Wednesday 28 November 2012

WIP Wednesday

Since I enjoyed making my first zippy pouch over the weekend using the open wide pouch tutorial from noodlehead,  I thought I would make some more.  Last night, I decided to cut the fabric for two new pouches using the leftovers from my first pouch.  My leftover fabric was a bit small, so I decided to add a contrast bottom.

So, I cut all the exterior, lining and interfacing pieces for both pouches, and pieced the exterior pieces for both.  I interfaced the exteriors for both pouches, and found that the size of my interfacing was slightly off, but nothing terrible.

Then, I went to interface the lining of the first pouch.  Ummm, my two pieces of lining were different sizes.  Doh!  I decided to set that pouch aside for the night and work on my second one.  This one wasn't quite smooth sailing, but seemed to being going ok.

Ummm, do you notice something wrong with this picture?!


Yeah, I left the wrong end of the zip sticking out of the pouch.  It's still functional, but it looks really weird, and I don't think I can fix it by adding a zipper tab (someone correct me if I am wrong, but I am worried about getting the zipper teeth all out of alignment if I cut the open end).  Sigh.  Nevermind, I am not exactly in love with the fabric combo in this pouch anyway. 

Ralph is not impressed with my efforts
 Will be taking a bit more care with the next one!

In other WIP news, I have been doing a bit of foundation piecing.  This is a quarter of the Which Way North block from the Compass Collection.  I am going to make several of the Compass Collection in a selection of low volume aqua, grey and yellow fabrics.  It may end up as a baby quilt, or a mini, or something else entirely.  I am just having fun playing with fabric.

Regular readers may be wondering what has happened to my Oakshott quilt.  It is finished!  But I am currently camera-less (apart from the camera on my phone, which I used to take the pictures above), so I haven't been able to take photos of the finished product yet.  Soon, soon, I hope.

Have you had any sewing fails lately?  Or maybe you have been indulging in some just because, no real plan, fabric play?
Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced:

P.S. My Rocky Road bundle made the final 10 in Sew Lux Fabrics Guest Curator Contest!  The list of the final 10 is here, and voting is now open, so head over and vote for your favourite (the voting poll is in the top left of the screen).  I would be over the moon to win this bundle, so if you feel like voting for me, please do!

P.P.S.  I have a couple of giveaways coming up in the next fortnight or so, so you might want to hang around for a bit.  The first one will be on 3 December as part of the Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway day.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Who likes Rocky Road?

One of the bundles I made up for the Guest Curator Contest over at Sew Lux Fabrics is in the final 10

It's this warm and rich Rocky Road bundle - so named because of my obsession with rocky road chocolate (I was actually eating some when I picked the fabrics).  You can see my original post about it here.

This was originally my second choice bundle, and I kind of put it together on a whim.  However, as time has passed, it has grown and grown on me and now I would really love to make a quilt with these fabrics.

There are some other gorgeous bundles in the final 10, so I would encourage you to head over and vote for your favourite (the list of the final 10 bundles is here, and the poll is on the top left of the Sew Lux Fabrics Blog).  If your favourite happens to be my Rocky Road bundle, well please don't hold back on voting for me!

What would you make with this bundle of fabrics?  If I am so lucky as to win, I'm thinking an autumnal quilt, but I don't have a pattern in mind.  Any suggestions?

Monday 26 November 2012

First zippy pouch

I made this open wide pouch using this tutorial from noodlehead (this is the medium size).

The exterior fabric is Vintage Threads by kokka, and the lining is Sinister Swarm in Leaf from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study collection.

vintage threads sinister swarn anna maria horner

I interfaced both the exterior and the lining with a fusible interfacing, so this pouch has plenty of body and stands up on its own. It took me about an hour to make this, which is pretty good given that I haven't worked with zips since I was a teenager. I put it down to the really clear tutorial, and am very happy with the result. This is definitely a "make again" item for me.

What have you been sewing this weekend? Anything different?

Linking up with Plum and June and Sew Modern Monday.

 Plum and June

Thursday 22 November 2012

Friendly folk

Check out what arrived in my mailbox this morning!  These are scraps of the beautiful and nearly impossible to find Good Folks collection from Anna Maria Horner.

AMH Good Folks

They were sent to me by the lovely Rachel, who goes by the name wooden spoon on flickr.  Seriously, check out her quilts and other sewing projects - they are amazing!

AMH Good Folks

We did a little private swap - I sent Rachel a couple of fat quarters (and some extra scraps) for a project she is working on, and she sent me these (and a very pretty Anna Maria Horner card).  How generous! I already have a little project in mind to showcase these fabrics.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

WIP Wednesday

Well, you can probably guess that my Oakshott quilt has been taking up most of my time and attention lately, and very little other sewing has been going on here.  I do have a finished quilt top though, so that is something!

This might be my favourite of all the Oakshott colours

My brain is bubbling over with new ideas, and I have a feeling I will be working on a few smaller projects soon.

I have been enjoying paper piecing lately, and thought I would share the link to this really cool (and free!) Compass Collection paper piecing block of the month series I stumbled upon courtesy of Don't Call Me Betsy.  I definitely see a Wheel of Fortune block in my future soon.

Also, I had a moment of total confusion and delight this weekend at Spotlight (for readers in the US, Spotlight seems to be the Australian and NZ equivalent of Joann's).  I am not always the biggest fan of Spotlight's quilting fabrics, although I do think their selection has improved in recent years (aided substantially by the addition of the DS Quilts range).

Image from Andover Fabrics

But, what did I spy on the shelves this weekend?  That's right - this fun print from the 1001 Peeps collection by Lizzy House for Andover Fabrics.  I cannot explain what it was doing at Spotlight, but at $11 a metre (on sale), you can bet I snapped some up.  The rows of towers run parallel with the selvedge - hello perfect backing fabric!

Have you scored any great fabric bargains lately?

Linking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced:

Monday 19 November 2012

Ask a quilting man

I have mentioned before that my boyfriend quilts.

His first quilt

Although there are some seriously talented and famous male quilters out there (Kaffe Fassett probably being the most widely known), men who quilt are a bit of an anomaly.

Quilts in progress - both these tops are now complete

Thomas Knauer, sewist, quilter and fabric designer, has done a series over at Sew, Mama, Sew!, called Sew, Papa, Sew!: Thoughts on Fatherhood, Sewing, and Gender Expectations (subsequent posts here and here).

Experimental work in progress

I found Thomas' thoughts on being a male quilter really interesting, and I would love to know a bit more about other male quilters out there.  To start with, I thought I would interview my boyfriend about his quilting.  Then, I thought I would approach other male quilters to see if they are willing to be interviewed for my blog.

But, I need your help.  I have a few questions in mind, but I would love to know what you are interested in finding out.  Also, I have a few male blogging quilters in mind to approach, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

WIP Wednesday

Granny squares quilt - no progress since last week.

Giant star quilt - no progress since last week (but I now have photos of the free motion quilting I did, here.

Gingham quilt - no progress.

Dat Star - no progress

Oakshott quilt - this is the reason I have made no progress on any of my other works in progress since last week.  I want to keep this quilt fairly under wraps until it is done and posted at Lily's Quilts (by the end of November).  I can reveal two things though.  One is that the plan has changed a bit.  The other is that this quilt has so far involved cutting over 500 equilateral triangles.  Phew - I'm glad that part is over!
A couple of progress photos:

The colours really are this luminescent

I am piecing four triangle units to make doing the final layout easier.

Gotta press all those seams open.

What it looks like from the front.  Notice the grain of the fabric?  That is deliberate and really going to make this quilt shimmer and sparkle.

The crosshatch sketch fabric looks much bluer in these photos than it is in real life - I think it was the early morning light.  It is actually closer to charcoal in colour.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced:

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Rocky Road

Sew Lux Fabrics are running a Guest Curator Contest where you make your own bundle of fabrics from their shop, link it up, and go in the running to have your bundle stocked in their shop for the month of December (and win your bundle!).  Details here.

This is my second entry.  I wanted to do something entirely different to my last bundle.  Something a bit crazy...

This is how the Rocky Road bundle was born.  I am in the throes of a full blown obessession with rocky road chocolate.  Milk chocolate, little marshmellows, berry flavoured chewy sweets, peanuts and coconut - yum!  This bundle has all the colours and sweetness of rocky road - and is a little crazy with that zebra print and the tiny deer.  I think this would make a very warm and cozy quilt.

Are you participating in this contest?

Bright Spring Boy

Sew Lux Fabrics are running a Guest Curator Contest where you make your own bundle of fabrics from their shop, link it up, and go in the running to have your bundle stocked in their shop for the month of December (and win your bundle!).  Details here.

How can I resist a contest that involves choosing fabrics?  This is my first entry.  Earlier this year, my sister was a bridesmaid in her friend's wedding.  The bride is now expecting her first baby, and we just found out that it is a boy.  She and her husband are planning to paint the baby's bedroom light cream and apply wall decals of trees.

With plenty of simple, graphic, and nature inspired images and colours, I think this bundle would make a perfect baby quilt for my sister's friend.  It's not too cutesy or babyish either, so could easily last out of the baby years and into early childhood.  Eight fat quarters equals two yards of fabric - plenty to make a generously sized baby quilt, or, if you add in some simple white sashing, a toddler or single bed sized quilt.

I hope this bundle does well - I looked in my stash this weekend for likely contenders and I am sadly lacking in greens!  Are you playing along? 

Sunday 11 November 2012

Did you guess?

My boyfriend's current quilt in progress has been transformed from this, into these:

These two quilts are inspired by an image he found on the internet, called Vanishing Point.  They will be known as the Vanishing Point quilts.

Did you guess from the last picture I posted?  And, have you ever made a quit like this?

Saturday 10 November 2012

Another man quilt

This is the quilt my boyfriend T is currently working on.  At this stage, it is 7.5 metres (24.5 feet) long.  It will actually end up being two square quilts.

Can you guess what he is making?

Friday 9 November 2012

Giant star quilt - FMQ

I spent quite a lot of time over the last few days free motion quilting the star part of my giant star quilt.

I used a pink 50 weight Wonderfil thread for the quilting, in a teardrop echo pattern (also called a crybaby meander) following this video tutorial, and inspired by this quilting done by Heather of Crafting...

I'm not all that happy with the quilting - there is a bit of eyelashing on the back, and I struggled to keep the quilting smooth, especially in the middle.  Over the course of the quilt though, my quilting definitely improved.

This is the whole quilt.

Since the quilting is less than perfect, I think I will keep this quilt for myself.  Now I just need to fill in the background with straight line quilting, and bind it, and it will be done.

I pumped up the saturation of this photo so you can see the quilting on the back. 

The quilt is backed with this (brand new) alphabet duvet cover I picked up from Ikea in Hong Kong a few months ago.  I had seen a few quilts around the internet backed with Ikea fabrics, and loved the idea (not least because it means you don't have to piece the back).  Ikea doesn't have any shops in New Zealand, so this was my first chance to check out their duvet covers and fabrics.  In the end, I only brought this one home - it is not that exciting but I think makes a simple and effective backing.  The plus is that I will get backings for two large quilts out of the duvet cover, and there are four matching pillow cases which would do nicely for backing cushions or mini quilts.

Do you stick to standard quilting cottons to back your quilts, or do you like to use other materials?  If so, is it to save time, save money, or just because you like the look (or feel) of something different?

Wednesday 7 November 2012

WIP Wednesday

Granny squares quilt - I finally finished quilting this one.  I just need to trim and bind it.  I won't bother posting pictures until it's finished, because at this stage, it doesn't look much different to the last photos.

Giant star quilt - I had been thinking about free motion quilting this one, and the discovery of some new 50 weight Wonderfil at my local quilting shop provided the impetus I needed to get started.  After a few tension issues, I got into my work, and now have the star completely filled with a teardrop meander (totally inspired by Heather's quilting here).  It only took about 1200 metres of thread...

Gingham quilt - no progress.

Dat Star - the other side of the cushion (i.e. not the star block) is going to have words on it.  Rude words.  At my brother's request, of course.  My sister made the text for me in photoshop, and turned it into a mirror image so that I could trace over it onto fusible web, iron that onto fabric, and then cut the letters out from the fusible-webbed fabric.  All was going well, I traced, I cut, my sister ironed the letters onto the background fabric.  Then, I tried to stitch round the letters so they would stay stuck (I don't trust fusible web on its own).  Yup, disaster time.  First, I tried straight line stitching, which looked awful.  Then, I tried satin stitching, which looked even worse (mainly because I could not, for the life of me, go evenly and neatly around the letters).  I am going to have to totally start over, with a different plan.  Maybe I should try piecing the letters?  Has anyone tried the Refrigerator Magnets pattern from Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson!?

Oakshott quilt - Fabrics have arrived! I have a plan (it may involve a matching print from my stash for each different Oakshott ruby fabric) and have started cutting (lots and lots and lots of) equilateral triangles.  I need to work out some way of chain piecing this baby, otherwise I have little chance of getting it done by the end of the month.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Apologies for the lack of new photos in this post - I was going to take some after work, but I got stuck watching the US election and it was dark by the time I got home.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced:

Monday 5 November 2012

Oakshott Fabrics

The Oakshott fabrics I won from Lily's Quilts arrived today.  Yay!  I got them at work this morning, so had to content myself with peeking in the package until I got home.

Shot cottons red bundle

The fat eighths are all bundled up like a little present.  Who would have thought you could get a yard and a half of fabric into such a cute little parcel.

Shot cottons red bundle

In case you're not familiar with Oakshott fabrics, they are shot cottons, which means they use a different thread colour for each of the warp and the weft of the fabric.  This bundle is called Ruby Reds, and consists of fabrics which are all shot with red.  These fabrics are notoriously difficult to photograph - they have quite a sheen to them, and definitely look slightly different colours from different directions.

Shot cottons red bundle

Ha!  That didn't last long.  I had to pull the bundle apart to properly admire all the colours.  I have already had way too much fun playing with these fabrics and my stash.

I will be using these fabrics to make a quilt which will then be featured (along with a tutorial) on Lily's Quilts.

My first quilt

I always planned to show the first quilt I made on this blog.  I love the First on the First feature by AnneMarie at Gen X Quilters (where she gets a guest blogger to show the first quilt they ever made).

It looks like I won't get to do it.  My house was burgled a couple of weeks ago.  They took the TV and some electrical goods, and a bracelet of my sister's.  It sucked, but I'm insured, and at least nothing of great sentimental value was taken.  Or so I thought.

Turns out they also took my first quilt.  I pieced this aqua, blue and pink quilt in late 2006 and early 2007, and my mum quilted and bound it for me.  It has been used ever since.  My sister had been using it on her bed at the time of the burglary, and we only just realised it is gone.

You can kind of get a glimpse of it under Ivy.  I don't have any better photos of it than this.  It is very simple - large squares of the french toile type fabric alternating with nine patches of blue and pink fabrics.

Something of a consolation - they didn't take the quilt my mum made for my 21st birthday.  I will get over this.  That quilt has much more sentimental value.  I am going to photograph it this weekend.

I know that in the grand scheme of things, a stolen quilt is not the end of the world - lots of people have had far worse things happen.  But I'm still pretty mad about it.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Scrappy swap - a sneak peek

So, this is the handmade item I made for my partner in the Scrappy Swap.  It is a (gigantic) needle case with a little pocket for embroidery scissors.

Lotta Jansdotter Echo Orange

It's not perfect - I interfaced the exterior (which I'm not showing until my partner has received it) but not the interior fabric, and I wish I had, to give it a bit more structure.  Never mind, it will fulfil its function of holding needles and scissors (and I easily fitted the fat quarter of scraps I am sending inside it as well).  I will send this off tomorrow.

I decided that this weekend would be less talk, more (sewing) action.  I ended up doing quite a lot of quilting (both straight line and free motion), with the result that a couple of ongoing projects are much closer to completion than they were last week.  Will update when I have photos.

What did you get up to this weekend?  Lots of time at the sewing machine?  Or was the weather too good where you are to be stuck inside?

Friday 2 November 2012

Dat star - if it was a quilt

I downloaded a program called TouchDraw this weekend.  It's not intended to be used for designing quilts, but its functions mean it can be used to do so.  That's what I used to make the plan for my Oakshott quilt.

I also used it to play around with the block I made over the weekend - Dat Star.  I don't think I will be making a whole quilt's worth, but what would it look like if I did?

Option 1: without sashing, each block rotated 90 degrees from the last.

Option 2: with sashing, and a wide border.

With all the different busy fabrics I used, I don't like this particular version of this block as a quilt.  But, I like the secondary design on the un-sashed version, so I can see potential for that one with a solid background perhaps.

What do you use to design your quilts?  Graph paper and pencil, software, or maybe you can keep it all in your head?

Thursday 1 November 2012

Fresh sewing day and small blog meet

If you have found your way here via Lily's Quilts, welcome (and if you are a regular reader, welcome back).

Lily's Quilts

October was a busy sewing month for me.  I decided to participate in Blogtoberfest, and post at least once every day for the month of October.  I needed things to talk about, so that meant lots of sewing.  Here is my mosaic.  The links below will take you to the relevant blog post.

Lily's Quilts

My blog definitely qualifies as small.  A few new people have started following over the last month though - thanks!!!  I feel like blogging every day for the last month (and commenting on more blogs, rather than just lurking) has helped me connect with more people in the quilt blogging community, which is fun, and I have signed up for my first swap!

How do you like to connect with other quilt bloggers?


Fabric-a-brac is coming.  What is it?  An event, run twice a year in Wellington (and also at various times in Auckland, Palmerston North and Sydney). 

Fabric hoarderslovers can take the chance to de-stash and clear out some cupboard space, and other fabric hoarderslovers can score some awesome, vintage, modern, and otherwise interesting fabric (and trims, and other assorted haberdashery items).

If the lure of fabric wasn't enough, it's also for a good cause - the proceeds of stall fees and sales of donated fabric go to (I think) Mary Potter Hospice.

I went to the last one in May, and even though I made the beginner error of not lining up at the door to bag all the best bargains first, I still came away with a couple of good buys.

The organisers had a bit of last minute running around when their venue had to shut down, so the details are now:  Saturday 10 November 2012, 12 noon to 3 pm, Berhampore School, 105 Britomart Street.

I am rather please with the new venue, as it is practically in sight of my house.  I will definitely be there this time, as soon as it opens.  If you are in Wellington, I would love to see you there (leave me a comment if you are going).  Just don't get between me and the fabric - I have elbows and I'm not afraid to use them.  Kidding.  Sort of.