Saturday, 12 March 2016

Paint chip cushion - started and finished

I have been doing a lot of sewing of scraps lately, building up piles of blocks but not anywhere near finishing a quilt. Here's a glimpse of what my sewing room (aka dining room) has looked like recently:

It felt like time I made something from start to finish in hours rather than weeks - or months...

I have had a little pack of 2 1/2" squares sitting on my shelf since NEC Festival of Quilts last August. The collection is Modern Background - Ink by Zen Chic for Moda. The pack was a freebie from the Moda stand - so generous, I love Moda fabric and it is great to get to try out a whole new line.

I decided to go with the shaded 'paint chip' style layout which I have seen elsewhere on the internet. I know there has been something similar on both Crazy Mom Quilts and Lily's Quilts in the past. We are starting to think about repainting our house as our kids have more or less moved out, and grey is one of our favourite wall colours, so it's quite appropriate for that reason too, surrounded as we are by shade cards and tester pots.

The number of fabrics in each tonal group dictated the layout as five rows of eight squares: there were 42 squares in the mini charm pack and I therefore had just 2 squares left over. I love not having oodles of spare - it doesn't happen very often: see top photo...

I pieced the squares together with 1" (cut size) sashing in an off-white solid from my stash (sorry, no idea what colour or make), joining the rows first, then using a long 1" strip between each of the rows and top and bottom.  

So the sashing finishes 1/2" and the squares 2". The cushion ends up as 13" x 21" or thereabouts. I used an offcut of cotton wadding and calico to back the front and give some body, and I quilted along the middle of the sashing strips for minimal texture in keeping with the crisp clean lines.

I was able to find a suitable fun backing in my stash and used the envelope method which Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts describes here, adapted to my rectangular cushion. I also had to make a cushion pad insert as I couldn't find one this odd shape/size for sale on the internet. It was a good way of using up spare polyester wadding which must be 15 years old.

So all in all, this was a good and quick project which used my stash and cleared my mind. Having everything on hand meant there were no delays, and knowing my daughter had her eye on the finished cushion was an extra motivation.

I am linking to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday as I finished late last night, too late for a good photo which I had to do this morning, but within the spirit of the linkup. Hope you manage some sewing too this weekend.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Bushel Basket/Log Cabin Squares

So pleased with this top, I cannot save it for Friday!  I had so much fun (and made quite a mess!) making the blocks and playing around with colour combinations.  Blogged about it here first (scroll to the end of the post).

It is so satisfying to take a bundle of skinny strips and make neat little blocks which stack up nicely ready to be stitched together.  I worked on them over a few days, here and there in between all the other tasks which needed doing.  Stitch a few, press a few, repeat.  Each time I got to add a new colour I felt a little burst of excitement. Simple pleasures...

I am including lots of pictures so you can see the variety of fabrics I was able to use (and use up!). The palette is predominantly country/traditional (though I think it would look fab in modern brights too) as those were the oldest scraps, the ones I was most keen to use.

You may be able to spot lots of Thimbleberries fabrics left over from the two Thimbleberries scrap quilts I made last year, which in turn were left over from another Thimbleberries quilt I no longer have (I always over-purchase fabric for projects...), but I also managed to slip in a few batiks in murky colours, and some checks and simple stripes which always give a bit of life to a quilt, I feel.

And how perfect is this floral backing I had in my stash, bought in a sale a year or two ago because I loved it so much.  So this really is a quilt top from stash - best kind for assuaging my guilt over past excessive purchases...

Some vital statistics to finish off: the top measures 56" x 64"; there are 168 x 4 1/2" blocks (finished size) set 12 x 14 blocks.  Most of the centre squares are 1 1/2" finished with three rounds of 'logs', but about 20 blocks have 2 1/2" finished size centres and only two rounds of logs.  The logs finish at 1/2", having been cut  from 1" strips.

The block is a classic Log Cabin variation where the logs are added in opposite pairs (as for Courthouse Steps) but with just one colour/fabric in each complete round.  I was inspired to make the quilt by the Bushel Basket quilt in Edyta Sitar's book, Scrappy Firework Quilts published by Landauer in 2012, but I decided not to include the 6" strippy border.

Hope to get this one quilted quite soon: I have a bit of a quilting backlog...