Thursday, 2 July 2015

Going Off-Piste

Sometimes, just sometimes, I have a flash of an idea.  Everything is glorious on Cloud 9 with my rose tinted glasses on.

Then logic kicks in and I realise that my quilting skill set doesn't quite match my imagination ... does that ever happen to you?

Well it did to me on this occasion ... 
What do you mean I have to sew curves? Eep!
You see, I signed up for the Lizzy House Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram (If you've managed to resist this craze of mini making and swapping then my hat goes off to you!).  

My swap partner owns her own fabric store in the US ... no pressure, hey folks? ... but that's OK, we share a common love for the colour "rainbow" set against low volume backgrounds.  

Another fan of rainbows

I dutifully stalked her and saw that she is getting married soon so I thought that a double wedding ring block would be the perfect mini for her!

But, I'm not skilled up on curves just yet ... so I needed to find a way to create this block other than piecing the dreaded curves.

Sorting colour order on the Design Mattress

Then, along came Quiltsmart ...

They've come up with a clever way that still allows you (and scaredy cats like me) to piece the arcs but then appliqué them onto a whole background.  

I was sold, no curved piecing for this little quilter!  But then what's that old saying?  "If it looks too good to be true then it probably ....."

Yes, well.  I did get a bit stung by this method.  Mainly I got tripped up by the template they provided in the kit.  If you know Lizzy House, then you'll know that there are plenty of great fussy cutting opportunities to be had playing with her fabrics and that's just what I wanted to do making this double wedding ring mini.  I pulled out the template and got cutting ... ensuring that I had a good 1/4" seam allowance all the way around so I wouldn't lose any of my fussy cutting when piecing the arcs.

All was going rather smoothly until I had to sew the fabric arcs to the iron on interfacing.  The sew line was much more than 1/4" in from the edge of the template.

The sewing line is the solid line

In fact it was a good 3/4's of an inch!  

That blew my fussy cutting out of the water - especially the pieces that I had added selvedges to - humpf!

I couldn't change direction at this point, I had to keep going ... and keep going I did!  Somewhat off-piste ...  

I could no longer follow the directions for my cornerstones and had to make the sizes up myself with a little bit of thumb sucking and measuring on my cutting mat.

Using my cutting mat to work out the cornerstones

With a bit of trial and pee error I got there in the end ... 

Castle Pee?? Whoops!

... but geez, it felt like hard work.  This was supposed to be easy!  Why would they provide a template ... a see-through one at that ... that encourages fussy cutting and then make the resulting arc so narrow?  Especially as you have to trim to 1/8" seam allowance to allow for a smooth curve when turned anyway.   

Let's just say that this Quiltsmart pattern was not fit for purpose, especially if you want to fussy cut.  But if you're using fabric that you are happy to waste 1.5" per the length of each arc (3/4" at top of arc and 3/4" at the bottom of the arc) of fabric then this is the pattern for you!  Imagine if it was Liberty ... gasp!

So after all that fuss ... here's the finished mini!  

I finished it off with some hand stitching using a red perle cotton to set off the aqua/teal cornerstones.  

My partner has a red and aqua sewing room, so I thought I would add a little nod to that.  

I left the centre of the block empty so that she could embroider her wedding details in the middle as a lasting memory of the special day.

The back is all green and gold ... Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi! and I just had to add some more colour "rainbow" on the back with the leftover selvedges. 

I also sent a little pouch along as an extra ... 

... but I'll do a separate post on that later with a fun selvedge trick for the zip.

Serena xx
PS to find out more about the Lizzy House Mini Quilt Swap .. go to Instagram and search the hashtag #lizzyhouseminiquiltswap  You can find me over there too as @sewgiving

Friday, 22 May 2015

Twin Quilts

The twin quilts are finished - yay!

You can pop over here to see the work in progress, but basically the brief was full of ice-cream colours ... mainly yellow, pink and mint green in pastel shades) ...

Cute little animals ...

and a minimal design ...

I added some straight line quilting in matching variegated mint and yellow threads, creating 60 degree diamonds (channelling my inner waffle cone) and some stripy binding for extra yum!

They are sweet and simple at 40" x 60" and I can't wait to see them in their new home.  The little twins will be welcomed into our crazy world any time now ... Exciting!


Monday, 18 May 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Mini Quilt

Hello there!

I'm quite proud of this little mini ...

... so ...for the very first time ... I'm entering a quilt into the Blogger's Quilt Festival - gulp!

It all started with Ruth sending me a copy of the Little Quilts book, I instantly fell in love with everything in this book!

Then Sarah announced a mini quilt swap on Instagram and the rest is history!

I had the absolute pleasure of sewing the required hexagons from Art Gallery's Dreamin' Vintage fabric range and even more fun when it came to the embroidery part.

I'm not the most elegant embroiderer, in fact I've had one person comment that it looks like I'm about to stab my work with the way that I hold my needle, but this little bee was so much fun!

I embellished the embroidered abdomen with some gold thread ...

I was so pleased with the result that 'gold fever' instantly hit and I started putting gold everywhere!

I hand quilted the mini in the same gold thread ...

Went totally gold cray-cray on the back ...

... and calmed myself down a bit with a touch of gold spots on the binding.

As this was a swap, the little bee quilt now lives in another loving home.  I keep promising to make myself one too ... one day.

Thanks for visiting and yay me for finally having the bees to enter!

Serena xx

Minis On My Mind

May seems to be the month of Minis for me.

I'm in two swaps on Instagram.  The first featuring Anna Maria Horner fabric (like I could resist that!)

My partner is not a fan of anything too bright, she prefers more muted colours (fluro is not her friend) so I started with this hexie/half-hexie configuration ...

It was starting to look more dull than muted to me so I've decide to add a bit more colour to help this mini bloom.

Here's hoping I'm on the right track!

The second Instagram swap I'm in is all about Lizzy House fabrics, fun right?!

I flipped/flopped with a few ideas for this swap and just couldn't settle on a design.  Then I spied that my partner is getting hitched soon so I thought it might be fun to do a double wedding ring mini (disclaimer: of some sort lol).

Turns out Lizzy House fabrics are really fun to fussy cut and I think the added selvedges are a nice touch for a mini focusing on a single fabric designer ... even if I do say so myself :)

I'm hoping to have these minis ready to quilt soon so that I can quilt them at the same time as Hubby's half hexie flimsy ... I don't like having to change feet on my machine ... lazy bones.

May has also brought with it many other M's ...

We've ... Moved house

Sewing room (lol)

We held a My Little Pony birthday party for Miss 5 ... two days after we moved (madness)

I made 26 of these pool noodle ponies for the birthday party - such fun!

We had a magical Mother's Day

We took some silly selfies as Daddy is away visiting his mum (aka Nanny London) in the Mother Country

and we've been helping Master Monty settle into our new home ...

He seems to be coping just fine ...

My goodness it's been a momentous month so far!  I might just join Master Monty next time he flops on the couch.


Friday, 24 April 2015

Work in Progress - Twins

There are two little twin girls on their way to this world (not mine - everyone relax!) due in 5 weeks so I have been squirrelling away on my first commissioned quilts.

The quilts are being commissioned by a friend of mine (who knows the brave mum ... twins - eep!) so I'm working on second-hand knowledge of what the mum likes and I need to balance what my friend has in mind ... after-all it's HER gift to the mother, not mine.

We all see and interpret colours differently, so when I was told that the nursery was going to be decorated in pastels; mostly pink, yellow and mint green ... I set about creating a collage of how I interpreted these colours and sent it to my friend to see if I was on the right track.

The colour palette is a winner - phew!

So next on the list is interpreting what kind of style she would like the quilts to be ... style ... yes, um ... no idea!  So a few more collages coming right up!

Geometric shapes ... patterned quilts?

Keep in mind that these are all examples from my Pinterest Boards

Nope, not what she was after ... ok ... well what about pictorial quilts?

Again, all these quilts can be found on my Pinterest Board

Yes, it's a winner!  This is the style she is after.

Now I have a good sense of colour and style and she also mentioned that the mum doesn't like anything too fussy ... so I'm left to come up with something within those parameters with a healthy dose of negative space.

Fabric shopping time!

A quick check in with my friend when I find these bolts of gorgeousness and the top two get the thumbs up, but the bottom one is coming across more aqua than mint green ... hmm finding this elusive mint green in pretty (baby appropriate ... don't ask!) fabric is tough.

I think I visited most Quilt Shops in Perth and the closest I could find was a Cotton + Steel fabric in their basics range.  No hardship there ... I love the feel of their fabrics, but the pattern on the fabric was too geometric for my friend.

Then I remembered this wonderful, perfect, most magnificent shade of mint EVER in Aneela Hoey's Posy range ... but could I still find the yardage I needed?

Just! ... and exhale.

And what have I made with all this fabric loveliness?

Deer pattern by Quietplay

Hedgehog free pattern found here

I've now quilted the two tops in matching variegated yellow and mint green threads .... oh! and just found a yummy stripy binding at my new LQS called Materilise ... I think I want to live there, just saying.

Happy Days!

Serena xx
PS My email is fixed now, so I look forward to being able to reply to you!

No Email

Hello out there ...

If you've left a comment on a post recently, thank you!  ... and I wish I could reply to you!

You see, it's all gone Pete Tong over here and my email is on the blink, kaput and just just plain broken.

I promise I'm not a rude cow (that only happens in cases of extreme hunger and trust me I have loads of Easter Eggs stashed at the moment!)

Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon ... don't you just love moving house??


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