Tuesday, 11 November 2014

We have a finish!

Just a little one. Those commissioned open wide zip pouches that I have been procrastinating over for the last few weeks. The motivation this week of a little cash to spend at a Temple Spa evening gave me the nudge I needed to turn these:

into these:

I am really pleased with the finish on these, though they really aren't my favourite things to make. Getting that zipper to lie perfectly takes some fiddling and I have a quite unreasonable aversion to boxing corners. This is the small size, with a double layer of interfacing for structure, and with the corners boxed just 1.5". As always I used this awesome tutorial for perfect zipper tabs to get the neatest finish I could.  

So not the most enjoyable sew, but a satisfactory finish.

And a tick off the FAL Q4 list, hurrah!  

Monday, 10 November 2014

Snowy Starry Night

I am so pleased to finally be able to share with you my Summer's secret sewing.

This is Snowy Starry Night. My first ever quilt pattern, published in the current issue of Fat Quarterly.

Back in June sometime the lovely Lynne posted on Instagram a gorgeous bundle of the Solstice collection by Kate Spain, asking for ideas for a Christmassy project. I don't consider myself to be a natural designer but I put forward an idea for a fun, simple, festive lap quilt. Happily my idea was chosen and very soon 16 FQs of the Solstice arrived on my doorstep.

This is just half of this gorgeous line
I love these prints. It is festive without being OTT. Perfect colours and a good variety of scale in the prints. I decided it needed a darker background to set off the lighter cream and pale blue prints and Kona Steel was the perfect choice. 

The pattern itself is about everything I love in a quilt. Big blocks (16" finished!). Traditional blocks with a contemporary twist. And starightforward piecing with lots of opportunity to chain piece!

This quilt comes together fast, If you start now, you can have one finished in time for Christmas snuggling, I promise. Use those festive FQs you've been hoarding since you bought them in the sale last year (everyone does that, right?). Go super scrappy. Go wild with Christmassy novelty prints - there are plenty of big cuts here to show them off. Or just pick a colour scheme that makes you think of the Holidays - or not. This would work in Spring-like colours too if you are even more of a humbug than me ;-)

I backed the quilt in the bright red spotty flannel that I bought at Festival of Quilts. It's the Remix flannel in cherry dots by Ann Kelle, I bought it from the Eternal Maker but they don't seem to have any left.  I absolutely LOVE a flannel quilt backing but it is essential to prewash as it really does shrink. My (other) local quilt store has a great new selection of Moda flannel in at £12.99 a metre which is pretty reasonable for flannel in the UK I think. 

Anyway. I am super proud of this quilt and I do hope you all like it too. The pattern is available now at www.fatquarterly.com. It's an online quilting e-zine and you can purchase your copy right away here. And you should, because as well as my pattern there are loads of patterns by other lovely designers including Emily, Sue, Fiona and so many more. Lots of smaller projects too, and this frankly awesome collaborative Christmas jumper quilt.

umm, wow?!
Truly, go check it out.

More pics of Snowy Starry Night. Come December this will be on our sofa for daily snuggles.

And the stats:

Fabric: Solstice by Kate Spain
Backing: Remix Flannel by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman
Binding: Scrappy Solstice
Quilting: Diagonal wavy lines by me (for a change) in Aurifil 50wt #5007 which is a great blue-grey
Size: 60" square

Monday, 3 November 2014

When crafts come home

This is a bit of an indulgent and sentimental post ... but hey, it's my blog, right? And it's been whizzing in my head for some weeks now so I thought it best just to get it out.

I don't really make gifts, as a general rule. There have been exceptions, but a handmade item is most definitely not my go to gift option. The most notable exception was my late Grandma. Because, you know, old people are kinda tricky to buy for, and she was an appreciative sort which is an absolute must when gifting handmade. She wasn't crafty herself, but her mother (my Great-Grandma, also called Hannah) was a prolific seamstress, knitter and crocheter. I think Grandma was flattering me somewhat when she said I had inherited her talent but hey, it made her happy. 

Easter 1980

And so I made her a quilt, which I knew she would love.

I think it was about the 7th quilt I made, gifted for Christmas 2012. I bought some (cheap) charm packs of Lovely by Sandy Gervais, before I knew anything whatsoever about fabric. When they arrived I realised they really weren't my thing at all but that they would be perfect for my Grandma. I paired them with some Kona buttermilk, whipped up (over the course of many, many months, you understand?) a patchwork picnic quilt and backed it in a gorgeous piece of Ruby flannel. 

Alas, this was before I knew to pattern match the backing seam ...

Sadly I didn't label it, as labelling quilts is a habit which has come late and still rather intermittently to me. But it was indeed appreciated and loved. She was very proud of it, and of me, and showed it to all her friends who came to visit. 

One of my Grandma's great flaws, however, was her reluctance to use things. Perhaps it's a generational thing, perhaps just a Grandma thing, but she was quite obsessed by things being "too good to use". Needless to say, the quilt I made for her fell into that category. And so the quilt has come back to me, having spent almost 2 years sat folded and unused at the foot of her bed. That makes me sad. 

So we are putting it to use. It has been washed. Jumped on. Slept under. And snuggled under. And just all the things that quilts need to happen to them in order to actually be quilts. Sorry Grandma, but I like it better this way.

The baby loves it too, honest.

Also come home is the cushion I crocheted for her for her 90th birthday earlier that same year. I had intended to make the quilt for then but it didn't quite happen. And this was back before I realised that I loathed crochet.

In fact, it may have actually been this cushion that made me loathe crochet.

But anyway, it looks nice enough, and has taken up happy residence on the bed of a thousand cushions.

You'll just have to use your imagination till I can get an up to date photo, but the bed owner is sleeping now

It's the Blooming Flower Cushion from Attic 24 if anyone wishes to put themselves through similar torture. 

And these? I didn't make these. I bought them for her sometime circa 1999 when I was sick of watching her take  burning hot dishes of roast potatoes out of the oven with a  tea towel. Immaculate and never used, you see? At the time I remember saying to her "I'm going to find these in a cupboard when you're dead, aren't I?". Ummm, yep. That's what happened.

I'm going to use these too. Although they are maybe a *bit* too nice to use.

Love you Grandma. Miss you xxxx

Sunday, 2 November 2014

End of October, start of November

Oh look, there went October, the month where I didn't sew much and blogged even less. Ooops. I'm not even quite sure what I did do, to be honest, but here we are, let's look forwards as well as back!

Actually I did sew, I finished my #IGminiswap mini. Well I say finished, but actually it needs a label adding. I have hit an inspirational wall on that front, and I don't want to share too much about it till it has been sent and received anyway.

Some Siblings Together quilting bee blocks for Sonia.

Also I got more fabric. A rather lovely birthday present from my mum. I missed out on Leah Duncan's Meadow line during my fabric fast, and when I saw that Westwood Acres still had full line bundles in stock I decided to grab one before it was too late. I really toyed with the half yards (my preferred cut) but instead went for the more restrained FQs and added in the same of Leah's new line Gramercy.

I think these will play so nicely together. I have no firm plans for them, but might go for my long held plans to make a Swedish Bloom quilt from Patchwork Please. This has been on my quilty bucket list ever since I saw Kerry's version

Actually what I have mostly done this month is practice my FMQ. Shocking, yes, and it seems to have swallowed all my energy and mojo, but I've been making progress and will try to share my thoughts on it soon.

Okay so, November's to do list. Rather some deja vu here ....

1) #IG mini swap needs a label

2) Those commission pouches. Cut and interfaced, not sewn. Reminder to self -  do not take commissions.

3) Vaguely festive churn dash

I have been working on this and loving it. I love this pretty slightly Christmassy stack with lots of favourite fabrics and I love the easy giant churn dash block. Watch this space.

4) Super tote.

I thought I'd missed Purse Palooza, but actually link ups are open till November 14th. Seems unlikely, but this will be next weekend's Leeds MQG sew day project. If I get it all cut this week ...

Well that's me. Just to get November off to an amazing start I've been in bed the last 2 days with some horrible flu thing. The effort of writing this has quite worn me out, off for a lie down again. Need to be right for the start of the week and the new half term. 7 weeks till Chrismas holidays!!

Sneaking in a bit late, but not too late, for Fresh Sewing Day over at Lily's Quilts.

Fresh Sewing Day