Have you ever had one of those projects? The kind you thought was going to be an absolute breeze? That you left till the last minute because you thought it’d take a day at most to piece? The one you never realised you could be so wrong about? That you ended up cursing out and wanting to rip apart with your bare hands in frustration? The project that, once finished, you took such deep satisfaction at managing to overcome all the issues that the Quilt Gods threw at you, that it actually seemed worth all the Very Bad Words that were uttered during its construction?
I have. And it will forever be known as The Quilt from Hell…
It all started out innocently enough, with some Very Good News. My lovely schoolfriend, Ms S, and her husband, Mr M, announced last year that they were expecting a baby boy. I was so happy for them, as I knew how much they’d been looking forward to becoming parents, and I immediately decided that the new arrival would need a quilt.
Now Ms S is an exceedingly talented lady. Not only is she pretty and kind and a complete brain-box, she is also extremely crafty. She creates, sews, crochets, bakes a mean chocolate muffin, and even has her own Etsy shop. I am in total awe of her! So the quilt needed to be super special. And when we were in the US back around Thanksgiving, I found just the thing, handily bundled together as a super-cute kit. The fabric range was Boy Crazy from Riley Blake Designs, and included cars and robots and space rockets, and lots of other things that little boys like to play with.
The pattern seemed deceptively easy. It consisted of 12 scrappy 16-patch blocks, set on point, alternated with plain white squares, and a couple of directional borders.
I know, sounds like a walk in the park, doesn’t it??! But one word in the last paragraph would come back to haunt me. And that word is ‘directional’… Given some of my previous experiences with directional fabric, you might think that warning bells would sound at this point, but no. All I thought was – oh how pretty, the little cars are all driving in the same direction!
I won’t be making that mistake again…
The first issue I encountered had nothing at all to do with directional fabric, though. It was an error in the pattern itself, which called for the white fabric to be cut into 8″ squares.
While I was cutting them, I remember thinking “Gosh, 8″ is a funny size for setting squares – wouldn’t it usually be either 7 1/2″ or 8 1/2″‘?” but I foolishly ignored the Inner Voice of Reason and continued cutting happily away.
It was only once I’d made the 16 patch blocks that I realised that – yes – the finished block size was indeed 8 1/2″ square. So my setting squares were too small. So I had to recut them. And I didn’t have quite enough fabric. A small annoyance, easily rectified with a visit to my stash to retrieve some Kona white.
So, then, so far so good. The main part of the top was duly pieced with the right sized setting blocks, and I even decided to jazz it up a bit by appliquéing Daniel’s name into the setting squares. This was all RR’s idea, and a jolly good one, too, I have to say
Then the directionality of fabric came into play.
Border 1 – little cars, all driving from the left of the quilt towards the right. The fabric supplied in the kit was cut both crosswise and lengthwise to make this possible. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough of it. There was just about sufficient to do the top and bottom border, but not enough for the sides. Lateral thinking was called for, and so one of the discarded 8″ setting squares was cut into 4 cornerstones. And it was still 1″ too short on each side…
After some Very Creative Pressing, Plenty of Pinning to ease the fabric of the quilt top, and Lots of Words Beginning with ‘F’, I managed to get the first border to just about fit.
It almost looks like it was planned that way, doesn’t it? If you can ignore the fabric puckering and rippling round the corners, that is…
Next up – border 2. And the same problem reared its ugly head. The border was once again directional, and once again there wasn’t enough fabric. Well, this time there was more than enough for the top and bottom borders but, unfortunately, not quite enough for the sides. So, to make it fit, I had to piece it, by cutting into the surplus from the top and bottom. Fortunately, there was just enough left over.
And yes, it really was only 2″ or so short, which made it all the more annoying…
Ok then, quilt top pieced, issues overcome. Now for the backing. A beautiful piece of large scale directional fabric.
Uh-oh! Did she just say directional? Sadly, yes… And therein lay the next issue. The print was oriented lengthwise across the fabric rather than crosswise. And there wasn’t enough fabric to piece it so that it ran in the right direction. Grrrrrr……
So out came the rotary cutter and I chopped up my 3 yards of fabric into smaller pieces, which I then proceeded to sew back together, to make a hodgepodge of a backing that just managed to fit.
Perhaps hodgepodge is a little harsh. Let’s call it improvisational, shall we???
After all that, the actual quilting was a piece of cake. I used white thread to echo quilt the appliquéd letters and the edge of the setting blocks. Then I quilted concentric squares in the 16 patch blocks, using a vivid orange colour to co-ordinate with all the bright colours in the prints.
Finally, I quilted parallel straight lines around both borders, again in orange.
To finish the quilt, I decided to use a bias binding, to make my stripes appear diagonal. I’d never done it before, but my friend Ms E has used it on her quilts and talked me through how to do it at the last Patchwork in the Peaks quilt retreat. I thought it looked beautiful and had been wanting to give it a try for ages. And anyway, I figured, what else could possibly go wrong???
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!
This is what could go wrong. I miscalculated and cut the square to create the bias strips too small. So there wasn’t enough binding, and I had to cut another square. And when I cut the strips from this one, I cut them the wrong way…
Some more creative cutting and piecing just about salvaged the situation (along with a stiff gin and tonic…). And the quilt was finally finished. Ta da!!!
It was delivered to the adorable little man himself last week, when I was back in the UK. Ms S and Mr M loved it, and Baby Daniel showed his appreciation by throwing up his milk on my jeans, then all over his Daddy’s jumper
Looking back, though, I have to say I’m rather proud of myself. Normally when things go wrong I would simply go and get some more fabric to put them right. But I’m on my 6 month Fabric Fast, so that wasn’t an option. I was forced to think creatively about how to get round the issues. And no, the quilt isn’t 100% perfect, there are seams where I’d prefer there to be no seams, and a slight puckering in the corners, amongst other things, but you know what? It was a labour of love, and I think that makes it more personal.
After all, there can’t be many babies out there who have the honour of owning The Quilt from Hell!
And by the way, people, apologies for the rotten quality of the photos – they were taken in our hotel room the morning I delivered the quilt, when I suddenly realised that I hadn’t quite got round to photographing it yet…
On Sunday night, RR and I arrived back in Switzerland after a wonderful but exhausting trip to England. RR had driven over 2 weeks ago, and I joined him partway through the first week. I managed to fit in seeing a large number of family and friends, we took in 2 rugby games, went to see the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain play in Basingstoke, got my sewing machine serviced, and did a not insubstantial amount of shopping.
Whilst the journey back home to Lausanne was long and extremely tiring, one of the major advantages of driving over has to be the opportunity to fit in a proper supermarket trip, and to stock up on what I consider to be all the ‘essentials’ of British life. Whenever I do one of these major grocery shops, I always wonder what the checkout person thinks about what can only be described as the rather odd assortment of products lined up on the conveyor belt.
Not your average weekly shop, that’s for sure!
So, if you’re at all interested in what a longish-term forty-something expat misses the most about England (apart from friends and family, that is), here, in no particular order, is my rundown of the essentials of my shopping basket (or, in our case, a rather large shopping trolley!)
1. Assorted cleaning products.
Swiss cleaning products are rubbish. They are waaaay too eco-friendly, and just don’t seem to get things clean enough. We normally source ours over the border in France, at the local Carrefour supermarket, where one can generally find a large number of British and American expats in the cleaning products aisle, fighting over the last bottle of Domestos (for my American friends out there, Domestos is the British version of Clorox …)
This trip back, I took the opportunity to pick up some products that you can’t find in Carrefour, or pack into a suitcase to take back on the plane.
Not Bonne Maman bitter orange jam or any other inferior substitute – the real deal
3. Assorted curry ingredients and spices
Ok, so maybe we went a bit crazy here, but they were £1 a jar and there was loads of choice, whereas they cost a fiver a pop here for a choice of 2. Poppadoms are self-explanatory, and the assortment of spices – well, you can never have too many. And we do eat rather a lot of curry…
Love it or hate it (I love it, RR hates it) – in my opinion, it’s as much a breakfast necessity as marmalade…
Not available here. Especially not the reduced sugar version
6. Heinz Baked Beans
Ok, so you can get a tin of beans here if you’re willing to shell out £2, but we can get a four-pack for the same price back in the UK. So we bought 2…
7. Assorted Cadbury’s chocolate
I know, I know, Switzerland is awash with chocolate, all of it delicious and creamy, but trust me when I tell you that there are times when only Cadbury’s will do.
8. English cheese
Ditto for cheddar and Wensleydale cheese. Swiss cheese is yummy, but for a decent cheese on toast or cheese sandwich, you need a proper, sharp cheddar. Gruyere just doesn’t cut it.
I used to live on crumpets back in England, so I really do miss them. And guess what – you can’t find them here…
10. Baking products
Yes, I know you can make self raising flour by adding stuff to regular flour, but it never seems to work as well. This should last me a while, I hope…
11. Marigold Swiss Bouillon Powder
Despite it’s name, it’s not actually Swiss, and you can’t get it here. We find other stock powders waaaaay too salty. And we use it a lot.
12. PG Tips
Last, but by no means least, the mainstay of a British expat’s store cupboard – proper teabags. British teabags don’t come individually wrapped in namby-pamby packets of 20 envelopes. They come in boxes of 240 (which will generally last us 4-6 weeks, depending on how thirsty we are). An absolute essential
So there you have it. I love living in Switzerland, really I do. We have a wonderful life here, and have no plans to move away any time soon, but sometimes a little taste of home is just what’s needed to put the world to rights.
What do you think?
Over the winter months, I tend to do less dressmaking. In the summer I love wearing flirty skirts and pretty sundresses, both of which are fun to make, but during the winter I usually feel less inspired. I’ve been working on the same dress for a couple of months now. It’s a simple shift dress, made from an off-cut of beautiful grey wool which I picked up for a song in New York back around Thanksgiving, and I’m lining it with a gorgeous turquoise coloured satin. The dress is coming along well – all that’s really left to do is line and hem it – and if I like the end result, I’m planning to use the same pattern to make a dress to wear to Miss S and Mr E’s wedding in May, using some glorious pale blue French linen I bought in Paris a few weeks back.
Shift dress Lining
But as February is coming to an end, my thoughts have once again been turning to the warmer months ahead, and, in particular, to our upcoming holiday. In two weeks’ time, RR and I are flying away for some summer sun in the Caribbean. We’ll be spending 3 days relaxing on Barbados, followed by a week-long cruise aboard a Clipper ship. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it immensely! We’ve never been to the Caribbean, and we’ve never been away in the winter to some place sunny, and we love Clipper cruising, so we’re both very excited! But what to take to wear???
Back in January, I had a massive re-organisation of my sewing room, and since then all my dressmaking fabric has been moved from the top shelf of the spare room wardrobe. It’s now temptingly on display in my glass-doored fabric cupboard, bang in the middle of my sewing room. I see it every time I’m in there or walk past it (which is most of the time, to be honest!) And sitting on the top of the stack of dressmaking fabric are some beautiful prints, ideal for making pretty, summery skirts and dresses.
So the combination of our upcoming holiday and having all my fabric on view has got me inspired with my dressmaking again. So far, I’ve made two summery skirts, and I’ve earmarked some fabric to make a sundress to take with me on holiday (which is also turquoise – my new favourite colour, it seems!)
A-line skirt with wide yoke and box pleats Panelled straight skirt with flared hem
I’m back in the UK at the moment (hopefully the skirts will still fit by the time I get back home!), but now I’m absolutely raring to go with the sundress and my wedding outfit for May. And I’m pretty sure that when I do get started next week, I will have plenty of ‘help’ from my chief sewing assistant, Mr. Boy. Whilst Mimi Bubba likes to help me quilt, usually by plonking her not insubstantial bulk on top of whatever I happen to be piecing or quilting, Mr. Boy prefers to help out with dressmaking. And his favourite activities to help with are stealing tape measures and lying on top of crinkly-sounding pattern paper.
What a helpful boy! It’s a good thing I love him, isn’t it?!
Well, who’d have thought it?!
It’s been 2 months since I took the plunge and signed up to the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, and I’m doing well. Really well, in fact. Oh yes!
I started out back in January by taking a good hard look at my sewing room, and deciding that it Was Not Conducive to finishing projects or making the most of my stash. Sure, I had fabric stored neatly in my cupboard and drawers (and the spare room wardrobe too, if you really want to know…), and my projects were all nicely organised into boxes, but they were piled up all over the place higgledy-piggledy and not desperately accessible.
Following the tactical purchase of an Ikea bookcase, and the relocation of my sewing machine to the corner by the window to enable said bookcase to actually fit in the room, my sewing space is now much more organised, and I can see all my stash and my projects at a glance.
New Ikea bookcase full of project boxes
My newly-organised stash cupboard
Pre-cuts and fabric bundles
Dress making fabric
Now I can actually see all my yummy fabric, I’m feeling inspired to cut into it and use it up. And I have been! I earmarked my stash of Taxi fabrics for the 2014 Sugar Block Club block of the month, and have already made January and February’s blocks. I’ve also re-discovered some Fig Tree pre-cuts, which had been stored out of sight in a drawer, and which I’m planning to use to make a wedding quilt for RR’s cousin, Miss S, and her soon to be husband, Mr E.
I still have a whole box of scraps which need to be sorted, but I’ve been waiting for a snow day to get going on this and we haven’t had any snow yet this year…
But what’s more important for me is that I haven’t felt the need to buy any more quilting fabric. I’ve unsubscribed from all the fabric-porn newsletters I used get, and haven’t been actively looking on-line at new, must-have fabric lines. A big test came 2 weeks ago, when I popped into my local quilt shop with Ms C, who needed border fabric for her beautiful one block wonder quilt. Yes I looked, and yes I touched, and yes I may have been a teeny bit tempted – but I didn’t buy ANYTHING!!! I don’t know who was more shocked – me, Ms C, or the owner!
What’s more, I’m not getting bored with the projects I have on the go, or with my stash, and I’ve so many quilt and dressmaking ideas whirring around in my head that I’m excited about.
So, all in all, so far so good on the Fabric Fast front – long may it continue!
I’m happy to report another 2014 finish – my Whole Lotta Bag, a beautiful messenger-style bag, designed by Katy Cameron of The Littlest Thistle (pattern available here). Katy’s been running a sew-along to make this beauty, and having a ‘timetable’ of sorts to follow has kept me motivated and going strong over the last few weeks – and got me finished, too
Seeing as I’m currently participating in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, I had to use fabric from my stash. The fabric I picked out had been tentatively earmarked for a baby quilt of some description, but I loved it so much I found I couldn’t bear to use it for a gift (what a mean old bag I am, right??!)
I love owls, and these were so cute, not to mention the beautiful purple and pink co-ordinating fabrics, that I decided that this would be the ideal project to use it in – and I’d get to keep the bag at the end of it – totally owltastic!
Although the pattern itself isn’t difficult to make, it is quite time consuming – but I’ve certainly found it to be worth the effort involved, as I absolutely love it!
It sports a back zipper pocket, which is way big enough for my 13″ MacBook…
… two elasticated side pockets (perfect for my phone)…
… a front bellows pocket (ideal for my phone and Macbook chargers)…
… an interior zipped pocket, as well as bags of room inside for anything else I could possibly think of!
I finished the bag earlier this week, courtesy of my lovely friend Ms C, who popped in to install the bag fasteners for me – way too fiddly for my crappy fingers (note to self – next time, use magnetic snap fasteners, which look a whole lot easier to fit!) I was initially planning to use it on my trip back to the UK this week, as it’s absolutely ideal for hand baggage, but then I looked at the weather forecast and decided that perhaps I’d better wait until there was less likelihood of torrential rain to ruin its newly-finished perfection!
My niece, the lovely Miss B, is already casting covetous eyes over this bag, so I may be making another one sooner rather than later, but until then, I shall be enjoying this one all for myself.
Well, I have been a busy bunny while RR’s been away! And what a lot of sewing I’ve got done I’ve done some hand sewing (my hexie project), some dressmaking (a couple of skirts for our upcoming holiday, amongst other things), some bag-making (the Whole Lotta Bag pattern), and even – shock horror! – some quilt block making.
After the Quilt from Hell debacle (of which more will be revealed once said quilt has reached its intended recipient…), I had no real desire to start a new project (even though I have several I need to get to grips with), or even to work on something I already had in progress. What I really wanted was to play with some fabric – and my new sewing machine, too, of course – and what better to play with than my strippy-scrappy quilt in progress?
Personally, I love scrap quilts. I love how every piece of fabric holds a memory, of what quilt it was bought for, maybe, or who gave it to me, or where and when I got it. It’s a visual reminder, too, of how my tastes have changed since I started quilting. And even if a piece of fabric is just plain ugly (yes, I admit it, I do possess some ‘ugly’ fabrics!), it never seems to looks out of place in the quilt as a whole.
Anyway, being in a reflective kind of mood yesterday afternoon, this was just the ticket. I spent a very happy couple of hours cocooned in my sewing room, Mr. Boy and Mimi Bubba keeping me company, sewing up random wonky strippy blocks.
I just picked pieces randomly out of my strips scrap bin, and sewed them together one after another, before pressing gently and trimming to 6 1/2″ square. No points to match. No precision needed in cutting. Just wonderfully mindless, repetitive, even meditative piecing, for a change. Extremely unlike me, but exceedingly relaxing none the less. Oh, and may I just say, I absolutely LOVE my new sewing machine
Then I decided to get up to date with my blocks for the two Block of The Month quilts I’m working on, and which had, sadly, fallen by the wayside over the past few months. First up, Amy Gibson’s Sugar Block Club over at Stitchery Dickory Dock.
I fell in love at first sight with this fabric line – Taxi by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures – and towards the end of last year, I ended up investing in a half yard of each of the prints, plus a couple of yards of the yellow solid. I’ve been itching to use it for something, and when I saw that Amy had used 2 different background fabrics in her blocks, I just knew it would be ideal for this project. And so far, I’m loving how it’s turning out!
Secondly, I got up to date with my Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery Block of the Month.
I’m not so keen on the house blocks as I am on the twirly star ones, but I think the fabric is just beautiful, so I’m pretty sure they’ll grow on me…
So all in all, a very productive few days, even if I have scarcely left the apartment! It’s been wonderful, but I’m starting to miss RR now, so I’m very pleased that I’m off to join him in England tomorrow, even if this does entail a week or so’s break from sewing
Linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. Why not pop over and see what other people have been up to this week?
… Lynne Pusscat will play!!!
It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve just waved a fond farewell to RR, who is off back to the UK for work. I’m joining him at the end of the week, and we will visit family and friends, watch 2 rugby games, eat a lot of curry (and Fish and Chips and Chinese takeaway and Jam Doughnuts…), go and see the Lego Movie, and drink copious quantities of tea, before returning to Switzerland happy and exhausted and several pounds heavier.
Incidentally, not 5 minutes after RR had left the apartment, Mr Boy had claimed his side of the bed and is currently revelling in his new status of “Man of the House” I don’t think he’s too distraught at the departure, do you?
RR’s driving back, as he’ll be in the UK for 2 weeks. So I sent him off with my sewing machine, which is in need of a good service. There are no Janome dealers here in Switzerland, and the local sewing machine store wanted 300 CHF ( around $340, or £200) and 3 weeks to service my machine. 300 CHF??? Three weeks???! Dear Lordy me! So, she’s off on holiday to Bath where, for around a quarter of the price and a turnaround time of 1 day, she’s going to get a jolly good service and tune-up by a proper Janome dealer. Hooray!
In the meantime, I shall be playing with my lovely new machine.
Oh yes, a new sewing machine!
I took advantage of the January sales to invest in a lightweight sewing machine that I can take away on quilt retreats and to classes. My MC11000SE is a wonderful machine that does everything I have ever asked of her, and more, but lightweight she’s not! She weighs in at around 50lbs (23kg) – and is way too heavy for me to lift. Not a great feature when I want to take her places…
So meet my new machine – the Janome MC5200.
What a little beauty!
At a weight of 18lb (8.5kg) she’s infinitely more portable than her big sister, but has plenty of features to keep me happy. I’ve not had a chance yet to have a proper play and explore exactly what she can do, as I’ve been busy finishing The Quilt from Hell, but now I have five blissful days free to sew, sew, sew, before I join RR in England!
So RR’s en route, the kitties are settled in their accustomed spots in my sewing room, the apartment is clean and tidy, the freezer is full of food, and I have a stack of projects in my head and a lovely cup of tea at my side. What more could I ask for?
Let playtime commence
Just recently I’ve had a bit of a fetish for bags.
Not just the expensive, bought-in-Paris-on-the-Champs-Elysées-dahling kind of bags (though I have to admit that those are a major fetish too – just ask poor RR…) But recently, it’s also been for ones I have made with my own fair hands.
It all started back in October, at the Patchwork in the Peaks quilt retreat, when the lovely Katy of The Littlest Thistle taught us to make the Aeroplane Bag. My previous forays into bag making hadn’t been a roaring success. I’d somehow managed to cobble together a couple of tote bags in the past, but then I over-reached myself and decided to have a stab at Amy Butler’s Weekender Bag. Big mistake. Suffice to it wasn’t my finest hour, and some Very Bad Words were uttered many times over. After that, I decided bag making was not for me.
Then Katy came along and showed me that it could all be so different!
I’m not saying that No Bad Words were uttered during the process, or that I found it all plain sailing, but Katy was calm and unflappable and taught me loads. More importantly, she gave me the confidence to try bag making again.
Firstly, I made Mum a bag for Christmas. Aeroplane Mk II. With dogs on. She loved it!
Then, Katy brought out her own bag pattern – Whole Lotta Bag. It’s a roomy messenger style bag with loads of pockets that I thought would be ideal to take along on my frequent travels. She’s currently running a sew-along over on her blog, and I’m taking part. I’m even almost up to date…
Then last week I really went for it. Oh yeah, baby!
First of all, I used some scraps to make this itty bitty bag. It was inspired by a pattern in Jelly Roll Scraps – Twenty to Make by Carolyn Forster, which I’d picked up on my last trip to the UK – only, being me, I changed it up a little
The red and pinky scraps are from my Broken Herringbone quilt, and the black ones are left over from a quilt I made RR 3 or 4 years ago. The lining was a remnant from Dad’s quilt. This cute little bag measures 6″ x 7″, and I think it would be perfect for an evening out. And Mimi Bubba seems to think it makes a most agreeable pillow :-)
Fired up by my success at making this, I decided to play around with my original Aeroplane Bag to change all the things that were really bugging me about it. Like the fact it was too floppy, the wonky topstitching, and the inexpertly-installed zip. I took the whole thing apart, added fusible fleece to stiffen the sides, and re-constructed it, paying lots of attention to the zip and the topstitching.
Et voilà! An Aeroplane Bag to be even more proud of!
Finally, I decided to tackle the Sugar Loaf Pouch from U-Handbag. I used the same fabric as I’d used for my Aeroplane Bag. And boy was it fiddly! But finally, after much fabric-wrestling, and liberal use of my machine’s walking foot, I ended up with this…
Still can’t quite work our how it ended up so small (it was meant to measure 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 3 1/3″ – it actually measures 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ x 2″… – presumably that’s why it was so damned fiddly!) – and somehow the zebra ended up on the bottom of the bag, but all in all, I’m really pleased with it.
So all in all, a bag-filled week, and best of all, I feel truly virtuous about my liberal use of scraps! Fabric Fast – bring it on, baby!!!
Linking up with WIP Wednesday – why not pop on over and take a look?
For the longest time, Mum has wanted me to make her a quilt. And I was going to. Really I was. Then, just as I was about to cut up the fabric, I happened to ring her, and she just happened to mention she’d redecorated her bedroom, and all my carefully laid plans were scuppered.
But having got that far, the idea stuck. Mum deserved a quilt. I’d made one for Dad (out of desperation, when I had no clue what to get him for his birthday, and using the colours of our rugby team, Bath Rugby). I’d made one for my sister (for her 40th birthday). I’d made one for my niece, the beautiful Miss B. I’d made one for Mad Cousin Jude when she got married, and a baby quilt when she had little Jacob back in September. I’d made quilts for various friends, sundry babies, and several for myself, and yet no quilt for Mum. I felt like a terrible daughter.
And so, over Christmas, I hatched a plan.
I had a trip back to the UK booked for January, to spend a couple of days with Mum. A bed-sized quilt was out of the question in the time available, given my exhaustion following my pre-Christmas sewing frenzy. In any case I wanted to check out the new colour scheme in her bedroom before I made a decision about bed quilts. But, I wondered, could I make a lap quilt for her before my visit? Mum has a beautiful conservatory on the back of her house, and she loves to sit there and read in the morning, but in the winter it can be rather chilly first thing. A lap quilt would be ideal!
And sitting in my sewing room, in a box, all forlorn, were the remnants of the kitty camouflage quilt. This consisted of a stack of 9″ half square triangles, a tangle of unused jelly roll strips and a yard or so of border fabric that I’d decided not to use on the original quilt. All in warm colours that I knew Mum would love.
So what to do with half square triangles? A pinwheel and hourglass quilt, of course! And because the triangles were already pieced and squared up, it went together really quickly.
I pieced the backing from the leftover border fabric and some of the jelly roll strips, and I used more strips for the binding.
I quilted a large circular flower motif in each of the 12 original pinwheel blocks…
… and a smaller, travelling floral and leaf pattern in the centres of the secondary pinwheel and hourglass blocks.
I finished the binding last Monday evening, the night before I went to visit Mum.
And so on Tuesday I arrived at Mum’s, and I gave her the quilt – happily, she loved it! As did her dogs, Barley and Anna (although fortunately their fur blends in reasonably well with the colours on the quilt…) It’s already installed in the conservatory and has already been put to use on chilly mornings.
Quilt dimensions: 50″ x 66 1/2″ (127cm x 169cm)
Fabric for top and backing: Cinnamon Spice by Blackbird Designs for Moda Fabric
Batting: Quilters Dream Select Cotton
Thread – Isacord 0651 polyester
Anyway, I’ve now promised Mum a bed quilt before too long – to match her newly decorated bedroom, and to try and blend in with the fur of My Friend Samantha, her lovely, affectionate cat.
Looks like it won’t be a white quilt then!
Well, my plan for tackling my mountain of projects is coming along nicely. Stage 1 is well underway – I’ve been sorting out my sewing room over the past week, and will finish up just as soon as RR builds the Ikea bookshelves we bought to house my overflow projects, which are currently sitting in piles all over the place. Then I’ll be able to see everything at a glance, and stop having to hide stuff away in drawers and cupboards. Result!
Phase II was to create a list of all my projects, and decide what to work on first. Well, that’s actually done. And it’s makes for scary reading.
…Takes deep, steadying breath…
As of yesterday, the situation was as follows:
- Current projects in progress – 22
- Projects all ready to go, but sadly not yet started – 46
- Quilt tops waiting to be quilted -10
Oh my!!!! I never realised it was that bad. And that’s only quilting-related projects, not dressmaking ones, or bags, or knitting. I haven’t dared to add those in…
It’s all a bit daunting, really. I’d better started, then, hadn’t I?!
And so, without further ado, here are the projects I plan to be working on during my 6 month Fabric Fast, and also (because I can always roll them forward to future quarters) my goals for the Q1 2014 Finish-Along, hosted by the lovely Katy at The Littlest Thistle.
Projects I Started Ages Ago And Never Quite Got Round To Finishing
Red, Black and White Friendship Quilt
When we left the US in 2010, a load of quilting friends made 12 1/2″ blocks for me in a red, black and white colour way. I finally got round to getting border and backing fabric, and I’d love to get this put together and quilted.
Stitcher’s Garden Quilt
Started in 2009, it’s an appliqué quilt of different flowers, I’m so nearly there but then we moved to Switzerland, I put it in a box and promptly forgot about it…
Bunny Hill Stripes Quilt
In baby pink and soft grey. So beautiful. Such an easy pattern. Don’t know why I’ve not finished it yet!
Double Hourglass Quilt II
At the second Patchwork in the Peaks Quilt Retreat, we made double hourglass quilts using jelly rolls. This is my second version. It was going to be a birthday present, but I can’t remember who for. All the blocks are sewn, it just needs putting together and finishing up
Projects that are ready to go
Quilt for Baby Daniel
I bought the kit in the US in December, and just need to get cracking on making the quilt itself. I’m back in the UK in February, and would like to deliver or post it then, so I’d better get cracking
Kitty Camouflage Leftovers Quilt
After making the Kitty Camouflage Quilt, I was left with a load of 9″ HSTs, plus 2 1/2″ strips of various lengths and some yardage. I want to make something useful with it – probably lap-sized, probably for Mum.
Sundress for our holiday
We’re off on a Caribbean cruise in March, and I want to make another sundress to take along, like the one I made last summer.
Outfit for Ms S and Mr E’s wedding in May
I bought some glorious fabric in New York back in December, and have a great looking pattern, I just need to lose those extra few pounds and get cracking!
Love the look of this bag pattern, and doing it as a sew along will motivate me to get it all finished rather than putting it down when I get to the difficult bits and forget about it…
Quilts tops to quilt
I made the top at a class I took with Marti Michell back in September, and have started quilting it, I just ran out of inspiration and motivation a few months ago.
I finished the top last year, can’t decide how to quilt it, need to drag it out of the cupboard and take another look.
Amy Butler Jacob’s Ladder Quilt
Made using Soul Blossoms charm squares and 2 1/2″ strips, with a bright orange background, I finished it a year or so ago. I love this quilt, it’s so bright and cheerful that I really want to get it all done and put to good use!
And, because I’m an ADD quilter, I need to have some projects I can pick at when I need something different – I doubt any of these will get finished this year, but, hey, you never know!
Grandmother’s Flower Garden Hexies
I’ll be doing a fair bit of travelling this year and this is my ultimate take-along project. This one’s been going on for about 3 1/2 years now…
Blue Squares quilt
I started this back in October, at a class given by my friend Judy, and I like to pick it up every few weeks and make another block or two. It’s going to be one of those long-term kind of projects. I’m hoping it will make a lap-sized quilt.
Scrappy Strips Blocks
I don’t even remember how I got started on this one, it’s been around for 4 years or so and I’m still working on it on and off. It’s basically made up of 6 1/2 ” squares formed of scrap strips of varying width. I know it will be beautiful, and full of so many memories, and I’m on no hurry to finish it. It’ll eventually be king sized, to put on our bed.
Oh, and I’m also planning on getting and then staying up-to-date with my Blocks of the Month – from the Fat Quarter Shop and the Sugar Block Club over at Stitchery Dickory Dock.
So there you have it. Seems quite optimistic, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
I’ll be keeping you all up to date with my progress, so come back again soon and see how I’m getting on