Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Couple of WIPs to be quilted :)

So, Mandy's quilt is basted and ready to be quilted this weekend :)

Dear niece's table mats and table runner are at the same stage too. She chose her own fabrics:

Which meant I had to think of a pattern that would showcase them all: 

To this:

To this:

Yay! Roll on the weekend! Then I can make a start on using up all those scraps - loved all your comments, ladies, glad I'm not the only one in need of professional help :)

Linking up:

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Managing scraps ... better if I used them?!

Inspired by Amanda Jean again (who isn't?), she recently posted this story of a student on her scrap management course using decorative bird cages for her scraps.

My pile of scraps is immense! And growing all the time! I keep some here:

And under here:

A little bit are kept in here:

And some are hiding over here:

Oh, and a few live on my new pink cake stand too:

Perhaps I should stop buying things to store my scraps in and just use them up!? ORrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ... I could go and buy myself a really pretty decorative bird cage off eBay:

And start filling it with pink scraps:

Where do you store yours and what should I make with all of mine?! I think I need professional help :)

Linking up:
Fresh Poppy Design

Saturday, 26 October 2013

3 finishes, a WIP and a new start ...

Happy weekend!

Why stop at one teddy bear baby quilt when you can make another? Having made the blue one for baby Matthew, last weekend I started on a pink one from these fabrics:

This was made for Jacki; our families lived next door to each other in Skelmersdale, Lancashire in the 1970s. We were very close back then, we'd go off on camping holidays a couple of times a year, our Mums and Dads were great friends and Jacki's sister Mandy was my first best mate! We were also part of a dance troup trained by my Mum and their Mum, Aunty Brenda. Here we all are in (I think) 1973/4. That's me in the bottom row (with the end of my arrow on Mandy and Jacki in the centre with the end of her arrow on my older sister, Debbi):

When I was aged 7, our family moved to Wales and we still met up for camping holidays and visited for a few years but, sadly, over time we lost touch :( until the end of last year when, out of the blue, Aunty Brenda rang my Mum and through Facebook, I'm back in contact with Mandy and Jacki ... got to love social networks, hey?

So here's the quilt I made this week for Jacki, she's thrilled with it:

Love making these teddy bear quilts - I could seriously make baby quilts all day long, couldn't you? My other two finishes are the Christmas Tree mug rug for Pam at work. Made from scraps and a penguin fat quarter, I free motion quilted some stars and loops and straight line appliqued the Christmas tree, star and tinsel. It really didn't take very long to do. I even hand sewed the back of the binding but then, that is my favourite part of quilting:

The binding fabric for both of these came from my little binding basket. This is where all my leftovers go until I reuse them:

And the advent calendar made out of a Makower Christmas panel. This was a fun project to sew - the instructions were very clear (half the battle when doing anything for the first time) and this one's actually for us! I have two more to make which I'll be gifting to friends with children:

My WIP is a Moda charm square lap quilt for my deputy at work, who's going to be off sick for a few weeks :( started on Wednesday, here's where I'm up to:

And this weekend, I'm starting on my niece's table runner and mats from this bundle of gorgeousness:

LOVE LOVE LOVE my hobby! What are you up to this week? I'll pop over and take a look as well as drooling overall the beautiful things shared at Amanda Jean's Finish it up Friday and Sarah's Confessions of a Fabric Addict:

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Christmas stuff and other WIPs :)

I'm loving my quilting the last few weeks. Unusually for me, I have a few things on the go but some are nearly finished so I'm not getting too stressy about it. My biggest problem? I keep adding to my list! Take tonight after dinner, I've started on a new lap quilt for one colleague and a large mug rug for another and they weren't even ideas in my head, never mind written down on a list until 6pm!

Mandy, my loyal deputy, is going to be off work for a few weeks having had an operation on her foot. It's only been 3 days and I miss her already :(  She is so active, hates daytime TV and will be going stir crazy before the first week's convalescing is up! I'm going to visit her during the next week or two so thought I'd make her a little lap quilt out of fabric in my stash - she'll appreciate that :) 

I made her a tote bag last year and she loved the fabric I used - a Moda Lumiere de Noël charm pack and I had another one on the shelf so thought of a pattern that would use all 42 squares and 2 x 1/2 yards of contrasting light and dark fabrics:

I laid out all the squares first so I knew I'd like the layout: 

Then I just put an alternate light and dark 2 1/2" x 5" strip to be sewn on the right hand side and a contrasting 2 1/2" x 7" strip to be sewn on the bottom. So easy! Two rows done, five to go ... at this rate, it'll be finished by the weekend! 

As long as I don't get distracted ... again. I was going to call it a night, remembered I'd promised Pam at work a mug rug and made a start on it. Pam LOVES Christmas - seriously loves it ... all the tinsel and lights :) She even leaves (some) decorations up all year around (bless her!) so what better than a Christmas tree on penguin fabric!?

Still got to appliqué it, baste, quilt and bind it but think this will be another quickie. And I've nearly finished my first advent calendar, just got to bury some knots and hand sew the binding:

Imagine what I'd get done if every day was the weekend ... SIGH ... looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to over at Lee's link up

Saturday, 19 October 2013

I cried ... and I cried ... and then I cried some more!!

It's been quite a tough week at work so after dinner last night, I was going to do some quilting on my butterfly quilt but instead we decided to watch a film. A comedy would have been a good choice or even a thrilling action movie ... but we watched Les Misérables and the tears came! Boy, did they :'(

I cried when Fantine's hair was shorn. Then, again when she died. Pulled myself together (just!) until Jean Valjean sung 'Bring him Home' and sobbed my heart out when he died at the end ... what an amazing film! Bless him, DH was a bit worried about me ... said he couldn't remember the last time he'd seen me cry at a film like that! 

If you've never seen it, there's lots of clips on You Tube to whet your appetite - I particularly love Colm Wilkinson's version of Bring him Home and, of course, the brilliant Susan Boyle brought the epic song I Dreamed a Dream to the masses when she auditioned with it on Britain's Got Talent in 2009.

So, from crying like to a baby, to my one finish this week which was this little baby quilt for Laura at work:

I posted about it earlier in the week and have since been asked to make another one for a friend and, as this really was such a dream to make, how could I refuse? And a bonus for me - this one's for a baby girl so I get to use my pinks! Here's my choices of fabric (so far!) and some fleeced fabric for the backing ... I just might get cracking on this over the weekend: 

Or I might finish quilting my charity quiltI have done all the straight line quilting but think it needs something more - perhaps some FMQing in the butterflies? There's not a lot of space to move around in so my usual stippling is not going to work. Have been over to see what free motion quilting designs the fabby Leah Day has to share and I think I'm going to try making her pebbles. She really has the best site - everything's clearly signposted, categorised by ability, and there are videos for each design ... yes, pebbles - how difficult can it be?!

And no more sad films for me this weekend! 

Linking up with Amanda Jean @ Crazy Mom Quilts and Sarah @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Baby Quilt quick finish ... meet Ted!

I started making this little baby boy pram / crib quilt for Laura (a friend at work) on Saturday afternoon and finished it (late) on Sunday evening - I'm well chuffed!! Isn't he a cutie:

All the fabric was from my stash, except for the baby fabric fat quarter. I do like Makower Spraytime fabrics, I think they're my favourite 'blender' and this orange was just perfect for the quilt and binding. I think my tortoise-slow hand stitching the back of the binding probably was the longest part of the quilt making but I LOVE the whole process of making and attaching the binding, do you?

The backing fabric is fleeced and was thick enough, I thought, so I didn't add any extra wadding / batting and it FMQ'd like a dream  - with one bobbin and in less than an hour ... I know!!! (Doing a little happy dance!)

His cute little eyes and nose were made using a cotton reel as a template and appliqued with a small zig-zag stitch:
The pattern is from this book by Pam and Nicky Lintott of The Quilt Room - I have used this book before and find their patterns really easy to follow:

I can't remember where I read this tip (might have been Carla or Julie?) but instead of just discarding the cut off triangle bits, I sewed another 1/4" seam at the same time so no wastage and 26 little HSTs for another project ... yay!

Although it was meant to be made using a jelly roll, I upped the sizing a little bit as I only wanted to make one teddy bear, not 4 as the pattern called for. But I might just make it with 4 in the future if I wanted a larger quilt.

I am so looking forward to giving this to Laura and baby Matthew - she doesn't know I've made it so it will be a lovely surprise. Linking up with Quilt Story - Fabric Tuesday :)

Fresh Poppy Design

Sunday, 13 October 2013

You made me 'do a Gwyneth' !!

Yes, you lovely followers you, when I woke up yesterday morning and immediately grabbed my iPad (as you do!) and read all your wonderful comments on Friday's post about my quilting and blogging, I must confess I ... large GULP ... got a little teary :'-)

It woke DH up so I read him some of your comments and then, being the drama queen I am, I did a bit of this:

With my own, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for xxx and I also want to thank xxx so much for their help and support"... it made us both laugh ... you probably had to be there but take my word for it ... it was funny! Thank you x

And so, drum roll, please ... who is the lucky winner of the Christmas FQs: 


Congratulations dear Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts who left me this sweeeeeeet comment:

Oh, Jennifer you are a fabby quilting blogger and we love you! Congratulations on your 200th post! That is exciting! Love your house blocks pants bag. Regarding the quilting across and bumping up..... I wish I had an answer for that one. But I am getting pretty good at burying knots!

Thank you for the opportunity to win those festive fat quarters! I have been on a Christmas project kick and would sew love to use those on a table runner or stocking. Did you know there are only 74 days left until Christmas?

Isn't she a darling? 

And, as promised, I have spent a lot of time sewing over the weekend! After a quick trip into Rochester to buy some batting and a little bit of fabric, I made a start on a baby boy quilt for my friend Laura at work, who has given birth to Matthew - pleased to say Mummy and baby both doing well. Inspired by the new fat quarter I bought, (bottom left), I pulled all the other fabric from my stash: 

It wouldn't be me if I chose something easy peasy! Also, why keep it simple and follow the pattern exactly when you can shake it up, add inches and have to work it all out because you want one bigger teddy bear rather than four small ones?!

It's actually been lovely to work on and here's a WIP photo: 

And, just because I could, I made a start on this Makower Advent Calendar (bought the panels weeks ago): 

I've had the best weekend, hope you enjoyed yours too :)