Showing posts with label Kona Solids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kona Solids. Show all posts

Monday, April 2, 2012

March Bee Blocks

March blocks

March was my good friend Cindy's month in Sew Bee Blissful. I got really excited when I saw her plans and her inspiration mosaic - we were making Gees Bend inspired blocks with all solids. You know how I love solids only projects! I really was looking forward to them. When I opened the envelope I gave a little squeal because I just loved the colours - orange, yellow, pink, aqua and a lime-type green. She had some dark green and brown in there, but there were only tiny quantities, so I'll forgive her that ;-)

We were to make concentric squares within squares, and use all the fabrics in each block. After that, the design and fabric placement was up to us.

So here's how my blocks worked out!

March 2

I really like the strong dark centre in this one and the skinny band of brown (its only 1/4" wide finished). I wasn't sure how that brown and green were going to work with the rest but they were an inspired choice by Cindy and give great depth to the blocks.

March 1

I really like how bright this one is. It definitely reminds me of liquorice allsorts - its the yellow and pink and brown combo in the middle!

I have to admit that I kind of cut and sewed and figured out what I was doing as I went along. Neither block was planned properly but I suppose that's part of the fun and it was a good job she sent us a generous quantity of fabric to work with or I think my lack of planning would have left me in trouble!

But aren't they pretty?  They are gently wonky and I really love them. I can't wait to see how her quilt turns out.

We did a little signature block for the back too.

March Signature block

All in all, a very fun month in the Bee! Thanks Cindy for a great block challenge :-)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yes, I am officially insane.....

Remember this runner? The one with all the angst about the different dye lots?

The one I asked for your advice on, which you so generously gave. Lots of you! And you all pretty much said the same thing.......leave it as it was.

You know what I actually did?

Table runner rolled up

Yes, you're right. The panels are all the same. I ripped it all back and replaced the fabric with some more from the same dye lot. Mad. I know.


I am so much happier with it now. Despite what everyone said, and knowing that you were all right, and knowing that I would have given the same advice myself, I just. couldn't. love. it. the way it was. Just could not bring myself to do any more work on it. I hated the difference in shades so much it was paralysing me, particularly as it was not consistent throughout the runner, so it just didn't look like it was intentional, and really, there was only one decision to be made then.

That's not to say I didn't appreciate all your advice. Or listen to you, because I actually thought about it a lot. And I normally listen to the sage advice you all give me. But sometimes, you have to do what makes you happy. As Lynne wisely said (thank you Lynne!)

TR full view1

So now, I have a lovely ta-dah moment with my Stepping Stones table runner. I really really am happy with it now. (Can you imagine if I had done all that and then I wasn't?) I know in the photo above, it looks like there is a difference in shade, but that's the way the light is falling. When its down on the table, it looks so much better, I think. And I wanted the focus to be on the charms, and the quilting, which it now is.Here are a few photos from my gloomy grey winter garden this morning. See why I called it Stepping Stones?

TR full view2

This was a very straightforward make, but sometimes they're the best. Let me know if you would like a super quick tute on this one, I'd be happy to write it up. I think it would work great as a Christmas themed runner too. I'm really pleased with how the quilting turned out on this one. I used a light grey Aurifil thread on the front, leaving the charms unquilted so they really pop:

 TR centre hanging

I used a lavender Egyptian cotton thread on the back (sorry, I can't write the brand name as its Greek!). Love how the quilting pops on the back too!

TR back quilting
My first time using both brands of thread and I was very impressed with both, compared to the Gutterman natural cotton which is what I normally use for quilting. Love the stitch definition and how smooth they flowed through my machine. I would say the Egyptian cotton is ever so slightly heavier - very marginally - and will definitely be using again for quilting where I want the quilting to be a feature. I got the Aurifil thread from Janette in River Fabrics, who has recently started stocking them, and the Egyptian cotton from Fi in Threads2000 (Patchwork Delights) and its absolutely great to now have some choice in the thread available to me, and to be able to get those great big spools of cotton, at brilliant prices. I highly recommend checking both of them out!

The grey is Kona Ash - love this fabric so much! I think the charm squares stand out against them - they are all from my charms from Jennifer's Rainbow charm swap.

TR folded on table

The back is wide strips of Kona Orange, Ochre, Berry and Aubergine - all from River Fabrics in Co. Down also - Janette has a brill selection of Kona shades. Very bright for my friend who loves this combination of colours!

Table runner back

The binding is an orange fabric I picked up at the K&S show - not sure what it is!

Table runner binding

All ready now to be washed and sent off in the post to my friend - hope she likes it!!

Quilt Stats:

Name: Stepping Stones Table Runner
Made For: My good friend
Measures: 50" long x 11.5" wide
Fabric: Kona Solids + various charm squares
Batting: Warm and White
Quilting: Straight line by me
Pattern: Simple squares design by me

TR rolled up

I'm linking up this week to {Sew} Modern Monday, Manic Monday and Fabric Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

For the Love of Solids Swap Mini Quilt

Well, now that my package has (at last) arrived all the way over in Canda, I can finally reveal my swap items for the For the Love of Solids swap! Felicity was a really great partner to have - so active in the Flickr group and lots of hints about what she liked. But as someone whose blog I have admired for quite a long time now, I was pretty anxious that she would like what I made!

Felicity's swap info told me that she loved improv piecing and letters, as well as grey fabric. I checked out her blog and saw she had made a fabulous quilt from free pieced letters. It was so cool, I just had to give it a try and decided to go for something very modern using letters as a starting point. This was a pretty big departure for me. I've never done improv piecing, never done letters and never used a grey backing. I did a fair bit of scouring the blogosphere looking for instructions and inspiration, but didn't find a huge amount of instructions, it being improvisational (doh!). I did find one site which showed me how to make a letter A (can't remember it now!) - not much use to me for the word I wanted but it gave me a starting point and I had a surprising amount of fun making these letters. I love how wonky and irregular they look.

Then I started thinking about the rest of my quilt and how to pull it together. I found this quilt by The Girl Who Quilts  which gave me some inspiration re: improv blocks and how to utilise them. (It also gave me the inspiration for the quilting.) I decided that rather than trying to improv piece the whole quilt top (the thought of which had me petrified!) I would do improv blocks and piece them into the quilt top.

So I made up these little blocks, having a lot of fun doing them I might add!

I really wanted the blocks to be irregular in size and shape, and used some of the crazy piecing techniques I've learned lately to set them into the Kona Charcoal background fabric.  Then I began the process of laying out my top with these 3 blocks, but I just wasn't happy with how it was working. An hour or so of panic later and I realised I needed a teeny tiny 4th block. Once I did that, Iit all came together for me, and I fell in love with it. I moved onto thinking about the back then. I didn't want to go for a totally plain back, and some regular strips would not have fit with the front. So, I did a central block made of randomly cut strips, just for fun! I set this into a vibrant bright teal-ish blue colour (the name of which I can't remember!) backing and I think it works nicely against the front.

After doing a small bit of FMQ on it, which really didn't work, I decided to go back to my inspiration and quilt it in random, angular straight lines to reflect the angular nature of the piecing. It really worked, I was thrilled. Then I noticed that Felicity had used that same quilting technique on her FTLOS small swap item and that made me smile :-) I bound it in the same Kona Charcoal fabric that I used for the background.

Last but not least, I got a rare sunny hour for some photos! Here it is in all its glory! I was afraid to publish any pictures of the whole quilt top, because I thought that the letters might give the game away to Felicity! So its nice to finally be able to show the whole thing off, having only shown partial views in the Flickr group so far.

I then parcelled it up with the Circles Mug rug and sent off to Felicity.


The very best thing about swaps though is that you get something in return! And this is the package that arrived all the way from Australia for me last week. Kirsten is someone I have chatted to on email and I loved the look of her progress pics in the Flickr group. So when I saw her name on the return address on the envelope I did a little dance of anticipation in my kitchen before I opened it. And look what I got!! Amazing :-)

I asked for a sewing machine cover or a  mini quilt for my big item...and I got both! Kirsten was amazingly generous. My sewing machine sits on my kitchen table as a permanent fixture, in against the wall. And it has a big ugly white hard cover. But no longer - its now got this lovely double sided cover - with a rainbow on one side and gorgeous straight line quilting and colourful squares on the other.

Then there's the warm/cool HST mini quilt - I'm STILL debating where to put this one, its so pretty.

Lastly, there's a matching little fabric basket which was immediately put into use to keep my essentials beside the sewing machine. How lucky am I?? You should definitely go check out Kirsten's lovely blog - she has great projects! Thanks so much Kirsten, I'm still in love with my swap items!

I have said it before, but need to say it again. This was a GREAT swap. The challenge of working with solids only was really interesting and certainly made me push outside my comfort zone. So thanks Felicity for providing such great inspiration :-) I'm so glad she likes it! And thanks Kirsten for sending me such gorgeous goodies! I'm definitely keeping a close eye out for round 2!! I'm linking up to the mini quilt linky over at Fresh Lemons.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Kona Circles Mug Rug

I'm busy busy busy this week with the kids starting school and Montessori and with all the swaps I've got going on. Not to mention the Quiltalong!! Most pressing is the For the Love of Solids Swap which I need to finish and get in the post at the beginning of next week at latest.

Today I finished up the small item for my secret partner. I came up with and discarded quite a few ideas before remembering a lovely stitch-along I had seen a couple of months ago over on Rachel's blog Contented which I thought would be perfect for a small size like a mug rug, and would work great with the array of Kona blues I had for the swap items.

I had a fat quarter of Kona Ash grey (a colour I have totally fallen in love with, to my complete surprise. It has such a lovely natural tone!) which was my starting point, and I played around with the varying shades of blue before arriving at my combination. This was a very straightforward make - I appliqued on the circles using Bondaweb and then handstitched around the edges of each circle, varying between running stitch and backstitch, and matching or contrasting threads.

Then I basted it with a few small stitches in a variety of places, and started to hand quilt it. In the original, Rachel used a variegated thread, which I didn't have. I also had quite a variety of tones in my blues, so none of the flosses I had was quite right for the whole thing. So I decided to make my own 3-tone thread, taking a strand from each of 3 colours. I really really love how the colours change throughout the quilting and how the thread picks up the colour of the circle it is closest too.

This is the first time I've hand quilted and I really enjoyed it, even if it was a little hard on the hands and fingers. I tried to vary the stitch length in different rows of quilting for interest. I love, love the effect of the stitching rippling out from the circles, I think this is an inspired pattern to be honest! So simple, so effective. It reminds me of stones dropping into a lake.

Lastly, I bound it in the same Kona Ash fabric to keep it simple. I'm slightly in love with this mug rug. I hope my partner will like it, I'll find it hard to let it go! If you want to make it, check out this great tutorial series over at Contented.

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday on Quilt Story and Sew Cute Tuesday on Creative Itch:

Fresh Poppy Design Creative Itch

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blocks, blocks, blocks!

Sunday is a dream day for sewing in this house. After a day off on Saturday and (ususally) a good nights sleep, the extra energy coupled with daylight always give me a boost. So this morning I tackled my Sew Bee Blissful blocks which I have been avoiding for the last couple of weeks for fear of ruining them.

Jenna wanted a double pinwheel block, and, to be honest, it was very straightforward once I figured out what fabrics I was going to use where. She sent me these bright and colourful fabrics and I added a little white as well.

This is the first time I've used starch, strangely enough and I think I overstarched the fabrics for the first block. It very possibly could stand up all by itself (sorry Jenna!). But I think it turned out ok, here it is:

The second one is my favourite:

Jenna asked us to make 6" blocks for a strip on the back of the quilt with any leftovers. I had quite a few scraps left as I used some white, so I made up 2 blocks for her. One a simple pinwheel to echo the front, the other a crazy pieced block. I hope she likes them, I really love how they turned out.

I also got started on my solids project for the swap. My partner has really responded to some improv blocks in the photo pool so I thought I'd try this for her. I've never done it before, but I quite enjoyed it. The unstructured nature of it appeals to me! (Surprise, surprise!) So I did this block plus some other bits - but I can't show them because they would totally give the game away as to who my partner is! I'm using Kona Coal as the background fabric on this mini quilt. Can't wait to get to the next blocks now. What do you think of this? Does it work, or not... bearing in mind that its supposed to be random and improvised? Let me know. (yes, I know its not a regular shape.....that's part of its, eh, charm!)

On another note, are you exited about the Across the Sea QAL?? I know I am. The Flickr group has jumped into activity with over 60 members so if you're still on the fence, come join us! Fabric cutting instructions will be posted tomorrow so check back then :-)

Across the Sea Quilt-Along

I'm linking up to:

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Fabric love..

After yesterday's craft fail, my spirits were lifted by waking up to all the fab comments you left me - thanks so much everyone, you had great ideas and advice and there were so many possible solutions that I'm going to mull it over before deciding which to go with and keep for myself. I'll try version 2 later on in the week!

Then the postman came and they lifted even further when I opened my package to find my Kona solids for the For the Love of Solids swap. I wanted a range of blues and some orange for contrast (plus some greys). I ordered these from River Fabrics which is based in Co. Down, not too far away from me at all, and I'll definitely be going back to Janette for more fabric, her customer service was fab! I asked her for help choosing some blues because of how hard it can be to tell the minute shade variations on screen, told her I was looking for a cascade of shades and she came up trumps with this combo - isn't it fab? I think the oranges look great with the blues.

But I also ordered some pomegranate on a whim and I think it also looks great with the blues!

We'll see what my partner decides!!

I then went and pulled these lovely Just Wing It FQs from my stash. Yum yum!!! Want to see what I'm thinking of them for? Check back Monday!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Scrappy Crochet Hook Roll Tutorial


I made this quirky crochet hook roll this week from my very favourite fabric - Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie Owls. I thought that a straightforward tutorial might be of interest to some of you so here goes, my very first tutorial!

Materials Needed:
Large scraps of the following fabrics - 1 feature fabric, one complimentary solid, 1 contrast solid for binding.I used Ann Kelle's Urban Zoologie Owls and Kona Solids - a lime green and a navy.
Large scrap cotton batting
24" of matching ribbon
Small square Bondaweb or similar
Matching threads

Seam allowances are 0.25" unless otherwise stated.

Cutting List:

Front - from main solid - 5.25" x 8.5"; from feature fabric -  2 pieces measuring 3.25" x 8.5".
Front - fussy cut small detail piece from feature fabric - size dependent on pattern but approx 2.5" x 2.5".
Back (main panel)- from feature fabric, 11" x 8.5"
Back ( folded panel) - from feature fabric, 1.5" x 11"; from main solid, 1 piece measuring 2.5" x 11" and 1 piece measuring 7.5" x 11".

Assemble front:

1. Using Bondaweb or similar, seal fussy cut small panel to main solid front panel, centering carefully.


2. Using thread to matching contrast binding colour, stitch around edges of applique leaving raw edges. I used a triple straight stitch (topstitch) setting on my machine to emphasise the stitching. Stitches do not need to be perfectly square, slightly wonky lines add to the charm!


3. Pin feature fabric front pieces to main solid & stitch carefully.

4. Iron seams to darker fabric side.

Assemble back:

1. Pin feature fabric between solid pieces and sew, iron seams to darker side.

2. Fold in middle to give piece measuring 5" x 11" and iron.

3. Line up folded piece with main back piece and pin in place

4. Decide how far apart you want your lines for your hooks and mark in place.

I marked the edge seams 0.5" in from raw edge, and marked a number of wide lines at 1" each, then smaller spaces for narrower hooks at 0.5" each. I use a Clover Hera marking tool which marks a sharp crease on the fabric. I love this tool, it's one of my best buys ever! You could also use tailor's chalk or a water soluble pen.

5. Stitch lines as marked. Work from middle of fabric down to bottom.

Quilt front:

1. Place front piece on batting scrap leaving excess batting on all sides and pin in place.

2. Starting by stitching in the ditch of one of the seams, quilt using straight lines on the feature fabric out to the edge. I set my stitch length to 4.0mm and, using the side of my presser foot as a guide and moving needle position, spaced the lines differing widths apart for interest. Some are very close, others wider.

When first side is done, do same on other side. The centre panel of solid fabric is not quilted.

3. Trim excess batting using rotary cutter.


For this roll I used double fold binding. If you need detailed instructions on binding check out great tutorials on Jaybird Quilts or Oh, Fransson!
Using contrast solid, cut strips for binding. I cut on the straight grain to a width of 2". Cut 2 strips of approx 24" and join using 45 degree seams.  


Fold in half, wrong sides together, and iron.

Assemble Roll:

1. Line up back piece on top of front piece, matching raw edges, and trim any excess fabrics.


2. Pin binding in place, matching raw edge of binding to raw edges of roll.

3. Fold ribbon in half and pin on one side of roll, between binding and fabric. The folded edge should line up with the raw edges of the binding and fabric.

4. Stitch binding in place all the way around, making provision for mitred corners.

5. Fold binding over to back of roll and pin, ensuring mitred corners are lined up correctly and machine stitch close to the edge of the bindgin. Ensure that your stitching is picking up binding on the opposite side. (Or handstitch if you prefer)

6. Apply Fray Stop or similar to the ends of your ribbon to seal. Alternatively, turn the edges of your ribbons under and stitch to seal the end and prevent fraying.

You're done!

Fill with your crochet hooks, roll up and admire!! Alternatively, you could use this roll for makeup brushes, just adjust the width  of the stitched lines.

I hope that this all makes sense, let me know if you have any questions. And I hope you enjoy making it!