Finished Quilts

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


I'm in a whirlwind of paper piecing at the moment.  It's something I started for the first time this year and, in spite of how wasteful it is with fabric (well, how I do it anyway), I just LOVE it.  It helps me be more precise, well sometimes... 

As seems to be the way of things at the moment, I'm working on bee blocks.  First up, Sara's Modern Mavericks blocks...

two blocks become one!
Sara wanted blocks that she could use to construct a bookcase quilt.  I found a cool PP pattern for Harry Potter glasses here.  It was a little fiddly but pretty straightforward.
Next up, a QATWII block for Ursi - not paper pieced this one, I gave myself a wee break!
the brief: low volume with a pop of colour
It was a 12.5" square block but then I reread the requirements and she wanted 13" square so I had to add a small border but it still looked ok. 
Next up, the block that I really enjoyed making but is a bit of a fail.... Lovely Carol's red panda....
I'm not entirely sure what went wrong.  Sewing the pieces whilst watching the Great British Bake Off final was probably not my smartest move.  I also think I may have had a scale thingy on my printer set up when I printed it.  The pattern is a Bad Skirt one - I love her work although she never adds seam allowances to her PP templates so that was another thing I kept having to remember.  When I finished it, I was severely p*ssed off with myself.  But I got a haircut (always helps put me in a good mood) and checked out some of the other pandas on the Forest QAL Flickr site and there are a few with similar abstract cubist tendencies so Fred (for that is his name) will live on!  Especially because @cottonandsteel liked him on Instagram.  #squeeeee!
I have two more PP projects to get through this week then I'm having a break for a while I think.  My evil iron can't take the pace!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

when a pillow cover is a mini quilt...


I had great plans for this year, especially on my entries into Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival.  But as seems to be the way at the moment, the dreams have not quite reached reality. However, I have decided to enter one of my most favourite finishes as it means a lot to me and I still can't believe that I made it!  I think it counts as a mini quilt!

a mini quilt disguised as a pillow!
I'm entering this into the mini quilts section of the Festival.  The full story can be found here and here.  I made this pillow/cushion cover for the lovely Jessica as part of the Pillow Talk 10 swap. I took my inspiration from a photo I saw on Pinterest and drafted up the paper piece templates then sewed and sewed with no real plan other than I wanted the colours to look gradated from dark to light, with a limited palette.  It was straight line quilted every 1/4" in white, then green, then grey.
different angle
It was really really hard to give this one up I can tell you.
the arty shot!
But it went to a good (and grateful) home so I can't complain.
backed with some Heather Bailey Pop
Name: Gordon Burns

Size: 20" x 20"
Fabrics: from memory it includes Denise Schmidt Hope Valley,  Parson Grey, Essex Linen Black, Kona White, Caroline Friedlander Architexure, Heather Bailey Pop, Momo, scraps from a low volume swap
Pattern: my own design, paper pieced
Quilted: by me on my Janome J-18
Check out all the entries if you can. It's so inspirational.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

basket case

Something has happened... planets may have realigned or the wind is blowing in a different direction.. whatever it is, it means that I've got my sewing pants back on.  Huzzah!  I have bee blocks to do and lots of half finished WIPs to complete (obviously I will do my best to ignore those and start new stuff #quilter) but at last I've got the urge to crack on.

First up, and 6 months after everyone else in our Guild had finished theirs, I pulled out my weekender bag pile of fabric and made one side:

MM love!
I've nearly finished side 2 and have a plan for the rest so that's a major step forward!  I'm trying to get it done and dusted by 26th October - 50/50 chance I'd say.

On Saturday we had an EMMQG sewing day and I'd managed to find a location that was about 5 minutes drive from my house.  This meant that I was a little lackadaisical in my packing and I had to pop home three times for various bits and bobs (including all my precut fabric and my bobbin case! #doh). I was banned from returning after trip #2 by Laughing Boy because it was confusing the wee man so I had to wait until their afternoon trip out to make my final and most important trip.  I was such a basket case on Saturday. We had a lovely day though and a couple of very welcome interlopers, including young Shevvy all the way from Saaf Laaandan.

Bridget couldn't make it but sent the finished charity baby quilt tops she made using the blocks we made at the previous meeting.

Lovely aren't they?

Four of us decided to make noodlehead's divided basket.  Thankfully the lovely Jennie let me borrow her machine in the morning whilst she basted an absolutely lovely (and massive) Amy Butler swoon quilt.  Once you suss out the middle divider, it's a really quick pattern to pull together...

three complete and one well on its way!
I see more of these in my future.  I managed to finish mine (far right) on my own machine which became usable around half 2 (after trip #3!).

I made a big vat of three bean chilli for lunch and there were several yummy cakes for pudding (and morning coffee and afternoon tea!).  As promised to those there, here's the recipe for the chilli:

1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 large dried red chillies (the recipe suggested ancho but I used chipotle)
1 can pinto beans
1 can cannellini beans
1 can kidney beans (I used ones in chilli sauce from Sainsburys)
2 green jalapeno chillies (I used ones from a jar as that was all I had)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon sweet paprika (I used smoked sweet paprika cos I am obsessed)
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon of black treacle (honestly - you can also add a couple of squares of dark chocolate)
1/2 pint of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
some fresh coriander, sour cream and cheese

Take the smoked dried chillies and dry roast them for two minutes in a hot, dry frying pan, then put them in water (freshly boiled) for 20-30 minutes

Drain the chillies and put them in a food processor wit he roughly chopped garlic and onion and process to a coarse paste.  Heat some oil in a large pan and add the onion and chilli paste, cook for 5 minutes.  Stirring obviously.  Add the jalapeno chillies, cumin and paprika and fry for a couple more mins.

Add the drained beans (don't drain the kidney beans if they are in chilli sauce though), tomatoes, oregano, treacle and vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for as long as you can be bothered (30 mins or so), until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Just before serving stir in some chopped coriander.

Serve in cups (guild style) with cheese, sour cream and lovely homemade bread (thanks Kerry).

I'm hungry now.....

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Blue moon

I did check last night to see if there was one...because I actually finished a quilt!  It's been months and months since I did any quilting or binding but I was determined to finish Rory's 1st birthday quilt in time to hand it over to him at his 2nd birthday do this morning! The quilt top was finished in January, the sandwich was basted in March so I could fiddle with the "how late is it really?" question but I'll be front up and say a year.  Anyway without further ado....

it's been a wee while since Laughing Boy's legs
were in a quilt shot!

and the wee man wanted to help too!
machine bound #first time
I fell out of love with this quilt pretty early on  - I think it was because it seemed a little limited colour wise but the spot binding really helps to bring it alive a bit.  The orange spots especially have saved the day. I wish I'd put the black blocks where the green blocks are though.

It's made with some Japanese hippo fabric I got ages ago...

I was cursing having cut up the yellow hippos in a vain attempt to make some quick change pants for the wee man before he was born because that would have been a good addition I think.  I added some blue fabric from Ikea (quite a loose weave but £3 a metre), some kona chatreuse and kona white.  The backing is also from Ikea and again I've had this for an age.  It was just the perfect size so no need to piece the back (otherwise it might have been even later!).  The binding (I think it's Laurie Wisbrun) made me fall back in love with the quilt as it provided the pop of contrast colour I was missing. 

Given that I only finished quilting this on Thursday evening (close straight-line quilting on the white, stitch in the ditch round the colour blocks), I needed to attach the binding fast so attempted machine binding for the first time.  I have to say that it doesn't do it for me.  I'm a hand binding kind of girl.  I like the process of sitting with the quilt and taking some time.  I know things are always easier with practice but I felt that I made too many mistakes and that it was not so much fun.  Anyway, needs must and all that.  It's also good to know that it's not really for me.

Now that the wee man's little mates have quilts, I really should start to put his together!  I've gotten this far....
block placement nailed (thanks to Tanya!)
Today's job should be to start sewing it together but for some reason (the need to think about regulating the block sizes #ouch),  I'm being drawn towards my still in pieces Weekender bag so that's what's about to be dragged out of it's box (probably to be put right back in!)