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Project ‘New Baby’ …

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment

.. phase 1 is complete – yay! Finished the tumbling blocks quilt this week for a forthcoming arrival and I’m really happy with it. This is the quilt that uses some of Kate Spain’s Central Park fabric (how much do I love that range!) and also the pattern that Kate designed  (link here).

The fabrics were a real joy to work with (so soft and they held their shape beautifully!) and the pattern goes together really easily – 2 strips of fabric 6 1/2 ins high are joined, then cut using a 60 degree ruler (I have a 60/90 ruler that I bought from the quilt shop, when my last effort at ‘tumbling blocks’ went a bit astray and this was it’s first outing). Each pair of triangles is then joined to make a diamond, with alternating hexagons – so easy even I can do it!     

I quilted it with a swirly meander, using the darning foot on the sewing machine  – I think my free motion quilting is definitely improving! I wouldn’t say I feel relaxed exactly while I’m quilting, but I am remembering to breathe, which I guess is a bonus 🙂 – I just need to remember to move my hands otherwise I end up with my nose pressed to the quilt and my hands extended either side of the quilt!!!!

There was a minor crisis last Saturday night when my darning foot broke (cue lots of swearing and stamping of feet!) – there was a funny ‘clunk’ and then the resistance while I was moving the quilt under the needle seemed to disappear. I didn’t worry too much to start with as the stitching on the top was fine and it felt easier moving the quilt – but when I  looked back at the work I’d done, the top thread was looped up underneath – and bright orange thread on a white background does tend to show up a little!! Aaaaaaaaarrrrrgh! I discovered that the metal bar at the top of the darning foot (the one that sits on top of the needle clamp) had broken off (don’t ask me why – didn’t think I’d been that rough with it!!) – anyway, it had thrown all the tension out. So, lots of unpicking later ……..

Luckily, I remembered reading something about darning feet on Leah Day’s blog on free motion quilting  – Leah is amazing and posts some wonderful tutorials on her free motion designs. She also has lots of useful tips and I’d already followed her advice to break open my darning foot by cutting a section out of it, so that I could see the needle more easily. She also recommends bending that top metal bar of the darning foot up  and out of the way, anyway, and adding an elastic band underneath the bar (yes, really) to get the foot to sit higher above the quilt  – again, so that you can more easily see what you’re doing.

So – once I’d stopped panicking, that’s what I did – and the foot works just as well, if not better, than before! Thanks Leah 🙂

I did a swirly meander everywhere apart from on the giraffe, which I outlined with a double border – and then, to try and differentiate it from the rest of the quilt, I added some ‘patches’ to mimic the patterns on a real giraffe. I really liked the effect, but they’ve disappeared a bit, now that the quilt has been washed and gone all crinkly! I think you can just about see the outline of the giraffe still.

 

The quilt got a little baby brother (or sister!) in the form of a little fleecy blanket with matching giraffe

I used the giraffe template the same size as the quilt, and used the same fabric to tie everything together – the blanket has the same binding as the quilt too – ‘scrappy’ style, using all of the fabrics that were in the quilt. I love the act of  ‘quilting’ and seeing the 3 layers of fabric/batting join together and become something different – something more than the individual layers, but I still enjoy binding the most, I think. I’m always amazed at how it transforms a project before your eyes into something ‘complete’. Oh, and I do love sitting sewing peacefully with a quilt over my knees – I have to admit I usually fall asleep at this point, though, so it can be a long process!!

 The last part of this little bundle is ‘Gemma Giraffe’ – a cheeky little amigurumi in bright orange and aqua, to match (I use the word loosely!) the quilt and blanket

I was going to say I’ve got quite ‘hooked’ on amigurumi (ho ho ho) but maybe that pun is a step too far, even for me! I spotted a pattern for a giraffe in the little book that I bought, though and I thought I just had to make one to go with the other bits – these little crochet animals are really sweet and very easy to put together. Gemma’s ‘mane’ took quite a long time (do giraffes really have that much hair???) but she was good fun to make – I love how increasing and decreasing gets those little ‘foot’ (or should I say ‘hoof’?) shapes at the end of the legs – so, so sweet, even if crocheting rounds of 4 stitches is a bit of a challenge!

 

She’s a bit bright in that ‘jaffa’ orange but hey, babies like bright colours – don’t they ???

So, the baby bundle is now complete and has gone off to a staging post (grandma’s house) until the baby arrives  🙂

Time to move on now to baby’s big sister – something in yummy pinks and blues from the beautiful Delilah range of fabric by Tanya Whelan. I see more quilts, a cushion and possibly some bunting coming here soon!