Putting quilt making lessons into practise

I am half way through making quilt number 2, and as I haven’t written a blog post in ages, it seems like a good time to reflect on what I wrote before.

Planning

I have done a bit more planning this time round. I had seen all these lovely triangle quilts on Instagram and Pinterest and wanted one for myself. But even when narrowed down to triangle themed, there are so many ways of doing it! I love a flying geese one, but I figures half squares would be the quickest route this time.

I think I’ve ended up with a combination of these two ideas:

Fun multicoloured

Minimalist three coloured

I also knew it was going to be for my bedroom but I didn’t want it to be too matchy, so I’ve gone for blues, greys, whites and blacks (the bedroom is blue and white).

I can’t remember buying the fabric, but I must have got a few bits out of my (small) stash, and a bit of online shopping for a nice Christmas present for myself.

Although I didn’t quite manage to buy enough in total, in contrast to last time, I actually cut all the triangles out before I started sewing this time as they’re all the same!

Measure

Ummmm….I’m still into ‘getting on with it’ instead of carefully measuring  to start, I have to admit! I started cutting out in December using a triangle template made of an old cereral box. So there was an element of keeping everything the same size. But I don’t think I used a ruler, most likely because that involved walking upstairs and I’d already lad out my fabrics in the living room. Lazy.

As I hadn’t measured the triangles initially, when I was ready to get sewing I set about squaring them up and  measuring them so that the final triangles would be 9.5inches square. Unfortunately, I always forget that I need a bit of extra seam allowance for triangles, so they are a bit tight in places, but now that I’ve written down this lesson I will remember this for next time.

Buy enough fabric to start with

Almost, but didn’t quite achieve this.

I cut out as much fabric as I thought I had and thought it was right. But this time, instead of just going ahead an sewing, I actually laid it out on the bed to check if it would cover it. Lo and behold, it did not!

So I bought a few more items of fabric (giving me the chance to explore a new fabric shop in Canterbury) I cut out some more triangles and tested it out again:

triangle quilt top bed

Deciding on the final placement of the triangles was even less glamorous: my lovely fabric got was arranged all over the living room floor. The cat was most confused.

I get very excited by the prospect of making exciting new things, so I go straight for buying exciting fat quarters of anything that looks pretty and might work for the quilt I’m planning. It seems that I don’t quite manage to plan for backing or binding, as they require some actual thought, which seems too much to ask at the beginning!

I’m not at binding stages just yet, but I will need to buy this soon so that I don’t get to the binding point and realise I don’t have anything to bind with. I have at least decided on what colours I will bind with. I guess sometimes you can’t know what to choose until you see the almost finished quilt top.

While I’m at it, I’ll buy some backing fabric in either light blue or grey.

And then to decide on the actual quilting. But that’s something for another day.

 

 

Things I’ve learned about quilt making

 

I have finished my first quilt and am feeling julibant. I am also feeling the need to jot down the things I’ve learned so that next time I make a quilt, I can avoid making the same mistakes again, and potentially move a little faster with the making process. One can dream…

  1. Planning

I have these ideas and I just want to get cracking. I then love the idea and just want to get it done. In between ‘idea’ and ‘cracking’ I need to properly plan. I think if I had a pattern or any real meaurements to start with, I might have ended up with a quilt that was created in less than 2 years and also some squares which were of the same size. However, I love the finished quilt and quite like the jauntiness of it. But, if everything had been planned from the start, I would have spent less time avoiding the making side of things and umming and aaahhhing. But I knew I would be like this. I did technically have a pattern to start with (Gran’s quillow) but I spent ages changing my mind about certain blocks. Again, advance planning.

2. Measure

Very much linked to the above. Had I had a real plan to start with, I would have measured the size of each potential block and then cut out the pieces for each block accordingly.

This would also help to avoid the additional hand sewing I had to do as the seams on some patches were quite small and needed reinforcing to stop them becoming gaping hles. Had I measured in the first place, it wouldn’t be an issue.

3. Buy enough fabric to start with

Again, if I had planned and measured, I would have plenty of fabric. As it stands, I need to get a smidgeon more navy blue fabric for the binding of the quilt. I would have been finished last week had I been clever from the start!

So all in all I have learned the value of planning.

I have really enjoyed making this quilt and feel quite smug snuggling up under it on the sofa. I am also now planning (see, I’m learning!) my next quilt(s).

Quilt final details.

Size: 58″ X 58″

Materials used

All in all I used:

x2 fabric packs of Carolyn Gavin Petite Fleur Poppies in Navy Carolyn Gavin Petite Fleur Poppies in Navy organic Windham fabric from Eclectic Maker.

About 4 metres of moda bella solids in navy.

Medium weight wadding from fabric land.

A fair new spools of navy blue thread.

Date started: April 2015?

Date finished: August 2016

 

Christmas in August?

August is here, the sun is shining, and the craft room is getting full.

The quillow is steadily being hand basted (people keep telling me that I could have it sent away to be quilted, but what would the point in that be?! Maybe in the future when I have some spare pennies, and don’t fancy hours and hours of hand stitching. It is a challenge.)

The cardigan is still making me scared, which is very silly.

I have multiple items in the craft room to complete. Story of my life.

What I did make recently was some festive bunting, because who doesn’t love a it of Christmas in summer right? I went along to Tea & Tents, a Women’s Institute festival near Nottingham recently. There was a competition to decorate your campsite, so we went with Christmas. Yeay! There were gaudy decorations, a santa outfit and even Secret Santa. I made some little Santa bunting, because I had no clue what to purchase for the Secret Santa.

So here he is enjoying my fireplace and log basket:

santa on fire

and the back

candy canes

See that bronze horse? We found him down the back of the chimney when we were giving the fireplace a clean. That was a pleasant surprise during a very dirty job!

Ramona

I can’t say the name of this cardigan pattern without thinking of ‘Cold Feet‘. Annoying!

Aside from the name of the pattern,  I like it. Having knitted one sleeve, am somewhat avoiding starting the next one as as some point while transporting the knitting about I managed to drop the stitches. Am keeping my fingers crossed that I managed to pick them all back up and don’t end up having one arm thinner and holier than the other. Anyhoo, here I am so far…

Not sure if the sleeve is a little short. Doesn’t look too bad in the pictures, but maybe because the boy is very tall so it could be the angle. Will knit the next sleeve and see how we go.

Quilting progress

So the quilt top got stitched together to make an (almost) square, and I squeezed another (almost) square out of the remaining navy and red cotton I had…

And I basted it together and started to stitch, starting in the middle:

Quillow central block

Which is all very nice, but my goodness, hand stitching is hard work. Especially as I recently shortened some curtains, again by hand. Yawn. And in the summer weather, sitting with a big quilt on me is hot work! So Ms Quillow has been enjoying laying on the blanket box, which almost hides how ugly it is:

blanket box quilt cover

The only issue with this is that  every now and then a pin falls out or the cat decides to jump on it and gets a nasty surprise. You’d think he would learn.

And on the left hand side is my one armed cardigan. Progress!

Purple cardigan

The purple cable knit jumper was too much for me. I got up to the armpit and realised I’d cast on the wrong number of stitches so unravelled, again. Heartbreaking. It was definitely time to give that pattern a rest.

So I gave up on knitting for a while. Then I discovered ‘Craftsy’ and this really easy knitted cardigan pattern appeared. It’s called’ ‘Ramona‘ by The Brown Stitch. I have been working on this for a month or so, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s coming along so far.

purpel cardi measuring band

 

Here’s the cardi today, being measured for length next to another purple cardigan. Can you guess my favourite colour?

I think I can get cracking on the ribbing and then get started on the arms. They’re knitted in the round, so hopefully I can master this technique and have a new cardigan by September. Hurray!

 

Quiltspiration

I stayed at my friends this weekend and she has just finished the most amazing hexagon quilt. It’s all bright colours with velvet and wool patches in some places. It has given me the much needed boost to get mine finished. Yesterday, I put on the borders to my squares to make them a bit more uniform, and this evening I stitched the rows together. And watch the Sewing bee. Best evening ever!!!

I’ve been making this quilt for about a hundred years, but I still absolutely love my squares. (Even if I still can’t take a good picture – my camera broke and took any chance of getting a good pic any time in the near future…) I think that’s a very good sign for the future of this quilt!

stars

Every night IS craft night…

Now that I have a dedicated craft room!

OK, it’s a spare bedroom, but it has ample space for my sewing machine to live and all of my sewing and knitting books to be arranged on the shelves. Hurray! There are some perks to becoming a home owner. The perks don’t cancel out the fear of the house falling down, but it makes it all worth while. And I have a view of horses in the field from my sewing room window. Lovely.

Tonight I have just finished making a toile of V8766 and learning about fit with Lynda Maynard’s ‘Sew the perfect fit’ on Craftsy. Lynda makes everything feel quite straight forward and do-able. I think I’ve even identified the first set of issues with my toile and am not afraid to put them right.

v8766  back view

You can’t see from the pic, but the sleeves are too wide at the shoulder and need bringing in, and there is a bit of drag on my ass, so more fabric is required there. The bust points are a tad high, so I will be taking them down a smidgeon. I can’t tell if it’s bad pinning (my assistant is not an enthusiastic assistant) or if there is way too much fabric on the side seams. I will take the dress home to mother and see if she can assist.

So there we have it, new home, new dress attempt. Once I’ve figured out my fit issues, I will return to the beloved Emery and make the dress of my dreams. Oh yes I will!

Emery dress

Here we are, the pattern I have been reading about for so long, and finally got round to ordering.

It’s so exciting! And yet potentially frustrating, but I’m working on channelling that into ‘joy of learning’. I went to the shop last weekend and bought myself some tracing paper and a tracing wheel, so that I could make myself a nice copy of the pattern and make many, as it seems to be a pattern which I could make loads of, once I’ve figured out the fit.

I traced and cut out my pattern pieces on Saturday, whizzed them together yesterday, and have been ‘fitting’ today. I say ‘fitting’, but it’s quite hard to fit with the only person available to pin me into the dress is my dearly beloved. Hater of pins, hater of potentially pinning my skin! Still, he made a good start at learning to pin me in, and only made the back of the dress look partially like a crumpled piece of paper:

 

Emery back 1

It’s very tight at the waist, which I suppose is making the rest of the back scrunch up: I should have graded the waist out to fit the larger size of the bottom half. Hopefully if that’s sorted it will be less bunched up. And also that my lessons in pinning with be remembered tomorrow…

Here it is from the front:

 

OK, well the fit isn’t a million miles off. The bust darts are too long by an inch, so I have now taken them out and re drawn them ready for testing tomorrow.

There is a large seam allowance, so I’m wondering if I could take that out and see if that makes a difference to the waist and back sagging? Who knows, let’s find out.

I will add in a sleeve tomorrow too. This will be my first sleeve insertion, so that should be fun!

Zipperdy da ba dy do!

I have conquered my fear of zips, and (almost) successfully inserted a zip. I consulted the little guide on my sewing machine, I changed to the correct foot, and away I sewed!

zippy 1

I have looked upon many zip-insertion tutorials, but in the end I used this one from craftsy, as it was the first to appear on google this arvo:

http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/02/how-to-sew-an-invisible-zipper/

And it worked just fine, for a test run skirt.

Yes, the zip doesn’t do up that smoothly,  because I skipped over the ironing of the zippy teeth, but when I actually intend to make a wearable skirt then I will follow that step.

Here’s the skirt (unhemmed):

skirt 2

Come summer I could quite happily wear it on a sun-shiney day, once re-zipped and shortened. Not sure how short I’ll take it, probably just above the knee. But for today, I am happy to have learned to insert a zip, gathered a waist, and stitched in the ditch. Hurray!