Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Torpid Tuesday

Uck. It's one of those nothing days. I finally decided to stipple the white borders of Sweetie Pie and sat down to do it, but after 16 borders decided that. it's. just. too. boring. 40 to go. Dire.

In order to feel like I'd accomplished something I dragged myself downstairs to the real computer so that I could prettify the blog with all the little things I have been thinking about. As I am strictly a mobile blogger, this required actual computer time. I changed the heading about three times until I got bored with that too, so we're all stuck with it as is. I hope you like lots of white!

I then dragged the wee man out to get some black and white fabric for the border of Sweetie Pie. Despite buying MASSES of fabric recently, including a cute pink and red stripe intended for Sweetie Pie's border, I have now changed my mind. Black and white it is. Well for now, anyway. While at Spotlight I decided it would be a good idea to get Teeny Weeny some new needles. So far I have only changed the needle once ever, and that was when I had a special moment and managed to ram the needle into the foot. Ka-boom. Yay for me. I see from my extensive bloggy reading that is good behaviour to change the needle for each quilt. Of course only the expensive needles would fit into Teeny Weeny. I should have known. We will see how long the new needle changing lasts.

I also took photos of my first two quilts for my new finishes page. I look back at the first quilt and roll my eyes. I think the colours just don't work well together and the values are wrong. And the piecing and quilting is atrocious. I didn't have a 1/4 inch foot or a walking foot when putting it together and boy does that make things harder. But I'll never get rid of it, because it will always be my first! It has three important jobs - having picnics with Princess, looking after her Mickey and Minnie collection, and making me realise how much my quilting has improved.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Hey ho hey ho, it's off to quilt I go

Can you tell I'm catching up on the first season of Once Upon a Time?

All invigorated from actually finishing something (go go Henry Fish's pillowcase), I am enthusiastically tackling the next task - Princess' quilt, now finally named Sweetie Pie. We have a little game where I call her sweetie pie, then she says "I'm not a sweetie pie, YOU'RE a sweetie pie mummy" so I say that she is, and so on. It's very cute. And apt for the quilt.

The unanimous verdict was no batting (thanks for your help!), so I basted it up yesterday. No batting = money saved, which is alllll good in my world. I was pretty nervous about it stretching all over the place, so I spray basted it silly. The spray didn't work particularly well on the backing, but was sticky enough for me to smooth it nicely before pinning heaps. I then stitched in the ditch down the length of the fabric (ie the way the backing doesn't give) to make it stable. This seems to have worked because I'm now ditch stitching across and am pucker and stretch free so far (fingers crossed). I will then decide how to finish the quilting. It doesn't really show on the patterned fabrics or the back, so I will keep it quick and simple.

The quilt feels soooo snugly and delicious. I will absolutely use this backing again. It hasn't been nearly as disastrous as I anticipated. Although I am pretty sure Spotlight only has baby blue and this pink, so I don't think it will be going on hubby's zombie quilt. Heh.

And look, my first label. This wasn't a massive success for two reasons. First, I am a spaz and didn't iron the fusible web properly. I am too embarrassed to tell you the gory details, but let's just say the excessive steam meant the fabric marker blurred a bit. Then, and no surprise here, it didn't really stick to the backing. My blanket stitch around the edge didn't seem strong enough so then I did it again with a different stitch length. Blergh. I strategically decided I'm going for the rustic (aka sloppy) home sewn look. But I think I've sussed it, so hopefully better luck with the next one. Princess can't even read yet, so it won't bother her.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Henry Fish is off the list

Well, not the quilt. But I have managed to get the pillow case ALL DONE. Don't scoff - you must let me be proud of my little achievements!

This is to be a Mother's Day gift while I continue to procrastinate on the epic task that is basting and quilting the quilt. I think it looks pretty cute and was a good way of using up all the 2.5" strip scraps I had left over from the quilt. Perfect for jelly roll scraps I guess too.

If you can't be bothered working out the measurements yourself, this little baby took 42 pieces 2.5" x 4.5", which were sewn into 6 columns of 7. I then pressed the seams open and sewed the columns together. It was sashed with a white border, again 2.5" wide. I ended up with a pillow case approximately 28" x 18", which seems pretty standard. You could put a wider border on for a larger pillow or if you like a flatter look. I prefer a puffy pillow!

I have backed and bound this with the same DS fabric I have for the quilt. The quilting was some straight line borders on the sashing and stippled over the patterns. I'm sew happy (groan - but who can resist a sewing pun, right?).

In case you are wondering, mother doesn't read the blog. I figure she can't know about it until Henry Fish is done. But then she will know how much I whined and complained about it, so she may never be told!

In other news, hubby has been designing his zombie quilt pattern. It's hilarious. It turns out that us quilters don't just whip things together and they miraculously turn out right. Who knew? But that's a story for another day!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Quilting crisis - help needed

So I have managed to finish the sickly sweet quilt top. Finally. The wee man decided to nap today, bless him. It took all of an hour. No photos though. It is POURING with rain in Auckland today so there is no chance of it looking as fabulous as it deserves. I am thinking of calling it "sweets for my sweet". Too naff?

But that is not the crisis. Oh no. I have this lovely thick pink candlewick backing for it, chosen by hers truly. I really did not think this through. It is soft and snugly and so I thought it was a fabulous idea when Princess proposed it for the back in the shop. Who listens to a three year old for fabric choices? I have gotten over the irritation of the fabric being a mere 1.5" too narrow for the quilt top by sewing a strip on to make it wide enough. Grrrrrrr.

But now I've realised I have no idea how to quilt it. It will be so thick there is little chance of it fitting in my machine easily, so it will have to be straight lined. Perhaps around the charm squares. But more than that, should I use batting? Then it will be super thick. Has anyone tried this before? What do you recommend? I need help, my clever quilty friends. To bat or not to bat?

Zombie attack (viewer discretion advised)

My Spoonflower fabric turned up today. Can I say again how much I loooove Spoonflower. And it seems the fabric was printed in Australia, so it didn't take very long to get here.

Anyway it included hubby's zombie fabric. Nothing tasteful going on there. I have to say, I quite enjoy The Walking Dead though. Not your usual quilting fare. Although I also like Downton Abbey, which hubby insists on calling Downtown Abbey just to annoy me. And it does, although I don't know why.

As well as the zombie madness, my delicious little Japanese inspired fabrics are here too. My Kitchenaid should feel very special. I think these are fantastic.

I'd better get to finishing Princess's quilt top, eh. Then I can start on one of these.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Busy Lizzie

Well the Sugar Overload quilt top isn't quite done, but what a week it's been. I do have all the blocks finished and ready to be wonkified (that's a technical term). Then I'll just sew them together and the top will be done. I suspect the most time consuming part will be organising the layout of the blocks. Random block placement requires careful thought!

I have also finished crocheting my first granny square. Yay for me. When I say "first" I really mean "first presentable", as there was a trial run which had some significant issues. I discovered crochet is really easy to undo - so no yarn wastage. And good old Spotlight is having a yarn sale tomorrow. So I sense supplies for my first wee bed throw will be bought. I think granny squares must be like 9 square blocks in quilting. You feel like you've learned how to piece a block. Then you find out about appliqué and English paper piecing, and you realise it's only the beginning!

But the real work around the house has been in the front entrance. Carpet is up, the floor de-stapled, wooden beams sealed, random hole in wall gibbed up, plastering finished, flooring booked for next week and wallpaper chosen. We are all ready to finish painting this weekend, and then we will have our floor put down next week. Hopefully it will all be complete for the delivery of the stripped back quilt cabinet next Friday. I'm very excited. Not excited enough to get a quilt finished to put in it though. Perhaps the wee man will think about sleeping next week, to help me out. He tells me he doesn't sleep because he likes to hang out with mummy. Who can blame him, really.

Finally, I thought I should write out my current to do list, for posterity. Here goes:
* make backing, baste, quilt and bind Henry Fish
* quilt Cherish Nature, bind.
* finish Sugar Overload quilt top
* make Henry Fish pillow case in time for Mothers Day (heh)
* finish puff quilt

* Kitchenaid cover
* zombie quilt for the hubby

That'll do!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

More secrets

Look what I was doing when I was supposed to be getting to sleep early tonight (sleep is a big deal with an 8 week old, as you can imagine). The picture is dark because I was pretending to hubby that I had turned the light out.

Yep, that's right. Learning to crochet with Craftsy, my new love. First thing this morning I had never picked up a crochet hook. This is the start of my second square. I'm very proud, wonky and all.

If my team at work ever find out, any remaining shred of cool will be gone. Who am I kidding? I lost the cool with quilting, anyway. I will have to practice saying "I craft, and I'm proud". Repeat after me...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sweetie pie

We've been meandering along making some Sugar Overload quilting progress this week. Right now we have:
* 18 lovely completed blocks
* 38 blocks with white borders
* 76 little strips of sprinkle fabric 7"x1.5"
* 76 little strips of sprinkle fabric 10"x1.5"

It shouldn't take that long to get the blocks complete. But as always it is a matter of finding the time! Princess investigated the completed blocks yesterday. I asked which one she liked best. She said she liked ALL of them mummy. And then she announced she liked this quilt better than her Hello Kitty quilt. Oh well. Just as well we kept Hello Kitty instead of sending it off like a present as originally intended then.

This lack of completion hasn't been helped by me deciding that the front entrance needs to be redecorated. To be clear, our entire house needs doing up. We bought size, not quality, and given the arrival of our happy little family over the last 3 years, there has been neither time nor money to change anything. The hubby has been doing some work on the garden (under careful supervision), but that's about it.

But the arrival of the new quilting cabinet, which will go in the entrance, means that of course it must look its best. Ultimately this is my BQF's fault, because she got me into quilting, which led to the cabinet, which led to the commencement of destruction. So far hubby has lifted carpet, removed skirtings, and started painting our awful brown ceiling beams white. Lovely white.

Needless to say, the time I have spent supervising all this activity and looking for wallpaper online has impacted seriously on my spare quilting time.

In other news, I have some Riley Blake labels to make quilt labels with. Thank you for all your helpful suggestions. I think I will be handwriting and ironing plus sewing on at this stage. We'll see what they look like.

Do you like the donuts?

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Quilting explained

I was having a little discussion with Princess about her "lolly fabric" (aka charm pack) and explaining how it would become a quilt.

Me: well mummy uses the sewing machine and sews your lolly fabric to other fabric and it gets bigger and bigger. Then I sew the fluffy fabric inside and it becomes a quilt.

Princess: *thinks seriously* That's like magic, hey mummy?

Me: that's right, honey! Just like magic.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Bloglovin and other stuff

Well I'm not really up to par with all this bloggy stuff, but apparently Bloglovin is the next big thing, so I have added a link to follow me over on the sidebar.  Hopefully it works.

Happily there has been some sugary progress.  See.  56 happy little charms with two of their borders.

The slushies are my favourite 

But then I bought some more fabric.  I cannot control myself.  First, I needed something for one of my future projects - a cover for my One True Love.

I had a looksie around Spoonflower and there it was.  Japanese cuteness. And because I really can't control myself, I got three other matching fabrics.  That should be one fine Kitchenaid cover.

Then hubby decided he wants a zombie quilt (yes really) so I got some zombie fabric too.  I will need to think hard about a pattern, but while I was looking around the interwebby I found this awesome book.  I have resisted buying it so far (mainly because I am destitute from fabric buying), but I sense it in my future.  The cuteness is endless.

And The Little Craft Store is closing down, so I "needed" a few bits and bobs from there.

Who knows when this will all get made, I will be back at work before I know it.  I guess it is good to have goals!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sugar overload

Following the completion of Monster Bash, it was time to pick the next project over the weekend. To ease the new project guilt while Henry Fish, puffy quilt and Cherish Nature are unfinished, I basted Cherish Nature first. I had been putting this off while waiting for basting spray to arrive at Spotlight.

I'm still waiting. But the lady there suggested generic crafting spray, so I gave it a try. Well - that stuff sure is sticky. I suspect my machine needle isn't going to be a fan, but we shall see. It's not like I basted the quilt to start quilting though! It can sit around now making me feel sensible while I piece a new top.

Speaking of which, we are going all sugar and spice and all things nice in this house. In further pursuit of sensible quilting practices, I decided to use existing material and dragged out the cute little Sweet Tooth charm pack I ordered for Princess in February. By "use existing material" I mean that I got the charm pack out and headed down to Spotlight with Princess to buy all the other fabric to go with it, and lovely soft pink towelling for the back. Hardly a cost saving measure.

Any-hoo, we are using a cute wonky charm tutorial from "that girl, that quilt" (I'll add the link to my resources page). I bravely let Princess choose the background fabric. Surprisingly, she didn't want plain pink, but instead a "sprinkles" fabric which matches the charm pack. She assured me, with all the confidence that a three year old can muster, that she really, really liked it mummy.

So we are cutting, cutting. On the world's smallest quilting table, because we decided to give our battered oak table to the restoration guy when he picked up my new cabinet on Saturday. It is barely bigger than my cutting mat! Character building.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Monster Bash is done

Yay. Everything seems to take so long these days! As soon as it was finished Princess decided that she likes monsters and orange after all and promptly had a tea party on it with all her bears. Poor wee man isn't going to get a look in any time soon.

Stippling was a new experience, that's for sure. I think it turned out okay. It is pretty forgiving too. Having said that, I don't think I will be stippling too much more until I get a machine with a bigger throat.

For the binding I tried a new technique I spotted on another blog (I cant remember where!) using a zigzag as the top stitch for the machine binding. Except I don't like zigzag, so I used a curvy decorative stitch that I thought matched the style of the stippling. It certainly results in a well attached binding. It won't be coming off any time soon, which I think is excellent for a small boy's quilt which will be thrashed.

The hubby is responsible for the binding colour - I don't like a solid. His explanation is that the colour matches the monster's eyes. I guess there is logic to it. Bless.

So overall, this has been a very good learning quilt!

My next learning experience is to be quilt labels. Any tips will be happily received :-)

My lovely new cabinet is off to be stripped (eww err) tomorrow and should be back in a week or so. Very exciting. Time to sew sew sew.