A tale of 3 quilts……

As usual I seem to have overcommited myself on the Christmas sewing front. Every year I say I’m going to take it easy this year and every year I have a huge pile of ‘stuff’ piled up next to my sewing machine.

I have managed to complete a lot already. All swap commitments completed and sent away, 25’ish bags made and distributed amongst work colleagues, school friends and teachers. Now I am left with finishing off quilts.

I have three quilts that I must finish off 1 for a 7 year old girl, 1 for a 5 year old boy and 1 for a 16 year old boy. For the first two I combined fabric ranges with some of my stashed away fabrics but for the third I went the whole hog and bought all the fabrics from the same range…..some bought more than a year ago and topped up with new colours and designs this year.

Quilt 1 – Sherbet Pips

You may recall that in the summer I made my daughter a Sherbet Pips quilt. This quilt has a very similar look and feel and is made from all the fabric I had left over from the first quilt.

I know that this range seems to be either loved or hated by people but I firmly sit in the love corner. The mixture of red and grey is just perfect when you want to make something that is girly but will last beyond the pink phase!!

I mixed in lots of dots and circles in grey and red aswell as some plainer fabrics. The quilt is quilted very simply with red straight lines following the rows and the binding is white with red dots. I have completed the quilting and added the binding just need to sew the binding down. Should have this one finished off in no time.

Quilt 2 – Super Heroes

For this quilt I really wanted something that was boyish but wasn’t the usual cars and trains. I went for some fabrics from Michael Miller (Super Heroes, Super Fun, City Lights and Bunting Scallops). I started with a bundle from Fabric Worm but ended up by needing to buy some extra fabrics from Frumble fabrics….when I also added some alien fabric.

I combined the fabric with a range of blue, green and yellow fabrics. Again they were primarily dots and circles but I also added some multicoloured stripes and squares. I really love how all the fabrics have worked together.

For the quilting I have again gone for blue straight lined following the rows but also a few top to bottom lines following the block edges. I haven’t made the binding yet but I think I will go for a scrappy binding using up some of the left over scraps. Right now the quilt is all quilted and just waiting for binding so should get the binding on today and be ready for Christmas.

Quilt 3 – Funky Monkeys

This quilt is for my son. The Prince of Rock has had a toy monkey (Ernie) since he was 7. The monkey still sits on his bed and gets taken away on trips, gets dressed up etc. When I saw the funky sock monkey range last year I just had to have some so bought lots of it and stashed it away. This year I saw some of the funky sock monkey santas and fell in love with them too so bought some fat quarters of it and stashed it away. My daughter has been desperate for us to turn the fabric into a quilt but it is difficult to secretly make a quilt for someone who lives in the house.

I have finally managed to work on it by cutting the fabrics while he was at college and then piecing it together on Sunday whilst he was in Manchester at the football. The block pattern that I went for was an alternating pattern of one large block and then 4 smaller squares. I love these fabrics so much….the fat santas are hilarious as are the mug shots of different santas. I just know he is going to love it.

This quilt is the one I am now panicking about. I have the quilt top made but I still need to baste, quilt and bind it but I don’t have access to my sewing machine after today….aghhhh!!!! I may have to banish my son from the downstairs of the house so I can get it done.

I also have to bake my Christmas cake, make mincemeat, wrap presents, write cards….oh dear today is going to be a very busy day……..

Still here…stitching away

I have been very quiet recently but I have been doing plenty of sewing. Hopefully I’ll be able to come back and tell you all about what I have been up to soon but in the mean time a few piccies of some bags I have been working on for the goodie bag swap.

Planes, trains and automobiles…..

This year seems to have been the year of the baby. So many friends have been having children ….maybe its the lack of money keeping them at home making their own entertainment! Earlier in the year when I worked out how many babies there were going to be I started purchasing children’s fabrics, whenever I saw them on offer, so that I could whip little quilts or bags. I probably bought a larger range of girls fabrics as I knew I could use them for other projects but I also bought 3 half yards of Ann Kelle’s Ready Set Go range. I thought this fabric was perfect as it had a large graphic and the different colours would combine well with some of the strips of leftover fabrics I have stashed away.

Well would you believe everyone has had boys! Not one girl amongst them all. I have had to be creative in using the three fabrics and combine them with more of the stashed away fabrics than I originally planned. This morning I quilted a large floor mat/quilt and pieced together the top for a smaller cot sized quilt/changing mat. I’m really pleased with the brightness of them and they definitely look like boy quilts. The tops are very simple and I have just used straight line stitching for the quilting. I was worried how much washing any fancy piecing could cope with – we all know the amount of washing you need to do with anything that goes near babies/toddlers.

I still have some scraps of fabric left which I thought I could use to make a drawstring bag to keep the changing mat quilt in. The problem I have now is that I have two other boys to make gifts for. I don’t have much more boy themed fabric but as I am trying to hold back on fabric purchases at the moment I will need to be even more creative in how I eek the fabrics out. I have some superhero fabrics stashed away for a Christmas project, included as part of the bundle there were 3 fat quarters of some car themed fabric so that is what I will need to work with.

Do you find it difficult working on projects for boys? Do you have any ideas on how I can make two boy themed baby gifts from just 3 fat quarters of fabric? I will of course add some spots and stripes from my stash but I don’t have anything very exciting. I will need to find a design that accentuates the patterned fabric so that you don’t notice how little of it there is!

Finding Inspiration……

This week I am trying to get ahead with some of the swaps that I am participating in. My current challenge is to come up with a design for my Modern Christmas Table Runner. This swap is such a fab idea and the group is really chatty but I am feeling a bit intimidated by all the fabulous designs that people are putting together.

For myself I put together a mosaic of some really fab bright scrappy designs. You will notice that I haven’t just included traditional Christmas fabrics and motifs but I have included, birds, leaves etc so my partner can have a bit more freedom with their design so they could use fabrics out of their stash.

My partner has provided a mosaic of what she likes and she seems to be looking for trees and stars but with a more modern feel.

I have been mulling over ideas for the past couple of weeks but have had a bit of quilters block. The main problem has been selecting fabrics. I originally wanted to make something really bright and funky but just haven’t managed to find the colours of fabrics I would like in enough quantity so have gone back to the drawing board. At the weekend I went to the Cotton Patch and managed to pick up a jelly roll of Basic Grey’s Jovial range. This range comes in fairly traditional colours but has a more modern print on it and is covered in words which people seem to love now days. I also picked up some Kaffe Fassett fabrics in coordinating fabrics.

Yesterday I took the bull by the horns and started working on scrappy trees……

I make these by sewing together 8 inch x approx 1 inch wide strips and then cutting a triangle out of the middle. I  gather up the half triangle off cuts and sew pairs of them into whole trees. It means there is virtually no fabric wastage which means I can maximise fabric usage from the jelly roll strips.

There will also be wonky stars…….

I don’t have a firm plan right now for the finished table runner but sometimes I find it’s good to start working on elements and then a design will come to me. Tomorrow I hope to carry on working on stars and trees and then I can start working on the lay out.

Quick catch up…

The Patchwork Palace blog has been very quiet for the past couple of weeks but it definitely hasn’t been quiet here at the palace! We have been very busy working away on finishing (and starting) lots of projects. I’m sure I’m not the only person to look around their sewing area and suddenly realise that they have piles of partially completed projects. Sometimes you just have to knuckle down and get on with it….so here are a few piccies of what I’ve been up to. Hopefully over the weekend normal blogging will resume!

Scooting about…….

My daughter is a bit of a scooter addict. Whenever there is a letter to be posted or a pint of milk needed from the local shop the scooter appears in the porch in anticipation of a trip!

Earlier in the year when I spotted the Sherbet Pips range from Aneela Hoey I just knew I had to buy some and make Cupcake Princess a quilt. When the fabric arrived I had lots of other things on the go and so it was stashed away for a rainy day. Over the months I have seen some really cool quilts being made aswell as bags, cushions etc…each time I have seen one the bag of fabric has come out to be stared at and then stashed away again. I have seen various postings about the fabric range (good and bad) and felt very disappointed about some of the negativity around the popularity of this range as I think it is perfect fabric for little girls. For me the best bit about it is that it isn’t too girly. I bought the grey and red options which have such a wintry feel….CP is getting a bit old for lots of pink!

I finally pulled the fabric out a couple of weeks ago and started work on a really simple quilt incorporating other red and grey fabrics that I have stashed away. My intention is to make some of these quilts for Christmas presents so this was the first prototype. I cut lots of strips of fabrics in two different depths/widths and created a random pattern layout.

It all looked good when I had it laid out on the floor however when I stitched it together I was extremely frustrated that some of the seams in the strips lined up (see 2, 3 & 4 on right hand side plus rows 6 & 7). All that effort to get them staggered and I managed to line them up! As this was a prototype I didn’t unpick it all but it has taught me that next time I will do a more ‘planned’ random lay out – I feel a graph paper purchase coming on.

For the quilting I went for a very simple set of straight lines following the strip seams.

 

I found the stitching on this reasonably easy. It’s the biggest quilt that I have quilted so I was really worried whether I would manage it but with some careful rolling and bending of the quilt it was finished without too much stress.

I’m so pleased with the fabric combo and general look of the quilt. If I squint my eyes I can make the straight lines look a bit staggered……. and therefore more pleasing to my critical eye. More importantly Cupcake Princess absolutely loves it and has been snuggling up under it ever since it was finished.

The back of the quilt was made from some Ikea polka dot fabric that I bought years ago but which were a perfect match for these fabrics. Dont you just love it when a plan comes together!!

Now I’m gathering up some fabrics to start making the Christmas quilts. I’ve been scouring the online shops to look for some additional Sherbert Pips so I don’t run out of the variety of fabrics I need. I’ve picked up some bits from Fabric Rehab and Seamstar but I’m still looking for any more bargains that might be out there.

(Quilters Confession: Whilst looking for Sherbet Pips I gave in and purchased some of Aneelas new Little Apples range…I couldn’t help it, I had to have some!!)

A rainbow of colours…….

Working on my rainbow mug rugs is such great fun. I get to search through my stash of fabric for the right little pieces of fabric to cut out – there is always some pattern that catches my eye. After cutting out the fabrics I get to play around with the squares to find that perfect lay out. This time I spent a really long time laying them all out. I had such a dilemma as I liked the idea of a 7 striped rainbow but that meant I would have more of a place mat than a mug rug….once I had 7 colours in my head I found it hard to see anything with less colours although I did try them out. I have taken photos of the various layouts which I will share in another post as its really interesting how much difference a layout change can make.

Eventually I just went for my 7 colour lay out…

I really liked how the colours worked together in this lay out. All the bright hot colours on one side and all the cooler colours on the other. Sewing it all together was nice and quick …I just added some very simple straight line quilting so that the fabrics weren’t obscured (you will notice the obvious mistake where I sewed them together in the opposite order – it still has the same effect though).

The question of binding came up as usual. I always spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to decide on what binding to use and after some deliberation I went for black polka dots as a frame for the rainbow colours.

I do hope my partner likes their giant rainbow mug rug. If they don’t like it my daughter will have it as she loves it and to be honest I may have to tear it away from her. I actually like the back almost as much as I love the front as you can see the criss cross of the quilting.

So that’s one down and I still have one more to go aswell as the extras so this weekend will have to be one of my sewing frenzies!!!

Sewing attire……and some real concentration

We’ve been very quiet in the past few days with all the back to school prep and visits to grandparents. However, sewing has not been forgotten. Cupcake Princess in particular has been very busy working away with her Doodle Stitching book – she’s far more studious and patient than I am when it comes to projects

What do you wear when you’re working on your sewing projects? Apparently CP’s pooh hat helps keep her hair out of her eyes.

Do you have a concentrating face? Does anyone know why sticking your tongue out helps with concentration?

Updates on what we’ve made coming soon ……. hope you like scooters!!

Give a pet a home…..

You may have popped in to look at this post thinking that I am about to ask you to support a charity or house some unwanted cats/dogs however I’m not asking anything from you I’m just wanting to share the latest challenge from my daughter. Cupcake Princess has toy ‘phases’ like most children I know and for the last couple of weeks she seems to have been obsessed with Littlest Pet Shops. She has been collecting them on and off for a couple of years but during these school holidays it seems like every sentence has some mention of pet shops…which one do you like best? what type of animal do you think it is? what do you think its name is?

On Friday having neglected my children for a few days I tried to spend some quality time with the kids and Cupcake Princess announced that she needed a new bag for the Pet Shops as she had had to go and visit the Queen Mother with the Pet Shops in a sandwich bag. Apparently a plastic sandwich bag just wasn’t good enough for the Pet Shops and a proper Pet Shop bag was required.

Yesterday CP spent a couple of hours searching through my fabric stash, pulling out fabrics, trying out combos and eventually she found some animal alphabet fabric that I bought from Fabric Rehab a couple of months ago which would be suitable for a pet bag. Once combined with some grey and lime green fabrics we had the perfect selections for bag making.

I got up nice and early this morning and started work on a drawstring bag. The bag was based on an Amy Butler pattern that I tried out a couple of times last year but I have scaled it up to a larger size (it required some thinking as I haven’t got a clue where the pattern is so everything was based on gut feel).

I managed to knock up the bag really quickly and luckily CP was happy with it. The only extra bit she wanted was to add something to make it clear it was a bag for Pet Shops. It was time for CP to get out her embroidery hoop and knock up a Pet Shops embroidery. Once I had the words it was fairly easy to knock up a label with some fabric scraps, ribbon and interfacing. The only challenge with this bag was having to use the button hole stitch (for the drawstring holes and the label ribbon hole) , for some reason I always seem to have the buttonhole going in the wrong direction and turning at the wrong time.

I’m really pleased with how it’s come out….hopefully there is enough room for new pet arrivals and she wont have to be embarrassed the next time she takes them on an outing to nana’s!!

Finished with only hours to spare….

Phew….I finally managed to get my doll quilt finished, bound, labelled and in the post…..on the last day of posting!!

I thought I was really organised at the start of this swap but my lack of decision on where to go with my quilt has meant I had to do all my finishing off at lightening speed.

Thank you to everyone who gave my feedback on which binding to go with. It was really funny as every option had someone who liked it so I had to spend a lot of time last night cutting strips of the different options and wrapping them around the quilt to try them out. In the end I wasn’t really feeling the love for any of them so I decided that maybe I should try out the suggestion of a black solid.

Unfortunately finding some solid black fabric was a challenge. I knew I had some somewhere but it isn’t really something I use very often so I didn’t have a clue where it was. As is normal I eventually found it at the back of the top shelf of my sewing cupboard and I have the bruises to show for it!

Anyway, I am really really pleased with how the finished quilt came out….

I really love the backing fabric….. even if I do say so myself.

I have added a little shopper bag as an extra made with fabulous Senor Burrito fabric and I may have slipped in some other little bits!! Its winging its way to its new owner right now…I really hope she likes it.