Sunday, May 6, 2012

Castle Peeps placemats

I made these placemats for my kids ages ago - they were actually Hanukkah presents!
Of course, I finished stitching them late at night and wrapped them straight away to gift them the very next day.
Since then they've gotten continuous use which has made it really hard to get any decent photos before they got messy again, and again, and again.

And then, I used some scraps of batting and wasn't sure which brand and how far apart I could leave it open. So, already food stained I added some hand quilting (my first attempt at hand quilting!) before throwing them in the wash for the first time.
I fussy cut the peeps and then made the one block loosely based on the Sunspot block in Elizabeth Hartman's book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork.
They are very well-loved and well-used and definitely brighten up the dining table.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lots of little gifts...

Ready for a bit of time travel? You'll need to go back in time to Christmas 2011! I made a pouch and three of the very popular and oh-so-clever drawstring bags for presents.
In a bit of a last minute sewing frenzy, I managed to turn this stack:

Into this:
Christmas Present for my son's favourite childcare teacher
Christmas present for sister-in-law

and this:
Christmas present for brother-in-law
My zippy zipper ends were always bothering me, so I finally splurged and bought Oh Fransson!'s Perfect Zip Bag pattern, and it was worth every penny.

Now, if I'd made these recently, they could so be part of the My Precious QAL; my heart palpitated as I cut the precious fabric. Perhaps I'll have to make myself something special soon?
And those of you paying close attention will have realised that there was also some Echino fabric in that first pic - I better snap a photo of the iPad case I made for my husband!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


There's a first for everything and this is the first time I've been virtually tagged, by the lovely Jennifier, fellow blogger, teacher and crafter. Here are her questions and my answers:

1. How big is your stash?
I suppose that depends on who you ask, but I think not very big at all. About two plastic office drawers and a bit of a stack on top. And I just added a gorgeous fat 1/8th bundle of Oh Deer! to it. Joy!

2. What is your favorite treat?
Chocolate and pretzels. Since I can't get chocolate covered pretzels here I usually eat pretzels with a handful of M&Ms.

3. When do you usually quilt?
Usually in the evenings, after the kids are in bed. But for any big job, e.g. basting, I save for a rare morning or afternoon without kids.

4. How many projects do you have going on right now?
Officially, one - I've just started my daughter's single/twin bed quilt, using It's a Hoot by MoMo. But I've also selected and washed fabrics for 3 different children's clothing items.

5. What is the weather like?
Dreary and damp. Emphasis on the damp. Damp clothes hanging under the house and all over the house!

6. What keeps you from quilting?
Not enough time and/or energy, and no dedicated sewing space. It takes that much extra energy and time to get everything set up for sewing, that it's only worth doing if I have a couple of hours.

7. What color fabric do you buy most often and is it your favorite color?
I buy lots of purples and teals and pinks. Purples and teals are favourites of mine and the pink is my daughter's fave.

8. What is the largest and the smallest quilts you have made?
I've only made a few quilts so far. The smallest was a doll quilt:
And the largest was recently completed for my son - a single/twin bed quilt.

And now it's my turn to tag! The following people have provided inspiration and support since I started sewing and blogging:
  1. Jenny at Cut.Sew.Iron.Repeat 
  2. Danielle at Petits Elefants
  3. Hollie at The Undercover Crafter
  4. Catherine at The Sewing Attic
  5. Hilary at Quilary
 And my questions for you are:
  1. When did you start quilting?
  2. What inspires you to quilt?
  3. Do you plan your quilts ahead of time or just think as you go?
  4. Where do you sew?
  5. What fabric do you dream about? (whether you own it or not!)
  6. Do you sew more often for yourself or others?
  7. What's your dream holiday/vacation?
  8.  What's your favourite flavour of ice cream?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm so excited! I'm so excited!

That's what my daughter exclaims just before lifting a flap in a lift-the-flap book. It's also how I feel about Wollongong getting its own Modern Quilt Guild! Unfortunately, I've missed out on the first few meetings (things like my son's 5th birthday party getting in the way), but the coordinator has been excellent about communicating with me and invited me to participate in the group's first charity quilt. Here's my contribution:
I was sent the pink squares and added the rest from my stash. We were asked to add jewel tones from our stash and use this tutorial to make a 12.5" wonky star block. I love using scraps from special projects - all three were used to make a dress or skirt. I hope I've done it justice!

When I go to my first meeting later this month, I plan to sew lots of half square triangles to start my daughter's quilt. She was very interested when she saw me laying out the squares for Joseph's quilt:
We looked at fabrics and patterns together and she was very opinionated - It's a Hoot for the fabric, and pinwheel blocks with no sashing. That's a lot of half square triangles!
Luckily, I have lots of It's a Hoot fabric - 2 charm packs, 5 fat quarters and some yardage. That should be enough for the pinwheels, one or two borders, binding, and a pieced backing (I'm making a single/twin quilt). Last night I cut 88 5" off-white squares.

Can't wait to start sewing!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Whipped up...

So I've been sewing long enough now to have the skills and speed to 'whip something up'. It's great to actually be able to sew something in less than an hour, albeit basic. I have two items I made for gifts to share:
The first is a simple skirt made gorgeous with one of my favourite fabric lines - It's a Hoot by MoMo. I based it on the Lazy Days Skirt free pattern by Oliver + S, but did a basic hem it instead of using a ribbon. It's for a friend of my son's 5th birthday - Mum requested no presents but mentioned that handmade is good. I hope she likes it!
For a size 5 I used a 16" width-of-fabric strip and a 20" length of elastic.

The second gift is a portable change mat for a friend who just had her second baby. This one took a bit longer, but probably still under 2 hours.
I no longer have the pattern for it (it was either out of a Lotta Jansdotter or Amy Butler book), but it's simple so I just measured mine. I used some Denyse Schmidt County Fair home dec weight for the outside and some Denyse Schmidt Spotlight/JoAnn's Fabric for the inside. Don't they coordinate well?

I did some basic diagonal quilting following the pattern of the fabric. Have I mentioned yet that I LOVE my new walking foot?!! It made the quilting super easy and quick.
So I've made heaps of things that I haven't blogged about yet. I'll try to catch up! Overdue and upcoming blog posts include:
  • The flower girl bubble dress
  • Castle Peeps placemats
  • Lego Birthday Party
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter, Pesach, etc. Don't eat too much chocolate!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wheels Quilt

Finally a finish! At about 11 pm the night before my son's 5th birthday - so had a bit of time to spare! I washed and dried it while he was at school and presented it to him that evening. He immediately snuggled into it right on the floor and it's been on his bed since. I'm so pleased that he loves it so much and it was really nice that he showed it.
I borrowed it for some photos today. Although it was overcast, the photos came out ok. It's made from Riley Blake wheels fabric, with three different kona solids thrown in to tone it down a bit. I did three different proportion square in squares, which mathematically allowed me to cut squares and strips perfectly out of 1/2 yard cuts. The blocks are 10" square and the quilt approximately 67" x 86". It generously fits his single (twin) bed.
The backing was pieced out of what I had left! I hadn't foreseen how huge this was going to be and was lucky to find enough 'leftover' fabric for it. As for the quilting, I ended up using gutterman cotton in a pale blue to match the backing. I got to use my new walking foot and LOVE it! I quilted straight lines about 1/4" either side of the main seams. And I must thank this post for solving some pretty serious and frustrating tension problems. If you don't know what that little screw on the bobbin casing is for than check it out!
My son wanted the red dots which I really love as the binding:
I sewed the binding by machine a la Red Pepper Quilts tutorial. It's not perfect but it took me about an hour instead of many many long evenings.
My next quilt project will be a single quilt for my daughter - she's already chosen the fabric AND pattern. At two and a half she already knows what she wants!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We have a quilt top!

Those that have been following my blog for a while would know that I've been making my son a quilt for a long time now.

You can see my son checking out the fabric way back in 2010 in this post. And some sample blocks at the end of this post. I've been ever so slowly working on it. I'm not sure why it is taking sooooooo long. I aimed to complete it for Christmas 2010, then his birthday 2011, then Christmas 2011. Wow! That's pretty bad. So now, I WILL finish it for his 5th Birthday, which gives me about a week. Today is basting day. I'll straight-line quilt it with my new walking foot. Hope the machine (and I) can handle it!

Any quilting suggestions? And what type of thread do you use for machine, straight-line quilting?
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