Monday, 31 December 2012

My 2012 quilting adventures ... sew many feelings :)

I am having a review of my 2012 creations ... what fun! 

It's making me feel so many things, I hope you don't mind me sharing some of this with you? My first feeling is one of AMAZEMENT because during 2012, this is what me, my little Juki machine and a whole lot of support from DH and all you wonderful quilters and bloggers out there helped me to produce:
  • Sewing room ensemble (4 items - mat, pin cushion, bin and bag)
  • 2 x Peg Bags
  • 2 x Knitting Bags
  • 15 x Tote Bags
  • 37 x Pants Bags
  • 18 x Cushions
  • 10 x Quilts
... my poor brain is groaning - that's like 88 different items!! Nearly all were gifted to friends and family (I was 'commissioned'  - gosh, doesn't that sound grand?! - to make a few of the Pants Bags.)

I started blogging on the 4th January this year (I will host a giveaway - my first on Friday to celebrate my 100th post and 1 year blogging anniversary - 
please do pop back!) 

OVERWHELMING were those initial feelings - what was I doing? Would anyone else want to know what I was making? How did one blog properly anyway? Could I keep it up? I felt SHYNESS and a bit of PANIC to be honest.

PRIDE and JOY - I finished my first 'USA' lapquilt in January.

FRUSTRATION - as I tried to sew 'curves' ... why?! Life's too short!

SADNESS - my dear Daddy passed away in February. Enough said :'(

ELATION - seriously - I was overjoyed in March when I received my first comment on a post (note to self: get out more!)

April - my favourite month of the year - and I was DETERMINED to get started on another 'USA' quilt and I stretched out the pieces of fabric from my late Great-Aunt's 20+ year old USA Stash to make it.

I finished it in May - and felt a huge amount of SATISFACTION at having designed it from scratch and for finding enough fabric to bring it all together ... phew! 

In June, I felt HAPPY. I got to spend a weekend with my dear friend Penny who first introduced me to patchwork & quilting in 2010. We went shopping at her LQS - has to be done - and she showed me how to make Tote Bags. Unleashed a beast, she did!!

It was also a month where I felt CHALLENGED as I made my final 'USA' lapquilt. Of course, I saved the hardest until last and was making it for my cousin June, who just happens to be a phenomenal quilter - no pressure there then! 

In July, looking back at this post, I can only surmise I must have been feeling a bit DRIVEN when I look at how many bags I made ... but we can all get a bit carried away sometimes, hey?! 

August - what a month - I did my first ever Jury service - and finished the final of the 'USA' lapquilts which left me feeling very EMOTIONAL. I loved making these quilts - from having to pay for an extra suitcase to bring all the fabric home from the USA to the last stitch I put in the binding, I had thoroughly enjoyed the little journey I had been on with my late Great-Aunt Jenny. I felt like we had made those 5 quilts together for her daughter, daughters-in-law and grand-daughters ... magical :)

September was a busy month - seriously crazy - and I felt EXCITED when I finished this fun lapquilt for my friend in USA whom we had holidayed in Ireland with a few years back:

And when in one afternoon, you push yourself to make 3 Pants Bags and 2 cushions - you can feel a little bit PROUD and give yourself a pat on the back (I hope you all do that too sometimes x)

Having joined my first link up (thanks to Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts), I started to acquire some lovely followers and I began to leave and receive some regular comments. Can I please say 'hello' and a particular thank you to the following lovely ladies who have been hugely supportive over the last few months and have really have made me feel very THANKFUL and LUCKY to be a blogger and quilter this year?

and to my lovely 'Quilting Twin' Tonya who used to blog at Crazy Mimi's Quilts - you are amazing!

Moving on, nearly done, I promise! In October and November, I really started to feel more COMPETENT and CONFIDENT ... don't get me wrong, much still to learn I have ... but when you take a pile of this:

and turn it into this all by yourself (ish!):

... you know you've come a long way from not even knowing what a 1/4" seam was :) 

AND I started on my Farmer's Wife Quilt - that's definitely a WIP!! Also, in November, I was enormously SURPRISED when I received a fabric gift parcel from Tonya (naughty QT!) which I am putting towards some charity quilts I will make next year. I feel HUMBLED knowing what difficult times others are experiencing and I want to do something to help.

And finally, her we are at the end of the year. And I feel my PROUDEST and MOST CHUFFED at the Amsterdam Quilt I made for my dear sis (in law). I loved making it and she loved receiving it and that makes me HAPPY.

I look back at this year with some sadness but mostly with joy and happiness. If everything I make next year is half as lovely and I have half as much fun and everyone I make for is half as happy to receive, I know I will feel THANKFUL and BLESSED in 2013. 

I hope you all have a truly wonderful and fabulous 2013.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

A quick fix :)

Yesterday was my first day back sewing since before Christmas. We had the most wonderful time with family in Anglesey and Chester (ate far too many roast potatoes and chocolates!)  but ...  it is good to be home - I can sew! Do you miss your sewing when you're away from home?

So, easing myself back in gently, I looked for some instant gratification. I've been wanting to replace my 4 living room cushions for a while - the ones I've got (sadly) are looking a bit tired and you can't keep making beautiful stuff for everyone else and not for yourself once in a while, hey?

I've never made a 'card trick' block and inspired by the image in this book, DH then helped me choose this fabric from my stash (he is good!):

I worked out the centre square needed to end up around 8" so I made each of the 9 squares at 3". The only trouble I had was by making the squares with the HSTs and QSTs method, I ended up with some squares I couldn't use (the small triangles were on the wrong side???) so, not wanting to 'waste' fabric, I've just made the one cushion for now:

What do you think I should do - do you think I should make 3 more cushions exactly the same or use the same fabric but do different designs?

Happy New Year - wishing you health, happiness and fun times in 2013 :)

Monday, 24 December 2012

It's nearly Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to the wonderfully talented, generous and supportive quilters of the world. 
Best wishes, health and happiness to you and your families in 2013.


Friday, 21 December 2012

639 little pieces ... It's finished!

I previously blogged about this quilt here and here and here and I can't tell you how happy I am to have it finished before Christmas. My dear SIL is going to have 13 of us around the table on Christmas Day so the very least I could do was finish this quilt for her and I LOVE IT - hope she does too!!

Whilst looking for loose threads and tails to be hidden, I did a little counting ... give or take, there are 639 prices of fabric in this quilt top - 221 alone in the building on the far left as you look at it - I know, what was I thinking?!

Most of the fabric Deb chose herself in Amsterdam, supplemented with a Moda Serenade charm pack, some Makower sky, some Stof brick and extra bits and pieces from my stash along the way.

As I wasn't working to a pattern (not to be advised for the faint hearted!), it was a bit hit and miss at times with fabric choices and building sizes designed and decided upon as ideas popped into my head but I managed to work it all out in the end. Also, my original plan of this being a 60" x 60" lapquilt got a bit 'lost' and this now measures 72" x 62" - oh well, it can cover a couple of laps :D

I was tempted to try a different quilting style - thought about trying straight lines - but the coward in me decided best to stick to what I know so 'stippling' with a lemon cotton - looks lovely. 

Cute yellow and orange gingham pieced for the back:

And the all important label:

I hope she likes the little Amsterdam touches: the tulips, the cobblestones, the bicycles and, of course, the red light in one of the windows :)

I have really really loved making this quilt; big thanks again to Mandy Monroe for her great workshop which taught me some new techniques and I can't wait to see Deb's face when I hand it over :)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

4 more little Christmas gifts :)

Anyone else feeling a little bit under pressure this week to get everything done in time? Yeah, me too! But am mightily relieved to have finished my nephews' Pants Bags:

And I made another one for a friend - not sure it will arrive in time for Christmas but am hoping she'll love it when it finally arrives:

Come back and visit me tomorrow: I've finally finished dear SIL's Amsterdam quilt ... YAY :)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Nearly finished :)

I was in the loft til 10 o'clock last night finishing the piecing of this quilt for my dear SIL - it's ended up at 72" x 62" ... so a little bit bigger than the 'lap quilt' I had intended!

DH helped me baste it this morning and now I'm FMQing ... my oh my, am I a happy quilter???

I'll post more photos and details when it's completely finished :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

With MY sausage fingers???

Sharing my WIP ... this is going to be a lapquilt (60" x 60") for dear SIL - a Christmas present, if I can get it finished in time! Which is getting less and less likely with my improvisation at every stage just adding hours to the piecing of the top!

I am designing the quilt based on our trip to Amsterdam and inspired by this image:

And am not following any pattern, just making each house up as I go along ... which led to me cutting and sewing all these 1" squares for windows ... not easy when you have 'sausage' fingers like mine!

And a little preview of the other houses:

I need some more hours in the day ... I wonder if Father Christmas is listening???

Linking up to Lee's WIP Wednesday :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Some little finishes ...

I'm very happy it's Friday because tomorrow and Sunday I am going to SEW SEW SEW all of the hours I possibly can :)

I have just a few finishes to share with you today. I am making my nephews Pants Bags as Christmas gifts - I have other presents to put in their bags and I am really enjoying making something personal for each of them.

First up, a friend also paid me ( yay - more fabric!) to make 3 Pants Bags for her to give as gifts:

This is the first one for my nephew, Ollie:

And a tote bag for my niece, Libby (she already has a a PB):

I WILL finish piecing the top of dear SIL's Amsterdam quilt tomorrow! Hope you all have a great weekend ... whatever you're up to :)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish it up Friday

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

WIP Wednesday - a few Christmas gifts :)

Updating this post today (06/01/2013) to link it up to Fiber of All Sorts 2013 - A 
Lovely Year of Finishes. This month, I am going to finish the twin size quilt I started in November (please see below) which, when finished, I will send to America so that it can be given to a Hurricane Sandy survivor.

Original post:
Brrrrrr ... It's turned cold in London today - definitely time to get the winter woollies out! It's so cold, I didn't even venture ino the loft after work to sew so not much to share tonight.

I am making 7 Pants Bags as Christmas gifts and did all the cutting yesterday in one go. I planned on having a couple of hours in the evenings doing solid chain piecing in one hit:

... but I couldn't help myself and made two first, I just need to tidy the sides and insert the ribbons:


And remember all this lovely fabric I got from the generous Tonya? Well, I'm going to make a quilt for a young person and find a USA link that can donate it for me to a hurricane Sandy survivor. I saw this pattern by Colette Cogley in the Nov/Dec edition of Love of Quilting:

and whilst I'm not doing strip blocks, I liked the simplicity of the pattern. Here's my centre piece - 56 charm squares (from Moda's Cape Ann):

Linking up to Freshly Pieced Quilts WIP Wednesday and definitely recommend having a look around the others - there's some great work out there! Here's a few posts I looked at today on blogs I haven't visited before - good on Lee for hosting this link up every week:

Mrs Pickles at Mrs Pickles Garden
Tessa Marie at The Sewing Chick


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Alice's Birthday Bag :)

Oh we've had fun today! There's nothing like spending 6 hours with a thirteen year old to make you appreciate how unimportant the 9-5 stresses of working life really are ... she's the best company and I knew most of the music we listened to on the radio :)

This post contains lots of pictures so I'm going to keep the text to a minimum and the pictures tell the story really well. Firstly, please meet Alice ... today is part of her birthday present with 'mad Aunty Jenni' ... I love this kid and she loves ... sweets!

Practising her 1/4" seams:

Auditioning fabrics ... we're going to make a bag:

Chain piecing ... still lots of sweets there:

Now that's what I call a perfect 1/4" ... good job, Alice:

Making the inside pocket ... ok, Alice, I could have left you a little more room to pull it through! She was in stitches ... I put her ' problem solving' skills to great use:

Making the lining ... hey, where have all the sweets gone?? I was at the ironing board for like 5 minutes!! 

All component parts ready for assembly:

Button sewing, she's under there somewhere:

And finally after a little unpicking ( yes, Alice, I should have listened to you when you said the button holder didn't look like it was on the right side!):

One very sweet and funny birthday girl with a unique bag:

Thank you, Alice, I have had such a fabby day :)

Friday, 23 November 2012

A little finish ...

Whilst I am really enjoying making my Farmer's Wife Quilt, making 6 blocks a week takes up a lot of time. I have managed to make a Pants Bag this week but nothing else :( 

I made this one for my friend Ian - he's the coolest guy I know and a retro 70s Pants Bag will hopefully suit him:

Just home from a fabby night out with Ian and friends. We ended up at a great Thai restaurant in Covent Garden and he really likes his Pants Bag:

Looking forward to the weekend as I intend to work on SIL's Amsterdam Quilt tomorrow and my friend's 13 year old daughter, Alice, will be coming to spend a day sewing with me on Sunday ... not sure what we're going its make yet ... its her birthday treat so she can choose EXACTLY what she wants :) 

Linkng up to Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday 

Have a great weekend of sewing!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Farmer's Wife Fabby Friday (6)

Am I late or early? Well, I didn't get any blocks made last week :( but I have finished this week's a day early :) and it's Friday somewhere in the world!! Happy Friday, Australia!

These 6 little beauties came together quite quickly this week, though they still are a bit fiddly and you really must keep looking at the picture in the book as you sew all the pieces together - its so easy to assume you know the position and then you crack on under your own speed ... Oops, thank goodness for a seam ripper, hey?!

So, here are my latest 6 blocks (now up to 36 ... yay!) #4 Basket Weave - got to be the easiest block in the book and it still went skewiff - look at the 'wonkiness' of the top left square - oh well,  one saying I'll definitely take from making this quilt - 'it's good enough': 

#5 Bat Wing:

#9 Box:

#15 Buzzard's Roost:

#23 Country Farm:

#29 Economy:

 And all 6:

I think my favourite this week is #23 ... what's yours?