Monday 31 December 2012

Just made it.

Thank you for all your helpful suggestions regarding how to fix the f*** ups in the last quilt, I'm delighted that everyones suggestions were positive!  Massively disappointed that none of you had any suggestions that didn't involve hard work though... I don't know, not one trick or quick fix amongst you?  Really?  Must just be me that operates that way....  Anyway, to update on that, I shall be putting said quilt away and hiding it for a few weeks as I do not have the will to go back and stitch every dodgy petal just yet.  It shall come out again; when I can look at it without pouting, scowling and generally muttering profanities.  It shall be my first entry for Leanne's 2013 Finish along!

Can I just sneak in one more finish before the year is out?  Pretty please?

Yes, it is my very own Stained II, from the slowest Quilt Along Ever...  And yes, in my hurry to get it on a 2012 blog it still has the sodding pins in it... d'oh!  But then the photo is so dark and rubbishly placed and actually out of focus I doubt the fact that there's pins in it really makes a blind bit of difference.  Note for 2013 - when man eventually comes home insist on a picnic / lets take all the quilts on a road trip and see if I cant get one bloody picture I like!!!

The Stained QAL was my first time hosting anything never mind a whole Quilt Along.  Might have been a teeny bit over ambitious but thankfully the pattern was soooo simple to put together no one needed to be told how to! (bad host... sorry)  Stained QAL and the Japanese Charm Swap were definitely the most time consuming things I did this year, but they were so much fun, and I am so glad I dived in and just did it.  Happy happy, and that's thanks to you guys!  

I'm hopeful that the lurgy is on its way out as I'm starting to stay awake for more than half an hour at a time now, although I'm still a veritable snot machine and am onto the kitchen roll now.... mmm...scratchy...but certainly more absorbent...  
Cant quite decide if I'm up to seeing the new year in at the sewing machine like last year.  I might.  But then again a quilt and a large glass of mulled wine (or two) is sounding darned appealing right now.  

I shall leave you with a mosaic of all the versions of Stained to have appeared on the Stained QAL Flickr Group Page.  I cant begin to tell you how amazing it's felt to have people actually want to make this quilt!  I love how different they all look, it's incredible!  Often when I make something I sit and think "maybe this would have looked better in some other fabric".  I've said before, I am utterly useless at making the same thing twice, so its been such a fantastic treat to have people do that for me *wink*.

Stained QAL 2012

1. staind picnic, 2. qal9, 3. Stained finis!, 4. IMAG1102, 5. Stained - Finish!, 6. Neon Stained, 7. Stained QAL All Done, 8. Stained Quilt Top Detail, 9. Stained Colourful Finished, 10. apples1, 11. Stained quit top done. But rainy day=bad pics, 12. Stained Quilt finished 2, 13. stained on bench, 14. DSCF6839_WCC, 15. Stained so far, 16. Little Apples Stained quilt finished, 17. stained quilt all finished, 18. Stained Blue - Stained Quilt QAL, 19. Shattered Stained Navy, 20. IMG_1028, 21. Echo Stained, 22. Stained Glass top finished, 23. Folded over a sign, 24. Stained II - finished, just..., 25. black monkey, 26. Block 1c, 27. Not available, 28. blok 1c29. Not available30. Not available

A massive, heartfelt thank you to all those who joined in, it was wonderful!  If anyone isn't finished yet, don't worry - it is the slowest QAL ever after all, and the group will stay open as I love popping in from time to time.

All that remains to be said is that I wish everyone a very happy new year!  Lets hope for love, for health and for some bloody good fun :-)  (and a bigger fabric budget...)

Friday 28 December 2012

She thinks its all over.... it's not.

 Remember this one?  My attempt at the Soda Pop Quilt by Katy Jones?

You might remember me moaning about my issues with the fusible batting not sticking.   Or my issues with the bonda web on the white bubble parts not bonding.   But then I do moan rather a lot so maybe not...  
Mum helped me get all the bubbles done in a couple of mammoth quilting sessions before she left, and its been sitting on the sofa waiting for me to hand stitch the binding down on the back.  Boxing day seemed like the ideal day to get that finished. 

As usual, I wish the photos were better.. but believe me these were the best of a whole big bad lot!

Looks aaaaright eh?  Looks like a finish eh?  I bloody wish.  This quilt is not done yet... it has yet more "issues" to wind me up with.

Poor wee soadypop, the faults are entirely my own.  As you can see, there are a few bits where my stitching has come too close to the edge of the petal bits.  Or the stitching has missed the edge completely...  This is only four of them.  Unfortunately there are decidedly more than four in the quilt.  
Unfortunately the bondaweb stuff didnt work, so they arent even stuck down.  So...
How the hell do I fix it?  Is it just a "grin and bear it cos there's no simple way" situation?   Frankly right now I'd rather just pretend that it is finished and forget about it!  But, it needs a wash, I am hoping that the failed fusing crispiness will wash out and I would love to feel it soft and drapey instead of its current cardboard nature.  If I washed it just now though I'd lose half the petals - and if that happened I think I'd seriously loose my temper with it!   Answers on a postcard please....  

Thursday 27 December 2012

Christmas makes and mental cat.

Am too stuffed up with cold to make any kind of polite, non snot related conversation - the dreaded lurgy hit on 23rd and I fought it as best I could til auntie went home boxing day morning.  Since then I've just been a dozy dopey mopey mess!  So, I shall show you the pressies I made (at least the few I remembered to take photos of.... numpty)....

And they do say that Christmas is all about the kids, and since I dont have any the cat will need to do.  This is the beast the night before Christmas, getting up to all sorts of trouble and making me fetch baubles from under the sofa and the armchair every five minutes...

And this is her on Christmas morning, getting her Christmas Catnip....

Sunday 23 December 2012

Return of the Christmas Potted Plant...

I'm a bit stuck for a decent blog post ("again?" you say...) mainly due to my not having done anything other than sleep and make Christmas presents that I cant show yet!  I've been keeping the most awful hours lately - I'd had a long spell of not sleeping at all during the night which naturally leaves me useless during the day, and when you've got pressies to make I just gave in and got up whenever I woke up...well, I've heard I'm not the only nutter person who got up in the wee small hours to sew!

Anyway, all presents made, and those that needed posted were posted in time - big relief, small miracle...

Hardly any Christmas trees made it to the island this year, so I'll leave you with the Christmas Pot Plant in all its festive glory, and a reminder to put radio 2 on at 9am Christmas morning for Junior Choice....  I will!  (Elliecat likes it..)

Now, off to make the (veggie) sausage rolls, the cheesecake, and wrap Aunties presents.  Merry Christmas one and all!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

the second week

It's just me and the cat again.  Mum has gone home.  Boo....  But I have the week two finishes to show off!

The two things that were going so wrong in the last post are sorted.  The zip problem - well, I interfaced the fabric until it was unable to do any shifting and that sorted it.  The fusible batting and (not)bond(ing)aweb we couldn't exactly fix so it was just a matter of time and effort to re-fuse the batting every line and stitch very slowly checking each and every petal.  It's still a Work In Progress.  

However.  The finished bag...  made to order for a fabulous mate with a paisley obsession....
It's Lisa Lam's Reversible bucket bag, but not reversible as it now has internal pocket with zip, internal pocket for mobile, pen, passport etc, ZIP CLOSURE (woohoo!) key rope & clip, plastic bag bottom and plastic tubing handles.  Just a few wee alterations then....  

Another finish is a project that mum and I worked on together at the start of the year (well, mum worked I bossed a whole lot) our Sirrius Spring Quilt.  In case you've forgotten (I wouldnt expect you to remember everything you read here.  Just most of it.) it is so called as we were making it in the middle of a Harry Potter Marathon... You try 2 HP films a night including dvd extras and see if you can still say Citrus...

As is usual for this time of year, especially in this ole house, there is no daylight, and very little room, and poor interior lighting too, so these photo's are pretty good with all that in consideration...

Its another Kate Conklin pattern called "Off the rails".  We used klona Ash and a selection of citrus-ish coloured prints.  I especially love how the orange binding works and how the quilting turned out -  we did random straight lines all over it at all sorts of different angles, in a bright orange variagated thread!

And finally, number 3 of 3 but the first one I've remembered to take a photo of - a series of mini quilts I was asked to make a shamefully long time ago.  All done now tho!  Phew!

Meanwhile I have 2 zippys to finish, 2 totes to finish, 2 scarves to make, 2 quilts to bind, 2 cushions to make, and a secret santa to sort out.  Odd how there's ended up being two of most things!    So, best get on with it eh.  Dont we just love Christmas?!

Thursday 6 December 2012

The F word. Fusible that is.

My what a sweary sewing day today.  Honestly, I might just have surpassed myself with the variety and ferocity exhibited today.

It started with getting up early and packing up a quilt to be basted and all the kit and caboodle required to do so and trudging ever so slowly and carefully through the icy inch of snow to ... well.... nothing.  It was supposed to be a quilting group meeting -  something very new to me, primarily attended for the massive tables to be honest, I take a long time getting to know actual people however nice they are....  Anyway.  Dicey, slow, painful trudge to get there, and there's nothing on.  D'oh!  Should have thought that it'd be cancelled if the pavements and roads were icy.  Numpty.

So. Hip hurt, and no way to baste.  Plan B, continue work on my Soda Pop.  I dont know if I've shared much of that with you.  I did put a wee picture of the half made quilt top on my Finish Along List.  Well, we got the top pieced a couple of days ago, and mum has been a massive help in drawing and cutting 150 more petals for me!

If you are not sure what in the name of the wee man I'm on about, I'm talking about making the fabulous quilt by the equally fabulous Ms Katy Jones, featured in the, again, fabulous Fat Quarterly Shape Workout book.  Here is a photy (nicked from Allegory  co-incidentally fabulous also).  Allegory also ran a Quilt Along, which is when I started this... I didn't officially join in as I was, rightfully, a bit dubious as to how quickly I could  do it - not very quickly at all it turned out!  Anway.  This is the masterpiece I dream of...

With all my basting issues, I bought a queen size fusible pack of batting for this one.  With my trusty un-built coffee table laid out in quilting mode

mum and I painstakingly fused the quilt top, and back, to the fusible batting.  (We had towels wrapped round the boards, just in case you wondered).

No cat was pressed in the making of this quilt.  Not for the want of her trying though.

One row at a time, we fused and quilted / raw edge applique'd the petals.  My god it is an absolute freakin' hateful nightmare.  (Must state, this is NOT how Ms. Jones tells you to do it!  Must also state that although it is the method Allegory used, I sincerely doubt she did the same way I've been attempting - my sweariness and foul temper are my own fault entirely and only directed inward I assure you!).  

My petals wont stick right, they keep lifting off.  I keep completely missing the points, then they get folded over on themselves at the very last minute and sewn in place like that.
My walking foot, despite NEVER being too happy to assist me in getting straight lines straight, is even less happy with the notion of doing a gently undulating wave.
The fusible batting gives the quilt sandwich a temporary crispiness, which makes it very difficult to wrestle through a sewing machine.  The fusible batting has also UN-FUSED itself.  It apparently doesn't like to be quilted.  Bit f****** useless then wouldn't you say?!  Don't get me wrong, I've used it in bags and pillows and wall hangings etc, and its been fab.  But a quilt?  It is not playing nicely with the other children at all.

Back and shoulders now as sore as hip, time for plan C.  Get on with the second bag commission.  Typically enough, it just didn't want to play nice either.  I was trying to do this style of zipper again.

Knitting bag interior pockets

This tutorial, but this time I'm making the zip about 2" longer at the end instead of splitting it up.  The fabric pieces either side of the zip.  Just could not do it!  5 times I've sewn it and had to unpick.  I've pinned it.  I've starched it.  I've used bondaweb on the edges of the zipper to fuse it in place (might have known that wouldn't work today!).  I've tacked it.  Every single time I end up with a big (more than 0.25") bump of fabric on the top being chased by the needle...  I just don't understand it.  

So, there has been a big blue sweary cloud round my head all day!  Thankfully, mum is still here.  She cooked me dinner, we put the fire on, and did nothing - absolutely nothing all evening.  So much happier now!  

Sorry bout the not-so-good photos today, and also if you've commented and I've not replied I apologise; I'm a bit behind.  I do read them and I do appreciate getting them, thank you!

Subscribe early!

Apologies if you feel bombarded with this at the moment, as usual I am a bit late getting my post out so you've no doubt heard it all before, a few times, already.  But, dammit, it is worth saying again.

If, like me, you wish there was a choice, a bit of variety in modern quilting magazines - pay attention.  There is something you can do about it.

Kerry, of Penny Dog Patchwork, is fundraising to start a brand spanking new quilting magazine, Fabricate!
I'll leave all the detail explaining to Kerry - read this - but I would say this.  If she succeeds, you are probably going to want to get this magazine.  Ahhh go'aaan... you know you will.  We'll all be blogging about it... So if you can make a donation, this will be much more likely to happen.   And if, sadly, it doesnt happen, no money is taken from you at all, so you've lost nothing - except the opportunity to get a great new quilty magazine.
Nuff said.

Meanwhile...  I finished 2 christmas present makes, and promptly forgot to photograph them.  Not that I'd be able to blog them anyway, secret time and all that.  However, I had 2 requests for bags, and I got the first one done.  I give you the "off on a cruise" holiday bag.  (For a lady who is, conveniently enough, going to be going on a cruise soon.)  It's actually my trusty favourite Lisa Lam bag, the "For Pleat's Sake tote".

Saturday 1 December 2012

Catching up more

I am having such a great time with mum here!  She turned up with a mission - help me clear as many of my WIPs as possible.  Slowly but surely we are getting there, and even more importantly, we're really enjoying it.  It is such a wonderful feeling to be getting things done for once!  I couldn't be doing it at all without mum here to encourage me, tell me to nap, supply cups of tea, do the dishes, help with all the meals, help me keep my mind on what I'm meant to be doing....

One of this weeks projects was a commission I got a wee while ago to make a teeny wee quilt to be a  gift for a newborn.  They don't know yet whether it's a girl or boy, so I had to keep it neutral.  Actually as commissions go I was given a fantastically free reign.  Neutral colours, a small square size,  and the tip that daddy is a fisherman and they live by the sea.

I thought right away of the lovely organic Beyond the Sea prints from Cloud 9 and I found a pattern by Kate Conklin which actually used Beyond the Sea.  I didn't follow the pattern as such, but I did buy the pattern, have a good look at what was done, then I pretty much did the same.  In doing a nine block layout I wanted the centre different, and I liked the flow of the blocks so I decided on a nice drunkards path four-patch, with the quarter circles creating a bit of a curvy pin-wheel.     Although I should point out that mum put that block together when I was napping!
It has been given the nod of approval from the recipient-to-be, so I'm pleased with that.

Quilt detail  -  top, Beyond the sea by Michelle Engel  Bencsko (with a couple of stripes from her Simpatico line and a dotty blue from her My Happy Nursery fabrics) all from Cloud 9 100% organic cotton, sashing 100% cotton, back is 100% cotton flannel, and batting 100% cotton also.  Design based around Kate Conklin's Sea Views.  Machine quilted in wavy lines.  31" square, now 29" square post wash!

Another project I've been pottering about with which mum helped encourage me to complete is this cushion, to be a pressie for a bloggy bloke.  The front is English Paper Pieced hexies in Curious Nature, with a bit of hand quilting in perle. 

The best bit is that I finally got up the nerve to do a concealed zipper closure on the back!  

Mum helped out here by insisting on putting a binding on it.  Its not something I've done before, binding a cushion, and frankly by the time I'd sorted the front and the back with the fancy zipper and all that, I was shattered so when mum said it would look even nicer with a binding I let her get on with it!  She's so right though.... much much nicer.  And now that I've seen it done so quickly and easily... well no excuse not to do it again!

There has  been other work done; we have two quilts basted, one ready to baste, 2 cushion tops cut, 2 bags cut... And there's been some boring but essential home re-organising too.  We've filled a nice big box for the dump, shifted some small furniture, re assigned some storage, (nothing to do with rapidly expanding stash...) (fingers crossed? me?  you think?)  and today mum helped me replace the old dressing gown I had pinned to the window frame with a proper curtain!  
An even more impressive home improvement was my purchase of an Ikea coffee table for £20.  No building required - the chunky top makes for an ideal speedy workspace when put on the spare bed, and the shelf makes a great board for the cutting mat.  Also, I chose the white, so hopefully they will come in handy for taking photos too!  And when not in use they slip neatly behind the chest of drawers.  Perfect!  

So, that's our first week.  Fingers crossed I'll have even more to show this time next week!