Monthly Archives: January, 2014

A lap quilt for Mum

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.

Damn!

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.

DSC00555wmk

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.

DSC00581

I pieced the backing from the leftover border fabric and some of the jelly roll strips, and I used more strips for the binding.

DSC00577

DSC00584

I quilted a large circular flower motif in each of the 12 original pinwheel blocks…

DSC00608

… and a smaller, travelling floral and leaf pattern in the centres of the secondary pinwheel and hourglass blocks.

DSC00607

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.

 DSC00609

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.

DSC00601

Looks like it won’t be a white quilt then!

Fabric Fast Projects – and Q1 2014 Finish-along

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

DSC00514

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.

DSC00562

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…

DSC00563

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!

DSC00565

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

DSC00559

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 🙂

DSC00555wmk

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.

029

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.

DSC00423

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!

DSC00566

Whole Lotta Bag – QAL with Katy @ The Littlest Thistle

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

DSC08294

Kaleidoscope 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.

DSC08774

Kitty Camouflage Quilt

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.

DSC00572

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!

DSC00570

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…

DSC08644

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.

DSC00567

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 🙂

Linking up with Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast and the Q1 2014 Finish-Along – why not pop over and see what other quilters have planned this year?

Why I am Fabric Fasting

I’ve not been sewing much this past few weeks. I’ve had a really bad back since Christmas and I’ve just not been up to much, to tell the truth. But it’s slowly getting better, and I’ve been able to use the time profitably by re-acquainting myself with my projects and my stash, and deciding what I want to work on over the next few months.

First thing to admit is that I have a lot of fabric. Actually, let’s make that a s**tload of fabric! I’ve been doing a bit of an audit since Christmas, and the quantities I have shocked even me. As did the number of projects I have in progress, the number waiting to be quilted, not to mention the number I have bought all the fabric for but not quite got round to starting yet. Hmmm…

289

My Stash and Project Cupboard

DSC00547  DSC00548 DSC00549

Inside the cupboard, all so neatly organised 

DSC00544

Auditing and re-organising stashed yardage

Suffice to say it was all becoming a bit overwhelming. And this is one of the main reasons why I decided to join in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, hosted by Rebecca Lynne at Making Rebecca Lynne and Jess from The Elven Garden.

When I first heard about their plan to completely stop buying fabric for 6 months, I was utterly intrigued. Over the past year or so, I have slowly been coming to terms with the fact that I might have a bit of a fabric buying habit. And that it may possibly be starting to get slightly out of control. Two years ago, when I last reorganised my sewing room, everything pretty much fit into the lovely glass-doored cupboard I bought to house my stash and my various projects. Now it is spilling over into piles of boxes everywhere, the bottoms of the drawers in my cutting table are falling out due to fabric overload, and I have started to invade other cupboards in the apartment to store my ever-increasing stash.

DSC00550

DSC00552

Extra projects in boxes that won’t fit in the cupboard anymore

DSC00551

More projects and scrap bin hidden under sewing table…

DSC00545

Cutting table drawer 1 – Assorted fat quarter and half yard bundles

DSC00554

Cutting table drawer 2 – Precuts: Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and Charm Packs

DSC00540

Spilling over into the spare room wardrobe…

So the Fabric Fast idea really started to get me thinking. Could I do it? I was sure I could. More importantly, did I want to do it? And yes, I was equally sure I did. The decision was finally made when I read a fantastic blog post by Jodi of Tickle and Hide, describing her own 2013 fabric fast. She wrote about how she managed, and how, as the year progressed, she started realising her own style and tastes a lot more. This really struck a chord with me, as I seem to make a bit of this and a bit of that – some of my projects are very traditional and some are über-modern, some use a muted colour scheme and some are in-your-face loud. And in general, I love them all. But I really hope that not getting distracted by the lure of new fabric lines and of new projects means I’ll be able to focus more on defining my own style. And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll surely have fun trying 🙂

And so I joined up. And I feel pretty darned good about it, too!

So here is my master plan:

  • First step – re-organise my fabric and sewing room, to get me motivated to start.
  • Next step –  create a list of projects I’d like to work on for the first half of the year. I have plenty, so narrowing it down will be tricky, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. I’m also planning on joining in with the 2014 Q1 Finish-Along with the lovely Katy from The Littlest Thistle, so I should have plenty of motivation to keep me going.
  • Final step – get cracking on the sewing!

I have the feeling it’s going to be challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding, so wish me luck, and here goes…

More Christmas goodies

This Christmas, RR decided he needed a new iPad. One of those new, shiny iPad Airs. To be fair, his old iPad was past its best. It was 4 years old and getting very creaky, creaky as in every time you turned it sideways it crashed. And it couldn’t run the latest version of the Apple software. And anyway, he just wanted one. So that was settled.

Of course we had to go to buy the iPad together, otherwise I would surely have bought the wrong thing – not enough GB or too many or the wrong colour or whatever. I also wanted to buy it before we went to New York so I didn’t have to stress about present-shopping once we got back.  And so it came to pass that for a month before Christmas, a shiny new iPad was sitting in my cupboard, waiting to be unwrapped by my hunnybunny on the Big Day…

Now, I’ve been wanting to make a present for my lovely RR for ages, but he’s not really a quilt kind of chap. He appreciates their beauty and all the work that goes into them, he loves having them on the bed, and is wonderful at helping pick out the fabric and working on layouts. He just doesn’t like to snuggle up underneath them in front of the tv like I do. So what to make? Well, every time I opened my cupboard, I saw his iPad staring back at me. And, I figured, who could possibly resist a hand-made iPad cover to protect their shiny new toy? Especially if I made it Really Cool and Not At All Girly. And how more cool and ungirly could it get than a Darth Vader themed case??!

So, after searching online, I found this amazing Darth Vader fabric at Spoonflower…

DSC00536

And this utterly cool paper-pieced Lego Darth Vader pattern on Craftsy, by Kristy at Quiet Play

LEGO Darth Vader Paper Pieced Pattern

And I combined them with an iPad cover tutorial which I adapted from the latest PatCHquilt newsletter

To create this…

DSC00509

DSC00510

DSC00511

Cool, huh?!

For the front I used lots of little scraps from my scrap bin in various shades of grey and black, and bordered it with a skinny piece of appropriately Sith-red fabric. The zipper had, of course, to be black 🙂 I added fusible fleece to both the outside and inside of the case to give the iPad more padding and protection.

To finish it off, I quilted Lord Vader in the ditch between all the twiddly little pieces, to give his mask definition, then I stitched some straight lines on the background,  spaced about 1/2″ apart. The back and the inside of the case were quilted with wavy lines between the columns of Vader heads. I finished it off with a black Lego brick keychain on the zip, a little extra for my favourite Lego fan…

It was great fun to make, and what do you know? Although he loves the iPad, the case was actually his favourite present!

Success all round, methinks 🙂