Monday, 26 October 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Fruit Tingle

When I first saw the post that the Blogger’s Quilt Festival was approaching again, I was very disappointed as I didn’t think I would have anything to submit and I had so much fun last time round. (If that's where you've popped over from, Hi!! Have a look around).

But then I remembered that in my attempt to get some WIPs out of the pile I had set myself the challenge of finishing my Sweet Tooth Mini from the Fresh Mini Quilt Club as my ALYoF Goal for October. How fortuitous! I am entering this quilt in the small quilt category. Go and check out all the fabulous creations for some quilty eye candy.

I signed up to the FMQC back in 2013 when I had just started quilting. I thought it would be a fun way to get some quick makes done. After all, a mini should be pretty quick to finish. Out of the six months in the subscription I finished two and started one more – the Sweet Tooth.  Let me introduce to you my version: I am calling it the Fruit Tingle (not sure if you can get these lollies everywhere, but Aussies should get the reference – something about this mini just reminded me of them).

A finish!

When I started making this mini, I grabbed myself a junior jelly roll of V&Co ombre fabrics (the old ones, not the new ones) and got chopping. I really wanted the graduation within each block of light to dark. The only challenge that I had was that I didn’t have any of the same fabric in pieces big enough for the centre, so I just got my problem solving hat on and pieced them together. I made all of my HSTs and got trimming.

Colour graduation

In order to break up the tedium (each block has 12 x 2” HSTs) I trimmed enough for a block and then pieced it, trim, piece, trim, piece. I have blogged before about my love / hate relationship with the HST and these teeny tiny ones just were too much for me. Defeated I whacked the completed blocks and pieces into a sandwich bag and there they languished until now.

My photo assistant. Does not take direction well....check that belly button

A few things have changed since November 2013 (!!) when I started making this mini: 1) I have loads more sewing paraphernalia and there is no room for unfinished WIPs (watch this space – I am going to be finishing / retiring a whole stack of WIPs in the new year); 2) I bought a Bloc Loc (world changed is all I can say there); and 3) I am just a much better at sewing than I was two years ago. It is embarrassing that finishing off the blocks and piecing / quilting / binding only took perhaps two evenings and I can’t think why I put it off for so long. 

For those of you who have seen this pattern before, the original configuration was a 4 x 4. There was also some grey fabric in the jelly roll, but in order to make all 16 blocks I needed 4 grey ones and I didn’t have enough fabric so I pieced the centres with the little leftover bits for a rainbow pop. When it came time to piecing it all together though, I just didn’t like it, so I just made my mini a bit

My helper insisted on a photo for Olaf

Unlike most things I make I am keeping this for myself. I don’t have a wall where I can hang my mini’s at the moment, but I am hoping for a new sewing space one day and it will be nice to have something me made on the wall.

I really love this mini and am so please to have it finished. Here are the stats:
Name: Fruit Tingle Mini
Pattern: Sweet Tooth by Megan Bohr at Canoe Ridge Creations, part of the Fresh Mini Quilt Club
Dimensions: 18” x 24”
Fabric: V&Co Ombre
Quilting: Straight line in Aurifil white

Thursday, 22 October 2015

WIP Wednesday: A Spotty Swoon

I kind of feel like a Swoon Quilt is a rite of passage for a quilter. The internet is certainly awash with them and I myself have a Pinterest board dedicated just to the Swoon.


I started mine a long time ago. This was going to be a quilt for my bed! I signed up for one of Camille Roskelley’s Craftsy classes and the pattern came with the class. Now, do you think I have done that class? Have I even finished my Swoon? Do I have a quilt for my own bed? No, no and no. I just looked back in Instagram and I posted my first block 63 weeks ago!!! And I am sure that I cut the fabric a long time before that, so this quilt has been hanging around in my garage sewing room for a long time. 


Since this was going to be for my bed, which is also my husband’s bed, I didn’t want it to be too girly. I bought myself a FQ bundle of Dear Stella’s mini confetti dots, armed myself with some yardage of Kona Silver and off I went. Chop, chop, chop. 


Now first of all, can I say that there is not a lot of wriggle room in the cutting instructions if you are cutting from FQs. Keep in mind that I started making this when I hadn’t been sewing for very long, so I was not the accurate cutting star I am now. Some of my FQs were also....let’s just say cut on a bit of an angle.  Whatever, I made do with what I and cut all my blocks where they languished for a while, unsewn, but neatly organised in sandwich bags (as an aside, I didn’t discover sandwich bags til I had kids and they are a life changer – get some if you haven’t already!).


When I finally came to make my first block I realised a few things: 1) they are huge; 2) you need to make a lot of HSTs – not my favourite; 3) the squares for the HSTs are sized so you “shouldn’t” have to trim them once you are done (note that this assumes you can sew in a straight line; 63 weeks ago I had not mastered that skills, some of my seams have a creative seam allowance); 4) each block takes a while to make, especially if you are not so good at sewing in straight lines. Hence why my quilt is still unfinished. 


To be fair, I didn’t watch the Craftsy class on the Swoon so I am sure that there are some great tips in there that would have accelerated my progress and made my sewing more accurate. I do use the tips that were in the first episode regularly, so this is not a reflection on the instruction but more my general impatience and my general attitude that with rough guidelines are enough and I can figure the rest out. Not necessarily the most efficient. Also, now that I am up to block number 7, I am MUCH faster and 63 weeks later I am a much better sewer. So much so that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.


I have two more blocks to make and then I need to quilt the beast. The idea of that sends a shiver down my spine. The biggest thing I have quilted on my machine is a king single (not sure what that translates to outside of Australia) so not that big. I am seriously contemplating QAYG for this, unless someone points out a good reason why this wouldn’t work.  


This is on my Q4 FAL list and realistically I don’t know if I will get it done for December but I will definitely push for that. I also need to add point number 5) to my list above. The blocks look fantastic and I know I am going to love this quilt when it is done and be super proud of having achieved my Swoon Quilters Badge*


(* Not a real thing, but probably should be)


Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sewing for others

There is something so lovely about being able to make something for someone else. I guess that's why I still don't have a quilt of my own, right?

Still it is very satisfying to be able to do something I love for someone I love.

Last weekend I was invited to a kitchen tea for a friend and colleague. I had a gift but at the last minute I decided to whip up an apron to go with it. Since I was making it the night before I had to go with what I had on hand (most of my fabric is in FQ or smaller pieces), but I managed to dig out two prints that I think worked quite well. It only took an hour to whip up, so all in all very satisfying.

Ta da! Makes you just want to bake, doesn't it?

And the other side

The other thing I whipped up recently was a Curvy Clutch. My Mum's best friend's Mum is turning 90 and Mum asked if I could make one for her. This lady is so amazing. When I had my girls she knitted up a lovely little cardigan for them, so of course I said yes. (I would have said yes anyway even if she was a dragon because my Mum asked me and you do stuff when your Mum asks you).

I love, love, love this print! And I love the piping as well. Sigh. Tula is just so clever

I have made two of these before, but when I made them first time round I used Vilene 640 as the interfacing. Since I made them I have discovered that you can get Shapeflex at Spotlight and so this time I used that. Talk about a difference. When patterns have called for Shapeflex in the past, having never seen it I never really knew what I was comparing against. I found that it did give a lot more structure than the Vilene and was also a lot less bulky. That said, with the double layer of interfacing on the exterior, plus the double layer of the accent piece, plus piping there were some pretty chunky parts to sew through. Even though I switched to a 100/16 needle I still ended up breaking it. First it just bent and then jammed and I couldn't get the presser foot up (queue panic) and then it snapped. I pulled the whole of my machine apart looking for the tip of that bloody needle. I even cleaned it while I was at it. Only to find it jammed in the actual bag. Needle(ss) to say I was a bit nervous to finish it off. I found this useful little thing in my sewing machine accessories though and that helped the chunky parts through the machine.

Know your accessories! 

The clutch is a finish off my Q4 FAL list. A productive quarter so far! I plan on finishing the year on a high.

Friday, 16 October 2015

A Lizzy House / Tula Pink Patchwork Pillow

My dear little nephew turns six today.

In years gone by I have made his sisters birthday gifts, but this year it's his turn. My sister (his Mum) is a very clever crocheter and was making him a blanket for his bed, so I whipped him up this patchwork pillow.

A match made in heaven - two of my favourite designers

His new blanket is all blues, yellows and reds, so hopefully this will go nicely.

I'll be honest, I find little boys a bit of a mystery. I struggle with his gift every year more than any other. I mean, would a full of beans little boy think "woo hoo" to receive a quilt? With this pillow I started my fabric selection with the red dinosaurs. I mean, find me a six year old who doesn't like dinosaurs. And I know my nephew does. Then I just pulled fabrics that I knew would go with the decor in his room. The other challenge I faced is that a lot of my fabric I would say is a little on the girly side.

I bound it in the matching Constellations print from Natural history and backed it with some blue gingham that was in my stash.

For this pillow I did an envelope back. It was my first time because I didn't have a zipper the right size and even though I followed a tutorial I found online I had an issue with gaping in the back. I usually get a cushion insert that will make the pillow nice and plump. Even after cutting open the insert and removing some of the stuffing I still had a horrible gape. I ended up stitching it up by hand - having bound the pillow top, I didn't really want to undo it all to remake the back. It's a bit of a pain, because it means that if it needs to be washed it will need to be undone and sewn back up, but on the plus side I stitched it up with red embroidery floss and I think it looks really cute. Plus the red floss echoes the red I used for the quilting on the front.

Not the closure I envisioned, but it sure looks cute

His party is on the weekend so hopefully his gift is well received. This is a finish off my Q4 FAL list.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Q4 FAL Goal Setting

My disbelief as to where the year has gone continues. Here is my list for the last hurrah of 2015!

A Garment a Month list

1. Swoon - I just want this done
2. My Spell it with Fabric quilt

Just the quilting to go
3. My Genny & Ruth Quilt

1. A 241 tote. I'm going to use that lovely Alison Glass Art Theory fabric. 
2. A curvy clutch for my mum's bestie's mum's 90th
3. My Marmalade granny square pillow
4. My Birds and Bees economy block pillow
5. A pillow case for my own little wild thing (my nephew Max)

This is going to be a lovely big pillow

There's so much more I want to make - I am trying to keep Q4 realistic, but I think next year I am going to list out all of my UFOs and just get them done. 

Linking up for the Q4 FAL party

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October ALYoF Goal Setting: Sweet Tooth

I was going to pick something else for my A Lovely Year of Finishes goal this month, but then I thought of all of those half completed projects in my sewing room (hangs head) and thought perhaps I should try and finish one of those off instead...

Some time ago I signed up for the Fresh Mini Quilt Club with Megan from Canoe Ridge Creations (I'm talking Round 2 here, it is up to Round 5). Anyway, I was half way through making the Sweet Tooth pattern when I threw a narnie at trimming all of those HSTs and buried it in my sewing room somewhere. Now, I own a Bloc Loc and I am determined to finish it off.

I think it is going to be quite special - I made it using a jelly roll of V&Co's ombre fabric (not the new ones). I rmember really loving it. Apart from the HSTs. A billion of them. Teeny ones.

Linking up to the ALYoF October Goal Setting Party