Wednesday, 25 May 2016

String Block Tutorial

For my reign as Queen for do good Stitches Cherish Circle I am going with one of my all time favourite techniques - string blocks.

It's no secret I love scrappy and I absolutely love string blocks.  They are fun, fast and you can use a ton of scraps.

For this quilt, I am going to try and jazz up the string blocks using the Quick Curve Ruler.  I have an image in my head so I hope it works out as I see it!

But my little worker bees don't panic, I will do all the curvy stuff. All I want from you are the string blocks.

For those of you who may not have done string piecing before, there is a multitude of tutorials on the interweb but here is how I did mine for this project.

  • Paper foundation cut into a 11" x 8" rectangle (I use general A4 copy paper or tracing paper for this purpose).
  • Fabric strips between 0.75" and 2" wide and about 9" long in a variety of bright colours and prints.
  • If you have an old needle I suggest you use it in your machine for this project as paper piecing will dull your needle.
  • Keep your stitch length at around 1-1.2.  A small stitch length will help to perforate the paper making it easier to remove and will prevent the seams from unraveling when the blocks are trimmed.
  • Neutral thread.

Draw a few reference lines across the short side of the paper which will be used as a guide to keep your strings straight.

Starting somewhere in the middle place your first fabric strip right side up along one of the marked lines.

Place a second fabric strip on top of the first right sides together aligning the raw edges.
Sew 1/4" seam along the edge through all layers from top to bottom (no need for backstitching).

Flip the top fabric strip open and give a quick press (I use a handkerchief or teflon sheet when pressing so the pencil marks are not transferred to my iron).

Place the next fabric strip on top of the strip you just added right sides together aligning the edges and sew your 1/4" seam from top to bottom.

Continue adding strips across the paper foundation until the paper is completely covered.

It's that easy.  You do not need to trim your blocks (I will do that when adding the curves) but it would be appreciated if the paper is removed please.  If you used a short stitch length the paper should tear away fairly easily without putting too much stress on the seams.

I need a total of 48 blocks so if you can manage 2 or even better 3 blocks that would be awesome. Terrible picture but this is where I am heading with this quilt.  I am aiming for a fun, bright and happy quilt for a little boy to be donated to the Keep Safe Quilts program being set up by Jackie Gillies (a follow on from #quiltblockstohealtheviolence).

Happy string piecing!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Does Anyone Read Blogs Anymore?

It has been way to long since I have ventured into blogland.  But seriously, does anyone read blogs anymore?

I used to spend countless hours trolling through blogs every week but since I discovered Instagram that has all changed.  I am totally hooked and although I know Instagram will never replace blogs, it's the instant gratification and ease of scrolling through feeds and liking photo's that is so addictive.

Of course it is just that, instant gratification.  It is not as easy to share detailed information or lots of photos of a project on Instagram (without totally driving your followers crazy) and it is easy to miss posts when you are following hundreds and hundreds of people on Instagram.

I love blogs and I love blogging but there is no doubt it is far more time consuming.

So once again (how many times have I made this pledge?) I am promising myself to try to blog on a more regular basis.

It has been 4 months since my last post and in that time I have finished a few quilts, several mini quilts for swaps, countless bee blocks and blocks for do Good Stitches charities.  Far too many things to share in one blog post so I will just share pictures of my latest finish.......introducing Organised Chaos

In a never ending quest to tame my scraps and sew my stash I made some scrap vortex blocks following CrazyMomQuilts tutorial.  I want to make a whole quilt using these blocks but for now I decided to try my hand at a modern version with the scrappy blocks floating in a solid background.

The plan was to do straight line quilting over the whole quilt but I quickly learned that quilting straight lines on a domestic machine is no easy feat so l scrapped that idea and went with free motion swirls in the background and used the straight lines in the scrappy section of the quilt.

In keeping with the scrappy theme, I used orphan blocks for the backing.  It was a bit like a jigsaw putting these blocks together but I love the effect and I love that it used up nearly all of the orphan and practice blocks I had gathering dust.

Curiously I don't seem to have made a dint in the scrap baskets so I see many more scrap quilts in my immediate future.

Until next time.


Friday, 22 May 2015

Just Because

This is my 'Just Because" mini.

I made it for no other reason than just because I felt like it.  I had some left over HST's from another project and decided to use them up rather than hoard them.

Continuing with the just because theme, I have decided to enter this little quilt in the mini quilt category of the Spring 2015 Blogger's Quilt Festival  hosted by Amy's Creative Side just because it's fun to share.

Make sure you head on over to Amy's blog and vote for your favourite quilt in each of the categories. Voting runs from 22nd - 29th May and winners are announced on May 30th.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Stash Sewing

I am still managing to sew only from my stash.

I have just completed my scrappy trip along quilt with the help of my QCA Bee mates.

I love how this turned out and will definitely be making this pattern again in future.
It is so easy but so effective and the blocks can be laid out in different formation to completely change the look of the finished quilt.

I have gifted this quilt to a work colleague who has sadly been diagnosed with Cancer.  Her prognosis is excellent as they have caught it very early so that at least is a positive.

Simple stipple quilting has kept the quilt soft and snugly perfect for her to wrap herself up whilst recuperating.

Until next time.


Monday, 13 April 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words...

Life has just been too busy this past 6 weeks to allow time for blogging.

A family crisis, full time work and significant birthdays for my kids (21 & 18) have taken priority and to top it off I had a fall breaking my arm which meant that I could not sew for several weeks (insert sad face!).

Just before the accident I managed to put together my Log Cabin QAL quilt for SewMyStash2015.

And now that everything is back to normal I have been sewing like a woman possessed to catch up on bees and swaps.

And that my friends is a wrap.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Bag Swap

I have been true to my stash sewing commitment and so far this year I have managed to refrain from buying new fabrics.  Yay me!!

Well actually that is not entirely true.  I did buy a meter of fabric to complete my Aragon bag (pattern by Sew Sweetness) for the Aussie Bag Swap 2015.  But as that was for a specific project it doesn't count!

Here is the bag I made for my partner.

I tried to be true to her guidelines but as this was a secret swap I had to rely on Instagram and Facebook stalking to determine my partners likes.  She has not received this as yet but I hope I she will love it.

This is the very first 'real' bag I have made and although some parts were a bit tricky, on the whole it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be.

I made a little pouch from left over fabric and have filled that with a few goodies for my partner to enjoy.

Now that this project is finished it is time to start stalking another partner for another secret swap. This time it is the Aussie IG Mini Swap 2015.  I know exactly what I want to make for my partner so all I have to do is start pulling fabrics and get it underway.

Stay tuned.


Monday, 26 January 2015

FMQ Challenge

In an effort to improve my free motion quilting skills I am participating in the 2015 Free Motion Quilting Challenge hosted by QuiltShopGal.

I followed along with the previous years challenges and learnt so much from the many incredibly talented quilters who kindly donated their time and expertise.  When I saw that Darlene was running another challenge this year I jumped at the chance to get on board.

This months expert is Molly Hanson who has has featured in many magazine articles and has written the book Free Motion Quilting for Beginners.

We were challenged to make a pillow using one of three options.  I have gone for option 3 - filling a heart shape motif with feathers.  I changed it up a bit and instead of filling a heart shaped motif with feathers, I have created a heart shape with 2 feathers converging (well that was what I was going for anyway!).

I was really pushed for time so instead of a pillow I made a mini mini.  It is only 10" x 10" and the feathered heart was pretty quick to do.  The double crosshatching on the other hand took F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  There was a ton of threads to tie of and bury which almost made me throw the whole thing away but I made myself persevere.

I tried to brighten it up by hyper quilting in orange but I am not sure that it had the effect I was going for.  In fact I may even like the back better than the front!

If I was to do it again, I wouldn't put the little swirly thing at the bottom of the heart.  It looks a bit odd but once quilted I really, really didn't want to unpick so it stayed.

Final thoughts - I love quilting feathers.  I prefer free hand to structured feathers and I look forward to incorporating them more frequently into my quilting.

Until next time.