Tag Archives: sewing

Quilt as You Go

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Quilt as You Go

For the Riley Blake Challenge run by the Modern Quilt Guild I decided to try QAYG for the first time. 

 I really loved how relaxing it was as a technique. I’ll definitely give this a go again. Pehaps starting with a smaller center piece. 

After finishing a square panel I turned it into a simple cushion. 

  

It’s not a combination of colours I’d chose usually – much more muted than my usual choice but I think it’s really calming and attractive. 

Now where to put it?!

 

Initial cushions

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Initial cushions

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I recently offered to make personalised cushions in a fundraising promise auction. The winning bidder wanted one with S&D on it for her sons, and I said how about two? One each. She agreed.

When I’ve made name cushions in the past I’ve appliqued the letters on the cushion tops. But with one large letter, especially for young boys, I thought I needed a more robust construction. So one night it came to me, why not use the porthole technique I learned in Lu Summers’ class at the Fat Quarterly Retreat 2 years ago?

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It worked really nicely, and I love how it’s a little window onto the seascape fabric underneath. I decided to frame the letters with 2.5″ squares.

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Onto the quilting. I worried that swirls might be a bit too girly, but actually it was perfect – a hint of sea waves! I’ve been taking some Craftsy FMQ classes (Angela Waters) and I have to say it’s given me a great deal of confidence. That, as well as a face to face lesson by Trudi Wood at last year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat, has fuelled my love of free motion quilting. This is done in Aurifil 50, which is thinner than my usual 40wt, one of Angela Waters’ tips is thinner thread, and thread that blends (hides a multitude of slips!) and I’m a convert!

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I love the quilting inside the letter D!

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Best of all the boys and their mum love them. One of the boys took his straight to bed with him, and was still cuddling it in the morning!

Wavy quilted cushion

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I’ve had Jenny Pedigo’s Quick Curve Ruler for absolutely ages, but didn’t even take off the plastic backing paper until the weekend. I love her blog, and admire the quilts she makes with this ruler, so it was about time that this baby got an outing.

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I kept it simple and decided to make cushion covers (for a creative quilter I had NO home made items in the lounge). I have sewed curves before and I did find it very quick and easy to do these blocks. My mind is racing now with ideas how to make more cushions with this ruler. I am oficially a fan.

Then I decided on straight line quilting because I love the texture it creates.

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Then I tried binding by machine to save time…

20140428-125018.jpg mmmm… made a complete mess of it… and decided to unpick and bind by hand instead…

20140428-125147.jpg aaah! That’s better!

Apparently Lily’s Quilts will be posting a tutorial on machine binding on Thursday. I’m hoping it will help with my clearly rubbish technique!

Can’t stop stroking my new cushion now!

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Baby quilt

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Baby quilt

Remember my son complaining about the quilt I was making for my niece? Well here it is:

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It’s finished, washed and has crinkled up just as I like it.

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Made with charm squares, quilted in straight lines and FMQ with star, heart, swirls and swirly designs. And here’s her name emboidered on the front:

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Quilting and piecing with Aurifil thread, embroidered with Perle cotton. Hope she likes it!

Great sewing project for me and my seven year old

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Great sewing project for me and my seven year old

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I wanted an easy, quick project that I could do with my seven year old daughter. From the Tikki quilting shop in Kew I bought a ready cut bunting kit. I could have easily made my own, but the kit made everything much easier for us.

My daughter sewed the triangles together, we both turned them inside out (she’s now an expert at using the purple thang to make pointy corners), then I ironed them flat.

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She pinned them on the binding in the order she wanted them… And then we both shared the final sewing together. (I think she did a lot more than me at actually).

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By the end she was sewing confidently and even removing pins without stopping. I made sure I was using aurifil thread, so that we didn’t have any thread breakages… Just uninterrupted sewing!

She got the feel of what speed was comfortable for her and understood how to correct any mistakes. Although to be honest, the only mistakes she made were when I had left the machine on full speed accidentally!

I love the finished bunting, and we have a few triangles left over to put another short bunting on her pink fireplace.

I think this would be great with some space fabrics for my son too.

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Another pair of kids leggings

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On the serger, my daughter made a second pair of leggings. (Wearing a tiara whilst working of course)

On the serger it all took less than 20min to come together. A bit more for the fiddly elastic casing which I sewed on my sewing machine for her. But all exceptionally quick, and now I have a leggings master pattern for her.
I think we could have made the lower leg tighter, but I quite like that it’s not too tight. We could possibly lower the waist too, but she says it’s fine that high!

Black lycra as she requested! Shiny side out of course!

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Now I have a long legged princess who is ready to run at any moment!

(That’s a hair piece by the way!)

“Girl fabrics are prettier!”

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“Girl fabrics are prettier!”

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My 6yo son has a quilt, but has demanded another one. He was in tears the other night (exhaustion playing a major part) saying that his quilt isn’t as pretty as the one I’m finishing for his cousin Nel.
TEARS! “Girl materials are much prettier Mami” he wailed!

A few days later after sewing some dolls house quilts with my daughter I told him to choose some fabrics he liked from my big box.
This is the result. He picked lots of greens and red in charm squares. And he was VERY specific that he wanted a big square of bug fabric right in the middle.

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It’s very different to what I would have chosen for him, but he loves it. He also helped me piece the majority of the quilt top. (So there are a few wobbly seams and squares which wont match up, but I love it! )

We also put a panel on the back to make it a quillow (but I haven’t yet put any applique on the pillow bit, so it’s just plain beige fleece at the moment.
It’s backed with the fleece just as he wanted.

His quilt, his choices, his hard work and I’ve got the happiest 6year old in the world!

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Now my daughter wants another quilt!

A sew along I couldn’t resist! Trunks!

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A sew along I couldn’t resist! Trunks!

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I have been diverted from my ongoing quilting projects to make… Underwear for my husband.

When I saw the Comox Trunks Sew-along I couldn’t resist joining. I was late to the party, so sewed up two complete underpants today, more catchupalong really!

When I told my husband what I was doing he raised an eyebrow and more or less said he didn’t think he’d wear them, why on earth was I making underpants!

I wasn’t put off…I was determined to prove him wrong!

I mostly serged them together.

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The first pair was too big, and too messy, I had a nightmare trying to put on the elastic – the jersey was curling really badly.

I decided to hem the legs with a twin needle, but it didn’t really feel that comfortable.

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The second leg I hemmed with a stretch (broken) zig zag – much softer. But both legs were a bit wavy… I had clearly stretched the fabric a bit whilst hemming.

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So I made a second pair.
I went down a size and this time I serged the top after construction so that the elastic went on easier. I also made ABSOLUTELY sure that I didn’t stretch the leg fabric when I hemmed them.
Much much better. My husband’s verdict: not bad at all, he will wear them after all. If he had one criticism, it was that he’d like the back to be higher. No problem- that could probably be easily done with the pattern pieces.

Result! Quick, easy, satisfying project!

Celebrating a long awaited finish!

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My big pink quilt is finished and I just love it!

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I had it basted for over a year (not kidding) and the backing was really bugging me, it was too much for the quilt. So I took off the flowery backing that you can see in this post, instead I made my first pieced backing in greys and a row of the same prints as the quilt top.

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After this year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat i felt brave enough to tackle FMQ on this huge beauty too. Thanks Trudi for the instruction in that class – it made a huge difference to me. Of course, I used Aurifil 50wt thread too after seeing how it behaved in that class. I didn’t have one thread breakage!

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Now i’m new at this FMQ, so this quilt is full of rookie mistakes and flaws. I probably shouldn’t have used red on the back. It would have been much better to have have a dark grey matching thread – my flaws wouldn’t have been so visible! But I was a bit nervous of using different threads in the top and bottom. I shouldn’t have been. Next time I will take more care whilst considering the colour of the bobbin thread.

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There’s build up of thread, overshooting my line etc etc…. but do you know what… I STILL love this, and it has pride of place on our bed.

Is it weird to have a “favourite bit” of the quilt – do others have this too? Well mine is the very small pebble bit at the corners of the light blue sashing. Did I say I’m new at FMQ… I kept my dodgy pebbling to a minimum!!

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So there she is – she’s big, she’s bold, she’s not perfect but she’s flippin’ marvellous! I’m so proud of her.

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Pattern and most of the fabrics are Kaffe Fassett.

Maybe I SHOULD be a thread snob

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Maybe I SHOULD be a thread snob

During the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London I took some classes with the amazing Trudi Wood. I love her work and her class was a bit like opening a door on the mysteries of free motion quilting. I have dabbled with FMQ in the past, experimented and stumbled in the dark… but after her classes (in FMQ and FMQ design) I am completely confident in going for it! My FMQ is full of mistakes / flaws or “design features” as she might put it, but I feel that it gets easier everytime I sit down and try.

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The photo above was done with my proper machine, but during the class I was using (well…wrestling) with my 25 year Jones machine. She wasn’t happy, she was presenting me with huge eyelashes all over my practice sandwich.

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I changed needle.
I changed tension.
I adjusted the bobbin tension with a screwdriver.
I rethreaded.
I swore.
I gave up and took a coffee break!
During coffee I was moaning about my frustrations to Cara who suggested that maybe I should change thread completely.
So I went back and rethreaded with Aurifil 50. Now I originally didn’t want to
use my precious Aurifil for these practice sandwiches but look at the difference it made!

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It was as if a little fairy had come down to make it all better! Who knew that a change of thread could make that much of a difference?

This is what progress looks like!

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I’ve made a few more luggage tags. If there’s interest at the Fat Quarterly Retreat I might sell them. If not, they will be gifts.

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I have to say I’m not sure I’d make these again. They’re very time consuming and fiddly, but they’re really pretty.

I have also made progress in my Finish A Long list.

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I pieced my multi colour baby blanket.

I also quilted my daughter’s quilt and started binding.

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I’ve started hand basting the binding to the back now too. And with the left over binding, I’m keeping it safe on a toilet roll!

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Ugh! It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong

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Ugh! It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong

I was trying to follow a pattern for a boxy pouch / make-up bag.
And um…it all went wrong.
It’s the wrong shape, the tags are all wrong, it’s just a mess!

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At least I know now what I did wrong, so I’m going to have another go!
Moral of the story… Don’t sew whilst ill!

20130712-214115.jpg And don’t sew whilst ill AND catching up on Nashville episodes back to back!

Back to the drawing board, and back to bed to make sure I’m better by the retreat!

Rip off the backing! Go on do it!

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This quilt has been languishing in full “baste” for AGES.

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I know why, the backing I chose is just not right. After months and months of feeling unhappy about this I have decided to follow my instinct and act on it.

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This floral backing is far too loud and too busy for a quilt that is sleeady a riot of colour. In the back of my mind I can see a lovely minimal grey backing with a pieced strip of left over fabrics.

So I’ll soon be taking the plunge and “unbasting” (is there such a word?) the monster quilt and starting again with a new calm backing. I love the front, so I need a back that I will also love.

Version 2 luggage tag

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Version 2 is better (without my mistake of sewing the vinyl on the wrong way!)

I am going to try and modify the design quite a bit on the next one, but keeping the same dimensions. It’s a big luggage tag, but I quite like that.

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It was great to be able to have a very continental breakfast outside yesterday! – thanks to a thoughtful husband!