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.

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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.
 

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.

Presents from Santa…

I have been so busy working on Christmas projects. For my Fresh & Funky quilting bee November block I need to make a Christmas block. I have been looking through my Flickr favourites for some inspiration and have been doing some experimenting…..

 

Block 1 - A wonky Christmas star

 

Some presents for the tree

 

Christmas trees.

 

 

Santa (with a goatie beard!)

Finally I have stitched all the elements into a little Christmas scene….

 

Presents from Santa.....

 

Now I need to decide whether to just quilt, embellish and add some binding OR I could turn it into something more elaborate…decisions…decisions!!

 

No power curtails the sewing…..

What a disaster…we have had a power cut for 8 hours today which has curtailed many of my sewing plans. I have spent some time planning a new project and spent a long time looking at my quilting bee fabrics.

I was half way though making the house block for my Fresh & Funky Quilting Bee when the power went but was able to finish it off this evening. We were told to make something that had a bit of us in it so we made a palace!! We put ourselves in the downstairs windows – Cupcake Princess on the left and me on the right with my red hair. The upstairs windows have our favourite owls in them….CP thinks they look like the stained glass windows that they have in palaces. We think it’s come out really well. What do you think? The colours haven’t come out great so I may try and get a better photo out in the garden tomorrow.

A patchwork palace with us in the windows!!

We have also been tinkering with the wonky star blocks that we blogged about earlier in the week. I had an idea of using ric rac to outline the white wonky star….I think it looks quite good. I have added some binding to make it a little mini  quilt to put on my sewing table/CP’s dinner table when it’s not in use.  The table is orange and red so I think it will look really good.

Wonky star mini quilt with some ric rac embellishment.

I would be interested to hear what other people think…does it look better with the ric rac on? I’m thinking of making a bigger quilt but some feedback would be useful before I embark on the project. I had some useful feedback on my post the other day suggesting the stars would naturally stand out more when more blocks are added and the yellow pieces from different blocks are joined up.

Stars but no stripes…..

I’m working on some ideas for a new project. I bought a fabric bundle of Dill Blossom by Robert Kauffman from Fabric Rehab last week. I’m toying with the idea of a quilt of stars within stars. I made a sample of my block idea this evening which came out well in terms of the design but I’m not happy with how I used the fabrics…..I think the big star needs to be made from the yellow fabric and then I need to use white fabric as the background. Basically the big star doesn’t stand out well enough for me.

Dill Blossom Stars - idea 1

Back to the piecing board for me tomorrow!!

First Sew Buzzy blocks + Visit to Hidcote

I recently joined a couple of online quilting groups. Tonight I finished the first blocks for the Sew Buzzy bee.

The theme was wonky stars and AntiqueRose provided us all with 30’s repro fabrics to produce 1 x 12.5 inch block or 2 x 6.5 inch block. I received a package of pale blue fabrics and a request for 1 x 12.5 inch block.

You will have seen my earlier posts about practicing for producing these stars and on the whole I am happy with the final blocks (even managed to make them 12.5 inches!!). The piecing isn’t perfect but hopefully AntiqueRose will be happy with them. I produced a second block with a piece of the fabric provided plus a piece of kitten covered blue fabric from my own stash….hope she likes it!!!

Wonky Star 1

Wonky Star 2 - Using kitten fabric

Today we had a day out to Hidcote Gardens. It wasn’t as beautiful a day as yesterday but it was still reasonably warm and sunny. The National Trust gardens at Hidcote are just so beautiful. We normally visit them once or twice over the summer but this is my favourite time of year when the flowers are just coming out and the leaves have a really vibrant green colour as they are so newly sprouted.

A few photos from the trip…taken before my camera batteries ran out!! The wonky stars quilt had its first outing as a picnic rug. We discovered that the scottie dog bag is the perfect size to carry the rug and the kids toys.

Chilling on the wonky stars......

Wonky stars and scottie dog bag.....

Beautiful wisteria......

Water Lillies

Beautiful princess in the wisteria......

Chasing bubbles......

Flower borders...beautiful greens.

Free veggie seeds for the kids....

Wonky stars all bound and ready

I have been away working for the past couple of days but I have managed to add the binding to my wonky stars quilt. I am really pleased with how it has come out…especially as I just started off by making some practice wonky stars  not to make a whole quilt!

Hope you like it too……..

Finished wonky star quilt

Wonky stars - back

Cupcake Princess is back from her grandpas and she is already trying to stake claim to some of my new makes…apparently my Amy Butler love bag goes well with the outfit she has on today…..hands off my bag!!!!

Cupcake Princess with my bag.......

Peaceful sewing morning…..

As I mentioned previously my family have gone away for the Bank Holiday weekend so I have a weekend at home to myself.

While watching eurovision last night I layered and pinned my wonky star quilt ready for quilting this morning.

The photo isn’t great as I took it late at night but hopefully you can see it was all prepped ready for quilting this morning.

Wonky stars prepped for quilting

I got up bright and early this morning and started on the quilting. This is the first time that I have tried to do any quilting that wasn’t just about doing square outlines. It hasn’t come out perfectly but I am pleased with the results overall. Considering I started off yesterday to just make a few practice stars for the quilting bee I now have a lovely little quilt….I dont mind that the blocks aren’t perfectly aligned and the quilting isn’t perfect – it gives it that homemade feel.

I will work on the binding tonight (it’s all prepped to add on) but I thought I’d show you how it is looking prebinding:

Unbound wonky star quilt

Close up

I have a whole cupboard full of fabrics I have purchased for projects that I haven’t got round to doing so I’ve decided to try and get a few of them done this weekend too.

I bought some lovely Radley dog style fabric by Clarke and Clarke a few weeks ago. I thought it would make a really good shopping bag. I didn’t have a pattern to work from but I had some ideas for construction from other things that I worked on recently.

It only took an hour or so and I am really pleased with the finished bag – Cupcake Princess will be extremely jealous!!

Scottie dog shopper

I lined it with the coordinating fabric and added some pockets for my purse, mobile, MP3 etc.

Inside of scottie shopper

I’m tidying up now as the Queen Mother and the Shed King are coming over for tea. I have a few other projects in mind for later this evening….so come back soon and see what else I finish in my sewing weekend!!

Practicing the wonky stars

I have recently joined two online quilting bees, Sew Buzzy and Fresh & Funky Quilting Bee.

Sew Buzzy is kicking off in June with a project from Antique Rose to sew wonky stars. She requires one 12.5 inch wonky star or two 6.5 inch wonky stars.

Thank fully Antique Rose provided us with a gallery of wonky stars that she likes plus links to 3 tutorials on how to make them. Personally I have never made a wonky star so I was thankful that we could have a look at how to make them.

This weekend my family are away in Edinburgh so I have a very quiet house to myself so I thought I would make some practice blocks so that I knew how to make the stars. I close to follow the tutorial below:

http://thesillyboodilly.blogspot.com/2009/02/wonky-star-tutorial.html

The real stars have to be made from 30’s repro fabrics (which I haven’t received yet as I’m an international member and not in the U.S.). I decided to make mine from some really nice red and white fabrics that I picked up at Malvern…I was thinking that if the stars were successful I could make a picnic rug from them or a table-cloth for the kitchen.

Anyway, I have had a fun afternoon making up the blocks and to be honest I have enjoyed myself and they look fairly good. The one problem is that I am supposed to end up with a 12.5 inch block but I seem to be coming out nearer 12 inches. I will have to experiment tomorrow to see how I can get back the extra half an inch that I need for the blocks.

Below are a few pictures of the process and the finished blocks:

4.5 inch squares cut

Cut star point squares in half

Points pieced

Trim point squares back to 4.5 inches

Sew squares into strips....

White with a touch of red.....

Red with a touch of white....

I have prepared 4 red squares and 4 white squares so tomorrow I will start pulling together the finished quilt top.

Tonight is the Eurovision song contest so I can’t sit here using the sewing machine as it might drown out how awful some of the acts are.  Instead I will pour myself some wine, crack open some tortillas and dips, get my eurovision score sheet out and sit here doing some applique while doing my scoring. I’m sure the winner wont be one that I would have chosen but I’ll update you on the fun tomorrow……

P.S. Yes, it is really very sad to admit to liking the eurovision song contest but it is just such compelling telly due to the extremely awful acts that are normally on display!!