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.


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

2014 First Quarter wish list.

Ok, here they are, a few of my WIPs that have risen to the top of the pile..
1. Rachel's scrappy stars.
This is the biggie.
I started making this quilt at least two years ago and I'm pretty sure it's been basted for about a year. Need. To. Quilt.

2. Rainbow circle.
Again, it's a lack of confidence with my quilting that's been holding me up. Coupled with my schoolgirl error of quilting the outside before the centre..duh! This led to major puckerage (a town somewhere in Alaska?).

At this point I panicked and tried to strong arm some concentric circles, this was the result...

After unpicking and spraying with water and then a light steaming from the iron, I think I've managed to minimise the excess puffiness and have used my basting gun to hold it in place.

I still can't decide how to quilt the centre though,...concentric circles again, wavy lines? I'd like to do a spiral but I'm not sure how to confidently mark one on the fabric. Cue music ... 'There may be trouble ahead'..

3. Economy block baby quilt.
There have been so many lovely blocks popping up all over blogland and IG recently, that I really wanted to join in. A colleague is expecting, so a baby quilt should scratch this particular quilty itch.
So far this is just a fabric pull, which I'm basing around the twelve motifs I can pick out of the central fabric.

I'm not loving it though, I think I need to choose brighter fabrics. The ones I've pulled so far were to match the colours in the print. A bolder choice of colours and contrasts is required I'm thinking. I'm hoping as this is a straightforward project it should proceed fairly quickly (really, did I say that!).

4. Orange peel applique cushion or mini.

This is a recent start. My previous handwork project was the embroidery on a xchristmasquilt quilt that is now put away again (third year in a row and a non-finish from the fourth quarter FAL). I needed something to work on and this is the result. No rhyme or reason, I just needed a project.

That's it, my list. There are other projects on my WIP pile but I need to stop thinking about the list and sew instead.

I hope everyone has there list knocked into shape and are looking forward to another year of finishes.

Linking up with The Littlest Thistle, our host for this years Finish-Along
Finish Along 2014

And WIP Wednesday with Lee, at Freshly Pieced.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Xmas herringbone topper- QAL finish 3

I'm really pleased with the way this project turned out, it was almost exactly as I'd planned it.

It wasn't without the occasional mistake but nothing too teeth-grindingly annoying. And with my recent progress with FMQ I was a bit more confident when I started to FM this top. So much so that I did two, count them, one, two, different patterns on this top.

In the borders I did a rounded teardrop shape that I echoed.

Whilst in the herringbone blocks I did some Xmas trees, which you can see better from the back. I know they're not really visible on the front but I know they're there.

And it looked really nice on my sideboard over the festive season.

All these finishes would probably not have happened without the Finish-Along.

So many thanks to Leanne for hosting this year and good luck to Katy At The Littlest Thistle who will be motivating me this year.

And good luck to all stitchers with a WIP pile, we need all the help we can get :-)

Here's to a few more finishes in 2014.



Rupert's star quilt - QAL finish 2

This little quilt has had a chequered history. I originally started it five years ago for another baby boy. Just as I'd finished piecing the top I was told that the Mum really wouldn't like the colours I'd used. Oh dear. I was really disappointed as I really like this top.

So, roll on half a decade and a new colleague has a lovely little boy at the same time as I rediscover the forgotten patchwork. I don't know the mum particularly well but I didn't think she would mind a baby quilt.

I wanted to do some more ambitious free-motion quilting than I had tried before, which resulted in quite a few hours of unpicking (and swearing).

I also wanted to personalise it a bit more, so I embroidered baby's birth information quite discretely on the back, and Tah Dah!

I feel like I learned quite a lot with this particular project, which is a nice feeling. I hope it gets a lot of use and love.

Linking up with Leanne at She Can Quilt.