Thursday, July 31, 2014

I quilt :: up and down

Last week i quilted all the panels of my Happy Herringbone quilt, so this week it was time to join them, add the backing, and do the second part of the quilting - long lines up and down either side of the seams. I set my stitch length a bit longer for this, and I have to admit I prefer the shorter stitches. Also, I think because of the weight of the quilt and having some trouble with controlling it through the machine, there is quite a bit of variation in the stitches.

If you'd like more info about the quilt-as-you-go method I'm using for this quilt, the tutorial is on Maureen Cracknell's blog here.



Saturday, July 26, 2014

Finish it :: Ella Funt

I absolutely love starting new craft projects, so it is no big surprise that I have 'works in progress', or unfinished projects all over the place. (Incidentally, is there a difference between something in progress and something that's unfinished? I don't know. In progress sounds better. In any case, I have loads of them.) So this year I've been trying to dedicate Fridays to finishing projects that have been hanging about for a while.

This week's project is the Ella Funt cardi, which I'm making for Amelia using some gorgeous hand dyed yarn I bought in a kit from the lovely happy spider fibre arts. It's working up to a gorgeous fabric, and I think it will be super cute. I knit up the body over Easter, then set it aside to work on other things. Since picking it up again during the week I've managed to finish one sleeve, and about halfway through the other. I'm looking forward to seeing how joining the sleeves to the body works, and of course to knitting the fair isle yoke.

You can find my Ella Funt on ravelry here.




Thursday, July 24, 2014

I quilt :: as I go

With my Finding Formation quilt all done, this week I'm working on my other exhibition quilt: Happy Herringbones. I'm using a fantastic 'quilt as you go' tutorial from Maureen Cracknell's blog, and am up to the first of the two quilting steps, where you quilt the top to the batting, but not the backing yet. I'm going a bit mad with it and using 7 or 8 different bright colours for the quilting, just adding the lines wherever takes my fancy at the time. I'm loving the texture the quilting adds, and having some blended and some contrasting quilting.

I'm joining up with the linky party at Pretty Bobbins again today =)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Taadaa! :: finding formation quilt

I'm really excited to be able to share my finished quilt today! I sewed the last of the binding last night, just as le Tour boys crossed their finish line, and today my sweet friend Michelle and I took the quilt out for a proper 'on location' photoshoot. Of course now I have gorgeous photos but really no idea how to say the things I would like to say about it, except to tell you that I love this quilt so much! So, I'm just going to write, and hope it makes sense!

This quilt is one of my entries for the Canberra Quilters Exhibition so it needed a name (actually, I'm starting to think all quilts should have names). I'm calling it Finding Formation: Synchronised Swimming, since all those blues and greens make me think my geese might be swimming rather than flying.

I was absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to test sew this pattern for Nightingale Quilts designer Caroline. I had first discovered her patterns when I came across a gorgeous version of her Swift Wreath quilt, and was then lucky enough to win copies of all her patterns in a giveaway. Caroline's patterns are really clearly written, and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to a beginner, or someone who has only worked with squares/rectangles. I have done some half square triangles before but this was my first time sewing flying geese and I think they turned out pretty well. The flying formation pattern includes instructions for both the 'traditional' method of sewing flying geese (where you sew squares on each side of a rectangle) as well as a fabric saving method (where you start with a square and sew 4 geese at a time). I loved working with Caroline and getting a bit of an insight into what pattern designers go through to get their pattern ready.

It might sound weird, but because of this I feel like I had more creative input into this quilt than I have into other quilts I have worked on. One of the things about test sewing an unreleased pattern was that I hadn't seen versions of the pattern sewed up already, so was completely uninfluenced by others' interpretations. It was so much fun to attack a clean line drawing of the quilt with my coloured pencils and plan out just how I wanted it to look - I coloured up several versions before I decided. The finished pattern includes line drawings for each of the three sizes, which you can print out and colour yourself - I love this and wish every pattern had the same!

This was also the first time that I've made a quilt using a fabric 'pull' from my stash - other quilts have either been scrap vomit-y, so completely random, or sewed from precuts of a single range. The palette for this quilt was actually inspired by the block I sewed for my June #moderninstabee partner @poppinspatch - I loved her block so much I just had to make my own quilt from those colours!

This is a quilt that has really made me feel like 'a quilter'. Not only because I felt like I was exercising more 'creativity', but this is the first time I have basted and quilted a quilt (bigger than baby pram-sized) myself (are you noticing a pattern? - this is such a quilt of firsts!). Like I showed in my I Quilt post on Thursday, I went super simple with the quilting - lines approximately a quarter inch either side of some of the seams (my first time doing quilting that wasn't 'in the ditch'), zig-zagging out with the bow-tie shape of the geese.

As an aside, after my post on Thursday I was talking to a friend about how sometimes we just need to be brave and try something, and then it works out. I feel like I should confess here that last weekend when I was a bit nervous about getting started on this, I was totally inspired by another crafty friend I have who seems never to be afraid to try something new or challenging and who makes the most beautiful things (let's just call her @happyspider6 ;-)) - as I basted and quilted every time I thought 'oooh this isn't going to work' I reminded myself that she would have a go, and hers would be awesome. So thanks, lovely =)

I chose to bind in the same print from Kate Spain's Daydream range that I used for those orange geese. You can see the binding is pretty narrow and tight - almost like piping really - I wanted just enough to frame the top and make those orange geese pop a bit. The backing is a simple aqua spot on white - this is one of Spotlight's basics which they sell for about $7 a metre - next time they have a sale I'm stocking up on these because I do love a good spot!

And so that's my quilt. Like I said, I just love it. You can see more Finding Formation quilts on the Nightingale Quilts blog, and there are also versions popping up on Instagram under #findingformationquilt.

The pattern is available in the Nightingale Quilts Craftsy store and Etsy store.
And if the sneak peeks Caroline has been giving us on Instagram are anything to go by, there are more gorgeous patterns on the way soon!

Thanks again so much to Caroline for asking me to be a test sewer, and Michelle for all of the gorgeous photos in this post!









Saturday, July 19, 2014

Finished :: Milo vest

Last week I finally finished the milo vest I started for Amelia back in May. It is actually a super simple and quick pattern to knit up, but I ran out of wool with about 10 rows to go and it took weeks to track down more.

This was actually not my first milo vest - just before I started it I whipped up this little stripey one for my new niece or nephew who we look forward to meeting in October. =)

I simply can not say enough about how fabulous this pattern is! For just $5 you get sizes from newborn up to 6 years, as well as 6 different cable variations! Not to mention the inspiration from hundreds of versions on ravelry. It is so easy to knit up, and the finished vest is very wearable - super cute and perfect to pop over her onesie when she just needs a little extra warmth.

Ravelry details for Amelia's Milo are here.
The milo vest pattern is available from Tikki Knits here

Friday, July 18, 2014

Finding formation quilt pattern

Check it out guys - the finding formation quilt pattern is now available from Nightingale Quilts!

I have so many good things to say about this gorgeous pattern that I'm going to save for when I can share my finished finding formation quilt (I'm about halfway through sewing down my binding, so very close! hopefully Sunday!), but for today you can pop over to Caroline's blog to read more about the pattern and her quilt, as well as a beautiful one made by one of the other pattern testers!

You can find the pattern (and a bunch of other gorgeous patterns) in the Nightingale Quilts Craftsy store here or Etsy store here


Thursday, July 17, 2014

I quilt :: finding formation

This weekend I finally worked up the courage to baste and quilt my Finding Formation quilt top. It was very nerve wracking, being the first time I've ever basted or quilted anything bigger than a baby pram quilt, (this is about 60" by 60"), but with a bit of patience (and lots of long distance support from my award winning quilter friend Michelle) I managed to do an acceptable job of basting, and the quilting was quilt fun!.

It was also the first time I've done anything other than quilting in the ditch, and I'm super happy with how it worked out!

I am a bit in love with this project, and I can't wait to share the finished quilt when the pattern is released (which will be very soon The pattern is available now! Checkout the Nightingale Quilts blog for more info!)

I'm joining up for the first time with Pretty Bobbins I Quilt Thursdays - pop over to see who else is quilting this week.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Travelling undies

When I saw the tutorial on the sew take a hike blog for an undies quilt block I knew little zip up undies travel bags would make the perfect 'Bon voyage' presents for my mum and her sister, who are off overseas on holidays next week.
The tutorial was so easy to follow, and because the template is so simple it was easy to resize the undies to just exactly how I wanted them. I was a bit nervous about the curves, since I haven't sewn curves for a flat piece before, but each pair came out just how I hoped.
It is also a perfect project for some fussy cutting - like the bus and dog. Each pair of undies I represents somewhere mum is visiting on her holiday - red and white hearts for Denmark, macarons and patisserie for Paris, the Scottie dog for Scotland, and red bus/black cab for London.

For the other side of the pouch I used the 'spell it with moda' tutorials to make each person's initial. I love the moda letters - the tutorials are free and use 2.5" strips which makes them perfect for scraps.

There are loads of tutorials online for lined zip pouches, I used this one from purl soho.

I think the little bags turned out pretty cute, and they were well received =) I see more undies in my future!