Finished Quilts

Saturday, 16 August 2014


So, it would seem that my sewing mojo is on extended vacay so there's not much sewing action Chez 'boiler.  I have managed to get some quilt fix though, mostly through this year's Festival of Quilts.  After last year's disappointments, I rashly announced that we would not be gracing the FoQ with our presence this year.  But I soon caved, partly because the EMMQG submitted a competition quilt into the Group Quilt category.  It was handed over at the last possible minute after some demon Trudification and hand finishing by Mary G, so it would have been rude not to go check it out.  Here it is in its hung glory....

#519 Where We Live
The idea was to do "improv" blocks representing an image of where we live.  Improv in this context meant do what you want.  No quilt police/pedants here.  So it represents the East Midlands from West (bottom) to East (top), with Bridget's panel at the bottom, then Kerry's, then Hannah's and finally Trudi's at the top. I did the sashing, Trudi quilted and Mary finished.  The others gave advice and guidance throughout the process. For most of us, it was the first time submitting a quilt, doing improv, working without a pattern.  I think the quilt works really well and it did not look out of place in the FoQ.  I am proper chuffed!

So, when the wee man and I took a road trip to pick it up yesterday (last one to be collected...last chicken in sainsbury's?!), I was really keen to see the feedback from the judges.  The envelope was finally located and here are the results..... this was first out of the envelope...

I was a bit miffed when I read it.  It didn't seem to fit with the comments.  How can you comment on the quilt hanging well and then give it "satisfactory" for that element.  And... hello... the quilting needs work?  Are you joking?

So it was with a little trepidation that I unfolded the comment sheet from judge #2....

that's more like it!
It's difficult to read the comments but it says "fresh treatment, successful combination".  A totally different opinion then.  In fact, here the "quilting: design and execution" element is given an Excellent mark!  I just don't understand the inconsistency.  Now, it's all noise really.  The EMMQG ladies should be really pleased with the end result.  But, if we are to learn from our first foray into competition quilts and use the feedback to help plan our next one, how can we with this feedback?  I know, I's all in the eye of the beholder.  One person's winning quilt is another person's WTF?!

This is a perennial issue.  I have commented on a number of blog posts and IG photos bemoaning the feedback received.  At least we didn't get a comment on the lack of brown batiks!  So I guess it comes down to subjective, personal, individual taste and in that case I FREAKING LOVE IT!

As for the rest of the quilts, a much better year than last year, in my opinion.  We were a little disorganised this year so didn't manage to see everything but here is a little selection of my favourites (no names, obvs!)
you had to be there

absolutely LOVED this - well done, Reene

made with shards of denim

amazing points

loved this

not in competition but a Shevvy beauty 

There was a fabric grandfather clock which was utterly astounding, in a "but why would you?" way.  And lots of others that I forgot to photograph.

And I was very restrained, purchase wise...

£6 a metre!  It would be rude not to.
I missed as many people as I saw.  We went on Saturday and it seemed much less busy than expected, which was nice.  A good day, all told.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

slowly does it

Thank you to the lovely Catherine for asking me to host this month's Slow Blogger linky party

Don't know about you but sewing is taking a back seat for me at the moment.  June was rammed with other stuff and now July feels pressured to catch up, especially after all that time spent on the Bonadoochi beast. As usual, instead of getting down to what needs done, I decided to make a couple of birthday presents for the wee man's friends.  It's the start of birthday season so I think I've just set myself up for trouble....

I knocked up this lovely top up in a couple of hours the other night but it would have taken much less than that if I hadn't had to unpick the neck to retrieve the elastic that I accidentally let go of #fool.

T3 peasant top
I didn't have enough of the MoMo butterfly fabric to do the arms as well but I think the DS fabric went well with it.  The MoMo fabric has been in my stash for about 4 years (oh the shame!) but I used some new to me Soak Flatter on it and the creases fell out brilliantly.  I am chuffed to say that it is french seamed to the max too!

I find it more difficult to make for boys so I bought something and made a gift bag..

apologies for the crap camera phone photo
I'm going to try a crayon roll for the next boy gift I think.  Or I was thinking about aprons?  Any other ideas?

What have you been up to?

[sorry there's no photo option linkwise this time - they want to charge me $20 for the privilege and it's mid month, John Lewis had 50% Tula Pink and cotton&steel went on sale so it's not an option for me this time]

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Jazz Legs

Everyone has heard of Jazz Hands.  My mum had Jazz Legs...from the knee down they are a whirlwind of activity when she was excited.  It was hilarious - they were out of control.  I caught myself having Jazz Legs for the first time recently, when playing with the wee man. It's hereditary!  I have just experienced Jazz Legs again about 10 minutes ago when I finally finished* piecing the behemoth that is the Bonadoochi Quilt...

pinning the last seam*
my workspace is a little cramped!
After a couple of abortive shots with Laughing Boy holding the quilt top, I decided to lay it out on the decking and do it myself, firstly with a chair...

then from the back bedroom window (which appears to be painted shut!)...

forgot to move the chair first!
This is the biggest quilt I've ever pieced - currently 75" x 80".  I say currently and have included the * above because, after a quick validation from the lovelies on Instagram, I've decided to add a top and bottom sash so that the words don't get lost in the binding.  So not quite finished but pretty damn close!  Then, just the backing to piece then it's off to Trudi for some loving.

I have a mountain of abandoned bee sewing to crack on rest for the wicked.... except not today as we are child free for the evening and off out to sit in the dark and not talk to each other [The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared].

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

WIP Wednesday

So summer has arrived and brought with her a shed load of rain #obvs.  I think it was probably last summer when I did a WIP Wednesday post (and I'm also pretty sure it was raining too!).  Anyway, I'm on a bit of a mission to get a gift quilt finished in time for the next EMMQG meeting at the end of June so it can head off for some Trudification.

I've been doing my usual - cut a bit, sew a bit, change mind, redesign, cut some more, order some more fabric, sew a bit, realise that I should have worked out the quilt maths beforehand, cut loads more, sew wheens* more, lay it out to finally work out the design, change my mind, stop working in a huff.. you know, you all do it, right?  Am I right?  I'll get my coat!

So here's where I'm at....

one line of pp'd lyrics done

measures about 60 inches long by 5 1/2 inches high
Initial plans to incorporate 4 lines of lyrics as part of the heart....

Changed to having 2 lines of lyrics frame the heart top and bottom and another heart within the heart, kind of like this...

So I've sewn together four rows out of 16 and finally worked out what it's actually going to look like (probably)

Only three weeks to finish it off  - given that each pp letter takes me a day and I have 12 to go, I'll be cutting it fine I think. I'm now realising how much I got done when the wee man napped in the afternoon #memories. Wish me luck!

Linking to Lee @ freshly pieced

*Scots for loads

Thursday, 8 May 2014

biting off more than you can chew....

I am actually, actually in the process of making a quilt. Not just thinking about it, not just trawling the tinterweb for possible fabric choices, not just fannying around on EQ7 designing something that could easily be drawn on a piece of paper with a pen.  I've actually chosen the fabric, well some of it ;)  I've cut some of the fabric up.  I've started to sew things together.  An actual quilt,  not individual blocks for other people....not this time, no.  A quilt for other people instead!  Woohoo!

The following megablock took be chuffing days to do....

this is about 25" wide
My idea is a gift for some dear friends of mine and I'm trying to incorporate some lyrics from one of "their" songs, you know.  I originally printed out a huge wodge of PP letter templates from EQ7 but the letters were not reversed (fortunately I worked this out after half a letter!).  I could not for the life of me work out how I could reverse the template in EQ7 without losing the will to live so I bought Kristy @ Quiet Play's typography block templates and cracked on.......slowly!  One word down, twelve more to go - may not have been my best laid plan but I also bought some Thangles and am loving how quickly the HSTs are coming together so maybe it will even itself out.

I may have inadvertedly bought some fabric for that Washi pattern I bought last month...

#no filter
Some gorgeous nano iro double gauze from Francis@Miss Matatabi that cost me an additional 11 quid in customs charges #pffft

And after a challenging few days with the wee man, I decided to kill two birds with one stone with this...

#wine #cake #imsuchacliche
It helped me as I cleared my phone of shedloads of wee man selfies that all looked exactly like this...

team haircut!

Have a good weekend x

Linking with Sue's Brit Sewing Thursday...

Just Sew Sue

Sunday, 27 April 2014

my dressmaking adventure: airelle

My avoidance activities took on momentous forms this week, including emptying, washing out and refilling most of the kitchen cupboards (the gnarly one is still to be tackled).  But I decided to suck it up and dive in to continue the dressmaking journey I started last year (one top made and worn, one top still to be hemmed and may not get worn by me at least).

I've been planning to make the Deer&Doe Airelle blouse for nearly a year now.  I even talked about it to Kerry at the FQR Retreat last year and Sue and Di kindly gave me the black bias binding from their FQR goody bags to use for the piping I was planning to add.  Months went by, where I thought a lot about making this top and enviously eyed some lovely makes on Flickr but did nothing. A couple of weeks ago, I girded my loins (WTF?!)  and publicly declared that I was fighting the fear and going to start.  I cut out the pattern and ironed every piece.  The Deer&Doe patterns are on pretty heavy paper, which I like (from my limited experience). I was ready to go...... and then it all stalled.

My problem is really all about cutting fabric.  I worry so much about doing it wrong and ruining the fabric. (same as with my quilting) The nano iro double gauze I decided to use (after a last minute change of mind) had been sat sitting waiting to be used for something for coming on 4 years now.  In the end, I did make a couple of cutting out mistakes, which meant I had to reduce the length of the sleeves by an inch or so and improvise the facing for the collar, which made me decide to also use the same fabric as the underneath of the collar itself.  I chose voile obviously because voile and double hard could that be for a beginner?

Anyway, my progress was slow and a bit stop starty (I nearly cried when I saw the beautiful jacket that Emily made in 4 hours!).  Half way through I was convinced the way forward was to ditch the pattern sleeves and make tulip sleeves instead but I realised that I should just do what I'm told until I'm good enough to do better.  And so, this afternoon I finally finished my first ever blouse (collar and cuffs matching, Mrs Garrett!)...

I also attempted a fashion shoot with Laughing Boy but he acted like I'd just asked him to sacrifice our first born and handed him a loaded weapon. I had planned a really cool "look my shoulder is broken" super model pose but wasn't given any more time! One vaguely usable photo later...

David Bailey he ain't!
Move along now...nothing to see here.

Overall, I chose to make the largest size because I was concerned about fitting in the chebbage. This was probably a mistake as it is a bit big on me, especially the neck/collar which I feel is a bit gapey round the back.  The instructions were very limited and if like me your a newbie to all of this malarkey, instructions like "clip the seam allowance"  made me fret as there were no pictures to show where to do this.  I turned to my Vogue Sewing manual for guidance but I may have over clipped!  The facing on the collar is now really bumpy (with empty bits).  Having said that, the instructions did the job.  I chose french seams for the back, sides and the sleeves and bound the gathered bits on the shoulder.  I think I will bind the armhole seams too.  Double gauze frays if you even look at it the wrong way.

My sleeves didn't fit into the armholes - they (the sleeves) were too big  - no idea why!  So again I had to improvise and did a small gather at the top of each sleeve, with mixed success to be fair.  I think they shoulders now look a bit oddly puffy and emphasise how big the top is.  Also, the collar is every so slightly overlapped...

can you spot the fish? or are you mesmerised by the lumpy facing?
..but I quite like that.

So, all in all a bit hit and miss but I think I learned a lot - an expensive toile if you will! I may give it away to someone who will love it or I might wear it to work tomorrow to test drive it.  Here are my favourite bits...

I love the voile under the collar..

my first ever collar!
I deliberately chose to keep the selvedge on the sleeves (well one of them anyway)...

my first ever cuff!
A couple of days ago a lovely parcel from the Village Haberdashery came through the letter box, containing....

The Mortmain
Mortmain by Gather .. for the "ambitious beginner"
Washi Sewing Pattern
Washi, obvs
So it looks like I have a way to go on my dressmaking adventure.... just hoping it won't be another year before the next leg.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

diversionary tactics

I had hoped that this post would be about my next adventure in dressmaking and on instagram I confidently announced my new #fearless attitude.  This quickly withered and I was left looking for other things to do to avoid cutting into my lovely double gauze fabric that I have had for nearly 4 years.  Fortunately that meant actually finishing something that was not a bee block and that would be staying chez kettleboiler.  The first time that has happened in like forever.  A Me Me Me finish....what's not to love!

I took the paper pieced block I made at the last EMMQG meeting (using a pp pattern by sew-ichigo)

paper pieced at the emmqg sesh
and following the tutorial on sew-ichigo, made a cover for Nanny Plum, my lovely boysenberry Kitchen Aid.

It was a quick make in the end and I even finished the binding by hand cos that's just how I roll.  Here it is in situ....

Confession time.... I followed the tutorial and didn't include any wadding that would have made it more structured.  That was maybe a mistake.  And, I think I prefer Nanny Plum naked, as it were.  But, at least her new coat will keep the dust off and I can marvel at my paper pieced lovely.

Now I am fighting the dressmaking fear and am removing all the obstacles one by one.  The current (and last!) one is interfacing for the collar and cuffs (those words together always make me chuckle #immature).  I'm off out, braving a massive rain storm, to get the flipping interfacing.  So I'll leave you with this....