts to be loved and treasured by children in the UK care system who are separated from their siblings.

I have contributed to Siblings Together for the past few years through Bee Blessed donated quilts and then by organising my own block drive in late 2013 and making 2 fab quilts for last summer's Siblings Together camps with the blocks that you lovely folks so generously donated.  This year I haven't been able to commit to making whole quilts so I was delighted to read on Saturday that Mary, Jo and Susy are having a block drive.  Blocks I can do!



On Sunday morning, I dove into my stash to pull fabrics in the required colours - blue, grey, green and black suitable for teenage boy quilts - and cut and stitched four of those wee blocks in hardly any time at all!


The blocks are made from charm square nine patches, quartered diagonally, mixed up and stitched back together.  You can find all of the block details, fabric requirements and tutorial links on Mary's post.  Mary, Jo and Susy are hoping to make as many quilts as they can for the summer camps and that's why they need our help.  Please consider making them a few blocks and sending them on.  Mary is also hoping that some folks might be able to offer wadding, backing fabric or a little fabric for binding the quilts.  I know from my own block drive for last year's quilts that it can take quite a lot to layer, back and bind the quilts and the generosity of others really helped get those quilts finished.



So please, please consider what you might do to help Mary and her team get a big pile of amazing quilts ready for teenage boys this summer.

Could you whip up a few blocks and post them?
Do you have some spare yardage that would be suitable for binding or backing?
Do you have access to wadding supplies that you could share?

I had to think out of the box a little when I couldn't find a piece of fabric big enough for a quilt binding so I checked with Mary if binding strips would be helpful for making up scrappy bindings.  Cutting a few 2.5" strips from the fabrics I'd used in the blocks just took a few minutes and will save the ladies time and effort when they are working so hard.  So, are you in?  Will you help make a difference just by sharing an hour of your time doing something you love?  Go on, you know you want to.  Just leave Mary a message on her post with your offer of help and then go and get busy.  I promise you'll feel good for helping out!!

Finally, just a thanks to Mary, Jo and Susy for all the hard work they'll be doing and for providing a way that I can contribute to such a worthy cause.





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