Monday, 21 July 2014

Start choosing - Fat Quarter Shop GIVEAWAY!


I am nearing the end of English Paper Piecing my Rose Star quilt and that means it's time to start a new hand sewing project. I have been stashing away fabric for a special project for some time and will be using it to make Jen Kingwell's Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern. 


It began with some vintage prints my cousin (love you Jackie!) gave me and then I discovered 1930's reproduction prints, which I adore. I picked up some modern prints that I think work with that style and create more interest. I ended up with a rainbow of colours.


Once I knew I would be making that pattern I got some blender / neutral fabrics too.


The colours and styles feel very 'me', eclectic and happy. There's definitely other themes here too; florals, spots, checks, geometric shapes and a lot of small prints.

I'm making a start, I've chosen my fabrics and am ready to sew. 

The Fat Quarter Shop are kindly offering a $50 gift certificate for me to give away so you can choose some fabric of your own!


You have three chances to win, please leave a separate comment for each entry:

1.   What themes are you attracted to when you are choosing fabric? Let me know if you search for specific themes when fabric shopping or what themes you are excited about.

2.   For an extra chance follow my blog and let me know how you follow (GFC, Feedly, Bloglovin, email etc.) optional entry

3.   Spread the word! Share this giveaway on social media and leave another comment telling me how you shared. optional entry


~ I will be checking #2+3 if you win! ;)
~ No reply bloggers can not win because I can't contact you. Please leave your email address in the comment.

The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here on 28th July.

Good Luck!





Friday, 18 July 2014

rocket age buggy liner


My friend asked me if I could make her a buggy liner. I'd actually never heard of them, I've used the winter ones with the foot muff to keep them warm but it never occurred to me that a cotton liner would be comfy and practical for the summer. I was a little nervous because I've never done button holes and my machine doesn't even have the function for such fancy things but I just went for it with a zealous zig zag. 


I used half a yard of two prints from the fabulous Rocket Age by October Afternoon I bought from Fluffy Sheep Quilting. So it's reversible but that vintage comic style main print is just gorgeous and happily she sent me a picture of it on the buggy:


The red binding is bias binding from Frumble - I love buying bias binding because I hate making it! I machined it on, which I hate doing on quilts but maybe because this is bias binding it worked really well and I am so pleased with the finish.

This is the second finish from my FAL list and I'm trying to stay focused and get things done, I'm going to have a busy weekend because I'm hoping to get at least two more projects finished for next week. Have a good one and check back on Monday because I will be having a giveaway!


Linking up to:
at Dizzy Quilts this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

big stitch hand quilting tips


I love hand quilting. I do it on quilts I love and some smaller makes just because. It looks so good, it doesn't take as long as you might think and it's so enjoyable.


This is not a step by step tutorial, you can find great tutorials easily. I recommend Susan's tutorial for quilting with perle thread and Mary's pick stitching tutorial. You'll find lots of inspiration from them too and for more gorgeous hand quilting visit Clare's blog Selfsewn and Susan at Patchwork and Play.


I'm going to give you some advice, some cheats and some encouragement!

1 - Just do it. Really, go for it. Grab a basted quilt and stick a threaded needle in it. You won't know if you can do it until you do. If you're really scared make up a small quilt sandwich and have a practice on some fugly fabric.

2 - Use perle thread (I generally use #8), a thicker cotton (I like Aurifil 12wt and 28wt) or embroidery floss (separate 3 strands - not suitable for quilts that will be used, see comments below!).

3 - Don't cut a long length of thread. It's tempting because you think it'll last longer but actually you just end up with a tangled mess. I generally hold the end of the thread in one hand and use the other to pull the thread the length of my outstretched arm and cut it at my shoulder. If you have extraordinarily long arms you could cut it at your bicep. 

4 - Use a needle with a big enough hole for the thread. Don't waste your time trying to get thicker thread through a tiny needle hole. Experiment with different needles to see what works for you. I'm sure most of the time I'm quilting with an embroidery needle because that's what I have a lot of, just make sure they're sharp (as in pointy)! I like to use a longer needle too because that's what I feel comfortable with. I have some sharps (the name of the needles), betweens and some milliners (all various brands) and I like them all depending on the thread. I've come to realise that needles are like pens - they all work and do the same job but some just feel more comfortable to work with.

5 - You might want to use a thimble or you might not. You could use a quilting hoop or frame or not.  It is up to you, try it out and see what you prefer. There's no right or wrong. Sometimes I use a thimble when I can find it or put it on when I realise my fingers hurt. I don't tend to use a hoop.


6 - Fake it until you make it. You can draw lines on your quilt with chalk or washable ink pens or pencils, you can mark them with a hera marker and you can even... mark the stitches on your quilt! When I'm tracing an embroidery pattern I use dots - so I end up with what looks like a dot-to-dot picture rather than trace every line exactly. Sometimes my stitches end up the same length as the space between the dots. So why not literally mark out your quilting stitches and quilt over them? I'm not suggesting you do this for a whole quilt unless you want to but you could try it until you get used to the stitches:

 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

No one will be able to tell you've marked the quilt once you've washed the marks away!

7 - You set the stitch length. Sometimes I try to picture a grain of rice and go for that length. Anything around 1/8th - 1/4" looks good. What matters is to get them the same length with the same distance between stitches. Just try to be consistent. I don't aim for perfection. As long as they look roughly the same I'm happy with that.

8 - Seams are a helper. It's really easy to quilt in a straight line, even without the 'cheats' in #6! In my latest hand quilting project I made a buggy bag and when I was quilting the panels I followed the seam allowance. I use the seam as a guide and while I'm quilting I can usually see or feel the fabric seam allowance that has been pressed open underneath (important to consider when you're making your patchwork, if you want to use this 'cheat' then you'll need to press all your seams open). I realise you've got wadding and backing too but trust me you can still feel that seam allowance on the top of your quilt. So I'm quilting and following the seam allowance as I go. I quilted both sides of the seam this way.


9 - Unpick it if you don't like it. I tend to stop every so often and check I'm quilting in a straight line, if there's a couple of wonky stitches it's no big deal but if I stand back a bit and it still bothers me I will undo my quilting. I keep checking so I only have to undo a couple of stitches. You'll need to do this less as you get used to it but if you're just starting don't be afraid to pull out stitches you don't like. Better to be happy with the end result!

10 - Use your needle as a guide if you chose to use a longer needle. When I'm sewing along a seam I can use my needle to help keep a straight line, just laying the needle on the fabric:


If it's not straight you can pull the needle back before you've even made the stitches.

11 - You don't have to load your needle with stitches, if you want to just stab stitch you can (going front to back one stitch at a time). As soon as I tried loading more stitches though it was surprisingly easy and it really does make quilting faster. 

12 - Don't worry about the back of the quilt, concentrate on the front. As your stitches get neater and more uniform the back will too. You can try making sure your needle is at a 90 ° angle perpendicular to the quilt top / bottom to make the stitches the same length but honestly no one is going to expect the back to be perfect.

13 - If someone looks at your finished quilt and points out that there's a couple of wonky stitches or the stitches on the back are shorter than the ones on the front then you should... wait that's so unlikely... way more likely that they'll look at it and say 'what a beautiful quilt!'. Don't stress. It's probably only you that will look at it critically so stop it, step back and take a look - I bet it'll look great!



14 - Do it. Yes that's the same as #1 but really now what are you waiting for? See that first picture on this post? That was my first hand quilted quilt.

Let me know if this helps and feel free to add any more tips in the comments below!


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Pink Castle Fabrics


I like having variety in my stash, I love colour and I'm generally drawn to bright and bold prints. I adore Japanese fabrics, modern geometric prints and a good mix of low volume. Happily you can find all of these at Pink Castle Fabrics. I have built up a nice stash, in large part due to being in the Stash Stack Club for a year. I am thrilled to welcome Pink Castle Fabrics as a sponsor of Charm About You.

I have always received wonderful service and fast shipping from Pink Castle Fabrics and fabric I've purchased from them has made its way into many of my projects.

Like this happy bag I made in 2012 using a gorgeous metallic Kokka print for the sewing machine:


More recently I made my favourite oven gloves with a fun kawaii print, dots and checks:


And I used some of my Stash Stack Club fat quarters for my Tiny Dancer quilt:


Pink Castle Fabrics now has a few monthly clubs, you can see them all here. It's a great way to get some variety, whether you're looking for prints or solids and it's fun seeing what great bundles they've curated each month. I am especially excited by the Cotton + Steel Club!


You can also get Quilt Now magazine, I've already got the first issue and it's fabulous. You will want to make so many projects after reading it! They ship worldwide but I definitely recommend those of you in the US and Canada to get a Quilt Now subscription from Pink Castle Fabrics


At Pink Castle Fabrics you can enjoy browsing through gorgeous fabric collections; they have yardage, pre cuts and amazing bundles. They also have a great sale section.


I suggest you have a shopping trip at Pink Castle Fabrics because right now for every $50 you spend you will receive a Golden Ticket, every one is a winner and the Grand Prize is 144 fat quarters! See this post for all the details



Happy shopping!




Monday, 14 July 2014

buggy bag - le challenge


A couple of weeks ago I saw the gorgeous hexy bag Ange made to hang on her pushchair and fill with all the kids necessities. Since hubbie managed to lose our change bag it was the inspiration I needed to make a new one. I originally planned to make something else for the le challenge theme this month but this seemed so much more useful and since it's a fairly small bag and it's being used to hold nappies/supplies for my smallest child it fits the 'small' theme!

I was going to EPP but then realised I quite fancied triangles and they are so quick to machine piece. I started with the Erin McMorris Summersault fabric (the one I used for the strap) and went with the rainy theme, adding umbrellas, greys and a nice pop of orange just because I love it.


Totally copying Ange I put the zip on the side and added more brightness with the hot pink zip. I usually hang things on my buggy brake handle (not supposed to but I've been doing it for 6 years and it still works!!) so I didn't add velcro tabs like she cleverly did, instead I created a lanyard style handle - sewing one end into the seam and a key clip on the other. It neatly clips onto the zip pull:


I couldn't resist hand quilting it. I used three strands of Cosmo embroidery thread #168, a rich navy. I wouldn't usually pick such a dark colour but after seeing Mary's beautiful hand quilting with dark thread I thought I'd give it a go. I love it. I love that it screams out 'hand made'!


Sadly it will probably spend most of it's time hiding under the buggy or in my massive handbag since it does tend to rain a lot here! That's the first check off my FAL list.


I will be sharing my hand quilting tips later in the week.


Now visit le challenge to see the other small makes, Nat has a particularly special one!

If you've made a 'small' project or one that relates to the theme then link up your finished project on the le challenge blog for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop. Anyone can link up with any type of craft project as long as it was made in the past month!

Le Challenge




Friday, 11 July 2014

neighbourly


Recently we had new neighbours move into the house opposite ours. Previously rented by students thankfully it was sold and a lovely couple moved in. They spent some time renovating the house and then had a party! We were kindly invited though I let my husband babysit and I went over for some Pimm's. Obviously I took a gift, a monogrammed tea towel - really everyone should have one - and a little pinchy oven glove (that I must have forgotton to take a picture of). 


'G' enjoys baking so I thought he would appreciate the gifts! Having already been in the house and seen glimpses before the party I knew they have modern, sophisticated taste and I thought cool graphic prints would look good. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and so glad to have such a sweet and fun couple living on my street!



Just to let you know the Fat Quarter Shop currently has a great special offer this week of 25% off all Moda fabrics, make sure you enter the code MODA at checkout.


Have a great weekend!


at Glory Be Quilter this week

and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts