Schoenrock Cross QAL

I spotted a gorgeous QAL http://wheretheorchidsgrow.blogspot.co.uk a couple of weeks ago. I pondered whether it was beyond me as I have never attempted paper piecing before. After exchanging tweets with  Leila I decided to give her freezer paper tutorial a try.

I nervously gathered my scrappy scrap fabric to construct a trial quarter. Half an hour or so later….proof, in spite of having two babies, my brain is still in relatively good working order.

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I ironed the paper on the wrong side and sewed the pieces together, slowly (with paper still attached). I found it a bit tricky to line up the start of the seam line sometimes. Of course I should have ironed each seam after sewing. But that was downstairs and I was too eager to see how it would turn out to make that trip!

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So, it’s not perfect. Some of the points missed. But I was too pleased I had managed it, to care too much. Next time it will be better.

I studied the endless possible colourways. Plotted and plannned; on the walk to school, while cooking tea and putting the kids to bed. Finally when they were sleeping a quick sketch, ready for cutting in the morning.

Reaching for my Charm Pack of ‘Mama said Sew’ I started drawing, cutting, ironing and laying out. At the end of the day a bit of rejigging and more cutting to try and maximise the contrast. It has taken a while and made my brain ache, but Leila’s tutorial has helped me get this far. I am hoping to finish it soon…well as soon as the kids are back at school. Go on give it try!

Share your endeavors on the Flickr Group Pool here http://www.flickr.com/groups/2137040@N20/

Schoenrock Cross QAL

Silent Sunday

Jump in January and small blog meet.

Having sewn for many years, the start of a new year, was the shove I needed to finally jump in with both feet and make it a larger part of my life. Well that and abandoning trying to plan it. I decided to just do it and see where it goes. So I started this blog and oiled my trusty Bernina Sport.

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First up, was a neat pile of projects, started last year waiting patiently to be finished.

However once online, a dizzy whirl of exciting projects, fabric and chat caught my eye and I was distracted. So I formulated an excuse to sideline the part finished pieces. A quick, ‘jump in January’, trying new things, followed by ‘finish up February’…perfect.

The first project to derail me was the scrappy trip around the world. A blessing in disguise as it turned out to be my first finish of 2013 and a bday pressie for my Mum. Next up the Japanese x and + cushion for Kiddywonk. Woop, another finish.

So as January draws to a close and I have two, albeit small projects finished, I give myself permission to carry over a January start. http://wheretheorchidsgrow.blogspot.co.uk.schoenrock-cross-qal-freezer-paper

Actually I haven’t physically started it yet, just mentally. It looks very tricky, but I am hoping that with some patience, practise and Leila’s wonderful tutorial I will be able to muddle something vaguely close to the Schoenrock Cross. Well it was jump in January! So into Finish up February we head…………

This post was inspired by Lynne at Lily’s quilts fresh-sewing-day-and-small-blog-meet

I am hopefully about to learn how to add a button………or not, fingers crossed. Hmmmm, I need to work on that!

Lily's Quilts

p.s January is really great for spending far too much money on fabric, which I have done with gusto!

#xplusquiltalong

Seeing this informal QAL by Katy Jones (Twitter) of http://www.imagingermonkey.blogspot.co.uk, I knew I had to at least do a trial block. You see we have a son, who at 9, is maths mad, it reminds me of sums and him! There is an excellent tutorial here http://badskirt.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/japanese-x-and-scrappy-quilt-tutorial.html

First time round this one had me reaching for my unpicker, which became redhot! I got there in the end and in the process realised that using the edge of my machine foot as a guide for 1/4″ seam is a little wide of the mark. But a little can make a big difference!

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With little time available to make anything larger than ‘very small’ with this block, I made a bright cushion (18″ square and backed with fleece) for youngest kiddywink’s new bedroom. He had already adopted my raggedy trial block for his table, (which I promptly made into a mat). Squishy bear is guarding it from cat attacks until he is home from school!

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Once joined together these blocks create a strong dynamic pattern. I will surely be back to this one, when I have more time to play with my own colour choices to create a larger piece.

Scrappy Trip around the world.

The start of a New Year bought with it a renewed enthusiasm to finish off projects started in 2012. With plenty of quilts to finish, I wasn’t planning on starting a new one. Until I spotted the scrappy trip along post here

 http://www.redpepperquilts.com/2013/01/the-scrappy-trip-along-quilt.html

 As I hopped from blog to blog, quilters seemed to be having such fun with this simple and addictive patchwork, I was hooked. Unsure I would enjoy or be able to accomplish it’s random nature I hesitated, but how could so many people be wrong?

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So I worked my way through my fabric stash, cut strips and then discarded a few. I added as many as were big enough from my new Moda Scrap Bag (disappointingly not many, about 6 and mostly fabrics I wouldn’t normaly choose) Then I Joined, cut, rearranged and stitched. Fabulously fun and simple. The blocks flew together.  However my ability to totally loose myself in randomness, was harder than I thought. I did reach a happy compromise and placed the darkest wam fabric across the diagonal of each block. Who am I kidding? I also sorted all the strips into colour piles and picked one of each for the blocks……totally failed the randomness test!

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I may have confirmed random does not sit well with me but all is not lost. I am reaquainted with my fabric stash, which is now very tidy. Plus those Moda scraps, they gave a freshness and lift to this quilt, that may not be present in the second one. Finally I have finished my first lap quilt of 2013 (and in time to give it to my Mum for her Birthday) and am well on the way to finishing the next one for our sofa.

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A tutorial for this can be found  at http://quiltville.com/scrappytrips.shtml Happy scrapping!

Indian Moon moth ‘pillar parents.

Back in the Autumn we adopted 4 Indian Moon Moth caterpillars (Actias Selene) from a friend, thanks Zoe!. They were small and red, but went through many changes (instars) turning green and tufty.                                                                                                                                                      We fed them laurel leaves and they grew and grew. I was fascinated by their quirky tufts and very bright green colour. We had a couple of ‘Pillar deaths but the last remaining one was healthy and enormous, with poos to match (often commented on!)

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Then one day without warning he curled up in some leaves and spun himself a home. Hopefully he is cosy in there and not minding the wintry conditions too much. We are waiting patiently and resisting the urge not to shine an investigative torch on him too often. Fingers crossed one day he will emerge a beautiful moth.

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A trip down memory lane.

I have many fond memories of sitting in draughty, old Forge Cottage making things. Mum taught us English Paper Piecing many moons ago. As children we rummaged through scraps of fabric left over from clothes or curtains she made. Making, what seemed like then, enormous scatter cushions, covered in tesselating hexagons.
The process started with cutting templates, from card recycled from her work. My favourite the bright blue with grid lines. The tacking stitches a release from the tiny controlled stitches joining the shapes together, as the project grew and grew in rounds.
Recently I was  looking for a project I could immerse myself in, whilst at the same time, enjoying the hubbub of family life. My EPP Ferris Wheel has been the perfect solution. Always nearby in a basket I can pick it up and sew for a whisker or an hour…or two. Whilst still being on hand to referee disputes and be shot with sticks!

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I love the Ferris Wheel, hexagons, squares and triangles. Enough variation to keep me, wanting to sew more. I am using light value fabrics for the hexagons (fussy cut Heavenly Pixies from Michael Miller). Plus raiding the scrappy bin; warms for squares and colds for triangles. This is so relaxing. I am intending to have made a finished article with it for New Years Eve 2013 (if I can wait that long)……a year exactly! What should it become, any ideas?