24 February 2013

Things I forgot - part one

I know it's a bit late now, but I never did show you the few Christmas presents I made for my friend and her two children

For Lennie, I made a Noodlehead bag - the Madras Tote Bag.  I made this one for myself when I went to the Fat Quarterly retreat last year

I had a piece of nice summery heavy cotton (duck cotton?)

And I lined it with some baby blue spotty fabric I bought locally

Can you believe she won't use it yet because it's too summery!

For the kids I made a drawstring bag using this tutorial from Christine at Grapes and Hearts.

They do a lot of traveling between child minder, grandparents and home, so I thought these would be useful to carry cars, farm animals, dinosaurs etc, and make a handy play mat when they arrive at their destination.

Kris is mad about space, so I tried to find some good space-ship fabric but had to settle with road signs!
 Sabi is a bit easier - she loves farm animals

Sorry this is a bit late, and Christmas is obviously just a dim and distant memory.  I'm determined to start earlier this year!  I have another advent calendar to make too.  Lennie didn't give me much time last year, so I only made one.  I hope to refine last years and make a second one so there are no arguments about who gets what!

19 February 2013

A Walk in the park

One of the things I love about living here is the cold weather.  When it has been below zero for a week or so, the locals go to the Chateau park in nearby Lednice, and get out on the ice with their skates.  Last year we went one Saturday morning to get some photos, but Saturday morning isn't a good time, so this year, we went over on Sunday afternoon in the hope we would have better luck.  There still weren't many people, maybe because it was snowing quite hard, but here are a few photos we took.

13 February 2013

Sew Euro-bee-an

I've been focused on finishing the Mod Pod quilt this month, but when you are so single minded, it does do you good to tear yourself away for a little while and do something different.

My February blocks for Pippa were the perfect antidote.  It was the really simple Great Big Kiss from Sew Me.  Pippa sent some Kona White charm squares, and asked us to use any of our own brightly coloured scraps.  This is what I came up with

It's so simple, but I still had to get the stitch ripper out on the first one!  Once they are all stitched together, I think this simple block will made a really eye-catching quilt.   Look forward to seeing the finished block Pippa!

10 February 2013

Thoroughly modern Tah-dah!

 she can quilt

 At last I have finished my Pod Pod quilt!  I  first started this quilt back in September 2012, and to be honest, it has not been my favourite quite to make!  Understatement of the year!  I was totally overwhelmed by the curves for ages despite lots of help from Leanne and several other people.   Finally, around mid January, I found my way of doing these curves, and I was able to crack on a bit quicker.  And now it's finished, I love it to bits! WARNING - there are a lot of photos!

The lumps and bumps have more or less disappeared  - apart from those where I hung it on the clothes airer!

The curves are ALL perfect

The string of circles pop out really well

Ted likes it too!

We actually tested it out on our bed before I washed it and it is VERY warm!  I also checked the size before and after it's final wash/tumble dry, and it has lost a massive 3-4 inches in each direction.  It could really have done with another chain of circles, but I had neither the will power nor the fabric, so it remains a bit narrow.  Visitors chez Quiltova will now have the choice of sleeping under the Mod Pod in the blue room, or under the Terraced Garden in the Orange room!

I have had a certain amount of trouble with the animals during the making of this quilt.  They seem to be drawn to it - or maybe they just need to be near me?

One or other cat had been in/on/under the quilt the whole time I've been doing the binding
Under the table whilst I was quilting it!

Helping me baste

Helping lay out the backing!
I will be linking up next weekend with all the others who have finished this quilt, so make sure you check it out , or go onto the flickr page.  There are some beautiful quilts, and they are all so different.

Incidentally, this is also my second finish for Leanne's 2013 FAL.

09 February 2013

Siblings Together

Quilts for Siblings Together

With the Mod Pod quilt now finished (and in the tumble drier as we speak)  I can move on to something new.  I could finish the quilt for my friend Rose, but the thrill of starting something new won me over, and I've started a quilt for the siblings together project.  A few weeks ago, I bought a layer cake of Aneela Hooey's Little Apples from Katy, who was having a bit of a stash clear out.

 I thought this would be perfect for a quilt for this project, if I could find a nice simple pattern that would be quick, but show the fabric off to it's best.  Hadley pointed me in the direction of this tutorial, a simple way of sewing Half Square Triangles from a layer cake.

In a very short space of time I had paired them up int light and dark, sewn around the edges, cut them into 4 and pressed them all.  Simples.  The only criticism I have is that the layer cake was not particularly well cut.  The squares were't all 10 inches and they weren't all cut squarely, which means I'm going to have to square up all of those HSTs.  But that's a job for another day.

Today I'm doing the nice stuff!  I started to play with the layout.  I know many of you are familiar with this, but it is the first time I've tried this and it is great fun.  And is so easy with my design wall!

Firstly I tried the layout I originally intended.

 But lets face it, it doesn't work.  It just looks scrappy.

Then I tried my favourites, pinwheels

Yep, this is an improvement.

Now for a zig sag - which I've never tried before

  Mmmmm - I like this

And finally, I don't know what you call this layout

This is nice too.

The only thing is, I don't know if I've got the right number of each colour combination.  If I'm not careful the last row/round will be mix n match!

What would you do?


06 February 2013

WIP Wednesday

And so the Mod Pod has almost reached the end.   The quilting is done, the binding is machined on and there's just the had stitching to do.

Not a brilliant photo, but I had to take the photo inside as it's wet and miserable outside. 

In the end I went with stippling the blue and leaving the green.  I still think the green could do with something to edge it, but I admit I have had enough of this quilt,so it's staying like this!  I think once it's washed, the green circles will stand out more.

The final shot shows the backing and the binding. 

So all there is to do is a few nights hand sewing in front of the fire and the t.v..  Should be finished by Sunday night at the latest!

Whilst this is still a WIP, I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

04 February 2013

It's been a mod-pod kind of a weekend

Thank you all for your best wishes for my dentist visit.  Sadly the tooth was beyond saving and is no more.  But I had NO pain at all, either during the extraction or afterwards.  Oh I feel so brave!

In between decorating the kitchen this weekend, and going to friends for a Chinese fondu yestrday, I made a good deal of progress with Mod Pod.

I finished the blocks on Wednesday, and carefully laid everything out to make sure I'd got an even distribution of fabrics.

But by the time I'd sewn the first edge on, they had mixed themselves up, and I'd got 3 duplicate patterns, and even though I'd pinned every joint, there were several that were slightly out, and a couple that were very out

So that seam had to be ripped and started again.  This is the bit about quilting that I really hate - I really don't like having to sew very long seams, with multiple seams to match up.  But I tackled it a bit at a time, in between catching up with episodes of Homeland, and the top was finished with minimal pain and effort.

I have re-named it the lumpy bumpy mod pod because it really is lumpy.  But hopefully most of the lumps will disappear when I've quilted it.

Then onto my knees for the basting, which was done with the help of the cats, whilst keeping out of the way of the TV as Gordon was watching the England/Scotland rugby match.  The right hand side was basted whilst I was lying flat out!

Bryn helping me lay the backing out flat

And both the boys making sure it didn't blow away!

And that is when the trouble started, officer.  I examined all the other finished Mod Pod quilts to see how they had been quilted.  I liked this one best but I wasn't sure I could manage all those individual circles.  But I made a start by echo quilting down one set of rings to see how I got on.  I had seriously underestimated how hard it is to turn all this quilt around those curves, which are quite sharp.  I did the first one quite well, but as I moved further left, and the amount of quilt built up on the right, I found it harder and harder, and the lines got wobblier and wobblier.  By the end of the third run down the quilt I gave up!  Maybe I was just tired, maybe I have no patience, maybe I'm still inexperienced, but whatever it is, it looked awful and I don't want to ruin it, so I ripped the lot out!

But what now?  My only idea is to FMQ the blue parts in a stipple pattern, so that I don't have to turn the quilt, and leave the green unquilted so that it pops out.  Unless of course you have any better ideas?