Sunday, February 27, 2011

PictureBox quilt!

The PictureBox quilt is finished! (*Jumps up and down with excitement*)

I'm really so thrilled with how this quilt turned out. The 3 people who've seen it in "real life" thought it was lovely too so that eased the nerves a little about it!

This quilt is all out of my own head. Its inspiration came from the idea of an I Spy quilt but I had some fabrics with large prints which I wanted to use for it and I jumped from there to the idea of framed pictures - my son has some jungle prints framed on his wall which were part of the inspiration.

As I've said in a previous post, the panels on either side of the centre were inspired by those long photo frames holding 3-4 pictures vertically.

This quilt is made for a baby boy and is part of a two quilt set - the other being for his sister. I quilted the Sophie's Dreams quilt with wonky straight lines and after a LOT of thought I decided to stick with that approach for this one too. I threw around a number of other quilting techniques in my head - it wasn't an easy decision - but I wanted to keep some consistency between the quilts as they're quite different design wise. Plus, I do love the effect of the wonky straight lines, they give a lovely texture to the quilt.

The foundation of the design is 3 large fabric panels. Each one measures approx 10" x 15" and is framed with a 1 inch strip of a calm blue/green print, and then 3" wide strips of fabric in varying prints and colours. I tried to keep the scrappy border prints to geometrical type designs, rather than featuring more animals although I made a couple of exceptions to bring in some prints from the sister quilt.

The 3 main panels are (from top to bottom) Lesley Grainger's Wild Friends - Jungle Animals, Riley Blake's Hooty Hoot - Kangaroo and Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie Owls. Like the Sophie's Dreams quilt, this quilt is made to be midway between cot bed and twin bed size so that it can be used straight away on baby's cot, and then layered up over other covers on his bed when he gets older, or used as a throw. The quilt sits nicely on a twin bed:

I decided that a solid colour binding would work best on this quilt as there's so much going on in the quilt. I went for a lovely soft blue cotton and it frames the quilt really nicely.

The backing is a white with a blue polka dot and is a single piece of fabric. The little boy's full name is appliqued in the centre of the quilt using some of the navy fabric used in the quilt and raw edge applique.

All in all, I'm really happy with it. The white space created by the sashing makes the design pattern stand out and there's lots of interest there for any little boy - jungle animals, elephants, owls, whales, kangaroos, koalas and more, along with some cars and lots of colour and texture too! 

I was pretty pleased when I put the two quilts together this morning, side by side. I made a conscious effort to try and use some of the same fabrics in the quilts in order to link them, as well as making them the same size and using the same straight line quilting. This is the Sophie's Dreams quilt - you can see the continuity of fabrics and quilting:

Here they are, jumbled together and you can see they work well together:

I brought them outside and draped them across a couple of chairs in the garden, I really like the effect:

Now all I need to do is wash and dry the PictureBox one to give it the same lovely crinkly effect as Sophie's Dreams one has, and meet Anna to hand them over!

I'll be linking this up to

- also - Sew Modern Monday, Fabric Tuesday on QuiltStory and some other great sites - have a look at my sidebar buttons to see more!

I'm happy to share the measurements/pattern for this quilt if anyone is interested (I think some of you were when I posted the pic of the quilt top earlier this month). I don't have enough pics to do a full tutorial but just let me know in a comment or drop me an email and I can write up and post the pattern in a couple of week's time.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Happy Birthday little lady!

Today is my little lady's 3rd birthday. It's hard to believe that this boisterous, bossy, mischevious, hilarious little beauty is already leaving toddlerdom behind her and moving on to a new stage. It seems literally only a few weeks since I was sitting in the delivery room with her in my arms, a tiny, calm little baby with a shock of black hair. She was a quiet baby and slept all the time, which was something of a surprise after 20 months of dealing with her sleep-allergic, noisy, attention-loving big brother. But that wasn't to last and if you saw her now, you would never believe that she could ever have been described as quiet! She has the sort of confidence in herself I can only aspire to, wraps everyone she meets around her little finger and I can only hope that she continues to be as charming and happy as she has been since she arrived into our lives. (But if she was a little less headstrong and stubborn that wouldn't be a bad thing!)

E's arrival and those quiet days while she slept her time away were the start of my crafting adventures. First I started to knit, in those snatched few minutes of peace, then I taught myself to crochet. I made a lot of bags, those first few months and decided to take a sewing class so I could learn how to sew some linings to put into them. Of course, once I got behind the sewing machine I was smitten!

I don't post pics of my kids on my blog so I thought it might be nice instead to put up some pics of things I've made for her in the last few years.  Here's a few of the early things I made for E - some of them not brilliant from a technical perspective, but every stitch of each one filled with love!

This hat was the 2nd thing I ever knitted! From a pattern in a Debbie Bliss book and E wore it all winter and looked very cute in it despite the fact that really, it was a little on the big side!

After tackling that I moved on and this was the first piece of clothing I tried - knitted with beautifully soft Baby Cashmerino, again from a Debbie Bliss pattern:

After getting friendly with my sewing machine, one of the thing I was most excited about making was little dresses and tunics for E - these two are a couple of my favourites - simple, but pretty. The top pic is another favourite - I'm just waiting for her decide its a favourite for her too ;-)

I love making softies too for the kids - here are a couple I've made for E - Martha and Ruby (both from patterns):

Next up - I'm going to make a quilt for a move to her big girl bed, can't wait to do that :-)

So Happy Birthday, my darling E - we adore you more than you could possibly believe <3 <3

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday #2

This week's progress report is ok - not quite as good as I hoped, but still good :-) I'm trying to be conscious not to get sucked into spending too much time sewing, blogging, browsing Flicker etc because its so easy to do. So I spent a lot of time this weekend cleaning my house, playing with the kids ( :-) <3) baking, cooking, grocery shopping etc and not so much time sewing. There are only so many hours in the day!

Completed this week:

2 Baby Buggy snuggle blankets, one for my sister whose friend had a baby girl in the last couple of weeks:

 and one for my friend whose friend had a baby boy:

I also finished 2 pincushions, 1 as an option for my Flickr scrappy pincushion swap:

and the other for myself. But I might not give the first one away I like it so much!


Work in Progress:

Quilting on my PictureBox quilt. This has been much slower than I expected due to a combination of me being sick last week, being completely overloaded at work and having no energy for quilting in the evenings and it just being super slow because of the quilt top layout. I'm doing straight lines again, to tie in with the Sophie's Dreams quilt, as this is its "brother" quilt, but it's turning out on the (very) wonky side of wonky, if you know what I mean. I tried to fight with it but now I am going with the flow and have fingers and toes crossed it turns out ok. If not, I think I will cry. I mean, really, I'll howl. So, positive thoughts this way please!


The curtains. (see last week's post) I can't even think about them. They haven't seen light of day since last week.

Other progress:

I'm very excited that finally, two months after my kids hid my camera so well I haven't been able to find it, I finally caved, gave up hope of finding it, and bought another decent camera. No more horrible grainy photos on the old one. Unfortunately, funds didn't stretch to a nice SLR but I got a good basic model and its such a pleasure to use.

So that's my week this week.   I'm linking this to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday and lots of other great sites (links on my sidebar -->) and would love to hear about your week too!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Scrappy pincushions!

I'm taking part in my very first Flickr swap at the moment and am really excited about it! (Thanks Fi for introducing me to the whole swap concept!) This one is for scrappy pincushions and I've been having lots of fun with it. They're so small that it takes very little fabric and time to make something pretty and I think I might have another addiction in the making!

I pulled out my 2 big scrap bags (note to self - find a way of organising them instead of just stuffing them randomly in bags!) and these were the first ones to grab my eye:

I had a little scrap of quilt batting left over from the quilts and decided to do some stripes - a little like a "quilt as you go" technique I've seen in some table runner tutorials. At the end, I went back and quilted over each stripe for effect.

It's backed with a scrap of Cath Kidston home dec weight fabric. I think it turned out very pretty - in fact I'm not sure I want to give it away!!

The posting date is another 10 days away, so I have a feeling I'll be making another couple before deciding which to send.

I also made this cute little mini-pinnie! I pieced some little squares and then trimmed off the corners to make it into a hexagon. Then I did a little (not very good) free motion quilting to practise as I really want to learn to do this.

Still, it looks ok if you don't examine the stitches too carefully :-) I sewed a back on it and now I have a tiny little hexie pincushion perfect for when I'm handsewing :-)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fresh new buggy snuggle blankets

This week I made some good progress with baby blankets, after they had stalled a little with the kids being sick, being sick myself and working on the quilts!

I finished this blanket just this morning and really like the colour palette in it. I stuck to blues and greens and it is fresh and spring like and perfect for a little boy! I had a lot of fun making this one, the fabrics are very cute and the top just came together so easily.

I love the swirly paisley prints in this one!

I also did a little girl's blanket with some of the new fabric that arrived last week.

As always, I have appliqued two little baby feet on the back - you can see how soft the Minky is in this closeup:

This one uses Riley Blake's Quite Contrary fabric in "Beautiful" and is backed with hot pink Minky. The white space on the pattern and the white binding keep it fresh and pretty.

So, 2 down, lots more to go to catch up with myself! As always, these were handmade by me in my home in Cork, Ireland to my own design.

I am linking these up to Fabric Tuesday over at Quiltstory, Made by You Monday on Skip to my Lou and other great sites - check out the links on my sidebar!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday

I decided to take part in the weekly work in progress report over on Freshly Pieced as I thought it would be a good way for me to keep track of everything. At the moment, everything seems very close to running away from me altogether, I'm so busy with all sorts of stuff. Not least how to do a birthday party next week for a little girl who does NOT want to be three and definitely doesn't want to blow out any candles....but who will turn around on the day and throw the mother and father of all tantrums if there is no party. Yay for irrational almost-threenagers. ;-)

So here goes:

Completed this week:

"Sophie's Dreams" quilt which I am super proud of and totally love :-)

Baby blanket for a new baby girl called Mia

Super fabric & general supplies top up!

It's been a pretty good week here, productivity wise! I'm really pleased with all that.

Work in Progress:

My "PictureBox" quilt is now basted and ready for quilting. Should have this finished by the weekend, hooray!

A baby boy's blanket top I'm working on is pieced and just needs backing and binding (no quilting) - sorry, photo of this isn't good enough to use but it is cute!

Most exciting thing is I am working out ideas for some new baby buggy snuggle blankets :-)

Stuff I'll be starting (and finishing) in next week or so:

My pincushion for my Flickr Scrappy Pincushion swap - lots of ideas, just need to nail one down. This is a fun one, am looking forward to it :-)

Baby buggy blankets - lots of them :-)

Stuff I wish I had more progress on but seem to be on hold:

My curtains - my beautiful duck egg and champagne curtains for my own room - are STILL sitting half done in my sewing basket. Must get done by month end.

Handbags for 2 of my friends - girls, I will get them done in the next few weeks I promise!

Grand Plans!

Kate Conklin's Charm Bracelet quilt for my own room using a Kate Spain "Fandango" charm pack.

A quilt - still thinking about what - with my Origins layer cake

A baby quilt design for which I have a clear picture in my head but need to figure out how to make it a reality!

So that's me - any wonder things are running away from me??!!!! That's not including the full time day job or the husband and 2 kids to look after..... but what do you do when you have a (crafting) addiction? Just go with the flow I say! I'd love to hear what you're working on this week if you have a few minutes to leave a comment .... just so I know I'm not the only insane person out there!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fabric Splurge!

I love love love fabric! So, I was super excited today when no less than 3 packages arrived from the US for me! I ordered a heap of new fabrics and some old favourites last week and couldn't wait to get them home and have a proper look.

I ordered layer cakes for the first time - It's a Hoot by MoMo which I've seen a lot of in blogland and is a gorgeous collection of fabrics (I can think of so many things to make from it) and Origins by Basic Grey which I bought just because I love the colours and fabrics in it - it doesn't match anything in my house and I can't think of what I'll do with the quilt I'll make from it but its all MINE!!! I got a Hideaway charm pack too, love this line, its really cute!

I also ordered some fresh yardage for my baby blankets and bunting. Aren't these lovely blues and greens? I love the snails!

And I was SO excited to get my hands of some of Ann Kelle's new line Ready Set Go (the trains and the cars) which is extra special being organic cotton. I also love the 2D zoo, the teal, navy and green is so vibrant, and the dino print is perfect for a baby boy's blanket. I found the Amy Schimler owls in a blue colourway and couldn't resist!

I also got some gorgeous fabrics for the baby girls! More Amy Schimler owls, some Alexander Henry Willow on green and I love the Riley Blake umbrella tops in vibrant pinks.

I managed to find more yardage in the cute cats too - this fabric is getting very hard to find! I also got some pretty Riley Blake fabrics from the Quite Contrary and Sweet Divinity ranges - these are very fresh and I am really happy with them :-)

So its been a big week for supplies shopping here. I spent Saturday afternoon flitting around between my 3 local craft shops picking up essentials and spent a pile of money on thread. My kids love looking at thread displays in shops and seeing all the colour shades, and when I lined up my new thread purchases this evening my little boy was over like a shot to have a good look. Aren't the colours pretty?

Time to get sewing again, now that I'm restocked and ready to go!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Sophie's Dreams" Quilt

Today, I finished the quilt I am making for a customer order, for a little girl called Sophie. It's the first of the two quilts I'm doing for Anna, the other is for Sophie's brother Luca. I'm delighted with how it turned out. It's very bright and busy, but it works and I think there's a nice balance of colour in it. It's girlie without being too pink which I love!

It measures approx 53.5" by 60" which is midway between cot bed size and full twin bed size. It's designed like this to allow it to be used on Sophie's cot bed at the moment.

Then, when she moves into a bigger bed, it will be big enough to layer it up over another cover and keep using it. It is also a lovely size for a throw as she gets older :-)

I used Warm and White cotton batting in it, and the front is pieced almost entirely from designer fabrics - lots of mixing and matching in terms of pattern, fabric range etc but this adds to its charms. I quilted it using wonky straight lines, quite close together and it has ended up with a lovely texture!

This is one of my favourite parts of the top with the owls and ladybirds sitting side by side!

The back is pieced from 2 lengths of fabric - a small floral cotton print, and Sophie's full name is appliqued in the middle of the back. I used a solid green binding on this as a patterned binding would have been too much agains the quilt top.

Hope you all like as much as I do! Aren't the Russian dolls cute?

I'm linking this up to Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story and some other parties too, check out the links on my sidebar -->