Saturday 29 September 2012

Pattern Testing

Jenny, of the Quick Curve Ruler fame has a sister Helen who, like Jenny, is also a long-arm quilter.
She's also started designing quilt patterns using Jenny's ruler and when she put a shout out for pattern testers I stuck my hand up.

This is her Deco Zig Zag pattern.

It reminds me of a 'mermaids purse' but maybe that's just me.

Either way, it was extremely enjoyable to sew - the pattern is very well written.

It is fat quarter friendly (two blocks from each FQ) but I chose to make it from random scraps of turquoise blue, mainly because I had some light turquoise linen knocking around that I wanted to use for the background. It wasn't quite enough so I interspersed it with a Kona cotton in a similar colour.

The claret block I put in just because I thought it would add a bit more interest. I think I'll probably hand-quilt round each block with Perle cotton, machine quilt the rest of the negative space and bind it in a claret colour too.
Pssst..2nd row up from bottom, far left...that's a Batik with sparkly bits in it...reckless or what ;-)

Sunday 23 September 2012

What would you do?

Normally, I know where I'm going with the layout of a quilt.
It all seems to go together as I go along.

This time I am stuck.

I want the layout like you can see.
However, I need it to end up as a rectangular shape.

If I add half blocks to the sides, that doesn't work at the top and bottom; you can't get a section of the block in there without slicing into it and I don't think that looks right.

And if I just have half blocks at the side, what do I have at the bottom?

So then I thought maybe I should just add a plain fabric all the way around.

But really, for the first time ever, I think I am stuck.

What would you do?

Oh...and as an added incentive to wade in with your thoughts, I am overflowing with scraps again so if you're interested say so and one of you will get a big squwagy (spell check thinks I just made that word up and I may well have done) envelope of scraps.

Thank you.

Thursday 20 September 2012

My last ever post...

...about the Camelot quilt because it is done.

With the four extra blocks I added it's an ample single bed size

Entirely hand-pieced and hand quilted.

Still  a bit more outlining round the blocks to do.

As with previous hand-quilted quilts,  I didn't bother basting. Just laid all three layers on the ground, scooped it up and then positioned my quilt hoop in the middle of the quilt so it was taut and then quilted my way out from the centre to the edges.

If you want to see individual close-ups of each block, just type 'Camelot' in the search box to the right of this post

It was great fun to do but I have had my fill of fiddly and complicated and am leaning towards more simple at the moment.

Oh, and I realise I never said who would get the pattern.

It'll be on it's way, tea stains and all!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Half square triangle quilt

When I think of simply constructed quilts, I always think of those made just from squares and half-square triangles; the permutations are endless. When it was my month for a bee I was in last year, I asked everyone to make blocks from half-square triangles and the variety that came back was amazing. You can see it here.

And I've always thought the pinwheel block had lots of possibilities to do something fun with so that's how this next quilt came about; and I've even managed to remember to document the process if you want to have a go too.

I chose to make two difference pin wheel blocks.

This one.

And if you don't fancy eight points coming together in the centre of the block, this one.

This one is good for fussy cutting big, dramatic prints.

For the first block you need:

To make the half-square triangles I use the simple way of placing two of the 3 and 7/8" fabric squares right sides together, pencil marking a diagonal line from one corner to the other and then sewing either side.

In the picture above, two of the light grey squares get sewn to the dark grey squares using this method and the other two light grey squares are sewn with the two white squares that measure 3 and 7/8".

This image should give you a clearer idea of what your layout should look like.

The plain white squares are the ones measuring 3 1/2"

If you want a simpler and quicker route to making a pinwheel block that only uses one feature fabric then take out the four centre blocks...

...and fussy cut one big block in the same fabric.
Whichever block you decide, you'll end up with a 12 1/2" unfinished block.

I was aiming for a mixture of both.

I liked how it looked when it got to this stage but felt it still lacked something. I always try to make 'interesting on the eye' quilts. I want the eyes to dart all over, no matter how simple the initial block is. So I decided to add a bit of additional interest to some of the corners.

This bit is purely optional but I took random scrappy bits of fabric (every single one was different and had not been used in any of the blocks), cut them up into 2" squares and then added them to the corner of some of the blocks like this.

It now gives this effect:

Just the right amount of interest for me.
You could add the little triangles to each of the corners which would form a square on point.
I didn't because I thought it would be too overwhelming but more importantly you're then into the realms of trying to get all the corners evenly matched to form the perfect square. Keeping it like this means you don't have to worry about matching anything.

And that's it really.
I hope I've provided a clear explanation but if not, let me know and I'll do my best to answer any queries.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday

Saturday 8 September 2012

Upstairs Downstairs

Upstairs looks like this

And this.

If I had more spare time I'd tidy. I don't, so I'd rather be making.

And downstairs looks like this.

Including this, which arrived and I think is the best text fabric I have seen in a long time.

Bought from here
And on the subject of fabric buying: can anyone please tell me why something as British and iconic as Liberty's new quilting cotton line Bloomsbury Gardens is CHEAPER in the US?!
$14 here and £14 a metre/yard in the UK! At today's exchange rate that's £5.76 a metre more if you buy in the UK.

Update: Liberty tell me the Bloomsbury Gardens fabric is manufactured in Italy. Ok, so are we talking varying import taxes? However, here's a little maths for you:

Import duty for fabric:       USA           UK
                                          11.4%         8%   (and this may not even apply as Italy to UK is in the EU)

Liberty say their fabrics are distributed by wholesalers around the world and they cannot 'speculate on how the pricing in the US was determined.'

Fair point.

But then they go on to say they are responsible for determining the price point in the UK.

Fair point?

Monday 3 September 2012

An end and a beginning

It's the end of summer fun.

And the beginning of a new school year, which means a new one of these.

Same pattern I used for this bag

Which gets requested less than 24 hours before the school bell goes.

Got to be a laminate inside for ease of wipe clean
But isn't that what being 'A Mum-With-A-Sewing-Machine' is all about?

Saturday 1 September 2012

Adding interest

I wanted to make a quick baby quilt for a new arrival due in the next few weeks.

It was quick but it left me feeling slightly 'ho-hum' about it and on further reflection I think those solid columns of pinky red are too wide.

Having been inspired by the quilting Krista had done on my quilt in the previous post, I decided to see if I could get a bit more creative with this one.

If you are curious to know what the  Empress Mills cotton thread sews like, I used it as the quilting thread and it (imo) adds a really nice definition and texture.

You can probably see the quilting better on the back....

It's going to be a Dutch baby, so some obligatory bikes and houses that remind me of Amsterdam canal houses...even if it did say NYC on the selvedge.

And on this occasion, I  actually prefer the back.

Ho hum!
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