Monday, 14 July 2014

Hopes and dreams....

.....for lots of finishes in Q3.

Let's just gloss over the fact that I didn't have an awful lot of finishes in Q2 and move right along, shall we?

1. Rachel's scrappy stars is making another appearance on the list.

This quilt is actually on her bed, binding on but quilting incomplete! I'm not sure what the quilt police would say about my flouting of the rules on this one.

I decided I wanted to FMQ stars in the negative spaces. I reasoned that as I had already done a straight line cross hatch through the stars it would be ok to bind it. And once it was bound it may as well live on the bed. I've FMQuilted a few stars already, I'm trying different designs to stretch myself a bit. Some designs are working better than others but overall I'm really pleased with this one.

2. Orange Peel applique blocks.

I've enjoyed the hand work on these, now to make them up into something, probably a cushion.

3. Ticker tape panel.

I only started this a couple of days ago, I was too tired to sew on Friday night but wanted to play with some fabric. I glued down these pieces (I've got a ziploc bag of trimmed scraps) and just went for it.

I've wanted to try this since I saw the lovely work in Sunday Morning Quilts. I decided to straight line quilt with two colours of variegated Aurifil thread, the lemon in one direction and the green in the other. This is destined to be another cushion, although I can see a whole quilt of these panels in my future. It's a lovely way of using up even teeny tiny pieces of fabric (less than one inch square) and makes you feel really virtuous ( to offset the guilt of buying more?).

4. Plus quilt

I've actually started cutting two quilts, with different size blocks. I'll go along with the smaller size first. I've cut 22 blocks so far and this is what they look like laid out;

I'm not in love with this yet, I think it needs to brew a little longer before I make a decision. I'll know I'll need more, so I'll keep adding to my bag'o'blocks.

5. Suburbs from a pattern by Alison of Cluck, Cluck Sew

I love these blocks but I'm only making sporadic progress.

I have cut about 15 blocks so far, but I think I might want to do something other than white for the background, so I'm stalled while I make my mind up.

6. Sewing pouch

This is the sewing pouch I made a few weeks ago for a friends birthday. I recreated one given to me as a gift 15 years ago. It's a really handy size and has been in almost daily use since.

I started cutting out a second one for myself, as mine is getting very grubby and worn, but never got round to finishing it. I'd really like to get this done as well as writing up cutting and stitching directions so I can repeat it in the future without having to work it out again from scratch.

7. Strippy quilt.

Another project inspired by a quilt in Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. I have no expectation of getting this finished anytime soon, as this is my 'leader and ender' project. I've got another ziploc holding one and half inch strips, which I sort into 'nearly the same length' and piece together.

I've got at least four other projects that I could list, and any one of them may be finished first, depending on how the mood takes me, but this is what I want to work on now.

It'll be interesting to look back on this quarters list in 3 months and see what I completed. The sewing pouch I made wasn't even an idea when I wrote my Q2 list ! I'm sure we all do that.

Here's to a stitchy summer, happy sewing everyone,

Tracy x

Finish Along 2014

















Saturday, 5 July 2014

Circle of Geese mini quilt, a finish.

I'm pleased to have finished this little quilt, it crosses off a couple of things I had wanted to try.

Firstly, after seeing so many lovely 'circles' on blogs and IG ( the prolific and talented Jeliquilts is a particular inspiration) I jumped in with no pattern or plan, other than that it would be a rainbow.

Needless to say, there were many hiccups along the way, the nest of seams in the centre being one.

There was no way to make it lie flat, or any hope of quilting through that volcano-like protrusion, so the only option was to unpick a section..

...and cut out the offending seams

Then all I had to do was replace four pieces to fill the centre and 'voila' from 16 seams to 4 !

This is why patterns are a good idea. We fool ourselves into thinking 'that looks easy, I don't need to buy a pattern'. But that's because we haven't gone through the whole process of calculating fabric yardage, what size and shape to cut the pieces, order of construction, when to press, which side to press too (sometimes this really matters), etc, etc. If writing patterns were easy, we'd all be doing it.


Most patterns for this type of precision piecing tend to be paper pieced. I'm not a fan of paper piecing myself which is probably another reason I just jumped in. If you are, then the aforementioned Jeliquilts has a few, including some insanely small pincushion sized circles!!

Although I have to say, I didn't expect this to be straightforward, sometimes I just like the challenge of attempting something without knowing how I'm going to do it. I always learn something from the process.

I had intended to densely FMQ with small spirals in the negative space, to make the geese pop out from the background. But after I'd added the border I felt I wanted to accentuated the 'motion' of the geese, so one large spiral seemed the way to go.

I used a wine glass as a Hera marker to press a circle into the centre. I then drew a spriral from the center out to the indentation. From that point I could just use the edge of my walking foot and follow the previous quilting line. It worked a treat. I started at a glacial pace in the centre with short stitches and as the spiral opened out I lengthened the stitches and went a little more quickly.

Initially I was going to make this into a cushion but my husband and daughter have had enough of my cushions for a while. So with the hope of one day having a dedicated sewing room I have made this into a mini to hang on the wall.

Quilt; Circle of Geese Mini. Finished at 18 inches square.

I'm happy to tick this off my Q2 finish-along list :0)

Linking up with our host for the FAL, Katie at The Littlest Thistle

Finish Along 2014



Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Circle of Geese

I'm soooo close to crossing this mini off my Q2 FAL list !

As soon as I'd decided on the scrappy border I knew I wanted a stripey binding. Luckily I had this black and white fabric languishing in my stash. When I auditioned it I knew it was perfect (my husband disagrees, but he can make his own)!

I can never just 'cut 2 1/2 inch double fold binding. I always need to try a piece out, as depending on how thick the finished quilt sandwich is and how wide I want the binding and wether I want to hand or machine finish, these factors all determine how wide my binding strip needs to be. In this case I cut 2 1/4 inch strips

and had my needle set at 5.0 (3.5 is centre, so 3 spaces to the right) and the edge of the quilt aligned with the edge of my walking foot.

All I need to do now is add some folded corner to the back and finish hand stitching the binding, I always like this part. This little mini is destined to live on my sewing room wall ( AKA our spare room).

Better get back to it,

Tracy :0)

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Finish along Q2 list...

And some finishes....

I did manage a couple of finishes from my Q1 FAL list, what I didn't manage to do was write up a post and link up. That was a shame but the whole point is to motivate myself to finish, so I did partly achieve that.

I had four items on my Q1 list, the two that I finished were;


This cute little car seat blanket for a friend's baby due in May. It was kick started by the abundance of economy blocks that were appearing on IG and especially the always beautiful piecing by Rita of Red Pepper Quilts, check out her work, it's always gorgeous (and quick!).

I started off by following Rita's tutorial, which I should have stuck to, because when I tried to fussy cut the centre patch, that's when precision and sharp points went out the window.

I still leant a lot, I always try to attempt a new technique with each project and with this I tried curved corners and backing with Minky / fleece. Both went well and I'd definitely back with with fleece again as this little quilt now has a lovely weight and drape and is soft and cuddly.

The second finish was my Rainbow circle quilt from the lovely book by Joelle Halvorsen. It now has a nice spot in our spare room, and can be seen every time I go upstairs.


Now on to the non-finishes, which head up my Q2 list;

1. Rachel's scrappy stars.

A very long term WIP which needs to be finished ASAP, as I know if it gets put away again it will be another year before it's completed. I've backed it with a flannel sheet as I wanted a lightish cover that can be used all year round on my daughters bed.

2. Orange peel appliqué handwork.

I've been enjoying the slow pace of this project. I've made progress whilst watching my favorite program of the moment, Nashville.

It also allows me to contentedly sit through the Grand Prix, which normally wouldn't keep me on the sofa for more than 10 minutes at a time, so my husband doesn't get disturbed during his program, win-win.

Making their first appearance on a FAL list;

3. Plus quilt.

I've been trying to sort through my stash, I've got quite a bit of fabric that has been in there for years and has never seen the light of day. Some fabric I have completely fallen out of love with, and every time I pull it out and put it back I feel a pang of guilt. So I decided its 'use it or lose it' time. I've pulled quite a bit of stash and started cutting it for several projects, this is the first to make it on to the list.

I've cut enough for 50 'pluses' so far. I've organised the pieces into two ziploc bags 'whole pluses' and 'part pluses'. I had a quick play with the pieces but just need to get on with it.

4. Rainbow geese circle.

I blame this one (and if I'm honest, no 3, too) on Lucy of Charm About You. I joined up to her 'Le Challenge' with the theme of 'order'.

 photo LeChalleng

As is usual one thing led to a completely different thing and I found myself trying to bring some kind of order to my scraps. Whoever is to blame I've nearly got a finished cushion :-). Just needs quilting and making up, totally doable in three months. I didn't finish this by the end of the challenge either.

5. 'Suburbs' pattern from Alison Harris of the blog Cluck Cluck Sew.

I've been stalking this pattern (and the blog) for quite some time. I'm on a self imposed fabric diet at the moment, so when I decided I needed to use the fabric I do have it was the perfect reason to buy this pattern.

The decision was not helped by my non-existent self control and the ease of buying a PDF pattern online. I thought I would just cut the blocks as I was cutting the 'pluses' for number 3, but the houses looked so cute, and I wanted to use some of my Flea Market Fancy that I've been saving. And once I'd cut some fabric I needed to see if I could make the pattern match. I've only made four houses so far but I'm itching to make more.


That's it, I'm stopping at five as I'm sure I'll only finish some of these and probably start and finish something else entirely.

As well as the sewing I need to finish painting the garage door, I've already primed and undercoated, it just needs the gloss.

I do all our decorating, I'd rather decorate than clean. I'd rather do anything than housework. I hate housework. A lot.

What would you rather be doing?

Good luck with your list, linking up with our host, Katie at the Littlest Thistle

Finish Along 2014

Tracy x


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

WIP ... And a finish.

As usual I've been working on things that are NOT on my FAL list.

In fact, it's worse than that, I've been cutting fabric for a Plus quilt. I've cut enough for 45 crosses so far but I'm enjoying the process of cut, measure, cut, so much that I'm definitely going to cut more. I think I like the orderly process and the straight forward nature of this pattern ( I'm a lab technician). The creative part is the fabric selection and the layout but the underlying structure of the pattern is quite regimented, I'm enjoying that immensely. A contributing factor could also be that I'm using part of my lunchtime at work to cut out. So it feels slightly naughty and it like bonus time I'm getting back.


I've tried a quick layout but it's not working for me yet. I think it needs more blue, which I'll definitely add. There's no yellow in there either but I don't think I'm going to change that. Any suggestions ? Both colours are lacking in my stash, that won't change as I'm on a self-imposed fabric diet at the moment ( 3 months and counting).

I'm also pleased that I've managed to cut out the offending centre of this cushion (what was I thinking, how many seams!)?


It now lies flat and is waiting for a little bit of batting before it becomes a cushion.


I do have a single solitary finish to report. This little cutie is designed to be a car quilt for a friends baby due in May. It has two firsts for me, backing with Minky/fleece and round corners.



I was a a bit intimidated working with Minky for the first time but starting small made it much easier. I spray basted AND tacked, which worked fine. I love the drape it gives the quilt, it's so snuggly and soft.



I'm undecided wether to wash it or not. I like to wash before I give, as it takes me so long to make anything I'm sure the quilt could do with freshening up and I like to make sure nothing comes undone in the wash. I just don't know what it will do to the texture. I need to stop procrastinating and get it in the machine.

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else is working on, linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced

Tracy x


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I'm not afraid of Minky any more


I'm finally feeling the love again for this little baby quilt.

And tonight I had a little flurry of activity, in between cleaning the oven door and washing the filter from the oven hood (gross!), I spray basted and tacked the top to some Minky.

This is my first time using Minky, and after researching (researching = tea + google) what others have said about working with it I got a bit freaked and couldn't decide what I was going to do. Then for some reason today I decided a little spritz of spray baste and a few microtacks was the way to go.

I'm pleased to say it worked fine. I just used my walking foot and a long stitch length (2.6 on my Janome) and did some safe straight line stitching either side of the seams.

I'm quite pleased with the result, the quilt feels quite soft and snuggly with a nice drape. I'm going to give rounded corners a go when binding this, so I need to rifle through my stash to see what will work with a busy front and a plain back.

I'm also making progress on this mini....sorry, rubbish late night photo. Although I had to do some surgery on it as I ended up with sixteen points meeting in the middle. Or more accurately not meeting and most definitely not lying flat.

In the interests of full disclosure, I seemed to have purchased the 'suburbs' pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew. Somehow I've cut a couple of blocks and sewn one up, I'm loving it already.

I did manage a finish, my rainbow circle is now on the wall in our spare room, Yay me!

I'll be heading on over to Lee at Freshly Pieced to see everyone's WIP's.

Happy stitching

Tracy x


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A hive of inactivity.

That seems to be me at the moment, busy doing not very much.

I've got too many things a need to do and too many things I want to do. The result seems to be that I feel guilty if I do any fun sewing, so I don't do much of that.

And I have no motivation to get on with the things I should be getting on with. (All those chores that you have to do before you put your house up for sale, the ones that I've not felt the need to do in the last ten years, so why would I want to do them now?) so I'm not doing those either.

Result - paralysis, inertia, ennui, procrastination, distraction, dissembling. I'm busy doing all of those!

I have moved forward at a snails pace on some things;

My Rainbow circle is now bound and has a hanging sleeve, I'm just stitching down the binding. It should be wall-worthy in a week or so at my current pace.

I've also finished the piecing on this little top.

I planned it to be used as a car seat quilt for a new baby, just big enough to tuck around the car seat without having too much overhang. Most baby blankets are cot sized and that seems just a bit too big for carrying around with little one in those first few weeks.

I want to try and back it with Minky/fleece but I stalled when I couldn't find my spray baste. It's somewhere in the room that needs to be decorated. So instead of cleaning up and finding it, I've been out and bought another one.

I'm also playing with half-square triangles

Instead of actually getting on with the decorating/tidying/plug fixing/endless cleaning that I should be doing, I've realised a much better use of my time would be to sort thru my scraps and either organise or use them.

It's obvious really, because then they will be something usefull and decorative, like a cushion, that will enhance our home AND they won't be in a cupboard any more, so that counts as tidying. Win/win right?

So that's what I'm busy not doing - what about you?

Linking up with Lee's WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.