Home to a parcel of sunshine…….

You may have noticed that I’ve been very quiet for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately sewing is not my profession, I actually work in software development. For the last week I have been working 24/7 on the implementation of a project that I have been working on for the past 2 years. I had to go and stay near London which took me away from my own computer and sewing machine although to be honest every waking moment I had was spent working so maybe it was good to be completely away from all my creature comforts.

Anyway I finally came home on Wednesday evening. I was so exhausted that I slept for 12 hours straight….a record for me I think. I had to get up at 9am the next morning to see my son off to pick up his GCSE results which thankfully went really well  (hopefully he’ll be able to do all the A level courses that he wants to). Once all that excitement was over the postman arrived…..and there was a parcel labelled DQS11. Hallelujah my doll quilt had arrived.

What did I find inside….

I received a fabulous quilt and extras from PatriciaBStudios of Maine, USA. The quilt was so perfect for me as it was made from my favourite citrus colours and was based on a pattern from Red Pepper Quilts whose blog I am an avid follower of. For extras I received a gorgeous pin cushion made from off cuts plus some scraps of fabrics leftover from the quilt plus the pattern that was her inspiration so I could make a full bed sized quilt for myself.

The piecing of the quilt is just so fabulous. The pieces were just so tiny I have to admit to being a bit awestruck. I don’t think I would manage to manipulate them through the sewing machine and keep them straight.

After such a hectic week at work it was just lovely to have such an amazing gift all for me….now I just need to find it home in my house. Thank you Patricia!!!

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Piecing together the string quilt top……

In my last post I had started to piece together the string blocks for my string quilt. In total I made 16 3.5 inch string blocks to make my 12 inch square doll quilt. I have provided some instructions below on how I put together the blocks to make my finished quilt top.

Making the cross blocks is easy. You take 4 individual string blocks and lay them out in a cross shape. Once you are happy with the layout sew them together with a quarter-inch seam. I ironed all the seams flat before and after putting the crosses together in a bid to minimise the bulkiness of the seams as you sew the blocks together.

Sew blocks together into a criss cross

 

Once you have the first cross block lay the block out with all of the unpieced crosses to check you are still happy with the layout. If you are like me you will spend  a while moving the blocks around until you are happy with how they look together.

 

Rehearse the lay out before piecing more criss crosses

 
Once you are happy with the lay out piece together each of the cross blocks and then sew together the cross blocks into the final quilt top. When you’ve finished the quilt top give the back another good iron to flatten those seams.
 

Finish by sewing together all the criss crosses

 
Next you have to add the quilting. I went for a simple design where I sewed 2 diagonal lines following the pink criss cross. I also sewed a quarter-inch line followig the inside of each of the squares created in the criss cross. You should be able to see the quilting in the picture below. It was very overcast this afternoon so it was difficult to get a shot that clearly showed the quilting. I used some purple/pink/orange/yellow variegated thread to go with the multicoloured nature of all the fabrics.
 

Quilt the top with a diagonal pattern

 
So now you have a finished quilt top ready to be bound. I have to admit I’m really finding it hard to decide what to go for for the binding. The obvious and simplest choice would be to bind with more of the pink fabric but I think the top probably needs more of a frame. I have been pulling out a few solids that could be contenders.
 
 
I’ve also wondered whether to go for a polka dot….I have white with pink spots and black with white dots. I think the black fabric could be a winner.
 
 
What do you think? I need to get this quilt finished off by tomorrow night so I need to make a quick decision!!! All help and ideas gratefully received…..
 
 
 

Diamonds really are a girls best friend…..

 The doll quilt swap (DQS11) is in full swing. This time the focus is very much on piecing blocks rather than the art quilts which were so popular in the last round. I actually did a completely pieced zig zag quilt last time but some how I have had a bit of a creative block getting going this time.

I ordered a charm pack of Robert Kauffman solids in a bright rainbow colour set a couple of weeks ago in preparation for making the quilt and I seem to have just stared at the pack for ages. However, work has to start and having worked my way through all my quilting books I decided that I wanted to make an English pieced quilt top. After some rummaging through my sewing box I came across 50 3″ diamond paper pieces that I bought a few months ago. Finally an idea started to form. The pictures below show you the process that I have gone through to consider various potential patterns. You can also see I did finally make a decision.

First make some diamonds....

 

Try out some patterns for the diamonds....

The winner....a star!

 

A rainbow star with a white background...

Coming together......

 So there is still a lot to do but the design is coming together……I may have very sore thumbs by the end of the week when I’ve finished hand piecing this. I still need to cut the outer diamonds in half to make the triangle border and work out how to piece it together. The toughest bit is going to be how I can square off the centre block to add the border. Sometimes I do make hard work for myself but in the end there is real satisfaction when you overcome these challenges.

What do you think…do you like it? Do you think a star was a good idea? Feedback is always appreciated.

Brit quilt started……

Since I received my partner info for the Brit Quilt Swap I have been pondering what to make. My partner seems to like some applique designs and as you will know if you have followed this blog I love applique.

I flicked through various books that I’ve got and kept coming back to Piece O’Cake Designs Applique Outside the Lines. I made a quilt for Cupcake Princess last year that was a hotch potch of elements from some of the quilts in this book and it looks really great. (Photo below isn’t great but you can see the feel).

I’ve decided to base my quilt on the border of the fabulous Tree of Life quilt.

I recently bought some plain and teal linen from Seamstar which I thought would be perfect to incorporate into the back ground and binding. Pulling fabrics to go with it took up much of yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately a lot of the fabrics I would have used aren’t really a favourite of my partner but I think I managed to pull a good range that gave me the blue/green feel of the original quilt.

I took the original quilt pattern and drew up a version that would fit the size of quilt I am trying to make. I added a few more swirls and flowers to fill up the space more. I’ve started to fuse the pieces to the linen background but there is still more to come…maybe a bird perched on one of the tendrils….still pondering!

As it’s a rainy Bank Holiday Monday I’m hoping to get a chance to carry on working on this today…just hope my partner is going to like it.

We’re so so lucky…….

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing my Doll Quilt progress with you and you may recall that a couple of weeks ago I sent my quilt off to its new owner. Yesterday my doll quilt arrived from my secret partner…. Smoochee in Queensland, Australia.

The mosaic I put together as inspiration was full of ocean/beach themed pictures and I was looking for something in a turquoise/ sand/orange colour theme.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/49053002@N02/5344403492/in/set-72157625721419041

My partner exceeded all my expectations with the quilt that she made.

Fish........

 

A gorgeous turtle.....

 

A beautiful mermaid

(Yes she does have ‘boobies’ which has led to some giggling from Cupcake princess)

All in all it is just a fabulous ocean quilt……

Originally it was destined to go on a trunk in my living room but I cant risk anyone putting a cup down on it so I need to do a rethink. I do have another problem though….Cupcake Princess wants to rob it for her bedroom!!

Finally I would just like to say a huge thank you to my hugely talented DSQ10 partner….as you can tell we love it!

Quilting and some Royal Wedding Fever

Yesterday I finally posted off my DSQ10 quilt to my secret partner. I went with my original idea of the zig zag quilt made from Anna Maria Horners Good Folks fabrics. It seemed to be the most popular and having checked in to my partners likes again I think they would like it best.

The next big dilemma has been what to send as extras with the quilt……some peoples extras are more amazing than their quilts!! Most people seem to think you should send something related to your country so after some thinking I decided that as I live in England and my blog is called Patchwork Palace there was only one choice ….Royal Wedding memorabilia!!

I went into my local Waterstones book store and spotted the William & Kate dress up doll book and I just couldn’t resist it – I know its tacky but I don’t think it should all be taken too seriously. Look at some of the outfits to dress up the dolls…..

I also added a piece of the official William & Catherine wedding fabric plus some British themed stickers.

I really hope my partner likes the extras….it certainly shows something about my country….lets wait and see.

Check back in later in the week for a Royal themed giveaway to celebrate the Patchwork Palace blogs first birthday!

Zig zag doll quilt finished….

A few days ago I shared my practice doll quilt swap quilt with you and showed you the fabrics that I had selected for making the real quilt. I have continued working on it and its finished. Before I show you the finished item I have a couple of ‘in progress’ shots for you.

The fabrics I chose were from Anna Maria Horner’s Good Folks range and Kaffe Fassett’s shot cottons. Piecing it together was fairly easy although my piecing isn’t as perfect as other people would like – I was ok with it though.

Pieced dusk quilt

To quilt it I looked around at lots of other similar quilts and I saw some with some swirly free motion quilting that I fancied trying out but I didn’t really seem to be able to pull it off when practicing so decided to just follow the zig zags instead.

Beginnings of a quilted top

Today I finished the quilting – I’m not completely happy with it – I found that the zig zags on the shot cottons seemed to stretch and weren’t very even which spoilt the pale blue zig zags a bit.

Finished quilt.

I bound the quilt with the darker shot cotton and added a couple of pieces of ribbon on the back of the quilt in case my partner wants to hang it.

I think my favourite view of the quilt is actually the back! I think the zig zags have come out really well on the back. I have never made a quilt top where the focus is on quilting rather than pieceing but I may have to have a go.

I’m not sure if I will actually use this quilt for the swap. I’m not convinced my partner will like it. I keep stalking my partner and I thought they would like it but now I’m not sure. At least I have this ready in case I don’t get any more inspiration – and to be honest I really love the fabrics and colours so I could find a home for it here!!

Zig Zag crazy!!

For the past couple of weeks I have been trying to work on my doll quilt for the doll quilt swap. There are so many amazing quilters in the group that it is very intimidating. Every day someone seems to post a quilt which is just out of this world – I dont know where they find the time, ideas or energy but they do. The group is really friendly and its great being able to chat with everyone. Hopefully some of their energy and creativity will rub off on me!!

I have been stalking my partner, who is a very talented sewer/quilter , and came up with the idea of making a zig zag quilt. Although a simple design the focus would be on the piecing of very small blocks and the use of some amazing fabrics.

To make my practice quilt I used Joel Dewberry’s modern meadow fabrics teamed with plain white.

I hand quilted the zig zags in complimentary threads.

Finally I decided to bind it in the navy fabric which I think worked well although I would try harder to ensure the pattern was the same all the way round if I did it again.

I think it is a really eye catching block so I have started making the real dolls quilt using fabrics from Anna Maria Horners Good Folks range and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons…check in later in the week to see how it’s going!!