Friday, September 26, 2014

At a crossroads....

Literally...and figuratively!
I haven't blogged in months. And I've never not blogged for this long. Blogging this year seems to have been hijacked by the 'in the moment' opportunities of Instagram (I'm @sewandsews) and the mundane-ness of having to connect my Nikon to the laptop because it doesn't play nicely with the desktop computer and the laptop is invariably in someones bedroom because they've been watching a movie....and so on, and so on! It's such a shame. I mostly blog for me as a record of what I've created quilt wise with a smattering of family life, but I also know our far flung friends like to check in every now and then to see what we're all up to...so I'm doing it. Here's a collection of this past winter gone.

Most of my quilting friends know of my love for Denyse Schmidt fabrics. Over the years I've amassed a rather substantial collection of fabrics, both international releases and those released through our local Spotlight store under the DS Quilts brands. I decided they needed to be let loose from the cupboard and whilst cutting one very large project (which is now bundled up in a plastic tub!), decided on another. Using a plethora of 2.5" strips and squares is my Arkansas Crossroads quilt. I used the free download pattern by another Adelaide quilter, England Street Quilts.


To say I'm thrilled with it is an understatement. Right now, it's my favourite.


The back and binding continue with the DS Quilts theme and cobbles together some of my larger pieces of Hope Valley and some Spotlight editions in the pinks, purples and oranges.

The binding uses more...and after a little miscalculation oopsie I had to improvise and added in a tiny odd bit of the blue flower from Picnics & Fairgrounds which I've used over and over in so many quilts these past couple of years. It's a nice reminder.

I've often said how I keep all my scraps. It's a problem but so far a nice one to have. It expands creativity in my opinion. Sometimes this manifests as a sleepless night...but hey, at least there's a positive outcome. This little baby quilt was built using the triangle offcuts from the 'X' blocks in the above quilt and a few lone 2.5" squares to make the little scrappy stars. And because I love the fabric so much, I set it all in scraps of solids. I loved that I had enough solids big enough to cobble out a little baby quilt.


The backing is brown gingham that was gifted from my boss who was purging her linen press. It's perfectly plain and a little bit old fashioned and is the perfect foil for a back to let the front speak for itself.

Another quilt that was a long time in the making was adapted from the Modern Log Cabin book by Susan Beal. It was the cross quilt quilt on the front that inspired me to purchase the book. This is my version of the cross quilt, adapted using 2.5" strips. It gives a slightly different dimension but sweet nonetheless. Here it is finally finished on my clothes line and looking at this picture, taken in the depths of our very cold winter just gone. It's lovely to have spring arrive!


On the back I made a giant log cabin cross, set in white.


And finally, what I'm working on right now. It is scaring the pants off me because it's so big. The biggest quilt I've ever made. Here it is at basting stage. The challenge was to find floorspace big enough and I ended up using my office. You can see my shoes to the side where I had to remove them to accommodate walking over the top of it because it spanned the whole width of the foyer!

This is for my SIL in Perth. She loves everything Sugar Skulls and asked me to make her a quilt featuring them. Typically, I was at the end of the sugar skull fabric releases but did manage to get some locally from Voodoo Rabbit in Brisbane who specialise in rockabilly, tattoo, retro and punk  fabrics and picked up some fantastic Alexander Henry day of the dead fabrics. There was also a release from Spotlight and I managed to score (yes, score but a long story of a frenzied woman who had visited every store within a 20km radius!) some of their coloured skulls. There had been a black and white release but alas, not for me!

The pattern is the Kismet medallion quilt by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession fame in Sydney from the Material Obsession Two book by Kathy and Sarah Fielke.

There have been others in between all of these quilts but are currently laying dormant in the 'to be processed pile'. Here's to more quilting and blogging in the very near future! And to celebrate all of these finishes, I'm linking up with Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

There's a Granny on my gate....

Well that made you look didn't it!

Here's a little Granny Square quilt that I made for my sister in law for a friend of her's who is having a baby. As soon as she saw mine, she said "I want one like that....only smaller and for a boy." So that's what she got.


Like my larger version, I've added some little cornerstones to each of the blocks. It's a lovely way to use some 2.5" squares, albiet 4 in this instance!

The back is an argyle from DS Quilts, Denyse Schmidt's range through Spotlight in Australia. I don't know what it's called or from which range but I just love, love, love it as a back for a baby quilt. Without any fancy joining, it looks really smart. And, because of the busy-ness of the back, I went with the last of my Kona charcoal to frame both the front and the back.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....oh how I wish I'd quilted when my babies were little. But then again, we may not be able to get out of the front door for them all being stacked against it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vintage vibe....

I can't believe I missed a whole month of blogging. Needless to say, this post will be picture heavy to catch up on all the quilt finishes this past month.

First off, way back when it was still hot and feeling like it was still summer, a pink pinwheel quilt. I started this quilt back in September but missed my deadline of taking it overseas. Then when I realised that our friends were going to be here in February it was a last minute dash to finish it before they returned home to the UK....typical.

I used a whole bunch of low volume squares that were left over from this quilt and turned them into pinwheels using this method. Then I set them in a framework of really pale pink solid background.

The quilt is for a little girl, so lots of pink was in order. It turned out rather sweet and with the pink polka dot binding has quite a vintage look about it.


After I gifted this quilt, my sister in law requested a couple of quilts for babies in her circle of friends. Margaret quite liked the scrappy swoon block but wanted a cot size for a little boy, the first grandchild of one of their dearest friends.

I stuck with the scrappy swoon but off-set it in turquoise and backed it with a piece of Salt Air by Moda. Funnily enough, this one has quite a vintage look about it as well!

For my birthday recently, Spotlight sent me a $10 gift voucher which I promptly redeemed on a copy of Camille Roskelley's Simply Retro book. Inside there's  a lovely little Churn Dash quilt that I was itching to try.

I make no secret of the fact that I'm always on the look/listen out for baby news so I have a chance to try something new. When I realised that one of R's teachers was just about to head off on maternity leave, I hopped to and got cutting and stitching.

Her teacher was keeping baby's gender a secret which made fabric choice difficult.
I don't mind red and navy on girls but some people have a problem with florals for boys. I went with a selection of red, navy, lime Picnics & Fairgrounds by Denyse Schmidt (the queen of vintage looking fabric in my eyes.


This combo has yeilded quite a few florals and to tempt fate, I've used the last of some other DS green and blue floral on the back, paired with a strip of lime solid. But.... you never know, Ms T might trump us all and baby could turn out to be a girl....in which case it's all a moot point!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tinker Taylor....

I've have finished my Scrappy Summer quilt and just in time for Joe's great nephew's first birthday party this weekend.


The pattern is Scrappy Summer by Alison of Cluck Cluck Sew using the free tutorial on the blog.
This quilt was so lovely to work on. I loved the colours I chose and the easy piecing, much of it chained which helped it come together like a dream. The way the white blocks run through the quilt gives it a really crisp summer look.


Everything I used in this quilt I had, so it truly is a scrappy quilt. The backing came off another that I had got as far as basting but it just wasn't doing it for me on that one. So a bit of an un-pin and re-pin and voila, backing ready to go. It's a Denyse Schmidt floral in blue and green from Spotlight, from the range after Picnics & Fairgrounds....Sugar Creek.


The binding is a fabric I bought from Fabric Shack from their cheapy discounted section. It's a perfect zingy stripe (and dot) in red and aqua which picks up the reds and blues in the quilt. Unfortunately, I cut off the selvedge and didn't have time to go back and investigate the name.


This time I decided to machine stitch the binding. I know a lot of quilters claim that it's more durable and an expedient way to attach a binding...which it is, but....I don't know, I don't love it. It's got stitching through it. I honestly prefer the neat finish of a hand stitched binding. This is probably only about the second or third time I've attempted machine stitched binding and I respect the fact that practice makes perfect, but those little oopsies when the stitches come off the rails on the back drive me nuts. All that being said, I'm not undoing it! It will be fine and no-one else cares except me!

Now that's two little whinges I've had in this post so we'll leave it there for now. I do love this quilt, it's perfect for a little boy and I hope he gets lots of use out of it, at least as much as his big brother got from his a few years back. Happy birthday Taylor!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Favourite colours.....

I'm on a bit of a bandwagon for orange, green, yellow, blue, grey and red lately with them popping up in at least two quilt projects in a row. Both of which are quilts for little boys.

The first is a quilt for a little man who's turning one shortly. I've used Cluck Cluck Sew's free tutorial for the Scrappy Summer Quilt. This pattern is so easy and comes together so neatly. Currently it's basted and waiting for the Adelaide weather to move on from its never-ending 40 degree plus heat waves (we've had two already!). I love how crisp these colours look.


Then because I was loving the colours so much and am always on the hunt for an excuse to make a quilt, I made a scrappy swoon for a work colleague who's son has had his first baby, and Liz's first grandchild. The pattern is by Camille Roskelley and once I got my head around it, it is pretty easy to turn scrappy....although I could have contrasted the colours against the centre square a bit better. (Must try harder next time!) It's one single Swoon block, set inside 8" of solid borders which makes a 40" square quilt.

The back is a single metre piece of Spotlight fabric picked up for a song last year. It's the perfect turquoise for a little boy.


Actually, this whole quilt didn't require one cent of expenditure....I had it all. Scraps, enough solid, enough binding and enough batting to frankenpiece! I love a gift from 'nothing'!


Last Christmas the Sew & Sew's girls decided to give an end-of-year gift of our scraps to each other. Just reporting in girls....but I have managed to use gifted scraps in both of these quilts and another so far this year. (Red pin dot - M, Grey mice - K, Green floral - C) It's a lot of fun to use other people's fabrics, that's for sure.

I've linked to Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Made to Measure....

I wanted to post one of those fancy pants mosaics featuring all the things I'd worked on this year. Surprisingly, there was quite a bit of sewing even if my blog posts have been rather thin on the ground. But alas, I haven't kept up with my flickr posting and this has made the mosaic difficult to capture. So I'll leave you with my latest project, Made to Measure, a medallion quilt designed my Sarah Fielke and featured in her latest book, Hand Quilted With Love.

I've opted to follow Sarah's colour scheme as I'm not that brave selecting my own. Mind you, seeing as it's the quilt featured on the cover and the one I fell in love with, why not follow the prescribed colours?
I've two more borders to go and I'm really enjoying the process....even if it does mean trimming down lots (did I say lots, I meant LOTS) of half square triangles. But that's my own doing, as I've chosen to make them over sized and trim them down for accuracy.
My piecing is obviously also a little out as the specified measurements are about 1/2" inch smaller than where I'm at. So I'm currently cutting a little longer and so far, that's working out. This however is a far cry from my first round of piecing for the centre star. I religiously followed the pattern for the centre star I couldn't believe how tight the placement was and how nothing aligned. To say I cried was an understatement. I had after all, cut into some wonderful fabric that I'd just bought back from Paris and hardly able to whip around the corner to buy some more!
So after a sleepless night, made worse by jetlag, trying to re-invent some measurements to make it work, I decided I'd google 'problems with Made to Measure measurements'. Guess what? An errata page! I get that mistakes are made, afterall I've spent a lifetime in advertising and communications and I know that when it comes to pressing that 'publish' button, there's a lot of stress on the publisher side. But....who would have thought it? Not me!
So the next night I unpicked what I'd done, re-cut the middle and set off again. So far, so good.
Here's hoping 2014 is filled with less errata for everyone and more plain sailing into the seas of fabric that we love!

Friday, November 22, 2013

It's all a bit scrappy.....

When I came home from my recent overseas journey, I was completely committed to the prospect of regular blogging and sharing many of my wonderful experiences.....except the reality of work, catching kids up at school, end of year school exams (and all that that brings in terms of the tone of family life) and R's new first ever part time job, started to cut into any spare time that I might of had for crafting and blogging. Cut a long story short, once again, I've been very lax about posting anything in this little space. Mind you, even my instagramming has suffered because if you're not making it, you're not insta-photographing it, let alone posting it....even in a micro form.
However, the Sew & Sews girls are on notice for the next Guerrilla Market which has been scheduled for early December. Based on last year's market, this is the fun one and this is the one that people go to with Christmas in mind.
So, once again, I've dived into my scrap bin, woven some magic and managed to cobble together some items that I'm hoping don't look like the small bits of fabric they once were.
First up, Christmas Stockings.
We learned from last year's market that festive is the way to go. So I thought stockings would be a good idea.
These stockings feature 2.5" squares cut from a variety of fabrics, some of which were generously co-opted from the Sew & Sews girls. The batting is cobbled together from all the strips that get cut off the sides of quilts and, in my case, shoved into a very large plastic bag for later...!
I know, I know! I have a problem with throwing bits of fabric and batting away and I know the bigger  problem is about where and how to store it...but eventually, I get there. I do use these bits in some shape or form and I actually love the thrill of using it...what a dare-devil! My next post will be a killer surprise showing how I've used the bits of these stockings that were cut off the patch-worked pieces that I just couldn't bear to throw away! Mmmmwwwwaahhh!
Second up, scrappy lanyards. I made a few of these for a recent market, posted a pic or two on instagram and they went off like crackers at Guy Fawkes Night!
Lanyards are often compulsory for many employees these days, so it's really nice to have something pretty, or something that just stands out so you don't leave it behind.
My lanyards are all made with 2.5" width  scraps joined to make a long strip. Then they're folded and folded....sounds a bit like Sara Lee...to make a strip of scrappy fabric ribbon happiness. I kind of wish I needed to wear one to work!
I'm linking up with Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday because I know she would love any finishes that feature scraps!