Saturday, 16 January 2016

Good Things Come in Small Packages

In 2015, I participated in various swaps and I have documented my efforts on the blog.  I have as yet failed to showcase the generous and beautiful mini quilts and gifts I have received from others - so here they all are!

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap

From AshleyPineapple who had (unbelievably) never made a quilt before!  Isn't it gorgeous?  I'd seen it on instagram and was overjoyed when it arrived at my house!

Scrappy Block Swap

This swap was organised by jessiemarie1202 and the blocks are from various others, all gorgeous and in colours I am lacking - thank you everyone!

Easy Swap UK

My mini was from jessiemarie1202, who was not only very thoughtful, but a mind reader!  Look how this mini perfectly fits on my dressing table!

 Stitch Gathering Notion Swap

My very kind partner made me this EPP set which has become a firm favourite and follows me from sofa to sofa!

Friday, 8 January 2016

Baby Quilt

A very dear friend had a baby in August and I made him a wee quilt in September/October/November 2015. As ever, choosing the fabrics was the most time consuming part.

I used this pattern from the Moda Bake Shop.  In hind sight, I could have saved on fabric by reading the pattern through to the end before cutting, as the pattern uses charms but I was cutting from yardage.

I quilted it using straight lines along the zig zags.  

I used a spool of thread from a box of old bobbins my Mum gave me last year (therefore, irreplaceable) and ended up dangerously close to the end of the spool.

I used different colour threads on each stripe which made the back look great and really blended in nicely on the front.  I have never done this before but will certainly be trying it again.

 Welcome to the world little guy!

Linking up with TGIFF

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap - DONE!

Happy New Year everyone!  It was a busy 2015 for me in terms of signing up to online swaps. You can catch up on my Stitch Gathering, UK Low Volume Plus, Scrappy Block and Easy Swap UK Mini Quilt swapping antics in previous posts.

Another of my "top of the swaps" commitments was participating in the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quit Swap.  In 2014, I was impressed by the number of people involved and the fabulous results of talented quilters, and I was keen to join in this time round.

The criteria for this swap were more challenging than that Easy Swap UK Mini Quilt as my partner had specific fabrics (rather than just colours) she loved and she requested a Sew Together bag as her extra.  

I was delighted to have the opportunity to buy additional fabric of course, but had previously never considered using either Tula Pink and Cotton and Steel.  The former because I was not sure I understood it and the hype, and the latter simply because I did not have any - how do you choose? My first task therefore was to buy some fabric.  I went with the suggested pink and aqua theme and decided that if I was going to do Tula, I was really going to do Tula, and went for Elizabeth.  Again, it's not that I don't like it, I just couldn't imagine what I'd do with it.

I couldn't decide what to do for a long time and was getting perilously close to the deadline when good old Love Quilting and Patchwork popped through the door with a suggested pattern for a mini. Hoorah!  I wonder how many other swappers ended up with this pattern, just in the nick of time?

I quilted it using one of the patterns I learned at the Stitch Gathering class on FMQ with Trudi Wood, a flowering pattern to mimic the flowers in the fabric.

The Sew Together Bag seemed to have a reputation for being hard but having seen them pop up all over blogs and instagram and at classes, I was keen to give it a go.  I tend to just jump into these things and don't question whether my ability matches my ambition until I'm elbow deep in zips and interfacing.  It took a while and a lot of zip related head-scratching, but I got there.

It was the bag, rather than the quilt, which made me fall for Elizabeth.  I was quite tempted not to part with the bag in the end as I was so chuffed I'd managed to get it together and that I liked the fabric.

My advice for anyone considering making this bag but questioning their abilities is GO FOR IT!  As long as you have a walking foot, you can do it.  I liked it so much, I made another as a Christmas gift so the pattern is paying for itself!

I found the following very helpful blog posts when making these bags:

I really enjoyed all the swapping in 2015.  I received two gorgeous minis (coming up...), boosted my sewing skills and confidence, and met some lovely people.  However, I did feel I concentrated too much on swaps and not enough on personal goals, so I've decided to dedicate my sewing time to gifts for those close to me in 2016.  

And participate in two bees.  And sign up to a dressmaking course.  

Looks like I will never learn and will approach 2016 sewing with the same blind confidence and unrealistic perception of the time available to me that led me to believe I could make a Sew Together bag in the first place.  Happy New Year!

Linking up with.....

Sew Fresh Quilts:

Sew Fresh Quilts

Freemotion by the River:

Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation:

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Easy Swap UK Mini Quilt - DONE!

This summer I signed up for my first ever swaps and, with my usual over ambition and enthusiasm, I didn't stop at one!

The first of these was the Easy Swap UK hosted by Nina of Bossy Oz.  The brief for my partner was either red, black and white, or rainbow plus low volume.

I went with red, black and white just to try something a wee bit different.  I added some light grey to the mix too.

Last year I participated in the Little Blogs Quilt Bee and Celine of Espirit Patch had requested foundation paper pieced (FPP) pineapple blocks.  I was intimidated by trying a new technique but soon realised FPP is easier than it looks and a guaranteed way to deliver clean lines and matching points.  You can see my first block from that bee here.

As my mini was going to be for someone else, someone I had not met, I wanted it to be something a bit special but still not too complicated to sew.  I instantly thought back to the pineapple block. My partner had said they liked log cabins too and I thought there was sufficient similarity between them to go for it.

I opted to quilt the mini using "Stitch in the Ditch".  I was using white thread and it was inevitable that I would be successful on the white fabric and wobble on the black.  However, it was my first time doing quilting like this and, again, I wanted to try something a bit special as it was a gift.  I didn't think my usual stipple would compliment the design at all so I braved it out. The front looks good and the back looks ace!

I sent it off to my partner along with some perle cotton in matching colours so she can use her favourite shades in other work.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

UK Low Volume Plus Swap

 Back in June 2015, I signed up for the UK Low Volume Plus Swap.

I had no plans to make a plus block quilt, but thought it sounded fun.  I had lots of low volume charms (all different) having participated in a swap a couple of years ago.

The swap was organised by Joanna of My Quilts and Other Stories and the tutorial used was by Craft Buds.

This is my pile-o-completed blocks:

I should have taken individual photos but I sent them before I thought of it!  For once I was well ahead of deadline.

This is one of the lovely blocks I recieved in return:

So now I have the first 6 blocks of a new quilt and yet another project to add to the WIP list!   

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Peiced for Work in Progress Wednesday

Monday, 30 November 2015

Stitch Gathering 2015 - Goodies

I was well and truly spoiled at this years Stitch Gathering.

At the notions swap and I received a fabulous EPP kit.  My lovely partner had included pins, thread and some wee scissors.

I was so thrilled, it is a such a great, well made pouch.  I've already been able to move all my EPP bits and bobs around the house with ease and it's meant I've made great progress on sewing up my hexies.  So chuffed.

The goodie bag this year was another treasure trove.  I counted 17 fat quarters!

And finally, I was once again given an excellent name tag - this year, there were extra pouches and places to keep stationery!

Thanks to all the sponsors of the event:

Michael Miller
Cloud 9 Fabrics
Coats UK
Dear Stella
Lewis and Irene
Blend Fabrics
Duck Egg Threads
Love Patchwork and Quilting
Nairn's Oatcakes
Aurifil (particularly as I won a pack of ten spools of thread in the tombola!)
My Bearpaw

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Stitch Gathering - FMQ and Free Stitching

I was VERY excited when classes for the Stitch Gathering were announced and it was confirmed I had been allocated a place in Trudi Wood's FMQ class.  Trudi discussed the whole process of successful FMQ, including needles, threads, feed dogs, gloves vs. no gloves, which wadding to use and the best way to use it, and how to sit.  All that before you've even started - it was fascinating.

It was a short workshop so we were drawing patterns and getting used to making the shapes without lifting the pen off the paper.  

These were a couple of my favourites.  Since then my work notebooks have been covered in doodles and I tried a new flower technique on my #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap mini (more than on that soon!).  It was such a great class and really gave me the confidence to move beyond the stipple!

The next class I took was on cutting freehand  - throw down your rulers, they have no place here! 

Again, it was a great class for expanding my skills and building on last year's attempt at sewing curves.

I practiced by making blocks for the scrappy block swap I participated in.  Here's all my blocks together:

I definitely picked great classes this year and really enjoyed being able to actually finish them in the time allotted!  One day, I WILL finish the rainbow triangle quilt I started at the very first SG....