Saturday, 31 March 2012

4x5 Bee

Well not much blogging going on here on account of a rather hellish two weeks at work but I have managed to finish all my 4x5 Bee blocks. I love signing up for the 4x5 Bee there is so much inspration in the group. This time I used the Ribbon Star tutorial from Lee at Freshly Pieced. This block was so much fun to make and I enjoyed playing with the different fabrics, the blocks look completely different when they have a white star in the centre or a patterned or solid fabric. Here are the finished blocks.

And individually

Test Block

For Anna

For Kathleen

For Leona

For Tina

For Amy

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've been so focused on getting my string quilt finished (39 out of 48 blocks completed - yay!!!) that I'd almost forgotten to do my Bee blocks for March. I took a break from the string block sweatshop to make these blocks for the lovely ladies in my two virtual quilting bees.

First up were these Star blocks for Erin in the Sew Modern Bee. To be honest I was a bit intimidated by these blocks, the tutorial , another star, part of the solstice stars series by Faith at Fresh Lemons looked really difficult at first. Once I sat down and read it all through I realised it was actually a relatively easy block with very detailed instructions. The instructions were so clear and easy to follow and Erin sent the fabrics already cut so the blocks were a delight to make and came together in no time.

 Block 1

Block 2

Both blocks - the finished quilt will be gorgeous

Next up were these fun improv square in a square blocks for Cindy in Sew Bee Blissful. I've never actually made a block from solid fabrics before and it was fun to work with them. There was no tutorial for these we all had to improvise I can't wait to see the finished quilt, it will be full of totally unique blocks.

I didn't have a pink strip of fabric long enough to finish off the block on the left, hopefully Cindy wont mind finishing it up. So next up on my list are my 4 X 5 Bee blocks then back to the string quilt.

Oh I also joined a new bee this week. I know I said I would only do one Bee this year (once my current two finish) but then I got invited to join Bee a Lone Star(burst) over at flickr. I had been obsessively looking at this tutorial and wanted to try out the block then I got invited to join a whole Bee making just these blocks - how could I resist?

Tops completed and awaiting quilting
  • FMF quilt
  • star quilt
Some Progress
  • punctuation quilt 39/48 blocks complete
  • cardi for Molly
No Progress this week

  • circle of flying geese quilt pillows
  • Amy Butler skirt
  • guinevere gloves
  • yellow and grey quilt
  • crochet blanket

  • Completed projects - 0
    New Projects Started - 0
    Currently in Progress - 9

    Have a great week!

    Sunday, 18 March 2012

    WIP Punctuation String Quilt

    WIP Punctuation String Quilt by Blue Bellbird
    At the beginning of the year I decided I would finish all the projects I had on the go before starting anything new. So far I have finished two quilt tops and now have 12 more blocks to go on this one. This is going to be massive! There are a few holes in the layout but another two rows of blocks to add too. I'm really pleased with how it is looking and I know I'm going to love it even though I must confess I have not really enjoyed making these blocks. It is row after row after row of straight stitching which ain't a lot of fun. I have twelve blocks to go so I am going to do them in sets of three. I hope to have them all finished by easter when I will begin quilting all the tops I have finished up this year. I feel a huge sense of satisfaction in getting on with these projects and getting them finished.

    Lately I have been thinking a lot about quilting, I really love it but getting a whole quilt done takes up a lot of time and doesn't leave me much time for my first love - making bags! There are still four quilts I absolutely want to make: A swoon in gorgeous blue florals I have been stashing for a year, Jaybird Quilts Radio Way in Denyse Schmidt fabric, Fig Tree quilts Beach Boardwalk and Elizabeth Hartman's Sparkle punch quilt to use up some of my scraps. As well as this I am in three virtual quilting Bees that require me to make two blocks a month and I will have a bunch of quilt blocks from the lovely ladies in these bees to put together in June. I also have various knitting, crochet and bag making projects underway.

    I completely love craft and see loads of fabulous projects I want to make but I don't like having loads of unfinished projects and I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have on the go. From now on I am going to try to manage my crafting mania in a better way. I'm not going to sign up for any more flickr swaps or quilting bees. After June I will only belong to one bee for the next year. I have signed up to the Fat Quarter Shop designer Block of the Month so I will make one block a month and have a quilt done by the end of the year. I will only start new quilt projects in school holidays when I can commit enough time to them to get them done. The rest of the time I will work on small projects and only start one new project a month. So this is my plan, I hope it will work and reduce my craft anxiety.

    Does anyone else feel the same way? How do you manage your projects?

    Via Flickr:

    Tuesday, 13 March 2012

    A Great Bag Making Book

    Welcome to the first of my new monthly series of craft book reviews. I love looking at all the books out there and there are so many great ones. Once a month I plan to review a book and make at least one item from each book. I'm kicking off the series with my favourite crafty project - making bags.

    This is a wonderful book absolutely packed with fabulous ideas for making bags. It contains 19 smart and stylish projects, with fairly simple patterns, suitable for beginners through to more advanced sewists. Instructions are straightforward and supported by clear images. If, like me, you are a visual learner who prefers to see how to do things, rather than read instructions, this book will suit you well.

    The first section of the book gives basic sewing information and teaches some of the skills needed for bag making such as inserting magnetic snaps, making pockets and making piping. It also gives advice on choosing fabrics and working with colour.

    The main part of the book contains 19 patterns, divided into three sections; small bags, clutches and large bags. Projects range from pencil cases and wallets to smart school bags and elegant clutches. The bags are all beautifully photographed and Sue Kim has used stylish modern fabrics to create some stunning bags. I especially liked the way each project is shown in a variety of different colours and sizes providing plenty of inspiration for fabric and colour choices.

    In the interests of providing an unbiased and accurate review (and not at all because I am obsessed with making bags) I tried out the Market bag pattern using some lovely Loulouthi velveteen I had stashed. The pattern was well drafted and the instructions clear and simple to follow. Being a bit taller than average I lengthen the straps and was delighted with the result. I like big bags and the finished Market bag was roomy and comfortable to carry.

    Side View

    If you have a few sewing projects under your belt I would highly recommend this book. Beginners with some experience could probably attempt some of the simpler projects. There is plenty for the intermediate to advanced sewists too. The bags look fantastic, the fabrics are modern and stylish and this book will provide plenty of inspiration for sewing projects.

    Sunday, 11 March 2012

    BIP (bunny in progress)

    Last weekend I went to the LMQG meeting. We were asked to bring a sandwich bag of scraps for the March challenge, which is to make a wonky log cabin or crazy block from the scraps. One of the lovely ladies (whose name escapes me) explained that she didn't have any scraps because she used them to make soft toys. Then she pulled out the most adorable patchwork bunny, it was so sweet I just couldn't resist stealing her idea to make a bunny for my baby niece as an easter present.

    I used this free tutorial to make the bunny. I have loads of scraps and experimented with the best way of using them. In the end I stitched all the scraps to a piece of calico then cut out the pattern pieces. I have quite a bit of hand sewing to do now (great for Sunday night tv viewing) to attach the arms and head but I am loving the look of the bunny and feeling quite virtuous for making something so lovely from my scraps.

    Saturday, 10 March 2012

    String Block Quilt

    Last year I started making a string block quilt with some punctuation fabric. I love the fabric and I love the string blocks but I just find them really tedious to sew. All those straight lines and endless pressing of fabric, no wonder it has taken me a year! I'm determined to get the quilt finished by easter, well at least the top of it, so I blitzed the remaining blue and yellow blocks in one hit. 27 blocks done now only 21 to go.

     I love how they look and I know the finished quilt will look pretty I just have to make myself focus on finishing them up. I'm going to try to do them in sets of three or four because it seems more manageable than doing them individually. Does anyone have any tips to make them more fun to sew?

    Thursday, 8 March 2012

    London Modern Quilt Guild February Challenge

    The LMQG set a challenge, based on Valentine's Day, for the month of February. Since I have promised myself not to start any more quilts until I have finished up my many quilts in progress I decided to make a bag instead. (The finish it up rule does not apply to bags since they are quick to make and I always finish them within a day or two). I decided to go with a traditional red and white design and appliqued a heart shaped motif made up of lovebirds, flowers and hearts.

    I enjoyed doing the applique so much I very nearly forgot to quilt the bag. It was at the back of my mind and I kept thinking London Modern Quilt Guild, there is something I need to do, what is it again? I ended up staying up until way past midnight on the night before the meeting so I could get it quilted. I didn't know what style of quilting to do and in the end I just went for straight lines radiating from the heart. I really like the way the quilting turned out.

    I love the interiors of bags so I continued the heart theme inside. I chose my favourite spotty Delilah fabric from Tanya Whelan and then made pockets from the gorgeous Melody Miller fabric as the love letters seemed completely appropriate. I used a heart shaped magnetic snap to close the bag.

    I'm so pleased with the finished bag and it is large enough for me to fill it up with all the wonderful things I love to buy from the shops.

    (and of course my kitty loves it too)