Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Whoops, so I might have started two new things...

January is probably my worst culprit for new projects.  Having such a long holiday period... it is just so easy to start lots of things.  But I promise they are all good :o)

I decided to keep with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge this year, and have been identifying all sorts of patterns that I like that would be great for this purpose.  I finally decided to work with the Double Nine Patch block.  This month is Light Blue month... and I finally got around to starting this project... yesterday.

I am cutting 2" little squares, using scraps for the coloured places, and the same white on white for the plain blocks, with black squares in the centres.  So far so good... just need to get this block sewn together before the end of the month.

The second project I have started is a fun applique also using scraps and a pattern booklet by Piece o Cake Designs that I have had for ever.  The pattern gives two variations of the quilt - one with a cute pieced background (which gave me the inspiration to push the concept just a little bit further)...

 and one with a regular boring old background.

Working with the funky pieced background idea, I decided to try piecing together some of my low volume scraps and make irregularly pieced block sized chunks.  These blocks finish at 12" square.

So the background and the foreground are all completed from scraps...

And I decided to use a free motion black outline to attach the shapes.  Never tried this before and I am pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.  It really suits this kind of scrappy/funky project.  I did ponder whether to add several rounds of stitching in a sketchy kind of way, but chickened out and decided to just stick with one - which gives quite a clean finish.

As is my usual routine, I hand stitched the bias stems for the branches... but for a change tried this Wonderfil Invisafil thread... in a really unattractive apricot kind of flesh colour... and was amazed how well the thread disappeared into the fabrics!  Although I have used this thread for FMQ (and also been surprised at how it absorbs the colour), I hadn't tried needleturn applique with it.  I will definitely be using this kind of thread again.

In getting other things done news... I am still adding to the Whanau and Friends quilt blocks.  I really like this 18" block and how it includes the stitchery... but in a very understated way.  Although working with some of these wide stripes cut into jelly roll strips is a bit awkward.

The lower half of the quilt is slowly filling up.

And in other even better getting things finished news... I finished and gifted this lovely baby quilt.

Love how the stipple ties together the striped rows, and the edge stitching around the grey stripes and boxes gives it structure.

I played with a simple unembellished feather for the navy borders...

And repeated a similar sort of design in the blue accent blocks.

The magic flange binding is the only way for me to get binding sew on within a week, and although I had some wonky moments, I'm feeling like I can maybe conquer this technique.

From the back...

As the end of the month and returning to work draws closer, I have been thinking about my goals for this month and year.  I read somewhere that the new year started on 1 February... January is just a trial free period... and I seriously agree with that sentiment. 

Working on the Whanau and Friends quilt as a major focus means that an old WIP could actually get finished!  This has been very satisfying, as has getting my RSC project underway... as I really enjoyed this process last year.

I realise that I have a huge amount of quilt tops requiring quilting... and I need to decide what else to focus on this year.  I would like to make progress on the following to start off with:
*get last years RSC quilt quilted, finished and donated.  First step is to construct a pieced backing.
*get the binding sewn on the Stack, Shuffle Slide quilt from last year and get this finished and on the bed.  First step is to choose a binding fabric and start cutting.
*work out where the Bernina Zen Chic triangle quiltalong is up to and try to get back on track with this one.  First step is to print out the missing instructions.
* continue with the Whanau and Friends and Cross Tile blocks as an ongoing process.
*complete blocks for the 2018 RSC and Backyard Birds blocks monthly.

Spelt out like that it doesn't look so bad?  Maybe?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

So I might have started something new

Does it still count as something new when you bought a bundle last year... and have just found the perfect project for it?  To me it seems like a continuation of the process.

So it started with a bundle from Stash Fabric curated by Mister Domestic, that took my fancy and ended up in my cart at some ungodly hour of the morning... when it arrived I had to admit there were some pretty out there fabrics, but overall I still liked the combinations and looked forward to finding the right project to highlight those. 

Then... Emily Denis from Quilty Love decided to run a quiltalong for her City Tiles quilt... which I don't have a pattern for, but I do have a pattern for the Cross Tile quilt (which I like better)... so I decided to join the quilt along and use a different pattern!

I also had to add some extra fabric so visited my personal favourite fabric shop, The Country Yard, and found some great fabrics to add to the awesomeness.  Although mixing the fabric up into pairs has been challenging!  Bella Solid "Fog" is a nice neutral that is off white, reading probably more on the grey side than the yellow side.

Long story short... here are my first blocks!  If in doubt, start with the best print in the bundle... you know it's going to look good.

Then I figured I should try some of the more difficult fabrics... particularly the directional prints!

Luckily the instructions come with an alternative cutting layout for directional prints.  Unfortunately it depends on having 22" width of fabric... which my pieces don't seem to be :o(  Luckily... there is extra fabric!

And the most challenging fabric of all... the one with sheep.

Kinda cute I suppose.

I have also been working on my Whanau and Friends quilt.  The Cross Tile quilt is a perfect companion quilt to the sometimes complex sampler blocks - it's nice to make something that is just squares and rectangles.  Happy to report it's getting bigger!

I've found it's important to have a balance of blocks that have either high contrast - with the Bella Solid "Porcelain" or the mostly red solid from the French General range... or more murky contrast. This block was made entirely from left over pieces cut for other blocks, and one of the more murky blocks, and I'm very proud of creating something from those leftovers!

This has probably been the greatest block for using the 2 1/2" jelly roll strips... and my magic rulers.  Only the centre square was not from a jelly roll... and it is a cool block.  I love that ditzy print as the background, and will have to make it in a more high contrast version.

I have been playing with fabric placements and contrast variety... repeating some blocks or making very similar versions... like this Antique Tiles block with a four patch centre...

After making this version earlier.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Never Ending Puzzle

Making blocks for the Friends and Whanau quilt is a bit like working on a puzzle that you don't know what it looks like or what size it is!  It is a real time waster because I spend ages stressing about whether to do this block, or that... or whether to use this fabric or that... and whether the finished block should go here... or there...  I finally figured out I just needed to sew some blocks and see what started to happen, and not get so caught up in what was "the absolute best possibility".  The worst that could happen is that the odd block might not get used... I can live with that!

I really liked how this grouping of blocks looked with the filler strips.  It includes two 12" blocks, a 10" and an 8".

I quite like this section too... with an 18" block taking up some serious space.

And slowly it starts to grow...

I decided to frame some of the blocks too... just for a different way of putting sections together.

Although it doesn't really have a place yet.

Definitely a slow but very interesting process.  I am loving having full access to my lovely design wall!

I have also been making progress on the baby quilt.  I have always struggled with straight line quilting, but decided to edge stitch along the grey sections following the edge of the walking foot... while I don't have any puckers, it is still not one of my strengths.

I decided to use this greeny/gold Invisifil thread to FMQ the striped sections.  It blends into all of the patterned fabrics, especially those with gold overlay!

Just a simple stipple but it works well for this situation.

From the back.

And my new FMQ station in use.  We bought a new blind so that this area is a bit more streamlined.

A mammoth road trip with Monika to The Apple Basket patchwork shop resulted in some new fabric purchases.  Mammoth because it is a 2hr plus drive one way!  With two kids!  Who were well behaved but I was completely knackered by the time we got home.

I am pretty sure this is Grunge Dots... I have a cunning plan for a finished quilt that I want to refinish and add some new borders.

A couple of Sweetwater Authentic FQ pieces, plus a cute cat/dog? print that just absolutely had to come home with me.

These were in the specials bin.

And I just loved these pieces together.

No idea what to do with it but I must cut it up pronto.

And these slightly larger bits were also on special.  These ones are just itching to be added to my stash.

My little Authentic collection is growing.  I need to start looking at some patterns that use charm packs.

I bought a couple of shot cotton FQ's from Spotlight...

And some of the necessary evils...

With work starting back again, I am finding my sewing time is a prized commodity.  Even though I am mostly just working mornings... the afternoons turn incredibly hot so not so conducive to sewing in a tin shed.  Oh well... summer will be over before we know it and then I'll be complaining about it being too cold.