Wednesday 25 January 2012

Hands up who's surprised...

Welcome to part one of the Staind Quilt Along!

Quilt details and Fabric Requirements

a little later than intended, but I did promise a very slow and completely relaxed attitude to scheduling, didn't I?

This QAL is because people encouraged me to make another of these, so I figured you could too..

but I didn't keep the plans and workings I did for it, and it turned out a whole lot bigger than I'd intended it to, so I've had another go at the design and we'll be working from this.

I used EQ7 for this, so if any details are wrong, its the programs fault not mine ;-)
Overall quilt size here is 44.5" x 55.5"  so will very neatly fill a crib size (45 x 60") batting, and if you're really lucky you might manage to squeeze it onto a whole piece back too - I like simple!  The crib batting I usually get is almost always  a few inches bigger than 45 x 60 when you lay it out and get all the creases out...  but I do realise you're meant to have the batting a couple of inches bigger all round, and the backing even bigger.  Oops!  Smack the back of my hands with a ruler if you like.

Block size is 11" square  (10.5" sq finished)  and there are 3 double blocks at 22x11"  (21.5x10.5" finished). You are welcome to split the double if you'd prefer to keep all blocks the same size, I just wanted to throw it in to blur the grid look a little.  The sashing around the blocks and within the blocks themselves is all 1/2" finished.

Now for the important bit....  to shop or not to shop...  Well I shopped, naturally.  (It was LAST year so it doesn't count.... )  However, despite the fact that it was sent on 30th December, its still not here yet.  (no doubt customs are having a good nosey at it...) Which is kinda why this post is late too.  I had wanted to have all my bits cut before I gave out any kind of fabric requirements.  EQ7 is rather generous in its fabric allowance normally, so keep that in mind.

This should take 2 yards of a solid.  Carefully cut that should be enough to include a binding if you so desire.   EQ7 is saying 2 1/2 yards of print.  However when I try to fill in all the pieces with 10 different prints, its coming up with 1/2 yard required of each!!  See what I mean?  I can tell you for sure that I made the first Stained quilt starting with 11  x  1/2 yard prints and I ended up with almost 11 FQs left over.  So, I am going to say that if you cut carefully, 10 -12 FQ's should be plenty.  If you are thinking Layer cake, that might work okay, but you might want to bulk it up with a FQ or two to accommodate the 11" patches.

With any luck I'll get my fabric in a day or so and rest assured I'll be choppin into it right away and I'll post exactly what it took as soon as I've done it...  So, you'll have a definitive Fabric Requirement before I tell you to start cutting, I promise.  Since I am having to consider making it with some FQ's and less than FQ's I'm being extremely particular and working out exactly which fabric to put in which patch, and then a cutting guide for every FQ print...  So my question is, would you like me to have these available for you to look at, and follow if you desire?  Or shall I just leave all the "cut what from where" up to you?!   I'm doing all these fussy OCD workings for myself, I can easy put them into a google doc for you to check out too.

This quilt, it doesn't come across as a simple or easy quilt to make.  There's no joyously simple "take one layer cake square and cut it in half"...  But I swear once the bits are cut, and you do one style of block at a time and have the bits laid out in block layout, you'll soon find them coming together really quickly and the piecing is easy really.  I'm just not all that good at finding an easy and simple way to explain it.

Just keep reminding yourself that I managed it...  so anyone can ;-)

Thursday 19 January 2012

Resolved to sew 2012

(friends and family) "havent you covered that already?"  (fellow bloggy buddies) "Oh joy, another one..."
Well really, if you'd care to check out the amazing goodies up for grabs in VeryBerryHandmade's supadupa giveaway bonanza... d'you blame me?!

In January 2011 I posted this list of goals for the years sewing.

Giles, click here for blogpost with written list!
Lets assess how I got on, just for fun...

  1. I got some practice anyway!  I'm certainly not a FM quilter yet, but I did a 20" cushion, an 18" cushion, and I did a 10" border around the edge of a quilt.  Yes, its a border cos I chickened out of trying to manhandle the quilt any further...  But its a start innit?
  2. Fail.  Non starter.  Total wimp out.  Bought some voile, and its pretty, but its slippy too..
  3. Fail.  Non starter.  Total and utter wimp out...  Still messing up 45 x 60" regularly, never mind the lack of upper body strength something bigger would require...
  4. I did!!  I made 4 quilts that I sat and designed myself, worked all the sizes and quantities out myself, and put together without instructions.  They are maybe not the most inventive quilts in the universe but I'm more than happy with that one :-)  Owly quilt, Dorothy, Not-so-hidden stars and Staind pink.
  5. Ahh.  Well, technically speaking I didnt have enough scraps to make much of anything so I think I'll let myself off that one.
  6. I got over my triangle fear.  I think having done that I should still be allowed to LOATHE them, it is after all an informed choice now...
  7. I had a go a dying fabric, I did 3 prints for my bee quilt.  And some towels.  (and my nasal passages)...I didnt quite get round to the bleaching fabric, but I do now bleach my tea towels...can that count?
  8. I didnt really did I?  In fact, I dont think I really tried any new bag patterns.  I did, however, learn the whole lined pouch and lined drawstring bag down to a tee, so that's better than nothing right?
  9. Ah.  Bit sorry I didnt get this one done, I really should.  Must try harder.
  10. I practised.  I feel I improved slightly.  I didnt honestly do enough of it to improve by any kind of noticeable leaps and bounds... but that wasnt the resolution was it!
  11. Nope, I did not learn how to do piping.  See above not making bags and below's preoccupation with zips....
  12. I most certainly did this one!  I am also certain that I still need to practice more....
  13. Who in their right mind does 13 resolutions?!  I was jinxed from the off....

photographic evidence for points above...
So that was 2011, and this post is meant to be 2012.  I'm getting to it, honest.
There were some ideas I had for last year that I think really need to be carried through to this year too.  I still need to practice and improve on many things, not just FMQ and zippers...  I'd like to get the nerve to do a quilt top in voiles.  I'd like to make more of an effort to do more bags, especially in my wool bits.  And I'd love to tackle something bigger I'd be rather pleased with myself if I managed to tackle something bigger than 45 x 60".

However, my biggest goal for 2012 is quite possibly the same thing that many others are aiming for....
In 2012 I am going to try to NOT buy nearly so much fabric, and more importantly, to stop staring at and stroking the fabric I've got and cut the damn stuff up a bit so I can use it!

(Mum has been helping me with that all week....I'll show pics next time!)

Tuesday 10 January 2012

What's goin on...

So much for a slow, quiet start to the year.  Have you seen everything that's going on in Quiltybloggyland?
First up, as it is especially for beginners, there's a wonderful thing going on over at Fairyface Designs...

FairyFace Designs

There is so much happening in Sarah's {SEW} Get Started that I wont try and fit it all in here, go and have a look!  Anything you could want to know about starting sewing, all in one place.

Then there is this....
Mouthy Stitches
Which is the first of possibly many swaps from my mouthy mates, Susan, Hadley and Cindy.  It's starting off with a nice and easy (hahaha) zippy pouch, and should be great fun.

And then there's the Quilt-A-Longs...  so many tempting quilts to join in making....
Like this one.....

Stained QAL
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Stained QAL"><img src="" alt="Stained QAL" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Yes, in case you'd forgotten, there is also MY QAL!   (Please don't forget!)  Cos I haven't... I've been quietly messing about finalising the design on EQ7, and planning out how to do the posts.  Quite a lot more to take into account than I'd realised to be honest!  If anyone has any pointers of how they'd like to see things feel free to let me know now whilst I'm still planning!
So far, my rough schedule is as follows.  I was asked to keep it slow, and I think this ought to do it!

  • Friday 20th January  Quilt details, Fabric Requirements
  • Friday 3rd February  Block one (3 to make)
  • Friday 10th February Block Two (4 to make)
  • Friday 17th February Block Three (5 to make)
  • Friday 24th February Block Four (5 to make)
  • Friday  2nd March Quilt Top Assembly

I am also thinking of seeing if I can do a google doc that you can print out, with the patterns for all blocks in case you want to go faster!
Now, I'm not going to provide full instructions beyond that, but I will provide a selection of my favourite tutorials and guides to every step that takes a pieced top to a finished quilt.   I've set up a flickr group too so anyone taking part can post pics, and anyone stuck can ask questions.  Call me lazy if you want... but I prefer to think of it as sensible.  I'm still learning myself, this QAL is to show you how I made the Stained Pink Quilt, so I'm talking you through turning the design picture to a quilt top.  The rest of it.. well... if you've read this blog before you'll know I've never gotten it right first time myself yet!  I'll be following the same tutorials as you to get it finished after that!

Meantime, all this excitement online and I've got nowt much to report to be honest.  I was working on a little stack and slash project, but that's now gone into a bag to be looked out later this year when I need something else for Rhonda's Finish Along!  Well...  it was going okay, but I completely lost steam on it.  Too many other things coming up.  Like all of the above, plus round two of  For the Love of Solids (I know, I was so sure I wasn't going to do it, but then Susan...well, lets just say she can be persuasive).  
And, most exciting of all... mum's coming up to visit for a few weeks!  I'm going to supply the fabric, she's hopefully bringing enough sewing mojo for both of us...  carnt wait!  

Friday 6 January 2012

sew mama questions...

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?

Not having been around the quilting scene for previous years, I cant say if these are specifically new to 2011, but it seemed to me that there was a big drive to rejuvenate quilting  - sampler quilts were everywhere, but in such bright and glorious colours they could not have looked any more different to the images in the books about them.  And of course there was the white, so much white background.  Not that I'm complaining, a white background looked so crisp and fresh - just the thing to epitomise modern! 

What were some of your favourite things related to sewing this past year? 

Definitely participating in sewing with others online.  I cant put into words just how glad I am to be in the virtual Bee that I'm in, with such wonderful ladies.  Not only do we constantly push each other to try new things and offer up endless encouragement to do so, we're fast becoming great friends, and I couldn't be happier about that.    Also this year I took part in a few swaps.  These have been so much fun, with loads of online Flickr Group banter too.  The whole interactive aspect has really allowed me to broaden my own ideas, as sewing for someone elses tastes makes you come up with things you may never have thought of doing otherwise; and it's without the pressure of commission.

What did you make that you’re most proud of?

That has got to be my single girl quilt.  So many firsts in that quilt, and at times it felt like a nightmare to make... but I love it.

What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love? 

Two projects that would answer this question for me are the mini quilt I received from Flying blind on a Rocket Cycle in my first swap, and Ruby Star Spring Quilt by Pings and Needles.

The Front
(design using only squares of a skull on side profile with a pink, teal, grey and yellow background)
Resurrection Tea Party by Flying blind on a rocket cycle

The mini, "resurrection tea party" is just love at first sight!  It was so completely different to all the other quilts in the swap, it stands out a mile.  The fabrics used are gorgeous, its been beautifully put together, but its the design I love most.  A mini quilt that ROCKS...  I love that it only uses squares too.  It was inspired by the quilts by Boo Davis, whom I wasn't familiar with at the time, but you can be sure I got her book pronto and it didn't disappoint.  

The other project I saw in 2011 that I absolutely love was Ruby Star Spring Quilt by Sarah @ Pings and needles

Ruby Star Spring Quilt - Finish!
Ruby Star Spring Quilt by Pings and Needles

I was initially drawn to the Melody Miller prints for their wonderful celebration of all things retro.  I don't suppose her Ruby Star Spring line came specifically into that category, but I do love it.  The same tactile linen mix, wonderful geometric pattern, luscious colours.
This quilt uses the "Ruby Star Spring" and a multitude of solids and linens.  It is an inspiring mix of different styles - small sections of nine patch blocks and traditional patchwork, "modern" random piecing, fussy cutting.  And so many colours!  This is one quilt that really made my jaw drop and my heart skip a beat...  

What are your thoughts about social media? How is it going for you? What do you love or hate?

I try not to think about social media - I'd be so tempted to slam it for being some kind of time vampire...  So charming and tempting... but they'll suck up your hours in seconds and leave you quite bewildered.  But then I'd be a hypocrite!  My problem is that I don't have the energy or the awake time to accommodate it all.  I don't actually have anything against it, but I quite literally cannot keep up.  I don't do i-things or android things and am ashamed to say I'm already in "don't know what I'm talking about" territory...  I blog, I'm on facebook and flickr, and I "pin"...  That's more than enough for me!   (no really, it is now MORE than enough, I'm getting less and less done each week...)
I wouldn't want to be without it though!  I don't know if I could cope for long without it...  But I do feel its had a positive influence in my life.  I've learnt so much through the generosity of other sewing bloggers sharing their methods and techniques, flickr groups offering support and encouragement for groups to learn together.  It is a wonderful community and I'm so glad I found it!  

Did you have a favourite fabric collection or print in 2011? 

Selection of Metro Living Circles from Robert Kaufman and Silent Cinema from Jenean Morrison

Oh so many! I went a bit crazy for fabric in 2011.  I've always loved fabric, and I've always hoarded fabric...  but I think it is possible I went a bit too far this time.  I've got a funny feeling that I'm not the only one though!  Perhaps this really was a bumper year for outstandingly eye catching, heart tugging pretty prints....

What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry? 

You know, even if I thought I could answer that, I wouldn't want to to be honest!  I want 2012 to be fun and exciting, I want to be surprised.  I don't want to guess where it's going, I'm quite happy to just enjoy the ride!
I think we are all influenced by each other.  I can see how those who are trying to earn  a living quilting might feel this is not always the best thing, and that they cant / wont / shouldnt read too many blogs,  and at times I sort of agree.  It would be so good to come up with something myself and not realise I have seen it on someones elses blog at some point! 
I guess it all depends on what you want to get out of this.  I will never have the energy to make any kind of money from this, I'm in it for the love of it, and to keep me sane...  I would hate not to read the blogs I read, it really has become keeping up with friends.

Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012? Any big projects or life-changing goals?

I don't have any life-changing goals in mind so far...  I quit smoking last year, I don't know if I could top that for life-changing goals.  I don't have any big projects in mind either, in fact, I would much rather keep things small and quiet this year - I might get more done!  However having said that I am going to attempt a QAL starting in February... and goodness knows how that'll go!
I've had a look through the list of goals I started 2011 with, and I still have a few things to cover, so I'll keep that list and try again this year.  I was going to make some additions, like NOT BUYING ANY MORE FABRIC.  But I don't know that I could really cope with that, I AM addicted.  Already this year I have finally seen a range of colours I've been thinking of for  a while.  Clearly others have been thinking of them too as they are all together in a new line from Michael Miller...  

Selection of Michael Miller Couture solids, images from Fat Quarter Shop

Having last year used lots of white, lots of black, some coal, some ash, some charcoal, having bought some tan and taupe and stone and not used them as they didn't turn out to be quite what I wanted really - already, 6 days into a new year, I want to buy a stack of solids.  I cant help it, these really are what I've been daydreaming of for positively donkeys... Honest!    What is a girl to do???

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Joining in

2012 Finish-A-Long

So I've sat here the last few days, watching everyone list their UFO's (un finished objects) and join in with Rhonda and her Finish-along, and I must admit I've felt rather smug about not really having any UFO's as mine were really just one or two WIP's (work in progress)...  I've looked at others lists, wished them luck and thought "phew, glad I dont have a UFO pile"...
Then I had a bit of a pull half the shelves apart looking for something re-organisation in the sewing cupboard and, well, I'm not feeling quite so smug any more... quite the opposite in fact.  *I hang my head in shame*  

Half done dresden...
 We have one unfinished Dresden.  Unfinished because it needs unpicked and done again.  Then I have a centre circle to add, and an outer.  And a border.  The whole dang thing basically.  Then of course I'll need to turn it into something - I'm thinking a circular cushion.

5" solid charms
 Rhonda, this actually has been started I promise, I just don't have a photo of the start.  It is a quilt top just done with 5" solid charms.  Kinda like Dead Simple, only Dead Indecisive cos I couldn't pick a small colour palate.... there's about 30 odd colours there...

A half done paper pieced star

This was a dual purpose item.  A trial effort for Laura's October Stars bee, done in my bee month fabrics since I havent actually made my own bee blocks yet...
I gave up half way and decided to do something else for Laura, and I still havent done my own bee blocks so thats what this represents.  My own bee blocks!  (Still not entirely sure about this one, but I will finish it.)

Not-so-Hidden Stars Quilt top

This quilt has been sitting on me on the sofa all winter.  Despite never being all that excited by it in the making, I really love it now.  It is officially my most used quilt.  (By me that is, I do hope the one's I've given away are also being used by their recipients!)  It is, however, still in its basted form...  I started FMQ'ing around the outside edges and got about 3/4 of the way round before I got entirely fed up.  I then took it to the sofa with a lovely perle cotton.  It has 2 stars hand quilted in perle.  
It would be rather nice to actually get this one finished so that I can give it a good wash if nothing else...  And to see what it feels like to snuggle up in without basting pins...

I did find one or two other UFO's but I'm not owning up to them yet, thats more than enough for the first quarter, wouldnt you say Rhonda?!  I hereby submit these for Rhondas Finish-along, to be completed in the first quarter.  I hereby stop hanging my head and say "me too me too can I play?!"