Wednesday, 29 May 2013

WIP Wednesday and the Hottie Project

What am I working on this week?  Something a little bit special...

Lisa from Big Little has launched The Hottie Project - an initiative to create lots and lots of hot water bottle covers to keep Christchurch children warm (and hopefully feeling a little bit fuzzy) this winter.  You can find all the details here.

I think this is a really great project and totally worthwhile supporting, and there are several different ways you can help.  If you're interested in making a hot water bottle cover, Lisa has put together a pattern and template - details on how to get it here.  I had a bit of time before I got the template by email, so I had a go at making a hottie cover myself.

Quilted hottie cover

I had just spent some time sorting out my scraps, and decided to use some of my green and yellow scraps to make the quilted exterior.

Quilted hottie cover

This version is fully lined with some nice cheery fabric in matching tones.

Quilted hottie cover

I'm working on a second hottie cover - this time with a bit of free-motion quilting.  I'm also working on a template for my version of the hottie cover and a tutorial - it should be up over the weekend if you want to check back then.

For the Hottie Project

You can expect to see a few more of these in different colours over the next few weeks - its a quick fun project and perfect for using up scraps and practising new free motion quilting designs.

Will you join me in making a hottie cover for The Hottie Project?

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Butterfly ghosts

A while ago, I had the idea to try and make a quilt block that looked like a circle of flying butterflies.  Inspired by the circle of flying geese tutorials out there, I decided to try and make a paper pieced pattern that didn't involve sewing any curves (I've sewn curved pieces before but it's not something I'm confident about).

Circle of butterflies quilt
A lot of the time I use Touchdraw for designing quilts and blocks, and I do really like it.  However, sometimes its more satisfying to draw something out on paper with a pencil and a ruler.  You might be able to tell that I used freezer paper - I like the extra accuracy that comes form having the paper in place when you're dealing with bias seams.

Circle butterflies quilt

This little wallhanging is made with lots of scraps from my Oakshott and low volume quilt top and eight different white on white prints.  I love the combination of improv piecing and highly controlled paper piecing - the "background' really ended up looking like a kaleidoscope.  I never thought I would be able to find a binding fabric to match, but Anna Maria Horner came through for me with her Sinister Swarm print in Vivacious.
Butterfly ghosts - back

I wanted to show you the back of this quilt, because it's something that didn't go entirely to plan.  I originally intended to make a cushion cover with this block, and I knew I only wanted to quilt it minimally, so to give it extra stability and body, I decided to fuse the pieced front and the backing fabric to the batting.  Turns out, using Vliesofix / Bondaweb to do this is not necessarily the best idea...  The fabrics went quite lumpy, and the extra stiffness made hand stitching hard work (so hard, in fact, that for most of the quilting, I just stitched through the front and the batting, not the back).


In the end I managed to steam out most of the lumpiness from the front, and the extra stiffness is quite good for a wallhanging, so all is not lost!  Ivy still likes it, even if it didn't go quite to plan!

Have you needed to do any quilt "troubleshooting" lately?
Linking up with:

Better Off Thread Fresh Poppy Design

and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Setting up shop

Ever since I heard that Spotlight was releasing a line of quilting cottons by Australian fabric designers Prints Charming, I have been anxiously awaiting their arrival.

I first fell in love with their designs when I saw their cotton poplin prints in Spotlight, which I used to back my Scrappy Trip Along quilt (one of my favourite ever quilt backs!).

When I saw a couple on Kirsten's blog, I knew they couldn't be far away, and last weekend I managed to get my hands on a good range of the prints at my local Spotlight.

I think the fabrics are super cool - the colours are bright and very fun and the prints are naive, whimsical and a little bit folksy, in Prints Charming's usual style.  I really like that there is a good range of print sizes - there are a couple of really large scale prints, some medium sized prints and a couple of smaller prints.  This fits with the classic design advice given to quilters - to use prints of varying scale to add interest and movement to quilts.

I managed to snap up a reasonable amount of fabric, and while I am keeping some for myself, I decided to list a few fat quarter bundles in my etsy shop (very newly opened).  I particularly had in mind those outside New Zealand and Australia who won't be able to get their hands on this fabric at Spotlight, but of course anyone should feel free to take a look.

This is the cool fat quarter bundle, which features 6 fat quarters in the following prints.  To give you a better idea of the different prints and their scale, the swatches below show an approximately 18" square of each fabric in the bundle.

prints charming for spotlight

prints charming for spotlight

prints charming for spotlight

prints charming for spotlight

I have made these up as metric fat quarters, measuring at least 50 cm (20") by 55 cm (21").

This is the warm fat quarter bundle, which also features 6 fat quarters, in the following prints.

prints charming for spotlight

prints charming for spotlight

prints charming for spotlight

prints charming for spotlight

Tempting, right?  I have four fat quarter bundles in each colour way.  If you are interested, check out my shop!

Ok - I spent my weekend doing everything (buying fabric, attending a guild meeting, and a massive tidy up of my craft room) except sewing, so now I'm off to do some stitching!  See you later in the week with my latest finished project.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #20

"Every picture is enhanced by the addition of a cat." Ivy

Does your pet have something to say? If you would like to see your pet on a future Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom post, send me an email (adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com) with the photo you would like featured, some words (wise, witty, or just plain silly) that relate to the photo, your pet's name, and a link to your blog/flickr stream/website.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sew Sew Modern - finished swap items

Sew Sew Modern 2

I finished up my swap items for Round 2 of the Sew Sew Modern Swap, just in the nick of time to send them off to my partner under the deadline.

field study pillow cushion

The large item is this pillow cover - a fun bright fox (pattern from Kajsa Wikman's book Scandinavian Stitches) on a low volume background.  To add interest, I made a whole lot of little curved tabs to go around the edge, using the colours in the Anna Maria Horner print I used for the fox.

low volume pillow cushion

The tabs around the outside are totally inspired by the tabs on Sarah Fielke's Whirligig quilt, the pattern for which is in (and on the cover of) her book, Quilting from little things.  

The back is a fun cotton drill from Spotlight (designed by Prints Charming).  The slightly heavier fabric is perfect for backing a cushion - it's sturdier than quilting cotton but not as thick as home dec fabric so nice and soft for snuggling up with.

white black pillow

The binding is a print from the Heaven and Helsinki collection - it's the perfect shade of purple, and I think I might have to buy more!

melody miller anna maria horner

I also made a set of co-ordinating, but not completely matchy-matchy open wide pouches using my favourite Noodlehead tutorial. I have to thank my Mum for some last minute help with these - I was really running short on time!

melody miller anna maria horner field study

I'm a little sad to see these things go, and I hope my partner will like them!  Now I can't wait to receive my swap items!  Have you been indulging in any swap sewing lately?

Linking up with:

Better Off Thread Fresh Poppy Design

and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today, my Dad is celebrating a significant birthday (in fact, the same significant birthday as my Mum celebrated late last year).  I wanted to take the opportunity to give my Dad a happy birthday shout out, and say thanks for being a great Dad!

Now, unlike Mum, Dad hasn't taught me too much about sewing (although his sewing knowledge does extend to sewing a button on a shirt, and you can bet that button will never come off again!).  However, he has taught me a bunch of other things - like:

- being successful doesn't mean you have to be self-important;
- when you are trying to solve a problem, and think you have the answer, always do a reality check to make sure it makes sense;
- you can make white sauce without measuring any of the ingredients;
- it's only money;
- how to do complex sums in my head; and
- you have to let people do what they will do, even if you think you know better.

These are things I use just about every day.

So, you might be wondering what this fabric has to do with my Dad.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, Dad took a trip to Japan.  Of course, I asked him to bring me back some fabric.  Dad is by no means an experienced fabric buyer, and I gave him pretty vague instructions (weird, text, modern), so I was expecting some potentially "interesting" fabric purchases.  I also thought he might bring back four or five fat quarters.  Nope - 14 half metres!

modern cute japanese fabrics 

This is just a selection of the fabrics Dad picked out - my absolute favourites, although I like them all.  The elephants above are so cute, I love the text fabric with the pink background, and the soft colours of the other fabric are just so sweet.

text suzuko koseki japanese fabrics 

I think both of these text fabrics are Suzuko Koseki - they are very very cool.  The fabric with the bow ties on it is awesome as well - the colours are really interesting (in a good way).

cats ladybirds japanese fabrics

Dad thought the same print in two different colours might be handy, hence the ladybirds. Pretty good thinking for someone who isn't into fabric!  The cats have so much personality - I know they will add a certain something to a future quilt.

Didn't Dad do well?!  It makes me want to go on a fabric buying trip to Japan!

Anyway, Dad, happy birthday.  I hope you have a good one!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom #19

"Opening packages is fun!  Sometimes it's too much like hard work for this cat's liking though." Ralph

Does your pet have something to say? If you would like to see your pet on a future Saturday Cat Words of Wisdom post, send me an email (adrianneonthewindyside at gmail dot com) with the photo you would like featured, some words (wise, witty, or just plain silly) that relate to the photo, your pet's name, and a link to your blog/flickr stream/website.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Equilateral Triangle Quilt

This is my entry for the bed quilt category of the Bloggers' Quilt Festival running for the next couple of weeks.  If you've come from there - welcome and thanks for visiting!  

I started making this quilt back in September last year, and I blogged about the design process back in October.  I had the quilt top finished by late October, but it waited several months for me to quilt it.

sixty degree triangle quilt

Eventually, I realised that it was at least partly the basting process that was daunting me, so I had the quilt basted by Sue Burnett, a local long-arm quilter.

sixty degree triangle quilt

Sue might have laughed at me (in the nicest possible way) when she realised that I intended to quilt this monster myself on my little 25 year old domestic sewing machine (you can read all about my little Bernina, and why I don't think you need a fancy expensive sewing machine to make lovely quilts, here if you're interested).

quilt for a guy

Once the basting was done by Sue, it only took me about a week to finish the quilting, using straight lines (very) approximately 1/2" apart.

equilateral triangle quilt

Even though this is a pretty big quilt and will probably take its fair share of washing, I hand stitched down the binding.  I really enjoy that last hand stitching process, and the finish.  I gave this quilt to my brother for his birthday in April, and he immediately wrapped himself up in it like a very very large burrito.  I wish I had a photo but I was too slow with the camera!  I'm sure he is really enjoying it now the colder weather has arrived.

By the way, if you are interested in making your very own equilateral triangle quilt, I have a couple of tutorials that might be useful, on how to cut equilateral triangles and how to sew equilateral triangles.

Quilt Stats
Finished Size:  Approximately 87 inches by 84 inches.
Fabric: Assorted cream, grey and taupe solids, assorted cream, grey, mustard, blue, red, brown and taupe prints.
Backing: DS Quilts print from Spotlight.
Binding: Woodgrain print from Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 line.
Pieced and quilted by: me, on my domestic sewing machine.  Basted by Sue Burnett on her long-arm machine, and basting threads removed by me and my mum (thanks mum!).

Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Emeralds and Ice Quilt

This is my entry for the two colour quilts category in the Bloggers' Quilt Festival running for the next couple of weeks.  Thanks for visiting!

I made this quilt as a wedding gift for my friend and workmate, and it was a joy to take this conceptual sketch...

...and these cut up squares of fabric...

emerald green fabric

to a finished quilt (maybe trimming all the half square triangles wasn't such a joy....)!

giant star quilt

I was really thrilled with how the quilt turned out, and my friend seemed to like it too.  With wedding quilts, I like to try and steer away from super girly fabrics, because I want to make something the groom will like too.  The front of the quilt works for this, but I just couldn't resist this floral voile for the back.

green and blue star quilt

I included little pops of print to break up the solids a little bit, and I think it adds a nice bit of interest while still leaving the quilt very crisp and simple.

half square triangles quilt

The sun was going down as I took these photos, so the quilt looks darker here than it is in real life.

half square triangles quilt

Quilting with voile was a little bit trickier than backing the quilt with regular quilting cotton, but not much.  I did end up with a very crinkly quilt after it was washed and dried!  I have to say, I was a bit worried when making this quilt, because I hadn't asked my friend about it (I wanted it to be a surprise), and it's a bit nerve wracking making a quilt when you're not sure the recipient will like it.  It was definitely worthwhile though - I really like giving my quilts away to friends and family.

giant star quilt

Ivy says green is a very flattering colour for her...  Hopefully my friend's cat is getting some quilt snuggle time too!

emerald flowers voile

I couldn't resist sharing these out-takes from the photo session.  I often get members of my family to help me with quilt photos.  They are very good about it, and I really appreciate the help they give me.  Sometimes, though, the quilt photography assistants have a mind of their own, which makes for some funny photos to look back on!

Yes, my sister is the mostly likely to dance with a quilt!

Quilt Stats
Pattern:  My own, inspired by this quilt from Red Pepper Quilts.
Finished Size:  Approximately 62 inches square.
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Ice Frappe and Clover, tiny pops of Philip Jacobs Rambling Rose in Green for Westminster Fibres.
Backing: Flora and Fauna voile from Spotlight.
Binding: Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton in Clover.
Pieced and quilted by: me, on my domestic sewing machine.