Yesterday I finished my very first charm square quilt. The fabric is Oddysea by Moda and I am in love with the rich colours and the fish blocks scattered throughout. The pattern was made by creating 9-patch squares and then cutting them in half in both directions. Putting the pieces together after that was a bit like putting a puzzle together – only because I was determined to have all the fish swimming to the sides and all the shells facing the same way. (a random quilter I am not….someday I should try to put the blocks just wherever they end up…it would be a good exercise for me in letting go…)
Working with charm squares was fun in that it eliminated one cutting step. However, I was disappointed to find that all of the charm squares were not cut to the exact same size, which did cause problems later on in piecing the quilt. What I really should have done was re-cut them all to the same size before I began…. but it seemed silly when the reason I bought charm squares was so I wouldn’t have to do more cutting?! I’m not sure that I would work with charm squares again, unless I cut them myself!
I really like the finished top and can’t wait to quilt it and bind it.
There is a local shop that sells handmade items that has agreed to take some of my quilts. This will be one of the first ones that I sell. I am both excited and scared about that prospect! I have so many ideas of quilts I want to make (and three in progress!) so it will be great to know what to do with them when I am done…but eek! What if no-one likes them?? The jitters of a new adventure…..
My mother’s house is full of boxes of things that were removed from my grandmother’s house after she passed away. It has been a slow and sad process to go through them all and decide what to keep and what to pass on to someone else.
Among many of the very ordinary things of daily living there have been a few priceless treasures.
Like my great-grandmother’s recipes.
As we went through more boxes this summer, a few more of these treasures have found their way into my home.
Vintage linens. I think these pillow cases are destined for a quilt.
A doll pattern. Ordered from the newspaper in 1948!
A pretty little apron.
I was really excited to find this one – a clothes pin apron!
But the biggest treasure is definitely this:
A quilt from my great-grandmother’s house. It is worn, stained, and has a few holes, but I love it anyway.
Thinking of Gran today, with love.
Click here for my May giveaway!
I am so excited to (finally) be able to share with you my top-secret quilt!
It is the Sandcastle Quilt and Baby Beach Ball from Sew Fun patterns.
Like all of the Sew Fun patterns it was super-easy to follow and filled with little hints and tips to make your project the best it can be. I always learn something when I test these patterns – I love the way the circles are made on the beach ball, it made it super easy to get a nice round shape!
This was my second attempt at free-motion quilting and I think I am getting the hang of it. Although I still think I have a lot to learn, I am really pleased with the way it turned out.
I did a kind of meandering design on the sand part of the quilt and then tried to do “waves” on the blue parts.
I had fun using up some scraps to make the back too!
If you look closely here at the bottom you will see that I am having trouble with the fabric bunching towards the binding. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong – I took it out and did it again and had the same thing happen. I think I would have to take out the quilting (eek!) and do it again in order to get it to sit right. I almost did it too, almost took out all that stitching…and then I came to my senses. (The perfectionism has to end somewhere, right?) I am sure some little one will love the quilt despite these few lumps. Hopefully I can get this figured out for the next one!
Overall I am in love with the beachy design and the bright fabrics. As always, I highly recommend all of the Sew Fun patterns – they really are what the name says they are! I can’t wait to surprise a lucky mama with this one at the next baby shower!
Here is one pattern test revealed! This is the “Pocket Quilt” pattern from Puking Pastilles. Once again I found her patterns easy to follow and fun to make.
I had so much fun picking out these fabrics. I had several combinations of colours picked out including girlie pinks, soft-coloured flannels and bright rainbow-coloured solids. I just love laying out colour combinations and trying to add different fabrics until I find just the right combination. In the end, these bright somewhat western-themed fabrics made the cut into the final quilt. The blue rope-patterned fabric is a remnant of a piece I bought way back when I was teaching preschool and I used it to make a cute cowboy vest for the dress-up corner (I wish I had taken pictures of all the dress-up clothes I made, they were so much fun!). I love the way it combines with the bandana-patterned red (one of Gran’s fabrics!) and the camping bears and wood grain pieces. The binding was tricky. I must have tried almost every piece of fabric I owned before I happened on this brown plaid when I was looking for something else (isn’t that always the way things go?)
The quilting was done by machine and is all free-motion. I know it’s not perfect but I think it is some of my best machine quilting yet! I used the orange thread and the loopy design to mirror the rope pattern on the blue fabric.
And then there is the pocket side! I used a soft and cosy flannel for the pocket itself. It’s a very cuddly place to store a favourite stuffie! (I am thinking I need to make a horse stuffie to go with this quilt. I think I saw a pattern for one not that long ago on a blog…somewhere….)
I’ve been pattern-testing again. Remember this fabric? Here it is turned into a baby quilt:
And here is my very first pieced back (I wish I could say I planned it that way, but it has more to do with the mental fog I experienced at the fabric store when I forgot to buy packing fabric….why is it that you can have yards and yards of fabric but nothing that matches the particular project you are working on in the length you need? In the end I’m kind of glad because I really like the way this looks – and that orange fabric – that’s some of Gran’s fabric, so it fits in well with the current project.)
The pattern is called the Baby S’Mores quilt (can’t you see the graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallow?) and I love all the different fabrics and textures in it. Like all the Sew Fun patterns the instructions were super-easy to follow and the quilt was really fun to make. I need to work a little on my machine-quilting skills (or maybe I just need to baste it better before I start?), but other than that I am in love with this quilt and I think I’m going to have a hard time parting with this one…
The pattern also includes instructions for this really cute plushie:
It’s kind of a soft blankie and cute marshmallow guy all in one. Here he is showing us another pose:
Don’t you just want to pick him up and give him a cuddle?
Stack of completed blocks
The dictionary defines perseverance as “the determined continuation of something especially despite difficulties or setbacks.” I don’t think I have a lot of perseverance, and I think I need some. Looking back on events in my life, I can see a pattern of giving up too easily, of wishing that problems would go away, of turning my back on things instead of facing troubles and difficulties head on. (placing difficult projects in the “UFO” pile instead of finding a way to finish them). And inherent in that is the feeling that, somehow, I’ve failed. And so comes today’s quilt. Hundred of triangles made from hundreds of squares which I cut years ago and then never put together. Hours of work put into something that, at the moment, still doesn’t look like something. Yesterday night as I painstakingly started laying out the triangles to get the perfect colour combinations and started sewing them together one by one, I started thinking “you know, this is hard. In fact, this is a lot of work, and if I’m going to get these points to match up, it’s going to be even more work. Maybe this should be one of those projects that just doesn’t get finished…” And then it happened. That “aha” moment. I finished piecing a whole block – and I was amazed. I actually just stared at it for a few minutes with a “did I just make that?” kind of look. And just like that, my thinking changed. I started to think “well, it is going to be a lot of work. This is the hardest quilt I have ever done, and it’s going to take a lot of time to finish it. But…..if I get it finished, then I think it is going to be the best quilt I have ever made.” So I have been persevering. I kept sewing even after I somehow mixed up the blocks on the sewing table and my carefully laid out triangles ended up on the wrong blocks. I kept sewing even after sewing a pile of blocks together that I had carefully pinned, only to discover I had run out of bobbin thread three blocks ago. I have become best friends with my seam ripper. And now, at the end of the day, I have nine completed blocks stacked where yesterday morning there was only one. It’s a good feeling to accomplish something difficult, and a lesson in sewing that has really been a lesson in life.
Quilt in progress
As promised, here are the pics of the two shirts I made yesterday. I am overall quite pleased with them! For the first time ever I actually sewed on the buttons using the machine – I was amazed at how quick it was and kind of fun! (Now why haven’t I tried doing that before?) It was also my first time using organza as an interfacing for a sheer fabric. It was a little trickier to work with than interfacing, but I do like the end result. I think my clothing UFO pile will be done today and then on to the quilt pile! Here’s a sneak peak at some of the quilt projects waiting to be finished…