Friday, 30 November 2012

There is a plan. A Flannel Savanna Bop Plan!

I have been meaning to write a post all week. Everyday it's seemed more important to be sewing or knitting than writing. But now, on Friday night, my mind is a-buzz with all sorts of half ideas and half plans that I know I need to get some of it out or I'll just go into meltdown (or go back to procrastinating).

Inspired by Katy's 'getting the ssshh done' post, I am going to recount what my mind has planned to do between now and Christmas/New Year. This way I might see that I'm being utterly mental with this list, and totally over-reaching, or more hopefully it will distill the entire thing into a clear and manageable project in headspace.

First off, I have this pile of quilts to baste, quilt, and bind.

Thomas Knauer's Savanna Bop and Amy Butler's Cameo (quilt backs at bottom of pile).
The top two are the front and back for a baby's quilt, made of Savanna Bop flannel. So soft, and easy to work with! The next are three footwarmers/bed-runners all made from Amy Butler's Cameo collection with the blue at the base being their backing. There is one more quilt (turning out around 60" square) which is a total secret (as it is a present for a blog reader). I can't WAIT to share this quilt - I love it, favourite one so far - but I can show you this:

Hopefully it will remind him of Fruit Salad sweets, among other things!
So, that's five quilt tops that need basting, quilting, and binding. So far, EVER, I've made 2 quilts, and a partial top which I gave up on (temporarily). eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I have all of the materials in stock, and just need to pick up a few new thread colours which are easily gotten in our local town. Then, I decided that it would be so much fun to make most of my Christmas presents this year (thoughtful and frugal). However, I may be overstepping my sewing abilities...

Other projects to finish and/or start are:

A Cameo cushion...
A coffee pot cosy...
A scrappy Echino phone cover...
A third pajama monster...
A, hopefully, manly scarf...
My first SisBoom Beauregard bear...
And, mostly finally, a third knitted dinosaur (not as pictured!)!
I may add another cushion to that list. If I'm not pulling my hair out when I'm a little further on. But who wouldn't rather make a cushion instead of heading into the cold, wet, and Christmas shopper-filled streets!!  I can't wait till there are some finishes, and I can show them off properly here! Though some things will have to wait until after they're gifted.

In the meantime, I'll keep sewing and knitting. And when I feel the urge to share I'll show you some of the other crafty things that have kept me occupied over the last year!

This bloggy stuff is fun! And my head feels a bit de-buzzed now too :)

happy days.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A change of plans...

After everyone in my house telling me that the first thing they saw when they looked at my quilt plan was swastikas I got a bit worried. I said as much yesterday. So I posted the plan to Twitter to see if people agreed. One person (Sara at SewSweetness) didn't agree (yay - she was on my side!), but in the end I decided it's better to be safe than sorry with swastikas (especially as my planned quilting may have only highlighted their presence!).

The swastikas are in white - I still like the overall appearance of jumbled yet ordered colour in this design... Oh, quilt front on the left, and planned quilting for the back on the right.
So I re-designed. And I love it! So much it's a secret from the quilt-getter now, and this will be the last picture I post until after they have it.

Aren't the Moda Citrus Marbles just delicious!? (The Fat Quarter Shop has 25% off everything till next Thursday with the discount code 'jingle'!)
I do really love my new plan. But, I think I'm going to have to play with jumbled up colours and geometric shapes at some point, and the leftover cuts from making this quilt may turn out to be perfect... Maybe playing with something like Jeni B's (from In Color OrderArithmetic Quilt?

Something to ponder in the New Year! Now to get back to the 5 quilts I've to finish this year.

A x

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Paul's Rainbow Skittle Quilt - a work in progress

Today I'm working on these:

They're a Moda Marbles Jelly Roll (in citrus) fused with a Moda Bella Snow Jelly Roll.
The last few days has seen these big long strips cut into hundreds of little squares, way more than I need for the quilt I have planned. I think the extras may become another quilt, maybe a crib size...


But that's part of the problem - I've no idea how big the current quilt I'm working on will turn out. I don't trust my self-drawn out plans enough, yet. So, before I buy the batting, I need to make the quilt top and measure! Hopefully by tomorrow evening I'll know for sure how big this quilt is.

The quilt is a gift, though the plans have already been given the go ahead by the giftee (important, as I hadn't realised how much he liked order and straight lines and no quirkily placed 'wrong' squares). Maybe I'll go free rein on the leftovers :)

The second problem, and one we'll just have to wait and see what it looks like when pieced, is that while I've designed a series of St Brigid's Cross-like blocks, the white comes together in adjacent blocks to create swastikas.... eep! As I said the design has been given the go-ahead from on high, but once it's pieced I'll have to see how noticeable this is! It's not for show or for selling though, just personal use - maybe it won't matter...??

Stay tuned, we'll have another look tomorrow night!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tea Cosy I Have No Use For... gives me a sad.

I thought maybe it was time to introduce a little of my knitting. It's always for a specific someone and invariably takes three times longer to do than I expect! This piece of knitting, however, I decided to do on a whim with leftover wool when I was off sick from work.

On Ravelry I found a pattern for a Checkerboard Scarf by Kimara from Wee Folk Art. I love the texture the finished product gets, and am using it to make a scarf for my sister's boyfriend this Christmas.

This picture doesn't do the texture full justice, but it's the best I've got...

I didn't need another scarf, plus by the end of February in DC the temperature is already holding steady in the height of Irish summer range! But I had leftover batting and backing from my first quilt, so I thought - why not make something that requires quilting... All of these things came together into a strong desire to make a tea cosy for a teapot.

The Irish are a nation of tea drinkers, shown clearly in many episodes of Father Ted, so I've grown up surrounded by tea cosies (old ones; sodden and brown from many years of spills and being placed too close to the hob to keep the tea warm). I've also listened to plenty of complaints when trying to find new cosies that keep the heat in the tea. So I knew quilting techniques would definitely come in handy.

Here is the quilted sandwich, just waiting for me to wrap around the backing to create the binding. I attempted mitred corners with some help from the internet - it did not quite work out. I think because of the height of my quilt sandwich, this was a very thick batting. However, it has stopped me from trying using the backing as binding again on a quilt!

And, the final product!!

I'm very proud.
Once, I'd proudly finished the tea cosy. I realised that we don't have a teapot in our flat. But then the boxes we'd shipped over arrived and I felt sure I packed my trusty red 2 cup teapot - but NO! I didn't... I do tend to just make myself enormous mugs of tea and just drink them, but teapots are lovely to have when there's someone visiting. So lovely to sit and sip and re-pour and chat away.

I couldn't leave my on-a-whim-with-leftovers cosy to be forgotten in a corner, so I brought it back to Ireland and gave it to my parents. Renowned for their minimum of 3 pots of tea on a weekday. I thought it would be used, loved, petted each day! But, no, they declared it too good to use and no amount of declaiming this on my part would change that fact. And so it sits, in a corner, in Ireland, only rarely petted by me when I'm home. A sad end, one I hope to change someday! I think the best part about making something is seeing it used regularly. That's where true love of an object and the reward for the effort I made exists, I think...

I still loved making it! I think I'll go give it a pet now.

A :)

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Freya's Quilt

I found the Fit For A Princess! picnic quilt tutorial on Sew Mama Sew and completely fell in love with the idea of a picnic quilt. One to throw out in the back garden for baby to crawl around on or a little girl to throw tea parties on... For some reason it took me another four or so months to cotton on to guest blogs and that the tutorial-teacher-person has their own website for me to go stalk, meaning I missed out on I'm A Ginger Monkey for far too long in my first year of quilty discovery!

Freya had arrived to two of our good friends around the same time as our niece was born. Therefore, I cunningly planned a 6 month 'birthday' present quilt.... (It may have been her 8 month birthday before I really finished.) I fell in love with Apple of My Eye by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake. Totally in Love. Not too childish, not too girly, and really really happy. Perfect.

I ordered the fabric. Set to work laying it out, in the ridiculously baking heat of early summer in DC.

Yes, that's my naked foot - sorry. But look how YUMMY!

The quilt top came together beautifully. And looked delicious every step of the way, creating that lovely momentum where you can't wait to have the next little bit done 'cos you 'Just Have To See!'.

From loving how easily the little corner triangles went in....
To seeing the blocks come together even more beautifully than I imagined!
This quilt became my slight obsession. It wasn't enough to love how the rows looked, but I even loved the appearance of the ironed out seams!

Loved enough to take pictures!

However, once the quilt top was done I hit a total lull; we had lots of visitors, I finished up at my job, and then moved continent - leaving the quilt top to sit unloved for a little while... After a couple of months I basted it, only to leave it to one side for another month before quilting!

I gotta say though, even looking at these pictures again has me feeling happy - this quilt design and the fabrics really work for me together!

When I finally got around to the quilting stage, I broke out my favourite bright pink thread (it is a girl's quilt after all) and then did a criss-cross pattern, which ended up running through and framing different central diamonds beautifully! I found this slightly terrifying, as it relied on me managing to sew in fairly straight lines and not end up wrecking the quilt top I'd fallen in love with.

With the help of some ruled straight lines (in Clover pencil), I didn't feck up too badly anywhere (that I'll be pointing out)!
Look how nicely it worked out!!!!
To finish off, and because I'd been doing the Handstitched course with Rachel of Stitched In Color, I chose to go all out and embroider my own  label for the back.

Cleverly/Luckily the label was just the right size to place over a slight hiccup in quilting on the back. Yay!

Oh! the backing and binding! For the backing I used the end of the green Ikea flat sheet that I used on my first ever quilt - waste not, want not! And for the binding, I bought a jelly roll of Apple of My Eye and cut it up into ~5" strips (I didn't measure them) and then pieced them together randomly to form a multi-coloured binding.

Look at it, all washed and finished!
I fricking loved making this quilt. I'm sure there were curses at the time - but in retrospect I just remember it being utterly perfect! It was really hard to give away, but also brilliant to give away cos I'm just so proud of it. I hope Freya and her parents get lots of use out of it, especially for back-garden picnics!