Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Lazy person's quilt top

Here is another of my Finish-Along projects well underway. I think it is called the Cabbages and Strawberries quilt due to the colours and what matches out in the garden currently. I have an enormous cabbage waiting to feed a small country. 

This is all Tilda and is two charm packs just pieced in strips then the rows are joined. See - very lazy. especially as the corners don't join perfectly. Those Tilda charm packs are (from previous experience) not cut quite square. Do I worry about stuff like that? No. If you are one of life's perfect people youcan carefully  square up each square. Then super carefully match everything as you sew, and feel utterly horrid over a tiny misalignment. Perfectionism is not healthy - my wise words of the day. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Finish-Along Finish One - The Fergus and Mouse Quilt

Wooo hooo! We have our first Finish-Along project completed. Here is the wee masterpiece, top completed in 2014 then sandwiched and bound in January 2015.
This is a dear little lap sized quilt made from mainly American Jane for Moda School Days fabric, with a little October Afternoon thrown in. I bound it with a soft lemon as It was impossible to match the blue at my local fabric store. 

The reverse is a simple navy with white spot. I love spots, so I am happy with it, and the lemon binding looks pretty with navy. 

I machine quilted it in a random squiggly pattern. It is quite textured, and not perfect, but will be lovely and  warm with cosy wool batting. The Crafty Neighbour is horrified that I would make a quilt for my furry boyfriends, but why not? Yes, I am a crazy cat lady. 

I love the sprinkling of red among the retro blues and yellows. 

Is that really the compost bin in the background? Just keeping it real around here. 

It is going to be sweltering around here today. I had an energetic ride yesterday, so Zanny will have a rest. It was her first good exercise session this year, due to ongoing shoe issues, so she'll be a bit stiff today, possibly. Old ladies need to pace themselves. My butt hurts a bit from gripping as we cantered. She has a - let's be honest - horrible jarring canter, so it has not been easy getting comfortable and balanced. I had to completely relearn how to ride when I started in 2011, and a nasty fall set me back, but as Zanny is the best horse ever, I am so happy in the saddle. 

I am so pleased to have another quilt finished. Reminder to self- I actually enjoyed hand sewing the binding while watching Masterchef last night! 

Friday, 16 January 2015

Tilly's Megan Dress

Finally a dress reveal. Here's my super comfy Megan dress.
Quick photo before grabbing shoes and heading out the door. 
It could be a bit of a closer fit, but I'd rather be comfortable all day and not worried about grippy bits. 
There is a bit of pooling of fabric above my backside to fiddle with when I make another dress in this pattern. I also lengthened the bodice and swung the bust darts as they pointed upwards and I do not. The skirt is cut wider and longer as Tilly's original versions are quite short. I like to bend over at work without flashing my undergarments. 

Not quite tea length but perfect for a tea party. 

Fergus approves. 

We went out for the morning with Meg, Ryan and Henry. I didn't buy anything, but did get my cup of tea and tan square from the C1 cafe. My favourite thing about the cafe is the garden outside. Last time we came the chefs were filling trays with salad greens. The deep wine coloured nicotianas look fabulous with the lush greenery, and match the ripening strawberries too. 

Henry liked the corgis.

His shorts have sharks on them. I want a shark dress.
It is fun spotting the giraffes around town at the moment. This one is standing near an urban farm "gap filler". When Christchurch fell down with the earthquakes, lots of land became vacant, and some has become parks and interesting planted areas, or art installations.

The giraffes will eventually be sold for charity. I love their friendly faces. 
Meanwhile, we can admire them.
Well, at long last I am pleased to share something complete that fits ok, is comfortable and was easy to make. This has overlocked seam finishing, and I did a bias binding neck facing. Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons fame, writes clearly, keeps it simple and easy to follow, plus her book is beautiful. I didn't have to grade up or do a FBA, although some tweaks were required lengthening the bodice so the seam cut under my bust. Sort of a mini FBA, I guess. The shoulders actually fit, but I did have to narrow the top back of the dress, otherwise it would have gaped at the back neck.

Success! Providing the fabric lasts well with washing, this dress will be out and about a lot this year. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Finish-Along Fun

decided that there are too many unfinished projects lurking around here, and some action is required. Adrianne at On the Windy Side is hosting a Finish-Along, so I am going to join the party. 


In the interests of getting started, I am blogging on my wee I-Pad, which can be a bit frustrating as my photos are not as good and there are hardly any features to make links etc. Never mind. 

I started this blog with garment sewing in mind, but being tied down to one avenue of creative output has not suited me. I flit and flutter from paper to fabric, quilts to collage, gardens to horse and back again. To be honest, the guaranteed success I have with quilt-making is much more fun than the disasters I have had sewing clothes. That's not to say I don't enjoy dressmaking. I am improving with each attempt, and have a number of wearable garments. My output is quite tiny compared to those amazing dressmakers/sewists who commit themselves mainly to the one craft. So I have decided to share some of my other crafty pursuits, afterall quilting is sewing too! 

Onto my Finish-Along list. For this first quarter I have compiled a selection of projects that have taunted and haunted me from the various corners of my workroom. There are several more in the planning stages (i.e. piles of fat quarters and fabric rolls in co-ordinated gatherings), but they will have to wait. Oh how tempting my latest acquisitions are, but some of the UFOs are almost ready to leave kindergarten and head for primary school, so they can't wait, can they? 

We have two garments. 
My first attempt at Tilly's Mimi blouse. Almost a disaster 'cause I forgot to cut the yoke pattern piece, then had discovered my error after all of the pieces were cut. Had barely enough fabric to cut out the yoke. Also absentmindedly forgot to start with a muslin. What was I thinking? 

Monet inspired Lilou dress from Tilly once again. Will have to do a muslin for this one! I bought this fabric ages ago for a fit and flare dress that got a muslin but was such a poor fit that I shelved it until I found Tilly's patterns are awesome. 

I have been pottering away with some hexagon handpiecing for a while. I keep changing my mind about what to turn this panel into. Cushion? Table runner? Quilt? 
While I was doing this, I had a hankering for big hexagons - machine pieced. I cut them and was too scared to start. Fergus decided to put his bum on them. I still love them Fergus, so they don't deserve that treatment!

Then I happened to be prowling in one of our very few remaining local quilting shops when I saw a quilt made up with half hexagons. Much easier apparently, and very effective. So I bought the pattern and some very pretty fabric. 

Then there was a craft expo, and I bought some bright 1930/40 styled fabrics. I finished a wall hanging quilt with a Moda charm pack, but also got this fun roll to make a matching quilt for the little spare bed. 

I keep admiring it and think of triangles. 

At that time I also got some fat quarters and a charm pack in blues and yellows. I planned this to be for   Fergus and Mr Mouse to snuggle on. This project had the top pieced a while ago, but I just got the backing and binding fabric before Christmas. I started machine quilting it a few days ago. Mouse wishes I would hurry up. 

I completely forgot about this bargain. I found two charm packs of Tilda fabrics for what I suspect were accidentally the wholesale price. I remember fiddling around laying out the squares, and then packing them away again. They are to be simply put together as squares. I just forgot about them.  I made a beautiful Tilda lap quilt for my lovely sister, and ended up giving it to her because she loved it so much. These are just as pretty. 
Whew - what's next? 
Oh yes, this one scared me off. I intended to make a quilt for the spare bed, so I worked hard piecing strips of these yummy Tanya Whelan fabrics. Then I realised that there is no way I want to machine quilt a queen sized quilt, and I would rather buy more fabric than pay to get it quilted.  Plus the backing and batting will cost a fair bit too. Time to make a decision. That does not include the option to hand quilt. I long for a long arm quilter or Juki quilting frame. 

Finally, something completely different, my Kaffe stack and slash quilt top, which is bright and cheerful, if a little lacking in taste. With a layer of lovely wool batting this will be super snuggly for winter couch surfing. 
I actually have some more Kaffe creations planned in my fabric stash, but this one has waited and waited as I ummed and ahhed over whether I actually like it or not. I did have so much fun doing it at the now closed Stitch with Fenella coaching me between sales. 

So that makes a grand total of ten unfinished projects that are all planned out, cut out already or well underway. There are more, but they can wait. I'm exhausted just making the list! Right now I am on holiday, but once school starts, I am going to have to work to stay motivated. I intend this to be fun, not a drag, and I also want my skills to improve. I have the basics well under my belt, so it is time to up the quality and complexity of my work. 

A huge thank-you to Adrianne for being out host, and for her beautiful creations and especially for Caturday Wisdom, which never fails to make me smile!