Friday, February 22, 2013

...a year of finishes - update

The biggest finishes from the list were't exactly a work in progress at the time of writing to post but they were started and finished and gifted...

1. Quilt and bind the Scrappy Stars Quilt (hand quilting currently in progress) - still going on this one - I have it sitting on the end of the couch I sit on of an evening and have been doing a hexagon or a star from time to time. I think we will call this one progressing? 
2. Quilt and bind my Bee a Little Bit Japanese Quilt (hand quilting in progress) - This one is also sitting on the end of the same couch - but under the other one so no progress and won't be I don't think until the other is finished. 
3. Baste, quilt and bind the Valentines Swoon - I have backing fabric for this one now that is almost together. I had hoped for a Valentine's finish for this one but that seems no to have been. 
4. Finish the Weekender Bags - one down and one to do. The recipient is most likely visiting soon so that should be fully completed in a week or two. 

5. Finish quilting the baby pinwheel quilt - no progress
6. Finish the DS Quilts FMQ sample quilt. - no progress
7. Baste, quilt and bind the 'Spring, Just Because' quilt - I'm looking for the right backing for this one that is proving more difficult than I expected!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

...a quilt for K

It is a strange thing. Over the Christmas/New Year 2011/12 break we had in Perth I blogged a lot. The most recent break - hardly at all. 

Which means that although I took (sometimes pretty ordinary pictures) of all of the gifts that I made they have't made it here. In the last few days I have been cleaning out my camera and temporary image folders and come across them again so I think there may be a few catch-up posts!

I have a group of friends that have been friends since high school. Since then we have remained friends through extended international trips, interstate moves, weddings, children - pretty much the events of life that can lead a friendship from teen years to fizzle. Because we are all origionally from pretty much the same place we all tend to end up back in Perth at the same time for big events, like Christmas with some additions since high-school of partners and children. 

In the last few years we have implemented a 'not-so-secret-Santa' gift swap over lunch in the week between Christmas and New Year. This year K was to be my gift recipient. She had mentioned earlier in the year that she might like a quilt for Christmas and I have a sneaking suspicion the Santa drawing was not so random this year. 

The inspiration for this quilt came from a shopping center floor - I was sitting having something to eat in IKEA and looking down at the floor below and snapped this image. 

After a couple of different design options were tossed about in my mind (all squares on point or 9 rectangle blocks?) I made a decision and went about choosing fabrics that were true-ish to the image and would match K's couch. 
Once the top was complete I quilted the 'tiles' into the background with cross hatch squares and hand quilted inside each of the 'pattern tiles' in perle thread.

Because it was a gift I thought is also needed a gift bag. This is from Melody Miller's Ruby Star Wrapping - with a few variations.
Because I used batting scraps rather than the fusible fleece in the pattern I quilted the outer and batting layers. On the top I used the spots as star centres and quilted the petals in.
On the base and the bottom of the sides I quilted squares around each of the circles.
Pressed into service immediately! Later discovered to be 'fully machine washable' and with proper pre-wash prep strawberry doesn't stain!
SMS Rec'd: Quilt down, Quilt down!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

...The Circle Game: Episode 1

Ages and ages ago (about August 2011, I think) I signed up for the second round of the Circle Game BOM by Amitie textiles.

I got block one, I was determined to sew it by machine. After 3-4 goes I had this. It isn't perfect and I wish the points met better in the middle but I couldn't use any more of the fabric on another try!

I started on Block 2 and it was immediately obvious to me that there was a reason it was suggested that this quilt be pieced by hand.

So as the packages came and I stacked them dutifully in their Circle Game box. Sometime last year I figured that it was about time that I do something with them. After the hand piecing lesson and a few more weeks spent convincing myself it was possible a re-started block two and have been working sporadically but with determination since then.
Quite a few blocks were done over the Christmas and New Year break in Perth, including on the flight over.
I am more confident with the strength of the hand sewn seams now than I was (which was really what was holding me back) and I think that the more I sew the more small and even my stitches will become and the stronger the seams will be.

I'm working on Block 8 now - almost halfway done with the blocks! Which reminds me...I should take some more pictures...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

...falling off the wagon...into a pile of scraps.

Almost as soon as I started the Craftsy BOM with my scraps it became abundantly clear that I was going to go nowhere near far enough into making a dent in my scrap stash. So I started a new quilt, even though I was trying to focus in finishing the ones I had started. 

I'm working though the My Favorite Block QAL and making a number of blocks from each post with the aim of ending up with a top 7x7 blocks in the 12" size - big enough for our bed.

This one is four 12.5" blocks - I wish I hadn't used the brown!

The Road to Oklahoma especially needed to be repeated I think.

So far I have made at least 4 of all the blocks (I am finding many of them are better repeated to show a secondary pattern) and am well on the way. I'm using 'low volume' fabrics as the link between all the blocks and so far the block are linking OK I think though I am finding the whole things very busy and a departure of my usual style.

Blocks come out twice a week so I hopefully in another week or two I will have a better idea if it is going to work or I with end up with a really scrappy mess!

Friday, February 1, 2013

...same, but different

Towards the end of last year I found out that some friends were expecting a baby and naturally my thoughts turned to quilt. The baby was still very new and so the thoughts were put aside while I started to plan Christmas gifts. A few days later a got a call from a mutual friend hoping to commission a quilt for the same child and we hatched a plan for a joint gift. Then I got another call a little later…could the order be upped to two quilts? It seems there was not one baby, but two.

When we got to the planning stages of the quilt we went through various options - same quilt, same colours/fabrics; different quilt, same colours/fabrics; Same quilt, different fabrics colours. There were positives and drawbacks to them all - the babies will share a bedroom so they had to look OK together, we wanted them different enough to be easily identified different and I, at least, didn't want one to be 'better' than the other - they needed to be equal, but unique as the babies will be.

In the end we decided to use the same prints with variation, different by complementary background colours and the same blocks but in different sizes while making the same size finished quilt. I used a variation of block 1932 on page 244-245 of the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

I sent a whole bunch of images to be co-gifter (did I mention that this was a cross border exercise) and then we skyped the fabric purchase (did you know it is easier to turn your webcam to the screen and show and image of a fabric rather than sending a link? I do, now). 

And then I waited for the fabric packages to arrive. One did and then I waited, and waited and waited for the second. It was caught up in the Christmas mail and as each day went by I saw my chance at taking one to Perth for the Christmas break to be hand quilted slipping out of my grasp. In the end I sewed the tops up after I had got home and based and had and machine quilted them in the week before the shower. I machine sewed the binding on both of them on the morning I caught the flight for a weekend away - that included the shower.

The hand sewing of the binding of one was finished, in the recipients house, on her couch with the quilt hidden under another blanket while I was chatting with her and another friend. The second was done on the morning of the shower.

In the end I did end up with a favourite, but so did the co-gifter and they were different quilts so I think I met my brief. Especially as mum and dad to be seem to like them both!