Friday 28 February 2014

Soy Amado No.5

Yep, you're absolutely right - that is indeed an upside down tree.

They're all the rage don't you know.

Another explosion of global gorgeousness thank you.

If I'm honest, quilts are the only thing I've actually pegged  on the washing line for months. I heard a statistic the other week which said it's rained every single day here this year with the exception of 11 January.

So instead, the sunshine arrives each day in the mail.

Someone has quilting skillz

Twenty more arrived today: the Netherlands, UK and Bermuda.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday

Keep 'em coming ;-)

Tuesday 25 February 2014

How to QAYG

When I first started asking for blocks for me to assemble to make quilts for the Mexican Street children (just thought I'd get that mention out the way straight away), in my head I knew how the blocks should be and I guess I didn't think there would be any questions.

But there have been: do I cut the batting smaller, do I leave more backing, how are you assembling the blocks and so on.

Your block, batting and backing should all measure 12 1/2" and you don't have to quilt right up to the edges. Some people have overlocked the edges which has been nice but it's not necessary.

I am putting the blocks together using Ann Petersen's excellent tutorial in her Craftsy class - Quilting Big Projects On A Small Machine. I can not recommend this class highly enough - so many resourceful ways of quilting large quilts on a domestic sewing machine.

So because I learnt it from a class I had paid for, I didn't think it was fair to show Ann's technique unless it was with her agreement. She has very kindly agreed so what follows is my rough guide to QAYG the Ann Petersen way(ish). If you want a more polished explanation as well as a host of other great ways and lots of tips and hints, please consider taking her class.

To start with, you need to cut two strips of fabric.

The one on the left is 1" wide and the length of your block.
The one of the right is 1 3/4" wide and the length of your block. It has been folded lengthwise, wrong sides together and pressed.
I actually cut mine slightly longer and trim when they have been sewn to the block.

You then take the 1" strip and lay it right side down on the right hand side of the front of the block and you take the folded 1 3/4" strip and lay it underneath the block, with the raw edges facing outwards.

This hopefully gives you an idea of what I mean and I've scooted the underneath strip out only for viewing purposes, otherwise it's tucked neatly along the run of the edge.

I think at this point you are advised to pin but I'm a woman on a mission so I don't. You will need to though when it comes to assembling rows.

And then you sew along the edge, 1/4" away and preferably with a walking foot attached.

Et voila.

You then need to press that top strip away from the block.

Then you place the block that you've just sewn the strips on to, right sides together with the next block. This will be sewn raw edges aligned but I placed one block slightly to the left of the other one so you could see what I mean.

They should look like this when they've been sewn together.

If you open up the two blocks now at the back you'll see the two edges from each block should be butting up nicely against each other with no overlap.

Now give that joining strip a really good press to cover the raw edges.

Now this next and final step is where Ann and I part company. She has you turning your quilt round to the front and sewing in the ditch on the right of the front seam as per in the pic below.

That assumes you have been perfect in your sewing throughout which sometimes I'm not so that if you sew from the front you can sometimes miss sewing it down correctly on the back.

If you look closely in this pic you'll see that having sewn it from the front, my stitches have started to wander on the far right.

As I'm trying to crank these quilts out as quickly as possible, I go for the safer option of sewing that final seam down from the back. The only disadvantage is that you may get a slight wander away from 'stitch in the ditch' on the front but as we're not talking show quilts here I'm fine with that.

If you look closely you can see on this join that my stitches show through on the turquoise part of the binding but it just isn't important enough for me to worry.

And that's it. It really couldn't be more simple and it's been such a quick and efficient method to allow me to assemble these quilts at break neck speed for former Mexican street children (Whoops there I go, mentioning it for a second time).

I said this was a rough and ready explanation. Ann does it much better and not only do you get this in her Craftsy class but a whole bunch of other really useful techniques for quilting big quilts on your domestic sewing machine.


On a completely different topic, I decided to join Instagram so I could find more people to make me 12 1/2" quilted blocks (oops, third mention). When I had a blog makeover a couple of years ago, the only buttons on my sidebar were for email and Flickr. Shallow person that I am, I wanted an Instagram icon that matched but I couldn't find one.

I then decided to bite the bullet and have a go at making my own icons which you'll see residing quite happily in my sidebar. It couldn't have been more easy so my final share for you today is this:

For some reason the link is not showing on mobile devices so please click here.

Monday 24 February 2014

Charm Pack Cherry Quilt

I'm joining in with the Fat Quarter Shop 'Charm Pack Cherry Quilt' where you take just four charm packs (two different styles), spend very little time courtesy of the video below and make yourself a very simple (i.e. completely doable for beginners) quilt.

You can also download a free pattern sheet from here.

I chose to work with Dark Bella Solids and Road 15.

When the quilt top is finished there are a few charm squares left over and we were told to get creative with them on the backing of the quilt. However, I worked out that I could add one row more, top and bottom, to get a slightly larger quilt out of the pattern so that is what I did.

The original pattern gives you a quilt that finishes at 52" x 54" but the addition of the two extra rows gives you a longer length, finishing at 62" which I find more useful.

By which time I had just one charm square left over to get creative with on the back.

While it is possibly not massively creative, what the picture does is give you a clearer idea of how I quilted it. I started with an off-centre rectangle and then kept going and going in a sort of organic (ie not perfectly straight and evenly spaced) way.

By making the quilt longer than the pattern it meant I could use it for the home in Mexico City that I'm collecting quilts for.

So I added the obligatory applique.

If you are new here, please check out the tab on my landing page to see how you can help: send me quilted 12 1/2" unfinished quilt blocks and I can assemble them into quilts for former street children from Mexico City.

If you're not new here, oh well, just another reminder :-)

If you'd like to make your own tongue twisting Charm Pack Cherry Quilt, the Fat Quarter Shop has charm packs with 20% off this week

And if you'd like to see what a whole bunch more of Charm Pack Cherry Quilts look like, have a look at the Jolly Jabber - the Fat Quarter Shop's blog.

Friday 21 February 2014

Soy Amado No. 4

Looking good don't you think?

To save me boring the pants off you every time I post one of these quilts and then do my begging for 12 1/2" unfinished quilted orphan blocks bit, I have made a separate tab on my pages bar called Giving Back - Soy Amado (or Amada if you are a girl...thanks Nicolette!).

If you're interested and want to get involved, all the details are there. It's a long term project (ie when I've reached my goal in Mexico City, there are other children's homes around the world that I'll be able to get quilts delivered to) so if you're worried you haven't got time, I can wait until you do.

Make this the year you get rid of your unwanted blocks that are only gathering dust in some dark recess somewhere and I'll be more than happy to turn them into quilts loved by children not as fortunate as ours.

It'll be one less thing for you to list and photograph when I see those UFO posts popping up everywhere :-)

Go on, you know you want to.

Linking up with Finish it Up Friday

Tuesday 18 February 2014

I've got piles

There is this pile.

A friend recently celebrated a birthday with an '0' on the end and I asked them for present ideas.

They said they'd love me to make them a quilt.

I said I could do that.

They sent me an email with colour ideas and the measurements for the quilt.

I thought it would be lap size.

It is SUPER KING size.

I'm keeping with the QAYG groove I'm in at the moment.

This is my pile of quilted blocks.

And this is my pile of non-quilted blocks.

Looks can be deceiving.

I'm not even half-way through quilting the blocks.

It's slow going.

Especially as I decided to make it fully reversible so the back is also pieced.

And this is my pile for the Mexico City street children quilts.

Linking up to Show & Tell Tuesday and  WIP Wednesday

It's patiently waiting for more 12 1/2" quilted blocks to join it to make a quilt.

To help it grow I made a Flickr group.

I've never made one before.

I feel all grown up and official now.

I think it means you really do have to help me now.

It's here.

Within a few hours it had been populated with blocks I didn't even know where coming my way.

I'm excited.

My piles are going to get bigger.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Thank You

The blocks are starting to come in for my drive to get quilts made for former Mexico City street children.

I think I am suffering from block envy.

And been inspired by the generous creativity of others.

I've been sewing the blocks together, as and when they've come, so there's be no great thought to placement of colour and blocks. Yet, I still think each quilt is turning out a happy riot of colour.

It's a United Nations creation of colour and thought with blocks in this one from Germany, Australia, Canada, the USA and one from me.

Did I mention it's been windy?

Like f.o.r.e.v.e.r windy.

I have some blocks left over to start the next 'Soy Amado' quilt but it's not enough. There have now been over a thousand views of my post detailing how you can help. Imagine if everyone who read it had responded - that would be a lot of quilts and some!

All I need are 12 1/2" unfinished quilted blocks and I can turn them into quilts for kids who will love and cherish something that belongs to them and was made just for them.

I'll take anything: everyone seems to have orphan blocks lying around. Too small?  No problem, just add a border around it and it'll be fine. Too big? Just cut it down to size. Add batting and backing, quilt it and you're done.

If you're feeling so inclined whole quilts can be sent to an address in the Netherlands which I can provide. Email me for the address.

Quilt blocks to me - just email me for my address.

In the US and concerned about the postage costs for mailing to me in the UK? Go here where Leila is offering to send one big package of quilt blocks if you mail your blocks to her with a $1 or $2 contribution.

And if you can't send me a quilt block, how about spreading the word for me to help me reach as many quilters as possible?

Really, it's in your interests to help me because the more blocks I receive, the quicker I can get the quilts together and then you won't have to read me banging on about this ;-)

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday

Thank you.

Soy amado

Monday 10 February 2014

Fab start to the week

I entered the X Factor Pillow Swap again. This time, in Round 8 you had to incorporate text fabrics and log cabin.

I raided my scrap bin and came up with this:

Yet again, there was just one pillow/cushion cover in particular which just pipped all the others to the post for me.

And I feel so lucky to have come home from work today to find this beautiful package.

And inside was 'the one.'

There were squeals of delight - I think it is an Ab Fab cushion cover.

Thank you very, very much Whitney.

Round 9 of the X Factor Pillow Swap is a bit of a misnomer - it's all about placemats. The details are here.

Wednesday 5 February 2014

A private swap

Just before Christmas Julianna and I came to an agreement that we'd do a private swap and make each other a cushion/pillow cover.

I am a huge fan of Julianna's work - her choice of colour and fussy cutting prowess leaves me with a dropped jaw every time I see one of her creations.

She had said she'd like a cushion cover in the same colours as this gorgeous mini quilt she made.

And I was fairly vague with my preference and just said I loved this mini quilt she'd made.

So we set to work.

I had one false start where I made something but it felt like I had made it too quickly so therefore back to the drawing board to try and make something more detailed and complicated.

I turned to the book mentioned in this blog post and this block in particular.

Not one to let a little bit of Japanese come between me and a quilt block I scanned the diagram (in the top right of the page) into my computer and then enlarged it till it would make a 10" block (four together would make a nice 20" square cushion cover), printed it off, made plastic templates and set to, cutting all the pieces individually and hand sewing them together.

My seam ripper saw a lot of action. I felt the colour placement wasn't quite right and on more than one occasion I got the colour placement completely wrong. We both love Suzuko Koseki fabric so I made sure there was some of that in there.

I bound it in a leopard print just because and ta dah, I was done.

I used monofilament thread to do a very small grid pattern all over.

It was quite alien to me to think about each piece of fabric and how they would flow. I'm more a grab and go kind of sewer but I actually enjoyed the process and by the end I was so pleased with how it looked.

We both put our parcels in the post on the same day and quite by chance, they both arrived at their new homes yesterday.

And this is what I received.

Sorry, I don't have the correct size form for it yet so I stuffed a larger one in just so you get the idea

Beautifully constructed, beautiful machine quilting (with some pretty feature stitching) and thoughtful piecing which includes my initials and a nod to being British. Julianna actually does a much better job of explaining her thought process behind it on her blog.

The back is gorgeous too and I love the finishing touch of the two buttons.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and Finish It Up Friday

I thoroughly enjoyed the swap.

Thank you Julianna.

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