Monday, June 24, 2013

Fancy Swooning Along with Us?

Last year, it seemed like everyone in the blogging universe too part in Katy's Swoonalong except me. I just couldn't fit one more thing in when it was all going on. I would see these beautiful Swoon quilts popping up all over blogs and Flickr, and be pea green with envy! Fast forward more than a year, and in a photo challenge I was taking part in over on Instagram, I had to post something I had missed out on - and of course, I posted my regret at missing out on the Swoonalong, and my determination to make it this year. To my surprise, it turned out that I wasn't the only person who missed out, and after a little bit of chat with Rhonda, Cindy, Fiona and Erin, I decided that maybe it would be fun to another Swoonalong. Round 2, so to speak, or Swoon 2013 as I've christened it :-)

This will be a leisurely type of quiltalong. No pressure! As a rough guide I'm thinking pattern purchase and fabric pull this week, then maybe a block a week after that would be do-able for most people. That would bring us up to the start of September and after that its sashing, basting, quilting and binding for which maybe another 2-3 weeks is a good generous estimate. As with any quiltalong however, some people will be ahead of this pace, and some people won't be able to manage a block every week. And, of course, the summer holidays are almost upon us! I'm aiming to have my Swoon finished and on my bed by the end of September at at the latest - sooner if I can manage it (and if the weather smiles on me and allows my kids to play outside during the holidays instead of hanging out of me looking to be entertained!) But really, whatever pace works for you is fine and I hope that the group will remain active for the rest of 2013.

First up - you'll need to buy your pattern. You can buy it from Fat Quarter Shop  here or from Camille Roskelly's own site.

Next you'll need to pull your fabric - you need 18 Fat Quarters and 4.25 yards of background fabric for the quilt top. And those FQs need to be full FQs, as you will be using almost every single bit of them. That's assuming you're making the full quilt - which is a whopping 80" x 80" size. If you're making less, you need 2 FQs per block plus background fabric.

Here's some of my fabric pull:

I'm making Swoon for my own bedroom, and I'm going with an aqua/teal, navy and yellow palette against a white background to tie in with my room decor with is an aqua/duck egg blue and champagne. I've ordered a couple more navy and aqua prints from Cindy and will make my final decision as I go along!

Then all you need to do is to get started on your blocks! These are massive blocks - 24.5" square. I've made my first over the weekend and would say that they are pretty straightforward sewing - half square triangles, and flying geese units, with good pattern instructions. So I think this pattern is very achieveable for less experienced quilters. The biggest challenge is going to be keeping your seams and points precise so everything goes together nicely, and we can share tips and advice over in the Flickr group for this. I used a scant seam and took my time, and mine went together beautifully:

I just LOVE this block. It is labour intensive, lots of cutting, piecing and pressing, but it is so, SO worth it! I can't wait to get started on my next one, I think they might be a little bit addictive. 

So. Have I convinced you? Are you going to join us? You know you want to!! If you have an unfinished Swoon from last year, now is the perfect time to get it out and get it finished. Or you could make a smaller version if you don't fancy the full size.  4 blocks would make a lovely lap size quilt.

If you are, head over to the Flickr group and join. I also have set up a hashtag on Instagram for your pics over there #swoon2013 - if you're not already on Instagram, you should check it out! I love it, so instant and I've met so many new quilters over there.

Even though I had most of the fabric I needed for the quilt, I still needed a few extra FQs to get my palette exactly how I wanted. If, like me, you need to buy fabric for your quilt, my good friend Cindy over at Fluffy Sheep Quilting, is very generously giving a 10% discount to Swoon 2013 participants until 7th July - just enter the coupon code SwoonLove at the checkout, and the 10% will be removed from your order :-) Thank you Cindy!


Cindy has lots of loveliness in stock at the moment (some Happy Go Lucky might just have sneaked into my basket over the weekend!) so be sure to check her out, she also has loads of Kona if you need solids for background.

And, I think that might be it for the moment! Oh - one last thing. A button!  Here it is:

FairyFace Designs

Please please, join in, and spread the word!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bangles Modern Mini Quilt

When Jennifer announced the return of her Modern Mini Challenge, I had exactly the perfect project in mind. And here is my Bangles Mini Quilt.

When I got Sarah Fielke's book Hand Quilted with Love, I immediately fell in love with her Bangles quilt. After the Made to Measure medallion quilt on the cover, it's probably my favourite quilt in there. You know the way a quilt you love just kind of pulls you in and hooks you and you keep having to look at it?


But it wasn't a project I saw myself making, for a number of reasons. It is pretty complex in its construction. Firstly, its all cut with templates and that's not my favourite thing to do. Secondly - probably most importantly - it is entirely sewn with inset seams. Just a tad intimidating! And requiring the type of time and patience that I am in short supply of at the moment. And thirdly, it doesn't have a traditional block type construction but is pieced together bit by bit - kind of growing organically. For this, you need to do the entire layout beforehand and you need to be able to leave it laid out and replace pieces as you sew them together in the layout and I just didn't have the space for this - nor would the suggestion of pinning to a sheet and rolling up to store  have worked for little old disorganised me! But despite the complexities I saw with the pattern, I absolutely adored the quilt and returned to look at the pattern over and over, wondering if there was a way I could psyche myself up to try to make it. When I saw the Modern Mini challenge, I knew immediately it was a perfect opportunity to try it on a small scale.

Actually, it was surprisingly achieveable to make and that's because the pattern and instructions are so well written. I used freezer paper to cut the template pieces, not being in possessions of the special rulers, or template plastic. I decided to go for my favourite scrappy type look, and its made almost entirely from my scrap basket. Then I laid it out on my tiny design board and started to sew. I haven't done a whole pile of inset seams - maybe a handful since I started sewing. I can do them, but before, they've generally been a single inset seam among lots of normal seams, rather than a whole quilt of them, with lots of potential for  mistakes. I have to admit I found them quite tricky at times. Some of them went great - and I really got the hang of the technique by the end, but when it came to piecing multiple points meeting - e.g. inserting the hexagons - I found it very challenging to get all my points right and not squished, or pulled, or in completely the wrong place. A milimetre or two out in one place had a knock on impact throughout the line if I wasn't super careful. Honestly, it's by no means perfect, and I think the seams on the back in some places might make the quilt police cry just a little, but I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt. I don't doubt, after sewing the mini, that I could make this at the size in the book - but I would need to be prepared to commit a lot of time to it, and to really really concentrate on my precision. If you are the sort of sewist who likes intricate projects and has the time, I would definitely recommend this pattern, as it is just such a gorgeous quilt with lots of impact, and well worth the effort.

By the time I trimmed down the quilt top, I realised that I lost some of my colours and others featured more prominently that I intended. But overall I love the scrappy bright quality to this quilt, and I really like how it features some small scraps of my favourite fabrics - some of them from a few years back. (Does anyone else find that reaching the bottom of their scrap basket is a bit like a trip in a time machine?) I quilted it in straight(ish) lines, half an inch apart on the diagonal using (as always) Aurifil 50wt thread (in white this time), and bound it in a dotty black Poplin.The finished quilt measures 18.5" x 16".

In the end, I am really happy with my little mini. One of my aims for this year is to challenge myself and tackle more complex projects because I stuck to such straightforward projects last year with all the pregnancy problems I was having, which became just a bit boring from a sewing persepective. This really fit the bill and made me feel like I expanded my skills a bit. It's also reminded me I don't need to be "afraid" of  complex patterns. But most importantly, I just love the end result and now its hanging with the other minis over my sewing desk to inspire me to keep pushing myself.

I'm linking up with the Modern Mini Challenge over at Jennifer's - hope to see you there :-)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WIP Wednesday

Its been a productive week here at FairyFace HQ, I think maybe the sunshine is making things flow easier and faster! In any case, I have a lot of projects that I've managed to finish/make significant progress on.

In addition to some very satisfying finishes, I have been making progress on my Made to Measure quilt (from the Handquilted with Love book).


This is the first medallion quilt I've made and I'm really enjoying the process.  After making the centre and the first border, I decided to add a teal/aqua border with orange and purple pops as I didn't want to get stuck in a pink and orange colour scheme. I doubted this choice a bit, and I really wasn't sure about the purple border 3 when I was making it. But now that I've put on the grey Loulouthi last border (I have been hoarding that print for just the "right" project for a long time!) I am delighted with how its looking, I love the jewel tones. The next border is going to return to pinks and oranges again - the brighter the better! But all those HSTs, especially the teeny tiny ones for the star cornerstones, make for a lot of work so I might take a break for a few days.

I've also been basting hexies in the evenings when I'm sitting down in front of the tv. I cut these from fabrics in my scrap bin one weekend using my Go! Baby when I was trying to make some room in it - I have over 400 of them! I gave some to a friend, and started basting the rest. Not sure what I'm going to make with them yet, but I need a new cushion cover for my sewing chair, and I'm thinking I may use them for that - particularly as there are so many favourite scraps from lovely projects in there. They're small - the sides are only 1" long, but because they are that size, they were perfect for some of the teeny tiny scraps I had.

I'll keep adding to them until I decide! I have a lot more than I need though so I'm running a little giveaway for 100 of them over on Instagram where I am @sewfairyface - head over there and check out my photo for details of how to enter.

This week's finishes include my Kona tumbler quilt:

And my triangular Echo placemats:

I also tackled one of Ayumi's lovely projects in her book Patchwork Please! - the Prettified Pincushion. I found this a little bit tricky to make - mainly because of the tiny little blocks, and working with the Essex linen was a bit different to cotton. (I also think baby brain had a significant contribution to my messing up the blocks more than once). But in the end I rescued it, and it turned out very pretty and is sitting proudly on my sewing table.

So that's my very productive week. Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced! 
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, June 3, 2013

Triangular Echo Quilted Placemats

So, about 9 months after starting to make some placemats as a gift, they are finally done! But I think they were worth the wait, don't you?

I originally started these placemats with a completely different pattern and fabrics, but made a complete mess of the quilting - absolutely unrescueable. And I didn't have the energy to start again. But back in March, I was inspired by Leanne's triangles miniquilt, and came up with an idea for triangular shaped placemats. I had a lovely bundle of grey and mustard prints from Lotta Jansdotter's Echo line, to which I added a FMF print that fit right in, and a pale grey Aneela Hoey print.

I made 4 placemats. A part of me really wanted to make 6 - not least for the great hexagon shape they would make when put together - but these are for my brother and his girlfriend and I don't think their table is big enough for 6.

Each of the placemats are different with randomly placed triangles.

They are quilted with white Aurifil 50wt thread on the front, and my favourite silvery-grey on the back. I quilted them in ever expanding triangles, working out from the centre in straight(ish) lines.

I'm really pleased with the textured effect the quilting gives. The lines are very close together - only 1/4" apart, so it's very dense.

For backing I used some Hope Valley on two of them, and the medium grey Riley Blake chevron print on the other two.

These measure approx 16" on each side and are big enough to take my humoungous white dinner plates, so they will work great for a more average sized plate.

I was going for a very modern, minimalist, non-quilty/crafty look as my brother would not be into that sort of thing. I think with the unique shape and the Scandavian type prints, and the cool palette, I achieved that.

They are bound using a dark grey dotty cotton poplin. I was going to use white, but my hubby insisted (when I asked his opinion on them) that they grey would be a better choice and looking at them now, I think he was right (though it pains me deeply to type that!!) I thought I was going to have issues binding those angles and couldnt find any tutes online but it was surprisingly straightforward in the end.

They're all ready to go in the post tomorrow. Another finish, so satisfying. I'm linking this up to the Finishalong too :-) I'm on a bit of a roll with finishes at the moment, more tomorrow!!

she can quilt

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kona Tumbler baby quilt finish

Some time ago the lovely Cindy asked me to make a baby quilt for her shop and promised me the opportunity to pick some lovely fabric to work with. Of course I jumped at it and here it is :-)

This is a very simple quilt made with a couple of charm packs of Kona brights, and 1 fat quarter of the Sweetest Thing. I used this tutorial from Moda Bake Shop.

 It's backed with some lovely bright Kona Peacock.

And I used an orange binding to really make it pop:

 I stippled it using a 50wt Aurifil thread, colour 2600 which is a light silvery grey. I love this thread, it is brilliant for using on quilts with multiple colours as it works with them all and the quilt design sinks in nicely from it once its washed and dried. I also changed up the quilting from my normal by adding in very frequent loops, and I really love them - I'll be doing more loopy quilting in the future.

The front and the back work really nicely together. I have to say that I really love the simplicity of the quilt design with the tumblers and the solids, and I think the pops of the print work well. At 30" x 43" its a lovely baby size too.  I'll feel a little pang posting this one off on Tuesday morning to Cindy as I really fell in love with it while making it. But hopefully someone will fall in love with it as much as I did!

I hope that your weekends are going well. We have a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland and are enjoying some good weather - probably our 1 week of summer before the rain sets in!!

This is one of my finishes for Q2 of Leanne's Finish-a-Long - so good to tick another one off my list.

she can quilt