Friday, 28 November 2014

Rainbow Quilt DONE!

It's done it's done, my rainbow quilt is done!

I am so pleased with how this has turned out!  It's a bit wrinkly at the moment as I left it in the tumble dryer slightly long and the creases set, but they'll come out next time it gets washed (which, given it's my son's quilt I'm sure won't be long).

I quilted it in zig-zags, and have bound it in scraps of the green, blue, indigo and violet fabric.

This was going to be one of his Christmas presents, but I've already got him a few other presents and he's too little to really understand the idea of Christmas anyway, so I've decided to give it to him early.  I think a few games of hide and seek and a bit of tent building will be the order of the day!

Linking up to Crazymomquilts, Confessions of a Fabric AddictFreedom Fridays and TGIFF.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Around the House 3 - Wall Hanging

Continuing my roam around the house...

I always wondered how much use pre-cuts (charm packs, jelly rolls etc) actually were, and what you could really make with that little stack of squares or strips.  Finally I decided that the only way to find out was to have a go, so I bought two charm packs - a PB & J by Basic Grey for Moda one, and a wren and friends by Gina Martin for Moda one.  I turned the pb&j one into an awesome wall hanging, and the wren and friends one has become a series of cushions (I'll write about those in another post).

I put the charm squares together in fours, and then arranged them on point alternating with squares of a creamy coloured cotton (nothing special, just the standard plain cotton from my local shop).  I quilted it using an orange peel pattern following this tutorial over at petitdesignco.  I'm not very well practised with free motion quilting, so loved this method of doing the orange peel quilting as I could use a walking foot.  It's really simple to do, but so effective.

I also quilted in the ditch along the edges of the large squares - that's visible from the back but you can't really see it from the front.  It's backed in the same creamy cotton as I used for the background on the front, and I bought some extra yardage of one of the charm square fabrics for the binding.

I'd always intended this to be a wall hanging, so during construction I added a couple of pockets to the top corners so that it would be easy to hang using a bamboo cane.

This was a fun project as it was contained quite a few firsts for me:

  • my first charm square project
  • my first time doing orange peel quilting
  • my first time doing this folded binding, following Amanda Jean's tutorial over at crazymomquilts- I have done it ever since as it gives a lovely narrow binding and a neat finish 
  • my first time doing a quilt on point
It was great trying out so many new techniques, and I was so pleased with the outcome.  It's now hanging on our study wall, to brighten up my day when I'm working :)

Friday, 21 November 2014

Triple zip purse finished!

I am so excited by this purse!

I love making purses, and my sister loves anything with lots of zips, so when I saw the tutorial for this over at A Quilter's Table I knew who I was making it for.  It would have been a Christmas present if I could have hung onto it for that long, but it was too fun so I popped it in the post to her right away.

When I was visiting my sister a few weeks ago we went into her local fabric shop and she fell in love with this gorgeous dog fabric, so I whipped back to get some, along with the purple accent fabric.  The pockets are lined in a pink polka dot fabric I had in my stash.

I found the tutorial in general really good and easy to understand.  I did end up doing the final steps slightly differently as I found the tutorial method a bit fiddly.  Also, because I was concerned that my zips hadn't all gone in totally in line with one another, I used a slightly bigger seam allowance on the side seams to ensure I caught everything.  As best I can explain, what I did was:
  • Once you have attached all of the zips, and it's just the sides of the pouch that need closing up, rather than turning the pouch through as described in the tutorial I OPENED THE TOP ZIP (it's a pain if you forget to do this - experience speaks), lifted up the biggest pocket, pressed the rest flat, and stitched from the bottom of the pouch upwards on both sides up to where it met the biggest pocket.  You are just stitching through the main body and the two smaller pockets, not through the biggest pocket.
  • I then stitched the two sides of the biggest pocket, leaving a gap for turning on one side.  You need to be careful to lay the pocket down how it will lie in the finished pouch, not just pull it out at right angles, and you won't be able to stitch right up to the top of the pocket.
  • Then, I stitched down from the top of the pouch, through all of the layers, until my stitching joined up with the main pocket stitching from the previous step.
  • It should now be possible to turn your pouch the right side out through the gap you left in the side of the biggest pocket and the open top zip (see why that was so important?!), iron it all out and stitch the hole in the pocket up.

Overall I'm really pleased with the result.  It has pulled a bit tight across the back because of the bulk of all of the zips on the front, but that doesn't seem to be affecting the way it works so I don't think it'll matter.  You may notice that the top zip is on the front of the pouch rather than directly across the top as well - that's just to do with me lining it up like that when sewing up the sides because I didn't look at the photos properly.

I'm linking this up with crazymomquilts finish it up Friday!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Around the House 2 - Butterflies

When you see a fabric that you absolutely adore, but it won't do for clothes and you can't stand to cut it up small for patchwork?  Heirloom chenille blanket from Anneliese over at Aesthetic nest to the rescue.  This lap/baby sized quilt lets you showcase over a metre of fabulous fabric, seeing the full effect of the design.  The piece of fabric I used for this quilt was 1.25m x width of fabric (44 inch fabric), so the finished quilt is just a bit smaller than that.

I have made two of these now, and this was the first one that I made.  I love this butterfly fabric, it's so happy, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

The tutorial for this blanket is really good.  I did invest in the proper chenille cutter in order to cut the back - although possible to do it with scissors I think it would take a huge amount of time, and be difficult to get the cuts looking even.  

This blanket lives on our sofa in the lounge, and is lovely to snuggle up with in an evening.  Doing the quilting on it does take a while - the lines are about half an inch apart - and it uses up a lot of thread, but it is so worth it.  One nice thing about the quilting though is that you don't need to worry if your lines of stitching seem to pull against each other (so the fabric goes wrinkly between the stitching lines).  When you cut the back all of the tension in the fabric is released and your wrinkles will vanish :)  

Also, there is no need to panic if your lines don't stay totally straight.  I drew a line with a ruler for the first line of stitching, and then just worked off that for the rest.  If it looked like my stitching was getting a bit bendy then I did make an effort to straighten it up, but you really don't notice a few wobbles or slight curves in the finished quilt.

The second time I made this I didn't round the corners off, largely so that I could use straight binding rather than bias binding.  I think it looks great either way, just personal preference!

One of the lovely things about this blanket is that it just gets better with washing.  Every time it goes through the washer the chenille fluffs up a bit more, and it gets a bit more cuddly.  I can see another one of these on my horizon soon...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Aound the House 1 - Baby Quilt

As I'm a bit limited in which current projects I can show you at the moment, due to the vast majority of them being Christmas presents, I thought I would take you around the house to show you a series of items I've made over the last few years, which are currently in use.  As they aren't recent, in a lot of cases I can't tell you what fabric line material came from, exactly what wadding, thread, pattern etc that I used, but I'll do my best!  And if anyone recognises anything, then let me know and I'll add a link :)

To start us off, this green quilt is the second quilt I ever made (the first was a present so I don't have it anymore) and I made it when I was about three months pregnant with my son. We didn't know the gender, but I wanted to make something for this unknown child, partly to help me believe that it was real.

I bought the fabric online as a fat quarter bundle, in large part because I loved the cute elephant print.  I then googled for easy quilts you could make with fat quarters and came up with a free pattern for this design.  I have since lost track of where I got the pattern from (which is a real shame as I love it - it looks good and is quick and simple to put together), but if anyone recognises it then let me know and I'll add a link!  The quilt used six fat quarters, and there were only the tiniest scraps of fabric left over.  

It's quilted really simply, with straight lines either side of each seam.  It was done before I'd even heard of the existence of a walking foot, so there are a few puckers, but given it was my first attempt at machine quilting I'm pretty proud of it!  I don't remember what the wadding is, but I imagine that it's either Hobbs 80/20 or polyester, as those are the ones you could get at Hobbycraft.

I backed it using a white sheet, with a strip of patchwork across the middle - I love backs with a bit of detail.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Rainbow Quilt in progress

I'm currently working on my rainbow quilt.  This one is destined to be a Christmas present, but as it's for my 14 month old son who is unlikely to stumble across this post, I feel safe sharing it.

This is the first quilt that I've made using solids, and I've really enjoyed the novelty of the big bold blocks of colour.  I used kona solids for the fabric, and they are gorgeous, vibrant colours (when it's finished I will take a photo in the daylight to show the colours off better) and the fabric has a lovely weighty feel.  I bought the fabric from plush addict (here) where they do a rainbow fat quarter bundle, which pretty much solved my fabric selection!

My original plan was to make each of the zig zag stripes in a single colour, but when I was laying it out it just didn't look right, and after a lot of playing around I combined two colours per zig zag stripe.  I got the idea for the zig zag stripe layout using two tone blocks from Amanda Jean over at crazymomquilts.  It's a neat technique to form zig zags without the need for half square triangles!  Each block measures 5.5 inches finished: 4.5 inches of colour and a 1 inch white stripe (the white is kona snow).

I'm currently quilting it fairly simply, sewing lines about half an inch away from the white stripes on each side.  I'm using red thread for this so that it shows up on most of the squares, a bit like top stitching.  I don't tend to quilt very heavily as I like the look of widely spaced lines (and also I'm also a bit impatient and don't want to spend days doing it).

I finished piecing this quilt top over the summer, and when I started quilting it tonight I felt incredibly unmotivated.  I think the novelty of it had worn off and it just felt like drudge work to get it finished.  After I'd been working for a little while though (with the aid of a few episodes of The West Wing), I really started to get into it and I'm falling back in love with the rainbows.  I just hope my little man likes it - it will certainly be good for playing hide and seek under!