Sunday, January 22, 2017

Backing, Blocks, Binding and Blanket Stitch

I've been plodding along with hand stitching down the binding on my Constellation quilt, and I've got down to about 6" left... at the moment the quilt is sitting folded in the lounge - and I just love the contrast of the solid grey in the front against the bright and funky backing fabric.

Again, I can't get over how the binding is such a perfect fabric!

I chose this fabric for the backing as it was ideal for hiding quilting imperfections, plus it went "well" with the front, as it was from the same designer who made the charm pack that started the whole project, although from a different range.  (Of course, I needed a bit more patterned fabric for the front than a charm pack would provide and raided my stash to make up enough half square triangles.)  Although there are some different colours used on the backing fabric - and to be honest I am not a fan of all of them - the "feel" of the design, as well as the colours that are the same means it gives the impression of fitting into the same family.

Ideally it would have been nice to pick up a cheater print from the same range, but getting an incredible online special meant that getting a similar range gave better value for money.  Quilting in NZ is expensive!

This star shows some of the charm pack, as well as some of the stash additions.

I have also spent some time blanket stitching my Tillies Lane second month blocks:

After doing a class with Michele Hill from Australia, I started using a smaller blanket stitch which she recommends.  Although I decided I didn't like this neutral thread I was using, and switched to a Mettler Seralene part way through the smaller block.

While this thread is supposed to be a bobbin fill, I have been using it in the top and bottom for blanket stitch, and I like how fine and flat it looks against the applique pieces.

This is from the My Tweets blocks, and you can see how the stitch is a lot larger - I think my machine sets a minimum width of 2.5mm, and I have the length as 2.0mm for this 5 step blanket stitch - which gives a really lovely edge to the applique shapes.

I've also done some sorting in my quilting shed, and found that I had more of the hourglass blocks sewn in a secondary location - so I had already done all the blocks necessary for this month.  Bonus!

In my experience of starting a million and one different scrap projects - I think this one works really well as the blocks are so little - so you really only need quite a small amount of scrap to make each block.

This is how I have pressed the blocks - it comes out really flat - no bulky seams - and gives good visibility for joining on the alternate solid square.

With the coloured sections literally covering scraps of all colour and style, I have gone for some very subtle cream prints as the alternate unit.

Pressing the seam to the light in this case means that it cuts down bulk, and will be easy to join into four patches as the project grows.

I notice that I have made some scrap substitutions in the making of these blocks - so it should be interesting once it is all made:

I'm not sure of my logic making a green and orange block - although it is all scraps of fabric designed by Denyse Schmidt.

 I have also been working on the Sugar Club blocks, and have finished upsizing another one.

And made good progress on yet another one.  Hopefully this one will get finished in the next few days.

Best of all, I have achieved some good tidying and consolidation of projects and fabrics... I admit I am pretty messy, and tend to leave a trail of destruction behind when projects are finished.  Just getting a bit of organisation back has allowed me to feel more relaxed with the whole process.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Little by little

This week has disappeared with a mixture of different activities - taking the kids out to our local cafe for lunch, going into work a couple of times to catch  up with emails and deadlines... visiting with good friends, and getting a little bit of stitching done!

Well, technically not stitching - ironing, cutting and fusing applique shapes.

Block Two of Tillies Lane.

I decided to use a variety of batiks for the circle shape - batiks give a great variety of tone and colour from one fabric piece.  The other elements are chosen from a mix of scraps.  The blocks are 9" finished (I think).  It is fun choosing which scraps to use for each piece - although it can tend to take quite a while to make the final decisions.

Another part of the BOM is to complete a small 3" finished applique block each month... so that was created also.  Now I just have to spend a little bit of time with my machine blanket stitch.

The height of excitement during the week was the arrival of my Craftsy package!  Even the packaging was bright and cheerful.

And inside was a lovely pattern...

With some absolutely gloriously coloured fabrics!  Can't wait to start this one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Beep Beep! Done Done!

I had a finish day in the back of my mind of Monday (yesterday), as this was hubby's first day back at work and it would have been nice for him to take it to his workmate at the start of the year.  But really, I didn't think that would give me enough time to quilt and finish binding... but it was a good goal, and encouraged me to keep at it.  And you know... today I finished the last little bit of hand stitching on the binding and sewed on the label.  Woohoo - my first finish of 2017!

We have a floor shot...

A close up of FM quilting... a mid size stipple that fits in nicely around the shapes but is still pretty quick to get done...

A bit of a binding shot... I decided to use some of my fabric scraps and had random lengths along with some larger sections of grey to give it a bit of space...

A shot of quilt holder-upper extraordinaire  getting his pose ready... note how he keeps the quilt up nice and high off the ground.

And yay... no wind!

And a little bit of wind.
Now I can shift my focus onto some of my other goals for January...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 The Year of the Epic Quilt

I have a bit of a thing with large, applique quilts.  These tend to get started, or I buy patterns and have great intentions of starting, but very rarely get finished.

Case in point, My Tweets quilt pattern, which was started towards the end of 2011 and stalled completely at the beginning of 2014.  That is three years ago people!

So I've decided that this year shall be the year of the epic quilt, with the goal of getting My Tweets top completed by the end of the year.

Progress to date: 10 of 12 blocks created, four of those blocks needing blanket stitch to be done.

This was Block 7 (bottom right hand corner), which is now blanket stitched.  These little pale flowers take forever to blanket stitch, even done by machine.

And this is Block 8 which as of this afternoon has also had it's blanket stitch completed.

Updated stats... two blocks to blanket stitch, and two blocks to create.  Then there is the border.

Other things I would also like to get done this year:

Tillie's Lane was a BOM I bought, with the intention of using scraps.  [My other huge downfall is starting projects intending to use scraps... so this falls under both the epic applique quilt and scrap quilt failures].

Block One got done pretty quickly, and I spent a bit of time making the little hourglass blocks as a leader/ender project... but somewhere along the line it got put down, away and then forgotten.

So I've pulled out Block Two - and think I should be able to get this finished and a few more hourglasses done to finish the second months requirements.  Let's plan that for the end of January.

I have two untouched bundles of fabric/new projects that I plan to start, but not until some other projects are finished.

First up is this bundle that has now grown to eight fat quarters plus a grey background...

... which I intend to turn into this Thimble Blossom's quilt.

And this bundle which I thought about for years but haven't ever committed to a particular pattern...

... which I am going to turn into this Quiltville pattern:

What I would like to get finished before I am allowed to even think about starting something else is:

The Starburst quilt top...

Beep Beep:
Which is now all in one piece, and backing fabric decided!

And other projects I am still progressing with include:
Sugar Club sampler quilt... mission: upsize my blocks!

I have a few other quilts that are lurking in the back of my mind... but I also know that I can't do everything, and that those I have highlighted could quite possibly take up all of my free time for at least the next year.  So yeah... looks like another busy year at the home of All The Good Ones.  Oops, did I mention that I bought an Aviatrix quilt kit during a Craftsy sale... hmm, I'll have to think about where that is going to fit into the grand scheme of things.  Maybe I need to change my blog name to A crazy person quilts here.