Sunday 18 December 2011

And finally...

...the winner of the jelly roll and text fabric scraps from the Quilting Gallery giveaway is...

...which was...

'Flying Blind', please let me have your snail mail address and I'll get the goodies in the post to you tomorrow.

I really, really enjoyed reading about what you think you should be able to do and can't and was really pleased I'm not the only person that can't use the automatic threader on their sewing machine. However, what came across loud and clear was that most people seem to have a phobia of free motion quilting.

All I can say is keep does get better. And the following may help you:
  • this link is where I would go to first, in terms of you understanding if you have the correct needle and thread for the job, thus sorting out some of your tension issues
  • then I would probably send you here for about as comprehensive an overview of fmq that I can think of
  • here and here if you want some inspiration
  • and finally here for a bulk order if the previous two links have left you feeling depressed and inadequate
  • Alternatively, you may instead decide to flash your cash on either this or this - the latter one was the first book I ever read on machine quilting

This being my last post of 2011, I've assembled a mosaic of all the quilts I finished in the last 12 months. It didn't feel a lot until I started putting the mosaic together. Now I see it, I feel I have more than earned the chance to shift down a quilting gear the next few weeks.

Not completely taking my foot off the pedal though as I started work on this...

...just a quarter done so far.

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your own festivities wherever you may be and I'll see you back here in 2012 for lots more of the same.

Happy Christmas and a Healthy 2012

Saturday 17 December 2011

And the SMS giveaway winners are...


which was...

(Nicky, as you were first, if you have a preference for either of the jellyrolls please say)


...which was...

Yes, I know that says 103 but numbered comments go up to 200 on a page and then revert back to 1 on a new page so Kylie is '103' on the second page, plus 200 from the first page = 303!

Well done to both ladies. Please let me have your snail mail addresses and then a jellyroll and some scraps will be on their way to you.

Thank you to everyone who played along. It was really interesting to read what your favourite part of the quilting process was. I know I said picking the fabrics right at the beginning was but it is followed very closely by this...

...some nice, relaxing hand-quilting.

Hoping to sneak it in as my last quilt finish of 2011.

Monday 12 December 2011

The Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

(Now closed)

Giveaways are like buses, you wait ages for one and then they all come along at once.

This time, I am joining in the fun with the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day because a) I've never done it before and b) I have another couple of jelly rolls that I know I'm never going to get around to using so I'd like someone else to put them to  good use.

First one is this:

It's Beach House by Moda and would like to make your house its new home.

Second one is this:

Natures Choice by April Cornell, also by Moda.

To enter, please leave a comment telling me what you like most about the quilting process (Well I'm presuming you're a quilter as there are jelly rolls involved in this giveaway). For me, it is right at the beginning, picking all the different fabrics to go together and the more colourful the better.

If you already follow and you'd like me to include some scraps from my over-flowing scrap bins, please leave a second comment saying 'scraps' so I'll know if you are interested or not.

The giveaway stays open until 16 December after which I'll use Mr Random Generator to pick TWO separate winners. Happy to ship wherever you may live.

Good luck.

Oh and click here for a linky list will be up for lots and lots of other goodies being given away.

If I still have your attention and you are new here I still have another giveaway going on here .

Finally, one space left open here as one of the respondents has gone awol already! First one to say 'yes' is in.

Friday 9 December 2011

Quilter's Gallery Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways

Not the most catchy of titles is it?

When I began looking at quilters who blog, one of the first places I discovered was the Quilting Gallery. Not only is it a wealth of quilting information but there is a directory of over 5,000 quilting bloggers if you are ever looking for new inspiration.

To celebrate their four year anniversary, the Quilting Gallery is having a Quilter's Gallery Blog Hop Party with Give-Aways (definitely not catchy when you type it out a second time).

And my contribution to the giveaway?

A jelly roll of Aviary by 3 sisters for Moda and a bunch of scraps. Not just any old scraps though. These are from my Words quilt, which if I had remembered to tell you at the time, was featured on Quilt Story last week. The scraps are a mixture of Suzuko Koseki, Heather Ross, and whatever text fabric has been printed in the last few years because I did a very good job at acquiring most of it.

To enter please leave a comment. I'd like to know what you think you should be able to do when it comes to sewing/quilting and you just can't nail it. I'll start the ball rolling by saying I can't work the automatic thread threader thingy on my sewing machine. I've sat with the instruction book, I've Googled it and I've even watched a YouTube video. Still can't do it and am still licking the end of my thread and poking it through by hand.

Oh and please leave a second random comment about anything you like if you already follow.

Giveaway is open until 17 December, after which Mr Random Generator will work his magic. Happy to mail wherever in the world you may live.

If you click through on the link below, you'll get to the linky list of nearly 250 bloggers who are also giving something away.

Hop Party with Give-Aways

Thursday 8 December 2011

Penultimate 2011 quilt

Another baby quilt finish for a little boy born last week.

Pattern from this book.

I did a meandering all over quilting 'pattern', primarily because I was pushed for time and it seemed the easiest thing to do.

When I'm quilting over both dark and light fabrics, I always opt for the 'safe' option of using mono-filament thread in the top so you don't actually see the thread, just the pattern it makes.

And I used a regular cotton in the bobbin for the back.

I ran out of whatever the lighter cream coloured plain fabric was, so added a different colour in, which I am fine with.

The binding is Kona Curry and because I didn't have enough of that either, mixed with Kona Yarrow.

For the first time ever when it came to the quilting, I took Leah Day's advice and I did not drop the feed dogs and it really did make a huge difference...for the better. Previously, when I've been free motion quilting with the feed dogs down, I have felt that I have been in charge of an out-of-control lawnmower with a life of its own as it careened off here, there and everywhere.

With the feed dogs up I felt more in control and got better stitch length regularity. I am thinking up and not down is the way to go from now on.

This is not quite the back of my quilts for 2011 though as another work colleague is due New Year's Eve.
Just need to squeeze one more quilt in.

Oh...almost forgot. The 'penguin' moment.

Linking up to Amanda Jean.

Sunday 4 December 2011

A Modern Whimsy quilt

I took the 'Park' colourway ( blue, pink, chartreuse green) of Laurie Wisbrun's new line Modern Whimsy and made this

If I had to describe why I like Laurie Wisbrun's fabric designs so much, it would be this: she makes fabric that is directional, in the sense that because she is depicting animals etc, they have to (in my opinion) go the 'right' way. You wouldn't buy a Masterpiece would you and then hang it upside down on your wall or at a jaunty angle? So the majority of her fabric, the animals, cars etc have to (for me) be placed a certain way.

And because I have to place them a certain way and because her designs are so different and interesting, it means I am looking for simple, bold quilt designs which will also show off the fabric. If the fabric is so striking, you don't (again,imo) want to do anything too complicated where the fabric gets lost in the design.

This time, I was inspired by this quilt...

...which came from this book

However, I didn't stick with the original design because I felt if all the shapes were the same size, it would detract from the Modern Whimsy fabrics which I wanted to be the stand out stars. So I modified it. I was also attracted to this design because instead of showing off the fabrics horizontally, this gives you a different look at them on the vertical.

The solids are a variety of Kona solids. The Kona Pomegranate in particular (the dark pink) I felt would be too overpowering if it was the largest size, so I scaled down the block into two smaller sizes to give little injections of contrasting colour as well as to add variety for the eye to flick over.

It's a whopper of a quilt. Added to which it has been blowing a hooley for the past few days and a check on the five day forecast shows no let up of the hooley so no washing line/outside photo opportunities for this one. Inside it must remain.

I always like those behind-the-scenes photo ops where you see how something was really shot. They do that on Frozen Planet on BBC1 at the moment where you got to see how they got the cameras so close to penguins launching themselves out of the water and belly flopping on to the ice.

Well here is my penguins belly flopping on to the ice moment ;-)

Friday 2 December 2011

To bee or not to bee...

...that is the question.

Now that the three bees that I was in have come to an end, I thought it would be helpful for those wavering and wondering about joining a bee to provide you with my experiences. Plus, I've never really posted all the bee blocks I have worked on the past 16 month here, just on Flickr.

What is a bee?
It's an online group of sewists/quilters (I have no idea what the correct terminology is) who usually exchange quilt blocks every month. How long and in what way is normally determined by the Bee Mama when the group is set up and the permutations are endless. It could be for six months, a year; could involve making one or two blocks a month; could involve you using your own fabric; using fabric that is sent to you by other members of the bee; could be making bee blocks to a very set of specific instructions, could be you are asked to make what you want; could be you are making bee blocks for charity quilts.

How do I get into a bee?
I was asked if I would like to join the first bee I was in - Fresh Modern Bee II. I liked it so much I joined two more. Simply String because I've always been fascinated by the spectacular quilts you can make from tiny scraps of fabric and then I joined A Twist On Tradition because it was taking traditional blocks and bringing them bang up to date with modern fabric choices. These latter two bees I found here on Flickr where people are regularly looking for people to join bees that are starting. They are at all sorts of levels too. I think some look for evidence of activity in you Flickr photo stream. Others may well just look for a pulse.
There is a quilting bee website with quite a bit of info on it too, although I don't think there has been a new post since February of this year.

What you can make.
I had my first month in the Simply Strings bee, sent three paper heart shaped templates and asked my fellow bee members to use the fabric I provided but also to add in a strip or two of their own so I wouldn't recognise all my own fabric. A fairly conservative request and on reflection, not much room for individual creativity.

Simply Strings - February 2011

I then appliqued the blocks to the back and front of a quilt and ended up with this for the front...

Simply Strings bee quilt finished

...and this for the back.
Simply strings bee quilt finished

Meanwhile, I made these blocks for everyone else in Simply Strings

Oops, sorry...forgot this one too:

Simply Strings Bee - June 2011

Next up was A Twist On Tradition.
By this stage, I wanted to offer a bit more leeway to my fellow bee quilters, so I asked for two 12 1/2" (unfinished) blocks that could only use a 4 x 4 half-square triangle pattern. One block was to be red and white and the other black and white and again, I provided the fabrics.

A Twist On Tradition - May 2011

I got some really lovely blocks back, all spot on measurement wise and I put them together to make this
A Twist on Tradition bee quilt finished

I decided to add a border all the way around to bring the quilt together. Before, I felt it just looked like a bunch of random bee blocks but with a border it seemed to make it more cohesive.

And in return, I made these bee blocks in A Twist On Tradition.

And finally, I was Miss July in the Fresh Modern Bee II. By this stage I'd seen how creative people could be so gave everyone free rein to 'do what makes you happy.' This is the only bee quilt I haven't finished yet as I was waiting on some blocks so this is where I'm at.

This one is going to take some time to put together because I need to make some extra bits so it all, like a jigsaw, slots together.

And for my fellow Fresh Modern Bee II ladies I made:

What did I learn?
  • a whole host of different block and style and colour ideas
  • that no two Ziplock bags are the same; each month brought several different style plastic bags and if I ever give up quilting I may take up the more sedentary pleasure of collecting Ziplock bags
  • that there are some very creative people out there who are very giving of their skills
  • that unfortunately it's not just pastry that is flaky. I've experienced a Bee Mama setting the bee up and then promptly disappearing into the ether, never to be heard of again. Bee members also disappear, sometimes after their month is done, yours is yet to happen and you've already sent them the fabric. Communication to them goes unanswered, even when you ask them to just send the fabric back because you've long since accepted that no block will be forthcoming.
  • That finished bee quilts are a long time coming!
In conclusion 
I have, by and large, thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being in all three bees. If they go well they are to be recommended as a great way of 'meeting' fellow quilters and experimenting with new ideas, colours and fabrics that may be outside of your comfort zone. I've picked up a whole host of new ideas and new ways of block construction and I am grateful to each and everyone for the time they took to make my bee blocks.

Thank you everyone.

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