Saturday, 25 April 2015

Marsala: 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge

I finished my Marsala Quilt for the Pantone 2015 Quilt Challenge! I seriously did not think I would! It wasn't an easy process and the quilt turned out nothing like my original plan. My first problem in making this quilt was that I didn't have any Marsala fabrics. No problem, I thought, I'd pick some up on my trip to the States in February.
Shopping with Amanda, Anne, Deb, Anne and Adrianne at The Intrepid Thread in February
That's me (second from the right) shopping for Marsala fabrics with the coordinators of the Pantone Quilt Challenge. Haha! I made the most of the shopping opportunity and quizzed Anne and Adrianne about what Marsala fabrics actually looked like. Turns out they're quite hard to find. I found four fabrics on the whole trip and that was it.

Back home, I started making some of my Raspberry Kiss blocks using low volume fabrics for the background. It quickly became obvious that I didn't have enough fabrics to achieve the scrappy look I was after. So I raided my stash and added a few more fabrics, stretching the definition of Marsala into brown and dusty pink. To stretch my fabrics a bit further, I made blocks with Marsala fabrics as the background. Then I got stuck. I really wanted to make a throw size quilt with an improv background but I couldn't get it to look right. With the challenge deadline fast approaching I decided to save myself a headache and keep it simple. I rediscovered a piece of denim chambray in my stash and used that to make a wide border. I had always planned to include skinny fabric strips at the top and the left. The idea was to give the impression of margin lines on a page, a page covered with kisses, just like a letter my eight year old daughter might write to me. I used an Oakshott cotton for the margin lines.

I finished the quilt with simple straight line quilting, using an Aurifil Marsala-ish coloured thread on the denim. I used the denim chambray again for the binding, with just a little of the Oakshott to continue one of the margin lines right to the edge of the quilt.

I'm so pleased to have this quilt finished (just) before the deadline. I really enjoyed the challenge, it was good to work outside my normal colours. I'm already looking forward to next year's Pantone Quilt Challenge.

Linking up to the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge AND this was the first of my Finish Along Second Quarter goals so I will be linking up to the FAL when it opens in July.

2015 Pantone Challenge

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Quilt Stats;

Quilt Size: 34" square
Border and Binding: denim chambray found at my LQS, unknown manufacturer
Quilting: straight line quilting with my walking foot, Superior Threads in 401 Snow for the kisses and Aurifil 50wt Burgundy 1103 for the border
Batting: 100% cotton batting (Hobbs)
Backing: Scrappy 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Ballet Bag

Hooray, my daughter finally has a bag for her ballet gear. A year ago I did some pattern testing for Juliet from Tartan Kiwi, the pattern was these paper pieced ballet shoes.
I knew I wanted to turn them into a ballet bag but couldn't decide what bag to make. Then a few weeks ago Svetlana asked for testers for her new drawstring bag pattern. I said yes straight away, it seemed like a great way to get this ballet bag actually made. Nothing like a deadline for me to get something finished!

Svetlana's latest pattern comes together so easily and has a really neat way of boxing the corners that I've never come across before but is so easy and fast! I love learning new techniques!
It did take me a while to figure out the best way to incorporate the shoes into the bag panel. In the end I simply added more of the Juliana Horner print to the sides and the bottom of the block. It makes the ballet feet look as if they're airborne which wasn't exactly the look I was going for but I can live with that. I'm just happy that my daughter's ballet costume and shoes can finally be kept in one place.

A few notes;
The finished bag is 15.5" tall by 15" wide.
The drawstring tote bag pattern can be found in Svetlana's Etsy shop here.
The ballet shoes can be found in Juliet's Etsy shop here.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Finish Along 2015: Second Quarter Goals

After a dismal performance against my first quarter goals I wasn't sure whether to attempt a Q2 list. But I've been through my list of projects and there are quite a few that I would like to finish in the next few months and a little accountability is always a good thing! So here goes...

1. Marsala Quilt for the Pantone Quilt Challenge 2015

The deadline for this is only a few days away (24 April) and I'm still debating what to do next. I'm hoping that inspiration strikes soon so that I can at least enter the quilt top category. Nothing like a little deadline pressure!

2. Private Swap with Aylin

I'm making Aylin a tote bag, I have a bit of a plan and will make a start very soon.

3. Birthday club swap items

A few of my local sewing friends and I have started a birthday swap club. Rachael's birthday is in May so this really needs to get done this quarter.

4. Umbrella Prints Trimmings challenge 2015

I ordered two trimmings packs from Umbrella Prints so that I could enter their 2015 Trimmings Challenge. The packs arrived last week, I chose Peachey Keen and Australia. I have a plan for them and I need to make the June 5 deadline to be in the competition.

5. Pillows

My sister asked for some pillows for her new house. The house hasn't been built yet, she's battling Christchurch post-earthquake bureaucracy but they are in lieu of a Christmas present from last Christmas so I don't want to leave her waiting too long. So far, I have a plan for one pillow, it involves Carolyn Friedlander's Outhouse pattern.

6. Sew Together Bag

Playing with fabric
My mum is patiently waiting for the Sew Together Bag that I promised her a while back. Mum requested these colours. I would really like to tick this project off this quarter.

7. Swedish Bloom Quilt

Swedish Bloom quilt top in progress
This quilt was on my Q1 list. I'm actually now debating whether to remove a row and keep it as a throw quilt rather than attempt to upsize the pattern to a bed sized quilt. Yes, I've been procrastinating on this one for months!

8. Handquilting projects

I have two projects that I started hand quilting in class with Sarah Fielke back in January. I've nearly finished the quilting on the one shown here, it would be nice to finish this and make progress on the second quilt.

9. New quilts for my boys

My boys need new quilts, and I've chosen two patterns from one of my very favourite quilting books, Denyse Schmidt Modern Quilts Traditional Inspiration. The patterns are Basket Weave (chosen by my youngest) and Wagon Wheel (for my oldest). It seems highly unlikely that these will be finished in Q2 but I'm adding them anyway. I'm planning on staying true to the aesthetic in the book and using mostly solids and only a few colours in each. Which means the hardest part will be choosing fabrics!

Phew, that turned out to be a long list, I'm sure hoping that I do better this quarter than last quarter!

Linking up with Adrianne over at On the Windy Side.

2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Pirate Quilt

My daughter's Penny Patch quilt is finished. Actually it was finished a few months back, I'm just now getting around to blogging about it. Luckily I took some photos back when it was finished so you can see how it looked before it was dragged around for a few months.
I made this quilt as part of the Penny Patch Quilt Along with Rachel at Stitched in Color. I started with a bundle of Out to Sea fabrics by Sarah Jane and added additional fabrics from my stash to give it more of a scrappy look. There are prints from Erin McMorris (La Dee Da), Aneela Hoey, Heather Ross, Lizzy House, Lu Summers and others.
The part I love the most about this quilt is the quilting. Stitched in Color has a wonderful tutorial for the Dogwood quilting pattern, she also includes encouraging words for beginners. Like not to worry about how your quilting looks, each new flower is an opportunity to do better. I certainly kept that mantra in mind as I made my way across the quilt. My flowers are nowhere near perfect but I love the softness that all those curves give to the quilt.


Quilt Stats;

Pattern: Penny Patch by Rachel at Stitched in Color
Quilt Size: 48" x 54"
Block size: 6 1/2"
Quilting: free motion quilting, Dogwood quilting pattern
Backing fabric: An Art Gallery print from my stash
Months taken to complete: don't ask!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A Quilt for Penny

Back in January when I wrote my first quarter Finish Along goals, I optimistically thought I might be able to finish up four of my current WIPs this quarter. I've made no progress at all on three of those projects but I did achieve one my of goals, it was the one project that I really wanted to finish so I'm happy about that. This quilt has now been sent to a friend who is spending a year travelling around New Zealand with her three children and a campervan. I hope she gets to spend plenty of time relaxing underneath it with a good book. I tested it out for comfort on a few evenings before sending it off, all those warm colours make for a toasty quilt!
The quilt top was finished back in January so there was just the backing, quilting and binding to go.
For the backing I used a Denyse Schmidt fabric from my stash, I added the mistake blocks to bring it up to size.
The quilting (like the quilt itself) was inspired by Audrie from Blue is Bleu, and her beautiful Courthouse Steps quilts, straight lines with my walking foot and on the diagonals. This simple quilting seems a really good match for all those skinny strips of fabric. I used painter's tape and my Olfa ruler to mark out each line before quilting. The lines run through the middle diagonals of each block and half way between those lines.
The binding is the same Denyse Schmidt Chicopee fabric that I used for the centres of each block. This was the first time I'd used black for binding and I really love it (I've already used black binding again since finishing this quilt).

My favourite photos of this quilt are the ones I took of it draped over the back of a dining chair, you get a peak at the backing fabric.

 One last picture of all the fabrics used in this quilt.

Quilt Statistics;

Previous blogpost about this quilt: here
Fabrics used: Denyse Schmidt (Chicopee, Florence, Shelburne Falls and Piccadilly), Anna Maria Horner (Garden Party, Field Study), Lizzy House, Carolyn Friedlander, Cotton and Steel (Homebody by Kimberly Kight), Rashida Coleman Hale and Yuwa.
Pattern: Lanterns in The City by Audrie Bidwell, from the book Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe
Finished size of each block: 11" by 11"
Size of the quilt: 55" x 55"
Number of pieces in each block: 21
Backing: Vine and Leaf in Maple from Shelburne Falls by Denyse Schmidt
Binding: Duet Dot in Red from Chicopee by Denyse Schmidt
Batting: 100% cotton
Quilting: walking foot, straight lines on the diagonals
Labelled: YES, for the first time ever!!
Number of mistake blocks (used on the back): 4
Linking up my Q1 finish with Adrianne over at On the Windy Side.
2015 FAL at On the Windy Side

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