Sunday, 29 March 2015

Craft: Crochet: Baby Blanket Bows Part 2

I've now sewn all the squares together; 4 squares by 4. I haven't got a photograph of this but I'll take a one when I've done the border.

First stage of the border is 2 rows of double crochet (3 DC in each corner stitch). This neatens the edge.

I've then gone round again with a row of shell stitch.

I'm not finished this round of stitches but took a photograph of the corner in the meantime.

Once I am done with the border I'll then sew flowers and leaves to the blanket. I've been crocheting these a few at a time. They are lovely to do as it takes no time to complete one and it's lovely to have a tub of flowers.

The flowers are from a book by Lesley Stanfield, 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet. The leaves are from a pattern on Attic24

Craft: Quilting: Bird Quilt. Part 2.

I calculated the size of the sashing needed. Vertical sashes: 6 1/8 inch, by 2 inches (yes, weird measurements but that's the size of the bird panel pictures), horizontal sashes: 5 1/4 inches by 2 inches and cornerstones 2 by 2 inches. I cut them out but need more practice as I'm not as accurate as I would like.

I then sewed the vertical sashes and the panels together in groups of four.

I then sewed the horizontal sashes to the corner stones and joined all the pieces up.

 It was here I realised I had hit 2 snags. Firstly I don't have enough of the cream fabric to do the borders around the assembled piece. I messed up a bit with my cutting out and wasted some. Well, not wasted as I will be able to use the pieces on something else but just not this project. This means a trip back to the quilt shop which, though not a hardship from my perspective, does not fill Hans with joyous thoughts. I'm going to have to be generous when buying fabric in future as I don't have the luxury of being able to nip to the shop.

The second snag is that the piece is a little too long and thin for my liking. I could have arranged the panels in a more square formation but that would have left me with 4 unused panels (ie 5 by 5). So my idea to fix this is to add an extra border just to both sides, not the tops, to widen it out. I think I'm going to do strips of matching fabric sewed in rows.

To Do:
1. buy extra cream fabric for borders

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Craft: Quilting: Bird Quilt. Part 1.

My next quilting project is the Bird Quilt. I bought the fabric as from the picture and description on Amazon I thought it would be good for fussy cutting or smaller projects. When it arrived it was just so beautiful I wanted to make something where the individual panels were the star of the show.  I actually bought 2 pieces.
One has 12 panels showing birds in houses/boots.

The other has 12 panels of birds in trees/in nests.
My idea was to cut them into 24 individual pieces and join them with sashing/cornerstones. But as this is my first proper project I didn't want to risk buying the extra fabric I needed off the internet so located my nearest quilting supplies shop, High Street Quilting 
Poor Hans was roped into taking me. That man is a saint. Benedict Biscop wouldn't have taken me to a quilt shop.
And what a good time I had! Hilary, who runs the shop, was very helpful and endlessly patient with my questions. She helped me select 2 fabrics: a cream/self patterned one for the sashing and a blue/grey fabric with green and red highlights for the cornerstones. (yes that is Small Charm Square quilt poking out)
Now this in itself was a great example of why it's better to go into a shop if you can as I had imagined I wanted a green fabric for the cornerstones but none I saw was right. Then Hilary brought out some blues which matched much better. The one I chose brings out the blue of the sky in the panels and cools the whole thing down. It also brings out the red and green in the pictures. It's a wonderful shop. Hilary took the time to show me round and tell me a little of what they did; workshops and classes. I plan to go back once the top is done for wadding, thread, backing fabric and a pep talk.
Today I got all my pieces together. The fabric, rotary cutter, cotton (100% Coats) etc.
I'd already washed them all so just did a quick re-iron.  
Next step was to cut out all 24 panels. I gave them a ¼ inch seam allowance.
To Do:
1. calculate sizes and amount of sashing (2 sizes - vertical and horizontal)
2. calculate size and amount of cornerstones.

Craft: Quilting: Small Charm Square Quilt. Notes

Points to remember when making next quilt:

  1. when quilting this one I secured the quilting stitches by changing my stitch length to zero. This was fine for this particular quilt but when I am making a larger quilt I'm going to leave a long tail at beginning and end and sew them in. This will take much longer but will look neater and I'll feel it's more secure.
  2. I just used white thread for this one but will need to remember to get matching thread. Also I need to check about using one colour for the top and another for underneath.
  3. The back turned out a bit bunchy. When I looked this up I found it's usually caused by the backing fabric not been taut enough. I should tape it down to the floor or table then build the sandwich up.
  4. the binding: it seemed narrow though I have read up about it and the width looks fairly standard. I might experiment with 3 inch strips on something in future though will need to remember (or read this back) to take the thickness of the quilt into account. I think doubling up the wadding may not be the way to go. I visited High Street Quilting in Birtley this weekend (more later) and seeing, and touching, real quilts made me realise they are not all super thick.

Craft: Quilting: Small Charm Square Quilt. Part 4

The Small Charm Square quilt is now completed. I finished it with a border made from a blue and yellow flowery fabric. I cut inch strips and sewing them diagonally together. This was then sewn to the edge of the front of the quilt, turned and hand sewn with a slip stitch to the back.

I have tried with the potholders to machine stitch both sides of the binding but I just don't like the way that turns out. It's worth hand stitching for neatness.

I'm about 70% happy with this one. Considering it was really just a rehearsal I'm content to let it be. If I had taken more time I would have arranged the colours more sensibly as there a similar colours clumped together which I don't like. I would also have done more actual quilting. I thought about doing more but decided to leave it as it is.

Having said that I anticipated it would get put away as I couldn't see much use for it however when I was taking the photographs outside I realised it's the ideal size to cover the table. So Small Charm Square Quilt has a place after all. All's well that ends well.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Craft: Quilting: Small Charm Square Quilt. Part 3.

Here is the quilt sandwich with the 'stitch in the ditch' quilting part done. I just sewed between the charm squares in straight lines.

Then I quilted on the squares themselves.

Here is the last stage of this section:

Friday, 20 March 2015

Craft: Quilting: Small Charm Square Quilt. Part 2

The next stage to this quilt is making the quilt sandwich. I've used a navy cotton with a red and white pattern for the backing fabric, then a 100% cotton wadding but as it is quite thin and I'm machine quilting I used a double layer, and the top is my charm squares sewn together. I cut the backing and the wadding slightly larger than the top.

I then pin the 3 layers together using quilting safety pins.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Craft: Crochet: Baby Blanket Bows Part 1

This is the current Baby Blanket I am working on. The pattern is from Jan Eaton's excellent book 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans.

I use Sirdar Snuggly DK. I get 5 squares from each 50g ball. How many balls I use depends on how big I want the finished blanket to be; cot size is generally 4 squares by 5. I'm doing this blanket 4 by 4 and have 3 more squares to complete. I join them together in rows.

 I'm not 100% happy with the joining method I've used (double crochet with right sides together) as the joins look ugly. I'll try something different next time.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Potholder Version 4

This is my latest potholder creation (version 4). It's going to be my last practise piece as I'm confident enough with the techniques to move onto something larger. For this potholder I made a 9-patch square ( with 2½" squares ) and a 2"strip surrounding it. 

This one I machine quilted with my new walking foot. It looks almost the same as v3 but the quilting is in a different pattern. 

Small Charm Square Quilt. Part1.

This is my next quilting project. I've used 20 charm squares. You get a free pack from Pelenna Patchworks each time you spend over £25. I sewed them together in 5 rows of 5 then sewed those rows together to form a square. The border is 2½" strips. So same techniques as the potholder only larger.
Next stage will be the actual quilting...........

Potholder: who knew they could be 'interesting'.

Here is a photograph of a potholder I made a week or so ago. I'm making them as I want to improve my quilting skills but don't want to have to make a new (large) quilt each time. Potholder construction uses the same skills a quilt does but on a much smaller scale. This one was version 3. I've since made version 4 so will post a picture of that potholdery loveliness soon.

First ever post

My first blog post. If that's even what you call it. Who knows? Probably everyone else but me.