Time to Sew!

Well, hello there! It’s been almost three months since my last post and I do apologise for my rather long absence.

After a busy Christmas period filled with many family and friends visiting from interstate, I’ve taken a bit of a side step into other non-sewing pursuits. I’ve been enjoying the Tasmanian summer sunshine by working outside in the garden (something I’ve avoided for a few years!) and I’ve also been trying new recipes in the kitchen. My recent culinary successes include slow-cooker massaman beef curry, salted chocolate & peanut cookies and caramelised red onion chutney. Yum!

However, the main focus for me this year has been our three children. They are all growing up way too fast and are now 11, 9 and 8 years old. (How time flies!) I’ve been making an effort to spend more “Mum” time with them by playing board games and doing jigsaw puzzles. As a family, we have also been doing quite a bit of camping and hiking including a recent steep and strenuous 880m ascent to Cathedral Rock.cathedralrock6

School and work resumed three weeks ago and my weekly routine has settled down somewhat. So I figure it’s time to set my own short term sewing goals. I’m hoping that this may give me the push I need to get back my sewing mojo!

The projects at the top of my list are as follows:

  1. Disco by JayBird Quilts – bought as a kit a few years ago. I have cut the pieces and they just need to be sewn together.disco1
  2. Spinning Quilt by Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts – pattern purchased last year, fabrics chosen…it’s time to sew!spinning1
  3. Spin Cycle by Cluck Cluck Sew – I’ve always adored April Rhodes fabrics and Arizona is one of my favourite collections. spincycle1
  4. Twisted Flying Geese Pillow twistedflyinggeese1
  5. Pillow/Mini Quilt using Carrie Bloomston’s Story fabricstory3
  6. Aragon Bag by Sew Sweetness – my recently won pattern for Quarter 4 of the 2016 Finish Along. Thanks so much Sara (and to all of the hosts and sponsors!)

As a final note, I have one small finish (my ONLY finish this year!) to share with you.gingham4

This pillow is a pattern from Issue 23 of Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. The gingham result is achieved through clever strip piecing. I used some colourful Prints Charming fabric from my stash for the back of the pillow and quilted it with simple straight lines.

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Here’s hoping that this is the first of many finishes for 2017 🙂

Linking up to Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts

Paper Pieced Pillow

For me, 2016 has been a year filled with many small project finishes including drawstring bags and pillow covers. This week I can cross another small goal (#3) off my Quarter 4 list!paper-pieced-pillow3

The pattern for this paper pieced “Stargazing” cushion cover comes from Issue 14 of Quilt Now magazine. I chose fabrics from my stash including one of my faves – Northcott “Doodles” (by Sue Beevers) for the background fabric – and a selection of others including fabrics by Tula Pink, Denyse Schmidt and Prints Charming.paper-pieced-pillow2

The original pattern has the centre star made using the same background fabric as the rest of the pillow. I felt as though the star needed a bit more oomph and so I unpicked and replaced those pieces with Navy Bubbles Monochromatix (Robert Kaufman).paper-pieced-pillow1

This pillow is my second finish for Quarter 4 of the 2016 Finish Along.

I have also been working on several other small projects these past few weeks.

I work two days a week as a Teacher Aide at a community run Pre-Kinder Centre. I really wanted to make each of the wonderful 3-to-4 year old children I work with a special gift for Christmas. Using the drawstring bag tutorial by S.O.T.A.K Handmade that I have used previously, I made a scaled down smaller version that the teacher and I can fill with various craft items and present to the children at our Christmas break up.beehive-bags

As our centre has a bee related name, I found some perfect Saffron Craig Bee fabric to use for the bags. Each bag has been cut to reduce wastage and is therefore slightly different from the others. Sixteen children attend our centre on either one or both days so I still have another five bags to make.

The final small project I made over the weekend is a star for my guild’s (the Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild) “Kris Kringle” Christmas tree ornament swap.

(No peeking if you are a fellow member…)

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I had a lot of fun making this little star ornament using this tutorial. I think I may need to make myself another for my own Christmas tree!

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I still have a few projects I would like to get finished before the end of the year. However, with only six weeks to go until Christmas, I am seriously doubting my chances!

How about you? Are you on track with your end-of-year goals and Christmas sewing?

Deb 🙂

Linking up to Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts, Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts and NTT @ My Quilt Infatuation

Modern Sorbet Pillow Finish

Back in May, as part of the May is for Makers campaign, I purchased a Craftsy pillow pattern – Modern Sorbet by Seraphym Handmade. Drunkards Path blocks have always been on my “to try” list and I thought a small pillow project might be the gentler way to try curved piecing for the first time.

I chose to use several fabrics from the beautiful Moda Valley collection by Sherri & Chelsi. modern-sorbet6

I was amazed at how easy it was to sew these blocks together and can honestly see myself making an entire quilt using these blocks in the near future. Such fun!

I used a combination of natural homespun and Valley “Wheat Field” for the background fabric.

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I decided to quilt it spirally with my walking foot – a technique that I’ve only tried once before on my Quarter Log Cabin Mini Quilt.

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I really enjoyed quilting this particular project and am ecstatic with the finished result and texture. Quilting has been a bit of a struggle for me lately so it was nice to have a win 🙂

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The original pattern uses a zip enclosure which I was intending to make. But somehow I managed to lose my purchased zip after my last shopping expedition. (It actually wasn’t even listed on my shopping receipt so I suspect it fell out of my basket as I was walking around the store…)

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To save me a trip back to town, I made an envelope enclosure for the pillow back instead, using the leftover natural homespun. I also eventually chose to omit the binding. The finished pillow measures 21 inches square.

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This pillow is my fourth finish (#8) for Quarter 3 of the 2016 Finish Along and although I had intended to use this pillow for a gift, I’m not sure now if I will be able to let it go 🙂

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Linking up to MCM @ Cooking Up Quilts, Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts and NTT @ My Quilt Infatuation

Reel Time Pillow

Several of my smaller goals for this quarter are making pillows using patterns from Quilt Now magazine.

One of these pillow patterns, called “On The Fence” (Issue 21), consists of blocks made from 2½ inch strips. I was able to use the leftovers from my Interlock Quilt Top which I made using a Zen Chic Reel Time Jelly Roll.  It’s great not to have any wastage and the added bonus is that I now have a matching pillow to go with my quilt!

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This giant pillow measures approximately 24 inches square and will be perfect as a floor cushion for our lounge room. For the back envelope enclosure of the cushion, I used some generic black and white polkadot fabric from my stash.

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This pillow is my second finish (#16) for Quarter 3 of the 2016 Finish Along and one of four pillows I hope to complete by the end of this month.

Deb 🙂

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Linking up to MCM @ Cooking Up Quilts, Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts and NTT @ My Quilt Infatuation

Pillow Finishes

With so many unfinished quilt projects on the go, I am trying very hard (although I haven’t been completely successful!) to resist the urge to start any new large scale projects.

Lately, other than making the odd quilt block here and there, I have been finding it increasingly difficult to acquire a large enough chunk of sewing time to make decent progress on any one particular project. (Plus I seem to be attention-deficit when it comes to staying focused on only one project at a time!)

Making pillows seems like the perfect solution to me. I can try new techniques and get the satisfaction of a reasonably quick finish!

I wrote about my paper pieced economy blocks in a previous post.

As most of my Amy Butler fabric scraps have now been used and I didn’t want this to end up as another UFO, I decided to turn these nine blocks into a pillow.

Amy Butler pillow 2I added a narrow outer border which allowed me to maintain the block points when constructing the pillow (sorry I didn’t take a photo of this step) and then quilted diagonal lines on either side of the seams.

Amy Butler pillow 1I used Amy Butler Deco Rose – from her Daisy Chain collection – for the envelope back of this 18″ pillow.

Amy Butler pillow 3This pillow will be going to a very special someone…

My second pillow finish involves my much cherished Carolyn Friedlander Doe fabric.

I don’t consider myself a fabric hoarder. After all, isn’t fabric purchased to be cut up and used? However, this beautiful Doe fabric has been sitting unused in a drawer – occasionally looked at and stroked 😉 – waiting for the right project to come along…

Anyway, I recently borrowed this great book – Modern Log Cabin Quilting – from my local library. I don’t own a lot of quilting books but am really tempted to order and purchase a copy of this one for myself.

Doe Pillow11I was greatly inspired by this book and decided to make myself a giant log cabin block. (I have actually started a second project from this book but will write about that at a later date.)

I allowed myself to cut just one 2 inch by WOF strip from each of my ten Doe fabrics and began the log cabin process.

Doe Pillow7There was very little wastage from this project and I used all but a few bits from my strips. I later used these leftover scraps in my pillow backing.

I was very tempted to continue with this giant log cabin block – measuring 24 inches square – and make it quilt sized. However, I ultimately decided to stop at this size, quilt it and turn it into a 23 inch square pillow.

Doe Pillow9I used polyester/wool blend batting which gave the pillow top a nice puffiness after quilting (in the ditch),

Doe Pillow8and found some well-matched cotton duck fabric (interspersed with my leftover Doe scraps) to use for the envelope back of the pillow.Doe Pillow10Now I can see and admire this lovely fabric on my bed every day!

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Now a question for you:

Do you consider yourself a fabric hoarder? Have you got any fabrics at home that you consider too precious to cut up? Or are you simply waiting for the right project to come along? I’d love to hear from you so please leave me a comment.

Deb 🙂

Linking up to Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts, Design Board Monday @ Bits ‘n Bobs, Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation and TGIFF @ Quilt Matters

Off Kilter Scrap Pillow

This week I added the sashing strips to my Off Kilter quilt top.

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I made this quilt using a pattern from one of my library book loans Jump Start Your Quilting. The pattern – “Off Kilter” is by Konda Lockau of Moose on the Porch Designs.

For this quilt, I used a Tula Pink Elizabeth Layer Cake.

This beautiful fabric and the Bella Solids grey background fabric were a pleasure to work with and I didn’t want to waste a precious inch!

While making my large blocks for this quilt, I made HST’s with the offcuts,

and played around with a few ideas for a pillow top.

The first option is (on a smaller scale) from the pattern Dizzying Diamonds by Melissa @ Sew BitterSweet Designs. I won this great pattern in A Lovely Year of Finishes 2015. I really like this Layer Cake-friendly pattern and plan to make an entire quilt using it one day.

However, for this particular pillow project, I decided to go with Option 3.

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For the back of the pillow, I chose some gorgeous Tsuru “Old Lace” fabric in cerulean by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud 9 Fabrics.

I followed a Zipper Pillow tutorial that I have used once before but I had to modify it slightly so that I didn’t lose the points on my triangles. Attaching a zipper with a quarter inch seam resulted in some very wobbly stitching! I ended up unpicking these stitches and re-sewing it with the pillow front and back flat and the zipper open. The result was much better although if I make a pillow like this again, I’ll probably make an envelope enclosure for the back instead.

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The pillow top finished at 15½ inches square and I used a size 16 cushion insert to fill it, resulting in a nice plump pillow!

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We are enjoying our Easter long weekend at home this year. The kids are overdosing on chocolate while my husband and I are knocking down some internal walls ready for a future kitchen renovation.

I really hope you and your family are enjoying a relaxing long weekend.

Let’s hope no one ends up in a chocolate coma like our kids have 🙂

Easter coma

Linking up to MCM @ Cooking Up Quilts and Let’s Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts