Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Playing with Curves

I really like curvy patchwork patterns but normally avoid them for fear of them being a nightmare to stitch and to get right. Just recently Amy at The Cute Life posted a tutorial to make curvy pinwheels and she makes it seem so easy and with great results! Then there's Jenny at Sew Kind of Wonderful with some fabulous patterns with curves. 

I have been making progress with some of my WIPs this month although there is still plenty to be getting on with. But last week I just had this urge to drag out some fabric and do something different! So I pulled out these Simply Colour fabrics and some solids.

I had been watching the Curve It Up QAL with Jenny at Sew Kind of Wonderful and some of the wonderful blocks being created - take a look at the flickr group. I have had her ruler for quite some time and not used it, still put off by the unknown.

So I downloaded the directions for some of the QAL blocks and started reading through! I picked the 4-patch block to start with. The finished size of the block is 16.5". I didn't really want to create a huge quilt as I struggle to quilt large ones, so I was thinking wall hanging or small quilt. So I worked out the maths to make the block smaller. Then grabbed my rotary cutter and jumped in! But followed the wrong workings and ended up with the first quarter being the size Jenny says to make! Duh! So I had one of these at 8.5":

Despite being bigger than I had planned I liked what I saw so I made another one. I then made a couple more that were smaller with the aim of making the full block at the 8.5" size. But I am not sure what I am going to do with all these blocks yet. So, I for now have 2 large and 2 small.

I then picked the rail fence to play with. Sticking with the finished size of 8.5", I made just 2 rail fence blocks instead of the 4 in the pattern.

The next block was more tricky to break into smaller parts, so I just made the whole thing a bit smaller and omitted the outer portion. This is the 9-patch, I particularly like this one being on point. I might have to make more of this one.

Then last night I completed the log cabin. Again I tried to make this smaller to fit in with the 8.5" size of the other blocks. 

Unfortunately, it was obviously getting too late to be working things out and it wasn't until I pinned the finished block on the wall and stood back to take the picture that I discovered I had done something wrong! The logs are not the right sizes and don't line up right. But that's life, it's all an experiment. Not sure I can rectify the problem now so it might have to stay like it or I could try again!

So altogether I have a mixture of blocks, but plenty more to experiment with. 

Sewing these gentle curves is surprisingly easier than I had imagined, although probably easier at the intended larger size. The ruler makes light work of cutting the curves too! I guess you could freehand cut them and get a similar result, but in my world no two curves would be the same, where as there is some hope with the ruler!!

All good fun :)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Quilting practice

I have spent the last few days quilting my Something New Sampler. I decided this was an ideal opportunity to try out some new FMQ patterns. Especially as each block was a new technique, some of which I had not attempted before. Each block is only 7" x 14" so not too large if the pattern turns out to be tricky or go wrong! 

I went straight to Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project for some ideas. There are so many great ones there though that I sat for ages looking through and trying to picture them on my blocks. In the end I just had to go for it and select a pattern. So far I have tried Flowing Glass, Bubble Wand and Pebble Maze

I have completed 4 blocks out of 8 but this I think will be my favourite one - the trapunto block!

I deliberately picked a heavy quilting pattern - the Pebble Maze - to encourage the trapunto stand out further. And it worked so well! I am really pleased with the result on this one.

And here's another view, just because! :)

It took some effort I must say and was tricky in places. It certainly didn't flow as easily as Leah makes it look in her movie!! But then there were the 3 trapunto areas to go around so, unless doing straight lines, any new pattern was going to be awkward.

Off to choose another new FMQ pattern for the next block :)

Friday, 5 April 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: April Goal

I have put off setting my goal for April as I couldn't decide what it should be! I have several WIPs that could do with being looked at but no major deadline for any of them (which is nice!). 

First up my Something New Sampler needs quilting. 

Then I have the Mario quilt, which now has 4 completed blocks and 1 half sewn. I could make this a priority to get more blocks done and maybe complete the quilt top.

Then I have the hexies which I should do something with, a mini quilt maybe...

I have another quilt top that has been waiting patiently to be quilted for well over a year now! This double nine patch quilt is for our youngest daughter. There is a lot of white space on this quilt though, which does scare me a little. I had originally thought of hand quilting in the white space, but I think my child will have left home before I get that completed, so machine it is. Straight line, FMQ?? 

For the last few days I have focused on sewing all the 1" squares together for the question mark and fire flower Mario blocks. I think if I do too much of this quilt in any one go I will loose my sanity! There are so many seams to match it is painful after a while. 

I am uncertain about the quilting design for the double nine patch quilt and don't want to rush in, what's another month on top of a year or so!! It's not her birthday until November, so maybe next month I'll focus on this one.

So, my goal for April will be to quilt the Something New Sampler! This should be fun as I think I will quilt each block differently and then maybe an all over pattern on the green borders. Watch this space ...

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