Sunday, 29 April 2012

It's raining blocks...

 As the song goes...It's raining men blocks!

The rain just continues to pour down with no let up. I was meant to be going out today but rain has stopped play. So I thought that I would give you a peak at the blocks that I have made in my machine quilting class. We are meeting once a month for 6 months and we have a fabulous teacher. I like to be able to work at my own pace and our teacher allows us to do this. Below is an update of my progress
You might remember these blocks

Well I have been working hard at these blocks and now I have all 8 blocks made and sashed.

Next month we are going to put these blocks together. They are going to be pieced on point to make our quilt. I cannot wait to get them put together. I actually find the piecing of the individual blocks my least favourite part of making a quilt, so by the time that I get to this stage I get excited and want to get on with it. This one is going to come together really quickly.

Now I am going to get back to my sewing machine before the family wake up!
Di xo

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sewing bee and quilting challenge!

Yesterday it did not stop raining but it was a perfect sewing day! My class friends L & S came over for a sewing day. So the dining room looked like this...
We were busy bees and we managed to get S just about caught up for our class tomorrow.

I had mentally marked this morning as the time for getting my Strawberry Fields quilt basted and to start on the quilting. Well, I got the spray basting out, and using Judith's excellent tutorial, got to it. All was going swimmingly until I got to the top end of the quilt and found that the backing was too short!!! I was rather irritated, but there is always a solution. Mine, was to trim a little backing off the sides and join them together and then attach this strip to the main piece of backing.
It was really fiddlely as the gingham had to be matched up but it was eventually done and it doesn't look too awful. Doing this has eaten up my time this morning, so I have only quilted one block
Front of block

Front of block
Back of block

I want to thank you all for your ideas and suggestions. You are fantastic.  There were lots of different ideas and some were way beyond my expertise. Helen even sent me a diagram of how to do the above quilting. 
I am going to see what my men think of it this evening. I might just try another idea and then decide! I have now run out of time as I have a meeting to get to, within the hour. So bye...
Di xo          

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Eton mess or Di's mess?

This week I have been concentrating on finishing my Strawberry Fields quilt. I now have the quilt top put together. Today the sun is shining, so I have hot-footed it out to the washing line to take some photos to show you my progress.
Strawberry Fields quilt top
Strawberry Fields quilt top
Sunshine and the wind is blowing!
 I have made a whopping mistake though, in piecing this top together. I am afraid that I just didn't pay enough attention to the instructions! This quilt is pieced to be 'on point' but I didn't rotate my blocks, so my blocks are 'on side'. I am too far through to unpick the whole lot but I will never make the same mistake again! The upside is that the quilt has been made for our living room and I wanted to drape it over the back of the sofa. So it would look like this (below).
Quilt draped over back of bench
I went shopping yesterday and bought some green gingham to back the quilt with. My task for this week is to get on with basting and quilting.
Gingham backing
My dilemma is that I am at a loss as to how to quilt this one. Should I quilt around the blocks or should I put more detail in? All suggestions would be very welcome!
Di xo

Thursday, 19 April 2012

A Silver lining

I officially live in a drought area. We have a hosepipe ban and are not allowed to pump water from the beck that runs around our garden. Unfortunately the weather doesn't know this, as we have had torrential April showers, to date, for the whole month!
Rain from my bedroom window (note the lake beyond that is full of water!)

 The silver lining for me, is that I want to stay at home and sew when the weather is bad. I have continued sewing my half completed 'Strawberry Fields' quilt, which I will give you a peak of. Please note that the photo is terrible due to the lighting conditions (rainy day).It is just an indication of my busyness!
Progress of the strawberry fields quilt
I have also made another little project from this book. There is something very soothing about sewing a complete project in an afternoon. I have been trying to justify buying a fat quarter of some fabric that I have had my eye on. Eventually I pressed the 'buy' button and 24hrs later it came through my letterbox. I also ordered a Kona Solid to go with it.
A FQ of Typewriters
I just love those typewriters! They are bigger in real life than I imagined that they would be. So with a piece of linen bought from a market stall I made this...A linen bag.
Front of linen bag
 I have no idea what I will use it for, but I did enjoy making it. I changed the pattern a little by adding a tab and button to secure the opening as I knew that I would lose things otherwise. I also added my own twist on the back of it too.
Back of linen bag
I have got to run now as I have my patchwork class with the 'naughty girls' this morning. We are also having lunch afterwards. It can be really hard sometimes....
Di xo

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Psychedelic quilting

Do you remember this quilt top? 
I named it my psychedelic quilt as it is so colourful. It wasn't planned but came about by accident. I was at my quilting group when it was suggested that we beginners had a go at this pattern. We were generously given the run of the host's fabric. I picked out the paisley print and the other colours were chosen to compliment it. 
This quilt is loud, so I decided that I would go with the flow and try a different quilting pattern. At the second meeting that I attended we had a workshop by Angela Dymond called Stitching for Texture and we made a quilting sample book. I decided that I would like to use this pattern

to quilt psychedelic with. Fortunately last Monday was a dreadful rainy day, just perfect for sewing, so I got to it and this is the end result.
I am always a little fearful about layering up a quilt. I have had a couple go rather wrong, but what are blogging friends for but to use their expertise and tips. So I used Judith's excellent tutorial on how to use basting spray. I have to say that it worked a treat.
So here is how the quilting turned out... from the front

...and the back.
Perspective on the Zig zag quilting 
Perspective on the Zig zag quilting 
Zig zag quilting
The quilting is best seen from the back. I used a cheap 'denim' polycotton material that I got from the market. It shows up the quilting a treat. I used two different threads, a yellow/lime variegated one  and orange variegated one.

I am really pleased with how it turned out. It was definitely a step out of my comfort zone both in colour and quilting but I so enjoyed doing it. For the binding, I used up some spare strips and made it two tone and scrappy.
Scrappy binding

Ta Da... here it is finished.

 Below is a close up of the binding.
And finally, this is where it has been decided by the family, as to where it is going to live. When it gets warmer we will use it outside in the garden too.

Di xo

Friday, 13 April 2012

PIF post

Back in January, before I became a blogger, I was just a "reader" of blogs but I somehow managed to sneak in to Laura Jane's PIF ("Pay It Forward" for those who don't know the acronym). I was really excited and look what came in the post today...

 ...a cute cathedral window pincushion and look at that little birdie pin! 

Many thanks LJ, it is beautiful.

Now the idea of PIF is that you too can have a surprise package coming through your letterbox, one day in the future. I now have to pay the kindness forward to 3 of you lovely readers.

The first 3 comments on this post will receive a handmade gift from me, and in exchange for that, they have to promise to pay it forward to 3 of their readers in turn. 
I think you get a year to do it, so there is an element of surprise to this. If you would like to receive a small handmade article from me, sign up, and some time during this year, you too, will have a package dropping through your letterbox.

Di xo

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A Sewing afternoon

I have had a lovely afternoon just sewing... 

Two of my Friday class mates came over to sew. We only met in January as were were all signed up for the same machine sewing class. S is an older lady who comes with her neighbour, and friend, L. L is very kind to S and keeps an eye out for her. S unfortunately didn't make our last class due to illness. Whilst L and I were sewing away at our last class we thought that we would meet up at my home to help S catch up with her blocks that she missed. This afternoon we gathered in my home and had a pleasant chat and sewing time.
We had afternoon tea in the middle of the proceedings and didn't get S completely caught up. This is such a shame as we have had to put another date in the diary to get S up to date for the next class!! We are doing lunch next time!

As I had completed all my blocks to date for class, I pulled out an old project that never got completed. I started this quilt last October but had to put it away so that I could make my MIL a quilt for Christmas. I had bought a jelly roll to make a quilt with and had actually finished making all the blocks.

Here are some blocks ready to sew together

This afternoon I managed to sew up all the strips of blocks

Rows of blocks
Fabric for the setting triangles
It was a really fun afternoon although S didn't manage to complete all her blocks. We are looking forward to our next sew-in.

Di xo

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

FQ Retreat Name Tag

The one job on my 'to do' list, that can finally be ticked off, is the making of a name tag for my secret swap partner for the Fat Quarterly Retreat in June. I am not very good at being original but I have had the image of bunting in red, white and blue going around in my head for a month or more. I have had other ideas but kept coming back to to the bunting theme.

I have been looking out for Jubilee themed buttons and ribbon but was not really sure as to what to do. Finally, I have gone with prairie points for the bunting and popped some Union Jack buttons on it to reinforce the Jubilee theme. So here is the big reveal...
Jubilee name tag for FQ Sewing Retreat
The only problem that I can see with the finished name tag, is that it is a tad too large to be hanging off someones top. I therefore decided that it looked better hanging from a lanyard, so I made a matching one. I think that you will all be seeing this at the retreat! I cannot reveal anymore, but just let me say that the pressure has been enormous! The name tag might not be perfect but it is going in the post ASAP so that I don't have to agonise over it anymore.

Di xo

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A twin but not identical...

Last night I cracked on with my list of things that needed to be finished. You may remember that I made some cushions back in January. I really wanted two for both sofas, so I decided that the fourth was needed. I have had this project on the go for the last couple of weeks and finally I finished it last night. Do you remember this cushion?
Ruby Cushion
Well I have made it a twin except that the back has been improved upon by the addition of a zip closure.
When I saw this tutorial by Judith (which was also posted here as part of Fairy Face Designs Sew Simple series) I knew that I could gain a new skill and complete my cushion too!

Following instructions on my iPad

Zip is attached to one side

Sewing was simple

Mission accomplished

Double vision or matching pair?
 Now to show you the back.... yes the zipper is completely concealed and looking good!
Not quite identical

Watch your back!
I am rather pleased with myself. Many thanks to Judith for the excellent tutorial. I can highly recommend it as it is very clear and easy to follow.
A trio of ruby cushions
Happy Easter to you all.
Di xo