Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sometimes all it takes in an hour....

I really enjoyed making Claire's quilt for her and I have mentioned many times on my blog and earlier on my facebook page that I enjoy crafting for others and I find completing charity projects or collaborative quilts to be enjoyable and personally satisfying way of doing this.

But as you can see on the RHS of the blog I have a VERY long list of things that I have started, have planned or would like to try and there are only so many hours in the day and big projects can get left unfinished.

But sometimes all it takes is an hour (or just over if you keep ducking into the other room at the end to watch the beginning of City Homicide) and a little bit of mess.
These first two blocks were made for Abi from the Bee Seam Piecing Downunder. She very sweetly asked the other members of the bee and I a few weeks ago if we would be willing to make some quilt as you go blocks based on sewtakeahike's tutorial.

She will be adding these to those she receives from another bee she is involved with after forgoing her month and asking for these blocks in return. Of course they went right on the list.

This block is to be included in a playmat quilt for another member of this bee, Kelly, and her yet to be born second child.
Nicole had the wonderful idea and suggested stars of various styles from this tutorial from Silly BooDilly based on a concept by Gwen Maston from Liberated Quiltmaking - the first one.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Charming Stars in the Park

I started this quilt with 5 charm packs a little solid and a little print for the border. The top was pieced in a (long) weekend. 
Basting required the movement of the dining room table and the whole of the floor. The quilt measures almost 90" square.

I initially quilted 1/4" inside all the sashings and borders. I then hand quilted with No. 8 Perle cotton in variegated blue inside each star to give some definition.

And now it's finished.
The stars look great I think.
The binding is the bricky print in stone. 
The backing is the large flower print in blue. I love how the sun gives a see through stained glass effect while it is hanging.
I can already say it is cosy to sleep under!

Pattern: Charming Stars from the Moda Bakeshop
Fabric: Central Park by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Claire's Quilt - A quilt by do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}

Claire’s quilt is on her way to her now.

This quilt was made with blocks contributed by the members of the do. Good stitches {a Charity Bee} on flickr in a break from regular programming. Generally the quilts are designed and blocks joined to tops and quilted and bound by the ‘quilter’ members all of whom are based in the US but I asked and the group agreed to make an exception to normal progress in the face of the natural disaster playing out in Queensland at the time.

Sadly these disasters have become all too common in more recent times.

Inspired by this quilt I asked for Disappearing 9 patch blocks with a white centre in varying sizes, with the tutorial posted here. These were sashed with more white and squared to 19.5” and then sewed together in a 3x5 grid. This has yielded an almost 60” x 90” quilt that is the perfect size of an Australian King Single sized bed (or large couch quilt if that is more Claire’s style).
It is backed in a wide cotton fabric from IKEA and bound with Kona Coal (this gives a nice contrast frame to the front and blends well with the backing.
I have quilted it in a unmarked grid style with each stitching row being about 6” apart (and much straighter than I thought it would be when I started)
It is labelled and dated on the back – label created in Kona Snow with fabric stamping ink and has survived one wash so far.
I am so pleased to have this quilt on the way to a young person that deserves more than most a nice surprise and a metaphoric pat on the back. Since this quilt has been started Claire’s family has had to move house and pressures that predate the flood continue. I hope the arrival of an unexpected parcel cheers her and that she likes the colours and design of the quilt.
I would also like to publicly thank Julie at this point as well. Julie, herself a resident of a flood affected area, wrote an email to Toni from Make it Perfect that inspired the Flood Relief Auctions. When I went looking for a recipient for the quilt Julie, living in the area, was able to find such a person for me. She has also very generously made two extra quilts, one for each of Claire’s younger brothers that will be delivered later this week as well.

So thank you to all the members of the do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee} and Julie and best wishes to Claire and her family.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A doll quilt...done.

I started this quilt early in the swap period. Just as well too because although it is only a small quilt, at about 20" square it has taken me a long time. A lot longer than I thought it would that is for sure.

But I am really happy with how it has turned out....and I hope my partner is too when it arrives on his or her doorstep.

It started with this design idea.
And tracing and resizing and drawing some templates

I paper pieced and trimmed the 'petals'.
And appliqued them down. I really wanted to piece them but I just was not confident in getting the petals to meet neatly in the middle and I really wanted them to.
The backing stumped me for awhile, I considered an AMH print but couldn't find any of the designs locally in the quilting weight and didn't think the voile would be strong enough. In the end I pieced a contrast back and actually really like the striking contrast to the print, and the front.
The quilting was one of the things that took me longer than expected. There are 16 petals in this quilt and 7 triangles in each petal. If you are better at maths than me you will know right away that that is 112 triangles that were quilted in one of 7 different coloured threads.
I broke 2 needles in the fist 6 petals quilting these. I usually use a chenille needle and No. 8 perle cotton when quilting. This one was done in proper hand quilting tread and with a betweens needle - apparently they don't bend as much as the chenille.

I also really love the way the quilting stitches show up on the back.

In the end I bound it with some voile - and only because I didn't think the quilt would face a lot of punishment and it was the best colour I had to do it. I'd never use it for a 'to be used' quilt. It beautiful and soft but just doesn't seem that strong.
The label was printed on fabric paper and included the flickr group logo.

Now it is labelled, packaged with some small extras and on the way to a new home.
Fabric:    Anna Maria Horner Voile (mostly Good Folks)
               Kona Ash
              Kona Coal
Binding: Anna Maris Horner Voile - Pastry Stripe -Blue

Size: 20"x20"

Construction: The triangles to form the petals and the backing was machine pieced as well as the front of the binding. Petals were hand appliqued with a needle turn method. Quilting was by hand.

Label: Printed on fabric and appliqued on. Image taken from the Flickr group button designed by Badskirt.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A weekend of almost dones....

I've been really busy this weekend and have made a lot of progress with nothing finished to show.

So a series of progress shots

Claire's quilt - do Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}

This one was basted with a Ikea fabric backing, quilted in a grid pattern with horizontal and vertical lines approximately six inches apart.
The binding (Kona Coal) has been machine sewn to the front, just waiting on the back to be hand stitched.

Doll Quilt
I finally finished the hand quilting 
and this this was bound using a voile - Pastry Stripes in blue.
A label has been made using printable fabric and just waiting to be stitched on.

Charming Stars in the Park quilt
This was basted and then machine quilted 1/4 inch inside each of the sashing lines and borders.
I have started hand quilting inside each of the stars in a variegated blue perle no 8 cotton.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Quilt for Claire - do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}, the Queensland Edition

I have been turning the block I received from the Faith circle members of the do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee} into a quilt top ready to have it finished and on the way to Claire by the end of the month.

I asked for disappearing nine patch blocks in spring colours and wrote up a very quick tutorial in this post. I have been adding the white borders over the last couple of days and sewing the rows together.

At the beginning I was going for a double sided 3x3 grid. With each of the boarded blocks being 18.5" finished this would have ended up about 55" square, and double sided. But too small I think.

The other option in mind was to make the front in a 3x4 grid and have a single row on the back, or maybe two if I made two extra blocks (or the two in the mail turn up*). The quilt would end up more of a single bed size then and still be reversible but different on both sides. But I was still worried it would be just too narrow or too short.

In the end I went with a 3x5 layout, meaing the quilt will finish at 55.5"x92.5".
With the two most common single mattress sizes in Australia being 36"x74" or 42"x80" I'm hoping it will serve a purpose in this layout.

The plan is to quilt it in grid style with organic straight lines about 6" apart, I just need to get a backing first. I am thinking an IKEA cotton fabric. I really don't want seams in the back and I think the aesthetic in some of the Scandinavian prints might be just right.

*Note: I want to, for clarity, make it very clear I am not having a jab at anyone in my bee for blocks not arriving but Australia Post. In the last 2 months 3 items I am aware of have simply not arrived, two to my home and one to the post office box. This includes a Registered Post parcel that I am told I signed for, except at the time I was 50km away in a meeting at work.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My first quilt and a sad goodbye

Way back before I really knew what I was making a quilt I made this - from a Butterick or Simplicity pattern no less. I wouldn't really consider it as my first because if anyone had asked at the time I would have said I was making a blanket for my newish puppy.

That was 11 years ago. The blanket is still going strong, unfortunately Mollie is not.
I mentioned last week she had been sick but she appeared to be mended and back to her old self. Her death caught me, my partner and the vet completely by surprise.

We have shared a lot, Mollie and I. She always knew when I needed a hug and was pretty good at asking for a pat on those occasions. She sat up with me at nights when I was finishing the seemingly endless pile of uni reading and assignments.

When I got my first 'real' job she moved out of home with me the first (and different to my brother and sister - only) time I left. It happened to be to a town 100km from friends and family and she kept me company and warned me of the snakes in the back yard.

She moved back to Perth with me a year later and warned me of the snakes there too.

When I moved away for work again she came again - and helped me turn the garden there from this.... to this.

She has lived in three states and visited two more.

She moved interstate to Sydney when I when to made the big decision to move to the other side of the country to join my partner- where she travelled on the plane on a very hot Boxing Day. She could never really understand why she wasn't allowed to swim in the ocean there. Or body surf the waves as was her preference.

She spent a lot of time in the back seat of the car journeying near and far. She kept me company on the weekend drives back and forwards while I was living away and was an obedient and compliant travel partner when we all took a four day drive to Perth....and back a few week later a little over a year ago.
She moved again, ever the traveller, to Melbourne six months ago.

She didn't like thunder, rain or wind but loved surfing the waves at the beach. I'm not sure if she liked birds or not but thought it her mission in life to keep them out of the backyard. The possums she encountered in Melbourne had her a bit stumped.

She was playful and gentle and a little bit headstrong. And I miss her.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Charming Stars in the Park

I don't really set myself New Year resolutions, partly because I don't see the point of committing yourself to a new goal on one arbitrary day of the year and partly because I know my attention span is not generally long enough to follow a new idea or goal though for too long. Actually more precisely it has more to do with another new idea I just have to try NOW coming along with quite regular frequency.

But one thing that I have been thinking about for a little while is making more things for us to use in our home spurred on by the comment that inspired these pj pants. And I'm starting with quilts for our bed....and later for the spare bed spurred on by this discussion thread at the Doll Quilt swap.

Are you getting the picture about how easily inspired I can be?

I started this last weekend (the sewing at least, not the planning) with the Charming Stars quilt by Stefanie Roman from Little Lady Patchwork via the Moda Bakeshop and used Kate Spain's Central Park and a Bella Solid in Ivory. I made it a little bigger than the pattern so it will finish just over 80" square, perfect for a colourful layer over our plain doona. The idea is that the quilts will act as toppers and can be washed and changed around reasonably regularly. 

Each block measures 13.5" finished and all the sashings and borders are 2.5"
It still needs to be basted, quilted and bound but I have all the bits for that, save the batting, and hope to get it all completed by the end of March. Fingers crossed I don't get distracted by something else!