Monday, 27 May 2013

Bee Blocks

Continuing my run on paper piecing, I serendipitously came across this bee block posted by Amy of Badskirt fame. It was great timing because Kim has requested bees and hexagons for June's do. Good Stitches.

One of the things I love about being in a bee is that it stretches me a bit. I only have to make one or two blocks so it's easy to try something new; and often what is requested is not something that I'd ordinarily do so it gets me out of my comfort zone and lets me learn new skills. 

Kim would like pale blues, greys, creams and yellows for this quilt. I'd have done this block in stronger colours left to my own devices, but I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product and what everyone does.
Currently this is about 6.25" across and it needs to be a 12" block so I'm trying to figure out the best way to piece it into the block... 

I'd like it to be off centre like this and I'm thinking I should've extended the original pattern to piece it, but I'm a bit stumped, never having made a paper pieced pattern before. After cutting out this paper pattern  I realised that if I do it like this it'll come out mirror image, so I need to put the bee right-side down first.  And now I'm thinking I'll extend two opposite sides  at 11 and 4 o'clock into an equilateral(ish) triangle and then two straight sides and two opposite corners? (Tried to draw a diagram but that's yet another learning curve!) I'll do it a bit bigger and trim it down I think. Is there a proper way to do this? How would you go about piecing this block into a 12" background?

Whenever I have to unpick it's usually because I've tried to be too economical with my fabric. My spatial awareness isn't good enough to orient the scrap properly if it's an angled piece and even when I try it out and hold it up to the light to check the seam allowance it seems to come out wrong sometimes. Better to trim a bit more off than have to unpick-again!

Then I just need to decide what I'll do for the second block...

I've also made blocks for May. Sharon requested pink and blue blocks like this:

Not pieced together so she can distribute everyone's colours and the scrap triangles were to be combined like so:

I've done a few more blocks for my wonky crosses and some unpicking into the bargain!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced
and with Let's Get Acquainted for the first time, hosted this time by Annabella at Life's Rich Pattern

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Welcome to this post which is part of the biannual  Bloggers Quilt Festival. It's great to be taking part again and I can hardly believe this is my third time. It's great to discover all the amazing quilts people make. Just click on the link to go to the festival home page to find all the different categories.

If you're  regular reader apologies for featuring this quilt again, feel free to hop off and visit some of the other entries!

I've decided to enter this recent cross/plus quilt I've made in the Baby Quilt category

As I thought about a simple effective pattern I remembered Katie Pedersen's great quilt she made and for which she also had posted a tutorial, so it made it really quick and easy- no need to re-invent the wheel!

It took me a little while to hit upon this colour scheme as I pulled out various fabric combinations, but when these came to me it really gelled as a great vibrant combination for a wee boy.  I find the best way for me to choose fabrics is to pull things out and put them together in piles and usually I think no, no no and feel a bit blah about my options then suddenly I hit on something that sort of clicks into place.

I used a design wall to arrange the individual squares and the piecing didn't take long at all.

On the back I set in left over pieces of the original fabrics between pieces of Kona
(Copen I think it was)

I quilted it in the same orange peel design that seemed to work so well on Katie's quilt. The squares are perfect for fitting the design. I marked the centre of each square with a dot and free motioned away in a variegated blue thread. Some of the liths/petals aren't perfect, but the general effect is good and it's a good design for getting more comfortable with free motion quilting.

I bound it in the lightest blue, which I originally bought many years ago from Fun Quilts (Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr now called Modern Quilt Studio), the first time I ever bought fabric without seeing it in the flesh!

I hope the recipient has many happy play hours on this mat.

Ready for gifting this week.

Quilt Stats:

Measures: 110 x 93cm (or 43.5"x37")
Pieced and Quilted by me on my domestic machine
Entered into the Baby Quilts category

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Well You Learn Something Every Day!

I was really enjoying seeing my paper piecing come together this weekend.

So good to begin to see the pattern emerge. Above I hadn't quite trimmed the central piece to the pattern up the top. But so far so good...


When I laid out the quarters it looked a bit strange. Two looked smaller than the others.

Never mind, must be an optical illusion I said to myself; it will be OK when I sew them together...

But no, two really are smaller. In disbelief I compared the torn out paper from two centre pieces and there's 1/2" difference!

I printed two and then another two and I'm pretty sure I checked, at least for the second two that there was no scaling and it was printing at 100%, but maybe I didn't check for the first two.


I'll call this process and have another go. This was going to be a cushion. Do you think it's still worth sewing on borders in the shot cotton so the edges of the block aren't too obvious and then squaring up? Maybe it'll be hard to tell on a pillow form by the time it's curved. Can't quite face binning it...!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

WiP Wednesday- A New Project- or Two

I've started a new quilt! Yay! 

Haven't finished this one yet

I seem to be dragging my feet...
but needed some new inspiration. Funny how it seems a bit naughty to start something new before finishing the last- but I'm breaking out and living dangerously these days!!

This a going to be a wonky cross quilt in the style of this by Rossie and this by Carla of LollyQuiltz. I have been collecting some text prints with this in mind and have put together a few other colours to supplement. Unintentionally this seems to be shaping up to be a similar palette to Carla and Rossie's quilts. I'm thinking that I may want to add depth to this with a dark tealy emerald in the tones of the Castle Peeps one at the top of the lower photo, but I'll just see how it shapes up as I make the blocks.

I've also started on a paper piecing project. Just a trial block to start with, perhaps a cushion, just to see if I like it enough to commit to a whole quilt.

Don't worry-I will iron them before I attempt the paper piecing! Below is my techy way of working out which fabric goes where!

What are you working on? Do you feel like a rebel starting something new while you still have something unfinished?

This month I definitely qualify as a Slow Blogger (rather like every month actually) so I'm linking up over at KettleBoiler who's hosting this month and on Wednesday with Lee at Freshly Pieced- Two for one- is that cheating really badly?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Travelling and not much Sewing

Well it's been a whole month! In that time I've been to NZ to visit family and friends. Love those people and that place!

Brick Bay north of Auckland

 I enjoyed the cool wet Autumn weather in Christchurch -yes really!

Then a brief trip further South to visit our our son at University in our hometown of Dunedin

Dunedin has some stunning beaches:
Photo credit- this was taken by our daughter!

Good to have two of the siblings together again. The youngest was on a school trip. A music one to Europe mind you, so almost worth missing NZ for!

My husband, me and our eldest

Looking back inland across the estuary

Colour palette inspiration

Local wildlife

The view from our son's college room across the chapel roof

And as if that wasn't enough, we've just returned from Mt Gambier in SE South Australia for Generations in Jazz a fantastic high school jazz festival. We stayed a bit away in the sleepy riverside town of Nelson. We didn't have much time for exploring after all that music, but what we did left us looking forward to returning at some stage.

Boathouses on the Glenelg River at Nelson

With all the travelling I haven't had much time for sewing at all in the last month.

I took the baby cross quilt (as opposed to a cross baby quilt!) I've been making, to Mt Gambier to finish off. I rushed to complete the quilting on the morning we left so I could bind it during the 5 hour car trip -it didn't take me that long!

 Before we went to NZ I had nearly finished the quilting, when I ran out of the variegated thread I'd been using only two rows from the end. None in stock at any shop... so they ordered it for me and it was waiting when I got back from NZ.

Taken at Nelson Ocean Beach, where the river doesn't quite meet the sea any more!

I'm really happy with how this quilt has turned out. I used Katie's tutorial which made it all really quick and easy and the colour palette worked out well. Hopefully the recipient likes it for her wee boy.

Apart from finishing off this quilt I've managed a few bee blocks and that's it.

This is for Kathy for May's Simply Solids block.

Kathy asked for I'm a Ginger Monkey's Scrap Vomit B Block. I already changed some of my initial colours, but overall I'd say this has been a learning experience! I'm not so keen on the colours and I think it's a value problem in the background/corner squares, (do you think so?); but in the end I decided not to remake it again as when it's part of a larger very mixed colour selection it'll be OK and at least the central diamond is defined.

I've also joined another bee for Do.Good Stitches, which is a charity bee making quilts for needy people. I'm part of the "Cherish" Australian based circle. This month we were asked to make two black and white 4x4 blocks. So I cut those out before I went to NZ but didn't manage to sew them together until I got back last week.

I'm looking forward to a sewing day with Liz this Friday, but overall things aren't very speedy at the moment on the sewing front. Slow bloggers of the world unite!

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