Thursday 31 May 2012

WIP Thursday (again!)

Thanks for all your feedback on the Joyce baby quilt from last week. After much consideration I've decided to make another one. I like it, but I don't love it and this baby (who arrived on Saturday, a few weeks early, and who is totally divine by the way) needs the perfect quilt. So I'm trying to decide what to do... there are a few ideas percolating somewhere in there :o)

I've mostly been working on my Retro Flowers quilt this week. Not a lot of sewing has actually been happening - my kids have decided that 9pm is the best time to actually go to sleep. By that time of night, I'm much more interested in some TV time than the cold sewing room so my motivation hasn't been all that great. I have managed to get 6 flowers together though (nearly a quarter of them, yay!) These first ones are some of the more difficult prints to work with. I'm still not entirely sure if the 'abstract' appearance of some of the petals work, but I think once they're all part of the quilt it will look okay.

I have been cutting for another quilt over the last month or so (very slowly...) - an EPP one so I'm thinking its going to be a long time in the making! It's (obviously) totally inspired by Katy's Spring Carnival pattern but the layout will be totally different. I'm still not entirely sure where it's going, but I'm loving playing with these fabrics and creating patterns with them. 

To any bee hives mates reading this, my May bee blocks are next in line (I know, last minute as usual) and will be done in the next day or two. Promise!

xx Jess

Monday 28 May 2012

Winner, Winner!

Firstly a massive thankyou to all of you who entered my Giveaway Day giveaway! Mr Random chose number 54... Drum roll please... who is 

54. Danny Heyen said...
I'm a follower, although I do feel like cutting you in a dark alley with a shiv for not telling me you were hoarding this! Jerk.

Thursday 24 May 2012

WIP Thursday - because I'm so organised!

I haven't done a WIP post for ages - about three of four weeks I think. Mostly because there's nothing much to show (not a whole lot of sewing happening lately!). I've been slowly getting through my curved piecing for my Retro Flowers quilt. This is what most of it currently looks like:

I know, not very impressive. But if I tell you there are around 250 of the little buggers in there, can you try to be impressed? Please? I'm almost positive that there is no chance in hell of me getting it done by the first of June (although I might try... we'll have to see!)

Part of the reason for not working on it so much this week, is the Joyce baby quilt I need to make. Every time I see my VERY pregnant friend (our kids are at the same school) she looks more ready to pop. So I decided I needed to get this done before the retro flowers. Cue pulling fabrics on Monday to make Come What May (a Jaybird quilts pattern). I started with the super cute robot print from Rashida Coleman-Hale and pulled some fabrics that kind of went with it (Modern Workshop, DS, AMH and Creative Thursday).

Cutting on Monday night and Tuesday, piecing Tuesday and Wednesday nights and I have a quilt top done (yay for quick piecing!) Not the best photo - rainy days mean no outdoor photo opportunities!

I really need some honest feedback on this. I'm not sure it works. I love all the fabrics in there, I'm just not sure they work that well in this quilt. Does it look ok? Is it just too much? 

Back to pressing and trimming for me! 

xx Jess

Monday 21 May 2012

Giveaway Day!

I'm really excited to be participating in SMS Giveaway day for the second time. It's a great chance to find some new blogs, possibly win something (ask Danny about that...) and find inspiration in some great handmade items.

I have two giveaways this year, but since one is fabric and the other is handmade, I thought I'd split them into separate posts...

I am offering seven quarter yards (9" x WOF) of fabric from Anna Maria Horner's Garden Party collection. This is possibly my favorite of her collections I think (although they're all gorgeous, so it's hard to choose).

 If you'd like to have a chance to win this bundle, leave ONE comment telling me why you love AMH fabric.

If you're a follower, leave a second comment for a second chance to win!

Giveaway will close May 25th at 5 PM PST. I will use to choose a winner. I am willing to ship internationally. If you're a no-reply blogger please leave me a way to contact you.

Friday 18 May 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2012

If you are a follower of my blog I apologise for beating you around the head with this quilt again... but if you're not welcome to my little corner of blogsville :o)

This is my second time participating in the Blogger's Quilt Festival - I was a very newbie quilter and blogger last time. I found so many awesome blogs, I look forward to checking out all the fab entries this round too.

Amy's Creative Side

I have chosen my Outfoxed on the High Seas quilt this time around. I made this quilt using Lizzy House's High Seas pattern from her 5 Magical Projects book. 

I used lots of Outfoxed by Lizzy House, a bunch of different Kona solids, some Amy Butler, some Denyse Schmidt. It was my first time using anything other than squares and rectangles, and although time consuming, the blocks were quite fun to make. The pattern did call for a border, but I decided not to - I like the way the waves appear to continue off the sides of the quilt.

I really wanted to push myself to try something different (for me) when quilting it, and wanted to highlight the difference between the light and dark parts of the quilt. The lighter areas are quilted with a feather type motif extending out into the 'arms'. The darker areas are quilted with a simple flower in the centre, with no quilting in the arms. 

I love the texture it's given the quilt, and it was very quicky claimed by my 5 year old son (quite surprising given the amount of pink in there). Apparently it's his maze quilt :o)

It is well loved on a daily basis. That makes it the perfect quilt in my book!

Quilt Stats:

Design: High Seas by Lizzy House
Fabric: Outfoxed, Kona solids, Denyse Schmidt, Amy Butler
Size: 54" x 63"
Quilted by myself using cream Aurifil 50wt thread

Catching up...

I feel like the world's worst blogger lately. I've had so many blog posts sitting in my head and just haven't gotten around to getting them written. So this is going to be a long one!

First up, I forgot completely to draw a winner for my AMH giveaway as part of Lucy's Fugly Fabric Party. 
So without further ado, the winner of the set of not-very-fugly AMH fat quarters is comment number 18, who is Jessica who said

18. Jessica said...
They are gorgeous!

Right, next item on the agenda is to ask for some help on behalf of my friend Danny. Just becuase she is total awesomeness, Danny is trying to get donations of zippy pouches and drawstring bags for teenage foster kids who'll be attending a camp in the (US) summer. Pop over to her blog to learn more, and let her know if you can help out :o)

Now if you don't mind a bit of eye candy, I have had a few notable deliveries arrive at my door of late. Some bookish goodness:

Can I just say if you're a fan of improv quilts you need to buy this book. I have looked at it every day for the last few weeks. I seriously can't get enough of it - the quilts are beautiful and soooo inspiring, and there are loads of quilt 'patterns' and improv techniques that I'm busting to try. Just need to finish some other things first ;o)

Super fab book too. Lot of eye candy and several projects that have been added to my must-make list.

Love this book! So many great projects, and now I can finally start sewing along!

Oh and there may have been a bit of fabric goodness arrive too...

I'm not normally one to buy pre-cuts, but I have been so smitten with Summersville that I wanted a piece of all of the prints. So I caved and bought a F8 bundle...

So that's it for now. There will be a Blogger's Quilt Festival post and a Giveaway Day post up in the next day or two!

xx Jess

Sunday 13 May 2012

Rhapsodia Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered the Rhapsodia giveaway, and welcome to my new followers :o)

So without further ado, Mr Random has chosen number 389...

Kathy who said: Yummy fabric, Congrats on your blog milestones!

Congratulations Kathy, I'll send you an email soon :o)
Don't forget I still have a giveaway running for Lucy's fugly fabric party - ending on Tuesday!
xx Jess

Saturday 12 May 2012

Why I love making quilts...

PS - the cruddy old couch you see is being replaced with a brand new red leather one on Monday! Sooo excited! And yes, my little guy is wearing my beanie :o)


My Precious Retro Flowers Update

Now that I've finally gotten my other commitments out of the way, I'm back into the swing of My Precious Retro Flowers. I am determined to do this one through to the finish now I have time (although there does need to be a wee babby quilt made in the next few weeks for my bestie, who's about to have baby number 5...)

So. I still only have one complete flower done (and the petals are still seperate).

But I have actually been working on it! This is my pile of sewn and trimmed curves:

My pile of curves ready to be trimmed:

My stack of fabrics ready to be cut:

My cut fabric ready to be sewn:

And a couple of flowers ready to be pressed and trimmed.

The plan at this stage is to make 25 flowers, and have a wider border (around 10") so we can use this one on our bed.

I'm hoping to have a few more flowers done by the end of the weekend!

x Jess

Friday 11 May 2012

Desperate House Wives QAL - Woven Chevron Block Tutorial

I was really excited to have the opportunity to design a block for Jane's Desperate House Wives quilt. And then I got stressed (I've never designed a block from scratch before). And then I went into denial about having to do it. And finally last night I was mucking around with Touchdraw (using Lynne's fantastic tutorials) and came up with this:

I'm calling it Woven Chevron block (cos I'm so great at coming up with creative names for things!). Why woven? Well, if you put multiple blocks together, you'll get something like this:

That's only four blocks, but you get the idea...

So how to make this little pretty? I used solids for mine (Kona Ash, Kona Orange and Kona Surf) but you could use any combination of solids/prints. I'd probably avoid directional fabrics cos it would be quite tricky to make it all line up.

I did actually take photos for the first part of this tutorial, but then my camera died, and we didn't have ANY batteries around. So you'll have to bear with descriptions for the first part sorry!

Anyhoo, you'll need to cut:

From background fabric (Ash):
* Four 2 1/2" squares
* Four 3" squares. 
* Two 3 1/2" squares

From colour 1 (Surf):
* Four 3" squares
* One 3 1/2" squares

From Colour 2 (Orange)
* Four 3" squares
* One 3 1/2" square.

Right. Lets deal with the cross-over squares first (the woven ones). I'm sure these have a proper name, but I'm going to call them cross-over squares cos that's what they are in this block.

1. Take your 3.5" squares (two background and one of each colour). Pair a coloured square with a background square, and draw a diagonal line from one corner to the other on both the background squares. 
2. Sew along both sides of the line, 1/4" away from the line. 

3. Cut along this line, creating two half-square triangles from each of your pairs (total of four HSTs)

4. Press your seams open (or to the side, I prefer open)
5. Trim your HSTs to 3" squares.

You should now have four HST squares - two surf/ash and two orange/ash. 
6. Pair each of your surf/ash squares with an Orange 3" square, and pair each of your orange/ash squares with a Surf 3" square. 

7. Draw a line diagonally through each of the solid 3" squares (ie two orange and two surf). When you pair these with it's HST partner, make sure the drawn line runs PERPENDICULAR to the HST line (see below).

8. Again, sew either side of the line, 1/4" away (as per #2) and cut along the line. 
9. Press your seams open. You'll end up with eight squares (two pairs of each of those below). You will only need to use the two like that at the top left, and the bottom right. 

10. We'll be trimming these to 2.5" squares. First, line up the 45 degree line on your ruler with the long diagonal seam on your block, and trim off the side. 

Then turn your square 90 degrees to the right, and line up the 45 degree line with the short diagonal seam, and the 2.5" line along the bottom of the square. Trim this side.

Continue turning your square and trimming until you have a 2.5" crossover square. Repeat for the remaining three crossover squares.

Right, now the tricky stuff is done, we can make the other HSTs. 
11. Pair your remaining 3" squares as per the photo. Follow steps 1-4 and make a total of eight HSTs. 

12. Trim them to 2.5" squares.

All the preparatory work is done now. So you can lay out your HSTs, background 2.5" squares and crossovers like so:

13. Sew the squares in each row together:

14. Sew your rows together, and you're done! Please ignore my awful points - I promise not to leave these things to the last minute again! UPDATE: this is bugging me so much, I'm going to rip it apart and resew it together. Better block to come (hopefully!) :o) 

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial! Thanks again to Jane for inviting me to design a block :o)

xx Jess

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Fugly Fabric Party

The lovely Lucy at Charm About You is hosting another Fugly Fabric Party, and I have a little bundle of not-so-fugly fabric up for grabs.

Charm About You

My little bundle includes a FQ of each of the top prints - all from Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush collection. Also included is a 13" x width of fabric strip of Cathedral Windows from her Good Folks range. 

This giveaway is open to anybody - simply leave a comment on this post and you're in the running to win! I'll draw a random winner next Tuesday 15th May.

If you haven't already entered, I also have a current giveaway (ending Saturday 12-05-12) sponsored by the Intrepid Thread - so pop over and enter that too if you're keen :)

xx Jess

Friday 4 May 2012

Rhapsodia Giveaway from The Intrepid Thread

This week was a bit of a bloggy celebration week for me. 200 followers (yay!) and I wrote my 100th blog post earlier in the week (yay again!) Plus I'm still kind of excited about my Fat Quarterly tutorial :o)

So to help me celebrate, the lovely Julie from The Intrepid Thread has offered a fantastic give away. If you don't know The Intrepid Thread, you can find Julie either on Etsy  or in her online shop. She carries a fantastic range of up-to-the-minute designer quilting fabric and her customer service is brilliant.

 So, to the giveaway! Julie has very generously offered a bundle of 10 fat quarters of the just-released Rhapsodia collection from Art Gallery Fabrics! Sigh. I wish I could win these, they are just gorgeous.

To enter the giveaway:

Simply comment on this blog post and you're in the running to win! If you feel like it, you could let me know what you'd make with this bundle of gorgeousness :o)

Optional extra entries:
* Follow The Intrepid Thread blog and leave me a comment saying you do. 
* Follow my blog, and leave me a comment saying you do.

How easy is that! I'll leave the competition open until next Saturday 12th May at 8pm Australian EST, at which time I'll close the comments and draw a random winner.

Update: Comments have how been closed!

Good luck!
xx Jess

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Fresh Sewing Day - May

When I started writing this post I was thinking I pretty much had nothing to show for April. But I do have a few bits and pieces to show for this month - there's just a bit of behind the scenes stuff (like a ridiculous number of curved pieces cut and partially sewn for my Retro Flowers quilt and an almost finished iPad case) that happened too.

The first week or so of April was taken up making my sushi quilt (pattern testing for the extremely talented Sonja of Artisania). Then I had a mojo failure for a while, and regained a bit of momentum - well, enough to get my rainbow trail mini finished (finally!!) and to quilt my Outfoxed on the High Seas quilt. Since then I've been madly cutting my fabrics for the Retro Flowers QAL and I've stitched up one flower (plus a few flowers worth of curves). My other to-do-firsts for April didn't even get a look in unfortunately, but they are still on the back burner somewhere...

So my to-do-first list for May:
1. Retro Flowers/My Precious QAL - combined into one quilt - such a cunning plan ;o)
2. Designer challenge for Fat Quarterly (by next week, eeek! Still no inspiration for this one!)
3. Design a block for the Desperate Housewives QAL - really need to do this soon (like by next week)
4. Zakka Style sew along projects - if my book ever arrives!

This is probably enough for May - I've decided to do my Retro Flowers 5x5 instead of 4x4, with a wider border (or possibly even a couple of borders), so we can use it on our bed. I don't think it'll be a full queen sized quilt, but I'm hoping it will finish at about 80" square. At the rate I'm going with getting it sewn, I'm thinking it will take all month.

I'm linking up to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts.

Lily's Quilts
xx Jess