Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mostly Backyard Birds

The struggle is real.  Winter seems to be kicking me on my ass at the moment... resulting in negative effects on my sewing activities.  It's not that I've been sick... or lost my mojo or anything... it's more of an energy thing.  I want to... it just never seems to happen.

I am also frustrated with my computer (and sewing machine but that's another story) at the moment.  I have always done the same thing with my photos and it has worked just fine.  A couple months ago it just stopped working, and wouldn't upload my photos to where-ever they go to... to let me include them in blog posts.  So I've worked out a "work around" but it's not ideal, and just pisses me off.  These little backwards steps are not conducive to getting stuff done!  And my hope to get back into blogging this year has taken a massive hit.  Yada yada... back to the sewing.

I managed to get last months YELLOW Backyards Birds block completed,



and the black free motion stitching around the previous months GREEN block done too.


Woohoo... I have now finished the May block which is loosely part of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge featuring PINK this month.



This is such a fun and carefree sort of project.  Nothing is too precious or precise... and I'm enjoying creating both the backgrounds and applique elements from scraps.  There are always MORE scraps! 


As the finished block pile grows - I did wonder what I was going to do with them.  The pattern features quilts with narrow frames around the blocks, with sashing between blocks.  I thought about doing this, but to be honest, couldn't decide which way to go colourwise with the sashing.  I wouldn't want to do more low volume in this setting, but I also don't want to choose one colour to focus on.  After putting this line of thinking aside because it became too hard, I solved my own problem after looking at a different quilt and decided to do a completely different setting with alternate log cabin blocks, using low volume on the light side, and mixed scrappyness on the dark side.  By rotating the blocks I get a zigzag sort of effect which surrounds the applique blocks.  I am always so happy when I find a resolution to a quilty problem.  Now I just need to implement it and hope it looks as awesome in real life as which I imagine in my head.

After picking up my Month Two Tilda BOM magazine, I put it into the too hard basket because there were lots of techniques that I haven't done before.  As the month progressed, I figured I had better do SOMETHING otherwise nothing would get done and this would end up another unfinished WIP.  So I looked at the instructions again and found some small pieced blocks that I could work on while I gathered the gumption to start those unfamiliar things... still a little way to the finish line but every small step is another step closer to being finished.


I have three sewing machines... a Janome, a Brother and a Bernina.  This Janome I bought for the specific purpose of using on my Handi Quilter Frame.  That idea didn't quite work out - and I haven't used it for anything else.  Being a straight stitch only machine means it should be excellent for piecing and maybe even quilting with a walking foot.  So, I knuckled down and bought the necessary feet to try this out.  Today I picked up the walking foot - so I just need to decide what quilt I am going to try it out on... and baste it!  I have never had much luck with walking foot quilting... so I am hoping for great things.


Walking foot installed and ready to go!


There is just something about this machine that freaks me out... all those little knobs and fiddley bits.  I think as a modern machine user I am probably a bit spoilt.  I find this machine cumbersome and clunky... but I'm going to give it a good go.


Lastly, I attended a local quilt show and bought this awesome fabric!  Sometimes you just see something that has your colours and style and this was it for me.  Not that I know what I'm going to do with it yet... but I'm sure I'll find something.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kenny Rogers knew his stuff

I've been working on three different projects over the last week or so, where I have had to make the decision about whether to carry on as per the pattern/previous layout... or make the decision to change things up to suit what I like.  So where does Kenny Rogers come in?  Well, in the immortal words of The Gambler... you've got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em... know when to walk away... know when to run... and I am now super embarrassed to admit that I know almost all the words to that song and I blame my mother :0)

First project - the Bernina Zen Chic Triangle quiltalong.  I managed to get most of the blocks constructed, and started laying it out per the suggested pattern layout.  The instructions from the beginning have encouraged variety and spontaneity, and working with what you have - so I knew there was a good chance that I would be making alterations to the layout.  However, laying it out per the instructions seemed a good start.  It wasn't long before I was tweaking blocks - moving some of the more complicated or busy blocks away and replacing them with the simpler blocks.

I realised that for me it was about the subtle differences in tone, depth and texture, with a few key contrast areas... and that I wanted to emphasize this, not create disharmony.

Still a work in progress

There are some areas in the layout that has quite a lot of pieced blocks in little groups - sometimes the colours I had used worked out OK... like this little grouping...


Other areas I have removed the pieced blocks completely.  I also decided that this printed triangle fabric just creates too much action... There is also some fabrics with light purple tones that create too much contrast, so figured that this was the time to pull these fabrics out of the mix.


I chose a Robert Kaufman Essex yarn dyed linen in Indigo as my background which has a nice textural element.  The design keeps evolving, and I have added some dark navy triangles which I really like.  It will be interesting to see how this finally ends up looking.


The decision whether to replace the stripey block in the Cross Tile quilt finally came to a head.  Yes or No?  Nope... it had to go.


Once again... just too busy when I look at it at this stage.  I have chosen a more subtle stone coloured print and just need to finish that block up, before I am ready to join all these rows.  Exciting to get this project almost completed!

I finally started my Homespun Magazine 2018 BOM!  This uses a wide variety of Tilda fabrics... very floral.  I started laying out some of the elements, liking how it was looking.


However as it built, I felt that it was becoming just a little bit too floral for my liking.  Is it possible that there can be too much floral?


I wanted to add just a little bit of contemporary text... and this is my favourite print for projects that are neither white nor cream... subtle but definitely adds a bit of my own flavour.


The pattern has quite a bit of embroidery added.  I knew that this wasn't going to be happening... so I added some orange centres to the flowers in lieu of the embroidered centre feature. I also changed the tips of the butterfly to a plain pink.


Playing around with some of the leaf placements - I chose some in this lovely grey/blue linen... which I absolutely adore and hopefully will be able to add a little of this fabric to every block.


I'm happy that this block has turned out with a good mix of the original design, plus a healthy dose of me.

After all the fusing was completed, I started the blanket stitch.


While it looked perfect on the top... there were issues on the bottom!


After rechanging the needle, oiling, rethreading and finally changing the bobbin thread completely, I have got a better stitch... although it is still not right.  Any ideas?





Monday, April 9, 2018

Flittering between this and that

Another busy week with lots of little progress steps.

The second to last Cross Tiles block is causing me issues.  I knew that the colours were pushing the boundaries... the burgundy, green and mustard were in some of the other blocks, but not so much the pink and blue.


Forging ahead and knowing that it wouldn't be sorted until I laid it all out, I made the block and I'm still a bit undecided.  Located on the bottom left corner, I don't need to make a final decision until I have sashed all the previous rows.  At this stage, I'm considering replacing it.


And I've got the first two rows sashed and attached.  Definitely a quilt that you need to keep organised with.


More little jobs... I got the applique placed and fused on the March backyard birds block.


I'm just having fun choosing scrappy bits of fabric.




And I chose the block for April and made the background!  Choosing the pattern for the month leads to a LOT of dithering around, so getting that settled early in the month can only mean good things to come.


I even got the yellow April double nine patch block finished for the RSC colour this month.  Double whoop whoop!


And after thinking deep and meaningfully about the Bernina Triangle Quilt along since probably Xmas time... I finally pulled out the fabric and made some more blocks!  Two more blocks to do for Instruction sheet 5 and then it will be onto sheet 6.


The clothes sewing force is strong...

I bought this hey June pattern a while ago... I'm a sucker for a raglan sleeve top, and particularly liked that this pattern came with several sleeve options, including banded and with thumb holes, as well as a curved hem or banded hem.


Buying some material that arrived in a lighter weight than anticipated, meant that if you've got t-shirt material... make t-shirts...

It really is just a bit of fun... and I wanted to check the fit.


I could probably grade the waist and hips in a bit, and take the length up a bit, but it is good on the bust and sleeves.


And from the leftover dots a free undie pattern experiment...


(sorry it's sideways)

And from the leftover birdie fabric, an altered Megan Nielsen acacia pattern... also free.  Here I have made the rise a bit higher.


I have actually finished the legs now... but haven't tried them on.  I'm hoping for good things.


If you've been keeping up with Instagram, you'll know that I put together this bundle of fabric based on this amazing feature print by Basic Grey - Biscuits and Gravy.  I seriously love this fabric!


And a quick whizz through the stash found plenty of fabrics that pull out the various colours.  I can envisage a mixed pieced and appliqued quilt - with strong contrast and relatively traditional.  Now I just need to find that perfect pattern.


Of course, I don't need any more projects as I have recently committed to the Homespun magazine 2018 BOM using Tilda fabrics.


So far I've been through and labelled all the fabrics...


And looked at Part 1 but not started anything yet.