Saturday, 23 March 2013

Baby Boy top ready to sandwich

Had a busy and profitable day today. Snowing outside - such crazy weather for Spring!  So what better way to keep warm and cosy but to piece my appliqued vehicle blocks together.

All made from 2 fabrics featuring cars, motor bikes, school buses, jeeps and various building site vehicles.  I had fun fussy cutting them, then they were fused onto Kona cotton backgrounds. I always like to hand blanket stitch around the appliqued shapes and used either white or royal blue embroidery floss to do that.  A few days ago I framed all the blocks, this time introducing a little bit of extra interest with scraps in yellow, orange, bright green, red etc. 

Then on Thursday I laid them all out in rows.  My original plan had been to have 4 verticle rows of blocks ( each with 5 blocks) interspersed with a solid strip to give a sort of Coin Quilt look.  This really didn't look right so I switched them around on the floor (my design wall!) to make 5 horizontal rows of 4 blocks.  Much better!  I started to sew the rows into strips, adding odd strips here and there to make them all of equal depth and the rows of equal length. Then I ran out of time so that was where I picked up things this morning.

I had intended to use some of my new Kona stash to add strips between the rows. I decided the Regatta colour looked super, another blue, but a good contrast to the other blues and I felt that shade 'pulled together' all the other colours and fabrics in the rows.  However, I'm glad I hadn't cut the strips because when I laid two or three rows onto the piece of Regatta fabric I didn't think the rows needed any separation at all.  So this afternoon I sewed all five rows together and pressed it ready to sandwich....  tomorrow perhaps?

I'm so pleased with this bright cheerful Boy Quilt top.

This photo is the right way up on my Flickr Photostream but is sideways here and I don't know how to rotate it.  Sorry! Hope you are able to see how it looks!
The Regatta has made a lovely border though and I'm pleased with it.  I've pieced a backing from scraps left over from the quilt and also pieced a 46" square of batting from three pieces of batting that needed using up.
Now it's time to cook our dinner so no more sewing today.
This is intended for one of the twin boys expected any day in New Zealand ( friends' grandsons)  I thought the babies were due in April but apparently it's very soon now so I have to get a move on with this quilt.  The Wise Owl quilt is the other one and that is all ready to go, thank goodness.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Kona cottons for my stash

I've been using a lot of Kona cottons recently in my Scrap quilts and had run out of some of the colours I like to keep on hand - yellow, aqua, bright pink etc.  I discovered from reading some quilting blogs that Fabric Shack is still keeping to their $12 flat rate envelope for posting overseas even though the US Mail prices have shot up. So I decided to buy some replacement colours, 9 yards in total which they can fit into the $12 envelope. This is a really generous offer as the actual postage was almost $24 and it arrived in just a few days.
There are so many beautiful colours to choose from, no idea how many there must be in total, so it was quite a challenge to pick a few out. 

This is what I decided on:

From front to back of the chair they are:  Banana         Mango
                                                                  Green tea      Kiwi
                                                                  Robin egg     Regatta
                                                                  Thistle           Bright pink

Aren't they gorgeous?  Looking at them through their clear plastic bag made my mouth water!

I will be using the Regatta in the Baby boy quilt I am currently making.  Made all the blocks but they need to be sashed in some way as they are wonky different-sized blocks and I think the Regatta should do the trick.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

First WIP finish for 2013

I am pleased to announce my first WIP finish for this year!
My sewing New Year's resolution was to finish my WIPs and make blocks that I had received in Sewing Bees into quilts.

About this time last year I made a cot quilt top, using some pretty Owl fabric I had bought some months previously. As I am always trying to use scraps and stash fabrics, I rooted around and found some Kona Cotton lime green, an orange fabric spotted with white dots and a yellow dot Michael Miller fabric.  Some pieces were already cut into squares and oblongs so I went with those dimensions and made a simple top based on squares and oblongs. As I didn't have anyone in mind for this, it was put away in my sewing cupboard and forgotten until my recent 'Sort Out' of that cupboard.
I now know of three babies expected on the other side of the world in New Zealand so I decided to finish it.

Again, following my desire to use scraps and stash I found (in my now neatly organised and labelled  chest of drawers where I store my quilting fabrics) 6 squares of a paler yellow fabric which were originally cut for my first ever quilt back in1997. I sewed those together in two lots of three squares and with a strip of the orange fabric down the middle there was the exact size for the backing.

A few years ago I won a Giveaway of a cot quilt-sized piece of batting which was made from recycled plastic bottles.  A rather weird pale green colour but I decided to use it up. In fact it hand quilted beautifully and my needle went through like a knife through butter.  I even had enough left over to sandwich two premature baby quilt tops I had as WIPs too. Those are now waiting to be hand quilted so technically still WIPs!

I hand quilted using three different colours of Perle cottons: turquoise, lime green and a varigated yellow and orange one which worked very well and made a pleasing pattern on the back of the quilt.

For sashing I again found a large enough piece of aqua Kona Cotton so I feel that this quilt has cost me nothing to make!  It is now sitting in my cupboard waiting for the birth of one of the babies in New Zealand.

Here's a photo of the finished quilt:

And a photo of my pieced backing where I hope my hand quilting shows up:

I am so pleased with this quilt which measures 40" x 42", a good sized playmat for a new baby which can then be used in a cot and also as a snuggle quilt.  Nice bright colours to catch a baby's attention and super little owls with enormous eyes!

Now onto another cot quilt, this time based on a scrap of fabric I received in a Swap.
Stay tuned!

Monday, 4 March 2013

QAYG blocks for Australia

Well, I find it amazing that it is almost a month since I last blogged and that we are now in March!
I have definitely felt that Spring was on its way the past few days: it is getting noticeably lighter in the mornings and not becoming dark anywhere near as early, the birds are singing and the woodpecker has spent a long time pecking away at our lawn - a whole hour the other afternoon!  So, I am feeling lighter too. I really dislike the dark winter months and have to say I am not too keen on snow.  Good to look at from the window, to admire how pretty the trees look, and I enjoy snow scenes on Christmas cards but then reality sets in and I just think it's a nuisance.

So, what have I been doing on the sewing front?  Continuing hand quilting another cot quilt, a top I made a year ago when I was indoors a great deal during my chemotherapy.  I am hoping this will be suitable for one of the twins  expected in New Zealand next month.  Have an idea for the second quilt but not started yet! I think the twins are both expected to be boys so I am using strong colours.

Then I rediscovered Jan MacFadyen's blog. An amazing lady who makes quilts, crocheted blankets, hats etc for charity. How she finds the time and energy to create so many in such a short time is simply incredible. 
Check out her blog: Oz Comfort Quilts  where the posts are solely about her Charity Quilts, both ones she has made herself and blocks, quilts and other handmade items sent as donatations to her cause.
Jan's other blog is Sew Many Quilts - Too Little Time, very aptly named! Somehow she also makes time to sew for herself!
Both well worth a look, you will be blown away at what she achieves. Perhaps she never sleeps?

One of the quilts she makes over and over again is a QAYG String block which she sashes together into a fairly quick quilt. I used her method a couple of years ago when I made a String Quilt to send to the Christchurch earthquake quilts appeal. I found the instructions for the sashing a bit puzzling, but did it eventually and the finished quilt was good.

As I had a lot of strings left over from other projects and lots of small pieces of batting I decided to make 20 String blocks for Jan.  She relies a lot on donations: blocks of any kind, fabric, batting, backing, sashing, yarn etc.  I really enjoyed making them - I LOVE string blocks and get a kick out of 'making something out of nothing'.  I pieced batting, stitching bits together with a zigzag stitch on the machine so I used up lots of odds and ends which made my large plastic box for batting bits look a little less full.  All good.

Here are some photos of my finished blocks.  They are so bright and cheerful, lots to look at too as so many colours and fabric styles are used.

Last two photos show Close ups of some of the blocks.  They are even brighter than these photos show.

Whilst I was hunting around in my sewing room for more scraps of fabric I found 7 orphan blocks.
I cannot remember when or why I made them and know I won't use them myself.  I emailed Jan and asked if they would be useful to her and she said Yes, so these Pinwheel blocks went into the parcel along with the 20 QAYG blocks.

Again my photo doesn't do them justice, the fabrics are brighter than this.

Also, as always I have been stitching tiny scarps of fabric into Crumb blocks and, as a result of the trimmings from my QAYG blocks I have a HUGE stack of bits for 100s more Crumb blocks. I have a coule of ideas for more quilts using these, just need to find some time.

Hope you are having a great  time sewing.
Do let me know if you make some blocks for Jan.