Sunday, 31 January 2016

A finish: Noodle-head Rainbow Clutch

I have been a long time fan of just about everything that Anna @Noodlehead makes (see here and here). So when I heard that she had a book coming out I was like "aargh" (that is crazy excited screaming). But I have quite a few patterns / quilt books sitting at home that I haven't used so I resisted. I had will power. And then it was unavailable and I thought "you fool" so of course I snapped it up when I finally got the chance.

I had been drooling over all the makes from it that people were posting on Instagram (see the #handmadestyle hashtag for some eye candy) and plotting what I would make first. It was close but I chose the rainbow clutch. 

I really wanted to use some aqua denim I had salvaged from a pair of Ms Bird's jeans but her skinny little legs didn't yield enough fabric so I went with Essex Yarn Dyed in black paired with some of Alison Glass' Handcrafted in Indigo. As an aside if you don't have any you should get some. The colours are so vibrant in real life and now I want to make an all blue quilt. I was clever and bought a half yard bundle (more likely I was lacking attention to detail when I ordered as I never by half yard bundles. But whatever, I say yay!). 

The pattern itself is pretty straightforward and only took me a few hours to make. I struggled a bit with having to refer back to earlier pages in the book but really that  was only a minor niggle. Other than that the pattern was very clear and concise. Obviously, I mean look how it turned out!!

A very slick finished product

Look at that fabric, just dreamy

Sadly this little clutch isn't living with me. I sent it off as a belated birthday gift for my oldest (as in most tenured vs years alive) friend. Clearly I love her since I wouldn't give this to just anyone. 

Anyway, back to Handmade Style. I think I am going to make everything in the book perhaps with the exception of the quilts because heaven knows I have enough quilts on my list already. Then I'll have a big party when I am done. 

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Metamorphosis Quilt: An ode to Escher

Back in September (last year, eek!), Julie from The Intrepid Thread put out a call for participants in a challenge she was hosting.

The deal was: would send the participants some fabric (for the sake of transparency, it was provided for free) and then everyone had a few months to make whatever they wanted with the fabric and unveil their work in January.

My nifty package arrived a few weeks later and my brain started whirring. What was I going to make?
The challenge fabrics: C+S Wordfind; Modern Background Paper and Lori Holt Modern Mini Arrows

Going off topic for a minute....when I was at uni I did a math degree and one of the subjects was called Topology and Chaos. One of the assessments in that subject was to write an essay about anything to do with Chaos Theory and applications of it in the world (I guess they wanted literate math grads). Anyway, whilst everyone else was off writing essays about using Chaos Theory to predict the weather or the stock market (yawn...), I wrote about chaos in art. This was when I first came across the work of M.C Escher whose work has a fractal like elements and also the Sierpinski Triangle you will recognise from this quilt.

Anyway....back to my whirring brain. Something about the challenge, or point in time or something completely random made me think of the works of Escher and so I spent an evening googling various Escher works and trying to find something that would translate into a quilt (that was achievable with my skill level in the time frame). Finally I landed on the work Metamorphosis III as my inspiration.

The finished quilt top; a week of rain and subsequent soggy outdoors means this is the best photo I could get

I also supplemented the fabric with some black solid and Kona Snow as well as some grey / black scraps I had in my stash.

I am a realist, I knew I was never going to be able to replicate Escher's work in fabric form, so I decided to pay homage to the concept of metamorphosis in both the shapes morphing from one to another as well as the graduation of colour from white, through to grey, black and then back to white. In the centre as I went from the "square" side to the "triangle" side (that's that math degree in action there) I wanted the quilt to appear to burst apart with a large floral applique. For the floral explosion I used the Arrows as well as some of the new Karen Lewis fabric, some AMH flowers and a C+S print that had some neat flowers as well as hummingbirds.

The centre laid out

Detail of progression

As I was piecing, it became apparent that this was going to be much larger than the table runner sized piece I had in my mind. I decided to turn it into a queen sized quilt for our bed by attaching two large panels in Snow to the top and bottom. The finished top is approx 84" x 92".

I am going to send this baby out to be quilted as I don't think that I would be able to do justice to it - I have never quilted anything larger than a King Single and I didn't want to practice on something that I love so much.

This quilt really means a lot to me for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I feel like it really reflects the sort of thing that I like to create. Despite having a very solid inspiration, this is a quilt entirely of my own design. And I tried so many new techniques that it was real unchartered territory for me.

The wonky square / diamond section I drew by hand on cardboard and cut it up and hand pieced it. I had to work out how to attach that to the machine pieced square patchwork. The centre is raw edge applique, which I had never tried before (who knows if I did it right, it might all fall apart first wash!). I sewed triangles for the first time (technically I did in my Sierpinski quilt, but I paper pieced those). And I sliced and diced and improved that last triangle section (in a totally 60 degree way).

So I love this quilt. I am proud of it and myself and what it represents. I can't wait to have it quilted, bound and on my bed.

Gratuitous quilt shot

Thanks to Julie for the chance to participate in something that forced me to think beyond what everyone else was doing and to create something that was a true reflection of myself. The other participants have also made some fantastic pieces - go check out the hashtag #intrepidthreadchallenge to have a look. 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2015 ALYoF Roundup

Here is my final 2015 ALYoF post: time to see how I did with my goals for the year...

Without further ado, here were my goals:

So how did I do? Ten out of ten!! Here is a mosaic of my finishes.

Top Row: Aussie Christmas Swap; Sea Star Quilt; Wee Wander Roly Poly; Bess Top; AMH Mini
Bottom Row: Sailor Top; Schnitzel & Boo Mini; ABC Quilt; Miss Polly; Sweet Tooth

This has been a fantastic opportunity to finish some things off - giving extra motivation and preventing me from getting bored at the final leg and starting something new.

This(!) year I am going to try and adopt a similar approach even though the ALYoF is not continuing on. I have a loooooooooooooooong list to work through. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

2016: Quilty Goals

With the start of the New Year I think it is time for me to come clean and ‘fess up – I have a WIP problem. I am addicted to starting things. The shiny allure of sparkling ideas on Instagram and Pinterest is too much for me to resist, and before I know it I have bundles of fabric set aside, patterns picked and blocks made. And there they sit. Abandoned. Forlorn. And more than anything else, unfinished.

So why do I do this? Part of it is the fun of starting new things. Part is just wanting to jump on the bandwagon of whatever the current “it” project is.  (How I have managed to avoid starting a La Passacaglia is beyond me). Part of it is that there is too much inspiration everywhere. And part of it is lack of will power, plain and simple. Probably also the reason I don’t fit in my skinny jeans any more.

So, I am calling it out. I am going to finish some WIPs. In order to do that and be accountable, I need to list them. Here goes....

Already started: 
1.       Moda building blocks quilt
2.       Swoon
3.       Midnight Mystery QAL
4.       Genny Ruth quilt
5.       Scrappy X quilt
6.       The Beehive Quilt sampler
7.       My Queen Bee Beehive quilt 
8.       Cordelia’s Garden
9.       Love Patchwork & Quilting Mag BOM
10.   Storm at Sea Pillow
11.   Economy Block Quilt
12.   Star light Star Bright pillows
13.   Tula Pink Economy Block pillow
14.    My brother's 30th quilt
15.    Intrepid thread challenge quilt

My poor neglected Swoon

My Blossom Heart Quilts Bee Hive Sampler - only a few more blocks to go before I can sew it all up

Mmmm, that is embarrassing and a lot more than I thought I had. Still. I am going to call it and say that some of these will never be finished. I have just lost the fire to finish them, or there is just so much to go and so much that I want to do more that I think I am going to combine some to make a scrappy sampler (inspired by this one by Jodi @ Tales of Cloth).

Next up: not started but I have fabric reserved in my stash (which means that I can’t use it for anything else) and the pattern:
1.       Aviatrix in Botanics / Lizzy House Jewels
2.       Pixel Plus in Acacia
3.       Plus quilt in Les Amis
4.       Charming quilt in Paradiso

Then there are the quilts I am super keen to make but am not allowed to til I finish.some.WIPs.
1.       Roundhouse
2.       Quarter Dresens (inspired by this one, again by Jodi @ Tales of Cloth) – I have some charm packs that I want to use up
3.       Scrappy Trip Around the World in Sunnyside
4.       Gypsy Wife
5.       Cathedral windows pillow (I’m realistic, I know I would never in a million years finish a quilt)

Goodness! I think I will be an old lady before I finish this list. Imagine if I could do it all in one year?! That is 24 items. Better get started!!

This list will also serve as my FAL goal list for the year. I absolutely am not starting any new projects til some of these are crossed off my list. 

2016 FAL