Tuesday, 22 July 2014

New Inspiration

I'm sure you've heard all about the launch of the latest quilting magazine to hit our shelves.  The first issue of Quilt Now was published last week and there's been a massive buzz on social media since.

To be honest, I don't normally do magazines of any kind.  I want to, but generally find that there's too much advertising and not enough content. I know, I know, bah humbug me.  Anyhow, for reasons unknown to me I was enticed a few months back to sign up to Quilt Now on a great £5 for three issues deal, and I'm glad I did.

Let me say now that I have no vested interest in promoting this magazine, other than sharing that I think the first issue is full of pretty projects you will love.  Taking an hour with a cup of tea to read through the magazine was a feast for my wee stitcher's eyes.

I really loved the layout, the projects, the articles and just the general feel of it.  Have to admit I was also quite excited that a pattern page of full size templates was included.  No having to figure out where to take the magazine to blow up the photocopies to 225%!

I limited myself to just four projects as potentials or I really would get carried away!  Clockwise from top left: I fancy the look of Fiona's giant apple core EPP, the strawberry pincushion free gift, Katy's pixellated heart quilt and the Quilt Now BOM which will be a medallion quilt designed by Reene.

 First, I made up the little freebie strawberry pincushions just for the fun of it.  (Yep, more avoidance.)

Then I got a bit carried away pulling from my stash for the BOM.  As I pulled fabrics I realised that actually I am a blender girl.  My stash is rather devoid of statement prints (except perhaps for my Bonnie and Camille fabrics) and it's interesting that blenders of various kinds are what I obviously tend to choose if I'm not buying for a specific project.  Anyway, this BOM is a mystery so I'm going to try to work from stash (because it really is time to use some of it up) AND I'm going to give low volume background a try for this project.  I'm not convinced that LV and I get along entirely, but if I keep the emphasis on LOW volume and create a very distinctive contrast in my use of colour, perhaps this experiment will succeed.

So here's my version of Reene's central medallion block -

My centre star is a wee bit off on the left side but I'm very happy with it generally and am looking forward to what Reene and Quilt Now have in store for us next time!

If you do happen to spot Quilt Now out there on the shelves and feel even slightly tempted, I really think you won't be disappointed.  As you can see, I have found some lovely inspiration and these are only a few of the projects you'll find inside.

Right I'm off now, I have some apple cores to cut out!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Start to Finish

Last week I continued to "avoid" the larger projects on my list, choosing some more little projects that can be started and finished in a relatively short time.

A number of weeks back my mum surprised me with a little pack of fat quarters she had ordered from a television shopping channel.

Last week I decided they might make cute little cosmetic purses and whipped up a bunch for my mum to gift to her friends.

I find production line sewing a bit tedious normally, so avoid repetition fatigue I varied the designs a little on each one.  I like some better than others, but mum seems to think her friends will like them, so that'll do nicely.

I also snuck in a quick frame purse for myself made up in this lovely Bonnie and Camille fabric - Marmalade on the outside and Scrumptious to line it.

It will replace this tired little box that normally holds my make-up and I think my dresser is looking better already.

I have some more avoidance tactics from the weekend to show you tomorrow when I take pics, but I think that maybe this week I will have to behave myself and get back to that FAL list!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Drawstring Bags

So, how's your summer sewing going?  Are you taking it easy and enjoying creative freedom in the lighter evenings?   Are you valiantly tackling a list of summer plans?  Or are your stitchy moments going in a totally different direction than you'd expected?

Me?  I have a list and I look at it occasionally and then reach for something different!  The quilts on my list are not inspiring me and I just think I'm a little tired and my mojo is a wee bit overwhelmed by them.   I seem to be gravitating towards the more contained projects, rather than longer term ones.

You have to admit that for near-instant gratification on the sewing front, drawstring bags are hard to beat.  Especially when you make them in pretty fabrics - think these are all Lori Holt's Bake Sale line.

Boring, functional, enormous drawstring bags (made as a tent bag at hubby's request 26" x 42") are not so gratifying but at least they are quick!  This one has some reinforced stitching and heavy duty cotton drill fabric to withstand the abuse it will receive.  Hubby is very impressed at the drawstring and spring toggle I fitted - I shall not disabuse him of his misconception that it was tricky.

Aside from the drawstring bags, I have been filling in spare little spaces in my evenings with more counting, hooking and recording for the oval crocheted rag rug.  I didn't manage too much last week but it is growing a little and is now approx 20" x 12".  Shaping up not too badly. I wonder how far I will get before my strip rolls run out?  This is two of the seven rolls I made up.

So whether you are stitching or taking a wee break, I hope you are enjoying the summer so far.

Friday, 11 July 2014

HipBees - July 2014

HipBees' July Queen Bee is the adventurous Indianna Dreams who requested these Scrappy Mini Star blocks using Cindy's handy tutorial.

Four blocks

In the interests of telling it like it is, these blocks are individually made up of 60 pieces each which is a lot of seams to tame to get the block to come in on size and FLAT.  A consistent seam allowance and your iron will be your friend for these babies.  I hope that Indianna Dreams will forgive my inconsistencies and that they will disappear into the quilt when it's all together.

The fabrics are mostly Lark, I think, and they really are effective in the scrappy deliciousness of these blocks.  The secondary pattern is much more obvious when you add more and more blocks together. This should be a scrappy sensation when it's finished.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Case of the Misshapen Aeroplane Bag

It is so nice and sunny out today that it could be a "lashings of ginger beer" picnic and mystery solving opportunity for Enid Blyton's Famous Five or Secret Seven.  So, could they solve the mystery of my misshapen aeroplane bag?

See?  One side is pooching out the other is not.  Not sure how clued up Ms Blyton's juvenile sleuths are on zip fitting in bags, but my money is on the tapering zip!  Never mind, I think it looks pretty anyway!

I made the larger of the two bags in order to maximise what I might be able to carry with me on to a flight, instead of trying to cram everything (unsuccessfully) into a smaller handbag.

There's a ton of room in there and I'm really pleased with the overall size.

I used the Sew Sweetness pattern and some extra, helpful advice from a few friends.  All in all, the pattern was easy to follow and the bag came together well.  I love that I finally found a use for that Amy Butler Daisy Chain print.  I made it with about half an inch to spare on that one.  I think if you plan to give this bag a lot of use and abuse you would be best to make it in something a bit more robust than quilting cotton, but as I don't actually travel very often and intend that it will be carry on luggage only, I imagine it will survive well enough with the stabilisers and interfacings hidden in there.

Not so pretty zip end.

And another one

As I said, I am fairly certain the misshapen sides of the bag are due to my inability to interpret the zip tapering instructions.  I think this caused my problems with not being able to get my needle close enough to the area where the bag edges and lining edges met the zip ends.  I unpicked a few times but my puzzler couldn't work it out. Since it was most likely the tapering itself that was the issue, without understanding fully how that works I'm just repeating my problem.  The result is these funny, bulky "pleats" at my zip ends and a bit of a gap in the lining side of one of the ends too.

I gave it some thought and while one part of me wants to know how to put it right, the other part of me is happy to chalk it up to experience, try to resolve it if there is ever a next time, and just get on and stuff that bag full of necessaries for fun weekends away now and again!

I do believe this finish also constitutes a tick of my FAL Qtr 3 List already!!

Monday, 7 July 2014

FAL 2014: Qtr 3 Goals List

Finish Along 2014

Saying "Quarter 3" is making it sound like the year is moving way too fast, but here goes with my stitching finish goals for this quarter:

1 - Ruby Churn Dash bed quilt
Carrying over from my Qtr 2 list, this top needs to be quilted and bound and placed on my bed.  I am hatching a plan.

2 - Kaffe Fassett Sparkling Gemstones Quilt
Again carrying over from Quarter 2, these fabrics have been set aside for a Pam Lintott Sparkling Gemstones quilt pattern.  They have waited an awfully long time for some attention, perhaps they'll get lucky this quarter?!

3 - Aeroplane Bag
Rather letting the cat out of the aeroplane bag with my fabric selection here, but I've been keen to make a larger carry-on/weekender type bag for a while and settled on the Aeroplane bag pattern a month or so ago.  I have finally gathered all the requisite supplies and hope that this bag will feature heavily in my July sewing activity.  (For those of you hoping to see the orange zip, sorry!)

4 - Crocheted Rag Rug
I shall play hopeful here and add in the crocheted rag rug which I've been puzzling over. If the weather plays nice this would be an ideal project for sitting outdoors with.  As it's a scrappy project I have no idea if I even have enough fabric strip rolls to complete it yet, but maybe I will ...

So, that's it for Quarter 3.  Not a huge list I know, but I actually don't have many started projects that are eligible for listing and the couple of remaining UFOs are ones I really don't have plans for this quarter.  2 quilts, a rag rug and a bag - all do-able in a quarter, right?

Linking up with Katy at The Littlest Thistle.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

FAL Quarter 2 2014: Round Up

Finish Along 2014

Katy has decreed that the time to admit to our successes with our Finish-a-long Quarter 2 Goals is upon us.  So let me review:

1 - Crazy Scrappy block quilt
16 of these cheery blocks and some navy fabric for sashing are tucked up in a box on the sewing room shelf. I think it's time to make something of them.  Yep, all finished - tick no 1.

Starter blocks
Fun finish!

2 - Mystery Medallion Quilt
Not quite such a Mystery now that the quilt top is finished, my medallion quilt is currently hanging on the back of the sewing room door.  If I can source one of those dual positioning quilting guide arms I would like perhaps to spiral quilt this one.  I would love to finish it this quarter.  A little quilting drama notwithstanding, I did it - eventually.  I LOVE this quilt, though I didn't spiral it as planned.

All pieced and waiting to become ...

this big TA DA!
3 - Ruby Churn Dash bed quilt
I think I have made about 33 of the 49 churn dashes that I need for this bed quilt, and I love them!  The remaining blocks are all cut and it would be good if I could finish this during the quarter so it can be in use when it becomes warm enough to sideline the duvet (she says optimistically). Hmmm... not a finish this quarter but I do now have a pieced quilt top.  At least it's progress.

I did progress from just some blocks ...
to all of the blocks pieced into rows.

4 - Kaffe Fassett Sparkling Gemstones Quilt
Left aside with a Pam Lintott Sparkling Gemstones quilt pattern in mind, this sadly neglected fabric deserves a little attention.  I think I could be pushing things hoping for a finish on this one in quarter 2, but sure you never know ....  Whispering very softly, this one is still in the box, still sadly neglected.

5 - Crocheted Ripple Throw
Been quite a long time since I started this crocheted throw back when I was in need of amusement during the many long hours a week I spent as a poolside mum.  Things changed and I haven't been poolside this year so the bag of crochet has been a little neglected.  It needs to be finished and since I only have that small amount of yarn remaining, I am hoping that Qtr 2 will see it rippled to a pretty finish. It won't be huge, probably just a lap sized throw.  Yay for another finish to declare!  My little throw is complete and draped over the back of my sofa, proving perfect as a shoulder wrap when the temperature drops a little late at night.

Not quite finished.

Wavy loveliness!

6 - Hunter's Star Cushion
I really need to switch out some older cushion covers from the lounge and I decided a while back to use the Hunter's star pattern for one of the replacements.  The fabrics are pulled and I've already cut some of the paper templates, so maybe one weekend I can turn on some tunes and make this a Qtr 2 success.

There was a lot more piecing in this that I realised.

But it was worth it.

I am going to call 4 out of 6 goals completed a respectable result for the quarter.  

I would so love to have finished the Ruby quilt so that it could have actually been put to use the past few weeks of warm nights, but in my defence I did have the quilting dramas of the Medallion to contend with.  I also managed the Retro Butterflies quilt from start to finish at class, as well as my windmill petals cushion and QAYG tote which weren't started at the beginning of the quarter so didn't qualify to be listed.  Add in a slew of blocks for my three bees and I'm happy with Sew Me productivity levels this quarter, even if they're not all FAL projects.

Got to say though that having a FAL goals list each of these two quarters is really helping my WIPs an UFOs to be brought under control.  A little accountability seems to work well for me.  Thanks for keeping us all at it Katy!

Linking up with Katy at The Littlest Thistle.

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