To The Wire – One Monthly Goal

image.jpegAs ever I’m grateful that the US are behind us in time so I have that just a little bit of extra time to play with to meet Heidi’s deadline for the One Monthly Goal. In fact the delay in posting has been partly waiting for the skies to clear for an outdoor shot. The weather has been grey and wet here. And when the sun came out I was tied up indoors hence this rather dark picture the best an ipad can do in the circumstances

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My One Month Goal was the quilt for my forgotten child….  That child is really a 6′ 4″ late teenager but he’d never had a quilt made before. We picked some Parson Gray fabrics which are so perfect for a masculine quilt and a simple and quick design called Colorweave from Moda Bakehouse. This was a useful design  as I didn’t have masses of fabric and maximum amount of fabric to minimum seams worked well. Mind you I still ran out but I was able to find some more Parson Gray lurking in my stash to pad it out.

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But the real challenge was he wanted it heavy and with a fleece background. My heart sank because it was already 80″ x 80″, the size of a double duvet, so basting and quilting was going to be a wrestling match.  Mind you I noticed from my Fitbit reading that boy did I burn some calories and active time doing the basting. So not all bad! The backing was in fact a cheap “Seriously Soft” fleece blanket from Dunelm. That was a great success because it really was seriously soft, so when it came to quilting it had very little friction and slid beautifully along allowing the quilting to be pretty much a doddle. The quilt still weighed a ton.

 

imageAs ever Skye was on hand to help but quickly got bored and her mouse toy was brought up to the sewing table for a quick game of fetch.

Well I am pleased to say that no. 1 son loves it. He did comment that he thought it would be heavier to which I counted to 10 and said that it was never going to be like a duvet in weight. But once it was finished it was whisked off to his room.  Hence if it’s a bit wrinkly in the picture it’s because it’s already being used and abused, just the way it should!!

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts and TGIFF at Celtic Thistle Stitches

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Bits and Bobs and blocks…

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More Stitchy Pies were always on the cards. I made one for Le Challenge and won $25 voucher for the Fat Quarter Shop. Can’t be bad!

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But I needed another for my letter pins and whilst making one it really was not much harder work making two, and I wanted to make a thank you gift to Sue who sweetly sent me some fabric. What quilter doesn’t need a needle case! The children decided that the blue/green was the nicest so that got sent off.

This time I wanted a pieced look and had the idea of using a couple of blocks I had made up to see whether I could be bothered to make 20 of them for a quilt (no I couldn’t be bothered so they were promptly orphaned!).

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These are so quick and easy to make – here’s the pattern from Lucy of Charm About You.

Next up is a new pincushion. I’ve managed to lose my favourite one, quite how I don’t know as my sewing room is not vast. Just a simple square made up of scraps.

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And finally who wasn’t moved by this tragedies of the last couple of weeks.  In terms of scale it’s hard to imagine the loss of 50 people at the hands of one individual. Lives cut short on a night of fun and relaxation. I was touched that within hours the local Modern Quilting Guild in Orlando had set up an initiative to provide quilts to those affected. To support them I’ve made some heart blocks and Esther at IG#esthermoorely is kindly doing a group collection from the UK. And then an up and coming Labour MP and who genuinely  cared about the disadvantaged was shot and killed outside the library in a sleepy Yorkshire town by another very disturbed man with a hate agenda.  It’s very hard to fathom that mindless violence causes such widespread and long lasting damage to family and friends of the victims. This time the Leeds modern quilt group have requested wonky cross blocks to make quilts for Jo Cox’s children and family.  Those are on the to do list for this week.

 

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I also made some maple leaf blocks for the Fort McMurray forest fire which devastated this town and resulted in 80,000 people being evacuated and many people returning to damaged property or losing everything.  There was a certain sense of history repeating itself as I read an article in a quilting magazine recently about exactly the same thing happening but this time the Canadian Red Cross organising  quilts to be made for the bombed out families in the UK during World War 2.  Although as some of these were blocks were made of hand pieced 1.5″ inch squares, the amount of effort put in by those Canadian women in the 1940’s puts my own effort to shame! But it just shows that quilts have been used to express sympathy and practical support for a long, long time.

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Of course the real reason I have embraced  these mini projects this week is that I avoiding the Herculean task of quilting no. 1 son’s massive quilt, with batting and fleece backing …. Not looking forward to it. But he is nagging me so I will have to get started.

How not to be on a fabric diet….

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I guess we’ve all been there. New fabric is launched which looks just right for that new project or fabric which you’ve always loved but felt was an extravagance now on offer and then the opportunity comes along to take advantage of these urges. Somehow that fabric diet you foolishly thought was necessary is cast aside in the heat of fabulous choice. And aren’t we lucky…even luckier if you live in the US where fabric prices and deals are so mouthwatering compared to us Brits. Anyway that happened to me and that’s my excuse.  I was extremely fortunate to win not one but two $25 vouchers for the Fat Quarter Shop from Le Challenge run by Lucy from Charmaboutyou and Nat from Made in Home.   Le Challenge has finished now.

Well all thoughts of restraint were abandoned and of course I had to make up the order to $100 to justify the postage…indeed much of my stash has been bought on that basis…. I know I’m not alone on that one!

So what did I get….some lovely Denyse Scmidt as you can see above from a number of ranges  for my ‘warm’ coloured quilt. I’ve just ‘discovered’ how wonderful they all blend in with each other  and some Cotton and Steel for good measure. Some have already been cut up for this quilt using the Quick Curve Ruler which really does live up to its name.

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And then on the cooler side of things…

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I particularly love these. The library print from Paperie by Amy Sinibaldi to stockpile. I used it for my Stitchy Pie and then got cross with myself because I could see this brown stain from my less than pristine iron.  What  I hadn’t realised, until I tried to wash it out, is that it is supposed to have faint brown stains to represent paper mottling ! And then some more gorgeous Denyse Schmidt I’ve had my eye on for a while and some Art Gallery denim.

And then a few bits and bobs…

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Well I had to make it up to $100 and of course you can never have enough seam rippers which in this house disappear so often…

Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash.

Belt bag

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Aside from sewing the other passion in my life is horseriding (and I’m not including in this my lovely family and friends…).

I’ve been on the lookout for some time for a nice attractive belt bag to carry my camera and other essentials when riding. But boy are the ones on the market ugly!  Like everyone woman on the planet I really don’t want to wear something that makes me look fatter and protrudes excessively. I even looked for handmade belt bags on Pinterest but again no joy.

It’s not really a problem when I ride in the UK as I tend to ride early and I really can’t remember the last time I rode when I wasn’t wearing at least a fleece with a handy zip pocket.  But for the last few years we have been very lucky to be able to have riding holidays in South Africa when a camera is a pretty essential item to catch all those wonderful animals.

I’ve never found a satisfactory arrangement. If you have it on the strap shoulder as per my camera bag below it just bangs around when you are cantering and when I tried to attach it to my belt by shortening the shoulder strap it’s a risk it will fall and then bang against the side of the horse – not a good thing….  It’s  also a Velcro closure and I like the security of a zip.

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Well ahead of this year’s holiday on a ranch in Colorado I was determined to find something that would work.  I had this sweet bag which I bought on a whim more years ago then I can remember to go with an evening outfit. If it got used once I’ve be surprised. It just seemed even then a bit too girlish for a woman in her middle years. I could of course have offered this to my teenage daughter but really didn’t want the look of pity mixed with horror at the thought that she could ever actually want a bag previously owned by her aged mother!!!

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I bravely disembowelled the bag and salvaged some beautiful pieces of soft leather. I was initially going to keep the base and just add a fabric top and zip but the design was too puffy.

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As to the design I just made a zip bag using my go to tutorial by Jedi Girl. I can make these with my eyes closed…. Knowing the supercritical eyes of my 3 teenagers would be scrutinising it I went for a toning fabric for the top from Nocturne by Janet Clare but a jazzy red from Alison Glass Handcraft for the inside

Here as you can see it’s too long. I wanted a tightish fit but not so I would be fighting with closing the zip so rather than reduce the length by redoing the zip I just unpicked the leather bottoms and put them higher.

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Sewing with leather was a pleasure with the right needle and a Teflon foot – no fraying edges means you can use it very flexibly. Sharp eyes will see here on the photo below some zigzagging. I accidentally cut through the back when cutting out the interfacing for the fabric upper pieces. The product of working in a messy environment I’m afraid. I’d like to say this has never happened before but it would be a lie!! Nevertheless it was so easy to repair and it reminded of crazy patched leather bags from the past.  Sharp eyes will also see that in trying the bag on for the shot of me wearing it has quickly emphasised the weak points namely the belt channel. It’s coming away and it needs a fair bit of reinforcement as I think that’s where the pressure will be. Obviously Skye is doing her best to show me where works needs doing!

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I hope it won’t embarrass the children too much but I love it and for once I shall have my camera to hand.

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Linking up with TGIFF   and Crazy Mom quilts.

To Russia With Love…(well Belarus and Ukraine)

 

Jennifer of Glinda Quilts did what so many kind hearted quilters do when she came across a charity that struck a chord, she thought what quilty thing can I do to make a difference. This particular  charity welcomes children from parts of Belarus and the Ukraine badly impacted by  the Chernobyl disaster for a months holiday staying with host families across the UK. These children live in an area which suffers ongoing contamination and have to live with the consequences and health risks of that.

Well together with the charity organisers,  Jennifer asked for quilters to help with making tote bags for each child  and a table topper as a gift they can take back to their families. And best of all, other than a few loose guidelines on sizing etc, Jennifer gave us complete creative freedom

I’d like to say signing up to this was a completely  altruistic gesture on my part but of course it wasn’t. These sort of projects fire the imagination, are satisfying, quickish makes and a chance  to play with fabric in ways you haven’t before. I also had as always a load of scraps that I didn’t want to sort into the scrap jars as they are full enough already so the stage was set.

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First  off was this denim bag. I was keen to try and recycled fabrics from an old pair of my jeans. With the right needle and Teflon sewing machine foot, sewing with denim was a doddle. It also makes for a robust bag with no need for pesky interfacing which always gets on my iron, just some wadding. I even managed to get my 13 year old daughter to model it for me. Well you didn’t think that super slim body was mine – sadly not!!

 

I was really pleased with how it turned out. I need another Market Bag from Anna Graham’s Handmade Style book and I think this will be another venture into denim. I’ve wrested off my eldest son an unwanted pair of jeans so watch this space.

 

 

Next were two table toppers.

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I’ve wanted to have a go at paper pieced curves so drew up the roughest of patterns using the largest mixing bowl I possess and away I went. I’m torn between which is my favourite. This would make a great scrap quilt as my scraps tend to be strips not squares so suited to string style blocks. Easy peasy  quilting and then help from Skye, as she critically reviews my possible binding choices.

 

imageLinking up to Nicky and Leanne for Scraptastic Tuesday

Drop dead gorgeous!!

 

imageNow I can make that outrageous comment because I didn’t make this quilt other than the final assembly. Virtually all of the blocks come from my wonderful bee mates of the Siblings Together Bee 2.

I was Bee mamma for the very first time last September.  Siblings Together is a UK-based charity that brings together siblings that are split up in our care system for a holiday where happy memories of being together can be made and bonds kept alive. Each year quilters across the world make something like hundred quilts so that each child on these camps can have their own as momento of this special time together. There are lots of initiatives to get quilters involved and if you want to find  out more do visit their blog.

Being relatively new to quilting and feeling a bit nervous about taking on the responsibility of other people making for me I did lots of research as I tend to do when I’m unsure about things. As an aside ahead of having our first child I read so many parenting books I could have passed a masters degree in child care although hands on experience was nil!!    Some of it even came in useful! Any way back to my quilt research I learnt people liked reasonably quick and easy blocks, preferably enabling them to use scraps, with a fairly broad colour range and from the mama’s perspective an overall design with wriggle room in case the blocks are inconsistently sized. Well step forward the Fieldcrossing quilt , a free design from Cloud Nine,  it has all these elements and more. Heaven  knows  why it is called Field Crossing but it is a beautiful design.

So we now have a finished quilt and isn’t she a stunner. I think it may be my favourite quilt to date.

The assembly was a doddle and  an interesting fact which I think explains its beauty is there are over 50 different fabrics in there. And looked at individually you wouldn’t think they would complement each other but they very clearly do because together the whole mixture works together magically.

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I chose an all over fmq design of curves to complement the pointy elements of this design. The wadding was Dream Puff and the finished quilting was certainly more pronounced and puffy. Apparently it’s nice and warm and not as thin feeling as some other waddings. Don’t worry I shan’t be sleeping under it to check the product’s claims!!

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In fact it must’ve been an easy block to make because most of the members very kindly sent me way more than I asked for, in fact enough to create two quilts. This is the other  one.

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I wanted this one to have a bit more masculine feel to it hence it’s rather strong graphic design. It’s also made thinking that there will probably be teenage boys and some will be very tall. I think I may have reached the absolute maximum size on my domestic sewing machine. Just now need to get these labelled and off.  Am I the only one who hates the labelling…..

Linking up with

Finish it up Friday at CrazyMom quilts

TGIFF.

Q2 FAL at Mrs Sew and Sow, original Q2 target, #2016FAL

 

My forgotten child….my One Month Goal

When I started quilting a couple of years ago I practised by making quilts for the cats in particular our new kitten Skye, the lilac cat. They remain very much a daily comfort to them and as they are made out of thick fleece and lovely flannel are super snuggly.

 

Then onto the children. First up was Fin who chose his from an image on Pinterest and wanted an exact copy.  So that was my next project. Let’s just say that I hadn’t discovered the importance of the 1/4″ seam at this point. Anna wanted a quilt which was just a larger version of the cats. So they were both sorted.

 

imageimageMy eldest son eventually expressed an interest and we agreed fabric and design. So after I had assembled a vast quantity of half square triangles he decided he didn’t  like it after all. It remains in a plastic bag….. So when he somewhat wistfully was looking at the last quilt I made for Siblings Together from bee blocks he reminded me he was deprived of the comforts of a quilt. Poor, poor neglected child….

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This time I was wised up….

I had purchased a few FQs of the wonderfully masculine range of Parson Gray fabrics on special offer at a show. I had in mind a Siblings Together quilt for a teenager. I showed eldest son these and he liked them. I showed him a couple of designs which were quick and easy ditto. This time though if he defaulted I had the perfect quilt to gift. But so far, and I’m at the block stage, he likes it. Hurray!!!

imageLess of a hurray is predictably he wants it to have a fleece backing. I don’t blame him, cotton quilts can be quite thin. But I’m not looking forward to wrestling this through my domestic sewing machine. It will need to be a big quilt as he’s 6′ 4″  so I shall go for something very simple and as minimal as the wadding allows. Oh and did I say because he has been ‘forgotten’ he wants the quilt as soon as possible…. So to keep me on track this is going to be my one month goal over with Heidi at Red Letter Quilts