Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bow Ties

So it is finished.  It was a quick and easy quilt to piece.  I used one layer cake and some yardage I had on had.  I think the least desirable part of the process was the cutting. On a positive note with the cutting, there are some reasonable sized pieces left from the layer cake that I will be able to use in a future 'scrappy' project.

I asked the kids to hold the quilt for me, don't you just love those little feet?

My free motion quilting continues to improve.  I have been doing lots of reading from other quilters about what works for them.  For me, my machine needs to be on a stitch length of 0 with the tension turned to about 8 (otherwise I get all sorts of funky things happening on the underside, especially when sewing curves or circles.  I bought a supreme slider and think it does make a bit of a difference.  My biggest problem is that at the moment I don't have a designated sewing spot, so I'm using the dining table, this is causing 2 problems - kills my back as the machine sits too high, creates a lot of drag as the machine is higher  and I have to drag the quilt around when manoeuvring it.

I like the back of this quilt.  I was ready to put it all together and didn't have a piece big enough in my stash, so I improvised and created a back to fit with what I had on hand.  I really like the back - still need to put a label on.  I have been printing my own labels and have found the process really simple, just with white fabric, freezer paper and my ink jet printer.

So what do I do with this quilt?  Baby bear #3 informed me today that 'we have too many quilts in this house'...think I have a problem.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Door Stopper Tutorial

Every time I have the windows open, for some reason #2's bedroom door always slams.  It's never any of the other doors, just that one and it is very annoying...

So here's a tutorial for a door stopper, easy-peasy.

You need 5 squares the same size - mine were 5"x5". I had used this fabric to back a quilt and it was left over, hence the iron -on wadding. You can choose whether you want to do the same or not, I personally prefer the softer, smooth finish.

The next thing I decided to do was to decorate the outside of my stopper.  I used some fabric that my daughter had chosen  for another project and snipped off some of the owls and ironed them onto some vlisofix.

I cut each owl out and then blanket stitched each one onto 4 of the pieces (remember the 5th is the bottom).  After this I then marked 2.5" on each of the 4 side pieces at the centre of the top and then the 2 sides.  For the purpose of the photos I marked the stitching line on the outer fabric so you could see but in reality I just marked the point on the inside, directly onto the wadding (but it was too hard to photograph clearly).

 Then you simply sew from the bottom (leaving a 1/4"seam from bottom edge and side edge) up to the 2.5" mark and then swivel your stopper to sew the diagonal line to the centre top.  Back stitch to finish the seam.

 I then add the bottom piece - I find it easier to stitch it as I go rather than at the end when you have a box-shape.

This just shows that I have sewn on side seam and added the bottom.

 This photo shows that from here on when I add another side, I stitch the bottom edge first and then the side edge up to the top centre.  It helps if you can leave the needle in the down position when turning the stopper.

Your stopper starts to look like this and you must trim off the excess fabric from the side to the top.  I trim mine to 1/4" and it makes a small triangle shape after you've cut it off.

Now the last seam is the tricky one.  You only sew from the centre at the top on the diagonal to the side - back stitch well.  By not sewing down the side, you leave an opening to turn your stopper the right way and also to stuff it.

Here you can see I have all my seams sewn except for the last side seam and the 4 top corners have been trimmed off.

Turn your stopper out the right way - use a Purple-Thang or some other implement to push out the corners and points.

Place kitty-litter into a bag and slip it inside prior to stuffing your stopper.  You could use any sort of dry good (rice, lentils, sand etc) to weight the bottom of the stopper.  Stuff to your heart's content and then stitch the side seam closed.

I'm waiting for my daughter to get back so that we can add a decorative tassel with some beads.  But that's it - super easy, super quick and if you used stuff you already have, well then super cheap and the best part...No more slamming doors!

Email me if you need any help.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


 Can you guess what I am up to?

Squares with diagonal lines drawn on them...
Could be any number of things couldn't it?
So I'll give you another clue.

Ah ha, a second square, but this time it's a print.
Still need more?

Now you will know for sure.
See you soon with the end product.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Summer sun dress

I took a break from Swoon to whip up a little something for bear #2 - she's very cute and very skinny.  She has been on the 'wee' side since before she was born, blessed with the metabolism of a race horse (thankfully she doesn't look like one).

Anyway, I ordered this fabric for her - she LOVES yellow and I tolerate it in small doses, so this was a win/win.

You can see I have marked out the body of the dress - only 2 parts, the front/back (both are cut exactly the same) and the tie.

From this first piece, I retraced it and cut the second piece and cut the tie length ways from the left overs on the side.

I did trim the selvages off before sewing the tie.  The ends are sewn and cut at a 45o angle -

The next step was to sew the arms - there are no sleeves so it was a case of double fold over, mind the curve and stitch away...

Then there were the French seams for the sides of the dress - had to carefully match the underarms.

Almost forgot to show the casing for the tie.  I decided to double stitch just to be safe...sometimes bear #2 is a little hard on her clothes.

Hem it, put the tie and and hey presto a new dress!  But and I quote "Ehhhh, I don't want my face on there!" So a semi faceless shot in rather poor lighting.

A back shot - I really love this dress - despite what her older brother says (we wont go into that now).


The bow!  It takes a simply plain dress and turns it into simply gorgeous.  So there you have it, a 2-3 hour dress.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Swoon Along Progress Report

4 blocks done and only 5 to go.  I'm hoping to have the quilt top completed prior to going back to work...not sure if I'll make it but I'm going to have a good old crack at it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Swoon Along

My kit from Fat Quarter Shop (sorry for the cat's leg, she has a thing for my fabric).

First block cut - yikes, that was scary!

Phew!  All nine blocks of colours cut now :)

All the white is now cut.  Lucky I had put a new blade into my rotary cutter.

All cut up now and sorted into piles, waiting for the sewing to begin.

This Swoon Along is growing by the minute.  Last check, there were 294 of us involved.  So if you are at all interested in swooning with us, then go here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pure Pinwheel

I neglected to take a picture of this quilt before giving it to my friend.  Thankfully my friend was kind enough to send me this picture of the quilt.  I really loved this quilt - thankfully it has gone to a good home.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A moment of madness

What was I thinking when I decided to try one of these?

Originally inspired by this, I went in search of other tutorials to gain further information and found this and also this.  All of which were very helpful and resulted in this;

Needless to say that this has been a W.I.P. for quite sometime and I am determined to finish before I go back to work - the trouble is that it takes forever to sew in the coloured fabric and it's heavy.  I chose to put batting under each coloured square - I really wish now that I hadn't made this choice.  It is bulky to sew and drags a little with all the turning for each side of each window.

I still love the look of Cathedral windows - I am glad that eventually I will have a pretty lap quilt to look at and curse all the blood sweat and tears (pin pricks, hard work and rotten seams needing to be unpicked and resewn) that went into the many, many hours to make up this 'I can do that' quilt.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Swoon Along

This is the place to be to join in all the fun and merriment of this lady as she creates (with a bunch of others) ...

swoon-along button

You can get the pattern here and here. 

I'm thinking I might just start cutting fabric today while the 3 bears are away...

Friday, January 6, 2012

W.I.P. or U.F.O.?

Not sure which category this falls into but I bought the pattern and kit on my trip to Canada in September of last year from here and I was more than both happy and impressed with the service.  I bought quite a bit of stuff and was given a lovely discount seeing as I was never going to become a regular customer able to use their discount card.  If you live in Canada I can highly recommend you visit this delightful shop.

One of my goals this year is to become more proficient with free motion quilting.  I have stippling down to a fine art and I can sew a pretty mean swirl but when it comes to using stencils and straighter lines...well I've got my 'L' plates on.  I'm going to continue with this pattern and despite my stitches being uneven and wonky, well it's all character building and what makes a quilt 'charming' really.
But I have discovered this and am getting loads of helpful tips and advice, so if you haven't already had a look, hop on over there and see what you think.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

For Pleats Sake

I love this bag!  It was quick and it was easy.  The hardest part was choosing the fabric for the lining and for the outer.  I decided to go with red and blue, both from La Petite Ecole and I'm so very glad I did.  The handles I got from here and just love them.  I used a D.M.C. thread I had in my stash to back stitch the handles on.

I love the pleats and the fullness they give this bag.  The best part of all, is that this is a free pattern and tutorial.  YES, I did say FREE.  You can find it here and there are some other great things on this site as well.  I'm a very happy Mumma-Bear (please excuse baby bear #2's arms - she'll make a great hand/arm model one day).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Another Accuquilt based quilt.  It was so quick and easy!  The cutting time is dramatically reduced by this awesome little machine.  Sure there is some wastage but seriously, in comparison to the time saved it doesn't bother me and I am getting better at reducing the waste too.

So that's 2 projects down this year (ok so I'm cheating a little because I did start them last year) and a few more on the go.

I have decided not to start anything else until I finish some of my long will this last?  Bets anyone?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year

Welcome 2012!

What could be better than celebrating with some Blueberry Crumb Cake?

Blackbird Designs Blueberry Crumb Cake that is.

So my first quilt for 2012 is finished. What I want to know, does this quilt really count as being one for 2012 considering I started it in 2011?

Anyway, thank you to the clever people at Accuquilt for their brilliant machine and Drunkard's Path die.  I have wanted to make a Drunkard's Path Quilt for a very long time, but the thought of cutting out all those pieces! one layer cake and some handle turning later, all the pieces were cut and then it was matching pieces together and then sewing them.

The hardest part was the quilting.  I knew that I wanted to keep it fairly simple but wanted more than stitch in the ditch.  I played around with circles within cirles but it statred to detract too much from the fabric - I didn't want the pretty print to get lost.  And then I had one of those 'ah ha' moments.  I decided to trace cirlces at the intersections of the blocks and so that was it.  Simple but effective and I just adore this new quilt.