Postage stamp thoughts…

Happy 2016 lovely creative folks! Thanks for stopping by – despite it being 4 months since my last confession. And since switching to WordPress I get stats, which shows you guys keep checking in, so double thank you for putting up with my prolonged absence!

SO much to tell you about; I had an amazingly successful craft fair and have some thoughts on that; some Christmas stockings for which a tutorial has been requested several times; I have some quilts in the making; I did some free motion embroidery; my EPP hexagon quilt top is 3/4 done; I wanted to show you how I made a wee felt mouse doll in a tin for a friend… it’s hard to know where to start!

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(A few things from my craft fair)

But I’m going to show you the postage stamp quilt that I am currently so into that I am finding it difficult to do anything else, despite it supposedly being a side-project. Including neglecting the shabby-chic commission quilt for a wedding which was 4 months ago… don’t panic, they knew I’d be busy! They didn’t know I would be seduced to the Dark Side of the, er, superbright & scrappy, admittedly. (I don’t think I’ve got the hang of Dark Side quilty metaphors…)

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I have had this yearning for an ultrabright, not very grown up, superscrappy, rainbow, box of sweeties, star-bright, flowers and unicorn vomit quilt for a while, having been inspired by the bazillion amazing, scrappy postage stamp quilts out in blogland, but was actually pretty shocked to discover that I didn’t have many scraps big enough to cut a 2.5″ square from. You need 1,024 X 2.5″ squares for a 64″ square quilt. I was reluctant to cut into uncut FQs in case I needed them for other projects and found myself short. I had about 300 mostly different, big-enough scraps, in the colours I wanted, which I cut up but obviously I needed a whole heap more:

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So I decided to use charm packs. I have a terrifying weakness for charm packs and precuts. To have a tiny bit of a whole collection of beautiful coordinating fabrics in my hand makes my heart flutter a little. But it does mean that there are more errant charm packs hanging about having a fabric party in my cupboards than there will ever be quilts. That’s scrap, right?

It wasn’t until I saw this just perfectly-perfect quilt from “Focus on Quilts” (http://www.focusonquilts.com.au/one-more-post-before-i-leave)

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that I truly fell head over heels. I think it’s because a lot of the scrap quilts you see have a tendency to go quite dark, and I really wanted a crazybright quilt; hers kind of all coordinates and still manages to look happy-scrappy. So I started with a base of the same collection as she did, my favourite collection, Happy go lucky, by Bonnie and Camille for Moda, and then added a few other packs which used similar colours; adding a bit of pink, but no brown, black, dark green or purple.

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I highly recommend visiting that blog page btw, she shows off a variety of utterly gorgeous quilt confection perfection, as well as listing the charm packs she used for her quilt.

Once I partly pieced this 16 x 16 square piece (about 32″ square) I reflected on how it looked a little “flat”. Maybe the colours were too coordinated? It used some “happy go lucky”, “beach house”, “one for you, one for me” (it’s just OK) and “garden project” (which is really really nice) – all for Moda. So I chopped up and threw in some “Sunkissed” and “Ambleside” which I had left over from other projects. Once it also had my own scraps in, it seemed to have a bit more depth from the varying shades of each colour, which I think helps, although it will be paler overall.

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Some more 16-patches ready to be sewn at some point, this time with scraps in:

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But… I think the thing I will enjoy the most is looking at the pieces of scrap fabric I used from my stash. Already, my eye sees them immediately + recognises them as fabrics I bought with love and have used. I like the effect of the charm pack squares but I don’t have that same feelingyou know, I think I might have to raid my stash after all to make it feel more unique and like it’s mine.

By the way I am doing most of this as a “Leaders and Enders” project. This is a technique devised by Bonnie K. Hunter I think (http://quiltville.blogspot.co.uk/). You know how when you finish a line of sewing, you cut your thread, leaving long ends of thread which essentially get wasted? Or when you start sewing, esp piecing triangles or delicate fabrics, your machine tries to eat the fabric? My mother-in-law always uses a piece of scrap fabric to start and finish her sewing (the needle stays in this fabric piece when you finish sewing/ switch off the machine).

Well, a leader/ender is a small bit of patchwork you want to sew together; you use that instead of scrap fabric so it doesn’t eat the corner of the HST you’re making for your proper project, chain piece everything you want to, and then finish with another small piece of your “leader/ender” quilt.

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That’s my “Ender”, which I left in the machine for whichever quilt I decide to work on next time, when it will act as my “leader”.

Before you know it, within a few quilts you have sewn together lots of small 2.5″ squares, first into pairs, and then into 4-patches. Without you really noticing you’ve done it. Well, it slows you down a little I admit. But I certainly didn’t notice sewing 1,100 little squares into 4-patches, as much as I would have done had I tried to just piece them all at once (I might have sworn off quilting forever!).

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I kept them all in a shoebox next to the machine, which was also good for the ten min mindless sewing break. Healthier than fags and booze… ūüėČ

Once you put the 4 patches together, the 16-patches seem to go together pretty quickly, and because it’s scrappy, it’s all pretty mindless. Instead of trying to keep your rows in order, you just sew randomly. Bliss.

There are other ways to do this of course. The amazing goddess of modern square-based quilting, Rita from Red Pepper Quilts has a great tutorial on doing postage stamp quilts using 2″ x 7″ strips cut from scrap or stash. (her squares will finish smaller at 1.5″). I can see that working very quickly, though not as a leader/ender. Her fabulous tutorial is here:

http://www.redpepperquilts.com/2012/04/postage-stamp-quilt-tutorial.html

Meanwhile… My New Year’s resolution after playing more guitar and moving more is to sew less for others and more for us! My boy wants a Spiderman quilt, which is making me very happy, and I envisage a scrappy string quilt (I have lots of strings), a liberty quilt, 1030s feedsack repro picnic quilt, Heather Ross quilts for my two nieces and of course a bright bright postage stamp quilt! There, it’s in black and white – you’re my witness. After the 3 commissions I have to do first. I’ll start after that ūüėČ

Until the next time, may 2016 bring you much love, joy, peace and happiness,

Poppy xx

The twice-made Baby quilt…

Sometimes, that usually fair and¬†just¬†muse, er, Quiltiopoeia, eschews all her principles of “it will be beautiful if you take your time and take care” and her rebellious streak wreaks havoc in your quilty life. I have no idea where I’m going with this fable – but I tell you, this sweet, simple little baby quilt has caused me no end of trouble.

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I know, right? It’s one charm pack of Ambleside by Brenda Riddle for Moda, sewn together and quilted. How hard can it be? I tell you though, do not be fooled by her gorgeousness; she’s a¬†tricksy minx.

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Earlier this year, we had that rarest of rare things – builders whom you actually like having around, who don’t say one thing and provide another, who work until the job is done, who fix problems promptly without complaint, who don’t suck air through¬†their teeth every time¬†they tell you about a minor problem as though you are going to have to sell your right femur to pay for this one, Missus.¬†The¬†father and son team¬†did a great job replacing our decrepit bathroom for us with a “hotel bathroom” (cue clasped hands and joyous musical theatre exclamations from Mrs Cuckooblue). So when young master-builder saw me sewing and asked if I would make a small baby quilt for his niece-on-the-way a few months hence, I said yes, despite vowing to take on no new commissions this year. After all they were so nice, and it wouldn’t take too long, right?

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He chose my charm squares of Marmalade Flannel by Bonnie and Camille for Moda, left over from a little quilt my newest niece plays on, and an Ikea print, Rosalie, apparently designed by Cath Kidston. Oh, I was so on top of it, although somehow I fretted over every stage, the size, the quilting, the batting (Quilter’s Dream cotton). 2 weeks¬†before the due date, I got it to the stage in the picture above, and then went to visit my aforementioned baby niece who was playing on her quilt. I had never used flannel before and was a bit disappointed in how it had washed. Soft, yes, but also kind of old looking. I guess like flannel pyjamas get old and comfy looking quickly..? ¬†In my experience, quilts made with regular high-quality cotton fabrics remain beautiful, if not get more beautiful with subsequent washes, but somehow this flannel one didn’t. It looked better when first made. Disappointing. I think it’s one thing when it’s a gift, but another when someone has commissioned it, don’t you think?

So, some emailing of alternatives I thought they might like later, and all was going well. I used Quilters’ Dream wool batting, which is¬†gorgeously soft with a higher loft than regular cotton batting but still washes pretty easily in the machine, and stipple quilted it. I had loop de loop quilted the Marmalade quilt above, but I thought it needed a bigger quilt really to show off the regularity of the design, I think I prefer the stipple on such a small one.

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Aren’t the fabrics pretty? See that perfect binding too (from Butterscotch and Rose by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda) ? Well, I¬†had been tossing up between this one and a blue floral one. I would like to tell you that I made the right decision immediately, but I didn’t. I unpicked it all before I thought to photograph it, but I’ve just laid the old blue binding¬†on the quilt so you can see why it was all wrong:

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I have learned to pay attention to backs and bindings over the years. Bindings in particular seem such a small thing, but they can make or break a small quilt like this. They DO show, and you need a nice frame. I just thought… oh, I don’t know what I was thinking!

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Pretty fabrics…

And then the monogram he asked for. Was hoping for a beautiful swishy silvered calligraphic embroidered monogram I¬†could tell – he had to settle for applique.¬†And after 24 hours of me gradually discovering that LF in olde-world lettering doesn’t look good or recognisable, Fs and Ls being near mirror images of each other, he¬†agreed to a simple appliqued name. Phew! And very sweet it looks too, I¬†think. In my experience with small children, they love seeing their names, the first word they recognise really. It’s a shame to have some elaborate script, that they can’t read, on their first quilt.

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Aw. It was worth the troubles for this little quilt. I¬†love the softness and snuggly feel of the batting, love the classically¬†sweet fabrics, even love the wee girl’s name. I hope Leah discovers her fingers and toes lying on it, watches the world go by under it in her pram or carseat, loves its snuggliness as she looks at picture books under it. Bless. Nothing like a new baby to tame that mischievous¬†quilty muse.

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Come Back!

Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Oh Dear, Oh Deer

Oh dear indeed. My camera wire malfunctioned whilst I was uploading 3 months’ worth of photos and makes onto the computer – losing almost all of them!¬†Hence the absence of recent¬†blog posts.¬†But, less frustratingly, here’s the “Oh Deer”:

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My good friend moved house recently and I really wanted to make them a throw quilt for their sofa. Their tastes are pretty clean and minimal; white, grey, subdued egg shell blue. They even manage to keep the children’s toys tidy! Ahem, yeah, just like me. ūüėČ And Ana seems to be slightly in love with the deer/ stag silhouette at the moment, which can be found in subtle places in their home – on a cushion, on a tea-towel and so on. So I set off through the UK online shops looking for a set of fabrics with a grown-up colour scheme, but bright enough to lift a room or grace a picnic – and preferably with a few deer too.¬†DSC_0072

I have had this grey/ mustard/ teal colour scheme in my head for a while, and have been dying to make a quilt using it, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. And, being the kind of fabric-obsessed web surfer that I am, I¬†also immediately knew my best chance of finding modern, clean, grown up yet quirky prints. “M is for Make” is a really fabulous shop. The owner, Kate, has a definite style and fabric taste;¬†the shop is full of modern, often geometric fabrics or stylised prints, but with a healthy dose of whimsy in there –¬†not taking itself too seriously. Well I think so anyway – she’s like a “cool hunter”!

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As you know, I most often quilt with precuts or collections Рpartly because there is no local quilt shop with a large selection of prints, partly because it is the cheapest way of getting a bit of lots of different fabrics, fat eighths only just being introduced in the UK (and fabric being twice as expensive as in the US). But choosing my own fabrics was SO. MUCH. FUN. And I was so thrilled to see that the colours on the computer did indeed match those on the fabrics I received. (Phew!)
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I had actually taken photos along the way in order to give you a bit of¬†a tutorial and as¬†an aide memoir for me for the next time, all of which are now fairy dust in the ether… although the construction is very simple and so it¬†was¬†probably unnecessary anyway. Here’s a bit of a guide, just in case you wanted the maths:

You will need for the quilt top (approx 55″ x 55″ finished) :¬†¬†

  1. 61 (sixty one) ¬†6″ fabric squares. Assuming you have well-cut fat quarters and you can cut 9¬†(nine) 6″ squares from each one, you only need 7 fat quarters. Not all fat quarters are that well cut. If you had more fat quarters, you would have fabric left over but would end up with more variety in your quilt. I had 14 different fat quarters and have fabric left over.
  2. A yard¬†of white background fabric, cut into 3.25″ strips.¬†
  3. rotary cutter, decent ruler, thread etc etc you know the drill!

Cutting and assembly: 

The quilt is made from 2 blocks. Sew everything together using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance.

  1. Block A is a basic 4-patch. Take 2 of your 6″ squares and sew together, RST. Repeat with another 2 squares , open both out and sew together into a 4-patch. You need 12 of these.

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2. For Block B,

  • ¬†You need to subcut your 3.25″ wide white strips into 26 (twenty six) 6″x 3.25″ rectangles and 26 (twenty six) 11.5″ x 3.25″ rectangles.
  • Then take a 6″ x 3.25″ rectangle and sew onto the side of a 6″ square. Repeat on the other side. Then sew a¬†11.5″ x 3.25″ rectangle to the top and bottom, finishing the block.
  • You will need 13 of these blocks.

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3. Easy peasy!¬†Really at this point you should check all your blocks are the same size. They should all measure 11.5″ square. but seam allowances being what they are when the fascist quilt police are looking the other way, they may not all be the same. It’s okay. Find your smallest block and trim them to be all the same size; even if that is 11.25″ or ¬†11″, it’s better than not being able to sew your quilt together or it not lying flat when it comes to basting.

4. And now sew together, alternating block B and block A in a 5 x 5 grid, as below. Very simple ūüôā

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I decided not to put on a border, and just bound it in the beautiful Kona solid in teal. I used the number print from Ikea on the back, which looks great with this quilt – and such a bonus that it is 60″ wide, has a nice soft handle and is very cheap!

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I used my favourite Quilter’s Dream Orient for the batting, which gives it a gorgeous snuggliness and drape, and quilted it in a¬†freemotion¬†all-over loop-de-loop pattern.¬†DSC_0034

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Obviously my house is not a Scandinavian inspired, white¬†minimalist¬†and modern looking house, so I¬†appreciate that my sofa doesn’t suit this little quilt really¬†-but I’m sure my friend’s sofa will!

Oh I nearly forgot to tell you the fabrics! They were mostly from the collections Yoyogi park by Heather Moore for Cloud 9 fabrics, Mod Basics from Birch Fabrics, Westwood by Monaluna fabrics, the Kona teal and a lovely fabric from Botanics collection Carolyn Friedlander. I could have just kept adding fabrics from that shop I really could, but tried to be restrained.

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Incidentally,¬†the lovely Kate from “M is for Make” instagrammed my order picture and it got so many “likes” that she made some of them¬†into a bundle called “forest bundle”. You can see it here¬†if you are interested:

http://www.misformake.co.uk/search?type=product&q=goldteal

Right, I had better get off to bed. Why does the bloggy muse always float by so darn late in the evening? Hopefully my dreams will be filled with teal fabrics and peaceful deer tonight. May yours be too!

Until the next time,

Poppy xx

Baby Girls and Hello Luscious

… are the perfect combination. At least when it comes to quilts.

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See? Clearly I have no need to further extoll the virtues of the Hello Luscious collection by Basic Grey for Moda, but apparently I’m going to. I LOVE it. If it had a scent it would smell of jasmine, freshly cooking doughnuts, baked peaches in brown sugar and syrup and vanilla ice cream. Outside on a warm summers day with the smell of cut grass faintly in the background. And a Pimms for the grown-ups. Hmmm. Seems I’m getting distracted daydreaming about the Scottish summer (it’s June! I need a shaman to come and do a sun dance. we have plenty rain this year), so will move on.

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It’s such an old collection now that’s it’s super-hard to find. If you have any girls in your life and you find some, even one charm pack, snap it up because said daughter will always love it. I stashed a few charm packs, despite having no daughter – I¬†used 2 for this quilt.

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Pretty colours and patterns huh? Not too babyish and will grow with a girl until – well probably forever. Definitely late teens. I did take out some of the greens and replace them with white squares (cut from stash). I’m not a huge green fan and although I like it in this collection,¬†I¬†felt the balance was slightly off for my tastes. And I feel the colours are so rich and well, luscious, together that they somehow can seem a bit “muddy” when all together – hence replacing the greens with some white. It definitely made the rest of the colours “pop”.

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But after I made the quilt top I thought I had added a few too many white squares. 3 or 4 too many. I¬†was on a deadline and really didn’t want to unpick.¬†So I did a little applique heart using a lovely fabric from Cori Dantini for Blend fabric –¬†cori_dantini_good_company_scalloped_in_pink¬†So pretty… I¬†have a quilt in the making in ¬†Cori Dantini fabrics, the¬†colours¬†remind me of a pack of refreshers, remember those sweets anyone?

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And somehow that heart draws your attention to it and away from the slight white square imbalance. Or I tell myself that! I really like it, and it felt like a little special gift to the wee girl. A little hand stitchery in a variegated pink perle 8 cotton finished it off.

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You can see the quilting on a few of these pictures; I did loop de loop quilting which I love on child quilts; actually I am beginning to love it on all quilts. Somehow the swirls and loops look fun and elegant at the same time. And it is a fun design to do – like when you are a kid, painting with bold flourish! Stippling is a much more restrained process; at least it is when you are trying to make it even and attractive.

Backing is a Tanya Whelan print from Sugar Hill which actually goes really well with the collection, although I was unsure when it was first picked out. This quilt was commissioned by my neighbour for her very precious first granddaughter – a neighbour whom I adore so much that I was willing to relinquish a bit of my precious Hello Luscious stash – and her really lovely daughter and son in law. The baby girl (who is a cutie) is called Rose, so we were keen to have roses on the back; Suzanne chose this from my stash. And her name on the front of course – again in the Cori Dantini print above.

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Her parents gave this to her at a little party they held for introducing the baby (the baby’s family lives in Norway), and it was so great to see how much they loved it! Incidentally I took a little present I made for her room – a quilted cushion made with a California girl charm pack (fig tree quilts for Moda) and Summer Ride by Sarah Jane on the back (I just love this print with a passion!), which also turned out very sweet.

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I was kind of sorry to see this quilt go, despite having no real use for it in my house, but I’m really glad it’s gone to such a good¬†home where I know it will be used and loved by a darling family. Batting is Quilters Dream Orient, size approximately 46″ x 52″.

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I think I am feeling the need for making some quilts for our household now! So much letting go. Of quilts. Yes, I think I am a batty catless cat lady who needs to get a grip ūüėČ

Night night lovely creative folk; hope your treasure making is going well.

Till the next time, Poppy xxx

Why do medical syringe pump bags have to be so … ugly?

Well, they are ugly. When I worked at a hospice, working with especially with female patients, young and old, I¬†used to think it all the time. Some people have to have a continuous infusion of either painkiller or anti-sickness medication or somesuch in order to stay comfortable. Whilst it’s one thing when people are in bed and sleeping, many many people walk around with this, live with it as a permanent fixture in their lives. And yet, the bags they are given for them are practical but ugly dark blue canvas small bags with straps and stuff, wires sticking out, and¬†go round their necks (which can be painful), the overall effect screaming “I am extremely medical and weird, please look at me with that uncomfortable mixture of sympathy and fear”. Or¬†are a bumbag. A BUMBAG I tell you! Chav circa 1987. Women are not impressed, particularly those who are trying hard to make an effort to look nice, and they used to complain often or really fight against having a drug which will make them feel better – because it’s so visible. So when I got asked to make this:

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… I jumped at the chance.

The lady, whose lovely daughter commissioned the bag¬†as a present,¬†has to have a syringe pump dispensing chemotherapy¬†for a week every few weeks. Not only does this remind her of her illness, but she feels it draws attention to her illness from other people. She’s a smart, trim lady who likes to look nice, and HATED the bumbag she was given – not only was it ugly and something she would never wear, it was¬†very uncomfortable for her. She asked for a cross-body, lightweight bag which could comfortably fit her pump in the base, have a gap at the top for the wires to come out – and most of all would look like a bag she had chosen to wear! Look at the the typical bag I’m used to seeing on patients, compared to a custom one:

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So we set to work looking at colours and fabrics. It’s always harder when I can’t see someone, to get a measure of their tastes. She must be about my mother’s age (this was all done over the phone so¬†I had thought maybe classic floral? Some lovely gentle colours…? Wrong, wrong. She wanted bright. Loves cerise pink. Loves bold patterns.¬†I sent some pictures¬†of fabrics based on that, and she chose this – Michael Miller’s Flock in navy. Lovely. My own cosmetics bag¬†is made from this – not sure I would have chosen a bag for myself in it, but everyone’s tastes are different and valid! And once I¬†made it I¬†had several friends telling me they would buy it if she didn’t want it, so she has good taste ūüôā

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It’s interfaced but soft and lightweight as requested; because I wasn’t sure of her size I¬†made the strap adjustable; anyway the hardwear always gives a bag a more professional look. I didn’t put any kind of grid in the bottom as I wanted to make it washable (it’s going to be in the hospital a fair bit) – the pump is a sausage-shape with a diameter of 3″ so I made the base 3″ deep. Fingers crossed it fits ok! It’s about 10″ wide by 8-9″ tall… I think! I really should have measured it… enough room for a purse, lipstick etc. Zip closure with enough gap to let out the wires. And long cross-body adjustable strap so it looks like a real bag¬†– that has got to be good for a woman, right?

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I had meant to line it with this, love and Joy by Dena Fishbein, as she likes cerise pink: 10699216_10203944494404633_720094229_n

And honestly can’t remember why I didn’t (it was a few months ago). Perhaps it was a cost thing because I wanted to keep the price down and this fabric is full price. From the pictures I went with this instead, Medallions from the Quilted Fish from Madhuri collection by Riley Blake, which I got in a sale:

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Anyway, apparently she loves it, which makes me very happy; I really wish her all the best; she’s going through a tough time. Hopefully when her treatment is over she will be able to give it to her granddaughter or something. It’s kind of hard to do commissions like this; I¬†don’t take on¬†that many commissions really as it’s a hobby, but for something like this obviously you want to help. But you also want to do it for free. You can’t always afford to use fabrics and time to do things for charity but you sometimes feel you want to. In this case, she would have been offended; I¬†don’t think she would have liked to think of herself as charity, and had she been a personal friend (rather than mother of an old school¬†friend) it would have been different, a gift.

This “sewing pays for itself” malarkey can be a bit fraught; I¬†know I¬†under-price, I know I shouldn’t. I find it hard to value my own work, even though I know it’s excellent quality and a lot of time and thought goes into it. I’m getting better at it. I would definitely try not to undercut folk if I was on Etsy or Folksy –¬†I buy on Etsy loads, wonderful place, never had an issue with service ever, and it’s not fair to expect someone to create something beautiful¬†and not get paid for their time, and when you undercut people by not getting paid, you create an expectation, whereas especially in the UK, fabric and supplies are very expensive! It has made me think I¬†might make some (cheaper) syringe driver bags for the hospice or chemo pump bags for the hospital here as a charity thing though; stories like this are sobering, and make you remember how much people are going through in their lives. Perhaps if I¬†can help a tiny bit, I don’t mean¬†medically, but by making them feel less of a “patient” and more of a “person” again, perhaps these small thing all help.

Anyway, perhaps a bit sobering for a Friday night! Hope you make the most of your today, stories like this make me more determined to do that! Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Vintage modern-ruby stars quilt – finally finished!

I¬†was banging on about rediscovered project mojo the last time I blogged this – which was when I had made the quilt top (and shared the tutorial). Yeah. 15 months ago. Star¬†blocks made 3 1/2 years ago. Oops.¬†Go-slow-mojo. Never mind, it got there in the end¬†–¬†and is finished!

vintage modern Ruby stars

I’m going to be clear on this – I’m not the best photographer. It looks much better than this up close and personal. Partly the quilting gives it that drapey, textured, soft, 3-dimensional look and feel that pictures can’t:

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Can you see it? I have kept up my resolution to do some non-stippling quilting – this is a loop-de-loop combined with a leaf pattern. Quite straightforward and good fun to do! Looks pretty with all the loops, and the leaves make it looks a bit heirloomy. It uses a lots more thread, but is kind of easier than a stipple (although I have mastered the basic stipple now so it’s hard to tell) I¬†think because it’s easier not to get hemmed into a corner. All that Ghostbustery “don’t cross the lines” with stippling means turning corners can sometimes require the foresight of a Chess Grandmaster. Unless you just stop,¬†cut threads and restart elsewhere as I do. Ping – take that Kasparov with your castling and checkmates, I¬†just chopped the head off your queen. I have no idea what I’m on about. Moving on…

I wasn’t that happy with the original quilt top even after quilting; I¬†was still affected by¬†how I saw the fabrics of Ruby (by Bonnie and Camille for Moda) “too few headliner fabrics and too many fillers”, and the addition of a bit of¬†Vintage Modern” (again by Bonnie and Camille for Moda) really pepped up the border, but only came AFTER the stars were made. You can read about my woes over this much-anticipated fabric in my original post if you’d like here: https://cuckooblue.co.uk/2014/03/25/vintage-modern-ruby-stars-charm-pack-busting-hst/

So it still looked as though it was missing something to me. So I added some hand quilting in a red Perle 8 cotton around each of the stars. I cannot tell you how much difference this has made close up. It looks great. Truly. FINALLY.

loop and leaf quilting

This is the back:

quilt back - rosalieDSC_0188

This is going to the girl who was my best friend at secondary school (high school). You know the friend who never judges you, always supports you, laughs and cries with you, studies with you, paints your nails and listens to your woes about boys – and¬†will tell you if you’re going wildly off-course? The one with whom you laugh until you cry? Regularly? And you really can’t remember why? That friend. She was a really great friend, and we’re still in touch although of course our lives went in such separate directions and we live so far away that we don’t do that any more – but somewhere in our memories our two 15 year old selves are lounging around in her room, crying with laughter. Admittedly it’s for her 40th which was 9 months ago, but at least there has been a lot of thought and time put into this quilt! I hope she enjoys¬†using it.

vintage modern ruby quilt

Measure about 60″ square, uses 3 charm packs ish, some white yardage and about 3/4 metre of fabric for the border and binding. If you would like the tutorial for the quilt top you can find it here:¬†http://www.cuckooblue.co.uk/2014/03/25/vintage-modern-ruby-stars-charm-pack-busting-hst/

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Hexagons in Spring

This is my only slow-burning project. I’m¬†not really a slow-burning kind of girl; hence this has been a lesson in patience and process rather than product. But the thing about slow-burning is you don’t really realise how productive you have been.

DSC_0048

I’ve posted about this a few times before (links at the bottom) – it’s an English-paper-pieced quilt top in the making, made of¬†1″-sided hexagons. I have to say I thought I might¬†get to about 200 and turn them into a cushion, but I had that hankering, you know, the one which says “I will be a real quilter if I can do this”. That one. Even though¬†you ARE¬†a real quilter if you put front, batting, back and some stitches together. (Real, albeit maybe not astonishing.) Doesn’t matter though, we are our own worst critics, and sometimes we feel we should put ourselves through a rite of passage.

Apparently this is mine.

My all-time favourite designer is Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts for Moda, and this will be a homage to her work – hexies, hand sewn, kept as collections. I realised that although I¬†wanted a scrappy feel, I¬†also didn’t want a bright mish-mash, which I’d rather keep for a hard-wearing machine-quilted picnic quilt. But a¬†hand pieced hexie quilt of my favourite designer’s collections? I’m being buried in this. I am NEVER letting it¬†go.

honeysweet

This is “Honeysweet”. I¬†just love how all these florals feel traditional but not dull or stuffy.

Avalon/ buttercup

“Avalon”. Isn’t it amazing how that random navy blue can somehow fit into a hexagon quilt with no other blue in and you accept its scrappy nature? Or I¬†just refuse to even contemplate that it doesn’t. It WILL fit. It will.

Buttercup

That’s “Buttercup”, so pale and floaty…

strawberry fields

And this is “Strawberry Fields”, an earlier collection which I can’t find anywhere now – I got this single charm pack from Australia. This quilt has definitely NOT got a small¬†carbon footprint… I love this collection; so much nicer in real life, fresh, vibrant, mellow, pretty, perfect.

Fig and Plum/ buttercup

“Fig and plum”.

tapestry

“Tapestry”; this is one of my all time favourites – you can tell by the number of quilts I¬†have made with it!

Fresh Cottons

This was a cheat because at the time of taking this picture a few days ago, it wasn’t sewn in – it is now though, along with some more. It’s “Fresh Cottons”. I’ve always been underwhelmed by this collection, but once it’s together it is nice and does work. It’s not my favourite; I’m not keen on the minty green somehow. It made the cut though, unlike “Mirabelle”, a more recent collection which I really didn’t take to at all.

I think this is about 1100 – 1200 hexagons sewn together. I¬†was aiming for 1400 (about 60″ square), but it may be more like 1600; mainly because there are other and new collections which I love too. The nice thing is you can buy a charm pack and get the full collection and 160 paper-pieced 1″ hexagons from it, so it’s not like I have to buy a lot of fabric to get the collection.¬†I have some “California girl” to go in:

California girl

Some “Somerset”

Somerset

Have ordered some “Aloha Girl”:

Aloha girl

And the release of this beautiful collection in September will make the end of the summer bearable:

Farmhouse

That might be enough. But if she keeps making such beautiful collections I might just have to keep going! Turns out slow burning is OK after all.

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And the best bit? Spring’s here, the sun’s out, and I¬†can sit out in it whilst still sewing. Bliss.

Till the next time,

Poppy

xx

p.s. you can find the three previous posts about this quilt here:

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/63599622305/hexagon-crazy

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/74315915679/sexy-hexies

https://cuckooblue.co.uk/post/84367443052/the-1000th-hexagon