Finished Quilts

Monday, 20 December 2010


Well, we made it to Scotland and back without getting caught in too much snow.  We even made it to the bottom of our friends' street in Dunblane in the snow before chickening out, turning round and heading home! Pressies were exchanged and Maia just loved her quilt, which was a relief.  She and the boys ended up having a picnic on it.  I'll see if I can get hold of a photo of it in action.  I came home with a quilting hoop, how to crochet book and hook, flat head pins and a list of things to add to the to-do list!

So today, apart from cleaning out the fridge (a chore left over from my birthday to-do list!), I'm working out my crafty plan for 2011.  I read about this quilt-along today....

Quilt Dad

It's going on the list! I've started a "quilts I want to make in 2011" list in the side bar of kettleboiler but it is by no means definitive at the moment.  I've made 6 quilts in my first year of sewing - I want to beat that next year!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

having a stevie wonder moment...

.... cos it's my birthday today!  It's Altered Images and the Beatles next!  As is my tradition, I have taken a day off from work.  I take Laughing Boy's birthday off as well even though he never does - someone has to!  Anyway, I have two lists of what I plan to with my day:

List 1: unrealistic and overambitious
clean the bathroom
clean out the fridge and my Nigella cupboard (pantry)
hoover until exhaustion
bake til I run out of stuff
order christmas food from farm shop (despite the -12 degrees, ice and the big hill to get there)
finish all christmas pressie shopping by going into town and physically buying rather than internet shopping
make 25 mug rugs and 4 bags and 1 scarf
have lunch
watch the Gilmore Girls
finish reading Kafka on the Beach
re-organise my fabric shelf
wrap some pressies
make a cup of tea for the in-laws
go out for dinner

List 2: the probably gonna happen list
clean the bathroom CHECK
have a coffee and some pancakes CHECK
think really hard about making my first ever red velvet cake but put it off until Christmas CHECK
watch the Gilmore Girls NEXT
make some mug rugs
do some internet shopping
wrap some pressies
make a cup of tea for the in-laws
go out for dinner

Re red velvet cake - although I've never tasted it, I have this idea that it's the nicest thing in the world and I am obsessed with cake in a jar like this...
.... from mycakies blog
How delicious does that look? It's a definite make for Christmas I think, although maybe not in a jar.

Re internet shopping, I wasn't going to but I think I'm going to treat myself to some AMH innocent crush as a wee personal pressie
and when I say some, I probably mean the lot!
And the sun's out.  It's a beautiful day :-)

Friday, 3 December 2010

navel gazing

Since my last post and my continued frustrations at my lack of accuracy in cutting AND sewing, I read a really interesting post, from someone who is a much better sewer than I am, talking about her frustrations with imperfection.  I agree with Rachel when she talks about feeling like the only one that makes mistakes.  I get depressed when I read a blog about someone who knocked up a perfect quilt in 5 hours.  But I guess I should remember I'm still pretty new on this journey and could probably relax a little and ease up on the self criticism.  At the same time, I need to learn from my many mistakes.  In a strange way, this crafty journey mirrors my wider life in many ways........  Ahem, as you were!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

riding the wave

It's the fastest I've ever made a quilt, but as it's a christmas present I wanted to get it done so I could cross at least one thing of the mightily long to-do list.  I give you Maia's "sofa with mum" new wave quilt...

it's kind of cute, huh? if you ignore some of the wonkier match ups!
 And for the obligatory photo of Laughing Boy's legs, here's what the back looks like...
he's so patient with me!

quilted with straight lines following the wave
The finished quilt is about 40 inches by 43 inches, which I think will be big enough for her, given that she's nearly 4.  I made the binding with strips of the material used on each wave.  Although I think it looks good, I might have been better with one fabric - maybe the ginger mermaid one.  Also, I see EVERY flaw and continue to struggle with accurate cutting.  I am the proverbial bull in a china shop -breenging in all gun ho and not paying enough attention to what I am doing. I am a child of the MTV generation I guess!  I am getting better but so slowly. Perhaps I need a list of commandments on my wall that I refer to before, during and after.  A lesson I am still learning. 

As is the consistent seam width thingy - I lose concentration or something.  Maybe I need to get me one of those tracer wheels - I hope you're reading this, Santa! 

I'd use this pattern again - it was straightforward and fun to do.  I'm a little concerned about the wadding - it seems to stiff for me - hobbs heirloom something something - not happy :(  Maybe a few washes will soften it up a bit.

Onwards - I'm on a bag making frenzy this week, with mug rugs next week and hopefully some basic dressmaking the following week.  (or a glass of wine and a kip on the couch watching Ace of Cakes! Cake Boss just doesn't compare!!)

Friday, 26 November 2010

heigh ho heigh ho...

well, I've created my "must do before christmas" list and to be honest, I think that it would only work if I added 2011 to the end of the list title! So I'm being realistic and aiming for what I can complete in time for our annual weekend before chrimbo trip back home.  I should be able to finish the top for Maia's christmas quilt tonight (only one more strip to add):

using the new wave pattern by Oh, Fransson
Maia is a girl for pink; anyone who knows me knows that her auntie kettleboiler isn't!  So choosing the colours for her quilt was both really easy and really difficult for me (if that makes sense).  It's brighter than it looks too!  still, I've been wanted to use this Heather Ross Mendicino fabric for a while now and I think it looks good with the hint of green in the Monaluna Monaco fabrics.  I'm planning to back this with from great Heather Ross Rapunzel fabric from her Far Far Away II range:

purchased from a great online shop called M is for Make
Perfect for Maia and a calmer choice should Maia or her mum not be in a bright pink mood.  I hope to have the quilt done this weekend (another unachievable goal?).

Once this pressie is done and dusted, I'm planning to make some bags to give as gifts and more mug rugs.  I might even give free motion quilting another go *shudders in fear and intrepidation at the very thought*

Monday, 22 November 2010

{Modern} Relief - check it out!

Heather of { House } of A La Mode has gathered together 17 Modern Quilters to join her in making quilts to donate to a fund raising raffle for charity this Holiday Season.

Pop over to Heather's blog to check out the amazing quilts that are included in the raffle.  It's $10 per entry and payment is through paypal and you can enter as many times as you like.  The draw will be made on 1st December.  ALL proceeds go to World Vision.  A great idea and a great cause!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

crash and burn!(....sort of)

Riding high in the fabby comments I received from fellow Blogger Quilt festivalers for Ruby cubed, and in an effort to finish off the living room that we've been working on pretty much all year, I dived into making curtains for this first time last weekend.  Bolstered by a lunchtime glass of pinot grigio (probably not my best decision!), I cut and sewed up the first curtain and then hung it up unhemmed, awaiting the crowd going mad and wild applause. It was at this point I realised that the 3 inches of fabric I just cut off WAS my hem and then some.  D'OH!!! Instead of being floor length, it was mid skirting board length, which I am telling myself is soooooo next season.
I'm not brave enough to show the hem yet!
 Anyway, after a week of licking my wounds, I'll make the partner curtain today and hem the b*ggers to a suitable fashion forward length *kicking self hard*

So after Laughing Boy talking me out of putting Bertha the sewing machine on ebay, I decided to jump on a long departed bandwagon and make some mug rugs.

I heart echino!

once again apols for the photography
They are so much fun and I'm hoping will bring out my more experimental side (dare I say improv?).  I was hoping to try out free motion quilting on them as they are a cute size but after a disasterous attempt yesterday, maybe that's a step too far at the moment.

Finally, after much hesitation, I jumped in and made the ice cream dress for Lady G. It took me ALL day , invovled french seams (my choice) and required a couple of seam retakes but ta-dah........

pretty chuffed :)

This seems to be a post of firsts.  My first curtain, mug rug and dress...oh and my first ever french seams!  Lessons include thinking harder about starting a project (with expensive fabric) after a pub lunch, reading the instructions properly and being happy about being a small part of a great online community.

Bracing myself for curtains Round 2!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy runs an online quilt festival, where she provides a space for people who quilt to showcase what they have done and talk about why, lessons learned and so on.  I was going to just check out the photos of loveliness from afar but have decided to enter.  Eeeek!  As you know I'm new to all this, having taken up quilting (and sewing in general) earlier this year but your kind comments on Ruby made me think...what the hey!

A recap on Ruby Ruby Ruby's back story.... Laughing Boy's parents celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary this year and I offered to make a quilt as a gift from us.  My lovely MIL asked for something colourful with a solid red back and no noticeable quilting on the back!  It was the fifth quilt I have made and I decided to try out flying geese.  It took me aaaaaages and it was unpicked and resewn a gazillion times before I chillaxed and just got on with it.  So, months late, it was finally finished and here's a photo of it in situ...

Carol doing a better modelling job than her son!
The great thing is that she's stoked with it, which made all my anguish worthwhile.

So in terms of lessons learned in its making, where do I start!!!  Well, I learned the importance of accurate cutting that's for sure and of accurate 1/4inch sewing (my geese don't always fly in formation and some look like they've been on a pizza and cury diet!).  I also realised that I needed to worry a little less about fabric choices, although this is still work in progress :). 

So after a difficult start, Ruby Ruby Ruby and I have become firm friends. 

Monday, 25 October 2010

ice cream for grace may.....

To some, mixing ice cream with stash could be a great Friday night in but those years are behind me now ;)  An older and wiser kettleboiler has decided to make a birthday present for her gorgeous niece, Grace May, as a 1st birthday gift.  So I found the right pattern
from an Oliver & S pattern
.. and yesterday went through my stash to find some suitable fabric.  This is especially difficult given Grace May's mumma is a very talented artist who has in the past accused me of erring on the side of Goth when it comes to choosing clothes for the littl'un.  So having hauled everything out of the cupboard (Laughing Boy's nerves were in shreds as he'd just done a proper tidy up - "this place is a TIP!" was the general thread of conversation over the weekend), this is what I finally came up with....

still not getting any better, photography-wise
Cut things out (as you can see), although I forgot to cut the bottom pieces and am going to do the pockets in a different way so will cut out some more of them. And I realised that I don't have any matching thread so have had to order some from tinterweb. I'm nothing if not disorganised!

Anyway, thoughts?  Am I still channelling EMOgirl?

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

WIP-ing it

So loft guys are due today and I've got workmen sorting out our drains yesterday and today (lots of drilling, tea making and smells!).  Oh, and I decided to experiment on the broken dishwasher just to check that it's actually still broken, so have spent much of the early morning clearing the flood on the kitchen floor.  All conducive to writing this week's lecture presentation and notes.  So to keep my mind off things for a couple of minutes, I've been taking these....

the "extras" from ruby quilt

and planning a 30th b-day quilt for Miss J (that's only about 6 months late already).  Am thinking about something like this:

currently using my bed as a design wall - not the cleverest thing I've done!
there are a number of blocks you can make using half square triangles so I might take some photos of alternative designs and give you all a vote!   The back on this one will include some material from some of littlelegs' old clothes so it's not going to be as straightforward as I'm used to.  Already depressed at the amount of ironing/pressing that I'll need to do...still, looking forward to cracking on with it.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

sunday stash #5

I keenly followwed a recent sew-along run by Amy at Badskirt (well back in July!). I wasn't brave enough to join in but I think the Oliver&S ice cream dresses that everyone made were so cute.  I might be too late as the pattern is getting difficult to find but it's going on the list!  Whilst over at Badskirt, I was seduced into buying some fabric when she was having a pre-Japan trip sale.  Bargain!  (except the postage from Australia!)
still rubbish at taking pictures!
So this little stash includes some Girl Friday graph paper and writing lines by cosmo crisket, sublime by riley blake and some really cool neo geo tiles.  I can see some of these making up an excellent ice cream social dress.  That's my fabric buying done for the month (I hope....but my will is so weak!)

I've been obsessed with bag making and have russled up a couple this week.

For Pleat's Sake bag using echino fabric
My original idea for this one was as a Christmas pressie but the lure of the lovely echino fabric was too great and I had to "test drive" it yesterday.  I'm definitely making this again - pattern by U-handbag - so you've been warned.

I also made this one (apologies again for the photo):
daisy jane fabric and keyka lou small satchel pattern
I made the straps longer but maybe a bit too long but I quite like it.  I've got loads of the fabric left and as it's heavy ish and canvassy, it's got more bags written all over it.

Sewing is on hold at the moment as we're getting our loft re-insulated this week and its contents are currently filling my sewing room.  Business as usual from Wednesday I hope :)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

ruby ruby ruby - AAAH AH AH AH AAAAH!

Laughing boy doing the honours again
 It was started in April as a gift for Laughing Boy's parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Decided to try flying geese using red pepper quilts pattern.  Much fabric was cut.  Most rejected by MIL so back to the cutting board (and fabric shops!).  The request was for a plain red back even after quilting!  So I needed to use a red thread to quilt it with - decided to stitch in the ditch around each triangle.  This was pretty successful, although every time I got a little cocky and thought "this is going well" I'd head off into the kona snow!  I'm still getting used to handling a big quilt through my machine.  It was easier when we moved the room around aI got more space to work.  Still, it looks not back from the back!

not sure you can see much, but my new floor looks good huh?

I'm quite chuffed - the quilting is a bit wonky, the geese aren't entirely flying in formation, sewing red binding onto a red back with red thread was a challenge, the batting I used was a bit rubbish (expensive rubbish at that), the design changed a gazillion times - but despite all that, I'm quite chuffed.  Laughing Boy told me it was my best yet!  *looks at feet, blushing*

Jamie giving ruby the once over (and me the evil eye!)
Using the Red Pepper Quilts method for flying geese means I have lots of half square triangles left over and I'm about to sew them together for my next quilting adventure (JoJo - you may get your quilt before your 40th!).

Monday, 4 October 2010

sunday stash #4

I'ma very lucky girl.  Having managed to persuade Laughing Boy to convert the guest bedroom into a sewing room, we set about doing this on Saturday.  The old bed frame (which was being held up by the boxes under the bed!) went to the tip, furniture was moved around and the cupboard reorganised.  We knew that the people who owned our house before us painted around their furniture but it surprised us again to see the walls and skirting boards in different shades of magnolia marking where their stuff had been - bizarre!  Not decorated by us yet as we have had enough of decorating for this year.  We are planning to add a sofa bed incase any visitors don't like the mattress and airbed but again that's one next year's list. 

And so onto sunday's stash - another purchase from fabricworm (fabby online US shop)

Too cute but I have absolutely no idea what to make with these....

[note to self: stop impulse buying fabric!]

Saturday, 25 September 2010

on a (ruby) roll..... on the heels of Connal's quilt being done and dusted, I've finally finished the quilt top and back of the ruby anniversary quilt and have just started to baste the sandwich (is it just me or does that sound rude?!).  So a work in progress photo for you all to enjoy....

needs a little more smoothing out then I'm in with the pins!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

I finally finished something!

After weeks of not being able to get things done, I have finally finished Connell's quilt. 

thanks to Laughing Boy for helping to "model" them

Simple straight line quilting (still not got the courage to try free motion!) and disasterous corners (made a school boy error but had a eureka moment half way down the M1 when I realised what I'd done wrong). All washed and crinkly and ready to send to Connell and his mum.  A big thanks to those who commented on Fat Quarterly as this really helped me piece the back and finish the thing.  It's about 40" by 52" I think.  I hope the decapitated animals don't cause nightmares  :-/

Finally, something OFF the list rather than on it (although this week I added another quilt to the list!)

Sunday, 12 September 2010

sunday stash #3

Things are a bit of a blur at the moment - life is moving fast...I mean it's the middle of September already!  Unfortunately this has had an effect on my lofty sewing ambitions - nothing has been achieved in the last week or so except buying more fabric and adding new things to my MUST DO list.

I saw this version of AMH's socialite dress

and decided there and then not just to make one for myself (obviously I'll wear mine with a cardigan) but to make one for the luscious Mrs R's birthday.  Fortunately I managed to find the material (AMH's drwaing room) at a great price and bought a heap of it.  I also decided that since I've never even contemplated such a feat, that I should make the dress in muslin first to check I can actually do it before cutting up the fabric.  I'm getting sensible in my waning years :-).  I'm hoping that making this dress will give me legs like this! Fingers crossed x

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sunday Stash #2

I was wide awake at 8am this morning and for those who know me, you will understand that is the middle of the night for me on a Sunday.  I woke up listing all of the crafty things I wanted to do this holiday weekend. The list included:
  • finally finishing the quilting on Connell's quilt
  • basting the ruby anniversary quilt
  • starting two new quilts (belated 30th b-day pressie for Jo and hobbit housewarming pressie for the luscious LoLo)
  • making myself a skirt
  • starting to make a bag (inspired by the new book by the lovely Lisa from U-handbag)
  • making dresses for my nieces and god-daughter
  • making coasters to protect our new wood floors
  • making scarves from old linen trousers and some fabby AMH voile
  • cutting out the pattern to make myself a dress using the liberty fabric I bought last week 
  • etc, etc, etc
Pretty unrealistic for a day and half's work (nothing gets done before the end of the Archers omnibus!).   Laughing Boy advised that I concentrate on finishing what I'd already started before starting something new - I think he was fed up with the constant finger in the ribs!  I tried to finish quilting Connel's quilt - nearly finished but have run out of thread!  So I'm now looking at cutting out the pattern for the a-line skirt that I dreamt about last night.  Never done anything like that before but have some lovely Echino farbic that I want to use.....

Bought from M is for make

I'm making up the pattern myself so have to take my own measurements.  This may throw me into a deep depression rather than a creative frenzy, but there's always a wee glass of wine to take the edge off!  Wish me luck :-p

Monday, 23 August 2010

sunday stash #1

OK it's monday but I bought this fabric yesterday at the Festival of Quilts in the NEC, Birmingham.  It's Liberty fabric and I remember seeing it when I was in Libertys in London with my sister back in May and swooning ever so slightly. 

(must take better photos!)

It was a (relative) bargain and I bought enough to clothe a small country (oops).  Now I need to summon up the courage to make a frock with it.  This may take some time but in the meantime I can take it out the stash cupboard and stroke it every now and again.  Small things :)

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

girl, interrupted...

That's right.  I am Winona or should that be Angelina? I don't think I'm Brittany.  Anyway, basically I can't sew at the moment as we're getting new floor laid downstairs so half of downstairs is now upstairs, penning in my Bertha and meaning that there is no space to sew.  I didn't think it would be an issue really but I've really struggled with finding alternative things to do, especially as most of the alternative things are also behind boxes and furniture.  Sitting on deck chairs and eating off our laps have also lost their thrill.

I am on a self-imposed deadline to finish a couple of quilts before heading north.

Quilt#4 ruby wedding present for the in-laws
(needs a good ironing!)

This has been a real labour of love and I have embraced the seam ripper!  The number of times I have sewed and then ripped apart these babies.....  Well, I finally finished the top and now I just need to sandwich, quilt and bind.  I need the new wooden floors to help me do this so I need to be patient.

Quilt #5 connell's quilt
Connell is my friend Yvonne's little one and I finished this quilt top a while ago.

I have just been struggling to choose backing fabric for it.  I was even featured as the first of Fat Quarterly's Agony Aunt feature.  I have bought loads of fabric as I keep changing my mind but I now know what I want to do....I just can't do it at the moment! 

Floor guys are back this afternoon to finish off so fingers crossed we can get back to normal by the weekend and Bertha can come out of hiding and we can get cracking on finishing these babies!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

the lessons motherload!

OK for quilt #3, I decided to do lots of different things and not to worry if I got them wrong.  This was going to be the "learn those lessons" PDQ quilt.  One of my first fabric purchases was a "happy campers" jelly roll (lots of strips of fabric 2 1/2 inches by 36 inches) and I decided to make a kind of coinstack quilt (cos it was an easy option!).  So I cut the strips into 8 inch blocks and sewed then together in strips, then used Kona Essex linen to sash them. 

I really enjoyed making the binding out of the cut blocks- it was my first time : P.  I ended up being one block short - d'oh! I quilted in straight lines because, seriously free motion quilting scares the bejesus out of me.  I mean I've tried it but I guess practice makes perfect and I definitely need more practice.  The guidelines for the quilting were initially made using some cute masking tape I found on esty but then I realised that I could mark the rest of the lines using my ruler (the tape didn't seem to like getting mucked around). 

I backed it with a funky orange check:

which you can see wasn't exactly ironed before it was used - there's a lesson right there!  And so I finally finished it and Laughing Boy reluctantly agreed to help me photo it:

It was windy that day!

The fabric on the front and the back reminded me of picnics so a picnic blanket it became and it is now in the possession of the fragrant Mrs Russell and her gorgeous family. 

So lessons included:
  • ironing is really a must when it comes to quilting.  This is a particularly hard lesson for me because I. Don't. Iron. Fullstop.  It's Laughing Boy's job but I haven't quite managed to convince him to help me out on this one!
  • it's not just ironing but it's ironing properly - setting the seams, making sure that no fabric is "lost", ironing! pah I hate it - if I'd known about this before I started......  now it's too late!
  • the quilt sandwich is a tricky beast - use more quilting pins!
  • it's a b****r getting a big quilt through the small neck of a sewing machine
  • it's ok to make mistakes - esepcially while you're learning
  • I didn't realise how much joy I would get from cutting the quilt to shape in order to add the binding -  maybe I should get out more?
  • handsewing on binding is real fun (see last bullet!)
Note to self: get out more (maybe to the Festival of Quilts in August!)

Friday, 16 July 2010

Lesson Learned #4

For quilt#2, I again chose the road less travelled - a completely hand tied quilt.  Inspired by this book

and this quilt in particular

So I bought some blue linen fabric (dead cheap from abakhans in Preston), washed it and realised that it had shrunk a lot so I wouldn't be having an bedsize quilt. I added a piece of cotton between the linen and the batting (pretty thick stuff) to minimise the batting poking through the knot holes.  The worst part was marking out the spots for the knots  - bo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-oring!  And so the knotting of about 1500 french knots began.

It became quite addictive, although it took about 4 weeks to finish.  I was proper chuffed when I'd finished (my facebook friends were bombarded with photos!).  Then came the BIG challenge - what the heck was I going to back it with?  Initially I looked for fabric that was similar to the one in the book but thought it might eb worthwhile doign something al little funkier.  This is when I discovered the all encompassing thrill of shopping for fabric, internet style.  And also when I started to be a fabric addict - Laughing Boy is convinced I have a monthly direct debit set up with!  Close but different shop:-p.

Anyhoo, this brings me to Lesson#4:  don't sweat the fabric choice so much.  I bought so many different fabrics and drove myself crazy.  Every cloud though - I started a greta fabric stash!  In the end, I just went for it - success?

Note to self: learn how to take better photos!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

cherri pie !

Bought this today....

Fair to say I pretty much want to make everything in it.  I really like the use of solids.
Note to self: much add to stash!

I absolutely love this one:
The book itself is clear and easy to follow, with top tips and basic quilting info.  Good job, Cherry

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

lessons learned so far #1, 2 and 3

I'm new to the quilting game so have been learning plenty of lessons the hard way over the past few months!

Lesson#1: Accurate cutting is actually quite important if you want things to look right. Quilt #1 was thrown together in (unusually for me) a freestyle," just wing it" kind of fashion.

this meant that it wasn't exactly straight, anywhere! 
Note to self: don't use the fabric folds as a cutting guide!

Lesson#2: basting a quilt is really important, more than a couple of safety pins is required!

Lesson#3: it's much better to work with colours and fabric you actually like!  At least my SIL makes use of this quilt as a cover in their travel cot.