Friday, 22 May 2015

Shirt Love

I have been working on this quilt off and on for several months. In fact the collection of materials took place over several years. I had asked my husband and brother to save their cotton shirts for this project once the collar and cuffs got too scruffy for work wear. The beautiful soft cottons are destined probably for several quilts.

Here's the first which I'm entering in the nick of time for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival. Fading light and uncharged proper cameras make for less than perfect pics for the time being unfortunately. 
Maybe I can update this post with some better ones in a day or two.

I based it roughly on a Kaffe Fassett design which is conveniently constructed in four panels: asymmetrical left and right panels and a top and bottom panel across the width of the quilt.

I constructed the back from a lovely piece of paisley flannel I've had in my stash for a few years. It was made up to size with some favourite old kids' pyjamas and flannel scraps from another quilt.

I considered calling this quilt Working Style since that seems to be the favoured shirt brand! I left several of the labels in place to allude to the former life of these fabrics.

For the binding I ended up deciding to add two strips of the red I used in the back to echo the few reds in the quilt itself and they provide a nice counterpoint to the more sober Architextures crosshatch which provides the majority of the binding.

I've quilted it in widely spaced lines along the piecing. I may or may not add some red hand quilting in due course?!

 For time saving, although I generally enjoy the hand sewing process to finish, I elected to machine this one in the ditch on the front to catch in the edge of the double fold.

 I can see this one getting lots of use in the cooler months for sitting reading or watching. It's the prototype for a few more quilts using these fabrics and more which keep coming my way :-)

Quilt Stats:
Size 70x75" Total 290"
Cotton Shirts with cotton flannel backing
Bamboo cotton batting
Machine bound and quilted

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Auditioning Bindings

The blue crosshatch is nice against the back but quite subtle on the front. 

I like the red but don't have enough for for all the way round and not sure if I want scrappy (perhaps with the navy stripes).

Should I go & hunt for a suitable red or make do?

Ahhh Dilemmas!!?

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Work in Progress

Have been slowly making blocks for my jeans quilt

It's fun to see the pattern emerging. Not sure how big it will be in the end? These are all old jeans we have loved, except the pale teal and striped denim. The teal is from yardage, but the stripes have  been used as a shift dress for my daughter years ago.

I spotted this block while staring at the ceiling in a local concert hall and drew it in my journal when I got home, thinking it might come in handy sometime. Does it have an official name does anyone know?

Found this image here

I made a silly mistake when working out and cutting the size of the pieces, forgetting that I'd need to adjust the length of the longer pieces because there's only one seam in one direction and four in the other, so on my first attempt I didn't end up with a square block. Duh! But was easily solved by taking apart the centre seam and cutting 1" off all four of the longer pieces. It took far longer than it should have for me to work out exactly how much I should cut off, but was quicker once I stopped saying to myself "come on you should be able to do this much more easily"!!

These are the two blocks I've done so far, all present and correct.

Might mean a bit of quilt wrangling but I'm already thinking of quilting this with yellow jeans topstitching thread to highlight the darkest and lightest four panel star/cross shapes.

Meanwhile no progress on quilting the shirt quilt. I have an extra machine now thanks to my mother in law so in theory I can line them up and have two different projects going at once-so to speak, might need to grow extra arms/brain.

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 24 April 2015

Works in Progress

Aiming for a bit of a quick progress report here:
Put together a quilt back for the shirt quilt, really nice cozy flannels, the blue stripe is from some much loved old kids' pajamas.

Pepi is getting the idea that walking/lying on the quilt when I'm taking photos/basting is not always appreciated. What a good dog!

Hoping I won't regret cobbling together some batting. I had some big offcuts of batting left but not a single piece quite large enough for this fairly large quilt so I butted them together and zigzagged. It looks as good as new... Does anyone have any experience of joining batting? Please tell me... how is it holding up..?

Anyway I basted it using my favourite pin method.

My Oakshott order for a few more blues came incredibly quickly halfway round the world.

Yummy yummy!

So now adding to these and trying for some colour decisions.

At this stage the ones on the top are possibly not going to be included, although I'm dithering about that decision (no surprises there!)

(which reminds me have you seen this? Maybe a bit of background re the love hate Kiwi Aussie relationship is necessary?)

maybe some yellow and green would be good (nod to the dear friends across the Tasman), but I don't want it to be too rainbow...

or to cut up too many samples trying to work it out...? Give me your 2c worth.
don't like this yet

Finally I've started cutting up old jeans

beginning with the lighter colours

My problem here is I'm set on largish HSTs with some corner sections like this or this but the leg width of the jeans defines my squares as a bit smaller than I'd ideally like and I'm worried about too many thick and bias seams. I do have some denim yardage and old skirts I'm using to supplement, which could yield wider bits, so the narrower jeans could all become smaller corners, but I think that might get fiddly... I'd rather make HSTs by the two squares method. then improvise colour placement on the design wall. More dithering...Could be overthinking this...?

Celebrating ANZAC long weekend here (TransTasman mateship in the trenches in Gallipoli 100 years ago) there won't be any sewing progress as we're looking forward to having some friends visit, though this lot are fellow kiwis this time round.

What have you got planned?

Monday, 13 April 2015

Q2 Goals

Well it's time to put forward our goals for the second quarter in the Finish Along And I've decided to put down anything I have even a chance of completing, though I'm not promising I don't start new things not listed here...!

1. Shirt quilt  

Left over from last time -this should be achievable and it'd be lovely to have this before winter really sets in -she says as she watches snow fall up on the hill!

2. Our Son's 21st Quilt

He's still 21 but would be nice to do while he is...technically this means it can roll over into Q3- but let's not anticipate that! You can see this has been kicking around too long already. Don't like this colour arrangement or balance and hence this has been in my too hard basket for awhile.

But who couldn't be inspired by this lovely pile. He'd like a bit more blue so will invest in a few more shades and variations and dig in.

I managed a couple of smaller projects last quarter which I hadn't listed so this time I plan to list some...

3. A Knitting Bag for my Mum

When I was up visiting my parents recently Mum passed on this old favourite duvet cover of theirs, which has a few rips, but is largely sound. So I plan to use it for a bag in the same pattern as this one I made for a friend.

Mum suggested also from the same fabric

4. A Music Case for my Dad 

who is having lessons to improve his keyboard playing so he can better enjoy the clavichords he built.  and I thought perhaps this might lend itself to a bit of appropriate fussy cutting. I'm thinking of one of those cases with one handle and a bar that folds across the handle  to close the case if I can figure it out? Anyone seen a pattern for anything like that?

5. Oven gloves or Pot holders 

from this improv fiddle I did ages ago

6. Jeans quilt

 I know it's not a small project... but for a while I have been collecting a pile of jeans with overly ripped knees, or outgrown by the kids, or now unfashionable shapes and am thinking a string quilt with large blocks maybe like this or an improv approach something like  this would be a good use for them.

Well there's nothing like itemising things! Roll on Q2 is all I can say!

Friday, 3 April 2015

On Reflection

The moral of the story is that it's good to think up all the things you think you'll have even a chance of making at the beginning of the quarter, because I have actually made a couple of other things which I didn't list. So actually I haven't been quite as unproductive as I thought. But overall it's a great thing for me to have a deadline!
This is my second finish for this quarter's Finish Along.

This quilt is my last and most recent finish for DoGood Stitches Cherish Bee.  (I blogged about the first one here) I based my request for blocks on Leanne's lovely quilt Reflections. It's always interesting to analyse what makes a successful quilt, or at least one that I particularly like and I don't think I managed to give instructions to end up with the effect that I love in Leanne's. While ours is bold and effective in its way, it doesn't have the subtlety of Leanne's. I think Leanne's quilt is particularly effective because of the variation in value she has used. I asked for red and blue tones and these perhaps weren't quite as varied in value as I'd anticipated. It was a good block for  bee members to use scraps and I suggested people could vary the width of their strips to suit what they had, so it's a bit more random.

I'd like to have another go at something like this to see if I can get closer to the original Reflections quilt on my own.

For the back I used a piece of blue Kona (Copen I think) I had in my stash and made up the width of this square quilt with the red check and an extra block.

This time I used the Nummer print for the binding.

I quilted the diagonal lines to form diamonds first, with the walking foot then in lines, (free motion and a bit wobbly if we're honest!) horizontally in line with the piecing across each diamond and really I should have done it more densely, but I admit to being in a rush before the finish deadline. Anyway I hope it'll add a bit of cheer to the recipient who will be at the Hospice or Women's Refuge or Night Shelter. I have one quilt to donate to each organisation from our bee.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Right down to wire of the Finish Along deadline, I've finished this quilt for our Cherish Circle of Do. Good Stitches

and as we speak I'm stitching the binding on another.

We have had a bit going on personally lately in the old circle of life with a Golden Wedding, 21st Birthday and a funeral in our close family so I haven't got much done, which I kind of anticipated here, but these quilts have been hanging over me a bit, so it's been really good to have the deadline of the Finish Along

This one was made with Ashley's (from Film in the Fridge) String quilt instructions and was always going to be wild with a free for all amongst the bee members, in terms of colour, with the only proviso being to use white or low volume centre string.

I made a backing using two extra blocks and good old Ikea Nummer print

I was pleased with the binding which is a Carolyn Friedlander Architextures crosshatch.

I quilted a grid along the low volume crosses then a simple free motion square spiral for two rounds of each coloured square.  Once I wash a dry this it should be a bit more textural.

I have three quilts to gift from my months as part of Cherish Circle and I think one will be going to the Women's Refuge, one to the Hospice and one to the Night Shelter locally, where they should add a bit of cheer.

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