Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Happy Work in Progress

Oh I am thrilled to be sharing this one with you! It's one of those projects that has just turned out exactly as I imagined. Don't you love when that happens?

So here it is! My Red Herring quilt! Okay, okay, it's just a quilt top right now! Soon to be a quilt when I decide how to back and quilt it). 

Before I go much further - I want to say a big thank you for the kind comments and encouragement about this little pattern of mine. In response to some of the questions, I am in the process of tweaking the pattern so that I can share it with anyone who is interested, and also doing a tutorial to help those who are new to the paper piecing world. Really - it's more to do with my goal of a paper piecing form of world domination than anything. ;)

And here's a funny little tidbit for you. My inspiration for this block was the clutch pedal in my car haha! Hey inspiration finds us in the funniest of places. Mine was while I was checking my feet for leeches after walking through the wet grass (paranoid plus) and getting in the car.

I just put in a pretty photo to get rid of the leech image I may have conjured up in the previous paragraph ;)
I saw the pattern on the clutch pedal (who knew they put designs on the pedals in the car!) and thought hey that looks like a cool herringbone pattern! But one thing about the traditional herringbone that I'm not keen on is trying to line it up perfectly when you cut it. I don't trust my cutting skills and I also don't like wasting fabric. So! Light bulb moment. Paper piecing! Of course!

Leech be gone! Admire the pretty fabric. So pretty.
 I drew up the design in Quilt Assistant to fit charm squares so there's minimal waste. Each block uses four charm squares (or close to it anyways!) and then some extra white fabric for the lines in between. I just so happened to have a charm pack of Half Moon Modern that was begging to be made into something fun! So there you have it. And because it's based on the herringbone design, but not quite, I thought "Red Herring" would be an appropriate name for the block. Fascinating back story no? ;)

I was a little disappointed in my charm pack in that it only had 4 charm  squares in red, orange and green so I couldn't make more blocks like I originally planned. However, I am now thinking this might make a cool wall hanging. It's either a big wall hanging or a small quilt (40" square).

Now the big decisions... how to back it? How to quilt it? How to bind it? Binding is the only one of those things I have an idea of. I just so happen to have some Half Moon Modern fabric in yellow polka dots. What do you think? Too bright? As for the rest.... back to my quilting motto... More thought needed. And of course, suggestions welcome!

ETA: There's now a tutorial and pattern available for this little block. You can find it here. Have fun!

Linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced :)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday Stash

Woohoo! I have something to share for Sunday Stash over at Finding Fifth.

We had a little mini holiday last weekend to celebrate my sister's 30th. Apparently our grand ideas of filling the restaurant for her birthday dinner with a gazillion helium balloons was a little bit over the top (?! what really?!). And so was the idea of having a gigantic number 30 in big glittering silver helium balloons. Seriously, what is wrong with this girl? Who wouldn't want their age proclaimed to the whole wide world?!. So we had to do a last minute trip to the shop and get some smaller scaled helium balloons filled up. And it just so happens this shop is the big craft shop here (Spotlight for the Aussies/Kiwis). Oh and did I mention I had a voucher where if I spent $100, I saved $40? So clearly fabric shopping was needed to get to that magic $100. Is that sounding like an excuse? Is it time for me to check into Fabricaholics Anonymous?

So I had a bit of fun. Just a little bit.
They are all 30cm cuts so I have enough to play around with but didn't fill up the money limit too quickly haha! Plus finally! A square ruler! It's only my second quilting ruler so I'm a bit excited about that.

How ridiculously cute are these bugs? I have no plans for them yet but I couldn't resist.

I am really loving this one with all that fancy script all over it. I am thinking of using this one for the Handmade Swap for my secret partner. Still deciding if it would suit her. I am really struggling on the perfect fabrics for the swap!

And would you look at these veggies? I thought they would be fun in a planned charity quilt Fiona and I are working on. Or maybe for paper piecing ;)

In other news... today is my beautiful daughter's birthday. She turns two. Still can't believe it. I must be turning into a big old sap because I'm a little sad that there's no way I can refer to her as a baby now that she's two (though just quietly, she'll always be my baby!).

I am very impressed with her though - she picked a couple of her new presents to take out with her today, and she chose the two things I made for her! I must have done something right. :)

I made her a little owl - which she played with the other day, then I wrapped it up and she pretended to be surprised all over again today haha. All I've heard is "uh uh owwwwllll". Pleased I managed to capture it on video as she squished it and cuddled it.

Pattern is by Footloose and Fancy Free btw. Great pattern, very easy to follow and ridiculously cute. This is the baby size one - about 20cm tall.

I also gave her the Queen of Hearts mini quilt I made for the Play competition (watch out, I'm going to be asking for your votes on it soon haha! Cos clearly I need to win fabric vouchers!). I designed it with my Lulu in mind to go with the dolly I gave her for her bday. Happy to say it was an absolute hit with my gal. She marched out the door carrying the dolly quilt in one hand and the owl in the other!

Ah makes my heart melt. And makes me want to make more cute little things for my cute little rabbit.

Like this owl cake! She chose this cake out of the cake book - think she likes owls a bit at the moment?
What a great Sunday! Hope yours is just as fabulous!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Not so much Work in Progress Wednesday

Not too much to share this week! After a mad rush of sewing to get gifts finished for Mother's Day and birthdays and then a mini holiday last weekend, sewing is on the lighter side at the moment!

I have however added at least two blocks to my Red Herring collection. Two blocks! Impressive, no? Here's how they are looking so far:

I added the grey block - which I am loving the butterflies on:

And this orange block, which seems to read as more red in the top photo but is definitely an orange. I am a diehard orange-hater (sorry, orange lovers, it just doesn't do it for me) but... I actually quite like this block. I know, shocking, right? Maybe it's the cute scissors!

All together though they are quite a happy little bunch. I have enough charm squares to add another three squares in red, aqua, grey. Now my dilemma... do I just go with that and have 9 blocks floating in a sea of white? Or do I order another charm pack and see how big I can make this baby?

So while we're talking blocks... all of my Bee blocks from April have arrived! Woohoo! Though I am going to miss seeing those fun squishy parcels arrive in the mail! Here's a photo I took before the last package arrived. So imagine this with two more purple blocks added to it.

I will need to add another two more blocks to the mix, maybe another red and yellow. What do you think? I'm planning to get this sewn up soon. Planning for it to be a lap rug size quilt. It'll be donated to Angels for the Forgotten who work with kids in foster care. Great cause.

And the last thing I have in the works is something for the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop being run by Beth of Plum and June.

Such a great idea to get to know bloggers who started blogging either last year or this year. My day is June 5th but I'm getting organised and planning what little item I'm going to make with novelty fabric! Here's a peek.
I know - doesn't look like novelty fabric right? Just not close enough to see that the green fabric has sweet little birds all over it.

So really - not a lot of progress this week, but I think I managed to make it look like more by adding extra photos. Sneaky, sneaky. I do have to get busy though sewing up a little soft owl toy for Little Miss's 2nd birthday this weekend. She has youngest child syndrome happening where she feels like she's missing out as her brother got an owl toy for his birthday last year and of course lords it over her. Aren't kids fun?

And before I go - one last link. You'll like this one. My gorgeous friend Fiona over at Finding Fifth is having a giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers! Quite an achievement! Worth popping over to see what she has up for grabs :)

Linking up with WiP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

Handmade gifts

Know what I love about my sister? Well one of the things! She loves whatever I make for her! That makes it very fun doing birthday gifts ;) This year (her 30th, though she's only admitting to 25 of those years), she is getting a King size quilt. I say getting because it's not yet made, and only just roughly designed. She still hasn't picked out the fabrics. But I still wanted her to have a present to open on the day! So she scored a little tote bag.
Yep! I turned that cute little paper pieced chameleon block (pattern by Shape Moth) into a beach bag. Isn't it ridiculously cute?
I used some of my favourite fabrics on this one, with a bit of Riley Blake, Liz Scott and some Echino all working beautifully together. Oh and look - boxed corners to give some depth. I'm getting the hang of these things!
For the inside... I nearly put some Terrain in but it was a bit too busy for what I wanted. My sister and I have an ongoing thing about ladybugs so guess what fabric I found to line the bag?

 Added a little zip pocket and magnetic clasp and it was all good to go!
Couldn't resist some polka dot fabric inside the pocket either. Oh plus it all matched this little pouch I made a little while back.
I mentioned the ridiculously small Circle of Geese I made back here (it's 2.5" wide) but didn't show what I turned it into. Now you can see! It was perfect for a little pouch.

Glad to say the pouch was a hit with my sister as it fits her phone, keys and money all in beautifully. 

It's so nice when gifts turn out just perfectly and are so appreciated. I think my sister is my biggest fan - perhaps by force, not by choice.  Hey there have to be some benefits to being the older sister right?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Queen of Hearts Mini

I've been eyeing off the Play competition over at Sew Happy Geek. I was keen to enter but had no ideas whatsoever. Then I was talking to my Mum about it. I must bore her stupid with all my quilt chatter! Anyways she suggested I should go ahead and enter and make hay while the sun shines and make my mini quilt double as a dolly quilt for my miss Lulu (who happens to turn two in just over a week). Aha! An idea began to form!

The idea of the Play competition is to make a mini quilt based on one card from a standard playing deck. I decided the Queen of Hearts would suit my girl! Mine is more a loose interpretation of a playing card (don't want it to be looking like I'm raising a gambling girl after all!). Here's what I came up with:

I had planned to applique the Queen in the centre but she had other ideas. She absolutely insisted she be embroidered. Now I'm not a fan of hand sewing so this was a true labour of love to turn my sketch into stitches.

Geez faces are hard to do! I had a tough enough time trying to draw it, but to embroider it! Anyways it came out okay I think, but without the little mischevious smile I had envisioned.

I also filled her little basket up with some hearts. She is the Queen of Hearts after all. Though like my Lulu, she's a touch clumsy, hence one falling out of the basket.

 Now I have to just add in here... I used one of those Frixion pens everyone's been talking about for my embroidery. Can I say how ridiculously impressed I am with those things? I know they aren't everyones cup of tea but they worked beautifully for what I wanted. I also used them to draw in my lines to quilt along, did my quilty thing then just ironed them off. Lines be gone!

Okay for full disclosure, I did try to get all fancypants and FMQ some awesome heart ripples ala Leah Day style. Yeah it didn't work for me. And for the love of all things quilty... FMQ is not fun to unpick. Not fun at all. In fact I think it might rank right up there with Y-seams. I.e. forms of quilty torture doled out by the quilt police.  So straight lines it is. Which I'm good with. Means it's a squooshy soft dolly quilt.

Added a little border made up of a gazillion pinks - mainly Riley Blake and a bit of Vintage Modern mixed in for good measure. Then for the back I cut into my gorgeous Sandi Henderson fabric that I won in a giveaway sometime back. How gorgeous is this?!

So there you have it. My interpretation of the Queen of Hearts for my own little Queen of Hearts.

Happy to say that she loves this already. She tried to take it out to the car (with pins in the binding waiting to be sewn!) to show her brother when we picked him up from preschool. Now big brother wants one just for him - a King though of course. I told him we'll talk about it. For -his- birthday. In September. ;)

Monday, 14 May 2012

A little bit of Fandango

I've had a lovely quarter yard cut of Kate Spain's Fandango Seville in Celadon sitting around in my stash waiting for me to be inspired. I've pulled it out for many projects, but it just didn't seem quite right. I originally bought it online as it looked grey on the website but was quite surprised when it arrived to see it was green. Perhaps if I had known what "celadon" meant, I would have realised it was green.

Anyways! Enough backstory (ahh too much Phineas and Ferb!). All that has changed now! I have used almost all of it up and I'm thrilled with how it turned out!

Just a little bit of fussy-cut Fandango on the front...

And it's plain brown on the back - didn't take a photo of that. I'm sure you can image a plain brown back. 

Isn't the Fandango perfect for a little paper pieced bird? By the way, the pattern for this bird is a freebie that you can get over at Liljabs. It's the second one I've made - that's how much I love it.

My first one was a teal birdie (details here)
Love how it's the same pattern but can look so different in different fabrics.

Originally I had thought to use the brown Pop Sugar (the brown on the edges of the bag) for the bird's chest, but it just overwhelmed the Fandango too much. I'm much happier with the solid green.

For this bird block though, I decided instead of another mini, to make my Fandango birdie into a tote bag for one of my sisters' birthdays (approaching rather rapidly). Oh and in case you're reading this NelleNelle, it's not for you. I don't even remember if you're having a birthday, are you? ;)

I had the perfect amount of fabric left to line the inside of the bag completely in Fandango. Love, love love.

I'm even getting the hang of doing those inner zip pocket things! Not as difficult as it seems! I used this tutorial at Sew Mama Sew - also tells you how to insert those magnetic clasps. Handy!.

As for the rest of the bag, I just made it up as I went. Very basic and the size all came down to how much fabric I had left. I did make the straps long enough for this to be a shoulder bag - think that's a necessity in a bag.

Yes. I'm rather pleased with how this one turned out. Hope my sister loves it too. :)

Linking up with Sew Happy Geek for Manic Monday :)

Friday, 11 May 2012

XOXO - it's finished!

And there was much rejoicing! This is my biggest quilt I have attempted yet - it's queen size. And gosh was it difficult to photograph. Even the fence wasn't tall enough to display it fully.

Of course a lot of my fence photos looked like this:
Still pretty through right?!

I think... and this is a big statement... this is my favourite quilt yet.

I love the pattern (French Kisses by Tracey of Traceyjay quilts - and currently on sale!)
and I love the fabric. Sweet Lush by Patty Young. I still have scraps left - using every last piece of this gorgeous fabric!

 I used a lot of the scraps to paper piece a sampler strip for the back of this quilt. And thus my love for paper piecing began.

You can find more info about the various blocks in this post.

When it came to the quilting (which you can see a bit in the above photo), I went with simple. It's a lot of work wrestling a queen size quilt through a regular size machine! So simple was definitely the way to go for me.

The fanciest touch was FMQing little flowers in the centres of the diamonds.

I also made up a little label to attach to the quilt. I should have thought it out a bit better and actually made it a part of the backing fabric, but... I didn't think that far ahead. So I winged it, and just stitched it to the back. Not perfect but it does the job.

This is a big finish and I'm so pleased with how it turned out! It's a belated gift for my Mum's 60th birthday (which was back in September... yep I'm organised!), but I'm totally going to double up and give it to her for Mother's Day on Sunday hehehe! Two for the price of one, awesome.

Okay, I did get her an actual Mother's Day present too, but it's a great excuse to wrap up this quilt and give it to her to show her how much I appreciate her! I mean it's a queen size quilt. That's a lot of appreciation and love. ;)

Linking up with M-R at Quilt Matters for TGIFF :)