Friday, 28 March 2014

Quilty bucket list

I've seen several posts on this as part of the just about to end blog hop at The Tilted Quilt and, as intended, it has got me thinking.

The Tilted Quilt

So I've been mentally composing this list over the last few weeks, well refining it really as I'm sure every quilter already has some ideas of what's on their "must-do" as well as their "to-do" lists.

There is so much awesome quilty inspiration out there on Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest as well as all the blogs that it can be pretty hard to narrow down. So, I've got a couple of categories. The first is the "to-do" list. Upcoming quilts, things I have in my mind, in the planning, which might just need a little nudge to start to actually happen. Sometime soon. Ish.

And the second is, I suppose the real bucket list. The aspirational quilts, the complex, challenging, out of my comfort zone quilts. The sort that make me actually gasp whenever I see versions of them. The quilts I really hope I will make ... but probably not this year. 

So, with that in mind..

1. Another Thimbleblossoms quilt.
I love Camille Roskelley. I love her patterns, her fabric (of which there is no where near enough in my stash), her Craftsy classes. I LOVED Swoon. Her patterns are just that combination of traditional and modern that appeals to me and she designs them carefully to ensure super simple piecing. One of the things I adore about piecing is when something that looks hard is actually very straightforward and I felt Swoon ticked that box for me. Tempting as it is to just make another Swoon I feel I should really try something else and I actually treated myself to a few of her patterns when she had a recent 20% off sale.

Top of the list is Puddle Jumping.

Puddle Jumping quilt

I just adore the limited palette that Camille used on this one. One of my ongoing quilty goals is to work from my stash, outside of the fabric lines that offer such an easy option for me.

Adrianne had a little giveway on Instagram the other night that challenged us to pull together a bundle. I had seen a striking grey and yellow quilt while cruising the WIP Wednesday round ups and that inspired me to pull this stack.

I'm not sure if yellow and grey will be the way forwards for this quilt, we will see. I'd like to try working more with limited palettes but also need inspiration - what's your favourite??

I also bought Round and Round


I love that this uses charm squares. I have a whole pile of charm squares from a rainbow swap I was in a couple of years ago and I keep thinking about a rainbow Round & Round, maybe like Kristy's

Or maybe with each circle in a different colour ....

I did actually get a bit carried away and also bought On a Whim, Fireworks and Mini Swoon. Oh and Camille has some new patterns out now, I love Red Letter Day and Rise and Shine. But let's try and keep this list vaguely realistic, shall we?

2. A Granny Square quilt.

Image from

I love this classic pattern, and just last week I won a copy of Lori Holt's new book, Great Granny Squared. I'd had my eye on this and had entered every giveaway for it I could find and so was utterly delighted to get lucky on Kerry's blog!

I suppose I could easily start pulling from my stash and make this up asap, but I really do love the vintage prints that Lori uses, and would really love to sew this up in 30s repro fabrics. This kinda thing.

Both images from where you can buy all these pretties

Of which I own none, so that would have to wait until Fabriholics Anonymous is over. Meh. 

3. Another medallion quilt.
Last year's Marcelle Medallion was such an amazing piecing challenge, so much fun to make. I must confess to sometimes getting a little weary of piecing together rows of quilt blocks (hence why I favour large block quilts!) and the way a medallion quilt comes together is entirely different and very pleasing. I wasn't sure *which* medallion exactly but then Sarah posted her completed Made to Measure top on Instagram.

I have seen these before but wasn't sure where the pattern was from, apparently it is Sarah Fielke's Hand Quilted With Love. Best get that on the Amazon wishlist. 

4. Something with curves.
I've never pieced curves. I don't know why really, I'm not particularly scared - maybe I should be? I think the cutting puts me off more than the sewing to be honest.

Retro Flowers, perhaps? Love this.

Image from

5. Swedish Bloom quilt.
From Ayumi Mills' book Patchwork Please.
I bought this adorable book just for this pattern after watching Kerry's blocks pop up on Instagram and loving every single one of them.

Her finished quilt is stunning.

I do enjoy foundation paper piecing but a whole quilt? I'll have to psych myself up for that one!

6. Something by Jen Kingwell.
This is the big one, isn't it? There are so many amazing versions of her amazing quilts and completing one of these would tick so many learning boxes as well as being a huge accomplishment. Traditional piecing, hand piecing, applique, curves. I've wavered over ordering a pattern, but just cannot decide which!

^^ go check these lovely ladies out on Instagram by the way, they are so talented.

I can't see me making them all, but how do I choose?!
I'm quietly keeping my ear to the ground for the next Amitie BOM club just in case it is some amazing new pattern.And in the meantime, changing my mind every time I see a new one version of each of these pop up online!

And lastly 7. APQ Tone It Down Quilt.

You know I love a good QAL, and I have seen so many awesome versions of this popping up.

Lissa's original version

I love Camille's version of course
As this was published in an American Quilting Magazine I wasn't sure how to get the pattern (though I might be able to get it digitally?). Apparently though it is basically a scrappy version of this block so if I engaged my clever head I could probably figure it out. Maybe when I start getting a bit more sleep!!

Phew! I feel rather exhausted now. But really glad to have got this written and all these ideas out of my head.
Thanks for reading! What's on your bucket list??

Fabric wanties - March

Well it's nearly the end of March and therefore time to check in with Fabriholics Anonymous.


So far I seem to be doing quite well, in that I have purchased no fabric since the 1st of January 2014. None. Zero. Not a single yard. Or fat quarter even. Sigh. But the fabric wanties, oh the wanties have been bad this month. I nearly wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but decided just to get on with sewing and ride it out rather than dwelling on it and making myself feel worse.

It isn't quilting cotton that is giving me the wanties this month, even though there are some seriously beautiful fabric collections coming out at the moment that I am very sad to be missing.

April Showers by Bonnie & Camille.

Image from

Color Me Happy by V & Co.

Image from

Foxfield by Tula Pink

All images from

So yep, if I was buying quilting collections, these are what I would be buying. But my FQ and half yard stash is pretty healthy and to be honest I am enjoying getting to know it a bit more, rather than just cramming more fabric into it without even knowing what's there already. Starting to think about the quilts I want to make this year and how I might use my stash to do that.

What I am struggling with is wanting longer cuts. And dressmaking fabrics.

I have several bags on my WNQIP (works not quite in progress list) for some time now and have already made a start on my Travel Duffle. I have also purchased a zip for a Noodlehead Cargo Duffle and am starting to think about fabrics for it. And really wishing I had more 1-2 yard cuts. I had to use Kona Snow for the interior of my Travel Duffle as I just didn't have a long enough coordinating cut of a coloured solid or print. And while I am happy to piece bag exteriors, I do love a striking lining. Having to make do feels a shame, somehow, given the amount of work, fabric and interfacing that goes into making a bag.

Aeroplane bag interior
Aeroplane bag interior

And of course my Staple dress made me want to make more Staple dresses. Specifically a Staple dress made out of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Denim with cute contrast neck and armhole facing and possibly even pockets. But I only have 1 metre of the Denim. I've tried to squeeze those pattern pieces on, even followed Grainline Studio's advice to try pattern pieces flat rather than on the fold, but nope, it's not going to fit.

Not being much of a dressmaking means that of course my stash rather lacks the cuts and type of fabric required to make adult sized clothing. So why, you might ask, could I not resist buying a bundle of patterns for just the types of fabric I do not own?

Well I couldn't. That Staple dress, plus the ongoing Great British Sewing Bee, has made me want to make things for myself. And the pattern bundle was half price last week, and when I looked at the collection I knew I could make, suit and wear ALL the patterns in it. Just the kind of tops I love. And I wear jeans, umm, almost every day!

But I do not own interlock.

I'll take that neutral stripe please

Or sweater knits.

And the india ink fleck (top left)

Or ponte de Roma

Oh, it would have been so easy to fall off the wagon. Dressmaking fabrics don't count, right??

Yes they do.

Because this exactly what I do ... I have plans to make so many things, then I get distracted and go off on a tangent and start making other things. Well, I can still do that, I just can't buy fabric to do so. So no, I can't make all the Just Add Jeans tops yet because I do not have appropriate knits. I do however have a couple of metres of grey jersey cotton, bought to buy some PJ tops for the girls. To go with the as yet unmade Fanfare flannel PJ bottoms. And grey is just my thing, apparel wise.

So I am thinking about the Parisian top, like this ...

But I have quilts to finish first!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Another busy week - WIP wednesday

I've learnt my lesson after last week's WIP Wednesday post. No more smug, sweeping assertions. After declaring how well the baby was sleeping in the evening she stopped doing so, of course, and so an evening of distracted, rushed basting resulted in this:

No a disaster, but irritating indeed, as there was about 6" overhang on the other side. I am quite capable of making slightly too small quilt backings but not on this occasion, I had just failed to centre it properly, been called away to the baby then hastily sprayed it down when I returned some time later. My Instagram chums suggested adding another strip to that side and just carrying on but I couldn't really justify that, what with the fast induced fabric shortage going on here (!) and the fact it was just spray basted. So I unpeeled it, centered it properly (ish) and smoothed it down again with a little extra spray for good luck.

This is destined to be hubby's quilt, so he was given the run of the Aurifil stash and asked to choose his thread and quilting style. He requested the 40wt grey 2600 with straight lines 1/4" to each side of each
seam line.

So I obliged.

And here came trip up from smug assertion number 2, that I never ever get puckers while quilting. This is the 4th large quilt I have quilted this year and I am finding the process a lot better than I used to, especially with the lovely 11" throat on my machine, but I just couldn't get in the groove with this one. I don't think I can blame the different thread (I usually quilt with 50wt) so maybe my basting or piecing is responsible but I got many puckers in the quilt top as I crossed seam lines. Only small ones, and I don't care enough to do anything about it. It'll wash up fine I'm sure. I liked the look of the 40wt, more stitch definition than usual, but I can't afford to double up my Aurifil collection with different weights so it may be a one off!

This quilt then needed a binding, again husband was given the choice of the stash (I am SO nice, I know). He chose this lovely Tsuru print, which he had actually suggested a while back as a binding for my Marcelle Medallion.

I ignored him then, and went with a dark blue solid instead, in part because he insisted it needed to be cut on the bias. And same again this time. Ugh. I have a bit of an unreasonable issue with cutting bias strips. But I agreed. Mainly because I felt it was time to deal with that issue, as I also had some bias strip cutting looming for my travel duffle. The handles call for bias strip trim, and I am going to attempt to bind my raw seams too rather than just zig zagging them (this bag is unlined and I have neither the inclination nor a big enough appropriate fabric cut to tackle making a lining).

When I have cut bias strips previously, for the piping on my Weekender and the trim on a Noodlehead Sidekick Tote I have used the continuous method and a fat quarter. Yes, that's right, I have made bias tape twice, ever. I told you I have issues.



This time I had half yards, and used the traditional method instead. Actually I started off on the continuous method, then changed my mind - all that wonky lining up and pinning just doesn't do it for me.So I cut all my strips from the parallelogram. I have a few extra seams, but I used the full half yard, and since I couldn't be bothered to calculate how much binding I would need that seemed the most sensible thing to do. 

He was right about that bias cut, wasn't he? 

I even tackled my last binding nemesis and joined the ends with a mitred seam when attaching it to the front of the Playground quilt. I always just cop out and do a straight join, but I was in a bias groove and so I followed Christina's excellent tutorial and it was a breeze. I totally recommend her advice for all stages of the quilt binding process. 

I then attached the trim to my Travel Duffle handles. Do not adjust your monitors, it is indeed BROWN. 

And whipped up some (crossgrain, thankfully) scrappy voile binding for my voile Sparkling Cider Quilt.

Which I then needed to set about basting. I've not had a great week for basting, remember, and I had a vague inkling the the voile was not going to be delighted with my spray basting technique. I have been sewing with voile a lot lately, with this quilt and then my Staple dress, and found it on the whole to be a joy. Plenty of starch, a little glue basting (all standard processes for me) and a 70/10 needle has all worked very well. Basting, less so. As predicted the spray baste didn't stick very well so I had to add my entire - and apparently inadequate - collection of safety pins. 

For the backing I used two large pieces of voile, an Anna Maria Horner print like that used on the front and also a Joel Dewberry print. Interestingly the latter took the spray baste much better.

Wasn't risking that backing being too small!
I was really quite concerned when I had finished basting. It wasn't adhered particularly well, was only scantily pinned and the fabric already looked puckered and not as smooth as I like. I'm not going to say too much about how the quilting has gone for fear of cursing myself again but now I've got some of my favourite wavy-but-straight lines down I feel happier that it is all stabilised and am going to try to get this quilting finished up soon.

Phew! I need to sew less, or at least try to write shorter blog posts. Thanks for taking the time to read through my week!

Linking up with Lee and WIP Wednesday.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

WIP Wednesday

I've had a busy old week sewing wise. We had a quiet weekend, which means lovely husband is happy to entertain the girls while I sew - he's a good 'un. Also the baby has been more settled on an evening so I've been getting some uninterrupted time then too. All very pleasing. But I've had a bit of sewing project ADHD too. I think the extra time has made me lose my focus! Lots of WIPs this week so I thought it was worth linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday was apparently National Quilting Day, so I thought I should get into the spirit of things. I've enjoyed my small makes lately but they have left me with 2 unfinished quilts which I would really like to see completed pretty soon. So I chopped into my big roll of batting, taped it out on the floor and set out to baste my Playground Quilt.

Quilt top done! #simplyretro @thimbleblossoms  #happygoluckyfabric

And then I picked up my can of basting spray. My only a third full can of basting spray. I bulk bought these at the Festival of Quilts last year and I always find when you do that with something it is rather a surprise when it run out, isn't it? I was sure I had another can. But no.

So I basted the top then - rather grumpily - folded it up and put it away. And got to ordering two more cans on Amazon. And pondered what to do instead. It takes a lot of psyching myself up to get me to baste a quilt so it was disappointing indeed to be thwarted. I could use pins, yes I know, I could use pins. But meh, I don't want to. I have always spray basted, since my very first quilt, always using this handy tutorial (though I tape the wadding to the floor with clear packaging tape rather than using dumbbells ... because I don't have anyway! I have used heavy cookbooks in the past and that works too). It works great for me, I rarely, if ever, get any wrinkles or puckers while quilting. I hate pinning, and that includes safety pins. My safety pins all seem dis-pleasingly blunt, anyway. And I hate removing them too, nevermind having to do so while quilting. Quilting is not my favourite part of the process and I don't like to make it any harder than it needs to be. So, no pins. Just patience.

Instead I pieced together the stack of voile blocks which have been sat waiting for a while.

Into this.

This beauty is the Sparkling Cider quilt pattern from All Washed Up. I saw this on Jeni's blog a couple of years back, she has made two awesome versions. the pattern proved a little tricky to get hold of as there is no facility to buy online but after a few exchanged emails I had it in my hands. It also uses a specialist ruler - the Quilt in a Day large flying geese ruler. Geese are my nemesis block and this ruler makes them a breeze. Perfect points and no bowed in edges! This top is the lap size at 64" by 80".

I also pulled out my voile stash and pieced together a quick back, all ready for when that basting spray arrives!

I had in that stash one yard of a beautiful Anna Maria Horner Field Study print that I had put to one side in case I needed it for the backing, but didn't. Baby girl has been sleeping in her cot of an evening lately and using her very own little car quilt, which means I've been trailing it in and out of the car.


So I popped the voile together with a piece of spotty fanfare flannel and whipped up a sweet little self binding baby blanket.

yep, another dreadful picture, sorry

There are lots of tutorials for these blankets out there and I read several of them. They all seem to call for 2 square pieces of fabric, one 10" bigger than the other - so say 40" square by 30". Although the voile is wide - 54" - I only had a yard of it, and the same of the narrower flannel. So I decided to try to make the most of what I had by using rectangular pieces, and also go for a smaller 6" overlap to create a slightly smaller border and maximise the size of the finished blanket. This is easy to do, you just have to make sure that the difference between the pieces is the same in each direction.

So the voile was cut to 34" by 44" and the flannel to 28" by 38". Tutorials here, here and here but there are loads more! This finished up quickly so is no longer a WIP, but it is being used and loved.

Then on Monday I got an email notification from Amazon saying my spray baste would be delivered on Friday at the earliest. FRIDAY! I was going to whip up another pair of knickers but was waiting on some black thread to match the elastic. Seriously, what kind of sewer doesn't own black thread?

So .... time for a new project. I cut into a long hoarded piece of fabric, eeked out the last of that spray baste and ended up with this.

Which will eventually become a StudioCherie Travel Duffle. This has been on the WNQIP (works not quite in progress) list for ages, the fabric was bought specially, I have the jute for the handles and so forth. Zips ordered and on their way. I was just steeling myself to cut rather a lot of bias strips ....

And then when I arrived home this afternoon I found this parcel awaiting me.

Best get basting then, hadn't I?