Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Second Finish for the FAL2016

This took a while, but here it is...the completed Tumbling Blocks baby quilt
This is my second finish for the FAL 2016

Details of the quilt:

Size: 41in x 53in
Fabric: Main fabric is an Ann Kelle design (Urban Zoologie) for Robert Kaufmann fabrics
Threads used: Gutermann for construction and straight line quilting; Invisible Monofilament thread for SID; Aurifil 50/2 for other FMQ designs
Finish: straight line quilting across the cubes with loop design in the feature fabric; continuous heart design in the inner border and more loops in the outer border.
Binding: Left over strips of fabric used which gives the whole quilt a bit of a lift

Particularly proud of:  Y-seam construction

Backing: found the perfect colour match

Will link this project up to FAL2016 at the end of March.

For now I am linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts.

Onto the next project!


Thursday, 4 February 2016

WIP: Baby Quilt

Quick update on the Tumbling Block baby quilt...finally finished the tedious SID and got on to the fun part...the actual quilting of the quilt.

Did some simple straight line quilting over the cubes. Used Cindy Needham's Ultimate Stencils (the 3/4in grid to mark my quick and easy! Then I quilted a simple loopy design over the hippos to de-emphasize the formality of the lines.
All in all, very nice, but a lot of work...forgot how much work it is to quilt an entire quilt just having done mostly pillows last year for the FMQ Challenge. This took forever!

I then decided to quilt a loopy heart design in the inner border. This is a design I am not that comfortable with and the best way to overcome this is to do an entire border
That turned out really nice and if you let go of perfectionism is an uncomplicated, fast design to use in a border.

The whole thing turned out a bit crinkly due to the quilting but I am hoping that this will ease a bit once it is all done. I like baby quilts to be quilted fairly heavily due to them having to be washed on a regular basis.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced...just read that Amy will take a 2 months break and is thinking of finishing off her weekly linky. Fair enough too as she has run it for 5 years and the work that goes into a linky is just enormous. So, 'thank you' Amy for all the work that you put in in running this weekly linky.

Also linking up belatedly to Let's Bee Social #110...was quilting for most of the day yesterday and did not want to loose momentum...


Thursday, 28 January 2016

Trying My New Toys

While basting my baby quilt the other day, I got my wall hanging ready for basting as well, trying my new Ultimate Background Stencils from Cindy Needham.
Ultimate Background Stencil Collection
Marked part of the Japanese panel that I acquired at the last quilt show with the Twisted Grid (Papa size) stencil.
Twisted Grid
Had watched Cindy Needham's YouTube videos and placed the Twisted Grid vertically (the stencil has a horizontal and vertical alignment line) which gave me this great sense of movement which will look fantastic for the sky part of that wall hanging. Not sure whether I should have maybe used the smaller size...there was just so much choice! The marking was done with a thick blue water soluble marker and went like a dream. How did I ever do without these stencils...what a time saver! As this is just a little practice piece, I was a bit sloppy with alignment at times, however this was easy to correct and ultimately will not show. I am now debating whether to stitch this freehand or with the walking foot. Also not sure whether I am going to fill it or not...quite like it like that.
For the rest of the panel I used the Mama sized clam shells...and maybe I will throw in some Bamboo stencil. As I will be stitching with black thread on a black background this will just be texture. This should be fun!

While I was playing around with the stencils, I realised that these stencils could have a multitude of uses, not just background, i.e. my Triple Line stencil could easily be used for my Tumbling blocks quilt to fill in the individual blocks...very useful indeed.

Now back to the basting for me...


Monday, 25 January 2016

First Finish for the Finish Along 2016

Bit of multi-tasking going on. While working on my other quilt, I cut the binding for this one and finished it off.

My first finish for the FAL2016
Whole Cloth inspired by Patsy Thomson 34.5inx34.5in
Love the back of this quilt
The FAL certainly gave me renewed energy to finish things off. Even attached a sleeve and hung it up. I found this beauty amongst the Christmas decorations in the cupboard. I remembered that I had not been happy with something and had put it away. Looking at it now, I struggled to find exactly what was wrong with it...

When attaching the binding, I remembered...apart from some design and technical issues, this quilt was bearding like there was no tomorrow. Not entirely sure why...maybe the backing was too low in quality...not really sure. Overall though, a really nice effort. I started this late 2013 and finished the quilt top in the beginning of 2014 when I had gone through all of Patsy Thomson's Freemotion Quilting Fun with Feathers DVD's, applying the things that I had learnt and trying out some pretty specky in-lining of the feathers. I then microstippled the surrounds. Can you believe it! I think I chose microstippling as I was not really confident to do anything else at that stage. Now I would put some gridwork in the background, I think. This really shows the continuous learning that occurs with FMQ.

Very happy with the outcome. Will link this up when the linky is open for the FAL2016 at the end of March.

Back to the baby quilt...


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Quilt Top Finished

My  baby quilt top is finished...this is the first of the quilts I nominated for the FAL 2016 to complete by the end of March.
Finished quilt top measuring approx. 52inx44in
I was thinking that the end result, while lovely, certainly does not correspond to the effort that goes into constructing one of these using the Y-seam technique. On the whole, it took me about 4 weeks to make my way through the Y-seams. I did find making the individual tumbling blocks easy and also managed putting the blocks into individual rows fairly quickly. The fiddly bit is really putting the rows together. If you want to have a bit of a look how I did construct this, please see my tutorials about Y-seams Part 1 and Part 2.

I am already thinking about the next one
Have this cute 'bug' fabric (bought several years ago) that I matched up with some simple tone-on-tone fabric. I think I might try out the strip piecing method for that one and see how I like the end result, i.e. will that seam across the top diamond really bother me that much? We'll see...

Not sure yet how I am going to quilt my Hippo quilt...whether allover design or just echoing around the diamonds and a bit of a loopy design in the borders.

Well, next job will be the basting which I really hate, so I am going to leave that for the weekend when it is hopefully a bit cooler.

Have not been over to Lorna's for some time (check out her Ugly Christmas Sweater QAL), so I am linking up to Let's Bee Social #108

Happy Quilting!


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Y-Seam tutorial Pt. 2

Part 2 of the Y-seam tutorial is about how to sew the baby blocks together to make the quilt top. If you missed the post about the construction of the individual baby blocks please head over to Part 1

Ok, so you have your completed baby blocks in front of you
Tackling the rows (cut off the dog ears as you go)
 ...flip them on top of each other and align them carefully. As per normal you can feel with your fingers where the seams meet and nestle together.
Flip on top of each other
Once you are sure that the seams are nestled against each other, insert the pin right on the seam line and take the units over to your machine.
Inserting a pin close to the aligned seam lines
This looks dangerous...align your foot for stitching a 1/4in seam allowance and by turning your hand wheel insert your needle as close as you can get to the seam line with the pin still in place. The needle from your sewing machine now acts like the pin, so you can take it out and start sewing your 1/4in seam allowance.
Turn the hand wheel and insert your needle right on or closest to seam line
Like before, I stitch a few stitches into the seam with a small stitch length, then reverse back to my starting point and continue down the seam increasing my stitch length as I go. Do not stitch into your seam allowance as your Y-seam will not be sharp or lie flat. As you approach the bottom you will see your blue dot on the wide angle, slow down, decrease your stitch length and stop exactly on the blue dot (reverse a few stitches to secure, stitch forward again exactly to the blue dot).
Continue sewing the blocks together in this manner until you complete your rows
Now the fun begins...putting the rows together! I sewed the rows together in a zig-zag manner, starting from the middle (I felt that the alignment was easier from the middle out). Flip the second row over the first in a diagonal manner.
Flip the second row onto the first in a diagonal manner
My little red writing on the seam says 'Align this seam' as it was hard to see on the photo which seam I was actually pointing out. Again feel the intersections where the seams meet and also look at the blue dot that you placed on the wide angles. At this point I placed a couple of pins to hold my alignment in place however then flipped it over as I found it easier to stitch from one seam line to the next (rather than stitching towards the solitary blue dot with no indication whether the blue dot was right on the mark or had shifted slightly (in which case you would have a mismatch which in this pattern is very obvious).
Once aligned, flip over to insert your pin on the seam line
I followed the same process as above when stitching the rows together, i.e. aligned my seams which at this point involved six seams so you are going to deal with some bulk and the alignment is fairly tricky. Again I inserted a pin directly on the seam line and took it over to the machine, aligned the 1/4in seam allowance and used the sewing machine needle to hold the arrangement in place...then got rid of the needle and started sewing (decreased stitch length, stitched down and up again to secure the stitching)
You need to be fairly vigilant at this stage as you need to make sure that all the seams underneath are out of the way so you don't catch one of the seams in your stitching. Also, a word of warning on re-doing your seams. While I certainly have undone some seams that did not match, there is only a few times that you can do this before the seams become distorted or frazzled and it will become impossible to get a sharp point (yes, lesson learnt the hard way...had to re-do 2 entire rows as the seams of two blocks were completely distorted - remember the bias edges!). So spending a little bit of extra time on this step will save you from a lot of grief.
Perfect point
This was lucky...not all points turn out as nice as this one and with some you will just have to let go...I won't lie, the construction of this quilt top required a lot of patience, however once I had worked out how I was going about it in a bit of a systematic way, I managed my way through it with an appropriate amount of cursing and carry-on.
Press the point in a circular way
The seams will be pressed in a circular manner once the entire quilt top is finished.

Well, and this is it...not easy, but also not impossible if you go slowly and take your time with aligning your pieces.


Thursday, 7 January 2016

2016 Finish-A-Long

2016 FAL
This what I need!

As you may have noticed I have not had a post with any goals, words, plans or the like... I have got so many projects lying around that I am genuinely confused.

This was the case until I came across the 2016 FAL event...have not participated before but this sounds like exactly what I need...some direction. Even if I only achieve half of what I put down for myself it will be so worth it. The FAL is an event that has already run for a few years and allows quilters to link up with a list of UFOs at the beginning of the quarter and then at the end of the quarter with a finished item (each finished project is a separate link as I understand it). Each link is also an entry into a random draw for great prizes. The links will be hosted on a number of hosting blogs all over the world at once. If you wish to find out about the schedule, information and the sites involved please visit one of the hosts at  'A Quilter's Table' 

Now for my list:
#1 Baby Blocks quilt - the dreaded Y-seam
This is my current project so this should work fine. I only have one more row to go and then the outside hard can this be. Quilting, binding...we shall see!

#2 Japanese Panel
This must be the third time I am showing this photo. Given my obsession with FMQ, this spoke to me at a recent Quilt Show. I now have Cindy Needham's collection of stencils and thought that I could try a variety of grids on the Panel.

#3 Whole Cloth
This is an older project (year before last?) I did come across the other day...only the binding to be done. Not sure why this ended up in the cupboard. Definitely needs to be completed.

and..another Whole Cloth that will no doubt go into the second quarter but I want to start listing this as I keep putting this off. As a bit of a personal goal I want to at least get this marked on the fabric, ready to be tackled during the second quarter.
There are so many wonder I am feeling overwhelmed.

Linking up to Jess from Eleven Garden Quilts as she is closest to me.