Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes - Feb goal met!

I have met my February goal - to finish the starburst QAL quilt that Melissa at Happy Quilting has being running. Yay! :)

I have posted about this quilt before here and here

For the quilting I decided on a travelling loops and stars, all over pattern. 

Then on the narrow border a back and forth line pattern.

I managed to finish quilting it last week and then finished hand sewing the binding over the weekend. I am really quite pleased with it! 

Melissa's instructions gave several block sizes, but I chose to take me fabrics from a layer cake so had to make the block slightly smaller. I was very pleased I did this as I dislike trying to fight big quilts through my DSM. The finished quilt has ended up at 40.5 inches square.

Melissa is having a parade on March 4 for all the finished quilts. I am so pleased I will be able to put mine into it. I was going to wait to show pictures until then, but can't resist.

So, here is the front. The sun actually shone today so I took full advantage and hung it outside!

And this is the back. I used up all the left over scraps to make the strip and added it to some Kona snow. Not sure the strip looks straight looking at it here, but that's life!

Hope everyone is meeting their February goals! Linking up to 

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Square Eyes!

So what 18 inch block could possible take 324 squares to construct! 

A Super Mario Bros block, that's what!

I was browsing the internet one day and came across some blogs I had not visited before. Don't you just love finding new places to visit. One site I stumbled across was the Cut to Pieces blog. Some great inspiration but one quilt in particular that caught my eye! 

Last year she held a Super Mario Bros QAL!! It's a shame I didn't come across this when it was running, but hey ho! 

I have a 6 year old son who just loves Mario! When we moved continents we bought our wii games console with us but it stopped working after about 6 months or so. He was not a happy boy, but it was summer so there was plenty of other things to do! 

Unfortunately, the games are region based! So, we had the dilemma of do we buy a new wii here and reinvest in all the old games or do we try and get an old one that would work with the games we had. Well, last Christmas Granny and Granddad visited us and our son has been reunited with a working wii! Mario is back in our house!

So, when I saw this quilt I just knew I had to make him one. Oh, and my husband apparently wants one too! Hmm... there are a lot of little squares involved, maybe one is enough! We'll see!

In the instructions it calls for some 12 yards of fusible interfacing. Well I didn't have any of that and it sounded rather expensive so I am sewing mine together individually!! Oh boy, I might regret that decision!

Here is Mario in rows :)

I have to keep this one under wraps which is really hard with all the work that is going to go into it! I so want to pin it on my design wall and say 'hey look at this'! Alas, poor Mario sits in a pile out of the way only to be touched when said little boy is in bed or at school!

I am going to have to work faster than 1 block a month though if it is to be done by Christmas! Anyhow, here is Mario completed!! 

324 squares for the block

Next up Luigi or maybe a mushroom.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Coming along nicely

My February goal is to complete the Starburst quilt. So I have been busy working on it all week. It sat for a few days on my design wall, all basted and waiting to be quilted, before I could decide how to quilt it. Oh, and while my machine had a bit of a hissy fit on me and didn't want to sew without making a horrendous noise! I gave it a good clean and talked to it nicely and thankfully it is now behaving again!

So, I have quilted the centre with one free-motion pattern and I am going to use a different pattern on the narrow border. Melissa at Happy Quilting is holding a little parade of the completed quilts on 4th March so I am only going to show some of my progress. 

Also this week I have been finishing off the last couple of blocks on the Something New Sampler QAL and deciding on my layout. 
The cathedral windows block was certainly very time consuming and there are a few things I would do differently if I did it again. Firstly, I discovered too late that I should have used some fusible web to stick down the background fabrics before I started to turn back the window. In the corners I can see the background square fraying already and it shows if you look closely! Also I would have chosen a different colour pattern had I thought more about how it was going to turn out. But that's all part of the learning curve, right!

Cathedral Windows

The other remaining block to do was a scrappy block. Having completed all the other blocks I now had loads of scraps so this was fun to use up some of those small bits, I do hate wasting fabric!

Scraptastic Block

And I had a load of Beaver badges to sew onto a uniform. Horrible, horrible job! A while ago I had mistakenly sewn one of the Brownie badges on the Beaver uniform. Oh boy, was I unpopular! They both took part in the same event and I assumed it was his badge, I was wrong!! Oops! But I have now rectified the problem and have a happy boy again with a completely covered uniform. Good job he moves up to Cubs later this year!

So that has been my week of sewing, it has whizzed by. 

Linking up with 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Attempting to keep up with QALs

My Starburst QAL is coming along nicely. I have used up lots of my little scraps on the backing and I have managed to get it the ready to quilt stage! Yay. Now, how to quilt it! hmm...

Starburst QAL

It's the last week of techniques in the Something New Sampler! Where are the weeks going!! Scary.

There have been some fun techniques in the last couple of weeks - Trapunto, Cathedral Windows, Machine Appliqué and Pinless Curves. I have tried some of these techniques before with some degree of success :)

I attended a workshop some years ago with an English quilter, Phillipa Naylor. She has produced some wonderful work and won a variety of awards. She includes a lot of trapunto in her work and she uses the technique that M-R uses in her sampler block.

After the workshop I used the technique on this wall hanging. This photos is not the best, can't really see the effect the trapunto makes. I used a dark thread around the trapunto and my free machining was not the best back then so it is rather wobbly! But I completed it and learnt from it.

Wall hanging using trapunto

So I knew what I was in for with this piece. I altered the block slightly from the tutorial and ended up with this:

Block 6 - Trapunto
It isn't finished yet as I haven't tried the quilt-as-you-go method and decided I wasn't going to try that just now. So you don't get quite the full effect of the trapunto yet. I like this technique and the effect you get, so am looking forward to quilting this one :)

Pinless Curve

Alyssa at Pile O' fabric demonstrates making curves. I like the results (when it turns out good!) but not my most favourite thing to do! I struggled with getting it to lie flat and not puckered or bits caught up. Too much unpicking but I got there!!

Pinless Curves

I am half way through the machine appliqué block which is a pattern using clamshells. The Cathedral windows block is quite time consuming as I am doing some of it by hand. I have been taking it to all those places I sit waiting for things - to the ballet (4 year old class!), the skating rink, outside shops (waiting for them to open!).

Then I just have to decide how to set them out in a pattern! Obviously I needed some background fabric for that so just had to take a trip to the LQS! :)

Linking up with


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: Feb Goals

I missed the deadline for linking up last month, which was a pity as I did finish the quilt I had planned to complete in January. 

My goal for this month is to finish the starburst quilt that got started last month in the Happy Quilting Starburst QAL. Two of the blocks are sewn together! So that just leaves the other 2 blocks, adding the sashing, layering and basting, quilting and binding! Easy, peasy! ha!

Starburst Quilt

I also think the Something New Sampler finishes this month so will have that to complete too! It was perhaps a crazy idea to start two things in one month, especially a short month! :) We shall see what happens!

Something New Sampler Blocks

Anyway, I am linking up to a Lovely Year of Finishes in the hope that I achieve at least one finish this month.

Monday, 4 February 2013

First finish this year!

I started this quilt way back in the summer last year. It was to be a baby quilt for my friend's baby that was due in the September. But having made a pillowcase for the older brother in the same fabric I decided at the last minute I would make a different baby quilt. The result was this one I completed back in September.

So I this one was put on hold for the older brother's birthday present to match his pillowcase. Thinking I had loads of time I kept put off finishing it for far too long and doing lots of other things in between. Well his birthday was in the middle of January and I finally gave him the quilt last week all finished and labelled. 

The Front
The Back

Some of the quilting

Half way through quilting it (with the deadline approaching fast) my machine decided to play up and I had to unpick a whole chunk of it that did not sew properly! I was not a happy bunny!

Anyway, it's finished and despite using a blue thread in places on the back, that I regretted afterwards, I was pleased with it. More to the point the little boy it went to was over the moon, much to my amazement as it wasn't an actual car - he is car mad! Apparently, it has made bed time and nap time easier having it on his bed! :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

A spot of sashiko

The other block this week for the Something New Sampler was some sashiko. Jess over at The Elven Garden gave a great tutorial on how to do sashiko. There some great interpretations of this block appearing in the flickr group too.

It was suggested that a fabric with a slightly looser weave like a linen or cotton / linen blend. I didn't have anything like that, that would match the colours I have used for the other blocks so I just used one of my fabrics. It seemed to work well.

In her post there was a link to a site for printing patterns like hexagons, triangles and octagons. So I played for a while and ended up with this design:

At the Houston Quilt Festival we found some lovely threads. Luckily one of the random colours I purchased seemed to go quite nicely with my fabrics. The thread is Lizbeth by Handy Hands , Inc. This particular one was a size 40 which was not too thick but a bit like a perle 8 thread.

I haven't actually sewn with any of these threads before, but this was a great thread to hand sew with. I shall have to find some other projects that need some hand stitches. 

Anyway, finally the picture of my block:

The lighter part of the thread is not showing up very well in my poorly lit room. Wondering if my fabric was possibly a bit busy. I am lacking a plain fabric in my set of fabrics, which is going to be a challenge when I come to put them together at the end.

Anyway, here are my four blocks together on the design wall.

There are another two blocks next week - trapunto and Cathedral Windows. I have used both these techniques before so it will be interesting to see how these are given a new modern twist.

If you want to check it out, all the details can be found at The Cute Life.