Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Plotting and planning for being Queen Bee

I have been plotting and planning about what to get my lovely hipBees to make, block wise, when it is my turn to be Queen Bee. February is the month that I am Queenie. 

I have had a few ideas about what my choice might be but have finally settled on what I would like these lovely ladies to make. I am going to let them loose on my precious Ruby fabric. I love this fabric range and I have made cushions from a layer cake for my living room. 

A Ruby cushion
Ruby, Ruby, Ruby
I would like to make a quilt to put over the sofa. So my lovely hipBees, I hope that you are up for the challenge! I have hummed and hawed as to what to ask for. I knew that I wanted a block that contained flying geese and then I saw this QAL and I was smitten.

I have made one block to test how it looks.
Wild Geese block
I cannot wait for my lovely hipBees to get started on making these blocks for me. I know that it is going to be an awesome quilt.

Di x

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Overcoming the fear of feathers

I am making progress with my 'to do' list. Today, I finally sat down to make my feather block for Lucy as she is our January Queen Bee in the Bee a Brit Stingy. I have watched our Flickr group photos gradually filling with the most beautiful feather blocks and still I haven't started mine. I have just been feeling paralysed with fear about doing it. It sounds really silly but I just couldn't start it. I have had the templates all cut and stuck to card for a week now and each day they look at me, making me feel so guilty as I just dreaded starting the block. Today is the 24th of the month and if Lucy is ever to receive my feather block before the end of January, then today was the day for making it. I pulled myself and my fabric together, and got down to it. 
Feather block for Lucy
I am quite surprised that it went together as well as it did. If I had time I would make another but I am afraid that time is in short commodity this week. I did learn that you need variety in the width of the strips for the block. I don't think that mine is very good on that front. I also unpicked the bottom part of the feather and changed the original bottom part for the orange fabric. I think that it looks better with the orange but I would like to do another of these blocks sometime as I know that I could improve on it. 

Triple zippy pouch
On another front, last week I tried my hand at making a triple zippy purse. If you remember I had issues with the final part of the instructions and the whole thing took me a day to make. Debbie from A Quilters Table who designed the pattern, is hostingTriple-Zip Pouch Along over on Flickr. The 3ZAL officially starts on Monday, January 28th. So if you are interested you need to pop over to the flickr group and sign up. I am going to give it a go and I have plans to use the fabric below.
3ZAL fabric choices

Finally, my secret sewing is going well and I hope to finish the quilt top tomorrow.

Di xo

Monday, 21 January 2013

Busy doing nothing...

I feel as if I have been busy doing nothing. We have had some snow and our garden looks magical. It is just a bit difficult to get out to the village and out to the main road though.
Snowy Willowbeck
I have been sewing but with each project that I am currently doing, I have hit a problem...

I cannot sew my son’s birthday quilt as he is at home due to A level exams and I can’t risk him seeing me doing a bit of furtive sewing.

I have two side swaps going on at the moment. The first is with Liz. This dear bloggy friend made me a tote as I missed out on the Mouthy Stitches 2 swap. I was rather disappointed that I had missed the sign up but this lovely lady offered to make me one. I was definitely not going to refuse that offer as Liz is a really talented sewist. I also received a key fob that I absolutely love as I never loose my keys in my bag anymore.
Tote from Liz
I have really dragged my feet about returning the swap. This was partly due to not knowing what she would like. I wanted to make Liz a different sort of bag but didn’t know which one to pick. When Liz left a positive comment on my Perfect Quilted Tote I asked if she would like me to make one for her. I was relieved when the answer was 'yes'. I have finished sewing the quilted part but cannot progress any further as I am waiting for a delivery of black Essex linen for the top, bottom and handles… I hope that it is in a colour way that she will like. It is based around the phone fabric.
Yesterday I finished the second swap item I am doing. This is an infinity scarf for Nicky. We agreed that I would make her an infinity scarf and she make me a little basket with some FM stitching on it. I don’t want to show you a full photo of the scarf as I would like it to be a surprise for her when she receives it (it is in the post). It is made with Liberty fabrics and is very soft.
Infinity scarf for Nicky
This week, if I have time, I would like to make another triple zippy pouch however my main focus is to finish the birthday quilt. It is a fast quilt top to make but I have the young man in the house and cannot get on with it!

This brings me round full circle as I feel as if I am busy doing nothing except enjoying the warmth of the fire and the magical snowy views from the window. 
Di x

Monday, 14 January 2013

A little modification

Do you remember that I was making infinity scarves before Christmas both as presents and for myself?

I have a scarf that I wear a lot but it annoys me as the ends keep coming undone. I had a lightbulb moment and decided to change it from this... this.

It goes to show that little things matter. I now have a scarf that doesn't undo and it looks smarter. 

Di x

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Triple zippy trouble

I spent the best part of yesterday wrestling with the construction of a triple zippy pouch. This project has been on my 'to do' list since I saw this post
I had bought some zips on the market and picked out my fabric, so I was all ready for the challenge.
Fabric choices for the Triple Zippy Pouch
And what a challenge it was… I first of all misread the instructions at the point when the order of the lining was stated. My unpicker was in full employment at this point as I had to unpick every seam that had been stitched. I then managed to get the pouch sewn in the correct order and eagerly read how to finish off. At this point my downfall was complete. I sewed and unpicked for a few hours before I gave up as I had an appointment. This was actually a blessing as I had time to rethink the whole process. I never did follow the finishing instructions but I did think that I could tackle the finishing as if it were a conventional zippy pouch. When I returned to the scene of the crime it actually came together in a matter of minutes. The casualty in the whole debacle were the zipper coverings. I decided to lop them off as I couldn't get the whole pouch lined up in the final seams, however it is FINISHED (Phew!).
Below are photos of the finished result...

Triple zippy pouch

Triple zippy pouch

Triple zippy pouch
Now that I have finished one I think that I will be making some more in the near future. I can see many uses for one of these little bags.
Di x

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Shall I? Will I? Should I?

'Shall I? Will I?' Should I? has been a theme going around my head. 

Shall I join the Finish-A-Long (FAL) hosted by Leanne or not?

After vowing, when I first started quilting, that I would never have any WIPs I can name at least 3 that are languishing in my sewing area. So I think that I should throw my metaphorical hat into the ring.
she can quilt

I am therefore declaring the WIPs that need to be finished in this first quarter.

1. The first WIP requiring a finish is the quilt that I am making for my elder son's 18th birthday. It has been cut out and I have started the piecing. I do have the deadline for this falling in the Q1 so I should achieve this.
Senior son's quilt - beginnings
2.The second WIP has been hanging over the back of the chair in my sewing nook. It is my Turning 20 quilt in the 'Bella' line from Lotta Jansdotter. I like it but I am not loving the straight line quilting. I know that it wouldn't take that long to finish but it is never at the top of my list, so it is definitely included in Q1
Turning 20 Bella quilt
3. The next project I am going to put into the FAL is sitting in large pieces and requires the piecing to be completed before any quilting can begin. I got distracted away from this quilt and have never returned. I would be great to finish my UJ quilt before spring arrives. I have two of the UJs pieced and the third is nearly there. I know that putting the top together wouldn't take a lot but it does need quilting too.
Flag 1 of 3 for the UJ quilt
4. The final project that I am going to declare in the Q1 of  the FAL is to finish a Perfectly Quilted tote that is laying out on my sewing table pool table. It is started but is in the early stages. It is a present (so I am not showing you too much) and it should have been completed waaaaay before Christmas.
Tote for a friend
That is all that I am going to put on my list for the first quarter. I have another quilt that is a WIP but I don't know yet if I will unpick it and repurpose the fabric as it looks a mess to me. I am going to sit on that one a while longer.

This list is probably a realistic list as I also have family birthdays to take into account during this quarter and hopefully there will be some swaps to take part in too. 

Do you think I can do it or am I being a little ambitious here?

Di x

Friday, 4 January 2013

First finish of 2013

I have finished my quilted tote bag and I am delighted with it.

The bag has great structure as it is squashy yet firm due to the QAYG method. The pattern was clearly presented, with the exception of the inner pocket. If I were to make this bag again I would go ‘off piste’ when it came to the pockets. I think that I am in love with this bag.
Quilted tote
Quilted tote

I have been photographing it in various locations with my new camera, but then I couldn’t decide what photos to upload. I have therefore made a mosaic of my shots as I didn’t want to delete any. 
Quilted tote
So what should I make next? I need to make my elder son a quilt for his 18th birthday which is just over 4 weeks away. I have never made a quilt in such a short time span so I need to get going on it. Unfortunately (or fortunately as I love their company) school is not back until Tuesday so I might do another small project whilst I wait. If I can get some time on my own it may be possible to squeeze in some preparation and cutting out. I will have to wing that one.
Fabric selection for birthday quilt

Di x

Thursday, 3 January 2013

New Year Plans

Happy New Year... I can’t believe that we are finally in 2013. We have had a really chilled over the Christmas and New Year period, here at Willowbeck House. January has kind of snuck up on us. I have been longing to do a bit of sewing, so last Thursday I got up before the family and did an hour of sewing. I made my hipBee blocks for Collette. They are a simple Disappearing 9 Patch block. I have not made this block before so it was a first for me. The blocks went together really quickly and look nice in Collette’s Field Study. The quilt will look lovely when all the blocks are put together.
D9P for Collette

D9P for Collette
Yesterday, despite (or because) the house was full of boys, I moved my sewing machine downstairs and set up camp in the dining room. I wanted to make a start on this bag. I bought the pattern when it was on offer in the Black Friday sales and I have been itching to get started. I wanted to make this bag in yellow & black but I didn’t have a ‘feature’ print to build the patchwork around. Before Christmas we had a day out in Cambridge, and in a curtain fabric shop, I found the print that I knew would fit into my colour scheme so I bought a 1/4m and have managed to get some complete birds in the yardage.
Perfect quilted tote - a WIP
I thought that this would be a time consuming bag to construct as you have to quilt over each piece of fabric at 1/4” intervals. In fact the opposite is true, and it is going together really quickly.
Quilting detail

The tedious bit - going up and down...
I have nearly a complete free day ahead of me so whilst the boys are revising, (if I ever get them tipped out of their beds) I am going sewing!

Di x