Sunday, 21 October 2012

Tweaking time

The red and grey squares from my last post remained on the sewing table for a whole week... The cats were not impressed as, for the first time, I put my foot down and closed the sewing room door! One cat usually spends the day on the small sofa in there, and the other likes that particular windowsill as a look out point. Not this week though, I couldn't face this lot ending up on the floor...

After the dilemma caused by Miss PatchyRose, I finally decided to keep with her design of alternating red and grey, rather than a random mix. I couldn't face undoing all her work, and also found that, with some creative swapping, there was exactly the right number of each colour. Every day I have popped into the sewing room, had a good long look at it, and tweaked the position of a few squares. Finally today I found the time to chain stitch the columns, and then join the rows.

All in all, I reckon it was about two and a half hours of sewing to make this...

... which is still only one quarter of the finished quilt! I thought it would be easier to make the quilt in four parts, and then sew them together. As it happened, one quarter fits perfectly laid out on the sewing table. Mostly the fabrics were small patterns and polka dots, with just a few fussy cut pieces:

I'm enjoying the mix of fabrics from different collections, as well as the odd cheeky chicken!

 Had a quick check of how it looks on the guest bed, and am very happy with the effect so far :-)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Seeing Red (and Grey!)

Lately I seem to have been picking up various fat quarters in reds and greys. It started as subliminal, and then grew more conscious. I added in a charm pack of vintage modern, picking out the suitable pieces, and another charm pack of Kona solids. One way and another, I ended up with a nice pile!

At the same time, I bought a new duvet cover and curtains  for the guest room, deliberately going for a neutral palate of soft greys - just so I can throw whatever quilt I like onto the bed! I needed one room in the house that didn't dictate the patchwork colours, a room which lets me do the chosing, and enables me to swap things around.

The cross stitch is one my grandmother did, and I love it.After she'd had it framed, she wrote on the back, her name and age at the time - 81 years old. It is of Grassington Square in Yorkshire.

Mainly owing to the size of charm pack squares, I decided to cut all my reds and greys into 2.5 inch squares, so they will end up as 2 inches squared after sewing. Pretty small, and I would have gone half an inch bigger if I'd been cutting from yardage. However, I very much had in mind from the start a quilt in just two colours, with small and random squares. My original plan was for a 60x60 finished quilt, which would need 900 squares. However, as I began to cut (so boring...) I changed tack and decided to make it slightly wider across the bed, but not as long, more of a foot runner. To make the quilt top, I will sew it as four quarters, and then stitch them together. To ensure an even spread of fabric, I separated each fabric into 4 piles as soon as I cut the squares, and stored them that way. The smaller, fifth pile in the middle, is the odds and ends. The smallest amount of any one fabric going into the quilt is one single square, from my scrap tub. On the whole, the largest amount is a fat eighth, which yields 32 squares. Any more of one fabric would be too dominant.

Just to check that things were working out along the right lines, I laid out the beginnings of one quarter of the quilt on the guest bed...

There are just a few fussy cut pieces from tiny leftovers ;-)

At that point, there wasn't enough Vintage Modern for it to show, so I went back to the rest of the charm pack and found a few more grey-ish pieces I'd originally overlooked.

I thought I was going to have to do a quick dash to the nearest fabric shop for one more fat quarter, then magically found a plain red buried in the middle of the scrap tub. Then I laid out a pile of squares, enough for one quarter of the quilt, and suggested to Miss PatchyRose that she might like to arrange them for me. She was so happy to be involved, and enjoyed it more than I would! I left her to it, until she called me back to look.

She had a complaint... i hadn't given her enough red squares and she was 3 short! But I knew I'd given her exactly the right number of squares to create a grid that was 17 squares wide by 10 tall. Problem was, while I'd anticipated a random design, she'd decided to alternate reds and greys!! What were the chances of there being an almost exact amount of each?!? So, what to I do? Shall I cut a few more reds and go with her alternating design, or just rough them up a bit into a random mix? Any thoughts?

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sunday sewing

After spending this week popping in and out of the guest room, and swapping a few squares around, I took the plunge today and whipped them up into the quilt top...

On the whole, I'm happy with the way it turned out. There will always be something you don't spot until it's all stitched up, but that's fine.

The great thing about using a layer cake in this way, is that one layer cake makes a perfect single bed size quilt. I have just kept back a few pieces for my next project, which is already underway as I can't wait ;-)

 Lastly, it was harvest festival today, so a little picture of today's tomato harvest. Despite it being such an awful year for home grown crops, we have had some of our best tomatoes ever. I picked some green ones to ripen on the windowsill, as the cold weather is beginning to spoil them. I did feel a bit sad that all the food donated at church (for the local homeless shelter) was in tins and packets. Not one giant marrow...

Wishing you a happy week!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Pipping the Sherbet...

Well, either it was incredibly cathartic putting it out there about how hard I find sewing with picture fabrics...

 or else it was the cuteness of Red Riding Hood...

but somehow or other in the last 24 hours I have managed to complete my Sherbet Squares!!

It only took 18 months, but in the end, I decided that a finished quilt was better than nothing, and just whipped up the remaining pieces needed for a single bed...

Fortunately I had a piece of batting left from the Giant Star that is the exact size needed for this project! Currently it is all laid out on the guest bed, and I keep popping into the spare room and switching a couple of squares around... taking photos certainly helps with a quilt layout, somehow you spot things you didn't notice before.

As I said in my last post, the thing I find hard with these beautiful fabrics is they rob me of my creativity, all the work was done for me! It would be a shame to cut them really small and lose the design, but there was minimal skill involved in making squares ;-) However, I do love the overall effect, and will certainly make more bags with these pretty images.

Thanks once again to Lynne, who has set up another blog meet! A great way to find new inspiration and hook up with like minded people. Thank you to all the people who've popped by already and left nice messages!

Lily's Quilts
Lily's Quilts