Thursday 29 November 2012

Emma's Quilt

I'm really excited to show you my finished Windsor Lane baby quilt today (I'm jumping the gun a bit - it still hasn't been given so if you're looking at this Libby, LOOK AWAY NOW). I'm so bad at naming quilts, this one is simply 'Emma's Quilt'. 

There were a few dramas with the quilting on this one. I got really stuck with how to quilt the outer background fabric, and deliberated for nearly a week about how to do it. Baby Emma was born on Sunday - so Monday I decided to just go for it and get it finished. I got this far:

And then realised it was just completely wrong. I hated it. So I unpicked it. If you've ever unquilted anything you will understand how much I hated it to go through the pain of picking out quilting. Those echo shells only took about half an hour to do. Unpicking? Four hours. Ugh.

I need to trust my instincts more - my initial thought was to do straight lines radiating out in the background areas. So that's what I did second time around - and although I'm not 100% convinced it's right it looks a thousand times better than the shells. It was so much fun to FMQ straight(ish) lines (let's call them organic ;o) ) I'm not sure why, but the texture seems quite different from doing it with my walking foot and it was so nice not to have to stop and turn the quilt! I'll definitely be trying it again.

So, a few obligatory quilty close ups :o) The centre pink star is quilted using light pink Aurifil 50wt, and the remainder is quilted using soft white Aurifil 50wt (as opposed to bright white). The background fabric is Kona PFD (which is somewhere between Kona snow and Kona white) - and the quilting blends flawlessly.

All the quilting is free hand FMQ - apart from the circles which I drew freehand with dissolvable marker first. If I do something like this again I'm going to invest in some circle templates ;o)

The prints I used in the top are all from the gorgeous Windsor Lane line by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda - not at all my usual taste, but perfect for the new mum. The back is from another Bunny Hill range - it's a script print from their Ooh La La line (this photo is sideways - the script actually does run in the right direction ;o) ). I really love how the quilting looks on the back.

Especially that centre flower. It makes me happy :oD

For the binding, I went to one of our local quilt shops (one I'd never been to). I was pleasantly surprised how many modern designers they stock (Lotta and Denyse!!) - and they women who own it are just lovely. I took the quilt with me and the ladies in the shop helped me choose the binding. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the selvedge that I realised it's another Bunny Hill fabric - this time from their Lily and Will collection. So by accident it's a completely Bunny Hill quilt :o) Just as an aside, I'm also quite thrilled - they've invited me to hang some of my quilts in the shop! The quilt shop ladies encouraged me to go for bias binding, and I'm glad I took their advice - I really love the way it turned out. This was my first time cutting my binding on the bias and it worked pretty well (I used this tutorial).

All the photos above were taken before I'd washed it - it's now washed and I plan to take some post-wash photos tomorrow (it is soooo soft and crinkly and I think I love it even more now it's washed!). I've also made a pillow/cushion to go with the quilt (again, photos tomorrow!)

Quilt Stats:

Quilt Design: by me (based on the traditional  Dutch Rose block, with a variation on the centre star)
Size: 40" x 40"
Fabric: Windsor Lane by Bunny Hill Designs for Moda, Kona PFD
Thread: Auriful 50wt in soft white and light pink (for piecing and quilting)
Quilted: by myself on my Bernina.

Phew! If you're still reading, thank you for making through all my waffling! Just as an aside, I'm going to be doing a couple of giveaways in the next few weeks (Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and the Quilting Gallery blog hop) so make sure you check back - they're going to be pretty awesome!

xx Jess

Wednesday 28 November 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've had a ton of sewing energy of late - which has partly been channelled into projects I need to be working on, partly into something new ;o).

I finished my Windsor Lane baby quilt today - and I'm visiting the very new mum tomorrow with my sister to give it to her, so just a sneak peek for now. I'm really happy with how it finished up (although if you'd asked me last night during the four hour un-quilting marathon I may not have been so enthusiastic. Full details tomorrow!)

I've also made another couple of blocks for my HFWYG QAL quilt - these are called Clay's Choice and the tutorial can be found here. Busy blocks, but I really love the design of these - another block that would make an amazing quilt.

I've also cut and nearly finished my first Wiksten Tova top (I just need to insert the sleeves). Back when I started sewing (nearly 2 years ago now) I did a lot of garment making - and it's really nice to be doing it again! The Tova pattern is so easy to follow - so much so that I've ordered fabric for another couple (thankyou Black Friday sales!!). I haven't taken any pictures so far - so depending on how brave I am there may be a blog post with the big reveal in a few days :o)

I hope everyone is having a great week. I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced (button in sidebar) - and looking forward to checking out everyone's works in progress!

xx Jess

Monday 26 November 2012

Weekend Fun

Sunny, warm weekend meant beach trips and endless playing in our garden. 

This is one of our 'local' beaches (about 20 minutes drive from our house). 

We have some work to do with Miss 2. This is how she sat on the sand - feet lifted up, little finger cocked - so she wouldn't have to get her feet dirty. After two boys I am NOT used to a little princess who doesn't like getting dirty ;o)

Hope everyone had a brilliant weekend!

xx Jess

Sunday 25 November 2012

{QAL} Block 18 and Schedule Update

Jess put up the final block tutorial in the How Far Will You Go QAL on Friday.

Head on over to Scrappy n Happy for all the details!

We've allowed two weeks for everyone (including me :oP) to catch up on all the blocks - so we'll be back on the 7th of December with some tips on putting the quilt top together.

The schedule for the remainder of the QAL is below - so we've got a fairly long time to get them finished up for the link up (although with all the end of year shenanigans in amongst it, I'm betting it will fly by!).

Week 20 - 7th December: Piecing your quilt top together.
Week 21 - 14th December: Ideas for quilting (with two weeks given for finishing the quilting)
Week 24 - 4th January: Binding your quilt
Week 24 - 11th January: Link up your finished quilt.
Week 25 - 18th January: Prize winners announced.

Don't forget, if you've made anything using any of our block tutorials you can enter them in the small quilted items category. Jess has put together some gorgeous layout ideas for smaller lap sized quilt tops - so if you've only made a few blocks and still want to enter to win some Fat Quarter Shop gift vouchers that's an option too :o)

xx Jess

Wednesday 21 November 2012

WIP Wednesday - the blocky edition

I'm attempting the great QAL catch up at the moment, as well as getting my bee blocks done for November (and October - sorry Lu!!

These three are called Windblown Squares (tutorial here) - it's Block 6 in our QAL (and Jess is doing the tute for block 18 this week - so yeah, I'm slightly behind ;o) ) Fun to put together (just ignore those really dodgy points...) 

And I've finished the final few blocks for my 4x5 Bee hive mates.

This one is not quite right (I stuffed my background colour in places)... but I think it's quite an interesting block ;o)

Hope everyone is having a great week,

xx Jess

Sunday 18 November 2012

Spinning Canoes Cushion

My Chicopee cushion - now called the Spinning Canoes cushion - is finished! It's been sitting in my sewing room basted and ready to quilt for ages (a month?) but I've been completely stumped as to how to quilt it. I'd given up on creative ideas and was going to do dense horizontal straight lines - but changed my mind at the last minute, and decided to echo the canoe shapes on one on the diagonals.

I love the effect the quilting has achieved - it adds to the curved illusion of the blocks, without being too distracting, I think.

It's finished up at 20" so it's a lovely big cushion for snuggling on the couch. And quilting it has made me love it again :o)

It's nice to finally have this one finished and sitting on the couch! Linking up with Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations (button in sidebar).

I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

xx Jess

Friday 16 November 2012

{QAL} Block 17 - Arrowheads

Welcome to the tutorial for Block 17 in the HFWYG QAL. This is my last tutorial in the How Far Will You Go? QAL (so it's the second-last block). I apologise, but this one is actually different from what we planned. The block we'd originally intended to be here is actually a 9-patch and the measurements we'd be using would have been horrific. So I've swapped it for a 64-patch block - apologies for anyone who desperately wanted to make a Rolling Pinwheel. I'm more than happy to write up a tutorial for it if anyone wants, but it would have to be an 18" block...

Anyhoo, the block we'll be making this week is called Arrowheads. It's the final 20" block in the QAL and you'll only need one if you're making the full size quilt. 

We'll be using techniques we've already covered in the QAL so it should be a pretty straightforward block to make. All seams are a scant 1/4" unless otherwise noted, and I have pressed my seams open throughout (but use your preferred method.)

Cutting Instructions:

I have split the cutting instructions down to Background, Colour 1 and Colour 2 - I actually used several different fabrics for Colour 1 and Colour 2, but that's up to you. 

Background fabric: 

* One 7.5" square
* Eight 3" x 5.5" rectangles
* Sixteen 3" squares.

Colour 1 - Main colour (blue)

* Two 6.5" squares
* Eight 3" squares
* Four 3" x 5.5" rectangles

Colour 2 - contrast

* Eight 3" squares
* One 7.5" square

Making the Centre 4-Patch:

Take four 3" squares (two of each colour) and sew them into a four patch. This should measure 5.5" square.

Making the Corner Units:

We'll be making four of these corner units - two in each of the two colours.

Start by laying out your unit pieces as below (3" print squares and 3" background squares, 3"x 5.5" background rectangles):

Sew the pieces into rows, and sew the rows together. You'll end up with four units (each measuring 8" squares) like this:

Making the Flying Geese Units:

Draw a line diagonally through the centre of the eight remaining 3" background squares.
Take  your four Colour 1 rectangles, and place a background square right sides together, aligning the top and sides.

Sew along this line, trim 1/4" away and press:

Take a second 3" background square and place it as shown.

Sew along this line, trim 1/4" away and press.

You'll end up with four flying geese units, each measuring 3" x 5.5".

Making the Quarter Square Triangles:

Take your background 7.5" square and draw a line diagonally through the centre. Place the square right sides together with the Colour 2 7.5" square. 

Sew 1/4" on either side of the drawn line, cut along your drawn line and press your HSTs.

Take your two Colour 1 6.5" squares, and draw a line diagonally through the centre on the wrong side.

Place these right sides together with the HSTs you just made - making sure your drawn line runs perpendicular to the line on the HSTs.

Again, sew 1/4" away from either side of this line, cut down the centre.

Press your units. You'll end up with two each of these quarter square triangle units:

Now you need to be a little careful that everything lines up when you trim these down. We'll be trimming them to 5.5" square - so the centre point is at 2.75". You can see in the photo below, I've line up the 45 degree line with the orange/background seam, and I've line up the centre point with the 2.75" point on my ruler. I trimmed the side and top at this point.

My ruler shifted slightly for this photo sorry - but you can see I've lined up the 5.5" marks as I normally would when trimming, but also made sure that 2.75" mark is at the centre of the unit.

Next, take your four flying geese and the four units you just made, and pair them up as shown below. Sew this seam and press.

Putting the Block Together:

Now all the sections are made, it's simply a matter of sewing them together as you would a 9-patch. Lay them out as below, and then sew into rows and sew the rows together.

Your finished block should measure 20.5" (so 20" finished).

As always please add your blocks to the flickr group - we have some seriously amazing quilts being made.

Have a fabulous weekend!

xx Jess

Thursday 15 November 2012

Catching up

I've been flitting between a few projects this week, in an attempt to get my to do list under control. The Windsor Lane baby quilt is getting closer to finished (and considering bub is due today, it's probably a bit of an urgent finish ;o) ).

I'm doing the 4x5 Modern Bee again this quarter - and I've made two out of five of the blocks so far. I really enjoy this bee - it's fun to work with the colours people have selected, and see how different the same block can look with a different palette.

I've also finally had a chance to start catching up on my QAL blocks (for the How Far Will You Go? QAL) - I've made my final block for the tutorial tomorrow, and I really want to get caught up in the next couple of weeks. Without the pressure of doing a tutorial each fortnight, I'm thinking it might be possible (?!?).

I started off with the Tassel Flower block that Jess wrote a tutorial for - and I really like it! This surprised me, as I probably would never have made this block if it hadn't been for the QAL. This one is 20" finished.

I'll be back tomorrow with my final QAL tutorial!

xx Jess

Friday 9 November 2012

{QAL} Block 16 - Wandering Foot

Jess has put up this week's tutorial for the How Far Will You Go? QAL. It's a 20" block called Wandering Foot.

Those curves are a wee bit scary - but I'm looking forward to trying this one! Head over to Scrappy n Happy and check it out :o)

Have a brilliant weekend,

xx Jess

Wednesday 7 November 2012

{Sew Seasonal Blog Hop} Paper Pieced Snowman Decoration

Kristy at Quiet Play and Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts (both fellow Aussies, so naturally they both awesome people ;o) ) have organised a blog hop that's been going since the 1st of November, and runs through until the 13th November.

Sew Seasonal Blog Hop

I chose to make the Snowman - the 5" version, and I turned it into a very simple decoration (and I plan to do more - or perhaps make some bunting - they're fun to make!). The pattern worked out really well - I was a bit dubious about the tiny size of some of the pieces, but it actually came together really easily. 

I actually don't own any Christmas fabric. At. All. Even so, I think the pearl bracelet background kind of looks like snow (not deliberate either - I didn't think of it until I saw these photos...) and he's vaguely Christmassy? 

I made my block, and then pinned a piece of ribbon (about 15cm?) to the front top, like below. Then I simply sewed a 5.5" square of fabric right sides together with the block, leaving about 2" gap for turning.

I clipped the corners and turned it right side it, and then top stitched around the edge, about 1/4" in. Stupidly I forgot to embroider the eyes and mouth BEFORE doing this, so you really don't want to see the back ;o)

He's a bit lop-sided but I actually really like him. We have a little pine tree in our front garden, so I even got a 'location' shot :o)

You should totally go check out the other blog hoppers (and their fab projects!)

1st November: Kristy from Quiet Play & Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts
2nd November: Marieka from Bespoke Bites & Jane from Where Jane Creates
3rd November: Susan from Patchwork N Play & Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
4th November: Janice from Better Off Thread & Erin from Missy Mac Creations
5th November: Lucy from Charm About You & Rebecca from Making Rebecca Lynn
6th November: Charlotte from Lawson and Lotti & Amy from Amy's Crafty Shenanigans
7th November: Jess from the Elven Garden & Cindy from Live a Colorful Life
8th November: Elaine from Dashasel Sews & Kelly from Jeliquilts
9th November: Beth from Plum and June & Fiona from Finding Fifth
10th November: Juliet from Tartan Kiwi & Fiona from Celtic Thistle Stitches
11th November: Taryn from Pixels to Patchwork & Anorina from Samelia's Mum
12th November: Megan from Jaffa Quilts & Jane from QuiltJane 
13th November: Gemma from Pretty Bobbins

Then it's your turn! Download the patterns (they'll be free for the duration of the blog hop!) and make one or more of the blocks to create a finished product. Anything you like, as long as it's completely, 100% finished! Then come back here on November 30th to link up your finished product to win some awesome prizes! There's also a Flickr group for the blog hop, where you can share your blocks as you finish them. Show off your progress, and be in the running for a prize there too. That's 2 different ways to win prizes!

And what are these fabulous prizes?! Well, so far we have:

Awesome Launch Day giveaways - check back November 1st!
2 x $10 vouchers

Joy by Kate Spain - full fat quarter bundle + panel

2 x $25 vouchers

1 x $25 voucher

$30 gift voucher

Japanese Christmas fabric - fat eighth bundle

Cherry Christmas harm pack

Oh, and that amazing Joy fat quarter bundle and panel from Intrepid Thread? Kate Spain herself will be selecting the lucky winner of that as the Grand Prize!!

Plus, are you needing some Christmas fabric supplies for the hop, or just your stash in general? Well, Chrissy from Sew Lux Fabrics has set up a special discount code on Christmas fabrics in her shop! So if you need supplies, be sure to check it out. The code is "sewseasonal10" and is for 10% off all Christmas fabric (Joy, Blitzen, and Sentiments) through November 18th. A charm pack or layer cake will work perfectly for Ornamental!

Enjoy the rest of the hop! 

xx Jess