Thursday, 27 February 2014

Another Package for Mum

I've put together another package for my mum. I don't really know why. I saw the cutest ladybug stationery set and knew I had to get it for her. Then things just snowballed from there.

 I put together a whole bunch of stationery stuff using this lovely ladybug fabric I found. There were yellow ladybugs, her favourite colour, but I chose to go for the more traditional red.

I made the sweetest, tiniest little bunting! I started out trying to machine-sew them to the 5mm (!) ribbon, but quickly decided that that was not going to work (of course not, silly) so I hand-stitched it instead. First tacking the triangles to the ribbon, then doing another pass to fold the other side down and secure that. I think it worked very well! I also think I rather like hand-stitching.

 I sewed up two cute little notebook covers to fit a couple of notebooks I bought (for a ridiculously high price, why are notebooks so expensive??). I used this tutorial to make them. I was originally going to use spray adhesive to permanently attach the fabric instead of making covers, but I felt that if the covers could be removed that would make the notebooks less special, and therefore more okay to mess up. Which is exactly what I wanted. I remember very carefully covering an exercise book for my mum, first with white paper, then with bright yellow translucent duraseal. As far as I know, she never used it because she didn't want to ruin it. It's a sweet way of looking at it, but I do want these ones to be used!

 My first mug rug; actually my first quilted thing ever, and with binding too! It came out very nice indeed, I think!
That little box/basket is from this tutorial, although I can't remember what size square I used. I did the lining a little bit smaller and was able to 'roll' the top seam so that the lining doesn't show at all at the top, and I rather liked that detail.
And another pencilcase from this tutorial. I boxed the corners less because I had a shorter usable length due to the smaller zipper, and I still wanted to be able to fit pencils inside.

I made the lovely pouch using this tutorial, and may I say that it is ridiculously easy? I used a white quilting-weight cotton and the ladybugs, which are slightly thinner, and while it would have been much better in much lighter fabrics, it was very quick and rather lovely to make! Because the fabrics are thicker/stiffer/more substantial than others, the pouch doesn't close any more than that. It's kind of okay because the ribbon ties over it, but still something to keep in mind.
That wee hexagon may just be my newest obsession. I used the tutorial here (although there are others around) to make it, and it is just lovely. This one is a coaster, but I can feel my fingers itching and my heart tugging... I want to make a quilt of them. Handstitched, just like this one was. I'd make them much much bigger to make it easier on me, but goodness do I want to make a whole quilt of them...

Tuesday, 18 February 2014


I need to make a back (and rainbow binding) for Zigs and quilt it, and I'm a little bit intimidated. Thank goodness I'm early - the recipient's birthday is in April and the top is done, at least. Since those last photos I pressed the borders all nice and they look so much better, although I haven't actually pressed the main part of the piecing yet. I figure I'll do that when I'm ready to baste it - it just gets all unhappy being folded and put away anyway, and I'll need to do it again.

So. Instead of doing the sensible thing of making the back and binding for Zigs, I did this instead...

A whole new quilt top including a pieced back, and completed binding (which I put securely away as soon as I was done rolling it up so the cat didn't get it - sorry no photo!).

 I started with a lovely Jelly Roll of dusty Kona solids that my mum sent me as a Christmas present. They were arranged in a kind of rainbow but I couldn't leave them be and had to mess with them a bit, rearranging and taking a few out.
  I thought it was going to be a lot smaller than it turned out. 2 1/2 inches adds up! With how long it is, I needed to add a little width, so to accompany the 'Strip' portion...

 ...comes the 'Flip'! I can't remember where I saw this technique, but I liked it a lot and I needed added width, so it was just perfect!
  I wanted the white strips to be in proportion to the others, so the four strips only added 8" to the width. It's still a tiny bit narrow, but it's similar to a single bed size and it's for a teeny tiny baby so I figure that's okay. I'll get better at estimating the finished size of quilts, I hope!

I really like the back panel. It's pieced from the little scraps that came from chopping off the uneven edge of the front. Because of that, some of the pieces were quite small and I couldn't just go full random with the piecing, I had to have a plan so that the whole thing looked relatively well put-together.

Even with a plan, it was a little intense! It took a lot longer than pre-cutting all the bits and simply sewing them together one after the other. I'm not sure I could use this semi-improvisational way to make a whole quilt! It was almost stressful.

My second quilt top is further along than my first (and looks a lot nicer - I think that during first one, I had tension issues that I've since corrected). I have no idea how to quilt it. It's so linear that I want to do some free-motion quilting on it, but I've never done anything like that before, and it appears to be quite difficult! Not that I've done straight-line quilting either... I guess I shall just have to practise!

Thursday, 6 February 2014


That teaser image last post was the beginnings of a quilt that I have since done much more work on.

laying the wee blocks out in order

It's a chevron quilt for my little brother!
I saw a tutorial on pinterest for it and remembered it when I was thinking of doing something with a bundle of pre-cut strips my mum sent me, but when I went to look for it, I couldn't find it. A quick search turned up this tutorial, which describes exactly the same thing, so that was good! I was originally going to do a jelly roll race quilt but decided to do something a little more interesting, and I'm glad I did.

sewing the wee blocks together into rows

This quilt came together really fast, but the pace was exhausting. I think it would be easier, less stressful, to do a quilt block-by-block and then join them with sashing. Having these great big long strips to sew in and doing it pretty much in one session was tiring.

setting all the seams took longer than pressing the strips all nice

I don't know what I would recommend to beginners - this came together very fast, but it was a lot of very long seams and a long time in front of the sewing machine (a far cry from my previous projects - breaks for ironing and turning right-side out, and almost instant gratification as you finished significant steps). A quilt with blocks, especially different ones with more involved piecing, would give more of a continual sense of accomplishment as you finished each one and got to stack them up all neatly for visible progress. You'd be concentrating on each individual block and not on the quilt as a whole, so I think as you worked on the blocks, you'd be pleasantly surprised at how quickly it was coming together, but at the same time, at a more relaxed pace.

Oh and another thing - because of the whole 'no triangles' thing, once you square up the top, bottom and sides, those edges are all on the bias. In the tutorial it doesn't really matter for her because she quilted it just like that, but if you're adding borders it could be a pain.
  I asked on Craftster's quilting questions board how best to go about it, and got some great advice, which I (kind of) followed. I didn't really measure the quilt, I kind of just laid the fabric on top of it and marked and cut it to that length, but I did use a LOT of pins, and made sure to have the zigzags next to the feed dogs. It worked really well!

I should really press this

The border is really quite large and kind of makes the stripes look like they're swimming in the grey, not the effect I wanted, but hopefully once it's all quilted up and the rainbow binding put on, it'll tie the whole thing together nicely. I needed the borders to be quite large because I underestimated how big the chevron bit would be, and I wanted this quilt to be a usable size. I think it's a tiny bit smaller than a double, and that works just fine for a five-year-old.

Cinnakin kept walking all over it

Originally the borders were going to be two short, two long. Then they were going to be mitred. Then I settled on squares in the corners - easier than the second option and looks better than the first.
  I think I'll quilt this in lines along the zigzags, and then in rainbow colours, lines along the borders. I still need to get the backing done too.

One thing I am most definitely not pleased about, is the fabric I used. The batiks were fine, lovely in fact, but that grey... I think a shade darker and I'd've been happier with the colour, which looks rather flat, I think, but that's not my main problem.
  It's Prima Homespun cotton from Spotlight, and it has stretch. It's sold in the quilting section, presumably for quilting, and is their only range of solids that isn't shot cotton or hideously expensive organic stuff. And it's stretchy. Not ridiculously stretchy, but noticeably stretchy.

That'd be something to consider as a beginner quilter; use fabrics that are all from the same range in your first quilt. That way you won't have to deal with slightly different weights, and you definitely wouldn't have the nightmare of different amounts of stretch.
  Perhaps I should have done a charm-pack baby quilt like a sensible person, but I really did want to just jump right in and make a proper bed-size one that would actually be used. I certainly learned some things, and I bet that when I get around to quilting it, I'll learn a few more!