Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sweet sewing fabric

I must admit a weakness for text fabric, and ever since Sweetwater's fabric line Authentic caught my attention, I have been eagerly looking forward to each new fabric line from this great design team. So it is no surprise that I was quick on the trigger (or the mouse - but when it comes to internet surfing that's the same thing, isn't it?) when their newest line, Sew Mama Sew, became available and ordered a whole stack of fat quarters.
 I have been playing with them since they arrived - sorting them by colour, by pattern, stacking them up, spreading them out and just savouring them.
This is a particular enjoyment that my new-sewing friends would never understand. If I had told them, they'd just think I was plain weird! "But what is it for?" would be the question, "What are you going to make?". And, you know: I have no idea! For now they will sit on a shelf above my sewing machine so I can rest my eyes on them from time to time, and I'm sure an idea or two will come to me sooner or later.
And while I was shopping I couldnt resist two other sewing related fabrics. These are from Timeless Treasures. Aren't they fun?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Top Lotta

I've been waiting for better weather so I could take a good picture of my latest finish, but it seems that the wait might be a long one, so here goes! I had been pondering for quite a while how to use that stack of Lotta Jansdotter Echo. I spent ages poring over the Kona solids colour chart before deciding on Raisin as my background colour. At the same time I came across this great quilt by Kirsty at You had me at bonjour and used that as my inspiration. I realized that it was constructed in the same way as my Baroque quilt, only with wider strips of the background colour. I spent some time working with the proportions in EQ and ended up with 6x8" blocks, making a 42x40" top before adding the 1" border. Looking back at the initial inspiration it's amazing how different the result is with a dark solid instead of a light one, but I'm quite pleased with it. I think it really shows off those great fabrics.
I have also pieced the backing using more Echo, so now it is just a question of preparing the quilt sandwich and deciding on how to quilt it. Knowing me, that could take some time....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taming the scraps

So my scrap situation was completely out of control. - How's that for a riveting first sentence? :-)
But seriously, I just didn't have room for more fabric and that's serious, right? I debated with myself about what to do with that plastic crate full of scraps - it could be put to better use storing my backing fabric, and that would make more room among my other fabric for the new purchases.

Of course the simple solution would be to just go out and buy a new box, but then, where would I put that? So what to do? Throw all those scraps out? No, I just couldn't do that - it seemed such a waste. I had started years back to stitch my blue and yellow scraps together into large pieces, intending to cut blocks from them, but I was lead astray by a new tempting project and they were abandoned to a box up on my shelves (I'm pretty sure I can locate them...).

Now I had time on my hands and an urge to continue that project. My scraps were kept roughly sorted by colour and crammed into paper bags in a crate and I could just manage to close the lid. A brief survey told me that the greens were taking over. Now politically or ecologically speaking that statement might not sound too alarming to some, but in terms of managing my scraps, something had to be done.

I started by pouring the whole mess onto the table and, boy, was there a lot - I must have used green borders on a lot of projects over the years, judging from the amount of strips I found. I sorted strips and smaller pieces and ended up with some semi-orderly piles. Off to the ironing board, where they were flattened into submission and then the sewing could beging. I started stitching the smaller pieces together into strips, trimming them and stitching them onto long strips, working my way through little by little.

I'll admit it wasn't all fun, and it seemed to take ages, but I rewarded myself with other sewing projects along the way (which is probably why I have managed to make two quilt tops so far during my holidays and quilt one complete with pieced backing...), but eventually I had assembled enough large pieces to start cutting. I decided on 8 1/2" blocks, because I happened to have an 8 1/2" ruler nearby ...  I ended up with 54 blocks - enough to make a whole quilt - I know! Isn't that an amazing result from one small paper bag of scraps?

Now while I was out shopping the other day, I came across a plastic crate, half the size of the ones I had, with six compartments inside - well they are actually buckets that you can take out, and oh so handy! I had just the right slot for a crate that size, and promptly started sorting through the rest of the scraps. I still had some greens left over, but not too many. Neatly sorted in piles first and then put into their own compartments, I managed to fit most of them in. Now the blue and turquoise ones had to be crammed in, so I see where I have to go next when I feel up to a new scrappy sewing session. I still have the black, white, cream and brown scraps to sort through, but I did manage to find room for those backing fabrics, so I'm well pleased with my organising so far.
Now of course, I'll have to come up with a quilt design for these scrappy blocks, but I'll have time to think while sorting out the rest of the scraps little, by little. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wonky logs

 It's holiday time and rain - perfect weather for quilting! My pile of Stitch in color-fabrics have been tempting me for a while, and after cutting pieces for all those kits, I had no more excuses. Let the fun begin! Wonky doesn't come easy for me, but I had my mind set on making some wonky log cabin blocks. Once I got started and got my system going, I ended up with a rythm which worked for me. I started with 2 1/2" strips, cut nine cornerstones with one straight angle and two slanted lines, added strips to the angled sides, pressed and cut them at an angle, added new strips and so on. Once I had used the first set of strips, I cut a new set at 1 3/4", and the next set at 2". That way I got enough of a variation for the wonkyness to look random while still catering to my systematic side. I ended up with nine 12" blocks, making a 36" tablecloth. 
I used a thin, soft batting (thermore, I think) to give a nice drape to the cloth, and pieced the backing of wide strips of the same fabrics. I quilted the cloth with yellow rayon thread, following the logs in different wavy, swirly patterns, keeping it quite loose to keep the drapiness I want in a tablecloth.
So there you are- a new cloth for my kitchen table - enough to wake anyone up and add a bit of colour to a dreary morning.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Wordy fabric

As I mentioned I have had a bit of a shopping spree online, and here is some more of it. I really can't resist fabric with text on it, and I came across these fun pieces here on Etsy. Great shop with lots of hard to find fabric.
I got sets of fat eights in all colourways, so I have quite a selection to play with here. They also included some samples of other fabric in the packet that are big enough to use - so great! All the new fabric that's been arriving here lately means that I have to reorganize my stash to find room for everything. I'm also working on a plan to reduce my scrap heap, starting with the greens - more about that later...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

All kitted out

 With all this fabric shopping I've been doing, I'd better get a bit more sewing done. There isn't a lack of plans either, but sometimes getting started, ironing and cutting and calculating seems to much of a chore - I just want to get to the stitching pieces together part, you know? So one day when I was in prep mode ( it might have something to do with the fact that I was bored with trying to get to grips with my scraps ...) I sorted out the fabric I would need for my next three projects and started cutting strips and pieces. First in line is a tablecloth with Malka Dubrawsky-fabric. I'm making corner log cabin blocks, improv style - which is quite a challenge for me. I tend to end up with some kind of system, making all the blocks the same anyway - we'll see how I fare this time.
 Next in line is a quilt using Lotta Jansdotter fabric - actually come to think of it, this was what started the whole cutting frenzy - I wanted to make those placemats for my sister (see the previous post) and had to make sure I had enough fabric for this quilt first.
Then there was this stack of Amy Butler squares I have had lying in wait on my sewing table since my Birmingham trip two years ago (!). The cutting didn't take that long once I got down to it, and now I have three kits ready for when the sewing bug hits. Wait, make that two - I just had to get started on those Malka-strips this morning - before breakfast even - they were lying there next to the sewing machine calling out to me (really, I swear!). At this rate I might have to start cutting more fabric before you know it. In fact, I realized yesterday that I haven't got any summery placemats of my own, and I have soem Hometown fabric that would be perfect...

Just as well I have three weeks off work :-)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Almost forgot

 I had these new placemats all rolled up and ready to wrap before I remembered to take pictures.
They were quickly unrolled and I snapped a picture right there and then. At least it shows the colours well ... But you can't see them all here, so I threw them on the floor:
Now I really should have ironed them before taking the photos, but there was no time. I can only assure you that the edges aren't as wavy as they seem here. I used block patterns from the Avalon quilt pattern by Elisabeth Hartman, featured in the Quiltfestival Magazine. The fabric is of course by Lotta Jansdotter combined with a cotton/linen blend and narrow strips in Kona Cotton Raisin. I used more Lotta on the back and quilted them all in wobbly lines.
There -  a quick photosession, placemats rolled and tied, giftwrap added - and I was off to my sister's birthday party, where they were a great success :-)

Monday, July 02, 2012

Scrappy mug rugs

My scrap bin is overflowing, and I decided that I really need to do something about it all. I have a plan, but more about that later...
These recent scraps didn't even make it into the scrap bin, because it was so full and they were so lovely, that I didn't want them to get lost in that wild jumble of wrinkly old bits and pieces. So what better use for them than stitching up a new pile of mug rugs?
There are pieces in there from my latest cushions, bags and quilts - some lovely Reunion, Henna Garden, that great house print from Spoonflower - lots of lovely fabric where I couldn't bear to throw away even the smallest pieces.
I just stitched bits and pieces together randomly, sliced and stitched some more. I ended up with ten tiny quilt tops ;-)  They were all quilted with wavy lines with varigated thread, cut down to size - I make mine 6 x 8" - and given polka dot binding as a unifying factor. Now I don't expect that they'll all stay together, they will probably find new homes with friends and relations soon enough.
Except for these two. I don't know why, but they just make me so happy. Orange and aqua is not a colour combo I would have thought of, but with a bit of black and white it really works for me, so these are staying.  Perfect for enjoying a cup of tea and a bit of knitting on a rainy day. My last precious piece of Aunty Cookie Knit One fabric matches so well with my knitting bag as well. Yes, these are definitely staying!