Monday, 13 March 2017

The Spellbound Quilt

It has been ages since I've made a really simple strip pieced quilt. Combine that fact with the fact I'm a bit of a sucker for speciality rulers that make a quilt look harder than it really is and I decided to join in with The Fat Quarter Shop Spellbound Quilt A Long.

The pattern calls for a couple of jelly rolls plus additional fabric. I had a bit of a jelly roll lurking but nothing more.

I therefore added to it with scraps which, for me, makes the best kind of quilt anyway.

You'll also need one of these:

You're then using it to make quarter-square triangles from strip pieced fabric and that is about as difficult as it gets.

The resultant quilt top, in my wholly biased opinion, is really rather nice.

I appreciate it's not my normal mad cacophony of colours but I think I like this one even more for that fact.

The colour this time is brought to you naturally by a crocus explosion, finally signalling spring is on its way.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Soy Amado No.86 and onwards...

It's official, I have become an extremely lazy blogger. Sadly it's so much easier to quickly post a picture update to Instagram and be done.

It wasn't until I was contacted this week by someone who has been very supportive of Soy Amado that I realise that I should update here as well and not assume everyone else is hanging off my every word on Instagram instead ;-)

So, here we go:

No. 86.

No. 87.


This was a whole one sent to me by @grannyjack123 (on Instagram)

No. 89 was also from @grannyjack123 and by this stage I was feeling I really ought to make some more.

So No. 90 is me back on the case.

And I pressed on quickly with No. 91.

And No. 92.

No. 93.

No. 94.

No. 95.

No. 96 was a bunch of orphan blocks very kindly sent to me by Ingrid (@obsessivequilter on Instagram...are you starting to see a pattern here as to why the blog has been neglected?) which I added strips of fabric around, to size up to the requisite 12.5" block size.

No. 97.

No. 98.

Then there was a new delivery of quilts; to a home in Cape Town, South Africa for children who have been deemed 'at risk' in their family homes and removed.

So that's all the motivation you need to continue.

No. 99.

No. 100.

No. 101.

No. 102.

No. 103.

No. 104. This was another whole quilt sent to me by @grannyjack123

As is No. 105.

And that's where I'm at - still making them. If you want to help, all the details are in the 'giving back' tab. Even if you can't manage 12.5" quilted blocks, scrappy binding has been really great to receive as  it cuts down so much time having it all ready and to hand.

I have been sewing other stuff but that's a blog post for another day.

Just need to fit that day in.

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Weekender Bag - I made it!

Well technically I made it back in June but only got around to finally putting in the lining last week.

Where to begin?

Well it's not difficult but it is tricky.

There's a million and one blog posts out there about it, some with step-by-step instructions but I'm not sure I have that much more to add so these are just my comments on the whole process.

Like a lot of people, I used Peltex, wadding and then scraps of fabric - all the ones I used were canvas weight.

I'm not particularly sure what my colour scheme was - perhaps mustard, burgundy and blue with a bit of teal.

Then once you've done the two main panels, it's on to the front and back pockets which require a line of piping on the top of each.

Top right is the lining for each of the pockets and it's a home furnishings weight fabric.

Then it's sewing the pocket to the main panel, plus the straps which are my only regret.

I wish I'd made them wider and possibly sturdier. It's a big old bag and if you really do stuff it to the max, you're going to need the strongest handles possible. Can't remember what the instructions were for sewing the handles on but just know I went above and beyond what the instructions said, to make sure they stayed secure. I also made my handles longer than the instructions.

Then you sew the piping all the way around the edge of the bag and get so excited you need to stop, model half a bag and have your photo taken for posterity.

You also need to have your photo taken because from here on in, it does start to get tricky and you need to remember that moment and hold on to it.

Actually, I tell a lie, there's the attaching the zipper to the long, long panel. That step is not too bad.  Although it's such a long piece of required fabric, I just sewed scraps together to get to requisite length.

On the right that's the laminate fabric I decided to use for bottom exterior - you know, wipe clean and all that.

Right, now this bit is tricky and all the tutorials I read said SWITCH TO A JEANS NEEDLE. Do it. If you don't you'll have broken needles.

Fortunately I finished the whole project with no broken needles because I think I used a jeans needle at this stage and because I took it oh so slowly. You're using your zipper foot for this stage and you are attempting to get as close to the edge of the piping as possible.
You may need to go back at certain points and redo - I did.

So attaching one main panel to the zipper panel is fiddly/annoying/time consuming/stress inducing but it is completely achievable.

Where the tricky levels ramp up a notch or two is sewing the other main panel to the pic above. Then you need to take it stitch by stitch. All told, I think it took me about 20 minutes to accomplish that step.

Then you are just giddy with 'OMG, I just made a Weekender'. I can achieve anything.
Or thereabouts.

So giddy, that you feel the need to make a mosaic of your Herculean achievement.

Then, I think I was just so over making it, I couldn't face the lining.

It sat there for four months until I realised I actually did want to use it and that wasn't going to happen until I'd made and inserted the lining.

Which I did.

And I can't find the photos I took but they are on my Instagram feed (link in right hand side bar) if you are interested.

You are slip stitching (by hand) the lining in and that is timing consuming and especially fiddly once you get to the zip ends. You can just see in this pic that I chose a home dec weight pink fabric for where I would be hand stitching but the bulk of the lining is a laminate.

And then it is done and you have one finished Weekender Bag.

Did I actually need one - no.
is it good value to make - absolutely not.
Would I make one again - absolutely yes.


Because it's a challenge, a real achievement when you finish one.
Because I happen to think it is one of the best looking and professional bag patterns out there at the moment.

For those reasons alone I would recommend you make it.

Friday, 5 August 2016

A dots, spots and stripes obsession

Having made this quilt by Chris Jurd last year, I was up for another challenge.

She makes the most amazing paper pieced quilt patterns and so this time I picked her You Little Beauty pattern which is supposed to look like this:

I was also fascinated by the graffiti artist Jason Woodside (I stalk him on Instagram @jasonwoodside) and I thought it would be really interesting to see what a quilt would look like made in vibrant colours but only with dots, spots and stripes.

I didn't actually have many in my fabric hoard so asked to swap on Instagram and received some incredibly generous packages, including one from @narthexart who offered to screen print me my own collection of prints. I think they add a real individual zing to the quilt.

And off I started.

With a tidy quilt room and a neatly stacked basket of possibilities.

Then I got the bright idea that it would be really good to use all the little left over scraps you end up with from paper piecing and turn that in to the quilt back.

It's not necessarily one of the quickest nor brightest of ideas I've ever had but for the moment, I'm still doing it.

I'd like to tell you the pattern comes together really quickly.

But it doesn't.

Especially when you decide to deviate from the pattern and make it longer and therefore bigger.

But then it becomes a metaphor for life; don't give up, keep going to the very end.
What's the point of life if we don't challenge ourselves from time to time?

And I constantly struggled with the idea of 'perfect' versus 'good'.
So much so that I've even named the quilt which is not what I normally do.

There is definitely a cut-off point from striving for perfection and enjoying the process; where that is, is different for each person.

Will people look at this quilt and think it is a riot of colour and just enjoy it for what it is?

Or will critical eyes scan over it and point out all the missed points and joins?

Do I feel comfortable with my idea of perfection?

No, I'm going to go back and sort out some of the missed joins but it is too late and life is too short to worry about the less than completely perfect points in some of the curved arcs.

Hence its name: The Cut Off Point.

So finally, I got the whole centre of the quilt top finished.

And it was time to think about the borders.

I followed the original pattern which was wavy half, followed by a quieter fabric to straighten the edges.

I made the upper and lower edge borders, sewed them on and disliked them almost immediately.

Suddenly, the eye was drawn to the black and white polka dot fabric and the dramatic impact of the quilt was softened.

I didn't want any one piece of fabric to take centre stage and now one was. I do get the concept of giving the eyes somewhere to rest but in this case I felt the eyes drifting into inertia.

So I unpicked the black border and thought it would be rather fun to actually have the striping, pointy wavy section of the border as the edge of the quilt.

But it was still not right. By doing that I had made the borders too narrow and the balance of border versus blocks didn't work.

I took them out and remade and with one border on and the next started, I am much happier.

The borders you draft yourself so I am just making the spikes random widths and then keeping the whole foundation paper strip neatly clipped together, slowly unraveling a piece as and when I need to.

And that's where I'm at so far.

It's become an obsession; a battle of mind over matter. There are other things I want to make but until I've finished this, everything else has fallen by the wayside.

As you can probably see...

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