Saturday, 30 November 2013

November Round -Up

This month has been about making two Disappearing Nine-Patch quilts for my grandchildren for Christmas.  I've completed one and am almost finished hand quilting the other so have high hopes they will be ready for the big day. I've also started Lori Holt's Quilty Fun Sew Along and have completed the first four blocks, and I've managed a couple of blocks for my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Sewing Baskets

I've been busily crocheting a baby blanket this week so not much sewing time.

However, I eagerly awaited the clue for the Quilty Fun Sew Along on Monday, looked out some colourful scraps and got piecing.  This week it was Sewing Baskets.  A bit of tiny, fiddly piecing was involved, but entirely doable following the excellent instructions in the book Quilty Fun by Lori Holt.  This block measures 24" x 6 1/2".

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Plodding On

This week I've just been plodding on with stuff.  My daughter has asked me to make a crochet blanket for a friend's baby, and she wants it by next Friday, so I've been busy crocheting away, but I've tried to do a little bit of sewing each day, just to keep up.

The Quilty Fun Sew Along block for this week is Courthouse Steps so didn't take very much time to make at all, and I loved choosing all the little colourful scraps to make it.

The Farmer's Wife quilt is supposed to be on the back burner for now but I couldn't resist making just one more.

#39 - Friendship

I made this block using stitch and flip corners and so there were some 'bonus' triangles left over.  I could have just put them in my scrap box but thought I could do something with them there and then.  I played around with them for a short while and then came up with this which I shall add to the quilt.

#114 - Bonus

I haven't a problem adding my own blocks to the quilt.  It's not as if it's for a competition or anything, and I think the original farmers' wives would have not wanted to waste anything, just like me.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Pretty in Pink Ta-daaah!

All finished and ready to wrap for Christmas.

I am so pleased with how this has turned out.  Ever since I started quilting just over a year ago I've been longing to make a pink scrappy quilt for my little granddaughter, but I've had to wait until I had collected enough scraps.  The scraps have come from old sheets, a shirt or two, oddments from friends and a few bits of old dressmaking stuff. I love this little patch of Alice in Wonderland fabric.

I added some Kona Snow and some pink spotty stuff from Ikea to tie it all together.

I used the Disappearing Nine-Patch pattern which is so easy to do.  Just cut squares, stitch them together, cut them up, turn them this way and that, restitch and then you have a pattern that looks far more complicated than it really is.  I wrote more about how to do this here.

My grandchildren love to sit and watch TV with a blanket on their laps.  At the moment they usually drag the crochet blankets I made for them off their beds, so I thought it would be a good idea to make them a quilt just for TV watching.  I've made this quite light weight as it has no batting, just a light fleecy throw, from Ikea, for a backing.

The quilting is a mixture of hand and machine.  I used the machine to stitch-in-the-ditch six inches apart across the length and width and then big-stitch-quilting a quarter inch in around all the white blocks using a pink top stitch thread by Guttermaan.  I would have liked a slightly darker pink thread so that it showed up a bit more, but I had to go with what my local shop had.

I finished it off by binding it with the pink spotty stuff from Ikea.  I must get some more of this 'cause I love it so much.

I've now started the hand quilting on the boy version of this quilt for my grandson, so as it's big-stitch-quilting it shouldn't take too long.

This week I've also made the next block in Lori Holt's Quilty Fun Sew Along.  This week it is Twinkling Stars.  I spy some more of that pink spotty stuff.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

A finish (of sorts) and a start

I've been sewing like mad this week and achieved much more than I thought I would.  Unfortunately, I've only photographed two things so the other bits will have to wait until I buy a new charger for my camera battery.  You see, I left the cord dangling out of the desk drawer where it is kept and Molly, the puppy, has chewed it!  It doesn't look very safe so I won't use it.  I've ordered a new one online so it should be here in a day or two.  Anyway, here's what I've finished this week.

I've turned this

into this

It's a Disappearing Nine-Patch for my grandson for Christmas.  You may remember that I've made a pink one, Pretty in Pink, for his sister.  That one is now bound and waiting to be photographed.  I was going to call this one 'Blue for a Boy' as it's made from blue shirts, but the orange seems to dominate, so my first thought doesn't seem to fit.  Any suggestions for a suitable name would be much appreciated.  

I've also joined Lori Holt's Quilty Fun Sew Along at the Fat Quarter Shop which started on Monday.  Each week we will sew a different block from Lori Holt's book, and a PDF is published every Monday to help you.  My book hasn't arrived from the US yet but I was desperate to make a start, so I managed to glean enough info from the PDF and the pictures on the blog to draft out the block on squared paper and work out the measurements for each piece.  This week was Apples.

This block will measure 9" x 11" finished.    I think it would look good with a little border round it and framed as a picture.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Flower Basket and October Round-up

There are several basket blocks in the Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book, but none of them appealed to me.  Two of them have appliqued handles, so that's a 'no' from me (I know my limitations) and the grape basket is made up of 5 x 5 squares which makes it difficult to rotary cut as I'm not using templates.  So I decided to draft out my own basket.  I drew out a 4 x 4 block onto squared paper and took elements from other basket blocks I've seen.  After many attempts I came up with this.

Actuallly, this is how I do all my blocks.  Every block is copied from the book onto my squared paper pad and I work out the measurements and method of working for each one.  My scale is 1 tiny square = 1/2 inch and then I add on the 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Some of the blocks in the book are a bit too complicated to do it with this method, but I'm only making 50 blocks so I'm picking out the easier ones.

And here it is.  It actually took me less time to cut and piece this than it did to draft it out, but it was worth it in the end.

I've finished the big stitch quilting on 'Pretty in Pink' and only need to finish the hand sewing on the binding.
I've also made the blocks for the boy version of this one from old shirts so that will get put together this weekend and then will be ready for some hand quilting.

October was about getting Pretty in Pink pieced together but I've made a FWS block each week as well, so here's the collage for October.

Friday, 25 October 2013


I've done a lot of looking out of the window this week at the atrocious weather.  We've had torrential rain, magnificent lightning streaking across the sky, thunder that left you deafened, and a whirlwind not too far away on the coast.  Now the forecasters say we could have a hurricane on the South Coast this weekend.  Today it is obviously the lull before the storm, so I've been busy battening down the hatches and making sure there is nothing loose to fly about in the garden.

The Farmer's Wife Sampler block I've done this week is very apt.

#109 - Windows

This was a lovely easy little block to do and didn't take me long to complete.  The rest of my time this week has been taken up with hand quilting Pretty in Pink.  I am almost 3/4 done so should finish the quilting by next week.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Back to the FWQ

I've felt somewhat bereft of late as I haven't completed any blocks for my Farmer's Wife Quilt, but now that I've finished piecing the 'Pretty in Pink' quilt top, and the hand quilting on it is underway during the evenings, I managed to squeeze in just one block this week.

#105 Wild Goose Chase
The rest of this past week has been taken up with de-boning some old shirts and cutting them into squares so I can make a start on my grandson's Disappearing Nine-Patch.  Here it is, all cut out.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pretty in Pink

After finishing the scrap sorting last week I was eager to start a new project, so I decided to make a start on using up some scraps..  Do you remember the pile of 5" squares I had cut?

There were 80 squares in that pink pile on the left and were calling me to make something for my granddaughter whose favourite colour just happens to be pink.  I wanted something that would be scrappy, but still have a unified look to it.  I hunted around the internet, and my Pinterest boards and decided on the Disappearing Nine-Patch block.  I already had two charm packs of Kona white so they could be used, and I found some pink and red spot fabric in my stash I'd bought in Ikea earlier this year.  The white and the spot would be in every block.  I made each block using four scrap squares for the corners, one pink spot square for each centre, and four white squares for the outer middle squares.  That sounds complicated but as a picture paints a thousand words here's one to show you what I mean.

I made twenty blocks like this. Chain-piecing them meant they came together so quickly.  I really surprised myself how quick it was.  Then came the fun part.  I cut through the middle of the block, both vertically and horizontally like this.

Then I rotated the top left and the bottom right squares through 180 degrees, leaving the other two squares alone.  They now looked like this.

This was then sewn together to make the completed block.

The block measured 13 1/2" square, which when set in a 4x5 formation and sewn together would be just a bit too big for the fleece throw I want to use for the backing, so I trimmed the blocks down to 12 1/2", making sure I measured 6 1/4" from the centre line on all four sides so that I kept the pattern equal.

 The completed top. I love the way the cut white blocks form that cross pattern.  I'm thinking I'll hand quilt around the inside of those crosses to emphasise them a bit more.

 Although not completely made from scraps, I'm putting this down as another item for the Scrap Challenge.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September Round-up.

My round up of finished items for the month of September is really easy.  Absolutely nothing!  I haven't machined a single stitch, but I have been busy.  My sewing room was getting crowded out with bags full of donated scraps.  My sister and several of my friends have given me bags full of unwanted fabric and scraps.  They were taking up a lot of space and I really needed to see what was suitable and usable for patchwork, and what I could pass on for other usage.  I started on the 1st September, and finally finished yesterday!  Yes, it took me a whole month!

First, I emptied each bag and sorted out all the cottons.  I had to do the burn test on some bits to make sure they didn't contain any polyester.  As most of the stuff had been stored for a long time I then washed, dried and ironed all of it to freshen it up, and also to pre-shrink it.  I then had to decide how I wanted to store it.  There were some big pieces left over from dressmaking and smaller scraps and it had mostly been cut with scissors and was all in rather odd shapes.  I've read a lot of blogs about sorting and cutting scraps and everybody seems to have their own method, so I designed this method to suit me.

Everything was squared up so that each piece had a right-angle on each of the four corners.  Anything over 6" was treated as yardage. From the rest I cut strips at 3 1/2" and 2 1/2" wide.  They had to be at least 12 1/2" long.  Other long strips that were narrower were put in a separate pile and labelled 'strings'.  I then cut squares at 5", 3 1/2" and 2 1/2". The final sort was anything larger than 1" was saved for 'crumb' blocks, anything smaller was thrown away.  Here is my haul.

This is my 'yardage' drawer.

All the squares.  At least 100 5" squares, about the same 31/2" squares and about 200 2 1/2" squares.

The pink pile on the left is going to become a scrappy Disappearing Nine-Patch quilt for my granddaughter, hopefully for Christmas.

These are the strips and strings.  Not sure what these will become but I'm sure they'll speak to me one day.

I'm so pleased all the scraps are now sorted and put away in just two drawers.  They take up so much less space now, and I do like to keep things tidy.

As I mentioned at the start, I have done no machine sewing this month, but I have been spending my evenings in front of the TV hand-quilting my Starry Blocks quilt.  I've completed three so far.

It's now October and I've made one Farmer's Wife quilt block today.

# 103 - Whirlwind

I want to get started on the scrappy quilt for my granddaughter this month so I doubt if I'll get any more FWQ blocks done until I've finished that.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Three FWQ blocks and the August Round-Up

I've spent most of this week doing things other than sewing.  My garage has been cleared of so much rubbish and junk that I can now get to the back of it.  A job that has been long overdue.  Not finished completely, but nearly there.  I've managed a little bit of sewing, just three blocks for my FWQ.

#98 - Waterwheel

# 102 - Whirlpool

# 107 Windblown Square

# 112 - Thrift

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that the last block here is #112, but the book only has 111 blocks in it.  I'm getting a bit low on fabric as I'm using a Layer Cake, with a bit of extra yardage, for these FWQ blocks so I was searching through the scraps and noticed I had some HST's that had been trimmed off when I made  some stitch and flip corners, so I've designed my own block to use them up and called it Thrift.   

August does seem to have flown by.  The lovely weather we have had has been so welcome after what seemed to have been such a long winter.  I've tried to spend as much time as I could out in the fresh air so my round-up for the month might seem a bit sparse, but I have enjoyed using up the scraps and crumbs from the Chambray Rose collection for my Scrap Challenge.  I'm still working on my Leader & Ender project, and I've managed a bit of hand quilting on a few cooler evenings.  So here's the short list:

16 Farmer's Wife Quilt blocks
2 small scrappy coasters for my computer table
1 runner made from crumb blocks for my bedroom chest
1 bag for daughter's birthday

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Wellies & Watering Cans

Last April I made a bag for my eldest daughter's birthday and my youngest daughter really liked it, so as it's her birthday this week I've made her one, too.  Catherine's was made in a lovely bicycle print as she loves cycling, but I've made Sarah's in this gorgeous Wellies & Watering Can print as she is always gardening.

The lining is just plain olive green.   It measures 13" tall x 19" wide.

On the FWQ front I've managed 3 blocks this week.

#1  Attic Windows

#88 Star of Hope

#92 Streak of Lightning

My tally so far is 34 blocks.  I'm only making a lap quilt size so need 16 more.  Should be able to manage that by the end of next month, I think.

And now especially for Molly's Fan Club

Five months old, and feeling oh so very sorry for herself.  She follows my daughter everywhere and tried to sneek into the bathroom with her, but the wind caught the door and slammed it shut, catching Molly's tail in it.  I didn't see the carnage as it was at her house, but she said that her bathroom resembled a murder scene and she half expected police to arrive and cordon off the area with yellow tape!  The vet's is quite close so she whisked Molly down there straight away.  They had to shave off her newly grown feathering before they could clean and glue the wound and gave her a painkilling injection and a course of antibiotics.  Molly is not entirely happy with having to wear her new fashion accessory.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Scrap Challenge Project #3

Do you remember the crumb block I made last week?

Well, I liked it so much that I made three more, joined them together, added borders and binding, and now have a rather nice runner.

And the super thing about it is that it is all made with scraps.  In the centre piece the scraps ranged from 1" to 2 1/2" wide.  I stitched the scraps onto pieces of paper, cut from the telephone directory, 2 1/2 x 6 1/2".  Three of these strips were then sewn together to make a 6 1/2" block.

The borders and binding were longer scraps but they still needed to be joined to get the length I needed.

I pieced some scraps of batting together, backed it in a piece of the leftover Toile de Joue duvet cover (from Ikea) that I used to back my Starry Sampler quilt and did some simple straight line quilting.

It measures 31 1/2" x 13 1/2".  All of the scraps are from the Chambray Rose collection by Shabby Chic, mixed with some Kona Snow scraps.

It's new home is in the bedroom on the chest of drawers.  

Thursday, 8 August 2013

More Scrap-Busting and FWQ blocks

Continuing the challenge to use all of the scraps from my Chambray Rose quilt I've made a couple of coasters this week.  These are for my computer desk in my dining room, so I will use them every day.  I sewed the scraps directly onto a piece of batting, backed them with a scrap of the  Toile de Joue  duvet cover I used on the Starry Sampler quilt, and bound with some really old spotty dressmaking cotton.  They measure 4 1/2 inches square.

I had such a lovely time making these that I thought I would do a bit more crazy piecing and made this block.

I pieced this on paper torn out of the telephone directory.  I cut 3 paper strips 2 1/2" x 6 1/2" and stitched directly onto the paper, using stitch length 1.5.  I made all 3 at once, using the leader/ender method of feeding in and cutting off at the back to save keep on cutting (and wasting) thread.  The paper tore away really easily.   I then sewed the 3 strips together to make a 6 1/2" square block.  I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but I'm going to make a few more as they're such fun to make.

I've made another 9 blocks for my Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt using the gorgeous "Marmalade" by Bonnie and Camille.  I am just so loving making these.

# 69  Practical Orchard

#70 Prairie Queen

#71 Puss in the Corner

#72  Railroad

#73 Rainbow Flowers

#74  Ribbons

#81 Snowball

#84 Spool

#87 Star Gardener

Here are the nine all together.