Friday 30 March 2018

Picnic Quilt (previously known as BOM HST)

Last week I started hand quilting my Picnic Quilt.  I've decided to call it a Picnic Quilt because it reminds me of mum's quilt that we sat on at picnics when I was growing up in the 1970's.

Mum made most of our clothes, and many of the scraps were included in the picnic quilt. I remember sitting on that quilt and identifying all the fabrics I liked in the quilt.

It's grown bigger than this now

My quilt is made from Half Square Triangle blocks that I won at Capital Quilters Block of the Month last year.  So it contains scraps from lots of guild members. The blocks are 4.5" unfinished - 4" finished.

I didn't have to sew it up in this way, but I really liked the design so I just kept it that way.  However, sewing together blocks trimmed by other people can be a bit difficult, so I put in some borders to reset the alignment.

Not a great photo with the light shining through, but you get the idea.

I'm hand quilting straight lines on this one with Aurifil 12wt in red.  I like big stitch hand quilting so the stitches show and add character to the quilt.

  I'm also echo quilting in the opposite direction in grey so the coloured sections pop out (you can see that around the central motif).

I've been really good at keeping on task so far this year. This quilt is number 5 on my Quilting Priorities for 2018 list.  I've finished numbers 1 and 2, but 3 and 4 are still WIPs.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Cobweb Quilt / Millefiori

About a month ago I dug out my Cobweb Quilt that I'd started in a class with Chris Kenna on 1 April 2017 - almost exactly a year ago. This pattern is by Chris Kenna and I've included details of how to get a copy further down this post.

Chris Kenna's Copbweb quilt hanging up

I'd made quite a few cobwebs at our guild's retreat in July 2017, but I really hadn't touched it since.

So I decided to sew a few more cobwebs while I took a break between other WIPs.

You're possibly thinking that these fabrics are quite different to my usual colour palette - well, you're correct.  I'm deliberately trying to use different colours and values, so my quilts don't all end up looking too much alike.  I like variety and I want to try out lots of different types fabrics (possibly with the exception of French General - but never say never!).

I like to sort my pieces and cut them to the required lengths before I start sewing.
I got on a roll and I've spent the last four weeks working on this quilt every day.  I've now finished all of the segments for the quilt. The cobwebs AND the stars.  Yay!!

Now I'll be able to assemble it at our next guild retreat in July 2018.  This quilt isn't easy or quick - it's very labour intensive because every single piece is foundation paper pieced.  There's a huge amount of cutting, pressing and sewing involved, but it's the variety of fabrics that makes it look so good. I developed a system of piecing a number of blocks at the same time, to avoid jumping up and down to the cutting board and iron too frequently.

Many people have asked me about this pattern.  The best way to get this exact pattern is to email Minerva Book Shop in Wellington, New Zealand. They can post you a copy (anywhere in the world), and will be sure to include the correction to the template published in the magazine. If you've got an old copy of the magazine at home, be sure to email or phone the shop and ask for the corrected template before you start sewing.  Otherwise your star points won't meet nicely.

However, there are a number of similar patterns available - just google "cobweb quilt pattern". Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke have good ones in their book Material Obsession Two.  (Pop Stars and Maple Leaf Rag - page 116.)

Tips for joining Foundation Paper Pieced sections.
1.  It's important to get the seams meeting up nicely when you join the pieces.  I very carefully put pins straight through the two pieces to be joined, making sure that the seams match up.

2.  As I'm ready to sew each piece I replace the pins with Clover Clips - flat side down.  Clover Clips hold the pieces more firmly than regular pins which tend to distort the pieces as you remove them

3.  I use my walking foot to sew the pieces together - it's so much easier!!

4.  I lower the stitch length to 1.70 for all foundation paper piecing.  This makes it much easier to remove the paper later because the holes are punched closer together.

5.  Although the pattern in the magazine says to trim the seam allowance off the papers before you start, Chris told us in the class to leave it on.  I prefer to leave it on myself.

6.  When you do come to join up your blocks, Chris told us that the points will sit as shown in this photo of her quilt.  The slight indentation is unnoticeable in the finished quilt.

"How will I quilt it?" I hear you asking? Well, one thing is for certain, I won't be quilting it on my domestic machine.  Therefore I'll either get it quilted by a long armer, or hand quilt it.  I'm still thinking about that.   

Saturday 17 March 2018

Batik Bliss for Cosy Kiwi Kids

A finished quilt ready to donate to a local charity.

I won these Batik Bliss blocks at a Capital Quilters' meeting back in March 2016.  Exactly two years later the quilt is finished!

The blocks were originally 10" square, but I wanted to be adventurous so I trimmed some of them smaller and mixed them all up.  You can read more about my process and inspiration here.

A number of long arm quilters at our guild quilt charity tops for free, so I gave it to Tina Mills and she kindly quilted it for me.  I put the binding on myself, and now it's ready to donate to Cosy Kiwi Kids.  They will give it to a child in need through the Social Workers in Schools programme.

Tina Mills chose a design with little people in it which is just right for a child's quilt.

I hope a child will be happy to receive their own quilt before winter arrives.

Finished size: 62" x 75"

Monday 12 March 2018

A weekend away in Taupo

I'm just back from my work Social Weekend in Taupo.  As we leave Summer and go into Autumn we often have warm days, but cooler nights.  The views from my room at Millennium Hotel were beautiful.

There was so much activity on the lake - sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, paddle boarding, rowing, kyaking, fishing ....

If you've ever been to Taupo you'll probably recognise these views from the township.

And the 10km paved path around part of the lake was very popular with people walking and biking.

I didn't get any hand sewing done, but I did manage to glue baste some more pieces for my Ballet with Kaffe quilt. I was too busy admiring the views and trying to make sure everyone was at the activities they had signed up for.

Now I'm home again, and looking forward to some sewing later today.

You can read all about my cute sewing machine cover in this post here.

Friday 2 March 2018

Holiday Sewing Part 4 - Sue Spargo sewing roll

This is the last last item from my holiday (Christmas) sewing with Mum.  We were very productive, but we did also go out and enjoy the outdoors.

Last year Sue Spargo shared a gorgeous sewing roll pattern in Inspirations magazine.  Here it is on the cover of Issue 94.

Mum and I bought supplies to make our own versions back in May last year.

Mum finished hers long before I started mine, so when she was here for Christmas, I plucked up courage and made a start on mine.

I designed my own cover and I quite like it.  I used similar colours to Sue Spargo, but changed it up.

On the back I used two different ribbons plus ric rac - as per Sue Spargo's instructions.

the inside

Inside there's a pin cushion and a needle book, plus lined zip pockets on either side.

the outside

My own tricky enhancement was to include some of the measuring tape ribbon I've had for ages.  I often need to check measurements when I'm sewing, so now I'll always have a tape measure handy.

There's a place for pens and pencils (and gluesticks!) on the the back cover.

I'm very happy with how this turned out and I'm sure I'll use it a lot.

from Inspirations magazine