Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One for the school and one for the .....cat!

Our family were firmly in the 'we're not cat people' camp. That is until we found a kitten abandoned in our outside laundry back in December. I'm not sure who adopted who, but in that short amount of time George* has become the fifth member of the household. So much so, after a little health problem recently I decided he needed a little quilt of his own to snuggle. (I've clearly run out of babies to make quilts for at the moment!)

I had a block in my head based on a quilt I had seen in the b&b we had stayed at in Culemborg in Holland a couple of years ago. I searched all of my block books and found that it could be made several ways, depending on how you placed your fabrics. Additionally, the block came with a plethora of different names! The one I opted for was Father's Choice and set about making George's quilt in a scrappy fashion.

I've used 9 blocks and I really love how the joining of the blocks makes for another star appear in the centre.The binding is also a combination of scrappy blacks...all bits of binding that I end up having left over from other bindings. My only problem with using these binding bits is that I bind by hand at 2.5" width and by machine at 2.25". Luckily I was machine binding this one as I figured that it would be in the wash more often than usual, so was able to trim down the wider bits.

There's been a bit more quilt action happening in between life as we currently know it...my studies, R's year 12 studies, L joining the rowing team....all of which cuts into my sewing time!

This past Easter, Clare invited the girls around for a sewing day and to catch the last rays of warm autumn sunshine before the chill set in. I used the time to cut up a bunch of solids from the stash and ended my day with a pile of lovely triangles.

The autumn weather was obviously influencing the selection as I had initially intended something with a bit more of a pastel outlook.

But I love this colour scheme nonetheless and whilst the photos seem a little dull due to late afternoon photography, it's really quite vibrant.

The back is the last of some Ikea fabric I purchased way back when Ikea first opened here in Adelaide. I think it was part of the Cecilia range that also included the 'birds'.

The orange and pink co-ordinate beautifully with the front. This one will go to school as a fundraiser.
Oh...and here is George checking out the quilt action....cheeky orange cat!

* George is George because he has quite a definite cross across his back, a little like the St George Cross in the Union Jack.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Modern Maples.....

Way back in October my sister commissioned me to make a birthday quilt for her friend. I suggested the Modern Maples pattern which is a free pattern that has been floating around for some time. The recipient lives in the Adelaide Hills which is the city's home to autumnal foliage....even when it's not Autumn. (It was actually Spring time when she received her quilt in late October!)


I loved making this quilt. The blocks are really straight forward and is a great way to feature individual fabrics in a large-sh way. I chose to make my maple leaves traditionally autumnal so I got to use quite a few fabrics that were languishing in the cupboard because they don't usually go with my other fabric pulls. But together in this quilt....they were awesome.


The back features the last of my Ikea bird fabric in the brown. In fact, it was several long strip pieces that I jigsawed together in Kona Snow frames. My photos don't show this but it merged together really well.


If you'd like to make this quilt you can find the free download here!

Linking up to Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday....even if I did finish it a few Friday's ago!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Strips from the scrap bag....


I've often said how I don't throw away any of my fabric off-cuts. These are stored ...ahem...hoarded...in various storage systems around my sewing space. I have zip-lock bags of triangles from bindings and selvages. Bigger pieces are 'filed' in other receptacles. But my best bits are the strips that get cut from backing sides or rectangles left over from cutting out blocks. These are all filed in my strip scrap bag which is one of those study studded plastic bags that you get when you buy a set of sheets.

The strip scrap bag has been bursting at the seams for some time now and needed a little urgent attention. So with one of my client's baby due date drawing closer, I thought I'd merge the two situations to my quilt making advantage. I love a small baby quilt finish. It delivers such satisfaction.



Ready made strips are ideal for scrappy log cabins. Very little preparation aside from straightening an edge or two...unless you're purposefully going for wonky....! I chose a range of centre squares of varying sizes and rainbow colours to start me off and worked out from there. I was aiming for 12 blocks around 14" right from the start, so it was a really simple process of chain piecing each one. I had the whole cot sized top done in  a day.


The binding is a Sarah Fielke black and white from Spotlight that I had in the cupboard...I've cut the selvedge...for storage of course...so can't remember the name but Mondiali rings a bell. The back is a piece of Ikea's Cecilia bird fabric in green that my sister gave me recently. (But not shown.)

All in all...something lovely from seemingly not much at all! A cot sized quilt (41" x 54") that was gifted today and received with overwhelming delight. Yay!

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom's Finish it up Friday.

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!