Saturday, 2 May 2020

Kingfisher quilt

Away back in May 2018 I saw some gorgeous quilts appearing on Instagram with the hashtags #kingfisherstitchalong #epp and #englishpaperpiecing.  I loved the look of it but, at that time, I had no idea what English Paper Piecing was. The quiltalong was hosted by Tales of Cloth and Stitched in Color and I remember I left a comment on one of their instagram or blog posts asking for advice on learning EPP. They were so helpful and friendly that I decided to jump in.  Well, when I say jump right in, it actually took me two months to sew my first hexie flower - that is a flower sewn out of hexagons.  I would say I was hooked pretty much as soon as I started! I ordered the paper hexie pieces from MisforMake, along with some gorgeous Leah Duncan fabrics. I had an idea of my colour palette - mostly pinks and yellows - and wanted to try and use fabrics I already had, rather than buying all new. I used some precious Leah Duncan fabrics, along with lots of scraps from dressmaking projects, some of my earliest dressmaking items which I loved the fabric of but didn't wear anymore, as well as some fabrics that had belonged to my mum and others bought on holiday. So every fabric in the flowers is special really.

I wanted to use low volume prints for the backgrounds, like in the quilts used in the stitchalong, but I didn't have many fabrics like that.  Once again I ordered most of these from MisforMake and I think also some from Backstitch.

The half triangle shapes at the side and the stripes in the border are an old IKEA bed sheet that I never liked the feel of but I thought it would work well on the front of this quilt.  The pink gingham was fabric I bought on my first ever trip to Shepherds Bush market with one of my best friends and the golden yellow border fabric was the first ever dress I made. I loved the fabric and the memories of making the dress at a class at Sew Over It in Clapham so when I no longer wore the dress I wanted to reuse the fabric.

One of the things that I loved about the look of this quilt was the mix of machine stitching and handsewing.  The hexie flowers each sit on a diamond.  The hexie flowers are all hand-stitched using English Paper Piecing.  There was the choice to attach them to the diamonds by machine or hand-sewing. I went for handsewing.  Then I sewed all the diamonds together and added the borders by machine.  I was thinking of handquilting it for a while but it had been in progress for such a long time that I just wanted to get it finished so I machine-quilted it. The quilting is just simple diagonal lines with Aurifil, I think it was 40wt.

The backing is a Liberty print I bought years ago with the intention of making it into a garment.  Then I realised it's not really something I would wear so it languished in a box for a few years. I thought it would be perfect for this quilt of flowers.  There wasn't quite enough so I cut it up a bit and added in some other scraps of fabric.  

There is something so wonderful about making something that is used every day and this quilt most certainly is.  It lives on our couch and we use it every night when watching TV, and for me, hand sewing on the couch.  It also sees a lot of use as a den and a blanket for teddy bears picnics in the garden.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Queue for the Zoo Quilt

This is a quilt pattern I've been wanting to use for a long time, the Giant Vintage Star pattern by Jeni Baker but I could never think of what fabric to use for it as I loved the vintage sheets used by Jeni Baker in the pattern design, and the original tutorial which the design came from. and somehow couldn't see past that. However, when one of my friends had a baby boy I suddenly remembered about this Liberty Queue for the Zoo fabric I bought years ago in Liberty. I think initially I was going to make shorts for my son but the fabric is too fine for that really. I thought it would work really well with this pattern and am so pleased with how it turned out!  The beautiful blue fabric is Cirrus solids in 'rain' from M is for Make, these solids are just the most beautiful texture, every time I use one I wish I'd bought more of it!

It was an easy pattern to follow, clearly explained and nice and quick to put together. I kept the quilting simple too and backed it with a light blue chambray (part of a double duvet set I bought in Muji in a sale a while ago, specifically for quilting with).  My son helped to take the photos, as you can see!

The new baby has a big sister so I wanted to make her something too. This was my second time making the I Heart You bag by Sweet Cinnamon Roses.  It's such a cute pattern and, although it's a bit fiddly to cut out and make, it is totally worth it!

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Cotton + Steel Bear Paw baby quilt

These are very scary and strange times we are living in right now and it's awful seeing the death and devastation which Covid-19 is causing.  I hesitated about posting about quilt making but sewing is what helps me when I'm anxious and stressed and seeing other people's creations never fails to make me feel a bit better so I thought I would continue to share what I'm making here.  I hope everyone who reads this is well and has a good support network around them, at all times not just in these current times.

I've got a few quilts to post about so I'm going to start with this one.  If this looks similar to my last quilt that's because it is the same pattern, the Scrappy Bear Paw Tutorial.  I think this colour combination might be one of my favourite ever in a quilt I've made.  It just works so well, especially with the gorgeous rich shades of these Cotton + Steel prints.  I made this for some friends who had a baby boy recently.  It didn't take me long to decide on these two fabrics and I was so pleased I had enough of both to make it.  The backing is a gorgeous double-gauze I've had for years, I think it came from MisforMake and I had just enough to make the backing come round as the binding for the front.

The last time I made this pattern I rushed it and forgot to square off the half-square triangles, resulting in some less than perfect points! This time round I really took my time to square everything off properly and I'm pleased with how all the points turned out.

My son helped me take the photos again, he's the perfect height for holding these baby quilts!  You can see the beautiful backing fabric below.  I used a simple grid quilting pattern which is very satisfying to sew, especially with the Hera marker to make the lines nice and straight.

Now I've made this twice it'll be a while before I make it again but I'm sure I will one day as it's such a great tutorial and the perfect size for a baby quilt.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Bear Paw baby quilt

Another Bear Paw, I really enjoy making this block so much!  This baby quilt was for a Uni friend who had a baby girl during the summer.  I had lots of this gorgeous elephant fabric which I used to make curtains for my son's nursery previously and I thought my friend would really like it.  It's an organic cotton, I think Birch fabrics, I got from M is for Make way back in 2013/2014.  I think I've had the orange Atelier Brunette, also bought from M is for Make, almost as long.  When I put them together I thought it would work but I had a moment of doubt while making it.  Thankfully it worked out well and they match perfectly I say!

 My son makes a perfect quilt model helper doesn't he?! After making the Bear Paw cushion I knew I wanted this baby quilt to be one giant bear paw block.  I had a wee look online and found the brilliant Scrappy Bear Paw baby quilt tutorial from Jeni Baker of In Color Order.  I already followed Jeni on instagram and admired her quilt patterns but hadn't seen this tutorial before.  The instructions include cutting measurements for a version from scraps or from yardage. I only just had enough of the orange but luckily had enough of the elephants that I could back it with that too.
The quilting is just a simple grid quilt pattern which I think looks really good with this block.  The batting is the Quilter's Dream orient quilt batting, bought from Cotton Patch.  The quilting is done with Aurifil 50wt thread.  I was in such a rush to get on with this quilt that I completely forgot to square off the half square triangles! So if you look closely you can see the points aren't all the same, I also somehow managed to attach some of them the wrong way round.  In spite of that I still love how this turned out and the recipient seemed really happy with it too!