Sunday, November 28, 2010

Unfinished objects

Originally uploaded by Petitselefants
This is my offering for the current round of Modern Swappers. It's been under construction for approximately 100 years, but given that the due date for posting is looming dangerously near, I put my foot the floor (quite literally) and got it finished. Now all that's left to do is to hand-stitch the binding down (so yes, it has advanced a little further than what you see in the photo!)

Can I just say at this juncture, my least favourite part of making a quilt, has got to be making the binding, and of that part, my least favourite part is making a mitred join for the two ends. Arrrggghhh. If anyone has some killer tips on how to get it just right without tangling yourself up in knots, I will think of a reward for you!!

That aside, I did really enjoy making this, the circle of geese block was fun - will definitely make some more of these! Love the half square triangles block, and the hexagons were also fun to make. And I love these colours. So, I really hope my partner likes the finished product!

It has been very quiet on the blogging front recently. Work has been so busy that there's been little time for sewing and as a result, even less time for blogging. And now I can't believe it's about 5 minutes until Christmas. And I am so not ready for that!

Now, on to my next unfinished object....

How are your unfinished objects going? Any that you MUST get finished before Christmas?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My first festival quilt

Simple Abundance quilt
This is the first time I've joined in the fun of the Blogger's Quilt Festival! My quilt is the one I made for Craig for his birthday this year. It's made up mainly of one of my favourite fabric lines, Simple Abundance by Bonnie and Camille. Craig had already taken a liking to the large floral print (I know! Got to love a man who appreciates fabric) which I had used in another quilt for a friend. So I knew I had to make one for him that included this fabric. It's a very simple pattern which I designed myself, and the neutral strips are Carolina Chambray - a beautifully soft fabric, I wish I could find some more of this!

I'm so proud of this quilt, and it's now on our bed!

For more beautiful quilts - the thumbnails altogether look spectacular! - head to Amy's! Thanks for hosting, Amy!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

There is progress in the world...

My world, at least, if not the world at large. But let's not go there. The two pillow tops for my boys are complete (apart from, in the case of the monster one, a teensy-weensy bit of hand embroidery of details - procrastinate, procrastinate). And the fabric and zippers for the backs are purchased. I'm going to do invisible zips. In the vain hope that this will prevent (or at least discourage?) little hands from prying. Am I kidding myself? Probably.

It was a funny experience with these projects, quilting-wise. With the beep-beep one, I decided to go with the swirly quilting, because, well, I've had a bit of practice recently. The whole time I was doing this, I kept thinking, it's not working, it's not working, it looks terrible. But weirdly, it doesn't. In fact, it looks pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself! But for some reason I can't put my finger on, I just didn't feel comfortable with it, not in the way I did with Willow. Anyway, it's done, and it looks good, so let's just move on, shall we?

With the monster one, I thought I'd try something a bit different, given that the three panels seem to lend themselves to something a bit different! So, a little stippling in the yellow section, and in the main top section, some pebbly quilting. My first time trying this and I have to say I'm really happy with it. This went so fast - particularly in comparison to the swirly quilting, which takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. And it has a slightly, errrr, organic feel to it. If you look closely you'd see what I mean - kinda messy, but it works! I love the texture to it, and I think it really suits the monsters.

I'd love to know - what kind of free-motion quilting backgrounds do you like to do (or if you're not into the doing, do you have any favourites you like to see?)

Speaking of the doing, I've had a few people contact me asking for tips on the swirly quilting. I'm planning to put together a little tutorial on this in the near future - stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tip-toeing through the tulips

Spring has sprung! On the weekend we took a little drive out of town to the Tulip Top Gardens - a private garden on several acres and boy was it impressive. Beautiful trees, lots of blossom, and more tulips than you could poke a stick at.

The kids seemed to like it too (though maybe that was just the sausage sizzle and chocolate cake). Finn is totally into the over-exaggerated smile at the moment - every time the camera comes out it's a big cheesy grin and nearly-closed eyes. Funnily enough though, when we ventured a portrait session with a professional photographer on Saturday, he wasn't having a bar of it - I'll be amazed when we get the pictures back if there are any where you can't just see him disappearing into the background or off to the side....

No sewing pictures to share with you today. I'm working on a plan for my Modern Swap partner, trying something I've been wanting to try for ages and so far it's coming together quite nicely!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Busy bees

Can you believe it's October? I can't. Does that really mean it's nearly Christmas, and the end of 2010? Yes it does. Eeek. Anyway, the good news is that October is my month in the Fresh Modern Bee 2. These girls are a hugely talented bunch and I feel completely inadequate amongst them. So I agonised for ages over what to set as the month's project. I decided not to do something prescriptive because I think people like to have the flexibility to show a bit of their own creativity. So I asked for squares, square-in-squares, rectangles, grouped, single, whatever - but preferably no wonkiness.

My fabrics are mainly from my precious stash of Wonderland, but also some Tweet Tweet, Hunky Dory, Sweet and a little bit of Flora and Fauna and Joel Dewberry Stamen. Plus Kona Ash to pull it all together. The top photo shows a few of the sample blocks I did (because I kept doubting myself and was scared that the fabrics wouldn't go together).

Squares block for Danielle

Lynne was the first to show her wares - and as noted by one of the other bee members, she set the bar very high! What an amazing block!

Next up is Alison with these beauties - I love the fussy cut Wonderland tree, and the little rectangular strips. This is going to be so cool - I can't wait to see what the others come up with!!

FMB II - October 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My creative space

More works in progress - some long-promised pillows/cushions for my two little boys. These are based on patterns by Kellie of Don't Look Now - she has whole quilt patterns for the cars and the monsters which I would love to tackle at some point in the future! Hopefully before my boys get too big...

Kirsty's on holidays this week, so no other creative spaces to share - but you know as well as I do there are creative folk galore all over the web - so go exploring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A finished quilt, and a started quilt

It has taken me a few days to get to this post. Blogger was doing weird things with my pictures and I gave up in the end. Luckily he seems to be behaving himself tonight so hopefully this will post without any further ado!

I finished the pink half-square triangles bonanza and whizzed it over to my friend's newborn last week. I was in such a rush to finish that I didn't quite make it - I literally had to sit in her lounge and finish hand-sewing on the label, while gooing and gaaing at the baby of course (so it took me forever!!) Unfortunately I didn't get any more photos of it. I stipple-quilted this one - my first attempt! Looks pretty good, but I thought I would need a bit more practice, sooooo... in a few idle moments on the weekend (yes I surprise myself too - idle moments, I'd forgotten they even existed!!) I whipped up this one:

The truth is, about 10 months ago I purchased a Birdie charm pack, and that very same night I chopped all the charms in half and sewed them back together again, yielding a pretty stack of double coins. Then they sat in one of my fabric bins. Until a few days ago. Out they came, combined with a few charms from some extra Birdie FQs I'd picked up along the way, some sashing strips were cut, extra bits added to either end of most of the rows to make them appear as if they're floating, and ta-da. A finished quilt top.

Would you believe I have even got the batting sorted for this one, and another Birdie strip to use for the binding. The backing is another matter, but I'm sure I can cobble something together pretty quickly. I am not terribly fussed - I had intended this would be more of a 'practice' piece that my daughter might use as a cuddle quilt. It is pretty big though - more than big enough to cover her cot.

Some more works are in progress, including a big pile of cutting which awaits me in order for my month in the Fresh Modern Bee 2 to begin - how exciting! But more on that later....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Works in progress

This blog has sadly been a bit neglected of late. Very little time for sewing and consequently even less for blogging! A rare break from the two oldest kiddos (6 and nearly 4) gave me some much-longed for sewing time. First up, my Fresh Modern Bee 2 commitments for this month. Jessica asked for rectangular based blocks in solids, along with a black and white dot. I love the combination of these colours - one of my favourite combos, but I hadn't ever thought of putting them together in a quilt. Who knew?? These were a lot of fun to make.

Next month (October) is mine in the FMB2 and I'm yet to decide what's going to happen. Must get cracking on that this week as the post will have to go out.

But for now, I'm so tired I can barely type without making a mistake - Not ideal!! So, more on my weekend sewing adventures tomorrow!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My creative space - it is done!

Well after many hours (I don't like to think about how many!) Willow is finally complete (OK, I admit I still have to hand stitch the binding down, but that doesn't count, right?) Sooooo happy with this, and even though there is something slightly irksome about the wonky swirls in the top right hand corner of the quilt (why didn't I pick somewhere a bit less conspicuous to start?), it is kind of satisfying to notice how much better my technique has become through doing this project. I'm so proud of it.
Just had to share with you also a little binding accident. This has never happened to me before, but it was inevitable really. I don't know about you but I struggle with the last bit of joining the binding together with a mitred seam. It is just so unbelievably fiddly and I can never remember exactly how to put it together. Anyway, I thought I'd managed it, after about 10 minutes of wrestling and only a couple of swear words, when I went to iron the seam open (and yes I trimmed it first!! Big mistake!!) I realised that the bloody thing was twisted. There is no fudging a twisted binding I quickly discovered. And now thanks to the trimmed seam allowance I had even less fiddling room. All is well that ends well and I succeeded in covering up what was an extremely dodgy seam. You wouldn't even know!
I even added a hanging pocket. Really! How organised! I amaze myself sometimes. This is going to go up on my daughter's bedroom wall. And hopefully she'll love it for a very long time.

More creative spaces (from clever people who have probably never twisted their binding) at Kirsty's.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lucky me!

This was a very good week when it came to parcels - the most exciting kind of parcel of all arrived at my house. A Modern Swappers parcel. My very first swap!! I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the name on the parcel. I was pretty sure I knew that this was going to be inside....
The most adorable cushion cover, made out of linen with the sweetest mini quilt made out of tiny cut squares stitched down. The quilting over the entire cover is an exquisite cross-hatch, so perfect. I just love it.
Also inside, four pieces of the stunning Anna Maria Horner Good Folks line. Love.

And finally, the grooviest rotary cutter and pins ever.

Thanks Joan, I love my goodies so much. I loved this swap. I can't wait to do another one. But first I can't wait to see what my partner thinks of her goodies. They should be arriving any day now.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Half-square triangles baby quilt

Loving this layout, but struggling a little bit with the bulky seams - sometimes there are 6 or 8 pieces coming to a point. I've tried snipping the first few stitches and opening up the seams, but I don't think they're ever going to lay completely flat. Perhaps it's just a case of practice makes perfect. Or trial and error? Either way, it's still looking pretty, no?

I'm sensing multiple HST quilts in my future. The layout possibilities are simply endless!

This little one is for my dear friend Bec's new baby, Charlotte, born last week. Sadly they are not in the same city as me but I'm hoping for a work trip soon so I'll be able to go and visit (and deliver the quilt. Because it will be finished soon. I promise!!)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Moving on...

I loved quilting this project. Never mind the fact that I started quilting it only to discover about twelve beautiful swirls later that the backing fabric was folded over and I'd quilted through both layers.... eeeerrrrggghhh. My time is so precious I hate to waste it unpicking! But never mind, it could have been worse!

And yes, it did take a lot more than 10 minutes. Maybe an hour all up. Not counting the unpicking. Ahem.

Anyway, so proud of this one and so pleased with how the swirls are going - getting better and better. Practice definitely does make perfect. I am nearly ready to show you the completed 'Willow' too - very happy with that too!

Two little birdies will be winging their way to my Modern Swap partner this week - along with some other goodies.

Hope you are all having a lovely Tuesday.

Oh, and if you haven't already seen it you absolutely MUST go and check out the most amazing craft room ever. I have serious craft room envy. Says the woman sitting at the dining table surrounded by sewing crap, with numerous toys strewn at her feet.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My creative space

Two little birdies sitting on a wall....

Crafting is in 10 minute grabs these days - sadly! Ten minutes to draw the designs, 10 minutes to trace onto fusible and choose the fabrics, 10 minutes to iron on and cut out and iron on, 10 minutes to get sewing machine out, whizz around all the shapes, pack sewing machine away again.

Can I quilt this in 10 minutes? Ahh, no. But I'll try!!

More creative spaces as always at Kirsty's.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Long time, no blog!

Gosh, it has been a couple of weeks since I posted anything here. Since I started back at work 2 months ago sewing time has been severly depleted, and I find that despite my best intentions, I really can't sit down at the sewing machine at night after the kids have gone to bed. Firstly I'm too tired to concentrate properly and would be worried about making mistakes which I'd then just have to re-do, and secondly, there aren't that many free hours in the day to spend with Craig - it doesn't seem fair to take myself off to another room to sew. So hand-sewing at night is pretty much the only options - and to that end I have been plugging away with the Joseph's Coat petals....

And at the weekend - well that's been pretty sporadic too. My kids are aged 6, 3 and 1, and well, that obviously entails a lot of hands-on stuff! Not that I am begrudging them my time - I know that in a few short years they'll be off with their friends and won't care too much about spending time with us. So I will just fit it in where I can and try to stop feeling so envious of all my blogging and Flickr friends who produce oodles of beautiful things in the time it takes me to quilt half a pillow.... Let's just say I continue to be endlessly inspired by so many clever people. And that I look forward to the day when I have heaps of spare time to produce as much. But in the meantime - my kiddies are only going to be this little for a little while!! :-) And they are so cute. Even if they do drive me crazy occasionally.

So just a couple of Bee Blocks to share with you today - Susan asked for a wonky log-cabin/square-in-square style. A little outside my comfort zone, but actually these were such fun to make. The colours were also nothing like anything I've used before. But I love them together. The aqua and dark blue are beautiful. Next up are Lynne's Union Jack blocks which I'm intrigued about - more paper piecing!

I've also been working on something for my Modern Swap partner - but not ready to show it yet!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Willowing away

The swirly quilting is pretty intensive and is taking seemingly forever. On the upside though, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out and so pleased that I have worked out a good technique for filling in small spaces and making it look as though the swirls are continuing underneath the applique. Of course I still have a long way to go before my swirls look anything like these ones, but maybe in about 50 years I will have at least come half way.

(Photo from Don't Look Now on Flickr)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My creative space... involves a bunch of half square triangles (64 squares, to be exact) and a scribbly kind of 'maybe' diagram. Still not sure on whether to go with something like this, or something very simple like a zigzag. It's for a baby girl quilt.

I love the HST and have been putting together a bit of a collection of my favourite layouts. The possibilities are endless!! I'm sure someone mathematically inclined could work out exactly how endless. I'll post some of my favourites in the near future.

Not much time today as it's a work day (which means no time for sewing - acckk!!)

But if you have time, check out some more creative spaces at Kirsty's.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Willow - not weeping, smiling

Applique finished, quilting started - so much fun!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ice cream social

Ice cream social
Originally uploaded by Petitselefants
I've been admiring the Oliver + S range of patterns for ages, wondering whether I had the courage to tackle one. So when I saw that Kate and Amy were hosting the Ice Cream Social - a sewalong of Oliver + S's ice cream dress, I cheered!

I've been poring over the pattern, and it actually does look not that hard, and to have a go-to group where everyone is trying out the same pattern will be very handy indeed! The possibilities are endless with this dress (there are three versions, a top and two styles of dress - look at these pretties that have already been posted to the group pool).

1. Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress, 2. Oliver+S Ice Cream Dress, 3. Ice Cream Social Dress, 4. ice cream top, 5. birthday ice cream dress, 6. ice cream dress

I'm hoping to do one in a Little Folks voile by Anna Maria Horner, but first I'll try it out with a cheapo fabric picked up from Lincraft some time ago (for the purposes of little girl dress-making). Just to make sure I can do it! Can't wait to get started - the pattern is traced now I just need to get cutting!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My creative space

More free motion embroidery today - I can't get enough of this! Despite the fact that I have a cough and cold and a grumpy toddler, sewing is my little respite today.

This one is Willow - from the clever Kellie of Don't Look Now. There are around 100 of these little green leaves! Surprisingly it actually didn't take that long. Nearly done with the flowers and then it's on with the quilting (aka the scary part!) This is designed to be made up into a European-sized pillow, or a wall-hanging. Yet to decide what to do with mine.

As always, more creative spaces at Kirsty's.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A quick progress report

After yesterday's post, I whizzed away on the machine and the red tree quilt was 'finished' in almost no time at all! Well, the applique/embroidery part of it anyway. So much fun! I love doing this! This is a really forgiving technique - it's nice to give it a "sketchy" kind of look as you do two or three rows of stitching around each shape or along each line.

I actually have another couple of projects on the go too (using the same raw edge technique, so I'm economising by doing all three at once).

For those who have tried this before, you'll know that changing the thread and bobbin for each colour change can get rather tedious, so I'm trying to be clever by doing all the shapes in a colour across the three projects, then changing colours and doing it again. No doubt a huge time saver!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My creative space

Under my sewing machine today.... love love love this!

More creative spaces at Kirsty's.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday stitching... and paying it forward

I love circles and I've been dreaming about making something with lots of different size circles for ages. Last night the moment grabbed me and said "draw some circles, girl!" So I did. And this afternoon I stitched them. I actually only drew the outline of one circle in each set, and then used the first line as a guide for stitching either inside or outside the original circle.

Sorry about the colour of these photos, they look kind of weird, but it was late in the day and obviously the lighting is all wrong. The fabric is actually cream, nearly white. The colours (Perle 8 thread) are orange, a dusky pink, and two shades of green - one a little more blue than the other.
I don't really know what to do with this, so I'll just sit on it for a while (figuratively speaking of course!) I have in mind I may be able to make something for it for my partner for the Modern Swap. So here's hoping it grabs her eye when she sees it on Flickr!

Why has it taken me so long to discover Perle 8 thread? I had heard of it of course, but only used it for the first time at the Prints Charming workshop I went to a few weeks ago. I love it! So nice to stitch with and none of that fiddling around trying to separate the strands of embroidery floss. I only have four colours so far - now there's another thing I will have to start collecting....

Now I need to tell you about a little initiative I'm putting my hand up for and that is "Pay it forward" (in a crafty sense). Thanks to Justine for this! The idea is that three people who comment on this post will each receive a little hand-crafted something especially for them, in the next little while. In turn, you agree to post on your blog the same initiative - that is, inviting commenters to your post and promising to make them something, if they then post on their blog etc etc... This way we all spread a bit of crafty love around (the world - yes, international peeps very welcome!)

And I would love the challenge of making something custom-made especially for you. So - please leave a comment. The first three people will be the winners, but I'll also pick another one at random - so if you're not there in time to be in the first three, don't be discouraged. Feel free to let others know too - the more the merrier! I'll draw the fourth person next weekend (3 July).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday Sewing

Hello, how was your weekend? Hubby was away for the weekend but I still managed to squeeze in some sewing! Hurrah! This is now the third Pleated Tote I've made from Ali Foster's pattern, it really comes together so quickly now. I barely even need to consult the instruction sheet anymore. The longest part is cutting out all the pieces. Or perhaps trying to decide which beautiful fabrics to use.... I finally settled on an Alexander Henry print (Birdsong) for the main part of the bag, and some Amy Butler Floating Roses for the yoke and handle. The handle looks really short from the angle of the photo, but it's not - it's the perfect size to put over your shoulder and still have access to the bag. There is a magnetic snap and a little internal pocket.

This one is for a friend's birthday. I'd so love to keep it for myself! I know she's going to love it.

I've also started putting some thought into what to make for my swap partner for Modern Swappers, and yesterday started doodling with some pretty fabric scraps courtesy of Mr Kaffe, some Moda natural muslin and some fusible, and came up with this inkling of an idea. Not sure yet where it's going to take me but I'm liking it so far.