Friday, April 11, 2014

Finishalong Second Quarter

Seeing as I was so successful completing items off my list from the first quarter of the Finish-a-long 2014, I have decided to take part again this quarter. I've got big plans for the next few months, but not all of them can't be shared on here just yet!

My list looks pretty short and achievable. Dare I say that I'm feeling quietly confident that I can make good progress.

Here is my list of things that I'd like to get done:

1. The Bird Quilt.

This is expected back from the quilters any day now, so all I need to do is trim and bind it! I am extremely excited by the sneak peak of the quilting that I have seen so far and I can't wait to see the whole quilt.

2. Butterfly Quilt
If you see the colours of the bundle of amazing Oakshott Cotton that I am working with for this quilt, your first thought might not be butterflies, but I like using fabrics that are not the obvious choice.


I have a plan; I have a timescale; I have started piecing. I just need buckle down and get this quilt sewn.

3. The Secret Squirrel project.
A Sneak Peak!- I'm not showing you any more at the moment!

I have a new pattern designed, I have a pile of potential fabrics to use. I have a deadline... I don't want to reveal too many details at the moment, but what I will tell you is that I am working together with the team from the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and there may or may not be a giveaway involved!


4. The Sampler Quilt

This one's a regular on my finish-a-long list! I really really need to take the sampler quilt out of the WIP basket and give it some loving.

Its pretty close to being finished, I just need to trim the blocks; sew them together; sweet talk Deb into letting me use her long arm machine for the quilting; and then bind it.

I have the batting, I have the backing fabric. I have no excuses (except that lots of the other projects for this quarter have an actual deadline and this is just a project that I'd like to finish...)

So there they are, the four projects that I can share with you at the moment. There are a couple of others, but they are either still too early in the planning phases to include or projects that can't be discussed on here just yet (hee hee!)

I have good hope that I'll manage three out of the four projects and I'd love to think that the fourth will get done too.

Wish me luck!

(Sorry for the lack of decent fabric photos in this post for the new projects but its a horribly grey day today and it's difficult to do justice to the beautiful fabrics.)

I am, of course, linking up with Katy over at the Littlest Thistle

Finish Along 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

VW Combi Van Pattern

I can't remember quite how or when I decided to design a combi van block, all I know is that it was way back in the early days of my designing.
For some reason the software that I used to use to design patterns decided to play nasty with this pattern. I just couldn't get it to work, so I gave up in disgust.
 
A while later, I made a second attempt and yet again my old software gave me problems. The design was finished but I couldn't get it numbered and out of the computer, it was very frustrating!

This flower power version is by Joanne
Once I got a copy of EQ7 (my new pattern designing software), I decided to import the pattern and have another attempt. It wasn't plain sailing and I almost gave up, but I FINALLY managed to get the pattern to work (yay!).

My pattern testers did a great job for me, I have included pictures of their blocks in this post.


This version is by Allison

I must be honest, I have been waiting to hear that people have had problems printing my patterns due to the differences in A4 paper and the standard US paper size. Without knowing the exact printable limits, it was difficult to do anything about the potential problem.

The version of this pattern that I sent to the pattern testers is the first time that I have been aware of printing problems on US paper. I have now rearranged the pattern pieces so it should no longer be a problem.
This version is by Raewyn
The reason that I mention this is that if you are based in the States or Canada and find that pattern pieces of one of my patterns do not join up as they run off the bottom of the page, please let me know and I will do my best to fix the problem.

Hopefully this is something that I can now avoid on future patterns, but I'm pretty sure that some of my existing patterns will exhibit this problem.

I have a long list of jobs that I want to get done when I stop working at the shop and one of them is to go back over my old patterns and clean them up. It will be a long job and I'm probably kidding myself that it will ever get done, but any patterns with printing issues will definitely go to the top of the pile!

The VW Combi Van Pattern is available from my Craftsy Store.


**This post contains affiliate links**

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Panda for Annie-Rose

You could say that its a bit of a risk to give a quilted cushion cover as a birthday present to the 5 year old daughter of a very talented and prolific quilter. A little girl who knows about quilts and fabric and rich colours. 

But I knew that I could make something that her Mum (Deb) could not. You see, paper piecing is not Deb's thing and I was confident that I could design and make something that Annie-Rose would really love.

Annie-Rose has been a panda lover from an early age. Those of you who follow Deb's blog or her instagram feed will have seen many a picture of Annie-Rose with her beloved Beckett the Panda.

I struggled to design the pattern at first, but then I decided to stick to the face and it was plain sailing. I knew straight away that I wanted to use a couple of different text prints to make it up and in the end I used a mixture of text and music. 
I love it! 
It gives such texture and character to the face.

The perfection was completed when I looked in my stash and discovered a grey fabric with tiny polar bears for the borders and black and white chevron minky for the back.

Did I want to keep this cushion?- Absolutely!!!
Did we hand it over?- Of course we did. 
Did it go down well?- Annie Rose took one look, shouted "BECKETTTTTTT" and launched herself at it. I think the answer is a resounding "Yes!"
Will I make another one to keep in this house?- I hope so.

The pattern is now with a pattern tester and will hopefully be available soon. If anyone else is interested in testing it, give me a shout as I have one more potential spot for a tester...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Finish-a-long 2014 First Quarter Round-up

This is the second time that I have participated in the Finish-a-long. The last time was a bit of a failure, but this time having a list really helped to keep me focussed.

I resisted the urge to join up for all kinds of exciting quiltalongs, sewalongs and knitalongs at the beginning of the year and slowly worked away at my list. I didn't allow myself to become distracted by events such as the pantone challenge, I just put my head down and started working through my list.

Of course I carried out plenty of wee projects that weren't on my list, but the list was always there in the background, pulling me back. Now that we reach the end of the quarter I am quietly satisfied with my progress even though there are a couple of projects that will tick over into next quarter.

I thought I'd give a wee break down of my progress.

First of all I finished off the Linked Squares Quilt which was a gift for my best friend in Scotland. The project had been discarded halfway through the quilting process, so I just needed to grit my teeth and keep quilting. I love the way that it turned out (wonky quilting and all!).

Next on the list was to make a cushion cover for the winner of my pattern suggestion giveaway. The winner had requested that I design a non-cutesy dinosaur pattern, so she received a triceratops cushion.

A small finish which didn't justify its own blog post was this butterfly block that I made for the lovely Kat of Flutterkat.
Kat has long admired my butterfly pattern, but has a strong aversion to paper piecing (to put it mildly!) When I made a similar butterfly to this a few months ago as an example for work, Kat dropped some very unsubtle hints. In a fit of generosity I volunteered to make her a butterfly, and although I started it last year, I was easily distracted by Christmas makings.
All that I needed to do was to find a couple of hours and the discipline to return to a stranded project. Kat has received her butterfly now, although I cheekily left it up to her to turn it into a cushion!

The last finish of the quarter was a long time coming (almost two years to be precise!) Its not perfect, but beginner level FMQ is never perfect- is it!? The feeling of satisfaction that this is finally complete is immense! I am enjoying snuggling in it.

The next project is as close to being finished as I could manage. I am ridiculously excited to see how beautifully my New Zealand Native Birds Quilt is coming together. The top is complete and it is now top of the pile at the Long Arm Quilters. I can't wait to see what she does with it!

The only project that has made no progress this quarter is the sampler quilt.  I hope to get moving on this one next quarter. I have just under two weeks to work in my current job and then I will have three whole days a week to sew and design without small children causing carnage while my attention is elsewhere!
I can't wait!

I think you'll all agree, that's not too shabby progress for a working Mother of two kids. I just can't wait to see what I can achieve next quarter...
To see how everyone else got on with their lists, drop over to The Littlest Thistle and have a look!

I don't have as many work in progresses for next quarter, but I think I'll link them up again next quarter. I'll share my new list sometime next week.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fairy

On Saturday I attended the twenty first birthday party of a very special young lady who I have worked alongside for the last year. 
A young lady who sparkles and shines. 
A young lady who is bright, friendly, thoughtful and generally a joy to be around.

A young lady who is 20 years (to the day!) younger than me (gulp!)

Her birthday party was a fairy party, so it seemed only right to design a fairy cushion for her. Knowing that she loves muted colours, I went for low volume type fabrics. Its not my usual colour pallet, but I think it works well and its got be interested in trying more.
I played around with the quilting and free motion quilted a sort of irregular spiral effect. 
I quite like it!

I've been playing around with different methods of zip insertion into cushion. For the fairy cushion (the yellow cushion in the picture above) I improvised my own method, which worked surprisingly well. I think I will use this method again if I want a fairly subtle zip insertion.

 You will have to wait another week to hear more details of the black and white minky chevron cushion- the only thing that I'll say at this stage is that I wish I could keep it for myself- its so cute and snuggly!!

I sent the pattern off to my pattern testers and as always it was a joy to see their results. I love that Caroline defined the dress and flesh of the fairy. Such a pretty floral dress don't you think!?

 Here's Amanda's version of the fairy.

The fairy pattern is now available from my Craftsy Store.

Happy birthday tomorrow Renee!!! Hope you have a really really special day!

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