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……..


A sneak peek……

As I mentioned yesterday another one of the swaps that I have been involved in is the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap. This swap was a special Christmas round where we had named rather than secret partners.

Because of everything else that has been going on I have to admit that I wasn’t able to make exactly what I had originally planned having stalked my partner but I think I still came up with something fun.

You will notice there is a hand appliqued design with a machine quilted background. I used lots of glittery fabrics as they always remind me of Christmas.

You may have spotted who the main character on the mug rug is………

Hopefully my partner will receive their package soon and then I can show you the whole thing!

Oh dear Christmas is coming……

Where has all the time gone? It seems only a couple of days since I checked in but somehow 3 weeks have gone by…and its nearly Christmas!!!

I have so much Christmas sewing that I need to do. My living room and kitchen table look like a sweat shop piled high with fabrics cut up waiting to be  turned into quilts and bags. I know exactly what I want to make but have had a sewing machine block….just haven’t seemed to be able to get myself going.

Last week I did manage to finish off the last of my bigger swap items…rather late but they were finished and put in the post at the weekend.

The first finish was my Modern Christmas Table Runner. I started off really well on an idea a few weeks ago and pieced together scrappy trees and wonky stars but with all the family traumas over the past few weeks I just lost focus and had no sewing time.

When I came back to it and made the stars for the other end of the runner I realised it had become rather huge…more of a table cover than table runner. I sat and stared at it for a few hours (literally) and finally decided that although my intention was for the pattern to work from all directions I would have to just make one half.

Having made the decision to cut the design down it was finished in no time at all. I rather enjoyed the outline and free motion quilting which apart from an issue right at the start went like a dream. It was actually quite nice to just sit at the machine and forget about everything else that is going on.

The fabric I used for this was Jovial by Basic Grey. I really love the colours in the range I think they have a modern but Christmasy feel. My favourite fabrics are the reindeer silhouettes especially the ones with the black background. I also mixed in a few Ta Da Spots and Kaffe Fassett shot cottons to break thepatterns up a bit (and who can resist spots/dots).

Overall I was really pleased with how it came out. I really hope my partner likes it – if she doesn’t I have included plenty of chocolate as bribery aswell as a nice Christmasy owl in complimentary colours to the runner. She should like it as she likes trees and stars …she has certainly made lots of positive comments for other runners that have been completed in the group that have a similar theme.

I’ll come back tomorrow give you some sneak peeks of my Christmas scrappy mug rug.

Belated Halloween fun

Halloween may have come and gone but I want to show you the quilt that I made the children for Halloween. The binding was only finished on Sunday but at least it was ready on time.

I made the quilt using leftovers from the fabrics I used to make Cupcake Princess’s Halloween costume last year…….

Trick or treating.......

I chose wonky star blocks to make the quilt as they are so easy to make and are perfect to use up off cuts and scraps. I wanted to try out making different sizes of stars plus stars within stars which I had seen in a quilt in the book Material Obsession. I really liked the different effects you could make by playing with the blocks.
I tried to piece the blocks together so that there was a symmetrical feel in terms of colour. I did unpick and remove one small star that was too prominent in my initial lay out but I was really happy with the final layout with the central dark star. I finished the quilt off with some FMQ meandering all over the top. I forgot to take a photo of the back but it is purple and the orange quilting looks really great.
I am really happy with how this quilt came out – we wont be putting it away just for Halloween, it will be added to our ever increasing pile of sofa snuggle quilts.

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!

A pile of little gifts…..

I’ve been very quiet for the past couple of weeks but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sewing. I have been working on an early stash of Christmas gifts for my daughters friends, nieces etc.

I know I’ll want to be working on some Christmas themed projects soon so I thought I would get some gifts out the way. My plan is to make a range of place mats, coasters and little book bags. I have various scraps, leftovers from other projects and small lucky dip fabrics that I have been gathering up for this very purpose. I am on a mission to use as much fabric as possible at the moment so I can justify making some new purchases.

I will give them as gifts individually or combine them into little sets like the one below.

You may have noticed a little bag at the back there made from Melody Millers Ruby Star Rising fabrics.

You might not think that this fabric range was one for little girls but I made an identical bag for Cupcake Princess a few weeks ago and she loves it…..look at her using it at the Festival of Quilts below. It has become one her favourite shopping bags. It has also made her dig out my sons viewfinder and discs which have been gathering dust out in the garage – I’m not sure how exciting the pictures of dinosaurs and diggers were but she hasn’t put it back in the garage yet.

 (I knew I would find a reason to post a picture of the Compare the quilts.com quilt at some time…isn’t it fabulous!!).

Have you started work on your Christmas projects yet? I have some larger projects that I need to start working on over the next couple of weeks. I’m pulling the fabrics together right now but I should have something to show you soon.

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!!)

Goodies ready to be posted…..

This weekends target was to finish off all the items that I needed for the Goodie Swap. I had one of the two mug rugs I needed ready but I also needed to make the goodies to go with them.

I actually went a bit back to front as I made the goodie for my second partner before the mug rug! A little while ago I bought a shoulder bag pattern from Melly & Me and I adapted the pattern by not adding a strap to make a lovely little pouch. I am so pleased with how it came out….I feel lots of Christmas gifts coming up from this one.

The design is really simple but effective…I so enjoyed rooting around to find the right buttons to sew on the front. I was supposed to do needleturn applique for the squares on the front but instead I used fusible webbing and folded over the sides – this seemed to give a more durable finish as I was able to machine stitch it into place.

The ties were really easy to make from some of the leftover fabric scraps so it was quite an economical project. I used some coordinating interior fabric so that the inside is pretty too but you could use some plain fabric if you wanted to keep costs down. The back is plain with just the split fabrics rather than any extra embellishment.

I decided to make the mug rug to go with it from some coordinating fabrics – I used some of the offcuts plus extras from my stash of bluey/green fabrics. The design was very simple but I am really pleased with how it came out. I had some perfect green/blue striped fabric for the binding. My partner says she likes blues and greens so it should be good for her.

The last thing I had to make was an extra for partner 1 to go with her rainbow mug rug. As partner no 1 likes pinks, reds etc I thought I would make her another pouch in her colour scheme. This one was simpler than the blue one as I didn’t add the applique and buttons to the front as all the options I tried seemed too fussy.

I really hope that my partners like their packages…just need to get them all wrapped up ready to post off at the end of the week. Once the package is in the post it will be time to start waiting for mine to arrive – time for more postman stalking!