Wednesday, 15 July 2015

WIP and Stash Additions

My sewing room has been very bright lately ... rainbow this, rainbow that, lots of colour on colour.

It's time to turn the volume down a little and have myself a disco nap.

My attention span is waning ... and I just don't have the will to sew the same block over and over again.

So I'm shifting gears for a little while ... taking the scenic route instead of the main highway.

My Ginger Crush BOM quilt from Treehouse Textiles will be the perfect company.  Lovely lashings of low volume and pastel shades ... with just enough pop of colour to make sure I don't fall asleep at the wheel.

This block of the month quilt has a lovely blend of machine and hand piecing

The Block of the Month instalments have been arriving on my doorstep for 12 months now and I haven't managed a stitch ... until now.

Block 5 "My Pinwheel Fantasy"

I'm enjoying this new pace and it really shows in my most recent fabric purchases.

Low volume goodness from Art Gallery Fabrics ... Maker anyone?

 ... and a bundle of soft greys and silver blues from a LQS.

Yes, I'm feeling calmer already ...


Monday, 13 July 2015

Anna Maria Horner Mini Quilt Swap

It's me again ... with another mini ... that I wish I was keeping ... but I'm not.

This time it was for the Anna Maria Horner Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram.

I was't sure at first of the direction I wanted to take with this one.  I knew I was moving house and my sewing machine would be going into storage, so I needed something that I could mostly hand piece.

So I started here ...

Then it slowly grew ...

Even though my partner preferred muted tones, I thought it needed more colour so I did this ...

Then I added some spiral quilting using a 12wt, variegated rainbow Aurifil thread #3817.

This is my first time spiral quilting

This has to be my favourite Aurfil thread ... apart from the one I named.

Before I knew it I ended up with a 12-sided object, resembling a do-decagon!

It's 24 inches 'round' and I think it would make a beautiful table topper, if not a mini on the wall.

Good thing really, as my partner is a florist and I bet she has the perfect crystal vase and a bunch of deep red roses that would accompany this mini beautifully.

Here's a little something extra I added in the parcel ...

I used Aurifil #6728 (50wt) in the bobbin for the spiral quilting on the back of the mini

It's a charm square fabric tray ... you can find the tutorial here ... be warned, they're addictive :)

So the mini and extras are on their way to their new home and I'm impatiently patiently awaiting the arrival of my mini.  I wonder what it will look like?


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


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