Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A very belated (Grand)Mother's Day

As I mentioned previously, my family doesn't get hung up on specific dates, so I've only just given my mum her Mother's Day present, since it's the first time I've seen her since Easter (I live interstate).

So now I can finally show you what I made:

And this is the one I gave to Nanna last month (my husband's mother)

I'm going to do a tutorial for making these, which is one of the tutorials I mentioned in my June Challenge

Better get busy with the writing now!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Reveal

A while ago I showed you a sneak peak of a friend's birthday present.  Well I'm finally able to show you the finished product!
I actually gave it to her a week ago, but silly me forgot to take a photo so I had to wait till this weekend to see her again and get a good photo.

It was a pattern called "Life's a Hoot" from Handmade magazine (Vol 28, No7 if you really want to know).  As soon as I saw it I wanted to make it for her because she collects owls, and I'm glad I'm finally getting some use out of all these craft magazines I keep buying.

From a technical point, it was rather fun and exciting to make.  The pattern used several embroidery stitches I haven't used before and most of the work is done with one strand of floss, giving a very fine and delicate result.  It is also the first time I've used a pigma pen to mark the design, but I don't think I'll do it again.  I decided to have a go because the pattern instructions said to use a pigma pen, but some of the stitches, such as the lazy daisy and fly stitches, don't cover the lines completely.

It is a very cute little pattern and I'm almost tempted to make one for myself ;)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blocks, Blocks, Blocks

Here are my next two Civil War Blocks



23 Illinois Roads

The fabric selection this week came from my Retro Nine Patch quilt top


These fabrics come from the crayon roll and funky bibs I made last week, as well as some of the fabrics I'm using for Mug Rug Swap Adventure 2.

And I made some blocks for Block Lotto this month.  Not terribly exciting, but really easy to put together!




Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birthdays and Babies

Today we went to a friend's 2nd birthday party.  The request went out for no more toys or books because she had too many already.  That always turns my mind to consumables, so I thought crayons and a colouring pad.  Of course that sounded too simple, so I just HAD to make something.

Thus, crayon roll
It was made using this great tutorial from Chocolate on my Cranium.  I just reduced the pattern slightly because I only had 12 crayons instead of 16.  I think when I make another one, I will include a flap over the top of the crayons because as I was carrying it down the hall to show my husband my fine work, one of the crayons fell out.
The birthday girl also recently became a big sister, so I made some funky bibs for the baby, from this free pattern at Chickpea Sewing Studio.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Charming Basket

The Retro Nine Patch quilt which Lyn from Blue Bird Quilts shared with us included a Grandmother's Basket block.  Lyn provided a template for it but my Retro Nine Patch embroidery blocks were done at half scale, so unfinished they are 5", rather than the 9-1/2" of the blocks Lyn designed.  This meant that I had to down-scale the basket pattern Lyn provided.  Also I wasn't really into the idea of paper foundation piecing so I didn't do it that way.

I thought I'd share with you, by way of tutorial, how I made these blocks.  The measurements make up a 4-1/2" finished block but I'm sure the instructions would work for any size block as long as you calculated the correct measurements.  All the images are available in larger format if you click on them.

Oh, and the finished size of these blocks are the perfect size to match with a charm square, hence the title of my post!


Start off by cutting out the following pieces

Background (cream)
  • (1) 5-7/8" square (this will actually give you backgrounds for two basket blocks)
  • (2) 1-1/4" x 3-1/2" rectangles
  • (1) 2" square
Main Colour (pink)
  • (1) 2" square
  • (6) 1-1/4" squares
Contrast Colour (print)
  • (4) 1-1/4" squares
On the large background square, the 2" main colour square and one of the contrast colour squares, draw a diagonal line with pencil.

Now we can start the sewing.

Place the main colour 2" square on top of the background 2" square and sew ON the pencil line.  Then trim one side 1/4" from the sewing  and press with the seam towards the darker colour.  You should now have a half-square triangle (HST) unit.
Place the contrast colour square with the diagonal line draw on this HST unit, matching it to the corner of the main colour.  Again, sew ON the drawn line, trim to a 1/4" seam allowance and press towards the darker colour.  This completes the corner unit of the basket.

Next, lay out the squares for the main part of the basket.
Sew the squares into rows, then join the rows together, then attach a background rectangle to the bottom
Here is how I have pressed the seams on the back.  This completes the main section of the basket.

Lay out the remaining three squares and a rectangle to make the other side of the basket.  Join the squares together, then attach the rectangle, ensuring that the extra length is at the top right, as shown in the photograph.  Press the seam towards the backing rectangle
You have now completed the three sections to the basket.  Join the corner unit to the side of the basket (press the seam up towards the side unit) and then join this to the main part of the basket (press seam towards main basket).

It's now time to add the backing triangle.  Place the large background square over the top of the basket.  Line up the edges on the bottom and side of the square.  You can see that the basket unit isn't as long on the straight sides as the square.  This is okay, just make sure the bottom corner and the sides match.  Then you need to sew 1/4" from the drawn line on the side of the basket (click on photo to enlarge). Your stitching line should pass through the intersections of the squares along the diagonal edge.
Cut the block along the drawn line and press the seam towards the background triangle.  The spare background triangle can be used to make your next basket block.  And now you have a 5" unfinished basket block. 
If you are using a left-over background triangle to make your block, you will only need to trim off the excess triangles from the basket like so:
On this small scale I chose not to applique a handle, instead I embroidered one using three strands of embroidery floss and chain stitch, which you can see in the first image of this post.  If you are making these baskets in a larger scale and wish to add a fabric handle, refer to Lyn's instructions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Retro Top

I've finished the main part of the top for my Retro Nine Patch... after two unpicking and re-sewing sessions!
Now I have to decide what sort of borders, binding and backing to put on it, and then how to quilt it!

I really like the amount of white space on the larger tablecloth than Lyn designed but I don't think I want to bother with making more basket blocks.  This was originally going to be a doll quilt for my daughter and it definitely doesn't want to be any bigger than it is now if I'm still going to do that with it (my blocks are half scale so it's a lot smaller than Lyn's).

I'm thinking I'll do a small cream border (same fabric as the blocks) to add some white space to the quilt, and then maybe a border the same colour as the cornerstones.

I've got until 30th August to finish it if I want to join in Lyn's showcase of finished quilts, so it might very well sit in my 'to do' basket for a bit while I think about it.

I'm hoping to publish a tutorial for the basket block, but I'm just waiting to get some details back from Lyn before I do.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Challenge Yourself - June

May's challenge was a lot more productive than April!  After deciding my challenge was to finish the two quilt tops for my niece and nephew, I got in that weekend and finished my nephew's.  I only finished my niece's yesterday but that was partly from having to unpick a few rows and re-sew them.  If you missed it, you can see them both here.

This month I'm going to move away from the sewing again, but only slightly.  I have a few patterns I want to write up.  Two are free tutorials and one is a pattern I'm hoping to market (which the above picture is of).

So my challenge for this month is to get all three patterns written up ready to share.... and this doesn't include the other free tutorial I have as a draft blog post already.  It's just waiting on some information from someone else before I can publish that one.

So rather short and sweet for this month, but a bit of a mental stretch since I haven't written up a pattern before.

As always, link in if you're playing along.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

There's a Puppy in my Sewing Room

The puppy top is finished, just in time for my May Challenge deadline.  I would have had it finished a few days ago except that I attached some of the rows in the wrong order and had to undo them.  I hate unpicking.  If you look closely you can probably see a lot of the loose threads still all over the quilt.

I'm really pleased with the result although I am a little disappointed with the colour relationship between the sashing/cornerstones, and the green print in the nine-patch.  I guess that's what I get for buying fabics online and not being able to lay them all out together before I commit.

And since I never got around to taking a photo of the dinosaur quilt till now, here it is too, creases, loose threads and all!  I might put together a pattern for it later, since it was my own design.

I've now got a month and a half to quilt them.  I have a few other little quilts waiting to be quilted as well (one is waiting for fabric on order) so I might try and have a backing/quilting/binding session soon and get them all done together.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birdie Stitches and a goal reached

Here is last month's Birdie Stitches block:

I took the photo a while ago but keep forgetting to post.

And this post is 9 of 9, therefore completing part of my May Challenge!  Stay tuned to hear about the rest of it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

That time again

for more civil war blocks

21 Underground Railway
The fabric selection for this week is left overs from my Wee Folks quilt top.  This block was really fun and easy to make and I love the result, so cute and happy.

22 Blockade
This has become a bit of an 'it'll have to do' block.  After careful planning and double checking I still managed to get two of the flower pieces sideways.  By the time I realised I was not prepared to get up from my sewing machine and cut new triangles.  Also once I uploaded the photo I saw how badly my centre seams matched.  Actually now I look at it again I can see a few more seams which don't match and triangle points which are missing.  Oh, well.  The fabrics this week are from the puppy quilt top which I'm trying to get finished as part of my May challenge.

I really should remember to remove my loose threads before I take my photos.  Did I say that last time as well?

Post 8 of 9

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wee Folks Embroidery Designs

These are the embroidery designs I used for my Wee Folk mini-quilt (EDIT: you can now also see the finished quilt here).  You can download/print a PDF of the designs here.  All embroidery has been sewn using two strands of embroidery floss.

 The two mushroom blocks used the same threads/stitches.  White for the mushroom tops, and Anchor colour 363 for the stalks.  Mushroom top outline is done using stem stitch.  The large/medium spot are satin stitch outlined with backstitch and the small spots are french knots.  The stems are sewing in backstitch.

The top of the acorn is outlined in stem stitch, and the other details are backstitched in Anchor colour 905.  The nut is sewn in backstitch using Anchor colour 100.

The centre vein of the leaves is done in stem stitch and the outline in backstitch, both using Anchor colour 211.









I would love to see photos of your work if you use these embroidery designs in any of your crafts.

Wee Folk

I was going to wait till I'd completely finished this quilt to share it with you, but the backing/binding fabrics are on order and I didn't want to keep you waiting.
The quilt is a pram/bassinet size, and might also be suitable as a lap quilt for a toddler.  Easy to make with alternating charm squares of Wee Folks and Bella Solids in red, and easy to make to any size you want.

I've added embroidery to some of the red squares and have included the designs here for you, if you want to make something with the Wee Folk range!  I'd love to see photos if you use these embroideries yourself.

Hopefully soon I can show you a photo of the finished quilt.

Post 7 of 9

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