Tuesday, 28 July 2009

the quilting bug

I think quilting is going to be my new obsession this Summer. Yesterday I set to work piecing the backing fabric for the coin quilt sew along I started thinking about back in March.

coin quilt backing

I made a very mini stacked coin square from the last remnants of the scraps I used for the quilt, along with a few blocks of freshcut and a solid pink, all against a lovely sea of white. Then it was downstairs to tape it to the living room floor (just enough space between our 2 sofas) and make and pin my quilt sandwich while stopping the small boy from running across it periodically!

The quilting was much more swearword-inducing this time around. I don't know whether it was the different batting or just me, but it was a b****r! I kept on finding it was tending to bunch at the back whilst I was merrily free-motioning along on the top.

free motion quilting

I'm thinking that it might be due to the fact the hobbs heirloom has more loft than the warm and natural I used for the boy's quilt. It also seemed to stick the sandwich together less effectively, so that there was a lot more movement, in spite of copious pinning. Oh well, I got there in the end, and the loftiness will probably be really lovely when it's been washed. It's certainly a lot more 'pouffy' than the boy quilt already.

free motion quilting

Next step is to bind it in the pink freshcut I finally decided on. Strips are cut and waiting to be stitched up and pressed. I think the binding is my favourite bit of the whole project, not just because it means the quilt is nearly finished, but also because the handstitching feels like a real labour of love.

binding strips

I'm not finished with the quilting yet. Next is a doll quilt, the aqua and red coins pieced on a whim yesterday evening after seeing some amazing work in this flickr group.

another coin quilt begun

Wednesday, 22 July 2009


in time for bed tonight!

boy quilt trial run

finished boy quilt

finished boy quilt

Thanks for the lovely comments on my last post!

Operation handmade home


The boy's quilt is nearly finished, and operation handmade home has been born. As I was quilting this week and the quilt was starting to look a bit more finished, I realised that I want to get a lot more handmade into my own home - and by that I don't mean all the shop items that are stashed in various boxes, drawers and cupboards, but rather making more things for my own family. I'm hideously pleased with myself over this little boy quilt and it's just made me want to make more. I think I may have caught the quilting bug (altogether preferable to swine flu).


I went for free motion quilting on this one. I'd hesitate to call it stippling, as I don't know whether or not it qualifies! I really like the all-over randomly quilted look though rather than the straight lines I've tended to use before. I made 1 practice quilt sandwich, didn't become very expert, but decided to launch into the full quilt all the same as I am impatient.

The trick seems to be going really quite fast on the foot pedal, but moving the quilt around slowly and deliberately. I set my stitch size to '0', put on a darning/embroidery foot, lowered the feed dogs and had to up my top thread tension a bit. Then it was away! I do have a quilting extension table that came free with my machine, but I found that really inhibited the manoeuvreability of the quilt with my hands laid flat on top (I didn't buy quilting gloves). Having the quilt draped over the edge of the smaller sewing area without the extension table seemed to give me much more control and grip on the fabric. I did have some quilters roll clips, which were good as I got to the very left edge of the quilt with so much bulk on the right under the machine arm.

the quilt, before bindingAlign Centre
The happy boy has been toting his quilt around the house (after a brief moment of insisting he has asked for a quilt that was blue all over with numbers on it) in its unfinished state. I'm just in the process of handsewing on the binding, then I'll machine wash it and see what happens. Hoping it won't disintegrate!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday evening

End of the week and end of the Summer term for us here. I can't believe how quickly the children are growing up - it'll be year 1 for the girl and nursery for the boy in September. Really shocking - where did that year go? Tomorrow is the first day of the Summer holidays, and with a teacher husband, that means lots of skiving off and sewing time for me.

I went to Ikea last Sunday with my crafty partner in crime (also shopping for a sewing table!) and have now set up my little sewing corner courtesy of Vika and Bertil, my two new friends. I also have designs on Billy the bookcase (just out of shot to the side of the sewing table) who would look perfect stacked with fabrics with a new glass door fitted to the front, but that will have to wait for a future trip. I did take a picture of the room in all its glory, but ducked out of posting it as it revealed too much clutter (as well as a glass of white wine on the ironing board :D), but here's a view of the new table:

my new workspace

I want to give that corkboard a makeover with some paper or fabric, then find some wooden spool racks to hang up, but it's a start.

I've already found that a dedicated work area leads to greater efficiency - it's great to have everything set up and ready to go so that I can take advantage of those spare 5 minutes in the day to sew the odd seam. This batch of bags that had been lurking half-sewn have now been finished and added to the shop.

A batch of new bags

I also made some tote bags as teacher gifts for my daughter to take into school.

teacher totes

We did have a small debacle when she declared that she wanted to take wine and chocolates instead, but we reached a compromise with the bags taken in and a box of chocolates for the staff to share.

The house is strangely quiet this evening apart from the snores of the small boy in the room next door, so I suspect the husband may be catching 40 winks at the end of a busy term (oh and maybe the fact it was his work night out last night might have something to do with it). Looks like I'm on dinner duty, so I'm off to investigate the contents of the fridge.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Busy week

Just about to kick back with a glass of wine and a film at the end of a busy week. When I'm tired, I tend to just ramble on incoherently, which doesn't bode too well for this post, so I'm aiming for lots of pictures and not too many words!

We're approaching the end of term here, with all the sports days, visits to new schools and events that entails. I'm still holding on to the possibly unrealistic idea that I will be making all the teacher gifts this year - that will happen tomorrow, or not at all. It doesn't help that I'm procrastinating over whether to make tote bags, make up bags or lavender bags, never mind the choice of fabrics.

Bag week never quite happened, so I still have a pile of bag innards, zips and handles sitting half-finished. I've made some progress on the quilts though. Having finally located a bright white cotton to match the one I'd started with (amazing how many shades of 'white' there are!), I added the last pieces of sashing to the coin quilt. I also finished piecing the boy's quilt top.

Batting has been purchased - I have both warm and natural and hobbs heirloom, so I'll be interested to see how they compare.

I've also been making birthday gifts of the last minute and belated variety. A little tote bag for a little girl aged 2 in two prints from Tanya Whelan's Darla collection, and a pear pincushion in freshcut and Amy Butler greens (from the fantastic tutorial at UK lass in US).

There was also a custom order for a notebook laptop case, now on its way to its new owner.

Tomorrow holds in store a trip to ikea - I've finally made the decision to set up a little sewing area in the bedroom. Hoping this will lead to greater productivity and a tidier living area as my sewing machine moves upstairs, though probably it will just lead to a messier bedroom.

Saturday, 4 July 2009


I seem to have been accumulating lovely things left right and centre just lately. First of all, I won a pattern for these fab snooks daisy fingerless mitts from the very talented alabamawhirly in her blog giveaway. Naturally, that meant shopping for some gorgeous hand dyed yarn from SkeinQueen's online shop, which I stalked all last Wednesday evening in the hope of buying something before it all sold out. I struck lucky and managed to buy some olive snook for the mitts, as well as 2 skeins of lustrous 2ply silk in cloudy skies to knit this shawl.


Then there were these vintage buttons which I am determined to actually use (I know, revolutionary or what?) rather than just hoarding and admiring them.


I also visited Heidi Burton's amazing etsy shop and bought this illustration print (for me, because this makes me smile so much) and greetings card (for a knitterly friend with a birthday).

fabulousness from heidiburton

It's been a very good week for post.

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