Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Pick 'n' Mix

Its been a week of many different things this time!

Aves BOW week 7 complete!

Of course, I'm working on Week 8 now, which is the flying geese circle for around this block.
 I also spent a day at a workshop arranged by my quilt group (Richmond and Kew Quilters) and run by Gillian Travis who was teaching her 'Interchange' fusible applique technique.

I started this penguin wall hanging which finished at home (once I'd got back to a machine with zig zag stitch on it).

Good fun!
 I'd started cutting these out at the workshop too.  Love always wins (hearts) but hugs (O) and kisses (X) are good too!
 Then there was the passport holder made so that DD1 could carry her passport with her during her work experience placement (with enough room in a back pocket for a couple of coins and a tissue too, just in case!
 I even managed a quilty finish too!

The 4" squares looked a little dull just as they were, so I appliqued a flower on top.  Better, but still not my best work.  I think that a red might have worked better as a flower.  Next time I'll audition more fabrics before going for it.

Approximately 40" x 20"
I hope that it will still make someone happy!

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Two more small finishes

 This was the little quilt that arrived as a result of the leftover scrappy HSTs.  These were mainly the 'medium' charms that didn't easily fit either the dark or lights that I needed for the pattern on my last quilt.

Just a couple of extras cut from stash, plus a central block of the hen fabric that appears in quite a few of my scrap quilts!
 It finished at 40" square.

I wasn't sure what binding to use.  I wondered about something in a soft colour to complement the sashing  / border (which reminds me of an old fashioned eiderdown) but decided instead to pick up on the greens that appear in some of the blocks with a lime green spotty binding.  Not the perfect green, but the best that I had in my stash!
 Quilted with a loop-de-loop pattern, it came together fairly quickly in the end.
 The same can't be said about this weeks Aves block, which I'm finding very slow. 

Of course, if I managed to sew the right pieces to the pattern it might be quicker - yesterday I sewed eight pieces with the wrong fabrics (and unpicked them all, despite the short stitch length because of it being foundation piecing).  This is on top of the unpicking that I've done because I've failed to place the pieces well enough (those tricky triangles).
 Then there was the trimming mistake, where I suddenly decided to cut along a sewing line, not a cutting line.....sigh!

It's a beautiful block, I just hope that I can do it justice - eventually!

My second finish?  The mini heart quilt shown here on my sewing room wall, along with some of the other sewing - complete or still in progress from this year.

I need to take 'final shots' of it, but I enjoyed quilting and finishing it last week.

On to other new projects now!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Plenty of Sewing

 I've had a little more 'oomph' this week - so I'm delighted to share a finish, a start and another BOW block!

This is the finish.  48" square, made of almost all the charm squares that I own, mostly cut from my scraps as part of my scrap busting on-going project.
 Some of the points are accurate.....
 ....some of them less so - oops!
 Still, the overall effect is the one that I wanted, so I'm happy!
 I also started two more projects.  This little mini quilt (from Tickled Pink by Collette Howie in Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine).  Smaller than her pattern as I only had part of a FQ of the background fabric. 

Using a couple of my Christmas gift FQs for the hearts.  I'm still considering what quilting pattern(s) to sew.

The other start is one to use up the other HSTs from the first project - leftovers from the leftovers!  No photos as I forgot, but I hope to have it finished by next week.
 Snowfall here in London - quite rare over the last few years, but rarer still to see it with sunshine.
Finally, this weeks Aves block - number 6. 

I'm going to enjoy staying inside in the warm and doing a little more sewing!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Holiday Fun

 Week five of the Aves BOW.  Another 6 1/2" square.

Not much sewing aside from that!
I did, however, have the chance to see lovely rock formations like this - Hay Tor - on a family trip to Dartmoor.  Despite being lucky enough to have DH drive me very close to the Tors that we'd chosen, the walking involved has left me with batteries that are beyond flat.  Worth it for the fun that we had as a family, but I do sometimes wish that I didn't have M.E. / C.F.S and that I could just enjoy life without the preparation / consequences.  Oh well!  Enough grumbling.  I'll be back at my sewing machine soon!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Totally Tropical

 It will only be people of a certain generation and geographical area that are now picturing a can of Lilt.... with the 'totally tropical taste'!

Not much sewing this week - just this block to keep up with the Aves BOW.  It finishes at 6 1/2" and is a very pretty and delicate design.

So this wasn't the tropical bit, the visit to the Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens was.
 My photos don't do it justice.  We had the pleasure of a sunny day and were able to enjoy the colours and shapes of the flowers and plants in the best possible way.
 It makes me so happy to enjoy the bright colours that nature gives us without any help at all.
 It makes me want to start flinging fabrics in gorgeous hues around!
 And then adding more fabrics as backgrounds to set them off....
 I'm pleased that the hive is staying at Kew for a bit longer too.  Magical structure - I love the look
and the sound of it!
We enjoyed a quick canter through the Palm House too.  We are so lucky to live nearby and just be able to pop in when we choose.

More half term excursions planned, so sewing will take a back seat for the week whilst family fun takes centre stage.

I hope that you are also enjoying your week!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Fun times!

 Just one 6 1/2" block to make this week for Aves - leaving plenty of time for other projects!

I may revisit this one at some point - I think that I could do better in trying to preserve the points of the Seminole bands.  I need to remember that I should just persevere with an accurate 1/4" seam, not be swayed by someone who found her block came up slightly short, and try to compensate in my own work by using a scant seam allowance.  Clearly not the right thing to do for me!
 On a larger scale I started the layout of my HST blocks.
 Can you see that it's mostly blues in the middle, then purple on the top left and 'warm' on the top right?
 After that it went slightly to pot - the delight of scrap quilts is that you are working with what you have in your scraps, of course, so 'brown' and 'grey' were quite loose interpretations in the lower corners!  In real life it seems to read OK though.  I need to get the backing and batting cut for this as it's now sewn together.
 I decided to use my small scraps from a recent mini quilt this week too.  Made as a 'quilt as you go' block I used what I had to make a mini quilt - scrap wadding, backing, binding....

It wasn't quite right though.  That top RH white triangle was too shouty - and was arguing with the focus triangle in the centre.
The solution?  Play with my Inktense pencils to colour in that top triangle.  It's close enough to what I want to make me happy!

The final touch is my 'maker' scissors - a badge of honour, I like to think!  One of several pins that I bought from Jodie Carleton of Ric Rac.

Another quilt (roughly 8" x 11") formed from the leavings of other projects.  Very satisfying!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Works in Progress!

 Another week of FPP in the Aves quilt BOW.  I love this circular flying geese piece!

I took a trip to my local quilt shop to get my background fabric (and, ahem, just a few more to top up the colour families).  Looking at the box I've got them stored in makes me feel very happy!
 I wasn't sure how I wanted to attach the outer ring to the initial circle.  I ended up machine stitching around each of the appropriate seam lines through the foundation paper and fabric with a big stitch (for easy unpicking) and then appliquing the outer ring to the inner using the stitched lines to guide me.

Of course, I only thought afterwards that I could have made the needle hole lines without thread in.....doh!  Something to remember for the other four circles!
My other WIP is the scrappy triangle quilt.  You can see here the relative piles of trimmed HSTs, untrimmed HSTs and unironed HSTs!  Progress always seems slow at this trimming stage, but I love the precision of the trimmed squares which makes it all worthwhile!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

A Big Start and a Little Finish

 This week saw the start of Kathryn Kerr's (you remember, designer of the 365 challenge quilt) 'Aves' Quilt Block of the Week program.

On Saturday night I sat down and had a chat with my stash.
Participants had already been given fabric guidelines, which includes a recommendation for the use of three main colours and a range of tones within them.  I'm using not just batiks but prints for this quilt.  I don't know if I have the required amount of yardage, but plan to add more fabrics if required over the year.
 I did well on the turquoise, OK on the pink, and need a bit of a top up of purples in order to get the range of tones.
Here they are with the background that I'd like to use - a soft blotchy grey with sprigs of foliage on it.  I know that it was printed by Robert Kaufman but can't remember the name of the range or find it on the Robert Kaufman web site, so I suspect that it's out of print.  A trip to my local quilt shop beckons, as the one yardage that I'd like to keep consistent over the 47 weeks that this will run for.

 And here is the first block!

The outer edges are untrimmed, but I'm happy with how it turned out!  The journey has begun!
 I also made this little lovely.  The pattern is called 'Drawn Together' by Sarah Fielke and finishes 15" square when made like this with out the borders that she suggests.

I still can't decide whether or not I should have quilted the star - but I was happy with the close background quilting!

This is made with foundation paper piecing.  Enough to get me 'into the zone' for the Aves block above, and enough to remind me that I probably don't really want to make a New York Beauty quilt, lovely though I think they look.  I had been wondering about that as a project....

Instead of a New York Beauty I've decided to get back into my scrap drawers.  This is a pile of 5" squares.  I'm planning to split them into lights and darks (more or less), sew them in HST pairs and then to play with them to find a fun layout.  Simple sewing for undemanding fun!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

First Finishes!

 As hoped, I finished this 'Sweet 16' lap quilt.

It has finished at 42" square.  Another one to be passed over to Project Linus - and one more step to dealing with all my scraps!
 It's a nice size to work on, but I still think that making it 60" x 42" would give a more useful size - but I was limited by the scraps that I had in this colour way!  Sometimes you have to listen to what the fabrics or blocks are telling you!  It's fun to work within these 'constraints' sometimes.
 I found myself wondering what to make next - not a usual state of affairs for me, as I often have quite a long list of projects that I'd like to get started with. 

I wanted some simple sewing that would use some of the fat quarters that I was given for Christmas.

After trawling though my mini / small / miniature quilt books I decided on this one from "Little Quilts all Through the House".  Called 'Stars in the Snow' it used three of my fabrics (you can't see the lustre on the background one) to make a Christmassy mini quilt.  I am pleased with how neat my diagonal quilting it.  I shall add it to the others that I hang in the kitchen each year.  It finished at 18" x 14".
My last sewing adventure for the week was to make this card.  I need to set aside some time to make more cards soon, as my stock seems rather depleted at the moment.

This week I plan to start another mini quilt with more Christmas FQs, to consider fabric choices for the BOW that I've signed up for (Aves by Kathryn Kerr - it looks amazing but I'm not sure that I'll be able to keep up with it as it also looks quite intricate!) and to have a look to see which scraps I might use in my next lap quilt.

Lots of planning and thinking there!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Under my Needle

This little sashed 'sweet 16' is now under my sewing machine needle and having the attention that it deserves  - surging forward to my first completion of 2018, I hope!

The colours are a little brighter than they appear in this photo - in my mind the colours of an African sunset - very cheerful in these grey days!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy New Year!

 The only sewing that I've completed over the last fortnight is this postcard for a birthday swap - the rest of my time and energy has gone into having a lovely time with my family, making memories and laughter together.

I should also mention that I spent some time in A&E and a London Eye hospital.  Nothing seriously wrong, but I'd like to say a resounding 'three cheers' for the NHS and all the staff who worked over the holiday period, particularly those in the West Middx and the Western Eye Hospital.

 I was, however, extremely fortunate at Christmas as my friends and family gave me some tip top presents!

Benta gave me this porthole pouch and scissors keeper - aren't they fab?  If you've previously admired her port hole quilt then you might recognise the style.  Terrific!
 Avril gifted me a fab pair of sprung snips - perfect for someone with a nagging wrist like me - which have a needle threader hidden in the end.  Clearly designed with me in mind!  As well as that lovely set she gave me the softest trimming that I've ever encountered.

 My DH, DD2 and a niece gave me some fabrics.  My brain is humming along deciding which combinations to use and what to use them for.  I've almost decided on making two mini quilts, one a winter one and one for the rest of the year..... but it's hard to decide exactly which patterns to use!
 DD2 also chose these little charms for me - aren't they sweet?
DD1 also bought me ribbons for sewing as well as other craft making pieces.

I'm so fortunate that everyone is so generous - and so mindful of my hobbies!

I hope that you were equally fortunate.  My thoughts have turned once more to those who are not, and I'm keen to get my next Project Linus quilt on the go.

Happy New Year, everyone.  I hope that 2018 brings you all that you'd like!