A Little Liberty

A quick post today for a wee blanket – but no less pretty for being small! Well how can it not be pretty, when it’s made with Liberty Of London fabrics? Liberty Tana Lawn is the softest, most feminine cotton fabic ever. And the prints are gorgeous, usually floral, and always exquisite. My good friend is having baby daughter number 3 very soon, and she has lots of my quilts in her house. Loved and used though they all are, she really has enough quilts for the littlest one to roll around on – and she won’t be rolling around fo a few months! So I decided to use my precious little stash of Liberty (“little” because it is so expensive!) and make her a blanket.

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It’s just basic patchwork squares as you can see; not only is it my favourite, despite enjoying doing some more taxing patterns lately (more in future posts!), but it feels wrong to cut up Liberty any more than  you have to. Besides, I don’t have enough of the fabric to cope with more seams and still be big enough to use! it’s 30 x 5” squares sewn together.

I just backed it in a beautiful soft cuddle fleece I got at my local quilt shop (Fabrication in Haddington) at a great price, and didn’t put any batting in between. The fleece was a real pain to work with – although I only remembered to use a walking foot after I had begun, so the fleece did stretch and misbehave, and the blanket isn’t perfect. However, it’s not too noticeable, and it is soooo soft and cuddly, perfect for the pram, car, or just a snuggler!

I used perle cotton to hand quilt round the edge:image

and aurifil gold thread to handquilt lightly along the vertical seams

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The light handquilting (and ahem, imperfections due to the fleece troubles) gives it a “homespun look”, which I don’t normally do, but I actually think it’s really sweet – traditional and lovely for a new baby. i know my friend will love it – she’s worth using the Liberty for, not only because I love her dearly, but also because she has such lovely taste, I know she’ll appreciate it!

I’m rather in love with LIberty after this little blanket – I need to do some saving up and see if I can make myself a quilt. Eeeek. I’d have to save up a lot – but oh, it would be so loved!

Hope you’re all having a fun weekend whatever you’re up to,

till the next time,

Poppy xx

Boy Crazy! (not me, well not for about 20 years…)

Hellooooooo! And happy new year! What a marvellous time of year this is, full of good intentions and a (perceived) clean slate. I get so joyous I accidentely celebrate by making huge steamed puddings and scoffing with my boys with lashings of custard. Before remembering my good intentions. Oh well; it went down a treat and the littlest one loved it, despite being usually a chocolate fiend. I used Delia Smith’s treacle pudding for a change from chocolate or marble which I’ve done before:

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I should point out that this one was NOT mine, which collapsed a bit when I upturned it (I made it with more fragile gluten free flour) but which tasted delicious nonetheless. The recipe is here by the way:

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/sweet/steamed-treacle-sponge-pudding.html

Other than that I shouldn’t have much to report on this sewing blog, given that the sewing has not really restarted in earnest (yet). However I have loved catching up on all the Christmas iplayer goodies – I mean, Sherlock is back! Sherlock! – on the sofa next to the Hubster whilst sewing up my hexagons. Oh yes, the hexagons. That project is still underway and is happily keeping my fingers working and my head out of mischief. I have posted a few pictures on Flickr, but will update in the next post.

Meanwhile here is a sweet baby quilt I made for my gorgeous brand  new nephew for Christmas! It’s made from a fun range called Boy Crazy by Dani Mogstad for Riley Blake designs. 

Here it is basted (see the pins?) and on the sewing machine:

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Aren’t the colours and designs great? I wanted something bright for him which could last him more than a year or two. This has blue, orange, white, brown, red, yellow stars, zigzags, circles, diamonds, rockets, cars, words – phew! What’s not to love?

Here is my hand guiding the stippling quilting. Stippling is my favoured quilting pattern – it’s classic and inoffensive, and I love the way it helps to breaks up all the straight lines of the traditional square patchwork which I love so much, and meld all the layers together into one beautiful piece. Maybe if quilts were more common in this country I would tire of stippling; and I AM going to try some loop-de-loop quilting this year – oooh get me, taking risks and all – but at the moment I am happy with the humble stipple! For those not in the know, stippling is like wiggly lines all over the quilt – like bends in a river, some of which follow each other and some of which don’t. You’re not supposed to cross the streams, like in Ghostbusters – but sometimes that happens on my quilt and no giant marshmallow man blows up in my face, so it can’t be that much of a crime.

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and then ta-da! It’s finished! (thanks Grandpa for being the quilt holder!)

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Of course the problem with quilting in Scotland is the weather – I couldn’t wait for a day with more light to photograph this in, partly because that might have taken 3 months, and partly because Grandpa was taking it over to my brother-in-law’s that day in preparation for their Christmas, so whether or not this photo does the bright colours justice, here it is!

But let me assure you, this range is supercute, bright, cheery and perfect for any little boy, and probably up to the age of about 10-14 depending on the boy. See the stippling?

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I used a 10” stacker of Riley Blake’s Boy Crazy, cut it into 5” squares, sewed together and put a white 3” border round. I used the same yummy stripy binding that I used on the elephant quilt a couple of posts back, from Space by Makower, which I love on this quilt. This is one of my favourite ways to make a rich, very scrappy kid-quilt; the eveness of the squares help the eye cope with the mix of colours and patterns, the white border not only helps to tone down all the colours, but gives some space for a name, which I’ve done here – “Rufus” is my sweet nephew’s rather cool name. I used Quilter’s Dream Orient batting to provide more warmth than cotton but still be machine washable and dryable.

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It finished up about 43” x 52”, which I think is the perfect child quilt – you can see by Grandpa who is 5’11” and not rake-thin by any means that it will last for a child for a good many years as a lap quilt, extra layer, something to throw down on the grass or beach to lie about on – and of course as a lovely playmat full of interesting things to look at when he’s discovering his fingers and toes!

You can tell, I’m quite into this collection and quilt – not as much as I’m besotted by my nephew though! And the family have literally just moved to BERMUDA (2 days ago), so I’m gutted i won’t see him change over the next few months until we see them again. However, the upside is they can send me a good picture of his quilt in the sun 😉 Preferably with him and his big (but still very little and totally adorable) sister on it!

Better go before I get teary! Wishing you all the most productive, happy, healthy 2014 – and one full of colour and creativity!

Till the next time,

Poppy xx

Fluttery quilting? Fail. Fluttery sewing – win :-)

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So. You know how I said I really wanted to quilt? Well, I’d fallen in love quite hard with a blue fabric from the Flutter collection by the Quilted Fish for Riley Blake Designs whilst we were holidaying in Cornwall earlier this year (well, you have to take in ONE fabric shop surely!). It was expensive at £16/metre, and only in fat quarters, so I thought I’d have a look online when I returned home. This is the fabric:

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It looks better in the flesh so to speak. it is lovely. Anyway as soon as we returned I looked online and not only is the collection almost impossible to find in the UK, it it dastardly difficult to find online in the states. In fact, I couldn’t find any of the blue main flowery fabric that I had so liked. But by this stage of searching, I started coveting the whole collection as a group – blue and orange are really speaking to me right now. Eeek! I’m such an addict.

So I ordered a few charm packs from the states, and they arrived, hurrah. Could barely contain excitement. Perfect for a little quilting I thought. Laid them out on my desk (not inspiring backdrop but you take inspiration where you find it!):

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…And suddenly it all wasn’t speaking to me as clearly as I’d expected. The only way I could think of re-inspiring my love for the colours was to sash the blocks in white strips to make the little squares pop, but still it just wasn’t working that well in my head. But I did love pretty much all the designs a lot:

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and the colours together are still really gorgeous in the, er, flesh (is there a better expression for this??).

Pondered. Played with squares and teaming them up in pairs.

Then decided to sack the quilting and have some zippered pouch fun. And fun it was. I loved being able to match the fun exteriors to some complementary interiors, colours that might sound weird together but were expertly designed to go well. Some zips and batting later and I had 12 cute little purses, which hold cards and coins, some of which are shown above, and some below:

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sweet aren’t they? And some more:

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This is one of my favourites, despite not being blue or orange at all! Or having a funky interior, for that matter. I’m so fickle.

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I think they are very sweet, I loved making them. But now I have 12 brand-new coin purses in my house. I’m going to have to start selling these wee things soon to help fund this sewing addiction, I mean passion. I’m thinking about end of Sept/ early October time…

I actually got out some other charm packs in my stash, thinking of doing the same thing with them, but was surprised at how difficult it was – despite being lovely as collections or big pieces of fabric, very few had even some patterns which could stand alone on a purse, let alone half the pack to be like that. I think Flutter is a rarity in that respect. The closest I got was this one, called Boho by Urban Chiks for Moda:

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It’s such a great collection! Some of those patterns could definitely be purse exterior fabrics, so I started playing. And realised they were very quirky, and might only appeal to a small number of people. Besides, even the larger patterns didn’t work as well as I thought. Yes I adore the blue with the brown flowers, but the rest? I think it’s another collection that looks better together. But by this time I was dying to do something with Boho, so started sewing 4-patches together to make a little baby blanket. Or maybe a bigger one, we’ll see. Watch this space!

Well, I have some little boy bunting to make for a lovely lady in the village who’s son is turning 2, so I’d better be off. By the way, The kindle case from my last post arrived to it’s rightful owner safely and she loved it. I got such sweet messages about it back, it made my day! Phew!

Till the next time,

Poppy xx