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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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.

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…..
 
 
 

Playing around with some strings…….

Following on from my post earlier in the week on string blocks I have been working on a string block idea for my DQS11 quilt. I had my original hexagon and triangle idea a couple of weeks ago but I just haven’t been feeling any love for it as its progressed. Making the string block for my tutorial and pulling out my string mini quilt to look at made me come up with a string quilt idea for my partner.

My partner said she liked brightness/colour and disliked dull muted colours. In my scrap box I have some fabulous Kaffe Fassett fabric offcuts that I picked up at Cotton Patch and they are just perfect for a string quilt.

To keep with the bright theme I needed to have a centre strip that was bright and not white. Having stared at the strips for a while the pink tones really shouted out to me so I decided to go with a bright pink centre strip.

The size of the blocks was a bit of a dilemma but I’ve decided to go for 3.5 inch blocks with a half-inch visible centre strip. The blocks are small but big enough to get a decent width of each fabric on show.

I’m still making the blocks but I have started playing around with a couple of ideas for block layout. The first one is a criss cross (which is my current favourite).

The second idea is to lay out the blocks with a diagonal strip effect. I’m not loving the look of it so far but I will take another look at this when I have a few more blocks.

So what do you think? I know there are some dark blues and black in the fabrics but I still think there is still a really bright, colourful look to the blocks. These blocks are so different from my Nicey Jane block. I think they really show  what a different look you can get from one block made with different fabrics.

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.