Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Wedding Stars

Quick post to show you my WIP for this week: a quilt for a wedding at the beginning of August. Sorry for the indoor pictures, but at least I didn't need flash so the colours are fairly true.

I made the nine-patches and hourglass blocks a while ago and put them on one side - I've got ages, I thought, and I needed space and time to play with the layout, and no visitors so I could leave it all out on the floor.  Oh, for a design wall...

No longer have ages, so I sewed all day yesterday and today and I have it almost together.  Just a few tweaks to make sure the same fabrics aren't next to one another: don't you find this is the slowest part of making a scrappy quilt?

My aim is to have the top completed before we go on holiday at the end of the week so I can buy a cosy brushed cotton plaid for the backing at Cowslip Workshops.

Linking today to Lee at Freshly Pieced: WIP Wednesday.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Scrapper's Delight - finished!

Happy to report that I put the blocks together today so this top is finished.  Having the incentive to link today to Finish it up Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts made all the difference: thanks, Amanda Jean, for keeping it going through the holidays.

Not a brilliant photo as I was losing the light and didn't use enough pegs to keep the quilt taut on the washing line, but you get the general idea.

It will be a while before this top is quilted as we are off on holiday shortly, but I am glad that the project has moved beyond the 'in bits' stage.  Scrap Vortex still pretty messy but I have to re-focus next week on the wedding quilt I must complete for a wedding in less than a month - eek!

Close up to show some of the fabrics I used from my scrap bin.  This is definitely a quilt which looks better at a distance: a bit too chaotic close up.  I think it may be because my fabrics are more 'broken' by other colours/patterns than Amanda Jean's (see photos from Sunday Morning Quilts in this post), whose patterned fabrics seem rather more 'solid' and the colours more saturated.  I seem to have quite a lot of pastel-ish pinks and soft blues.

It has been an interesting quilt to make and it has certainly used lots of scraps so I am pleased.  I heartily recommend Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkinson if you don't already know it: so many lovely scrap quilts and lots of good tips and ideas for using your scrap stash.  It is one of my favourite books of recent years.

Hope you are having fun with your sewing projects at the moment.  Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Back on track - two very different quilts

Not much sewing done last week as my mum came to stay and there was lots of visiting and chatting to be done instead.  However I did manage to lay out and photograph my Scrapper's Delight blocks (based on the pattern in Sunday Morning Quilts) which I had finished and trimmed just before she arrived.

The layout is very rough, I did not have time today to tweak, stand back and move blocks around into their final positions, though my aim is to have joined up the blocks into a complete quilt top by Friday...

There are 36 Quarter Log Cabin blocks trimmed to 12 1/2".  These will be arranged in groups of four, set 3 x 3, making a good sized quilt approx. 72" square.  I used lots of my larger scrap strips as the blocks got bigger - hooray!  More to report on Friday, I hope.

I also said last post that I would show you the 'new' take-along hand quilting project to replace my Lozenge EPP.  I did manage to do a small amount of hand quilting last night so I feel this has become a legitimate WIP after far too long as a UFO in the cupboard.  I was trying to remember when I pieced the top and I just can't be sure, but I find I have done a lot more work on it than I remembered.

The top is my own design (I call it Zigzag Strippy Four-patch, which is descriptive rather than imaginative) and I made the original version in bright fabrics for a book called Quick Colourful Quilts for Babies and Toddlers published by New Holland in 2006.

I recollect that I decided to make the taupe version with smaller four-patch blocks (from 2 1/2" strips).  Some of the Lozenge hexies were in fact made from the leftover strips: it all gets used in the end, sometime, somewhere.

Most of the zigzag quilting was done ages ago but I ran out of steam when it came to the borders as I needed to mark the clamshell design.  I find this is often the stage at which my quilts are abandoned: I hate quilt marking more than any other part of the process of quiltmaking.  This comment applies equally to both hand and machine quilting.

If I can mark with a Hera marker and see the crease line without straining my eyes, that is ideal. But I struggle with darker fabrics as nothing seems to show up particularly well.  Chalk just brushes off so is no good for anything more elaborate than a straight line in my opinion.  Propelling (mechanical) pencils with coloured leads are good in principle but I find they drag on the fabric and the leads always break.  This time I have managed to use a blue washout marker but I must have good light to see it which limits when I can quilt.

I think if I had a better marking system I would be more inclined to handquilt as I do like the finished effect.  How about you: what marking tools would you not be without?  Any advice welcomed on this awkward subject.

The narrow dark brown strip is a folded insert.  I wanted some definition between the border and the pieced centre of the quilt but I did not want anything too wide.  My stitching is a bit wobbly - I hope I would manage a crisper line now - but it does the job.  A folded insert is a bit of a pain if you machine quilt but no trouble if handquilting as you can fold it out of the way to stitch right up to the edge.

Linking with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday: her baskets of colourful scraps make me want to get back to my Scrap Vortex...