Saturday, January 10, 2009

Janome club quilt

This is the most recent WIP and still out in a prominent position in the sewing room.
My weekly (well, whenever I can attend) sewing group decided to spend a Saturday morning a month making this quilt and using it as a chance to learn different tricks and techniques on our machines. Most of the other ladies have fancy machines with hundreds of stitches but my little girl is a bit lacking in that department so I've been trying to learn things like pin-tucking and lace insertion to add interest where they are using fancy stitches.

This is a quilt-as-you-go project but I'm waiting to finish the front of my blocks so that I can use the left over fabric for the backing to create a double-sided quilt of sorts. Then it is a good chance to learn some new quilting techniques on the small blocks before joining them up. The blocks will be quite a bit smaller when finished.
The quilt is based on the Renaissance Quilt pattern by Monica Poole (Moonshine Designs). I've altered mine to include an enlarged centre panel, surrounded by twelve smaller blocks - two of each design. I'm thinking of adding a scrappy sashing between the blocks to break up the green. So four down, nine to go. I've got at least four more in various stages.
(Again, really dodgy photos. The colours are much prettier in real life)

Even more...

These were started before Jack was born but.....

A lovely rainbow cardigan that needs half a sleeve and then sewing up. I really enjoyed this but didn't manage to finish it before Jack was born and found it too hard to keep count of the raglan sleeve decreases in between feeding and changing. Once Jack got too big it went into the cupboard with the rest.

Next, the block of the month that I cheated and bought the whole kit for. I sewed up the block backgrounds, cut out all the appliques and then decided I wanted to hand applique it all and put it away. After making Jack's santa sack I realised it wasn't that hard, pulled out the first block and got going. Then Jack got mobile and boxes of embroidery thread and needles weren't safe for long so again it got put away.
The finished quilt is actually a double size. I thought of making two smaller quilts or a quilt and wall hangings instead, but need to get the blocks done first.

The humpty block is almost done. If I keep this where I can get to it and try to do half-an-hour a few nights a week then this block would be done in no time. Another candidate for the monthly challenge?

And still more....

Other projects - these are the oldest and need to be cleared off the list to make room for others...

First are some blocks for a sampler quilt. These were my first attempts at patchwork and were based on designs from a library book. I quite like the bottom three and need to think of some way to use them. The top two don't have enough contrast and I had problems with the templates and the finished measurements being totally different from those in the book.

Not sure how much of these fabrics I still have - I know for sure that most of the solid blue and green have been used for binding other quilts.

This next one is my 'beginner's quilt', made in the first class I took. I was half-way through the quilting when I gave up out of sheer frustration and stuck it in the cupboard.

The top isn't square, the quilting is terrible and I really hate the backing fabric. I want to unpick the quilting, replace the backing (its horrible pink) and then layer it properly and quilt it again.
I've been told just to finish it as is but my heart breaks when I look at all the puckers both front and back and I know I couldn't live with it.
This is the problem with classes when the teachers don't really give you enough guidance or share the special little tips and tricks. I think I've learned more from books, magazines and a drop-in sewing group than I did at this very expensive class. I also think it was far to big to attempt as my first experience with machine quilting.

I picked the border fabric - it leaped off the shelf at me but the shop assistant picked out the other fabrics. Individually, I like them. Together they make the paisley print look orange. Here is a close up of the feature fabric. I still love it and would use it again but would be more conservative with pairing it with other prints.

More WIPs

Here's some more items from the depths of the sewing cupboard that have been put aside for one reason or another. I'm hoping that listing them here will keep them top of mind and encourage me to finish them. Still trying to decide which one to finish first - must sign up for the challenge....

First up, a lovely charm square quilt in pinks and yellows. This is the same as the brown one in my first post but I did the embroidered border on this one. Instead of backstitch I started the vine in stem stitch and it took forever. There is only a tiny section of vine and leaves to complete then it needs some scattered flower buds and quilting and then it is done. I have a lovely yellow velvetine all ready for the backing and enough fabric scraps to make some matching cushions.

Second, a flannel quilt top based on the Tuscan Sun pattern from AP&Q several years ago. This just needs quilting and binding but I didn't think my quilting skills were up to it so I put it off. I was thinking of using a yummy stripy polar fleece in similar colours for the backing, and a patchy binding using the patterned flannels. The dark purple background is flannelette not quilter's flannel and I wish I had searched for better quality fabric because I think this will wear much faster.

Third, a raggy quilt made without a pattern. It is roughly cot size but smaller than intended because the cotton fabrics on the top shunk badly when I pre-washed them. The dye that came out was amazing - just as well I washed the oranges and greens separately. It has flannel in the middle and polar fleece backing and was pretty simple. (Shocking photo, really bright fabrics and all different patterns that have dissappeared here) Now all it needs is the seams clipping, a good fluff up and then needs a home. Surely I can finish this one this month?

Kalediscope quilt - very slow WIP. Comments please.

I pulled this out of the cupboard yesterday and wondered why I still hadn't finished it. I really love it, and lots of time has gone into it. I purchased the fabric and pattern as a kit and altered the layout because I prefered this pattern. I got this far at least two years ago and then got stuck.

Borders - what to do with them?

The quilt top at the moment is slightly smaller than the top of a queen-size mattress. (Shown on a queen bed)

I have enough of the black fabric to do some plain borders and then bind with left-over batiks. However, I had thought of doing a band of squares (same size as small squares in blocks) on point with a plain black strip on either side. I have measurements stashed somewhere that went into the too-hard basket.
I would welcome suggestions. Would plain borders be best - maybe anything else would be too busy.

A bag for me

Just finished my margaret bag from here - http:// I made the cross-body style.
The fabric I used is a furnishing weight from Ikea and instead of the interfacing and interlining I used a single layer of thin iron-on pellon. The button is covered with the same fabric, fussy cut to use the seed pod design.
I added a key clip and incresed the size of the pleat slightly but otherwise followed the pattern.
I'll give it a test drive over the next few days, but found the pattern really easy.