Saturday, 31 October 2015

Modern Irish Bee - November block for Stephanie!

Can you believe its November? The weather has turned a little chillier and the leaves a little browner, and that means it’s the perfect weather to sew, right? I have really enjoyed making all of the monthly blocks (even though I am usually late sending them) and I am learning so much, thanks everyone.

Now it’s my turn and I have looked at so many different quilt blocks to choose from and I think I must have changed my mind at least a hundred times. But yeah, I have finally decided on the patchwork Wheel Block and Elizabeth from Don’t Call Me Betsy has kindly allowed me to link to her tutorial on her blog Don't Call Me Betsy, thank you Elizabeth. I love the fact that this block uses scraps, and boy do I have a lot of those, and also that every block will be different.
In her tutorial, Elizabeth uses a dark grey for the background, which looks great, but I think I would like white or something similar as long as it’s very pale and then you have free choice about which colour of scraps you would like to use, the scrappier the better, I love bright colours! I would love two of these blocks, if you cut 8 extra 3.5" coloured scraps and keep the HST that you have cut you should have enough for two 12.5" blocks.

You can follow Elizabeth's tutorial or you can follow my attempt at a tutorial.

Cut 8 4.25" squares of solid white

Cut 8 3.5" squares of coloured scraps (you could cut 8 more 3.5" now and you will have enough for two blocks)

Cut 8 4.25" squares of coloured scraps
Draw a line diagonally from one corner to other.

Place a 4.25" scrap right sides together with a solid white square with the drawn line uppermost.

Stitch a scant 1/4" seam on either side of the drawn line. Cut along the drawn line to give you 2 HST.

Press open and trim down to 3.5" square.
 Assemble the squares into a pleasing display and stitch the first row together following with the remaining two rows. Press seams.

Join strips together and press. Your finished block should measure 12.5".

Sit back and admire your work!

PS please ignore the bad state of my cutting board I am hoping Santa will bring me a new one

Stephanie x

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Book Review - Step by Step Free Motion Quilting by Christina Camelli

I might have a slight Craftsy addiction. I've watched free motion classes by Leah Day (free videos on quilting the Craftsy 2012 BOM), Angela Walters (has 4 classes on Craftsy) , Ann Peterson (has 2!), but the one I have enjoyed the most has been Christina Camelli's The Secrets of Free Motion Quilting.

Christina blogs at A Few Scraps, where she has lots of free stuff on free motion quilting. If you want to take any of her Craftsy Classes she has links from her blog that will get you the classes for half price at about 15 Euro. She has also written 2 books on the subject : First Steps to Free Motion quilting and Step by Step Free motion quilting. I enjoyed her class so much I bought First Steps and when I saw Christina had a new book out Step by Step Free Motion Quilting, I wondered if it was worth buying as well. After leafing through Paula Rafferty's copy, I didn't hesitate and bought it too.
First steps and her class Free Motion Quilting Essentials give lots of advice on getting started, setting up and managing the movement of the quilt in your machine, things to avoid and where to start quilting. Step by Step and The secrets of Free Motion Quilting show basic shapes like circles, lines, spirals, arc shapes, loops etc. and growing them into all over edge to edge motifs or very neat filler designs. The tag line is turning "9 simple shapes into over 80 designs".
I find myself turning to this book when I am looking for quilting inspiration and stuck on what to do with a project. When we were away on holidays in September, our Jack Russell, Charly, went on holidays to 2 different households. Neither would take anything from me for minding her, so I made 2 cushions as thank you presents. (The pattern for the pieced pups is available for free on Sew Fresh Quilts blog here up to the end of October or you can buy the pattern here if you want to make any of these - pattern is Dog Gone Cute!.) 
I knew I wanted to quilt the dogs in a loopy wiggle pattern, as this gives really lovely texture and to me, looks like fur. For the background, I wasn't sure what to do but wanted to try something different from straight lines or all over stipple (Lori Kennedy who blogs at the Inbox Jaunt is out to ban the stipple to encourage people to try new things - check out her free quilting tutorials here)
Leafing through Step by Step Free Motion Quilting I found this version of a free motion linear design and gave that a go.
For the second cushion I found a string of pearls type design that Christina keeps very free and easy by not being too perfect. I used this technique on a sewing machine cover but tried to be prefect travelling around the circles. This sketching style is much easier and I think suits the piecing, though when I was showing the cushion off with a "What do you think?",  I was answered with a "Why did you put the poor dog out in the rain?" Oops!

Still I like the result and had fun playing with the designs that Christina suggests. If you are looking for a book on Free Motion Quilting from Santa this year, this one might be the one to put on your wish list!

If anyone has a go to book that they would like to share or write a review to share on the blog please drop me a line!  Thanks Helen for reviewing Sew Organised!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Book Review - Sew Organised

When I saw Ruth's request for someone to write a book review, for the Modern Quilters Ireland mqi blog, my hand shot straight up! I can do that! Miss! Miss! Me! Me! It just took me my normal two weeks to get around to it. I have been told Procrastination is my middle name. If I didn't procrastinate so much, I could look that up in the dictionary. I love books, novels, craft books, cookery books, I love them all and I buy them all even though I work with books all day. The difficult thing is to decide what book review. In the end I decided on the most recent "Sew Organized for the Busy Girl" by Heidi Staples. Heidi blogs as Fabricmutt.

The first part of the book deals with Heidi's background, how she fell in to quilting and then blogging. Why sewing and quilting is important to her,  from the creative, the nurturing, "the nicer for less" financial aspect and lastly on how it keeps her sanity in a busy life. Perhaps that is the most important. Heidi then moves on to how to make space in our busy lives for sewing, and how to have an organized work space.  I think this follows along the lines of tidy lives, tidy work space and tidy mind. I wouldn't know about that!

And then the fun bit, the bit we are all really waiting for, the projects. Here we see the quirky projects, not the bog standard quilts but the pin cushions, the pouches, the organisers. The things I see on other people's blogs and instagram accounts and think, I would like to make that. Note, I don't add Flickr, I'm not organised enough to keep up with Flickr.

I wish I could show you some of my finished projects, but you know that isn't going to happen. After all, we don't really buy these books to make the scrummy things, we just buy to look and covet. Or at least I do.

Overall I loved this book. I really will make loads of things, and all Heidi's advice makes sense. The advice is at times rather homespun, it even has a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder. Homespun but cosy, not twee.

Next time if I get to do another review it will be of the Japanese zakka, I think I may actually have completed one of those. And, oh yes, I have read and love quilting fiction, there's a whole life out there in the world of books.

midgetgemquilts x

Sew Organized for the Busy Girl
Heidi Staples
£15.99 UK

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Modern Irish Bee - October block

clip_image002clip_image004Happy October Ladies !

I am thrilled and so excited to be this months Queen Bee.  

I have taken this block from a free tutorial @ Hyacinth Quilt Designs
It's a super quick quilt block to make entitled “Garden Fence” and I too think it would be awesome in lots of colour combinations. However, I have chosen to stick with the colour theme seen here of: Greys & Yellow/Golds Autumnal but not too wintery!

I would like you lovely ladies to make two of these blocks please:
· The first with the grey tones in the centre square with the yellow/golds outside.
· The second block will be the opposite effect with yellow/golds in the centre and grey toned fabric outside. I have made one block following these exact measurements and it works out to be 12” square after sashing.
· I would like the yellow fabric in the block to be the same on the four corners and similarly with the grey fabric. This will give the blocks a sense of uniformity rather than simply tones of the colours.
· I will be using Kona white for my blocks so if you have that it would be fantastic as the white borders will be joined directly. If not, something as near as possible please.

Here are the cutting dimensions for the block:
· Center square: 4 ½ " x 4 ½ "
· Outer rectangles in opposite colour fabric: 4 - 2 ½ " x 3" and 4 - 2 ½ " x 5" (all same)
· White: 2 - 1 ½ " x 6 ½ "
2 - 1 ½ " x 4 ½”
4 - 1 ½ " x 2 ½”
· White sashing: 2- 1 ½” x 10 ½”
2- 1 ½” x 13”
To piece the block: (pics below)clip_image008
  • Sew the white 4 1/2" and 6 1/2" rectangles to opposite sides of the center square.
  • Sew the white 2 1/2" rectangles between 2 outer rectangles; add these to the center pieced square.
  • Once the main part of the block is completed, I would like if the 1.5” (unfinished) border could be added to the block please, by piecing the top and bottom followed by the side strips.
  • This should make the completed blocks 12” square.
I have absolutely loved seeing all of your choices so far this year and each block chosen has been so different. I was so mixed up trying to decide on my block as there was so much out there. I cannot wait to see what you all produce and I look forward to beautiful happy post from such a talented bunch. How nice to imagine everyone playing such a part in creating our quilts. Happy sewing ladies and if you’ve any questions on my block just contact me on the Facebook group or Instagram. Below is a few snaps as I made my first block to check measurements etc Sorry they are just fired in there but I hope it all makes sense

Best Wishes, Jacinta xx