Saturday, 29 January 2011

sweat shop


Oh look. My scrappy binding obsession is becoming addictive. This time I ended up with a touch over 38 yards. More than enough for the single girl quilt 4 times over.

Justine popped round last week for a day of sewing. She quilted a little lap quilt whilst I got carried away with my binding factory. I'm blaming her for keeping me chatting - why else would I make so much binding?

hard at work

Thursday, 27 January 2011

issue 4 - Fat Quarterly

issue 4 out today!

(if you're looking for the single girl quilt along - details are all here)

Wow - these quarters come round fast! Issue 4 of Fat Quarterly is out now! You can go get it from the website or the etsy shop. I LOVED the preparation and the chats we had when we were making this issue which is all about solids. I was a little bit wary of solids and at first I have to admit I wasn't completely sold on the idea of a whole issue dedicated to them. Wouldn't it all look really similar? Um...nope. There's so much variety - solids are so versatile and can make incredibly striking, modern, yet timeless quilts.

You can use just 2 fabrics to make my homage to the '80s quilt....

80s batwing sweater

Or you can add in a focal fabric to a heap of solids like John did with his carousel quilt....

Carousel Quilt

Or maybe you want to use a whole party of colours like Chawne (is it wrong to have a huge crush on a quilt? Because this quilt makes my heart skip a beat)....

meet Bob.

Whatever floats your boat - you'll find a solids project to suit in this issue!

Sales pitch over. Normal service will resume shortly - but can I just say thank you to everyone that has bought an issue, supported us, said lovely things and keeps us going. I {heart} you.

Monday, 24 January 2011

single girl quilt along

Single Girl Quilt Along

Who wants to join in with Nova, Megan and me? This quilt has been on my list of must do quilts for some time. I started cutting templates almost a year ago, then gave up, and ignored them. I even mentioned starting a quilt along back then, but it never happened. Fortunately I've got 2 friends to help this time round and together we'll hold your hand through each step and have even set up a support group on flickr for more hand holding (and progress reports). The group is set to private - but just request an invite if you'd like to join. You don't have to make a full quilt if you don't feel ready to take that step - Nova is making a pillow (she has already made 2 twin size quilts, so she's practically an expert), but if you do sign up to play along make at least a pillow - you'll be glad you did!

To play along you will need the following -

* the single girl quilt pattern (there's a list of stockists at the bottom of the post)
* lightweight card stock or template plastic to make the templates
* a pencil for marking your fabrics (if you use dark fabrics a silver pencil or silver gel pen is a great tool)
* fabric scissors (yes - you have to cut those fabrics the old fashioned way with scissors)
* paper scissors (for cutting the templates)
* fabric - the requirements for each size are listed below;

Baby size (4 blocks) :: 43 x 50" :: 1/8 yard each of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 2 1/2 yards of background fabric
Twin (12 blocks) :: 64 x 88" :: 1/8 yard each of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 5 1/2 yards of background fabric
Queen (16 blocks) :: 85 x 92" :: 1/4 yard of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 7 yards of background fabric
King (20 blocks) 106 x 92" :: 1/4 yard of 31 or 36 fabrics for rings :: 8 1/2 yards of background fabric

Scrap lovers - you will need strips of scraps that are at least 3 1/2" wide

*EDIT* - Rosie made a single girl with 9 blocks and used a layer cake for her rings by being very careful with her cutting and placement.

This quilt is probably not the most beginner friendly pattern, but it's not actually difficult - the worst part is the preparation, once you've got all your templates marked and cut out and your fabrics cut it's actually a pretty straightforward pattern. Curved piecing is also very forgiving to slight hiccups, so don't be afraid to give it a whirl. Remember - we are on hand to help out.
Another person on hand is Miss Denyse herself, she said she'll be watching how we're all doing and if we need any clarification on any of the steps to just ask.

We are kicking off with our first post on this blog on Valentine's day (awwww) February 14th, so you have until then to go shopping for your patterns and pick out fabrics. The schedule is listed below.....

14th February - my blog - marking and cutting
21st February - Megan's blog - piecing rings
28th February - Nova's blog - sewing the curves
7th March - my blog - assembly
14th March - Nova's blog - marking the quilting design and hand quilting
21st March - everyone's blog - wrap it up!

You can buy the patterns from these fabulous stores (amongst others).....

Pink Chalk Fabrics
Wish Upon a Quilt (on sale there!)
Blue is Bleu (free US shipping!)
The Stock Room

What are you waiting for? Go buy your pattern, get your solids ordered, choose your fabrics, let's make a quilt!

Looking for solids? You can't get more efficient than Sue at Simply Solid Fabric on etsy and for my UK peeps check out the fabulous Mandy at Simply Solids, Lizzet at The Fabric Loft or Alice at Backstitch

Saturday, 22 January 2011

favourite daughter in law

big windmills

The rainbow/big windmills/lack of a decent name quilt is all finished!
Chris the long armed quilter (or rather the quilter with a long arm machine - but wouldn't a long armed quilter be something special?) worked her usual magic and made my pretty ordinary quilt top look really rather special with some bubbly circles, I bound it with a little of the mile of binding I made the other day and dropped it off at my mother in-law's house this evening.
She has been using a quilt I made for my baby niece to use whilst at Granny's house but it didn't really do the job of covering more than her knees and I'd promised her a proper quilt for a looooong time.
By the time I left this evening it was in use, she was all wrapped up and looking rather pleased for herself. I think I scored about a gazillion excellent daughter in-law points. Result.

Friday, 21 January 2011

My best friend is awesome. Actually, we are more of a cross between sisters and a couple of old lesbians. Except there's not any of the sexy stuff going on. We do lots together. We're glued at the hip. If it wasn't for our daughters being best friends we'd have never met. Or maybe met, but not had any reason to hang out together. Actually, the first time I saw her she was wearing a velour tracksuit and lots of jingly jewellery and was like a hurricane. I thought to myself who the heck is THAT?' I'd decided I probably wouldn't like her. You know, with me being all superior and everything.

Anyway. About a week later Miss G wouldn't shut up about this new girl and how great she was (they were both only just 4 at the time) and how she wanted to go to her house for tea (like children do - she had a tendency to invite herself places). So I had to talk to this velour tracksuited jingly jewelleried hurricane and she seemed really nice (there you go, little miss superior - knocked you down a peg or two, didn't it?) I started hanging out in her shop all day, drinking coffee and chatting, and Miss G and Ebs were at each others' houses at least once a week.

Fast forward 7 years and we go on holiday together, we treat the girls as our daughters - both of them, we're lost without the other one. We share everything (I'd share the husbeast, but she's not willing to take him on, says he's a nightmare), it was me that got the phone call when Ebs was in hospital with appendicitis (at the time the doctors thought it was swine flu - whole other tale), it was her that was with me when I went for my dating scan for Ginger (and it was also her that told the doctor that we wanted to know the sex. I told you we were like an old lesbian couple). Her mother is my 'other mother', and my kids call her Grannie.
You're getting the general idea, aren't you? She's pretty, bloody amazing.

She tipped the scale in amazing last week when she brought my birthday present round (2 months early, but she was too excited and couldn't wait).

A sewing machine with my name on! Isn't it amazing? It works, although I don't think I'll ever figure out the complex threading system. I learned to sew on an old Singer like this. Having a Jones is much better. You can see it belongs to me - there's my name on it. In big letters.

Shall we just have one more picture?........

Thank you Sash - I love you. But you know that already.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

80's Bat Wing Sweater

80s BatWing Sweater

Back in the good old days (otherwise known as the 1980's) I had a batwing sleeved sweater in the brightest pink and grey. I loved that sweater. It made me feel incredibly cool (which I most definitely wasn't). I wore it with ski pants (those leggings with stirrups) and pixie boots (or tucker boots - slouchy grey suede things, everyone had them). It was my most coolest outfit, and this quilt is homage to it.

It's twin (single) bed size (although it fits really nicely on a double bed too) and the pattern will be available from January 27th in Issue 4 of Fat Quarterly.
The whole issue is dedicated to solids - it kind of daunted me working without printed fabrics and having to stay focused on not just grabbing any old scrap to add to the quilt. But I must have done something right because Miss G has claimed it as her own - and that's a first.

Monday, 17 January 2011

a mile of binding

25 yards...

Well, not really that much. But 25 1/2 yards, so quite a lot. I've been sorting out some scraps to send in a (belated) swap to Nicole and got thoroughly distracted by an overwhelming urge to make binding.

Once, a long time ago (about 2 or 3 years), Rashida made scrappy bindings that she sold in her shop. I would stalk the shop in the hope of one day snapping some up. It never happened. Her scrappy bindings have haunted me ever since. Now that I have fully accepted I will never own any Rashida scrappy bindings I have to make my own *sigh*. It's ok, I like making binding. My plan is to have enough binding on hand at any one time to bind a quilt or two.

Now, I really must get back to sorting out these scraps for Nicole before she decides I'm a terrible person. Maybe I could bribe her with scrappy binding?

Saturday, 15 January 2011

making a start on finishing

hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the quilter we go

I'm off to visit the quilter on Monday to pick up this (not so) little baby and drop a couple more quilts into her capable hands.

The rainbow quilt was intended for my mother in law, but I'm having second thoughts now - I think I might get too attached to it when I see it quilted. Truthfully, I'm a bit like that with every quilt I make. I struggle to let them go and even regret it a little bit each and every time. Then I vow I'll make a replacement to take it's place (and never do).

This year (yes, I am going a bit crazy with the good intentions and resolutions) I've made a list of things I want to do (or finish) and stick to it. So here goes;

You know already about my stash pact and the vow to not buy any new fabric (with a few caveats -backings, bindings, sashings if I have nothing at all suitable in my stash)
I will finish the Hexy MF
I will make a Denyse Schmidt single girl quilt (I've been saying that for a while - this time I'm sticking to it, I've already got enough fabric for the background)
I will make a bee quilt or 2 - I've got a heap of bee blocks laying round that haven't been sewn together. Time the poor things got sashed and made into a few tops

What are you planning on doing this year? Any quilty/crafty goals that you really need to scratch the itch of?

Thursday, 13 January 2011

finally, some sunshine

on my desk today

I have a love-hate relationship with Winter. I love the look of snowy landscapes and being able to wear coats and scarves, but the lack of light gets me down. I dream of a day that I can fly South for the Winter, when the kids are grown up and I'm a wealthy empty nester (a girl can dream, ok?)
But today the sun is streaming through the windows, warming my back as I sew secret stuff that I can't share with you until later this year. It feels like most of my sewing right now is secret stuff.

The ritz crackers are my guilty pleasure. Someone take them away from me - I will seriously eat the whole box.

I LOVED reading all the comments from my last blog post. Some of them really made me laugh out loud. We are all such terrible hoarders and habitual fabric stashers.
I'm doing really well so far - I have saved myself $54.50 by not buying some Tammis Keefe and a Lauren Child Liberty print tana lawn. I've used up a huge piece of Kona in some dark sludgy green colour that I don't remember buying or why I bought it to back a quilt (yep, one of those secret projects - you can see it up there in the pic. Kind of). I'd have never considered using that green to back a quilt made from Anna Maria Horner prints but it sorta works, somehow. So the challenge is good, it's quite fun and I have a feeling I might learn something this year trying to look outside the box a little more which will ultimately mean I buy better and hopefully make better choices, which in turn will lead to better quilts. Maybe. I hope so, at least. I also deliberately avoided using up more obvious backing fabrics just on case I need them later in the year when the stocks are getting low.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

stash pact

the last (fabric) supper

Now you can call me crazy, or masochistic, or just plain lying to myself but this year I am following these rules....

2011 is the year of the stash.

My main goal is to finish up wips and to ONLY use stash fabric to back those wips.

No new fabric is allowed to be purchased unless it is for a specific project for work (fat quarterly) but I should use stash fabrics if at all possible.

Fabrics for backings, sashings and bindings can be purchased if absolutely necessary but try to use up stash first

My scrap box will be sorted, managed and used to make at least one big scrap quilt of king twin or larger. Any new babies that need baby shower gifts will get a scrap quilt made.

I will sort through my stash and either swap or gift out fabrics I don't want or will never use.

Exceptions - quilt market sample spree and free stuff I might get sent (sometimes I get the odd free thing - not often, but it does happen, it's a pretty awesome thing)

Every time I think about buying new fabric I'll make a note of what I would have spent and set that money aside. My incentive is a trip to New York for my best friend's 40th in Jan 2012.

I'm not the only one you know. There's a group of us. What started as a bit of a dare on twitter amongst a few of us has grown into a whole group therapy session (otherwise known as a flickr group). We will help each other out, we will hold each others hands. We will offer support when one of us is just dying to go shopping. We will do this together and we will be so proud of ourselves when we've said 'I went a whole year without buying fabric'. I am determined to do this. I really want to prove to myself that I can.
The pic at the top is of the last purchases I made in 2010. You won't see any more shiny new fabric purchase pics from me this year. Hand on heart, I swear.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

holy cow - new year already!

Well, that was a longer break than I had intended. Is it really January already? 2011? Remember when the year 2000 was the mystical future? Heck. The years fly by way too fast.
I tell you, Christmas and the school holidays and family and friends and actually having to be sociable don't half suck up precious sewing time.
Today was the first day back to school (deep sigh of relief). As much as I love spending time with the childerbeasts and the husbeast I was starting to (ok, I was more than starting) to get a little sick of the sight of them and the constant cries of 'mummeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' every 2 minutes (don't tell them I told you that, ok?)

Christmas and New Year were wonderful. Way too much food was eaten, and not enough moving about to shift the food once consumed. We spent time with friends and family and I think it was probably the best Holiday period for a long time. 2010 was a funny year of extreme highs (Fat Quarterly, visiting Quilt Market for the first time, meeting my wonderful friend Beth - the person that introduced me to quilting in the first place - in the flesh in Santa Cruz this summer) and extreme lows (losing my beloved Nan. I will miss her terribly, forever, and not a day passes when I don't think of her in some way). I'm glad it's over and 2011 can start fresh and with vigour.
Part of that intended vigour is the Hexy MF quilt. I've been working on this for most of the second half of 2010. I don't think I'll finish any time soon, but it's nice to know the top is now hand appliqued onto the backing fabric and I only have the borders to applique before I can get it quilted. It's around 80 inches square, I think. Maybe a bit less. I should measure it.
Fabrics are all Anna Maria Horner good folks and little folks and the background is a crossweave by Moda (if you can find some of that stuff snap it up - it's got a great texture, and is a dream to sew)

Hexy MF

I've finally mailed my pillow talk swap 4 pillow out to my partner (who is over the pond...that's all I can say). I am pretty sure I'm on the right lines with her style. She likes scrappy, she likes fabrics very similar to the fabrics I like, she likes things that are string pieced and foundation pieced. That doesn't really give it away at all. I made a pillow I love. I actually made a pillow specifically thinking of what I love and hoped it'd turn out ok. Well, I'm making another one because now this has gone I miss it and I want it back. I just hope she loves it as much as I do.

pillow talk swap 4 - sent

Of course, if my partner loves the pillow I made for her as much as I love the pillow Brooke made for me then I'd be over the moon happy. Because this little baby is spot on perfect. It has been squished a bit flat now because I've been sitting on it when I sew. It's just perfect - scrappilicious. And not a single hideous fabric in there. So you can tell I didn't make it, can't you? lol.


So here we are in a new decade (I will be pedantic about the whole 2011 being the start of a new decade thing - 2010 was the end of a decade, 2011 the start of a new one. Just work with me, ok?)
Let's go have some fun!!!!!!!!

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