Friday, September 27, 2013

Pretty Little Pincushions

We're almost at the end of the Scrappy Pincushion Swap run by the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland. And it has been fabulous fun! This was a smallish swap, with 19 participants, but it has been so much fun watching the pincushions pop up in the Flickr group.

The Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland

My partner's information told me that she liked tiny paper piecing, hexagons, and loved combinations of different types of fabrics.

I started here, with some of my half inch hexies:

Hexie flower pincushion, partner?

And when I had them pieced, I mulled over where to go next with it for a little while. Then, I got a little parcel of scraps in the post from Fiona, in return for some hexies I am cutting for her, and it included lots of linens. Perfect timing. I basted some more linen hexies in low volume neutrals, and pieced them around my little colourful flower. I added some hand stitching with perle cotton, and cut back to a hexagon shape.

Hexie Pincushion

I decided that the pincushion would look even nicer as a 3 dimensional piece, so I added sides, using the technique I used for this pincushion a few months ago. It's a little tricky, but gives a lovely finish. Some linen on the back, and I was done! It's all posted off now, and I hope my partner loves it.

Pincushion back

Then, during the week, I got a fabulous parcel from Aideen. She made me a gorgeous pincushion, with pinks and aquas, paper piecing and hand stitching. Perfect :-) I'd never seen this type of piecing before - its called pineapple piecing. Isn't it amazing?

My FAB swapsies!

Needless to say, the chocolate is long gone and I will have lots of fun with those scraps. Thanks so much Aideen!

All in all, I think this was a great swap. I think everyone participating got to know some new people, myself included, and its great that our little community of modern quilters is expanding slowly but surely. It was my first time being Swap Mama in a swap, and while a little nerve wracking at times (I won't fully relax until everyone has received their pincushions!) it was also lots of fun.

I love swaps, I love how they challenge you creatively and push you to try new things when you are working to someone else's tastes. Anyone for a Christmas swap?

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Back to School Sewing

I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Today you'll find me over at Ellison Lane where I'm sharing a tutorial for a cute little pencil pouch as part of Jennifer's Back to School series.

So please pop over and have a look!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Liberty Cushion Finish!

So pleased to be able to share a lovely Liberty finish with you today!

I've posted my progress on this a couple of times, so I'm not going to repeat myself again here! You can find the details in this post if you're interested in how I made it.

Suffice to say it was made with gorgeous Liberty lawn charms, which Ali of Very Berry Fabrics kindly sent me to play with, pieced by machine and handquilted with perle cotton.

I finished it off by adding piping, my first time trying this technique. I'll be very honest - although it looks fine in the photos, I didn't find it easy, and its not entirely perfect, but overall it looks ok and I am pretty happy with how it turned out. Plus I learned a lot, and I'd love to try it again - I think I'd make a much better job of it 2nd time round.  I decided not to push the boat out too far, and used a simple envelope back with some Hope Valley which worked perfectly with the front.

I really love this cushion and seeing as I need some fresh cushions on my sofa, it will sit there very happily. I want to say a big thank you to Ali of Very Berry Fabrics for sending me the fabrics to try. The Liberty lawn is just beautiful fabric to work with - so soft and dreamy. Ali specialises in selling Liberty fabrics to quilters - she sells beautiful little bundles of Liberty lawn charm squares, scrap packs, die cut hexies etc for really great prices - the sort of money that you'd spend on a few takeaway coffees each week.  My new plan is to start buying a few packs every few weeks and gradually build up enough of a stash to make a quilt. If Liberty has been on your list of fabrics to try, you absolutely should pop over to her shop and say hi - I promise you you'll be sucked in!! You'll also find her on Facebook where it's well worth following her, as she often posts extra special offers there before they hit her shop :-)

Linking up with Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Welcome Sew Fresh Fabrics!

I'm so pleased to be able to introduce you to a new sponsor here on FairyFace Designs, Sew Fresh Fabrics.

Sew Fresh Fabrics has been around since 2009 and is one of the very first online fabric stores that I bought my fabric from when I started sewing. Besides all the beautiful fabrics, I was constantly amazed by how quickly Peg's packages arrived in Ireland - she would post on a Saturday or Sunday, and I would have it in my hand that Thursday - 4 working days, amazingly fast!

Peg stocks beautiful designer fabrics, a huge selection of organic fabrics, and some fabulous Japanese prints. One of my favourite things about her shop is that she also puts together Kona solid bundles to coordinate with fabric collections. Her latest arrival is Tula Pink's Acacia:

And she has 3 gorgeous bundles of solids to complement it - taking all the guesswork out of choosing the right solids!

Kona FQ Bundle Inspired by Blueberry Colorway of Acacia by Tula Pink

Kona FQ Bundle Inspired by Canyon Colorway of Acacia by Tula Pink

Kona FQ Bundle Inspired by Sky Colorway of Acacia by Tula Pink

Peg has a superb selection of solids in the shop and also had a fantastic section for basics, dots and blenders. But most importantly, she is super lovely to deal with and more than happy to help with order queries.

So pop over and have a look at her shop - or her Etsy shop which is still there also. And make sure to sign up for her newsletter because you don't want to miss out on her regular sales and coupon codes or you'll be kicking yourself!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Parade of Elephants - my Stamp It Up Swap pouch finish!!

A few weeks ago I signed up for Nicky's Stamp It Up swap. I was, to be honest, pretty apprehensive about my stamp-carving abilities and how it was all going to work out, but willing to give it a try. In the back of my mind, my plan was if the stamp carving all went terribly wrong was to buy a stamp, rather than disappoint my partner.

I ordered my supplies, raided the local pound shop for rubbers (at 27c each, they were not a huge investment of money!) The supplies duly arrived and I looked at them fearfully for a few days until I finally worked up the courage to give it a shot.

Luckily though, the stamp carving turned out to be a LOT more fun that I imagined it would be. I had a look at some of the tutorials recommended and gave it a whirl. I played around with lots of different ideas - some turned out terribly, some worked ok and could be developed a bit more. It became pretty addictive actually. (Despite stabbing my finger pretty badly with the scalpel in the process.)

My creation

But I was still looking for an idea, and rummaging around in my fabric stash I came across an elephant print and decided to try it.  I managed to replicate the shape reasonably well on the rubber. My first effort was too small, and didn't have the sort of clarity I wanted.

Parade of elephants

So I tried out a bigger carving, which I was much happier with. And then I realised my big and small elephants could work as a parade of mum and baby elephants for real cuteness factor.

Elephant parade 2nd version!

I was pretty sure my partner would be happy with that, but I tried another idea, just in case. The elephants won out in the end though. I was really happy with these leaves though and think I might try and work them into a design of some type when I only have myself to please.

Leaf stamp

The process of carving stamps is definitely fun and worth a shot. Fabric stamping is something I'm new to but I will be continuing and I think I'll buy a little set of letters as they would be so useful to have.

Once I had my idea in place, I stamped it on some Essex linen, and used some of my new Koi fabric to set off the purple and pinks. I back it with fusible fleece and added some hand quilting and beading for the eyes. Then all I needed to do was add the lining and zip and sew it up into a zip pouch.

And its all ready to send off to my partner, in perfect time for the mailing window. I hope she likes it because I certainly had fun making it!

Linking up to Finish it Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Liberty ❤ Stitches

I pulled out my Liberty pillow cover last night, applied my fusible fleece and auditioned some perle cotton threads, trying to decide what to use. I threw the decision out to my friends on Instagram and Facebook, looking for opinions, and was so glad I did - I got a few different perspectives and it made me think a little about it.

I started off with the lightest colour, outlining the Drunkard's Path flower both inside and out. Then I added one of the darker blues, to make it pop.

I just love the result (so far!) The stitching just makes the fabrics pop in all their delicate beauty.

Now I just need to decide if I'm done, or if I'll do one more round of the lighter colour thread. Opinions (again!) anyone?

When I'm done with this, I need to make the back. And after seeing Svetlana's beautiful pillow earlier this week, I know I NEED to do some piping on this. I've never done it before. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Swooning.....time to show off your quilt tops!

I'm still in love with the Swoon pattern. And I hope you all are too! I finally managed to get my quilt top done, only a week behind schedule, and I love, love, love how it turned out!

It's for my own bedroom, which has a duck egg blue wallpaper on the main wall, so I chose my palette to match that. Its a bit more restricted, colour-wise, than I normally do, and despite being a bit nervous about making it work, I think it does.

This is such a great pattern to make, and at 80" x 80", its a whopper of a size. You can see on the bottom left where I managed to stand on the bottom of the quilt top trying to hang it. Oh well. It will come out in the wash. I was just glad it fit on the swing frame, as otherwise I had no way of hanging it anywhere else for a picture and would have to wait for a dry day to take a picture with it spread on the ground (pretty challenging in an Irish Autumn).

I do have to say though, I'm pretty happy to be done trimming HSTs! That was the worst part of making these blocks, all the HSTs to trim. (I'm typing this knowing that the next border in my Made to Measure quilt top is entirely HSTs, which is why I've been putting it off for months).

My next issue to figure out is how to quilt it. I'm really, really tempted to handquilt it. As in, I am very close to doing it even though it would take a while. But then I would love the texture of a stippled quilt on the bed. But stippling this huge quilt would be my idea of a less-than-fun quilting task. Hmmmm. I am still mulling it over. Opinions anyone?

And I'd love to see your Swoon top if you have yours done - feel free to link up below so we can all go visit. If you do link up, please go have a peek at some of the other completed quilt tops and leave some comments. I'll leave this linky open until mid-November because I know everyone is working at different paces on this one.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Finish: Kindle Paperwhite Cover

It's been a bit of a washout of a week, sewing wise. We are truly back full swing into school, pickups, extra curricular activities, and all the extra work that comes with it. It means I have had to take the week to get myself organised and have had very little sewing time. But today I finally got around to a project I've been meaning to do for a long time: a Kindle Paperwhite cover. My friend asked me ages ago to make one for her but I took much longer than I meant to.

I made it in a similar style to one I made previously for myself but had to adjust the measurements a little to get a nice snug fit as mine is a Touch which is a tiny bit bigger, and my own one is a bit loose for my liking. There is a little internal pocket  behind where the screen is held which can hold the charging lead if necessary. 

I used some of Julia Rothman's fabulous typewriter fabric as the feature point in the cover design, and let it wrap all the way around to the back. The contrast is some grey Glimma, which I straight line quilted to add texture. I really like how the fabrics work together.

This is a simple design to make, but I am really happy with it and it was a nice quick finish once I figured out my measurements.  I just need to make a second one now and then both will be off to my friend.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Liberty Circles Progress

Back a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive some Liberty fabric from Ali's lovely shop Very Berry Fabrics to play with. Ali sent me a selection of 6" charms in mostly greys and blues. I had already decided I wanted to do a Drunkards path pattern, but put off cutting them for a little while because I was too busy stroking their buttery softness. And slightly scared by how fine they were, fine generally equalling slippy and difficult to sew in my world.

But I finally got my courage together and used my Go! Baby to cut the blocks out. I still love my Go! Baby for cutting blocks like these (and hexies, of course).

Ali sent a little information sheet about sewing with Liberty lawn with the fabric and it was so helpful. I swapped out my needle for a size 10, took it nice and slow and my blocks came together just as easily as normal quilting cotton would. As always I used Leanne's great method for sewing curves.

Soon I had loads of little blocks all ready to play with. I find my blocks never look perfect when I'm laying them out but then they sew together nicely and I can't see the flaws any more!
There are so many possibilities with Drunkards path layouts:

Half circles


And loads more! But in the end, for a small project like this - a cushion cover - I decided I liked the flower layout best as it was so self contained. I also decided to limit the fabrics to the blues and dark greys as I thought it was more striking like this. I'll use those pretty neutrals in something else in time.

Once I had it sewn up and a border round the edge, I was thrilled. I need to decide on quilting next. Hand quilting will definitely make an appearance, but I'm trying to figure out whether to add some machine quilting too.

I'll be back to Ali to start collecting a selection of her gorgeous Liberty charms because I imagine a whole quilt made with these would be so luxuriously soft - I can't resist! Check out her shop for more eye candy!