Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Work in Progress Project: Chapter Six: Shaping Up!

Here I am with another update and another proud finish for The Work in Progress Project!

I'm really happy to say that I have finished my second version of the Shape-O Quilt ! It turned out really well and I'm really proud of it. Personally, I think this is one of the best quilts I have made, as I pushed myself a bit and tried something different for the quilting. Plus I had a clear plan of my fabric choices before I started, which I think paid dividends in the finished quilt.

Shape-O Toy Quilt Complete!

For this version, I used a collection of fabric called Bounce by Allison Harris for Windham Fabrics for the top and binding. I love this collection of fabric and I think it suited this quilt so well. Plus that Aqua Bouncing Balls border (which I made slightly wider than the original pattern), just makes the whole thing 'pop'.

I dug into my stash and found some funky purple and green stripey fabric for the backing and used 100% cotton batting from Spotlight. It was quilted using plain white Gutermann Thread, using a square to start and working my way out in lines following the square shape - sort of like a square spiral.

I didn't want the quilting to be perfect, so I didn't use any rulers and the spacing between each line is a bit uneven, but that was actually the way I planned it - and I LOVE it!

I think this quilt would make an awesome play-mat or gift for a new baby and because I'm so proud of it and can't bear to part with it, I'm planning to stash it away for my next niece or nephew (whenever that happens).

I'm slowly finishing the WIP's I have going on. I think I will try to concentrate on my Grandmother's Garden Lap Quilt next - but don't hold your breath, as you know, I'm easily distracted!

Happy piecing!


Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Work in Progress Project - Chapter Five: It's the progress that counts!

I haven't finished anything this week, but it is called The Work in Progress Project -  and I have made progress.

I have started to quilt my Shape-O Quilt. One of the things I realised was I was nervous about quilting it, mostly because I didn't have a clear plan. This is a really cute baby quilt pattern and I didn;t want to ruin it with my very average quilting skills!

I ended up deciding to make a small square on a slight angle and just work my way out from there so it will be a continuous square - well kind of anyway. I haven't used rulers or a walking foot. so my spacing is going to be slightly uneven and in some places it bows a bit - but I'm really liking how it is looking so far and think I will use this method of quilting again. I can't wait to show you once it's finished!

I have made another flower block for my Grandmother's Garden Lap Quilt and I have printed out the templates for my next two - yep that's right I'm making three of these Daffodil blocks - Remember how I said I had a plan for my Orphan Iris Block?

I discovered that I also had an extra Bird of Paradise block already made, which got me thinking I could combine them and make a cushion which could not match completely with my quilt, but I think it will still look nice and tie in well.

That's it for now - still making progress!

Make sure you let me know how your own WIPs are going - you can also use #theworkinprogressproject on Instagram to let me know how you are doing!

Happy Piecing!

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Work in Progress Project Chapter Four: It's had its Ups and Downs....

It's time for an update.

I have a new quilt pattern being released on July 12th in Make Modern Magazine! It's called Riding the River Rapids and it's my first pattern that is not a Foundation Paper Pieced Pattern. It is great for using a jelly roll of fabric. I actually made two versions of this quilt - the rainbow coloured version that is being featured in the magazine:

and a floral version which sat on the spare bed for literally MONTHS pieced, quilted and only awaiting binding. This week I finally finished it!

I remember now why it took me so long to get to it - because sewing the binding took me ages (I binge-watched the entire second season of Good Girls on Netflix while hand sewing the back). But I am very pleased to have it finished and now I can take it off my list.

Make sure you check out my Instagram to see some more photos of this quilt - or if you want to buy a copy of the pattern it's currently only available in Issue 29 of Make Modern Magazine which comes out on the 12 of July 2019. Click here to buy a copy or subscribe to Make Modern Magazine.

So to re-cap: I had ten projects to finish when I started #theworkinprogessproject and here is how the list is looking currently:

1. FPP Quilt Swap  - Finished!
2. Finish binding on River Rapids Quilt - Done!
3. Quilt and Bind Shape-O Quilt - Still need to get to this
4. Concrete Mixer Quilt - Finished!
5. Grandmother's Garden Lap Quilt - 4 blocks to go.
6. Tommy Turtle Quilt - Haven't gotten any further on this
7. Farm Animal Quilt - Um. I got half my sheep done. I still have several animals and a barn to go.
8. Up in the Air Quilt - Don't even want to think about it just yet...
9. Orphan Iris Block - I actually have a plan for this now - I found another spare Bird of Paradise Block and think I will make a matching cushion for my Grandmothers Garden Lap Quilt.
10. Rag Quilt - Done!
11. Rainbow Lorikeet Pattern (Wait Where did this one come from? Keep reading...)

That's 4/11 so far. How's your progress?

However I also need to admit to being naughty and cheating on my mission. Last week I was bad and I just couldn't resist making one of the Rainbow Lorikeet Patterns which was last month's free pattern for the month for my email subscribers. 

It's a 6" block and I think I will make it into a Mug Rug (or Coaster) and I think it will be a Birthday Present for someone I know. What I am finding is that this project is really hard because I'm constantly thinking about all of the other quilts I want to make and so I'm constantly tempted to start another - even though I already have my hands full! 

Also I'm super jealous of everyone who is doing the #100blocks100days2019 Quilt Along with Gnome Angel on Instagram at the moment - I see all of the fantastic blocks being created and I start itching to make them myself. I'm doing my best to use that as motivation to finish some stuff and hopefully I will be able to join in next year!

Happy Piecing,

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Work in Progress Project Chapter Three: Making a Rag Quilt

I’ve never made a rag quilt before and if I’m being totally honest I had watched a YouTube video on how to make one and I thought it looked easy - like I could whip it up while half asleep. 

I was wrong- while it’s not a complicated concept, it is harder than it looks.

I had all the winceyette squares cut up and decided that I would make it a small baby quilt and use some of my left-over Bounce Fabric by Allison Harris so I didn;t have to buy any more fabric to finish this quilt I cut these up to the same size as my winceyette squares and laid them out and then sewed them together with a simple cross. I didn’t bother with batting but realised afterward that some cotton batting might have made it a nicer and warmer quilt. Although it did still turn out to be a nice light quilt, which might be nice as part of a layer of quilts. 

The first thing I stuffed up was getting the winceyette fabric the wrong way on some squares, and then when I laid out the front squares, they got also got mixed up in the wrong order. I decided it was the back, so I could live with that.

I found sewing a half inch seam allowance as opposed to the normal scant 1/4” I usually use, to be a bit of a challenge. Mainly because it just felt wrong even though that’s what you need to do for a rag quilt. 

About halfway through sewing them together I decided to take a break and come back to it the next day. Turns out that was also a mistake. Because when I came back to it I misjudged my seam allowance on the next row and had to unpick it all and do it over. Plus I had somehow stuffed up my layout in the 24 hours since I had put it down. Lessons for next time - lay it out and sew it all together (or at least keep a consistent seam allowance) 

But the main thing I found hard was sewing with the wrong sides together and leaving raw edges. It felt wrong and every time I picked up a new square to sew I pinned it together with the bounce fabric together, and would have to flip it around again. I think because I tend to you the same method of Foundation Paper Piecing most of the time, my brain has gotten lazy and I found my fingers would automatically put something together, and I would have to make a very conscious correction. In this respect, this project was great for making me actively concentrate on my sewing!

Once I had it all together and had sewn around the edge, it was time to cut the seams. I felt very nervous doing this, as I didn’t want to cut into the sewn lines. It also took a long time to make sure I got them all. By the end of it, my hand hurt from all those little cuts with the scissors! But I did get to watch a couple of the episodes of the TV show I'm currently binging as well so - hey -  I'm all for that kind of multi-tasking!

Then I washed it and it looked really good. All my fears that it would shed fibers were alleviated. 

So making my first rag quilt was a fun, if not challenging experience. For something that seems to be a simple concept it did push my boundaries and taught me things I can use for next time, so I was pretty happy with it. 

I took this quilt along to the local hospital with my Truck quilt and donated them to the Special Care Baby Unit for a special little human there. 

That's another Work in Progress finished! 3 Down and 7 to go!
How many do you have left?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Paper Pieced Goat Pattern for the Farm Animal Quilt Along.

During May for the Farm Animal Quilt Along the animal was a Goat. There were some awesome looking goats created, from colourful and bold to just damn cute. The pattern for the goat had two options, one was a simpler version that featured just a close- up of the Goat's Face, while the other version was more complex with some smaller pieces and more templates, but showed the whole goat.

I have to say my favourite version was this version by Marie Sheppard. I love the bold colours she used to make her goat. He is just so Funky!

My own goat has a bit of a problem with his eyes. I think next time I will stick to a solid colour instead of the black and white fabric I used, but apart from that he is quite handsome.

I really liked this version by Donna, who placed her goat in amongst some flowers. I'm sure he was happy to be munching away on them!

Julia has decided that she is going to make each of her animals in a different colour of the rainbow. Her goat looks fabulous in green, and the spotted horns make him quite special.

Mellissa's goat also looked very handsome in some neutral tones!

We are currently working on some cows for our quilts and I cant wait to show you some of them soon - There are some quite strikingly beautiful cows made already!

The Goat Pattern is available in my Etsy store. I hope you join us in making your own Farm Animal Quilt!

Happy Piecing!


Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Work in Progress Project: Little Concrete Truck Quilt

This Little Concrete Truck started as a 9" orphan quilt block that I was initially unsure what to do with. I had shrunk down the initial 12" pattern and had initially thought about using this for a magazine photo, but then I stuffed up the front wheel and forgot to add the mudguard. I finished the block and threw it in my to be decided pile, and there it stayed for several weeks.

Then a few weeks later while I was enjoying some time with my local quilting Guild Papamoa Patchers, one of the ladies there announced that the local hospital needed baby quilts for their special care nursery, which the babies would get to keep. I instantly knew I wanted to help because I know first-hand how brilliant the staff who work there are and the amazing work they do.

As soon as I got home I pulled out this block and took another look at it. Even though I had messed up the colour around the front wheel, it is still clearly a truck and I'm sure some little person somewhere would still love this quilt. So I attached some colourful borders ensuring that it was the size required 20" x 24" (50cm x 60cm) and then left it on the bed for several weeks as a flimsy (an unquilted quilt).

It sat there staring at me while I moved on to other projects. Is it because I get overly excited about all the quilts I want to do? Probably, but also partly because I have the attention span of a goldfish!

This week I finally picked it up, gave it a hefty dose of the iron, basted it and started quilting. I made sure to use 100% natural cotton batting for this quilt since I knew it would be used for a baby and natural fibers breathe better and help them to regulate temperature better.  It actually only took me a couple of hours to quilt it using only straight stitching in the ditch of the borders, and then outlining the truck.

Then I found some nice soft winceyette in my stash and used that for the binding. Binding only took me another hour all up. It makes me wonder why I procrastinated so long!

I love how it turned out, it's so bright and fun and I hope the little person who gets to use it will like it.

Work in Progress Project Status: 2 finished out of 10.

Happy Piecing!


Monday, June 10, 2019

The Work in Progress Project: Chapter 1, Doing a Foundation Paper Piece Quilt Swap

I recently signed up for my first ever quilt swap. I've never done one before, so it was all a pretty new and exciting experience for me. The swap was run on Instagram by @shoppershaz_swaphost and was supposed to be a secret swap. I was assigned to a 'team' of swappers, and would secretly make a quilt, cushion or tote bag for one of the team, while someone else was making something for me. We were required to post photos of our progress on Instagram as we went, without revealing who we were making a quilt for.

Of course,

this was before I realised how many half-finished quilts I had. At the time of starting the Work in Progress Project, I had nearly finished this cushion/quilt and only had to finish off the hand stitching on the back of the binding.

I had chosen a pattern which was designed by UnicornHarts called "Oh Deer". I really enjoyed looking at the patterns available in UnicornHarts' store and was even more excited to find some of them were free such as her Candy Cats pattern and Mr. Squeak pattern (I couldn't resist downloading the Candy Cats pattern and will probably make some of these up in the future after the WIPProject).

Initially, I was unsure if I wanted to make this pattern and then make 3 different patterns to complement it, or make the pattern 4 times in different colours for the cushion cover. I decided to make the first block and then decide once I had completed the first block.

The first block was not good. The problem was that after making it, I believed it looked a bit like a demonic mouse (you can see that version on Instagram here). The colours I had initially picked out were based on my partner's preferences as she had stated them in her sign-up form. She had reported that she liked mint and grey. They did not suit the pattern, and even worse, she commented on my fabric choices and stated she didn't like the colours I had picked! Turned out that what she was actually after was not mint, but more of a teal green colour.

So I tried again. I had to modify the pattern very simply by adding more of a forehead, but this time I think I nailed it and based on the comments my partner left on Instagram - she agreed - so I was feeling much better about it.

After completing this block I decided to make different blocks to go with this lovely deer. I chose some Butterfly Charm Blocks which were designed by Lillyella. There are three patterns in this collection, and I decided to make one of each butterfly for my quilted cushion cover, using the same colours as I had used for 'Oh Deer'.

Each of the butterflies has a different name, there is Pepper, Gidget and Cricket. These patterns were cute, but very fiddly, especially because I had decided to fussy cut the background fabric in my deer and wanted to do the same in the Butterfly Charm blocks for consistency. Also, my sewing machine did not like the Gidget Butterfly and decided to eat it - twice. But I persisted and third time convinced her (Bernina) to let me make Gidget.

There was a bit of a hole in my quilt - so I designed a custom block with a Snowbell (its a pretty little white flower that as a kid I used to find in the orchard a lot), but I turned the flower pink. My subscribers will receive their own copy of this block in my monthly email in July - so make sure you are signed up!

Now I have finished it. I hope my partner likes what I made for in the end. It certainly wasn't without some very significant frustrations. But I did learn a lot during the process and it was a lot of fun.

Would I do a swap again? - Absolutely! And I would recommend every quilter do it at least once. I learned so much about myself, and improved my own skills. I also bought some fabric colours and patterns that I would not have looked twice at before, and now I think I will use them again because I discovered that I really like the colours both in combination with each other and on their own.

Work in Progress Project Status: 1 finished out of 10.

Happy Piecing!