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?
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 🙂