Wednesday 28 December 2011

Charmed prints quilt finished (and some Christmas photos)

I am REALLY happy with how this quilt turned out. But I can safely say it will be a LONG while before I pebble quilt this sized area again - my arm muscles are only just recovering! It ended up taking around ten hours to do the quilting. It was totally worth it I think, but still it's going to have to be something that either needs it or is WAY smaller to make me want to do it again...

This is how the quilting turned out:

I decided not to go for all-the-same-sized pebbles as I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to keep them the same, so  they do range a bit in size. This is a view of the back - I did a really simple pieced back (Ice Frappe Kona, with a strip of I heart robots toward the bottom).

This is how I quilted the border - I FMQ'd around the circle shapes on the pearl bracelet fabric.

And finally, the whole thing (an inside shot as these were all taken on Christmas morning before I wrapped it - nothing like a last minute finish - well, 10:30 pm on Christmas Eve...)

Lastly I couldn't resist posting some Christmas day pics of my lovely little peeps.
The big boy here is my little guy and the small person is my nephew (who loves his quilt by the way - he rolled over on it for the first time on Boxing day :) )

This is my adorable little girl:

And my biggest boy (sitting on my daughter's Santa present):

And finally a plum-tuckered out small person enjoying her Christmas quilt:

I'm so happy to have these finished and gifted - I'm now adding to my WIP pile again and starting another project. I received Lizzy House's five magical projects book (well, bought it for myself :p) and am starting High Seas.

happy stitching, 

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Bloggers Choice Fat Quarter Bundle

This was hard. Like, really hard. So many beautiful fabrics to choose from over at the Fat Quarter Shop - and I really didn't look through the whole shop I kind of chose my favorite designers/manufacturers. The colours I've chosen are a little outside my usual choices, but I love green, grey and purple so I'm pretty happy with what I ended up with (I think I had about 40 in my picasa album initially, and then whittled it down to these). 

I started with Ruby Star Spring and worked from there.

1. Ruby Star Spring Purple Bee and Lace Stripe Yardage SKU# JG-56100-102A, 2. Hyperreal Garden Flamingo Labyrinth Yardage SKU# HG-7409, 3. Nature Elements Moonbeam Yardage SKU# NE-108, 4. Oval Elements Chartreuse Yardage SKU# OE-907, 5. Pure Elements Cabernet Solid Yardage SKU# PE-400, 6. Pure Elements Verve Violet Solid Yardage SKU# PE-401, 7. Girls World Vibe Magenta Carrie Yardage SKU# PWJP058-MAGEN, 8. Taza Neutral Ribbon Damask Yardage SKU# PWDF110-NEUTR, 9. Heirloom Amethyst Blockade Blossom Yardage SKU# JD48-AMETH, 10. Oval Elements Crocus Yardage SKU# OE-908, 11. Prince Charming Olive Dew Drop Yardage SKU# TP12-OLIVE, 12. Garden District 54" Wide Green Cakewalk Yardage SKU# SAHB001-GREEN, 13. Heirloom Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum Yardage SKU# JD51-CHRYS, 14. Heirloom Blush Opal Yardage SKU# JD52-BLUSH, 15. Pure Elements Burnt Orange Solid Yardage SKU# PE-406

Friday 23 December 2011

Another gift finished...

I am so glad I finished this one today - it means I've only got my pebble quilting (and border quilting, and binding?!) to go on my charmed prints quilt, and then I've finished my gift making... hopefully in time for the actual gift giving day. I am starting to doubt this a bit, but my other half has promised me as much time as I need tomorrow to get them done, so it should all be good. I hope.

This is my sister's present (who doesn't read my blog so it's safe to post this before I give it to her).

I used Elizabeth Hartman's Margaret bag pattern - and it is a great pattern. Straight forward to follow, and it works really well. I would totally recommend using a walking foot for sewing the lining to the exterior though - there are LOTS of layers to get through where the closing strap is and even with my walking foot, my machine struggled to sew through all the layers. It's probably a good idea to take more time placing the interlining than I did - it wasn't perfectly centred and so I had to sew through it when stitching the front and back together (rather than have it just inside the seam lines). Not a big problem though - you can't tell at all once it's all sewn together.

The fabric I used is Light Bright by Alexander Henry, and the lining is Kona black. I made the pockets from the exterior fabric, just to make it easier to find where they are (black on black may have been a bit invisible...) The button is a fabric-covered one in the same fabric as the exterior of the bag.

This is the cross-body version of the Margaret bag, and it really is the perfect fit - the bag sits right near my hip (so I'm hoping it fits my sister as well - she's a bit taller than me). It's quite a roomy bag - so I think it will be good for carting all the extra baby-paraphernalia required for a small baby as well as the normal wallet, keys, phone etc.

Off to pebble quilt,

Happy stitching,

Name Game Swap

Anorina of Samelia's Mum fame is hosting a really fun mini quilt swap early next year.

Here are some of the swap basics:
It will be an international swap and is based on the idea of making a mini quilt for your swap partner, using their name / blog name in the quilt.
The size is up to you, but it should be bigger than a mug rug. I think work on a minimum of 9” x 12”
It will be a blind swap which means that you won’t know who will make your mini quilt, until it’s delivered by your lovely postal service.
Leave a comment here on this blog post if you would like to join. 

Sign up is open until 15 January 2012. Head over to Anorina's blog for more details - but I am totally excited about this swap - and a little nervous, since I have never 'written' on a quilt. But I'm always up for adding to my skill set, so it should be fun!

Tuesday 20 December 2011

1001 Peeps - a finished quilt (yay!!)

I am ridiculously proud of this quilt. I absolutely LOVE Lizzy House's fabrics, and 1001 Peeps is no exception - and it leant itself perfectly to this pattern. The pattern is Fussy Framed Fairytales by Kate Conklin, and it was really fun to make. I love the fact that it wastes virtually NO fabric, and the floating squares border is really cool.

I actually deviated a little from the pattern - I started with 10" squares rather than 10.5" squares, which is why my floating squares aren't quite set in the right spots at the corners - although I think they still look okay. Apart from 1001 peeps, I used Kona solids in blush, hibiscus, petal and PFD. I quilted it all over using an echo shell pattern - time consuming compared to stippling (it took about 10 hours to quilt), but I love the result. And the texture of the quilt is amazing. 

The binding is Kona blush, and it's machine stitched at back and front. Finished size is about 50" x 65" (approximately - haven't measured it properly yet...)
So I have my first finished Christmas present ready to wrap - 5 sleeps to go, four more gifts to finish off (panicking much?)


Monday 19 December 2011

Leaving it till the last minute...

I know this is totally my fault, but I'm starting to freak out a little. As my four year old keeps reminding me, its only 6 sleeps till Christmas. And I have got SOOOOO much to get done before then. Yes, I should have started this stuff weeks ago, but I kept getting distracted by new projects... so my WIP pile is massive and I have a few things that are barely started that I need to get done for gift-giving.

Firstly my 1001 peeps quilt, which I have always intended to be for my daughter, needs to be finished off. I decided that this Christmas was the perfect time to give it to her. The quilt top was finished, so just needed quilting (which is done - yay!!!). After much deliberating on how to do it, I decided to do an 'echo shell' type of quilting. Which looks great. But took nearly 10 hours to do (I'm used to getting a baby sized quilt stippled in around 2-3 hours, so this was a shock!)

It's quilted all over in this way, which has given it a gorgeous texture and although it took a long time it was really easy to do, and has motivated me to move away from stippling to other FMQ styles. It's also made me realise how much I love the quilting process - it's really just like drawing on fabric with my sewing machine :)
So this one at least is nearly done - the binding is made, I just need to sew it on (machine all the way, baby!)

Second, my Charmed Prints QAL quilt for my nephew. I (perhaps stupidly) decided to pebble quilt this one, and I am glad I decided to - the texture is just amazing! But again, its going to take a LONG time to finish. I've done about 1/3 of it so far:

It's fun to do, but pretty thread-intensive (I've used about 3 bobbins so far, so I reckon it will be 9 or so by the time I finish - and the area I'm pebble quilting is only about 37" square!!!)

Next on my to-do-by-Sunday list is a bag for my sister (I'm using Elizabeth Hartman's Margaret Bag pattern - totally cute!) which is cut out and needs sewing up. Also a bottle-bag for each of my parents - this is the outside panel for one of them:

I'm photographing as I do this one, so it will probably be a tutorial at some stage :)

Hope you're Christmas gift making is going better than mine!

Happy (panic) stitching,

Saturday 17 December 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway. The random number generated was 32, so the lucky winner is Tina, who said:

I'm a huge fan of 1950s-mid 1960s... the silhouette is so flattering on "asset gifted" ladies!

Congratulations Tina, I will be contacting you by email so you can get on with choosing your patterns!

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Willow Wren Baby Quilt

I started cutting this fabric last weekend, along with a whole bunch of other fabric, intending to make a really colourful quilt using 6" squares. But once I started getting it onto my design wall I just wasn't happy - and decided it needed some sashing between the squares. But alas, I had run out of white (remedied as of yesterday, thankfully!) So I used some of the squares and the rest of a Bella solids jelly roll I had (just enough of) to make up the quilt top.

This is a pattern I made up and have made three quilts using it now - and I have nearly finished writing up the pattern which will be a free tutorial once its done :)

I stippled this one - I really do love the texture that stippling gives a quilt! I used a cream thread to match the sashing.

The backing is a single piece of striped fabric (Benartex I think) in pink, orange and yellow which looks pretty good with the front. The binding is Kona Cardinal - I love the red across the width of the quilt top and I think the red binding looks really great.

Quilt Stats:
* Fabric - Willow wren from Alexander Henry, Bella solid in snow, Kona cardinal (binding)
* Pattern - my own design
* Size - 40" x 60"

This one is for sale in my madeit shop.

I now need to get onto some quilted bottle bags for my parents, quilting my Charmed prints quilt for my nephew and quilting my daughter's 1001 peeps quilt ready for Christmas - 11 days should be enough?!? I may have some late, late nights ahead of me...

happy stitching,

Monday 12 December 2011

Giveaway Day!

It's giveaway day over at Sew Mama Sew (well it's Monday here already, so I'm starting the ball rolling early...)

Welcome to all the Sew Mama Sew readers to my mostly quilty blog, The Elven Garden. My other obsession (other than quilting that is) is vintage fabric and patterns. Now I realise that as far as patterns go, you really want to win one that will actually fit you, and is something you'd like to make.


You can find me on etsy at

I have a something like 90 patterns listed at the moment, including children's, women's and maternity, so you have a pretty huge range to choose from :)

Some of the super cool patterns I have there:

 And HEAPS more.

If you'd like to win, please leave a comment here telling me your favorite style of vintage pattern :)

OPTIONAL extra entries:
1. Become a follower using Google Friend connect (so I know you're a follower) and leave a comment saying so.
2. 'Like' The Elven Garden on Facebook ( and leave a comment saying so.

The giveaway will be open until 16th December (7pm CST) when I will use a random number generator to select a winner. International entries welcome! The winner will be contacted by email, so please make sure your email address is available in your profile, or left along with your comment.

Goodluck and have fun checking out all the other brilliant giveaways over at Sew Mama Sew.

Friday 9 December 2011

Boys at Play

After working with the girls Children at Play range I was keen to get stuck into my stash of the boys range. I kept this one simple, cutting 6" squares of the prints I had and adding some metro living circles in navy.

I love how it turned out - although I did mix up a couple of the squares when I was sewing the rows together... I quilted it 1/4" away from the seams on both sides.

I did my first pieced back for this quilt too - with a few left over pieces and some blue Kona (hyacinth I think?)

The binding is a red stripe from one of the Dr Seuss ranges, and it suits the quilt perfectly. I machine stitched it and I think I've finally got it pretty much down pat now - it worked really well :)

This one is listed in my madeit shop.

Onwards an upwards... starting another project and getting that done hopefully in time to still quilt my charmed prints quilt for my nephew for Christmas, and my 1001 peeps quilt for my daughter for Christmas...

happy stitching!

Wednesday 7 December 2011

WIP Wednesday: new projects galore...

Right I have officially got too many projects on the go as of this week. Although I've pretty much sorted my 1/4" seam issues as a result of some of these blocks.

I made the first Modern BOM block earlier this week:

I also made the first three of my Japanese sampler blocks:

I finished my Charmed prints quilt top.

And I have started (and sandwiched) my Boys at play quilt:

And I have actually gotten (a small amount of) sleep somewhere around all of that. Believe it or not, it's pretty much only of a night that I get quilty things done!

I'm linking up to the small blog meet over at Lily's Quilts - I would love to make some new quilty friends :)

Small Blog Meet

Sunday 4 December 2011

That perfect 1/4" seam...

With my little side project trying to figure out the best way to get a perfect quarter inch seam I have come across a plethora of fantastic articles on the best way to do it. All the links I've put in this post are seriously worth a read!

My first point of call was Chasing Cottons' Quilt Class 101, which pointed my in the direction of Amy's Creative Side and her great tutorial. I did this repeatedly, sewing right on the edge of my foot, doing a scant 1/4" (which I just don't do well and end up with slightly wonky seams) and moving my needle slightly to the right - and each time I pressed to one side, I ended up losing some of the fabric width (not much but enough to stuff up a tricky block). So then I tried doing what Amy does - pressing my seams open - and voila it was perfect.

So then I did a bit more reading on the whole pressing issue (open or to the side) and found a great tutorial from Jacquie of Tallgrass Prarie Studios (one of my quilty heroes :-) ) on pressing seams open. This made me even more sure open is the way to go. In her tutorial, Jacquie had a link to another really informative article on pressing seams, and once I'd read THAT one my mind was definitely made up. I'm officially a pressing-seams-open convert.

So now I'm off to remade my sawtooth star that didn't really work, and my Japanese Sampler blocks and might even get started on the Modern BOMs over at SewMamaSew...

happy stitching (and pressing!!)


Japanese Sampler Block 1 & 2 Test Run

After making my feature blocks for the Charmed Prints QAL, and each of them finishing at about 4 7/8" instead of 5" I have been trying to work out where I've been losing seam allowance. In all the other quilts I've made it hasn't mattered (square in a square's still line up, and wonky blocks I've sashed to bring up to size anyway.)

So I did this cool little tutorial over at Amy's Creative Side and I've discovered it's not my sewing machine (the seams really are exactly 1/4") - its my pressing that's the problem. And if I press the seams OPEN instead of to the side, things seem to work much better - so that's what I'll be doing from now on me thinks.

Anyhoo, I'd already made these two blocks before doing my little experiment so they don't measure 9 1/2" as they're supposed to - so I think I'll redo them and make these into a cushion (cos I really love them despite their not-quite-perfectness)

Simple Fives (Yosegi gokuzushi)

Simple pairs (yosegi nikuzushi)

I'll hopefully have some accurate blocks done tonight!

Happy stitching, 

Thursday 1 December 2011

Charmed prints quilt top

I have been sewing this one madly to catch up with the Charmed Prints QAL and I managed to get it sewn together and put the border on today. I'm really happy with how it looks (despite the pinwheel blocks being a bit off centre and small - but they look ok-ish)

I think my sister will like it for her baby boy... I hope she does anyway!

Happy stitching,

Decision, decisions...

I spend the last couple of hours sorting out my fabric stash (into colour groups) and trying to pick out some fabric to make my Summer Sampler  quilt from - and I just can't narrow it down enough - so I'm left with:

Goldenrod/yellow/orange group (yes I am finally going to use some of my Echo!) - Echo, some Oliver & S, Silent Cinema and a few Kona solids

Greys - lots of Echo, Saffron Craig, Kona greys, Metro Living

Blues - DSQ, metro living and tea garden print (I think?) - plus some tufted tweets in blue and possibly some Saffron Craig bird tree

Greens - DSQ, tufted tweets, metro living, pearl bracelet and african leaves

Not sure if I'll use some or all of these yet - I will just make each block and see how it goes! I'm going to use medium grey as my background I think...

I think at the same time as I'm doing the Summer Sampler I am going to start my Japanese sampler quilt (I will be posting tutorials as I go for these - starting easy and working my way up to some more tricky blocks). I'll be using some of the same fabrics, but only in grey and goldenrod with a few bursts of aqua.

Can't wait to start! Just want to finish off my Charmed prints QAL quilt first and then I'll be into it :)

happy stitching,