Archive for February, 2011

This little dolly went to …

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment


a christening ! Yesterday was baby Florie’s big day, but because she already has a quilt I had a bit of a dilemma last week thinking about presents. I love the cuddly ‘Jellycat’ toys, but I really wanted to give her something handmade if I could, but, as I’m not big on clothes making and she’s not really in need of a tote bag just yet, I got to thinking about dollies :). Katy at ‘I’m a ginger monkey’ makes some lovely ones in a variety of shapes so I thought I’d try one out myself. Although I couldn’t see a pattern anywhere, the shape looked quite straightfoward, so I drew it out on paper and then cut them out of some lovely Sugar Pop fabric that was left over from the quilt below. Charlie and I spent a fun few hours on Saturday afternoon stuffing dolly’s legs and body (love that print on the legs – looks a bit like tights, doesn’t it?!)

I picked up some lovely brads and buttons from another little shop that I love ( go check out Paper and String if you haven’t already – she makes some ace stuff with felt and ribbons and stuff!) which would have been great as eyes and cheeks (embroidery skills a bit limited, I have to admit) but for a little baby like Florie, thread only seemed to be the best bet. Charlie loved playing with dolly (sorry Florie) before she was wrapped up, so now I have something else I need to make for her besides the bunny quilt, which is still ticking along … slowly! I think we’re about 8 blocks in, now – hurrah 🙂

I’ve also done some more criss-cross blocks using the Sugar Pop fabric I bought – it’s almost ready to go together now. I need to cut some half-square triangles to go at the end of each row, and decide on a border, but here it is so far:


I was a bit worried it was looking too orangey earlier, but there’s definitely quite a bit of pink in there now! I think I like it – the quilting will make a big difference to it too, especially on the solids, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I think a creamy white border will set the colours off but I need to check that I have enough to do the back too – I’ve been very naughty and bought some charm packs this weekend (including central park, Kate Spain’s new range) – I think I resisted that for about a week, which isn’t bad going, but I don’t think the credit card can take too much more fabric shopping for a few weeks!!

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Making progress … kind of ..

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Work on the bunnies quilt for Charlie is progressing – but slowly! At least it gives me something to keep my hands busy while I’m watching re-runs of the first series of ER – in fact, I think it’s probably making me sew a bit faster if anything, with all those CBC’s Chem 7’s and what have you – talk about 90 miles an hour!! So far I’ve done – wait for it … drum roll … 4 blocks – yay! 12 more to go – so, at 4 a week that’s (quick calculation) another 3 weeks … hmm, not too bad I guess – and at least the blocks are lining up better now. Here are the first 4:

I really like the look of this design with the tea time fabric (by Makower) which the lovely Fiona from The Sewing Directory sent to me (did I mention that already???? 🙂

I’ve also been working on a simple cross-block quilt, using a few fabrics from the Sugar Pop range by Liz Scott – I love these pink, plum and orange prints and I’ve had a lot of fun mixing them with solids. It’s going together a lot quicker than the bunny quilt, so gives me a bit of light relief, sewing wise!


I wasn’t too sure about this to start with – I was pleased how the prints and solids went together but I really wasn’t too sure about putting them all together – I like how it looks on my design wall floor though. I’ve just finished some solid orange blocks with a bit of diamond dandy thrown in, as the colours are quite similar so I’m looking forward to laying it all out again with those blocks in the mix – looks quite like plaid, doesn’t it? 

I haven’t quite got over that initial nervousness of cutting into fabrics that I really love (which is just about all of them, let’s face it) so diamond dandy has been tucked away in my fabric drawer for a little while.  It seems crazy, when you think that patchwork is all about putting scraps of material together but I always feel a bit loath to cut into any of them in case I make a mistake. It reminds me of when I was at college doing an Art Foundation course and I’d spent ages doing a very detailed pen and watercolour sketch of a rag doll – I was really proud of it, so I was horrified when one of my tutors smeared a wet sponge all over it and said I needed to loosen up a bit! I  remember the lesson, but I’m not sure I’ve achieved it yet! I’ve been thinking of my tutor quite a bit lately – even though I can’t remember his name – as it was him who suggested I do a degree in textiles. I dropped out of the course and went to work for an insurance company shortly afterwards – and stayed in insurance for nearly 20 years, but I wonder now what would have happened if I’d followed his advice. Seems he could see something in me that I hadn’t seen myself at the time – funny how things work out, isn’t it? :o)

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Bunnies in Red and Blue … and a bit of pink, and cream … and …

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, this is turning out trickier than I remember. I made the first version of the bunny quilt last year and although it was a bit of a challenge getting all the pieces to line up, it did (eventually) !

There are 16 pieces to the block, so lots of seams to match up. I re-used my trusty cardboard (ex-cereal packet) template to mark out all the pieces for the new quilt – and for 16 blocks that’s 256 pieces (if I worked it out right!) – I think my poor template must be a bit askew though, as I’m having a bit of trouble getting the blocks to go together well.

I started the first block by hand, marking the seam lines by pencil on each piece and that went ok for a bit – then I got impatient and decided to machine the rest of it! And it went a bit wonky. So, I chopped some pieces of it to square it up (like you do) and moved on to block 2 – this went even more wonky but I told myself not to panic and did block 3. When I laid them out in a row, though, I thought there is no way these blocks are going to go together without more hacking and I didn’t really want to lose the pointed bit at the bottom of the bunny’s face. So I stopped and tried to forget about it for a few days – part of me really wanted to chuck the while thing in the bin and move on to some nice reassuring squares and rectangles. Blooming angles! I really like this material though – and it should go together.  

Anyway, on Sunday I had a bit of a moment. When I first started this quilt, I was wondering whether I could foundation piece it to ensure that all the shapes went together – I couldn’t figure out how to do the inset pieces though. It finally ocurred to me, though, that I could paper piece the blocks – I’d already traced the pattern out, to scale, on a large piece of paper to help me think about foundation piecing  so I’ve been able to use that to trace each individual piece and pin them to the pieces of fabric I cut out earlier.

It’s been interesting sewing pieces together through paper – and I’m a bit worried about tearing the paper off afterwards, but it has made a difference. Here is the finished block

I’m much happier with this, even though it is taking longer to sew – poor Charlie keeps asking me when her quilt will be finished, she’s had to wait a long time already – hopefully it will be looking much better in another couple of weeks!  

Here you can see the size difference between the machine-pieced block and the hand-pieced one.

I’ve just ordered some freezer paper, so I’m looking forward to giving that a try for the paper templates too – I’ve never used it before and I wasn’t really sure what it was for, but I’m excited about giving it a go. I would have hated giving up on this, so if it all works out ok it will be great to know I can put together lots of angled pieces successfully. Wow, who ever said quilting was boring! 🙂

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