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 that lovely crinkly effect!

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

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 :-)

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 :-)

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!

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 :-)

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.. 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 -->

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quilting crazy - Sneak Peak of Sophie's quilt

It's no secret that I am relatively new to crafting, and really very new to quilting. I'm in the middle of making two quilts at the moment and I think I can officially declare that I am a total convert to this fabulous and wonderful new world.

I spent Sunday evening crawling around my playroom floor basting this quilt and went to bed stiff and sore after it. Undeterred, I sat down this evening in front of the machine and spent about 2 and a half hours quilting. Now my neck is sore, my eyes are tired and my shoulders ache from pulling the quilt around and around all evening. But I am so so SO happy!!! I just can't wait to get home from work tomorrow night and quilt some more :-) I got well over half of it quilted tonight so hopefully another evening will finish it. Everyone who told me quilting was addictive was so right :-)

I love the process and end result of quilting more than I ever could have imagined. And I've found coming up with my own quilt designs (however simple) & choosing my fabrics to make the design work completely inspirational - I have about a hundred ideas lined up in my head waiting to be made up in new quilts!

This is my "Sophie's Dreams" quilt, made for a little girl called Sophie. Its filled with flowers, animals, birds, dolls, bright colours, stripes, dots, beautiful patterns and lots of inspiration for a little lady. It's not a princess-y pink kind of quilt (though I'm partial to those too!) but is still beautiully girlie. Sizewise, its somewhere between a cot size and a twin bed size, so its the biggest thing I've made so far. It's made up of large 7.5" squares, randomly placed and after considering lots and lots of quilting methods, I finally decided to quilt it in slightly wonky straight lines. I like the imperfectness of the wonky lines - totally straight would not fit with the character of the quilt. They're quilting up very nicely indeed  and I'm glad I spent the time and effort basting it very carefully and closely because its paying off now in terms of ease of quilting.  I'm using an ivory cream natural cotton thread and love the effect. I'm also loving my quilting extension table which arrived a few weeks ago, it makes the whole process so much easier!

The back is a cream floral cotton print that I found in my local fabric store and works well on the back of this busy quilt. I have appliqued Sophie's name in the centre of the quilt back, using Bondaweb and then stitching around the edges for security. This will give the edges a slightly frayed effect as it is washed and used which is intentional and again, fits with the character of the quilt.

I'm looking forward to getting this quilt finished in the coming days. For the moment, I'll keep dreaming up ideas for the next quilt I'm going to do!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Picturebox Quilt Top

Picturebox Quilt Top

What a week its been here in the FairyFace household! I don't think I've put down as hard a week since the time D was in hospital a couple of years ago. We had both children sick, one with a very high temperature and the other off form and increasingly lethargic and distressed for a few days until she was finally diagnosed with a pretty bad infection in both ears. I have been suffering from the "mother guilt" ever since, because the first day I suspected she was resenting the attention D was getting with the high temp and playing up as a result :-( Bad mammy moment! And my poor little lady, it turned out, was in a lot of pain - by Thursday afternoon she couldn't sit still or get comfortable, she was so sore. But antibiotics are a great thing and she is well on the mend now and almost back to her cheery self.

In addition to the stress of minding both of them when sick and not getting much sleep what with being up with both of them every night, juggling our jobs took its toll. Its awful have to take unplanned days off from work, you feel like you're letting people down (even though there's nothing you can do - the kids need to be minded when they're sick) and you get so behind and end up working late at night on all sorts to try to catch up. We sent out a cry for help on Thursday and both my and T's parents galloped hastily to our rescue, providing dinners, entertainment for the kids, childminding and other essential services. We're just so lucky to have great backup, I know so many families who can't do that and it really makes life easier when a little help is around.

So, with all that there was not much crafting done in my house at all this week. However, I did get finished the quilt top I am doing for a special boy and want to show it off because I'm so happy with how it turned out.

This is the first quilt I have really "designed" in more than a simple straightforward squares or stripes template. So I'm really proud :-) I found it pretty challenging to figure out the measurements for the different pieces (Maths never having been a strong point of mine) and I must admit that it is quite different to how the original idea was planned. When I laid out the original design template after cutting my fabric, it just didn't work. I don't know why, it looked great on paper, but it just didn't flow! So I went back to the drawing board, took what I had cut and spent a long time playing around with combinations until I came up with this. Then I had to sit down and re-work out the measurements and cutting requirements and happily, it seemed to flow better.

I have seen "design walls" on a few blogs and I really need to figure out a way to set one up on some wall space in my house. I currently do all my layouts on a white sheet laid over my big bed, which works fine from a functional sense. But I like to leave designs/fabrics laid out and come back to look at them and tweak them over and over until I'm happy which isn't really feasible when I need to get to bed! I end up clearing up and then laying out again the following evening which is a terrible waste of time.

I had the big panels sewn up last weekend and when I was at home this week those few days, I left my machine set up at the kitchen table. The side columns were a perfect size for sewing up very quickly so if I got 5 minutes at all during the day, I sat down and sewed one up. Its amazing what you can get done with 5 minutes here and there, it seemed slow doing them one by one but in fact, I had the columns done in no time and then was able to sew up the sashing and put it all together one evening when the kids were in bed.

And doesn't it look cute? My inspiration for this quilt started with two of the prints I use in the big panel - the Jungle Friends and the Hooty Hoot Kangaroo.

I was thinking a little of the "I Spy" type quilts too and imagining a little boy exploring the fabrics seeing all the different animals and bugs and birds. Sort of like pictures really and from there the idea of framing the prints came. I used a simple green/blue on white print to frame up each big panel and then used strong colour scraps around this for an extra layer of detail. I love those picture frames that hang vertically with 3 to 5 photos in them and that is where the idea for the columns came from. I have mostly used animals and birds in this quilt, but threw in some "Wheels" fabric for a little extra charm. The sashing is a Kona solid in Ivory and I really love how it makes the prints stand out.

So, now I have my two quilt tops done and I have my backing pieces ready - next stop, basting! I have to admit I'm not a lover of this stage so I think I will bite the bullet later on and just do both in one huge basting session. Take all my punishment at once, so to speak :-) And then I am going to quilt both with lengthwise straight lines. Can't wait for that part!

I'm featuring this quilt top in some great crafty linky parties:

     Lovely Crafty Home Photobucket

**PS - I have to apologise (again) for the fact that my pictures aren't nearly as good as I would like. What with the still lost good camera, the grey light and the fact that its lashing rain outside, all I could do was try and snap some in front of the playroom patio doors. Otherwise there would be no blog posts at all!
** Also - it being Saturday morning and trying to get as much done as possible, I was too lazy busy to iron the quilt top again before taking the pics - so please excuse all the creases and stray threads!