Saturday, 11 February 2012

A bit batty?

I thought I'd show you what I sent Nicky in our recent swap.  I know lots of you have been over to visit her but I thought it would be nice to show you some of the 'in progress' photos that I haven't been able to share and which I spent ages looking for - I knew I'd taken them but couldn't remember when so had to search all the folders from October onwards, several times, before I found them!!


The idea for the cushion started when I posted my initial plans in the Pillow Fight Flickr pool


and Nicky said

'Am going with Log cabins Helen but any of your great ideas are good for me! 
Green - love green especially lime, olive chartreuse and blue - more teal, turquoise but 
you pick cos you are good with colour!' 

Very kind of you, Nicky, not sure about 'good with colour' but you certainly got log cabins and plenty of them!!

For some reason I decided that it would be a good idea to make small log cabins with the logs finishing at 1/4" wide and the blocks finishing at 1 3/4".  Which meant that for a 16" cushion (with a 1" border) I would need 64 blocks.  Yup, definitely a bit batty!  Or barking mad?

Way back in November I made my first block and loved it so much that I risked showing you a sneak peek, albeit in black and white so that Nicky wouldn't see the colours I was using (and remind me that she doesn't like batiks!).  Here's the full colour version

I know that purple log on the right is a tiny bit fatter than it should be
but I decided I could live with it!
I can still remember how excited I was when I finished this first block!

I decided to risk using batiks (even though I knew Nicky didn't like them!) because they gave me the colour saturation I needed for this project.  Also, as they're a lot more closely woven than other quilting fabrics, they don't fray as much which is just what I needed with such small pieces.

I also decided that I wanted each block to be different and for the colours to be evenly spread across all positions within the blocks so I made a plan

I swear that as I was sorting out this plan I could hear laughter 
coming from across the ocean - am I right?!



and then got to work.  (See, I do use my sewing room but this is about as messy as it gets!)
 
I used Tina's business card to fold the paper over before stitching each line 
- have you seen her teeny tiny foundation piecing?

Each block took about 15 minutes to do, which sounds quite reasonable until you multiply it by 64.  After many, many hours (and two 'delayed' deadlines!) I got to this

Eek!!  I love it!
And then I had to join them...let's just say there were a few minutes half an hour or so where I thought I was going to have to abandon my plans and accept I'd started something that was way beyond me.  The blocks were so small and so thick that they were impossible to join up with anything approaching accuracy and I unpicked the first seam at least four times.  I then removed the paper from all of the blocks and joined them 'normally'.  I knew it would be fine to do this as there were no biased edges in the blocks and I'd cut all the pieces on the straight of the grain.  A couple of hours later I had this and...

It's surprising heavy for a 14" square!
...I didn't like it!  I thought it was too busy and that I would have been better leaving every other block plain white.  Fortunately after a long sleep I realised I did like it after all and didn't have to start again.  I like the way that from a distance it looks like it could be a pixelated image...or maybe that's just the way my eyes work!

It didn't take long to turn it into a finished cushion cover (I just quilted along each block ditch as it's already got a lovely texture to it from all the seam allowances) and the green binding nicely picks out the green pieces in the blocks.

If you didn't know it was a cushion cover I think it would pass muster as a mini quilt - pity I can't enter it into the Modern Mini Challenge!

I love these wine gum buttons!

I'm so glad I decided I liked it!
There are 836 pieces of fabric in the front of this 16" cushion, 4 in the borders and 832 in the blocks!  Definitely batty...

I also sent Nicky a mini pincushion inspired by Sarah's tutorial as I thought it would be handy when she was hand piecing and quilting.


I used felt for the back and the strap as I thought it would be more comfy against the skin than cotton.  It was a bit of a swine to turn through though!  And yes, this block was also planned so that it wasn't the same as any others, just in case Nicky decided to try and find its twin in the cushion!

And then, instead of a second 'goodie' Nicky agreed that I could make her a couple of wonky house blocks for the quilt she is making from her swap blocks (when she receives them!).  Inspired by Cindy I wrote little stories about the houses (not as good as hers though!) - I pinched the text from Nicky's post rather than retyping them, thanks Nicky!
This  family have built an eco friendly house with a sedum roof, ground source 
heating (so no chimney) and have just started a mushroom farm. 
This family live on an island in the Thames Estuary and have declared it an outpost of Scotland 
but couldn't get planning permission for tartan patterned stones so they went for a royal/peacock 
inspired look...The locals aren't sure about it but regard the family with fondness and so put up with it!

I had so much fun making all these things for Nicky and I'm so pleased (and relieved!) that she likes them - thanks for a fun swap!

I think there's room for one more photo, especially if it's a photo of my favourite dog!  I took these on Monday just before leaving Archie to go to a dinnertime sewing club session...


What do you mean it's only February and therefore too cold to lie in the conservatory?
It's lovely and sunny in here!
I'm not moving and you can't make me...

So I didn't!  He'd moved into the kitchen (under his quilt) by the time I got back though!


Hope you're all having a lovely weekend?  Thanks for popping in!

P.S.  If you haven't already you really need to visit Lynne@Lily's Quilts - she's hosting a giveaway you don't want to miss!  Trust me, it's a good one!

P.P.S.  Susan @Canadian Abroad is holding a giveaway to celebrate one (wonderful!) year of blogging - it's another one you don't want to miss.  Why not hop over and tell Susan how talented and generous she is?


32 comments:

  1. Blimey this cushion blows me away. I couldn't believe it when I saw it in the other blog post! And Archie looks so adorable I want to give him a big fat hug and a couple of scoobie snacks :-)

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  2. What a fantastic cushion! I can see what you mean about it looking pixelated. Very lucky swap partner indeed!
    LOLs about the stories for the house blocks. I especially like the scottish outpost :-)

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  3. I was amazed by that cushion when I saw it on Nicky's blog but reading how you worked out each wee block so that all the colours got used evenly, etc just blows me away. You are incredible!!

    And thank you for the plug for my giveaway too!

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  4. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G !!! How fabulous are all those itsy bits pieces??? It looks fantastic!

    I love how Archie can curl himself into such a small ball too x

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  5. Haha You are definitely mad Helen! Especially after making all these log cabins - I was wondering where you got the idea from! As Sadie said I am one very lucky partner!

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  6. wow, those tiny log cabins are a masterpiece! The cushion looks amazing, and I love the little house blocks too.

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  7. Flippin' awesome! You would have to be stark-raving to make all those teeny log cabins. But the end result is stunning, and Nicky is one lucky duck! Jxo

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  8. Its really incredible, I dont know at all how you had the patience to work so teeny!

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  9. Definitely batty :-) but very clever as well, it's beautiful and you have the patience of a saint, I would have got fed up after the first block. Hugs x

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  10. Well done!! so many pieces in a cushion cover - wow, I'm impressed - I love the colors.
    Karen

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  11. You are blatantly bonkers! But also incredibly clever and fantastic!

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  12. :-D Someone as daft as me! Beautiful, beautiful cushion!! What a labour of love too and BRAVO!! BTW I could see no fault in that first block you showed. In fact before I even read what you had put about one log being a little wider, I was gobsmacked at how perfect it looked being only 1/4 inch finished logs.. That takes some precision sewing!! Wonderful work.. and oh so cute doggy picture. Archie always gets an awwwwwww from me :)
    Thank you for your visit to me :) hugs Ellyx

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  13. OMG! It...Is...Awesome!!! Definitely it would pass muster as a mini quilt but it is stunning as a cushion cover...and I love the little pincushion wristlet, so cute. And your wonky houses with their little stories are so cute too...I want to live in the castle on the island in the Thames just for the castle door, gorgeous...

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  14. Devotion! I love your cushion. It is amazing!

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  15. What an incredibly beautiful cushion! Brilliant work!

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  16. That pillow is gorgeous. And I love Archie's spotted ear - what a handsome boy he is! I think he and Duke have something in common......love of naps!

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  17. Helen this is incredible, such a lot of planning and it really shows! The cushion is beautiful.

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  18. Fantastic! I do love tiny paper piecing in mass quantities. The colors are wonderful. I don't think I would have had the patience to plan out the color placements. Very clever!

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  19. Thanks for the tips on the giveaways. I'll never win.
    BUT its FUN!
    Yep, those gum buttons look edible!
    Whole cushion is Amazing, Miss ATWD.
    Who do I spy on your windowsill? One of Susan's birdies come for a visit????

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  20. wow - fantastic cushion - and so impressed about how 'messy' you aren't!

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  21. Love your cushion for Nicky and Nicky's for you and how lucky is Archie to get something from Nicky as well - she's such a sweetie !

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  22. Helen-- you made such wonderful things for Nicky!! That pillow cover is quite amazing!! and I love the two blocks as welll. You two had a lovely little swap together :0) Archie is just too cute.

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  23. stunning, amazing cushion! Very impressed by your neat work space and plans. And love your houses and their stories too - I couldn't resist making up stories for the house blocks I made recently.

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  24. Those tiny log cabins are stunning and the pillow itself is amazing!

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  25. Congratulations.Those tiny log are fabulous!!

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  26. Hello Eeyore! Whats Helen stitchin today?

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  27. Your cushion is amazing, Helen, you must have the patience of a saint!

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  28. Your tiny blocks are amazing!!! What you created is simply amazing...gorgeous!!!!!

    I swear Archie has the sweetest face EVER!!! I love him.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

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  29. Hi Helen....what a lovely piece...great pillow too...

    Helen please take a look at my blog; I have presented you with the Leibster Award....check it out...will you.

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  30. OMG Helen, I can't believe that cushion, I really can't! It's totally wonderful, you clever, and detail crazy person! x

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  31. I was lucky enough to have this cushion in my hand on Thursday! It is VERY WOW!!!!

    I love it as I also love rainbow colours with lime green my fave!

    It is stunning Helen, you're one clever Archie Mamma!

    x

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