Thursday, 30 July 2015

Hubba Hubba: A quilt for a special little girl - Part 1

I love making quilts for people and have attempted, somewhat successfully, to give quilts to my close friend's children on their birthday. With one such first birthday coming up in October, I recently set about piecing a quilt. What makes this quilt especially important is that the baby's mother is one of my closet friend's who lost a baby girl late in her pregnancy the year before. Often it is only through tragedy that we can appreciate the gifts we have. 

As most good project do, this one started off with the purchasing of a couple of cute Hubba Hubba charm packs during a Hobby Sew pre-cuts sale. I love the bold colours that still have a girly feel, perfect for a quilt intended to follow a child through to the teenage years. Having spent a lot of my quilting time on appliqué designs I was keen to try a more complicated pieced quilt and eventually settled on this one from the Moda Bake Shop, but half the size. I don't even know the name of this block, but I should end up with a roughly 40" x 50" quilt. Seemed easy enough; charm squares paired with some cute spotted fabric to tone down the sometimes extremely bright prints. I generally really enjoy the cutting out stage of making a quilt. I love cracking out the graph paper and working out how many metres of fabric I need to get the bits I want. In this case however; I think I underestimated the time it would take to do the blocks properly. They are small, cute and a little fiddly. 

My workroom can often be a busy space. Between my dog and children there is almost constant interruptions and distractions. Given that I didn't have much fabric to spare with this quilt I was keen to avoid mistakes at any cost and to find an efficient way to work through the various steps. The quilt is made from 80 charm squares which are initially sewn to 80 5"squares of spotty fabric. I thus decided to do each step 80 (and ultimately 320, but 80 sounds better) times. 

The first stage was easy, sew the 5" squares together all around the edge then cut twice through the diagonal. Great. I then pressed these now triangles into squares. Not too bad. Then it got tough. I now had 320 squares that needed to be trimmed to 3". Ouch. No kidding, I think I aggravated an old wrist injury from holding the ruler still. Lucky I started the project so early as I am not progressing anywhere near as fast as anticipated. I've just had to do a little bit here and there when I've had time so as not to ruin my body in the process. It's done now though and I'm almost half way through sewing two quarters together to form two halves. The rest of the quilt should come together a lot quicker, right??

Here is the lowdown on this little girl's quilt. 

  • 2 x Hubba Hubba charm packs (80 squares used)
  • 1 x 1/2 yard of four different spotty fabrics = 2 yards (I'm going to use the leftovers for binding). Cut these into 20 x 5" squares per fabric.
  1. Sew charm pack pieces to spotty pieces with a 1/4" seem all around the edge.
  2. Cut the sewn squares in half diagonally, twice. 
  3. Press these now triangles into smaller squares.
  4. Trim the now 320 squares to 3" making sure the seem is centred diagonally.
  5. Sew into cute blocks pressing seems all the same way to make a pinwheel in the middle (this will be explained further in the next post).

I'm impatient to get through to the quilting stage of this project cause I have some grad plans to use my circular rulers along with some FMQ to create something pretty on top. But tell me, what are your tips for getting through the tedious trimming stage? I honestly think I would have died had I decided to do the quilt bigger.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Princess and the Pea - Quilt and Growth Chart

When my baby girl was born, my Mum had set a bit of a precedence with the Jack and the Bean Stalk growth chart she'd made for my son (see here). In true Big Mama style, she came out with this wondrous pair: matching Princess and the Pea cot quilt and growth chart. I had some input into the colour scheme but essentially this is all Big Mama's design and work. She has incorporated some machine embroidery to do Aimee's name and birth details but the majority is appliqué with free motion quilting. As is usual, I don't think the photos do the beautiful quilting justice so you'll just have to take my word for it. 

I love the thought of Aimee snuggling under this gorgeous quilt, all warm in her cot. These are true works of art and pieces I'm hoping Aimee will keep for years to come. I just wish she had kept the pattern pieces from the appliqué! I think there'd totally be a market there.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Easiest Quilt I've Ever Made

As stupid as it sounds, I totally get mummy guilt when I spend too much time sewing, even if half the time the children are in the room with me playing. In an attempt to free myself of said guilt, yesterday I made my son a play-mat quilt. He is a three year old boy so the obvious choice was Lightening Mcqueen!

Here are the instructions.

1. Buy licensed panel from fabric store and accompanying themed fabric to go on the back.
2. Sandwich together with your choice of batting.
3. Quilt as simply or as detailed as you feel you have the time and inclination for.
4. Bind in matching colour.

For mine, I did the equivalent of 'in the ditch' stitching around the black border, a larger stipple all over the centre and wavy lines with intermittent stars in the red border.

Done. Love. Happy days.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Sewing through ones finger - A right of passage or what not to do?

I finally did it. I sewed through my finger today. Middle finger on my right hand. I was using a quilting ruler, it got a bit stuck on a seam, and in went my finger. Ouch! In fact it's not so bad. Only hurt really to start with. Very strange seeing an entry and exit point though. What worried me more was that I got a drop of blood on the quilt I was working on. All fixed now but it certainly added to the drama in my house this evening.

What I was wondering though, have I just passed some sort of sewing right of passage? Did I just earn my self a little quilting kudos? Or on the other hand, am I being a bit careless? The stupid part is that I own a special poking tool to keep those fingers out of the way. Add to that, yesterday I dropped my sewing scissors and stabbed another finger on the same hand. What's going on? I'm claiming sewing kudos cause I'll sure as anything be back on the machine in the morning!