Saturday 22 February 2014

Beach Ball Baby Quilt {Finished}

You might remember my Beach Ball Baby Quilt I put together a few months ago? Well, I finally finished it up last week and I'm really pleased with the result. 

I used two layers of bamboo batting on this quilt, just to give the quilting a bit more definition. It's a baby quilt too, so I figure it will be a great floor quilt with the extra padding. Because it's quite small (45" x 50") it wasn't too difficult to maneuver with the extra layer of batting, but I definitely wouldn't be keen to try it on anything bigger. I quilted it quite simply, with FMQed straight lines in the grey sections, and ditch stitching through the coloured hexagons. I quilted the white areas with pebbles, just for a texture difference and because they are so puffy :o) 

Even more exciting, you can find the tutorial over at Moda Bake Shop today (thanks to Katy for letting me know it was up!!) :o)

Thursday 20 February 2014

Decipher Your Quilt

Earlier this month when I mentioned I was thinking of running a series on quilt calculations, my friend Leanne said she had been thinking along the same lines and asked if I'd be interested in running it together. Obviously my answer was yes, so I'm excited to announce we are teaming up for our Decipher Your Quilt series. Emails have been flying back and forth, and we have come up with a plan we're really excited about - hopefully lots of you will be too!

What we will be trying to do during this series is to give you the skills to look at a quilt and be able to pick out the blocks it is constructed from, and to draft and manipulate the size of those blocks to your needs. We will be discussing different types of blocks and quilts (such as 4 patch blocks, 9 patch blocks, tessellating patterns, hexagons etc) and how to identify what category a particular block falls into. We will also talk through some of the calculations that relate to each block type (such as how to choose a good block size, and how to calculate what sized fabric pieces you will need.) By understanding these things, we hope to give you the confidence to adapt different quilt blocks to your needs, whether it be re-sizing a block or drafting a block entirely from scratch. It will involve some calculations and maths-type stuff, but we hope to present it in a way that makes it easy to understand. 

You can have a look at the schedule we have come up with here, but it is very flexible so if you have particular things you would like us to discuss, please fill in our questionnaire and let us know. We would like to target the information we present to what you want to know, so if you have difficulty with quilt maths we would really appreciate you taking the time to fill it out. We will be running an anonymous 'Dear Abbey'-type question and answer section throughout the series, and there is a section in the questionnaire aimed at this if you have a particular query you would like answered. 

We have also started a Flickr group, where you are welcome to ask questions or to show off blocks you might make during the series. If you are on Instagram and make anything using our tutorials through the series you would like to share, please use the hashtag #decipheryourquilt. 

We will be posting on each of these topics each Thursday for the next few months, but we are both happy to extend it further if need be. I've created a page, which I will update with links to each of the tutorial posts as they become available, and I will add links to resources like graph paper and other useful tools over time. 

We are really excited about this, and hope you will join us :o)

xx Jess

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Charming Liberty progress and Fabriholics Anonymous Check In

Thanks for your input on my medallion quilt last week - I have been really sick since then so I haven't actually replied to any comments or thought about my next step with it yet, but your feedback has been extremely helpful, so a huge thanks. Not a lot has been happening on the sewing front as a result of major blurg and a severe lack of anything resembling motivation, but I'm so happy to finally be able to show you some progress on my Liberty charm quilt (the result of a few hours of not feeling too crap today.)

I've been slowly working on this since last November, but other projects have kept popping up and this has been pushed aside. But I'm working to an end of February deadline, so the finger has been pulled firmly out ;o). The central panel is now complete and I just need to add a few borders. It hasn't been at all difficult to put together - but deciding on an arrangement for the charm squares took a loooong time. It has been a really enjoyable quilt to put together - simple sewing, but Liberty fabric is just so gorgeous to work with.

It's also time for a Fabriholics Anonymous check in. I'm still not finding it hard (surprisingly) but as I said last month, I haven't started anything new which is definitely making it easier. The Flickr group is in full swing (apologies for my lack of activity there, I'm hoping to check in regularly from now on) and there have been some gorgeous creations added.

We'd love to know how you are all doing, so please link up if you would like to :o) 

Sunday 9 February 2014

When design decisions fail...

Thanks for your lovely comments on my Wild Goose Chase medallion earlier in the week. I've been mostly working on other projects since then, but did put together the blocks I thought I'd use for the second border. And then promptly fell completely out of love. Actually it's more a feeling of ambivalence verging on hate at the moment. This is a common problem for me - I will get completely obsessed with certain projects, and then if they don't work quite how I'd hoped I get really annoyed and stop. So I guess this post is me thinking aloud and trying to build up motivation to keep trying :o)

My intention for this quilt is to have quite a lot of negative space with splashes of colour provided by the various 'geese'. Having put these blocks together though, it isn't heading where I want it to. The biggest problem I see with these blocks is the size - I think they would look far, far better smaller (which is what I'll try next.) I also think a narrow grey border between the centre block and first border might be effective (something else I will play with). I'm not sure what possessed me to use the grey prints for the background either - I will probably be changing those to white or cream based light value prints for the next try. Any other ideas for making it work are very welcome!

On the plus side, I do have a bunch of blocks that I really like and that will make a good start toward another quilt. It will be fun to play around with the placement and see what secondary patterns I can create with the light/medium grey background prints. So maybe not a complete fail, just a disappointing set-back :o)

On a more positive note, I'll leave you with a little teaser...

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

xx Jess

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Wild Goose Chase Medallion Centre

While we were staying at the beach last week, my machine went in for a (much needed) service. My Bernina has an indicator on the computer screen that turns on every 2 million stitches - which is roughly how many stitches I did in the twelve months leading up to the service. Do you think that means I sew too much? ;o) 

I picked her up yesterday, and it was so nice to sit down last night and sew (especially since she is running so smoothly post-service). I decided to ignore my priorities and keep sewing the centre of the medallion I showed you a few weeks ago. It even has a name already - Wild Goose Chase, and I'm bustingly excited to keep working on it once I've knocked over the other couple of things I need to get done this month. 

It's funny, but the Koi fabric (by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud 9) I used for the outer triangles wasn't actually intended to be part of this quilt. I love how it works with the rest of the centre block though - I'm calling it a happy accident :o)

Thanks so much for your lovely words on my post last week - you've convinced me to just keep doing what I do (as lots of you said, it's MY blog. Thanks for keeping it real!). The quilt math series will definitely be happening too - stay tuned for more info on that next week! I'm uber excited about it, and I'll be teaming up with a bloggy friend for the series :o)

Last day of school holidays today, looking forward to 'normal' life resuming tomorrow!

xx Jess

Saturday 1 February 2014

Midnight at the Oasis Finale

Despite my complete standstill on Midnight at the Oasis, the QAL has continued on thanks to Sharon's hard work. I had intended to get the applique done over summer - but it just hasn't happened, so my MATO finish is a long way off. This is where I stand at the moment - although there are a lot more orange peels done  now (I only have three left to do).

But, it's time for the final linky party so that all of you can link up your quilts - we'd like to see them all, whatever stage they are at. We have prizes offered by some wonderful sponsors (Polkadot Tea, Sew Me a Song and Fat Quarter Shop are all sponsoring prizes, so please show them some love!) and Sharon will draw winners for these next Tuesday.

If you don't have a blog and are not on Flickr, you can add your picture to Instagram, use the tag #midnightoasisqal and leave Sharon a comment letting her know what your IG name is.

Thanks to all of you who joined us for this QAL and to our wonderful sponsors.