Wednesday 28 August 2013

WIP Wednesday - Full Moon Lagoon improv quilt

I haven't linked up with Lee for a long time - but I have a true work in progress at the moment so I thought I would this week :o)

The idea for this quilt has been percolating in my brain for a few months. I fell completely head over heels in love with Full Moon Lagoon by Mo Bedell after seeing this quilt made by the brilliant Julianna earlier this year. So last week, I started cutting the the panels up and putting them up on my design wall - with the darkest value prints in the bottom corner, moving up to the lightest prints in the top corner.

Then I pulled a stack of coordinating prints from my stash, and started making improv log cabin blocks around the panel prints. When I was choosing the prints I tried to keep the value fairly consistent - although I did add in a bit of variety value-wise in the purples (mostly because I didn't have a whole lot of really deep purple on hand.)

I have made the magenta blocks as well - and taken all the other bits off my design wall as I'm fast running out of space. I've snuck in a few pieces of Mendocino (by Heather Ross) as the colours and prints work absolutely perfectly with Full Moon lagoon. I think this is going to end up being an absolutely gigantic quilt - I need a much bigger design wall for this kind of piecing. Apparently making a bigger design wall and putting it in the hallway outside my little sewing room is completely out of the question ;o)

The plan at this stage is to add a fairly narrow row of orange prints above the magenta, followed by the greens. I am really enjoying putting these blocks together - and it's going to be quite a challenge working out how to put them all together. A lovely change from the precision required in the last couple of big quilts I've made ;o)

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

xx Jess

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Fussy Cut Doll Quilt

My little girl turned three today. We had a lovely day with some of our closest friends, lots of strawberries and homemade sushi for tea. And cake :o)

The doll quilt I made for her new doll was very well received - it's made using fussy cut pictures from Heather Ross's Nursery Versery, and a bunch of other 'background' fabrics (Oakshott cottons, some other HR prints and a few others). I ended up paper piecing the blocks to make it easier to keep the fussy cut pictures in the middle of the blocks - and to avoid too many bias edges. It's simply quilted in the ditch along the diagonals to keep it soft.

The back is the same fabric as the pillow (also from Nursery Versery) and the binding is a fabulous stripe I picked up from Sew Me a Song a while ago. It fits my mum's old doll bed perfectly - and looks right at home at the end of my wee one's toddler bed :o)

Apologies for the night time photo!

If any one is interested I might write up a little tutorial and share the templates?

Oh, you can also catch me rambling about my Bernina 440QE over on Rebecca's blog ;o)
xx Jess

Thursday 22 August 2013

Braided star blocks and some requests

Bit of a rambling post today! I finished making these braided stars for my friend Jess in the AusMod bee today (using the great templates from the ADD crafter). Jess was queen in July - so they're not too overdue ;o) Jess sent us a bunch of Sweetwater (from various collections) strips to use for the braids. It's going to be a lovely quilt!

Braided Stars for Jess

I've also been working on a few things for my little girl's birthday next week - I've put together a doll quilt for her, and just need to stitch the binding down (photos to come in a few days I hope!). I'm really excited - my Mum has pulled her doll bed down from the attic and is repainting it for my wee one's birthday. Mum's dad made it for her when she was little, so it's going to be an incredibly special gift. I just need to make a mattress and pillow and her new (birthday present) doll will be all set :o)

I've just reacquainted myself with Pinterest (after a very long hiatus). I'd love some people to follow - so if you're a pinner, please let me know what your username is and I'll find you and follow you! I've added a Pinterest button to my social media icons at the top of my sidebar if you're interested in following me ;o) - not a whole lot on my boards at the moment but considering how addictive it is, that probably won't be the case for long.  

I've also added a Feedly button to my sidebar - thanks so much to Lucy for saving me from madness! Lu has written a tutorial for how to do it. I spent a long time trying to figure out my blog's Feedly URL to no avail, and asked her how she had managed to do it - and being the awesome lady she is, she wrote up a tutorial that day :o) I much prefer Feedly over Bloglovin' - but for some reason I can't comment on blogs when I'm using Feedly on my iPad. If anyone knows how to overcome that little problem, I would be forever in your debt!

Now if I can just bring myself to use Instagram, I'll be all set in the world of social media. I do have an IG account (I'm The Elven Garden), but haven't actually posted anything there yet. I am following a few people there too - but again, if you're an instagrammer I'd love to follow you! 

I accidentally started a new quilt today too - I've finally cut into my Full Moon Lagoon bundle, so I will hopefully have some progress on that in the near future as well! Hope everyone is having a great week. 

xx Jess

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Forest Quilt {Finished}

You might be sick of seeing this one, considering it's had quite a few blog post over the last week - but this is the last one. It's done! 

My Forest Quilt (sorry, that's the best I can do for the name!) finished up at about 36" x 50" - I ended up trimming a lot off to square it up once it was quilted. I think part of that was the fact that the edges warped a bit during the quilting because of all the long bias edges (it doesn't sit particularly flat - it might be my first quilt I block I think?) - and also I'm not sure how square it was to start with ;o) 

The idea for the layout for this quilt was to make it look like three pages of a sketchbook sitting on a table. 

 This was SO much fun to quilt - I had a lot of fun using different FMQ motifs in the different blocks. Pebbles in the background of the Aspen Grove.

Feathers around the feathers.

 Swirls (air currents?) around the Woodpecker - and tiny woodgrain in the woodpecker's tree (a bit hard to see here - I used a 40wt Aurifil that matched the woodgrain print almost exactly.) This is my favorite block in the quilt I think.

The brown background was a no-brainer quilting wise - I did a woodgrain motif, using a variegated Signature pinkish/brownish thread. I'm pretty sure no wood ever has had that many knots in it - but I got a bit sick of doing wavy lines, and it adds a bit more interest to the background. The woodgrain is very organic (in other words not evenly spaced. At all.) - which was a conscious decision, believe it or not. I did try to keep my curves smooth, but varied the spacing quite a bit in an attempt to mimic actual woodgrain. I actually found this really hard - I've spent so long trying to keep spacing etc consistent, it was against all my instincts to quilt it like this. But, I'm really happy with how it turned out :o)

 Linking up with the Forest QAL linky part at Shapemoth.

Also linking up with Kristy's Paper Piecing Party, and Free Motion Quilting Friday.

I'm off to finish off my July bee blocks - and then make a few bits and pieces for the impending third birthday next week!

xx Jess

Thursday 15 August 2013

Fabric Stashing

Over the last week or so, I've seen a few people posting pictures of their stash as part of the linky party Sarah is hosting - and because I have recently organised my stash, I thought it would be fun to join in :o)

So onto the fabricy goodness. My fabric stash doesn't actually live in my sewing room - my sewing space is pretty tiny and I have a ridiculous  pretty big stash of fabric, so it all lives in our bedroom. Which I love - although it's quite distracting trying to go to sleep when I can look at all this loveliness ;o) It does make it a wee bit difficult to hide fabric purchases from my other half though. I have a real addiction when it comes to fabric - and I'm a total fabric geek. I love finding out of print fabrics from my favorite designers on ebay and etsy, and spend a lot of time browsing fabric shops on the interwebs. I've been on a self-imposed fabric diet this year though - I've been pretty good so far :o)

I have a pretty huge open fronted shelf unit that houses my fabric - this part of our bedroom doesn't get any direct sunlight on it, so I don't have any issues with fabric fading. You'll probably notice some little yellow things on each shelf - they are there to keep moths away. I think they're working - as yet I've never found any holey fabric (touch wood!).

I don't have much of a system really. As you can see, most of it is organised by colour - but I don't discriminate based on size of pieces. There is everything from fat quarters through to several yards stacked in there. I fold my fabric based on Jeni's tutorial - and happily I can fit four stacks in each of the shelves quite comfortably using her method.

 Please excuse the mess on the bottom couple of shelves - I haven't quite finished the organising ;o)

So, some detail shots of what's actually hiding in those shelves. First up is my Melody Miller and Echino stash (plus a few other linen pieces). These live up the top, since I don't tend to pull them out all that often when pulling fabric for a quilt. 

The blues - definitely the largest of the colour groups in my stash. I seem to be a sucker for a good blue print - I definitely need to make a mostly blue quilt at some stage soon. At the moment some of it is sorted by hue and value - but this tends to disintegrate into a mess fairly quickly.

Greens and browns. I really need to work on getting a bit more variation into my green stash - I don't have many darker greens, and the vast majority are limey rather than emerald or kelly green. Same goes for browns - I'm very much drawn to deep chocolatey browns, but I probably should try to get some lighter ones in there.

These are a few designers and collections I just can't bear to split up. This is actually a very small portion of my Tula Pink stash (on the far left) - the rest are in a tub in my sewing room while I'm working (albeit very slowly at the moment) on my City Sampler quilt. Violet Craft is in there too, along with my slowly growing Heather Ross stash. The far right pile is Full Moon Lagoon by Mo Bedell - my most recent acquisition, which I can't bear to split up quite yet.

Multicoloured and novelty prints.

Neutrals and low volume. This is my most used shelf by far - and won't stay this organised for very long.

Pinks and purples. For someone who admittedly doesn't like pink very much at all, I actually have a surprisingly large amount of pink.

The 'special' shelf. This one is right at the top as well, and houses my Salt Water collection (I bought a yard bundle of the entire line. Love it.), Good Folks, Liberty Tana Lawn, and a few other AMH prints (mostly Garden Party).

Yellow, orange, reds. I really need to work on my yellow stash - I have a quilt in my head that is going to need a way better range of yellow and ochre prints.

So that's it. The bottom couple of shelves mostly hold my Kona solids, and some larger pieces of backing fabric (to be organised when I get a chance).

I'm off to ogle other people's stashes now ;o)

xx Jess

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Leaves, stars and feathers

The great bee block catch up has begun! Well, June is ticked off the list at least - so only a couple more to go ;o)

First up is a block for Jodi for our Scrappy? Sew Bee It! bee. Jodi designed the block herself, and gave us this photo as inspiration for choosing colours - the intention being that her bee quilt will hang below the apples. Jodi is a fellow AMH fanatic, so I used a few of my Good Folks scraps for three of the petals, along with the Field Study print which is in my Forest quilt. I absolutely love her idea for this quilt - I'm a little jealous already ;o)

Jodi's block

Next up are a couple of star blocks for Julie in the AusMod bee. I must admit these put me way out of my comfort zone - the colours and prints are not something I would normally choose to work with at all. But having seen the blocks that have been created so far, I think it's going to be a really gorgeous and feminine quilt. The first one was designed on the fly, the second is a paper pieced one (made using Faith's whirling star tutorial). 

Julie's block #2

Julie's block #1

As a reward to myself for being a good bee mate (hehehe), I did a bit more quilting on the forest quilt. Feathers around the feathers. This is my most favourite block I have ever made, and I didn't want to detract from the piecing too much, so I used white 50wt Aurifil to blend in with the background. Looking at it now, I'm not sure it was the best choice of motif for this block - but I seriously love quilting feathers like this and just couldn't resist. I think you'll see these popping up in my quilting more and more :o)

The rest of this week will be spent catching up on some more bee blocks, and making some doll dresses for my wee girl's upcoming third birthday in a few weeks. I'm a little in denial that my baby is turning three - although admittedly I'm pretty excited about making her some dresses, even if they're just for her doll. Oh, and the wonderful Rebecca has asked me to do a review of my sewing machine for her Sewing Machine Adultery series which I'm excited about - I'll let you know when it's up on her blog so you can read all about why I love my Bernina!

Hope you're all having a great week. 

xx Jess

Sunday 11 August 2013

Quilting a forest

Thanks for all your lovely feedback on the Forest QAL quilt top - it is now basted and I've started quilting the first block. I decided to start with the Aspen Grove, as I had a bit of an idea what I wanted to do with it (and I want to quilt the 'pages' before I tackle the background).

I decided to quilt the grey ground sections with micro pebbles - most of these are about 1/4" or 1/2" in diameter. My arms were SO sore after doing these! I think tiny little movements in quilting are much more demanding on the muscles than larger ones. I used a variegated Aurifil (4670) 40wt thread, and the texture is gorgeous. I also love the variation from really light grey pebbles through to darker ones - to me it really suits the block. For the green, I've just quilted in the ditch along the seam lines, so the trunks and leafy sections really pop against the grey.

I'm not sure about the rest of the block. I've quilted vines and leaves across most of it which looks okay (not brilliant though - although it blends so well it won't really be noticeable whatever I do.). I might go back and do some dense quilting around the vines later, but I'll wait until I've done some of the other sections before I decide.

I'll be leaving the rest of this for a little while, so I can work out how to tackle the other pages. And so I can catch up on the last three months worth of bee blocks!!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

xx Jess

Thursday 8 August 2013

Forest QAL quilt top

I don't often have quilty ideas that keep me awake at night - but this was one of them. Back in March, I started making the first few blocks in the Forest QAL, hosted by Julianna and Joanna. Other projects got in the way and I only ended up making three of the twelve blocks. The QAL finishes up at the end of this month, when finished projects using one or more of the blocks can be linked up.

I've been trying to figure out for a couple of weeks how I wanted to use the blocks I've made. As I was trying to get to sleep on Tuesday night, inspiration struck, and I spent a bit of time yesterday planning out how to go about it. So last night, after a few sketches and a fabric pull, I put together a quilt top.

Apologies for the dodgy photo ;o) I started off by piecing sashing around each of the blocks, attempting to make them look like pages ripped out of a sketchbook. I then did a bit of improv piecing using a variety of chocolate brown fabrics, attempting to make them look as though they're sitting on a desk. I *think* it works? I'm considering adding some more brown to the top and bottom to make it square rather than rectangular, although I'm pretty happy with how it looks as is.

I'm extremely excited about quilting this one! No real idea about exactly how I will approach it, but I think it's going to be fun :o)

xx Jess

Monday 5 August 2013

Maze Quilting {A Tutorial}

Back in April when I made my son's Mario quilt, I offered to put together a tutorial for the maze quilting I did in the background, and quite a few of you were interested. So I've *ahem* finally put one together :o)

This free motion quilting motif is really easy to do (I guess it's a little like square stippling) and gives a really great texture. I think it suits geometric quilts really well - and you can adapt the scale to suit a whole range of areas in your quilt. I tried really hard to take photos of actual quilting step by step, but the light on my sewing machine made it really difficult to photograph well, so I think it's easier to show you with pen and paper :o)

 To begin, simply quilt a rectangular shape - these lines are about 1/2" apart. I started on the edge of my quilting space when I quilted Mario, but you could start anywhere.

Next, echo up the side you've just quilted a short distance, and then quilt another rectangle off to the side.

Continue echoing the first rectangle shape part of the way over the top, before quilting out horizontally and then quilting another rectangle. The important thing here is to make the horizontal line long enough that you'll be able to echo inside it without making your quilting lines too close together. Judging this distance gets easier with practice - but if you're lines are a bit close together it will get lost in the overall design anyway.

From here, I simply echo quilted down around the whole left hand of the design, and then back up and across the top of the design. As you can see, it's beginning to look quite complex, but really it is very simple to do.

Next, I quilted down the right hand side, adding a vertical rectangle along the way.

Again, more echoing around the edge of the design, adding in a couple of extra rectangles along the way.

And then echoing back across the top of the design.

To continue to build on it, I would simply echo quilt around the design, adding more rectangles along the way, and then echoing them.

The quilting on my Mario quilt ended up looking like this:

I hope this made sense - any questions please don't hesitate to ask. If you use this tutorial I would love to see the results!

xx Jess