Monday, 22 April 2013

Sewing, but not blogging

I suppose I should have predicted that three posts in six days would result in a blogging blackout but I didn't.  I bet some of you did though, didn't you?!

Here's what I've been up to:

I'm going to intending to finish off the lovely cushion from Katy (I think this project is a veteran of the FAL list!), make my first ever foundation pieced block into a block keeper/stitching book (using Cathi's examples as inspiration) and, just for laughs, see how far I can get with a double bed-sized blue and white nine patch and snowball quilt.  (Not as far as a finish, I don't think, but miracles do happen!)

I've already got a finish! (No, not the quilt!)

Block keeper - front
The front.
You can see a photo of the back here.

Block keeper - inside

Block keeper - rolled
Rolled and tied.

I'm about to start a new hand piecing project (no, I haven't finished joining my hexies together yet!) and I'm going to need somewhere to keep all the pieces because there's no way I'm going to manage to stitch a whole block in one sitting which is why this FAL project suddenly shot to the top of my list.  I wasn't intending/hadn't planned to do quite as much quilting as I ended up doing so it has shrunk quite a lot.  It was going to be square but isn't now(!) and the star isn't quite in the middle of the front because one side needed trimming to square it up - there wasn't anything I could do was willing to do to even it up so it's staying like that.  I've added a length of twill tape to the back so that it can be rolled up if necessary but I wanted to make something that could be shoved in a bag in a hurry, etc.  All I need to do now is prepare some pieces for the new project from this lovely lot and I'll be set!

Fabric for my next hand piecing project...
Fabrics for my new hand piecing project, mostly charm squares.  More photos here.

The other thing I've made progress on is the blue and white quilt.  I think the last time I blogged about this I'd cut all the 2.5" blue squares I'd need.  In February I started to piece the (128) nine patches and at the beginning of this month I started to prepare the (127) snowballs and, after a mammoth block arranging and labelling session last weekend (there were 255 6" blocks to arrange - it took ages!), I've started to join the blocks.  This is what I have so far:

The first thirty blocks
I'm pleased with how they look, thank goodness!

Actually, I've made another set of ten but that's part of a set of 25.  (Confused?  See my map, below!)  I'm not joining them in rows, I'm making nine sets of 25 and three sets of ten and then joining them so that I have as few really long seams as possible - I find it a much easier way of working but it does require, for me at least, a map:

Blue and white map
A quilt block map.

There are more photos of the blocks and how they're going to be arranged, etc., here.

I've also added some more hexies but I'll save that for another day because I think that's quite enough to be getting on with!

Finally, you may wonder what Archie's been up to while all this stitching has been going on.  Well, it's a dog's life:

What, more sewing?!

It's hard work being cute all the time, I think I'll just have a snooze...

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Quarter one is over, already!

she can quilt

In January I linked up with the Finish-A-Long (find my Q1 list here) and put three things on my list.  It's now time to link up again and declare my finishes, so here goes!

2. (I'm saving the first item on the list for later in the post 'cos it's the one you haven't seen!)  Finish my stumpwork anemone - prepare the detached petals and attach to the flower and then mount on a canvas block.  Finished!!

Now living at my parents' house, in a cupboard, I think!!

3. Finish and block the mystery knitting.  ('Mystery' because I couldn't post a photo without spoiling a surprise.  Fortunately, Our Dear Leader is very accommodating and let me email her a secret photo, to prove the project had indeed been started.)   Here's Deb's scarf, all finished!


1. Finish joining my Marmalade hexies (generously donated by Leanne aka Our Dear Leader) and make into a cushion, inspired by this gorgeous cushion.  Finished!

Marmalade hexies

It doesn't have a name but if it did it would be called 'Can I have a P please, Bob?'  For those of you thinking 'Eh?', click here and scroll to about 55 seconds in.  Enjoy!

I love this cushion!  It's made with a Marmalade mini charm pack (or whatever they're really called - candy or something?) and Kona Honeydew (from Simply Solids).  I hand pieced the hexagons and then added a border (by machine), machine quilted straight lines down it and then added an envelope back and a binding.  I was going to put a zip in the back but, after creating a flap and attaching one side of the only zip I had that was anywhere near long enough (light blue), I discovered that the zip tape was shadowing through the green and looked awful!  So I ripped it out and put an envelope back on instead, fortunately I hadn't cut the other half of the back so I could adjust the measurement!  It's not my favourite way of finishing a cushion (I usually use buttons or zips but I wasn't organised enough to have gone to the shops and bought the necessary supplies) but it doesn't matter once it's on the settee and facing the right way!  Not that, most of the time, I see all of it!  This is what I usually see:

How my new cushion looks most of the time...
A lovely cushion with a quilt top in progress dumped in front of it.

My hexy quilt lives in front of it so the only time I see the whole cushion is either when I'm adding more hexies to the quilt or when someone comes to visit and I put the quilt somewhere far away from cups of tea and coffee!  It's easier/better, in my opinion, for this quilt top to not be folded unnecessarily (although I suspect my mam would say that it's unnecessary to leave it in a heap and looking untidy!) because it 'upsets' the seam allowances.  What I mean (and am finding it difficult to explain!) is that if I fold it then some of the seam allowances end up crumpled (and sometimes fold back on themselves) and need re-pressing whereas if the top lives in a heap then they seem to keep their direction.  (Am I making sense?  No, I thought not!)  It's not a problem I've had with any of my other tops (whether hand or machine pieced) so I suspect it's something to do with the multi-directional seams.  Or the way I fold.  Probably the latter!

Anyway, enough of that because I think you'll find that I finished all three items on my list - hurrah!!  I'm linking up with Our Dear Leader@She Can Quilt - why not pop over and see how everyone else has fared? And, if you didn't join in this time, why not scour your sewing space for projects to populate a list in quarter two?  I've found two things so far...

I can't leave you without a photo or two of the man dog himself:

I'm bringing my stick inside and you can't stop me.
(He carried  for almost the whole of his walk, he loves having something to carry but I can't persuade him to try a shopping bag!)

I'm sure it's time for tea - stop faffing on the computer and feed me!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Mad as a March hare

Lily's Quilts

I haven't done much stitching this month (I've not been well) but I suspect that I'll be able to do my usual smoke and mirrors trick and make it look like a lot!  Let's face it, I do that most months!

I've mainly been stitching my Summersville squares, because that was the only thing I could really concentrate on for most of the month!  It's been a case of 'do a dozen stitches and then wander off for a cup of tea' for the large part but it's amazing how much you can get done that way.  Before March started I'd already embroidered these squares but don't seem to have blogged about them:

Square one - my first car was apple green but, sadly, it didn't have pink tyres...
And Yvonne is moving into the house with the cross stitch roof any day now!

Square two - the sun is filled with colonial knots and has a lovely texture.

Square three - Nicky's called dibs on the top floor flat of the multicoloured block, she'll be moving in soon!

Square four (the first of the March squares) - the arch round the library door took hours to do but I love it!

Square five - it's hard to see in this photo but the tyres on the bus are stripy.  If you click on it you should be able to see it in more detail.

Square six - the pale cottage in the bottom right corner is in a conservation area, no bright colours allowed.  And the house in the top right corner is Father Christmas' summer retreat...

I love stitching these squares and playing with different colours and stitches - in square six I used 35 different colours/shades, no wonder they take a while to do!  Eventually it's going to be a quilt but there's a lot of work to do before I'm ready to think about putting it together, good job it's intended to be a long-term project!  There are photos of the backs of all the squares in my Flickr set, if you're interested.

I've uploaded the photos of the Summersville squares to my blog, rather than using Flickr (which has become my method of choice over the last couple of months), so that you can click on them and see them in more detail.  Out of interest, which method do you tend to prefer when it comes to blog reading?  Or are you not fussed either way?!

I've made a pin cushion (although that was a February make and a March reveal) and a thread catcher (and spent a ridiculous amount of time editing videos of Archie running across the front room towards a line of biscuits!) - more of that in my last post.

I've also managed to add some more hexies.  The last time you saw it, it looked like this:


and on Friday it looked like this:

How the hexies looked on Good Friday
The colour is fairly accurate in this photo, for once!

Not much progress - only twelve hexies added in a month!  I've managed to add some more since then and it now looks like this:

How the hexies looked first thing on Easter Monday

And the back:

How the hexies looked first thing on Easter Monday - the back
I need to press the seams of all the hexies I've added this month - it's easier to do them as they're joined (ish) than all at the end.

It hasn't taken that long to add another eight hexies (plus the pieces that square off the top and side), maybe six hours of stitching over the weekend?  (Just goes to show how little I'd done in the preceding three weeks!) I think it takes around half an hour to attach a hexy when I'm stitching along three sides but one (bottom row, second from the right) took twice that!  I've no idea why it took so long...

Archie spent quite a lot of time on lookout duty yesterday:

The Easter Bunny, you say?  No.  Haven't seen hide nor hair of him but I'll keep an eye out.

I might look like I'm sleeping but it's all part of a clever ploy to get EB to appear.

Well I don't know how he got past me, I've been here the entire time!  He's obviously more sneaky than he looks...

Enjoy your Easter eggs - I can hear a caramel bunny calling my name!  I think I'll go and 'visit' her and then catch up with some more Fresh Sewing Day posts - fancy joining me?!

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