Tuesday 19 June 2012

Something new?

I know, I know I need another project like I need a hole in the head. But I've had an epiphany of sorts of late. I've decided that there is nothing wrong with having a million projects on the go at once - if I'm feeling bogged down by a project and losing momentum, why should I feel like I have to keep at it? Why not work on something else for a while and go back to it later? Or not go back to it at all? So I decided to start something new :o)

 I like to move from one project to another (I'm very easily bored) and I've had a massive urge to do something a bit improv. I blame my Retro Flowers for this - I'm finding it incredibly draining to concentrate on getting my seams to match when sewing the petals together (seriously, the curves were the easy part. Sewing them together just sucks!) I finished my May blocks for my bees a few days ago (at last!) and I faffed around looking at my WIPs trying to decide which to work on but none of them were making me excited.

Then the other night when I was doing some blog reading, I became aware of this pattern for the first time through Jeanette's blog (go check her blog out, she is crazy talented!). I tried pulling various stacks of fabric for it, but nothing seemed just right. So that pattern has been added to my 'to do someday' list, once I work out which fabric to use. But that little pattern was stuck in my mind. I love polygons, I've worked with hexies a fair bit this year, why not try octagons? I'm not sure when the inspiration struck me, but I started thinking octagons are getting pretty close to circles (kind of, anyway). And then I got thinking bubbles. 

I have a confession here. Over the last few months I've been building up a collection of Mendocino via swaps and a few purchased bits on etsy and eBay. Oh and the dots in the top row? They've been sitting in my stash forever without me realising they are actually HR Lightning bugs. So the ridiculous amount of time I waste spend drooling over fabric online paid off there ;o) Most of these are large scraps, a few are FQs and one or two are half yards.

The solids you see dotted around are all Oakshotts. And oh my goodness I think they were made for each other - I've never found such perfect matches using other solids!

Do you get where I'm heading now? Bubbles? Mermaids? I looked at these (and yes, patted them a lot and grinned like a loony), took a deep breath and did a bit of cutting and piecing. And ta-da, my first Mendocino 'bubble' block was born. The outer ring will also be octagonal once I decide on background fabric (at this stage I'm thinking various aquas pieced kind of randomly so it kind of looks like water...) I started with an 8" square for the centre of this one, and then built the octagonal rings around it.

I loved making it so much! I wish I could show you better how superb the Oakshott aqua is. Even better though, they're a similar weight to the Mendocino and were dreamy to sew.

 Here's my second attempt - a bit smaller for this one, I started with a 6" square. 

I'll be taking a small break from these (though it breaks my heart slightly to do it) so I can actually get my June bee blocks done before time, and make my zippy pouches and drawstring bags for Danny :o)

xx Jess

I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced (no full list of WIPs sorry - I have a page with pics of them if you're interested in how good I am at distracting myself with new projects ;o) )

Friday 15 June 2012


If you've been following me for a while, you may remember some peeks of the Sushi quilt I made (pattern testing for Sonja of Artisania). Well, the pattern is now done and available in Sonja's pattern shop, and I can reveal my quilt in full at last :o)

If you haven't seen her work before, Sonja is an absolute master of paper pieced pattern designs. She designs some really, really cool stuff (example: a quilt entirely made of paper pieced Converse shoes? yes please!) I went into this pattern as a total paper piecing novice - as in I had done zero paper piecing before this. I was a little dubious about my ability to do it, but shouldn't have been. Sonja's tutorials and instructions are brilliant, and made the whole process so clear and easy.

Probably my favorite part of my quilt is the teapot. I used a lot of Melody Miller fabrics in the quilt top, and love how they give it a bit of texture.

I also love the udon bowl and tea cup. It's a bit hard to see the quilting in these shots but I only quilted the background and left the paper pieced bits unquilted. And yes, that is my (awful) handstitching around the white rice (and on several of the sushi pieces).

 I used my new favorite (and super easy) FMQ motif - echo shells. Takes a bit longer than stippling, but I love the texture it gives, and it is nearly as quick as stippling - and it's easy to do in and around tricky shapes.  I normally use organic bamboo batting (similar weight and drape to cotton batting), but I knew this quilt was destined to be a wall quilt as opposed to a bed quilt, so I used a piece of polyester batting someone had given me. The loft is much, much higher than what I'm used to and it works really well in this quilt. The quilting has given the background a wonderful puffy texture, and the sushi, teapot and bowl kind of 'pop' out from the background.

The quilt in all it's glory:

The inner border is quilted 1/4" away from both edges, the pieced border is unquilted, and then the outer border is quilted 1/4" away from the inside edge - so all the borders are a bit puffy too. The pieced border is almost exclusively Melody Miller fabrics (apart from the pearl bracelet and the empire weave). 

 I really, really enjoyed making this quilt - it was a fun, low stress project and it's destined to be a wall quilt in our kitchen.

x Jess

Gone bush!

Heather's recent post on her gorgeous Frankie quilt, with the shots of her part of the world has inspired me to give you a glimpse into our part of the world too. But, since I still haven't had a chance to sew there will be a notable lack of gorgeous quilty shots ;o)

I love sewing. It makes me happy. I'm a better mummy and partner when I sew regularly. I haven't been a particularly patient or happy mummy recently, mostly due to my total lack of 'me' time. But we had a little day trip last weekend which did make me feel a bit better. One of my big passions apart from sewing is getting away from the city and being in the middle of a forest. I feel content. I feel alive. Last weekend, we bundled the kids into the car and drove for about 40 minutes to a lovely, kid friendly bushwalk to Snug Falls. The kids loved it (despite the rather steep walk back up from the falls!) These are a few of the cooler shots we got on the way to the falls.

And our destination: the waterfall. It was a good day to go - it's been raining a fair bit so there was a decent amount of water coming down. Pretty lovely little spot!

x Jess

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Dreaming, not sewing

Wednesday again already? Absolutely nothing to show this week. I have hardly sewn in weeks (apart from a few very short bursts here and there). School holidays + kids not sleeping till 9 = zero sewing. Not really a problem normally but I do have commitments that need to be done (like last week!).

So what to do when there's no sewing time? Dream. And build stacks of loveliness, waiting for their turn.

Browns and blues destined to be a improv quilt someday.  Maybe soon. These fabrics have me excited :o) I particularly love how well the Echo fabrics play with the Saffron Craig prints there (all in RHS column).

Purples and yellows for another improv quilt. All based around this awesome Elk Landscape panel from Saffron Craig. 

Hopefully something to show soon! I'm determined to do a bit of sewing tonight (I'm getting grouchy which usually means I'm having sewing withdrawal ;o) ).

xx Jess

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Blog Hoppy Fun!

I know some of you know about this (because I saw your names on the list) but for those of you who don't, the lovely Beth of Plum and June has organised a blog hop for those of us who have only been blogging a short time. It's called the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop and it's going to be brilliant!

Plum and June

Each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays two bloggers will have a stop at their blog and have an intro about themselves, and tutorial. What better way to find some new blogs and learn something new at the same time? 

This is a list of the lovely peeps who have already had their hop or who are coming up.

May 22    Kelsey from Kelsey Sews    Erin from Billy Button Designs
May 24
    Nik from Bold Goods    Alyssa from Pile O Fabric
May 29
    Heidi from Fabric Mutt    Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans    May 31    Jodi from Tickle and Hide    Libby from Miss Beau Jangles   

June 5       Cinzia from Deux Petites Souris    Kristy from Quiet Play

June 7    Taryn from From Pixels to Patchwork    Em from Sewing by Moonlight

June 12    Kelly from Jeliquilts     Yzo from Chez Roo
June 14
    Debbie from A Quilter's Table    Sarah from Silly Banana Sewing
June 19
    Jennifer from Sewlandia    Nicole from Mama Love Quilts
June 21
    Suzanne from SuzClaas    Mina from Kindaquilty
June 26
    Svetlana from Sotak Handmade    Beth from Plum and June
June 28
    Julie from Jolie Maxtin    Lori from Adventures in Fabric
July 3
    Di from Willowbeck Designs    Jennifer from Knotted Thread  
July 5
    Sarah from Sarah Lou    Catherine from Knotted Cotton
July 10
    Jenelle from Echinops and Aster    Julie from Bedsheet in the Kitchen
July 12
    Rebecca from Sew Festive Handmade    Marti from 52 Quilts in 52 Weeks
July 17
    Katie from Kati's Quilting    Claire from Sewing over Pins    Caroline from Quilting in the Cold
July 19
    Jamie from Sweet Baby Jamie    Janine from Rainbow Hare Quilts
July 24
    Colby from Sew Quilt Explore    Fiona from  Celtic Thistle
July 26
    Mary from Spoolhardy Girl    Fiona from Finding Fifth
July 31
    Audrey from Hot Pink Quilts    Michelle Renee from Quilt Matters
Aug 2
    Jennifer from GH Quilting    Danny from MommyFor Reals
Aug 7
     Liz from What I Did on My Summer Vacation     Susan from Canadian Abroad
Aug 9
     Kirsten from Gemini Stitches     Stephanie from Sewing by Stephanie
Aug 14
      Sarah from Sarah Sews Quilting Blog      January from Sew Sew Go
Aug 16
       Alison from Little Bunny Quilts       Cathy from Blueberry Patch
Aug 21
        Marta from From Marta with Love        Marion from My Quilt Diet
Aug 23
       Sunni from Love Affair With My Brother       Ginny from Fish Creek Studio
Aug 28
        Lucy from Charm About You        Ella from throw a wench in the works
Aug 30
       Elaine from Dashasel Sews       Jess from The Elven Garden (that's me!!)

Sep 4
      Lorelei from Midnight Maker      Leoni from Strandkorbtraum
Sep 6
       Tessa from The Sewing Chick       Bethany from Make Me A Quilt
Sep 11
        Anne from SpringLeaf Studios        May from Confessions of a Fabraholic
Sep 13
         Julie from That's Sew Julie         Chelsea from Pins and Bobbins
Sep 18
       Lina from Smultronbo's Pieceful Sense and Nonsense       Chase from 1/4" mark
Sep 20
        Jen from Closet Quilter        Anna from Pink Padme
Sep 25
        Amanda from Material Girl Quilts        Amanda from Fabric Engineer    Sep 27        Vicky from Vicky K Creating         Francine from Mocha Wild Child

If you're interested in being a part of the blog hop, contact Beth.

x Jess