Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter finish it up weekend progress report...

I'm declaring 4 finishes this weekend.

Finish 1: skinny quilt for the BQL challenge. Techincally I finished this twice. I got it quilted and bound, then decided I really didn't like the way the setting triangles "bled" into the binding. There was no definiate edge to the on point blocks. I slept on it overnight and oddly dreamt how to tweak it. Next morning, I carefully took the binding off, appliqued the mauve strips over the egdes to look like a slim border, then re-applied the binding. much better!

Finishes 2 and 3 were mini Christmas table runners/counter covers.

I'd totally forgotten about these as they were over the top bannister with another UFO covering them! I thought about a Christmas bauble theme quilting, but, to be honest, I just wanted them finished and out of the UFO pile, so in the end I straight stitched in the centre of each strip in a selection of metallic threads. I bound each of them with some leftover binding from the sweetie jar, and machined in the ditch on the front to finish the binding off. Not my best work by a long way, but a kill's a kill.

Finish 4 had already been in a show, but I realised I wanted to add in the ditch quilting around each siggy square. This was the quilt which was hiding the Christmas runners on the bannister. I'd done all the in the ditching, just had to bury the ends...139 squares, one pass round each one, front and back thread...that's a lot of ends  to bury. I poured myself a big glass of wine, took a deep breath and just got on with it. It was done in two sessions, and the quilt is now folded and back inthe store cupboard. I bring it out to use as an example of a siggy quilt. My favourite thing about it, apart from the collection of signatures from around the world is the rainbow shading of the patches.

The final picture isn't a finish...yet. It's a trial to see how my planned quilting design will look on the Guide quilt. Cunningly, I also used two of my less favourite fat quarters...the orange top one is nothing compared to the multi-coloured monstrosity that lies beneath!

Tea break over, I'm about to start work on the Guide quilt...I've had best part of a month to do it, and need it for tomorrow evening! Just as well I'm off work, and apart from a blood test and returning a top to the shop, have a clear sewing day.

I'll report in on Wednesday on how I've done with it.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

2 more past the finish post.

This is going to be a very quick post, life's suddenly got incredibly busy, but I wanted to share my latest two finishes with everyone.

Finish One is my Kingfisher which I started in a workshop with Anya Townrow:

 I'm thrilled with how he's turned out! I'm especially pleased with the shading on his back, and with how well the quilting went. I was aiming for a watery feel to it, and used a YLI blue/multi thread. I'll be using this one again for Hannah's Guide quilt.

 Finish two is Candy Boxes, a commissioned bed quilt. Nice gentle loopy quilting with free motion hearts interspersed throughout it in a pale pink Robison Anton thread. This should be off to its new home tomorrow.

And just because it's nearly Easter, here's a chocolate cake that Hannah made and iced herself. Not so much of it left now!

I'm on leave from work next week and with a combination of Easter and the Royal Wedding, I'm using 4 days' leave and having 11 away from work. I've decided that during my time off I'll be trying to finish as many projects as possible. I'm aiming for a finish per day but not all of them will be full sized quilts. I've got a couple which just need threads burying, 2 which need to be layered and quilted, 1 to be quilted, and at least 1 to finish piecing. I'd quite like to get a head start on my sample pieces for Sound Stitchers Christmas in June 4-Corners evening, and also make up a couple of notebook covers from the pattern I bought at Anya Townrow's workshop.

We'll see how the finishes line up, I'll count up in the afternoon of May Day Bank Holiday.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Being Charming

Last night was the April meeting of Sound Stitchers, Helen was leading us in ideas to use up your charm know those packs of precut fabrics that all go together, that tempt us at shows and in shops.
Yup, there I go...easily tempted! So last night, armed with a plain pack and print pack in an autumnal clourway from Strawberry Fayre and my machine, off I set. We explored HSTs in all their different settings, quarter square triangles to use as sashing cornerstones, and disappearing nine, four and sixteen patches.

I made a couple of broken dishes set HSTs and chain pieced another four pairs ready for pressing and trimming. No matter how carefully I piece, I simply can't get my seams dead on for making identical pairs, so rather than struggle and rip seams out time and again, I relax, press the block and square it up before piecing them together. Sure I end up with blocks a tiny smidge smaller, but they all fit together and I don't end up with a wonky quilt.

I took lots of projects along to show and tell...I'd been to a workshop, promised a fundraiser quilt and been asked to make one for someone since our last meeting. I've finally made the piece for the BQL Challenge as well. Most of these quilts will be on their way to new owners before the next meeting, so I wanted to show them off to my friends

 BQL skinny challenge. Needs to be quilted, and trimmed to size. Not 100% sure how to do it, but I need to hurry up, it has to be posted on the group by next weekend.

 Candy Boxes commissioned quilt. Just need to finish slip stitching the binding down and add a label.

.Guide fundraiser. Hannah's not back at Guides until after Easter, so I've got 2 weeks to work on it. I'll bind it in the blue batik I used for backing. My excuse is I didn't have enough of any other fabric used on the front. I have no excuses or explanation for the expression in the photo! 

I got home from the meeting to find a letter from hospital "asking" me to my six monthly check up and blood tests in mid May. Fingers crossed they all come back as they have in the rest of the year since my last op.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Happy Mothers' Day

It's Mother's day here in the UK (You know I'm never 100% sure where the apostrophe goes...Is it a day for all Mothers in which case after the S, or is my personal Day, in which case, before. I've written it both ways here, just to annoy any pedant reading). Anyway, I choose to spend my Day by quilting and sewing. I finished piecing the Guide Fundraiser top last night, and am really pleased with how it turned out. I'm especially pleased with the coloured log cabin border. Less pleased that it was only as I laid the blocks out ready to assemble that I realised I can't count and needed to whip up another 4! Still all done now.

I've pieced the backing, a blue batik, and put the wadding aside ready for sandwiching this afternoon. I decided to wash the backing, which I don't generally do these days, as it's a deep blue batik, and just "felt" that it had excess dye still in it. With there being so many neutral strips on the front, and it being a fundraiser quilt, the last thing I wanted is its new owner washing it and having blobs of blue run through. Naturally I didn't have enough of the mauve basket fabric to bind it, and the substitute mauve I found was too short as well. I'll be using strips from the backing fabric instead.

The other quilt I'm working on today is the pink and white one which I was commissioned to make for a former work colleague's step daughter.

It's currently sandwiched and waiting for me to close the pins and put the straight line quilting on it. Once that's done, I'll be using apale pink thread to free motion swirls and loops with hearts all over it.

The stash busting is looking good this week, as I decided not to count what I use until I'm at the actual quiltng stage of a piece. So two quilts ready for the machine, 16 yards of fabric used up!! Again, I calculated the yardage of the tops by weighing them. Smidge over 4 yards for the pink and white one, smidge under for the yellow and blue one. 4 yards each for backing.