Thursday, 30 July 2015

Amazing Creation!

She's finally here!

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made"

See? God is a stitcher too!

This little lady is my Cutesy Tootsie. She entered our world earlier this month and has captured our hearts completely.  Oh, how we love her!

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Quilt Now BOM - Issue 13

The Quilt Now magazine Mystery BOM has finally reached its final set of instructions in Issue 13 which has just landed with subscribers.  Having followed along with Reene's skill-building 4 weekly challenges, and mostly kept up to date, I have been very excited to see how she would finish the BOM quilt and she has not disappointed!

At this point, I have a small confession to make.  This issue of Quilt Now seems to have taken longer to be published than usual and I knew I would never get this top finished on my own if I waited for it to land on the doormat.  So, a few weeks ago I knew that there was a single day opportunity to get my sewing machine out and get to work for what was the last machine time pre-arrival of my now massive pregnancy bump.  I was so keen that this quilt top would not lie unfinished (at least in the piecing of the quilt top sense) for months and months that I decided to make a guess at how the final two side block panels were supposed to go together and then to add a final solid aqua border myself ahead of knowing what Reene's plans actually were.  In the pic above you can see what I decided in terms of the block layout for the two sides.  Reene's top and bottom block panels really helped me to understand and make a reasonable informed guess as to where I should position the final blocks and by Miss Marple deductions I made the right decisions!

So I sewed and sewed, happy as the flowers in May, knowing that I would actually achieve a quilt top  finish before child no 2 enters our lives.  Yay!

Ta-da, here is my finished Quilt Now Mystery BOM quilt top!!

I really, really love it!!!  It is by no means perfect.  Some of those skills were not my forte and are a bit lacking in precision and talent, but oh I am so glad I gave them all a go.  I think my favourite new-to-me technique was the needleturn appliqué (which I really want to do more of in the future) and I also loved trying out the no-waste method of making flying geese.

I may have said before that I found myself quite surprised to jump in with the Quilt Now magazine's Mystery BOM right from the start, mainly because that word "mystery" doesn't tend to do it for me normally.  Joining a Mystery BOM or QAL involves NOT knowing what you are making ahead of time and that's not usually something I want to commit to (control freak alert).  However, this was definitely the right one to throw my inhibitions away on.  It did what it said on the tin and introduced new skills to try across a small selection of blocks with each issue of the magazine, and you know, if I really hadn't enjoyed it I could have just stopped at some point.  But, the team at Quilt Now were right to trust Reene with their first ever BOM project and I say thanks to them and to Reene for the challenges and fun along the way.

Now I'm off to store this pretty flimsy away carefully until I have the time to baste and quilt it - maybe a touch of hand quilting this winter if I'm lucky!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Friendship Star Variation Tutorial

It's been very stitch quiet around these parts for the last number of weeks and I haven't had much to show you, but when I was doing some blog admin I did find this Friendship Star tutorial that I didn't get around to posting at the time I wrote it.  Thought I might share it with you now.

Making Di's birthday Friendship Star mini quilt reminded me how striking this simple little block can be, and I couldn't resist having a play for options in a larger quilt.  I just pulled some scraps and stitched this variation up.  I added little corner triangles with a view that if this was a scrappy quilt the colourful corners would add a little more interest when the blocks are repeated, and it would reduce the larger negative space created by the background fabric.

Thinking ahead,  I've decided that I might raid my scrap box over the course of the next year to make enough blocks for a quilt to contribute to Siblings Together 2016.  This year my contribution to Siblings Together was limited to some block contributions to the quilts donated by others but it would be nice to make one myself for such a good cause next year.  Don't expect to see speedy progress folks, but hopefully giving myself such a wide timeframe will help it become a reality for next summer's ST camps.

For my block I chose one bright print for the friendship star and two other prints for pairs of opposite corner triangles, as well as a solid white cotton as the background to my block.

Friendship Star Variation
12.5" sq unfinished

Fabric A (background)
Cut 2:  5" squares
Cut 4:  4.5" squares

Fabric B (print for star)
Cut 2:  5" squares
Cut 1:  4.5" square

Fabrics C & D (corner triangles)
Cut 2:  2.5" squares from each fabric

Use scant 0.25" seams throughout.

1.  First of all take both 5" white squares and all four 2.5" squares and draw a diagonal pencil line across the wrong side of the fabric.

2.  Make the HSTs for the star points:  Pair each 5" white square with a 5" square of fabric B and stitch a seam 0.25" on each side of the diagonal pencil line.  (You can just about see mine in the photo above.)

3.  Using your rotary cutter, cut along the pencil line to separate your HSTs.

4.  Press the HSTs with your seam allowance towards the print fabric.

5.  Now trim each HST to 4.5" square, taking care to line up the diagonal seam with the diagonal line on your ruler.  When all four are trimmed, set aside.

6.  Corner triangle units:  Pair each 4.5" white square right sides together with a 2.5" print square, making sure the diagonal pencil line you drew runs across the corner as shown in the photo above.

7.  Now stitch ALONG each pencil line to attach the print squares to the background.

8.  Trim away the outer corners 0.25" from your stitch line.

9.  Now open your corner and carefully press seam towards print fabric to regain a 4.5" square.

10.  Lay out all your 4.5" units in the correct order ready to sew together.

11.  Stitch the units into rows and then take the rows to your ironing board.

12.  Take the middle row first and press the seams towards the centre print fabric.  Then, press the top and bottom rows in the opposite direction.  This alternate pressing of seams will help you to nest your seams together nicely in the next step and will reduce some of the bulk at seams in your block.

13.  Placing rows 1 and 2 right sides together, butt the seams and pin in place to hold while you stitch the row together.  Repeat to join rows 2 and 3.

14.  Press the final two seams of the rows open to reduce the bulk in your block.

15.  Trim to 12.5" square and you're done!

Nice and easy!  I hope you find the tutorial useful, perhaps for your own quilt plans or Bee Blocks or maybe your own version of a Siblings Together 2016 quilt, who knows?!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

All set for summer!

The title of my post is somewhat tongue-in-cheek because I'm not sure I could ever be prepared for what's about to change this summer.  School is out here in Northern Ireland and chez Sew Me we are thinking about baby arrivals, maternity leave, summer camp for the teen, family summer hols and orienteering competitions.  And, somewhere in the middle of all of that I would love to be able to stitch even a very little something.

So, my project preparation has included lots of hexies for my new EPP plans

tons of crochet that could be added to my crocheted hexes throw

and thoughts of what I might do for my Stitch Gathering ticket project - a little embroidery, perhaps?

I'm quite sure that'll be plenty to be getting along with, if I even manage any of it at all.  Being prepared might increase the chances of something being achieved, but it will be an exciting summer whether there's stitching or not.

I hope your summer will be filled with fun and excitement too!

Friday, 26 June 2015

The story so far ...

Because they both asked so nicely, and because they are fabulous encouragers, inspiration and solution providers for all sorts of stitching issues, here is a picture of all of my 18 Moda Modern Building Blocks so far as requested for Mrs Sew and Sew and Archie's mum.

It is only with laying them out for this picture that I'm beginning to get an idea of the overall size of this quilt.  It's a bit of a biggie!  Remember, there are still 30 6" blocks to be added to these ones.  I know it's not the best picture, ladies, but I hope you can see something of the quilt it will eventually become.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Blocks 16, 17 & 18

It's time to show you the last three of the 12" blocks for my Moda Modern Building Blocks quilt.

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 16
What I found hardest with block 16 was getting the colour variation of the reds to be contrasting enough not to lose the large chevron design.  I'm still not entirely sure that my choices have been successful, but I am not so bothered as to switch them out.  Mainly because I really want to keep it reds and not add in other colours to this block.  I'm sure it will matter less in the bigger picture of the whole quilt in due course.

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 17
More chevrons but smaller this time for block 17.  The graduation through pinks to reds works a much better than my block 16.  I am just going to have to take care when piecing this one into the quilt sections because I might lose a little on my seam allowance at that top left hand goose point, though it looks much worse in the picture than it does in reality.

Moda Modern Building Blocks - Block 18
I really like the pattern of block 18 (forgotten it's name and am too lazy to go and hunt for my book to find out).  I don't say this often about B&C fabrics but this is one of the prints I bought that I'm not so fond of.  Not sure why I can't quite love it like I do the others.  Maybe it's a bit too dark blue and not navy enough for me, not sure, but I have kept it in this block anyway to try to balance out the navy/dark blue tones across the quilt especially since I only have a few of these colours in my B&C stash.

So, that's 18 blocks all stitched and waiting for some future attention.  The remaining 30 quilt blocks will all finish at 6" square which is pretty wee given the number of pieces some are being made up from.  For now though, they will have to wait until after the summer as sewing machine time is giving way to other things for a while. At least they are all cut and packaged up ready to sew when I find myself with time and energy to get working on them!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Bee Blessed

Yesterday afternoon this fab group of Bees gave Judith and I a lovely send off as we move on from our responsibilities at Bee Blessed.

As you can see we had a yummy vintage afternoon tea provided - proper china, pretty napkins, homemade cream scones and fresh fruit kebabs, mmmmmm!  We were also very thoughtfully gifted beautiful scented floral bouquets - the stocks smell divine!  

Thank you friends for the many laughs, the creative sharing and the delicious cakes, savouries and various other treats that fuelled us along the way for the past four years.  Especially thanks for your lovely farewell yesterday.  Big hugs to you all.

As I've mentioned before this lovely group of ladies, including some "next generation" quilters, do have plans to continue Bee Blessed and keep sending out quilty blessings to those who are struggling or going through the tough stuff that life can throw at us.  I am so thrilled that the heart for Bee Blessed will continue to beat and hope so much that those of you reading who have supported the Bee with block contributions in the past, will continue to do so going forward.  Got to keep those ladies busy and out of trouble, don't we?  I know that the ladies are working to get their lines of communication for Bee Blessed up and running and I will give you all the details of where you can find them as soon as it's all live.  Keep an eye out!

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