Now that I’m on maternity leave, I’m finding some time to get some sewing and quilting done. I’m hoping to get a few WIPs completed before the baby arrives.
I have managed to get a fair bit of quilting done on my Whitewashed Cottage Layers of Charm quilt which has been languishing for AGES! and I actually finished this mini quilt.
The pattern is Vintage Tulips Mini Quilt by Thimble Blossoms and the fabric is a selection of Bonnie and Camille fabric from my stash. I’m really pleased with how bright and fresh it looks. Not sure what I will do with it though. I suppose it will hanging the shop as I don’t have a sewing room at home to pin it up on the wall.
The last three months have been a bit up and down in terms of my energy levels. I thought the second trimester mums-to-be were meant to have lots of energy again, however this little one still takes it out of me some days! He’s getting quite wriggly and obviously having growing spurts. My friends keep commenting on how much my tummy seems to be growing!
We’ve set up the nursery with a jungle theme, largely inspired by the Makower Baby Jungle quilt panel and fabric, which we got in the shop earlier this year.
A few weeks ago I spent an hour making a lampshade for the nursery in the Jungle Scenic fabric. Previously we had a lampshade which made the room quite dark, but this new one makes such a difference.
And finally, this week I found some time and energy to make up one of these panels into a quilt for our little one.
I simply added a couple of borders in co-ordinating fabric and backed it with the scenic fabric again to tie in with the lampshade. Instead of a traditional binding, I did the inside-out method (at least this is my name for it!). I put the front and back pieces right sides together with wadding underneath, sewed almost all the way around and turned inside out. I then quilted it and stitched up the gap for turning.
I’m so pleased with it!
I finished my Mirabelle quilt this week and overall I’m really pleased with it.
It’s by no means perfect though. There are lots of alignment problems but I think since I started this quilt two years ago, my piecing has become more accurate. The machine quilting isn’t as good as I’d like either. I quilted in the ditch, which was made easier with a dedicated ditch quilting foot, but it’s still more wrinkled that I’d like, especially the horizontal sashing, which you can see in the photo above. Mum seems to get her quilts so smooth when she quilts them.
Things that I learnt whilst making this quilt
- Always piece on the same sewing machine. Failing that, check the accuracy of your sewing/seams as you complete each block. As I made this over the course of many months, I used different sewing machines when piecing. I found that some machines did a more generous ¼ inch seam than others and it wasn’t until I’d done a good number of blocks did I realise that they were coming out at different sizes because the seams weren’t quite the same. I had to remake some and trim down others. If I’d stuck to the same machine, even if the seams were a fraction bigger than they should have been, at least they would have been all the same!
- Press the seams the same way. With the cross pieces in each block and sashing, I pressed some seams away from each other, and some towards each other. Because it is a pale fabric you can see the seams underneath through the top and it doesn’t all look the same.
- Cut all the sashing from the same piece of fabric. Unfortunately all my horizontal sashing pieces were cut from a different piece of plain fabric. It was the same shade of Moda Bella Solids, however it was from a different bolt and the colour is very slightly different. It wasn’t until I’d sewed the whole quilt top together, that I noticed the colour variation. It does annoy me a bit as it looks like it is a bit grubby, but I couldn’t face re-doing it.
If you’d like to make a similar quilt, I’ve written a short tutorial here.
I’ve decided that it’s about time I finish the half made quilts that I have packed up and decided that it was time to get on with the Mirabelle Quilt. I started this quilt 2 years ago and the top has been finished for over a year! The backing fabric and wadding have been cut and it’s been ready to go for ages.
So yesterday whilst it was quiet in the shop, I sandwiched the layers and pinned it with curved safety pins.
And today, using the Elna 760 and quilt in the ditch walking foot I got started.
Progress was a bit slow as I had to keep stopping to serve customers, but the main thing is that it underway and I will keep it at the shop to work on in quiet times. I’m determined to stay on top of it and get it finished as soon as possible.
I thought I would show you the baby quilt I put together this week.
It was the quickest quilt I’ve ever done, because there was no piecing. This is a complete quilt panel. I simply added wadding and backing, quilted it and bound it.
The quilting was a mixture of straight lines around the boxes and then some free-motion quilting around some of the animals and lilypads.
I also did some quilting in the blue border area using Mum’s new Parrs-Reel Ruler which she bought at Westpoint at the weekend. Unfortunately the photo here doesn’t show up. It took a few attempts to get it right at first, but I did get the hang of it after a while.
If you’d like to make this quilt, you can buy the Paul and Sheldon quilt panel here.
This past week, I’ve gone all Japanese, and not just because I love sushi! Sometime ago my husband bought me a book on Sashiko, a type of Japanese embroidery, and I bought some a couple of sashiko kits which I hadn’t started until this week. One is a cushion and the other is for a tote bag. I thought the bag would be nice project to take to Knit ‘n Stitch, especially as one of the group members has done some sashiko and I could ask for help if I didn’t understand what to do.
It is actually easier than I thought it was going to be, especially using a pre-printed cloth kit and I’m really enjoying doing it.
Then today, Mum and I went to the Quilt Show at Westpoint, Exeter as we do every year. It’s a small show but I quite like that as it’s not too tiring.
As well as the usual stallholders, there is a quilt exhibition. I wasn’t wowed by the quilts this year to be honest, except for some by a quilter called Kay Bell. The quilting was amazing. All free motion machine quilting. It was pretty darn perfect. I took this close up photo of a quilt called Swooning. She used Camille Roskelley’s Swoon pattern for this quilt. I almost didn’t recognise it at first because the colour and fabric choices and quilting made it look so different.
As far as purchases went, they were all Japanese related from a business called Japan Crafts. I bought some plain blue fabric for some more sashiko embroidery which Mum suggest I turn into a wall hanging with the patterned blue fabric forming a border. I also couldn’t resist a Japanese fabric charm pack and kit to make a traditional rice bag. The stallholder threw in a free pattern to make a larger bag too with the charm pack.
Mum splashed out on a Parrs Reel Ruler kit. This is a new free motion quilting system with a special foot that fits most machines and a slotted ruler allows you to quickly and easily quilt your projects. You can get all sorts of different rulers to create different shapes. I’ve only had a quick play this afternoon, but I think with a bit of practice could really help us with our quilting.
I love Moda’s Candy Packs – they are mini charm packs containing 42 2.5″ squares. I find it very hard to resist slipping one or two into my stash every time we get a new set in at the shop.
I’ve used them to make a couple of different cushions in the past – one using the Sunnyside collection and one using Aspen Frost. However I had a spare Mistletoe Lane mini charm pack which the designer, Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs, gave me and I’ve been wondering what to do with it. I didn’t want to make another cushion.
Then I came across a mini quilt which Anne Sutton had made with a Mistletoe Lane mini charm, as part of the Moda Love Blog Tour. This tour saw all the Moda fabric designers make something using the same quilt pattern and using either a layer cake, charm pack or mini charm. I just loved how it looked, so as the weather forecast was awful for this weekend and my husband was out with the boys on Friday night, I borrowed a sewing machine from work (my own is in storage in preparation for our house move) and got started.
This is the basic pattern – some half square triangles mixed with whole squares and obviously the larger the precut, the larger the quilt.
It’s been quite a while since I did some quilting and it was nice to be able to complete the whole thing in the weekend. I still can’t get my machine quilting as smooth as I’d like, but I guess I just need to practise more. I must also remember to alter the stitch length to 3.0 as I forgot at first and had to unpick a lot of tiny stitches!
You download the free instruction sheets here on the Moda website.
I make another one with a Canyon mini charm which is more summery 🙂