Tomorrow I’m off to the latest Patchwork in the Peaks quilt retreat, organised by the lovely Ms E of Busy Needle Quilting (hooray!!!), so I’ve spent a good part of this week pulling together everything I need to take with me. Fabrics for the group project, WIPs I want to work on, a bunch of fat quarters for our regular game of Dice Swap and, of course, quilts for Show and Tell. It was while I was going through my finished tops to dig out something for Show and Tell that I got somewhat distracted by an old quilt top that I keep meaning to quilt. It’s my Flumpagon quilt, and I thought that maybe I should take it with me, to try and get some quilting done during the retreat. Sounds quite a reasonable idea, doesn’t it? So this morning I decided to get to work to piece the backing, so that I could pack it with everything else. Somehow, the backing fabric was in three pieces, two of which were around 46″ x width of fabric, and one of which was 18″ x width of fabric. Ok, ok, I thought, this is do-able, I’ll just have to cut it up a bit and piece it cleverly together. Then I got started. And this was when my latent OCD went into overdrive! The backing fabric is made of beautiful coloured diamonds, which remind me of a harlequin pattern. At first glance, it looks kind of random, but it’s not; and being me, I realised that I was going to have to do a fair bit of pattern matching if the quilt wasn’t going to bug me horribly every time I used it.
And so I got to work matching up the diamonds. I found the pattern repeat and chose one line of diamonds to work across, and I matched up and pinned the point of every single diamond along that line.
Then, using an open toe foot, I slowly sewed along the pinned line, making sure to sew right through the intersection between the diamonds. This was repeated several times until I’d managed to cobble together a big enough backing piece from all the smaller cuts of fabric I had.
All in all it took a good 4 hours to produce a quilt backing measuring approximately 55″ square. There was a fair bit of unpicking, as well as some Very Bad Language, but in the end, I have to say I’m very pleased with it.
After all, can you see the joins??? A touch OCD? Maybe. But I’m currently suffused with that smug feeling of a job well done, so all in all I have to say I think it was worth it 🙂
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.
In less than a month I will be at the next Patchwork in the Peaks!
Patchwork in the Peaks is a bi-annual quilt retreat, run by my wonderful friend, Ms E. In April and October each year, a group of lovely ladies gather in Morzine in the French Alps to quilt their hearts out for four days. I’ve gone to every retreat since the start, I’ve made some fantastic friends, and it’s a wonderful way to spend a long weekend. You can read all about October’s retreat here.
Quilting with a view!
(Incidentally, it seems that 2 spots have opened up on the upcoming retreat – if you’re at all interested, I’d hurry up and snap one of them up before someone else does, seeing as they were all taken within a week of registration opening back in December – click here to find out more…)
But I digress…
As always, we’ll all be working on the same project during the retreat, and this time around it’s going to be a Mystery Quilt. I’m really excited to see how it’s all going to turn out, but it’s also rather daunting to choose fabric when you have no idea what you’re making. Oh, and when you’re on a Fabric Fast and so have to use what you already have rather than jump in and use the lovely Fat Quarter Shop discount for Peaks participants…
So what to do?
Back in February, I read this post from Isisjem, and it really struck a chord. Isisjem is also on a Fabric Fast, and she writes about approaching her stash as if it were a fabric store, with the idea that anything can be used for any project, rather than seeing it as a precious hoard of beautiful fabric to be saved for something special. I’m totally guilty of doing this with certain Too-Beautiful-To-Cut-Into fabrics (you know the kind..), but if I’m brutally honest, this means they’ll likely never get used because a) I have so much fabric already and b) I already have so many projects and ideas in the pipeline.
So I have decided that as of now, any fabric in my stash should be fair game, and I have spent this morning ‘shopping’ for the Peaks Mystery Project – a throw sized quilt which will finish at 58″ x 74 1/2″.
Obviously, I need to start with the focus fabric. All I know is that it should ideally be a large scale print, and I will need 1 1/8 yards of it. This already takes a whole load of my stash out of the running, as I have a lot of fabric cuts of 1 yard or less. And so, after a hard morning’s work, I have narrowed down my choice to one of 11 different fabrics, all large-scale prints
Well, it’s a start, right?!
Amy Butler – Love – Cypress Paisley
P&B Textiles – Florentine
Michael Miller – Eiffel Tower
Holly Holderman – Jolie Jardin
Philip Jacobs – Trumpet Flower
Gift from the wonderful Ms JJ
Robert Kaufmann – Tuscan Wildflower
Kaffe Fassett – Dancing Leaves
Yuko Hasegawa for RJR Fabrics
Hoffman International – Indulgence
Philip Jacobs – Coleus
As you can see, I have a wide variety of colours and styles of fabric in my stash! Some of them have been in there for several years, waiting for the right project. Is this that project? Who knows!
I think I know which one I want to use, but I’m going to sleep on it for a few days before making a final decision.
And anyway, I’m interested – which one do you like best????
Linking up today with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday – because, hey, pulling fabric for a new quilt counts as a work in progress…
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 🙂
Wow, my first blog post in 3 weeks! I have been a busy bunny recently! So, what’s been happening here to keep me from my laptop???
Well, we took a trip back to the UK to watch our team, Bath Rugby, beat local rivals Gloucester. It’s the one match we try and go back for every year, and as usual it didn’t disappoint! We had a great time, it was lovely to catch up with our rugby buddies, and we managed to fit in a good amount of shopping too. What’s not to like?!
We also had some friends come and visit us here in Lausanne for the UK half term break. Since we left the UK 5 1/2 years ago, we’ve only managed to see them sporadically when we’ve been back visiting family, so it was wonderful to spend some proper time with them, and get to know young Master I, their lovely little boy, who is nearly 5. Master I was the recipient of the first quilt I ever made – in fact, his impending arrival was the reason I decided to learn to quilt in the first place, so I guess he has a lot to answer for! He’s a total sweetheart, who likes making dens out of quilts and cushions (no problem with that chez nous!), playing with Lego (cue one very happy RR!) and making up wonderfully imaginative stories to entertain us all. He also thought that Mr. Boy and Mimi Bubba were wonderful – though I have to admit the feeling wasn’t entirely mutual…
Oh, and there was also the small matter of the long-awaited quilt show – but more of that in a future blog post…
In between all this frantic activity, however, I did somehow manage to fit in some sewing time.
I finished quilting and binding the tumbler quilt for baby Jacob – I used a wool batting for the first time, on the recommendation of Miss JJ, and I have to agree with her that it’s a dream to quilt! I love the puffy loft it gives, it’s all snuggly and just perfect for a baby. This was also the first time ever I didn’t bind straight edges on a quilt – I kept the sloping sides of the tumbler blocks on the outside edges and although I found it rather fiddly, I really like the way it turned out.
I’ve also been working on Mum’s Christmas present – a cute Aeroplane bag. I made my first one of these at the quilt retreat back in October, and loved the pattern so much that I made another, although I quilted the main body of this one to give the bag more rigidity. Mum’s bag is dog-themed because she is the proud owner of two Guide Dog brood bitches, Barley and Anna, around whom her entire world revolves. Fondly referred to by my sister and myself as The Evils, these dogs keep her happy and active, up to her knees in puppies, and (in the main) out of mischief. So when I saw this fabric, it just cried out to be made into something for Mum! The bag’s almost finished, but I’ve screwed up the zip somehow, so I’m going to have to do some unpicking to try and put it right. Ho hum.
The Kitty Camouflage quilt is also coming along well. The fabrics aren’t my usual style or colours, but I really liked them, and I thought they’d be perfect to make a bed-sized quilt which could disguise the copious quantities of cat fur that always seems to accumulate everywhere (hide the cat fur? who am I kidding???) I love the pattern (the Chain Saw quilt from Kimberly Einmo’s Jelly Roll Quilts and More book), but of course I had to make a few modifications to it, adding a couple of additional borders so it will fit our bed and to balance out the colours. I’ve now sewn, pressed and trimmed 140 half square triangles ready to make a pretty sawtooth middle border; they’re currently sitting in a little Ziploc bag, waiting for me to sew them together. Hopefully I’ll get round to this tomorrow, then I can add the final border and the top will be finished! After which I can start thinking about quilting it, and decide what to do with all the leftover fabric, of which there is plenty…
Finally, I’ve been working on my summer polka-dot blouse. I started it back in August, but progress has been slow, really slow! I’ve now successfully added the sleeves, but I need to adjust the position of the button loops because one of them shifted as I was sewing it together so they aren’t evenly spaced. And then I need to take it in some because I’ve lost weight and it’s now too big. Given the current cold, wet weather in Switzerland, though, I doubt I’ll be wearing it for several months yet, and as my weight is bound to fluctuate between now and next summer, this project may well be put on hold for a while 🙂
So now that life has finally quietened down a bit round here, I’m looking forward to getting back to my machine and sewing up a storm. Next project – some special placemats to take to our friends at Thanksgiving, and another baby quilt for another new arival. Looks like I’m going to be kept busy over the next few weeks, so watch this space!