Sunday, 8 December 2013

Chrafting: Christmas coasters- Split 9 patch

For the last couple of years I've been getting into Chraft (Christmas craft). I've been making stockings, advent calendars, miles and miles of bunting. Then I started making it for friends. Having got back into the workplace earlier this year, there's now naff-all time for my Chrafty ways. But woe is me with all the Christmas fabric scraps! So today, in a relatively short amount of time, I made Christmas coasters using a Split-9-patch.

This is my Christmas Chraft gift to you- a tutorial! It's quick and easy and makes a great gift. I'm sure many chrafters before me have blogged about this before, this is my take on it.

Step 1: Drive yourself half mad looking for that bag of Chrissy scraps that you know where you put, yet has been hidden by those cheeky elves. Once located select 9 scraps that you can cut into 3.5 inch squares. Give them an iron before you slice, it's easier!
Step 2: Arrange your squares- any that you don't want chopped in half go into the corners. The centre piece will end up being cut into quarters, so keep that in mind.
Chain piecing. Note laptop in background that has been pushed out of the way. Wish we had more space!
Step 3: Sew together your rows. I am a slacker, and chain piece wherever possible. Press with an iron making sure that the edges point one way for the top and bottom rows, and the other way for the middle row. This will cause less lumpage in the next step.
Step 4: Sew together your rows, and press your seams open.
Step 5: Measure your block carefully, and cut it into quarters.
Step 6: cut some backing fabric. I do this quite sloppily, so the backing it a bit bigger than the block. Put your backing and blocks right sides together, 1/4 inch seams around 3 of the sides. I also like to do half an inch on the 4th (open) side at both edges- just so that when I turn it outside-in, the corners sit a bit nicer. Then cut your corners, being careful not to cut those stitches!

Step 7: Turn them out, I use a chopstick to poke out the corners nice and flat. Then get your trusty iron (sooo much ironing in chrafting) and give it a good press.
Step 7: 1/4 inch straight stitch (or zigzag- whatever tickles your fancy) around the edge.
VoilĂ ! You are done, my friend. That's 4 coasters, all kinda matching, using up scrap.

I gave these to my pal. I make her a bit of chraft every year- so I'm glad my scraps are still stretching far enough to make such pressies with. These will look fab on the Christmas table, and can be thrown into the wash after! 

Happy Chrafting y'all! x

Friday, 20 September 2013

Jungle Path quilt using a Layer Cake

Some of my besties in Australia went and had a baby. I love it when that happens, but was so sad I couldn't be there with them. Guess what I decided to make them? Aye, no prizes for that one... I made them a quilt.

I loved this Jungle Path baby quilt designed by Jessica Kelly. The fabric is Moda's Jungle Bungle by Tim and Beck. It's a great tutorial by Jess, and I was pretty keen to make one for my pals' baby.

Problem? I'm on a tight, tight budget!  A jellyroll and a charm pack were going to set me back a few quid. I mean, my friends are worth it- but with wadding and postage... I needed an inexpensive way of making the same quilt. I decided a layer cake would offer me better value for money. I bought a layer cake- that's 42 x 10 inch squares, for just under £26 all in. That's 62 pence per square! Bargain!

So here's my offering to the quilting world: an easy way to recreate Jessica's Jungle Path quilt using a Layer Cake. Please excuse my low-fi drawing below. I chopped up the each 10 inch square like this:
This gave me a 4 inch square for the block centres, and the remaining fabric in each layer can be cut into the strips needed. I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of doing this- but I wanted to share my discovery.

For the backing, I went for a rummage in the sale bolts at Mandors Edinburgh, and got a lovely colourful piece of fabric (it had bumble bees and rainbows on it).

To quilt I used a squiggly free motion embroidery stiple, I love the texture it gives, though it does take a wee while.

I was well chuffed with the result!

Luckily, I now have HEAPS of leftover fabric- 26 x 10 inch squares left over in fact, enough to make a bigger quilt for my son (I really love the colours and the design!). So using a layer cake is not a bad way to get such a variety of fabric on a budget. I'll be working on it for the next couple of weeks, I'll let you know how I get on with it.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

And the final total is....

In the lead up to the raffle for the When the Rains Come quilt that I made with lovely Rachel, our quilt went on a wee tour of Scotland. On it's journey it raised loads of money for the Malawi Underprivileged Mothers charity, and we are truly grateful and humbled by all the support, kind words, and book sales it made along the way.

Our quilt went to Linlithgow, the Scottish Borders, Stirling, Lower Largo, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, it was part of Alzheimer Scotland's Stitching the Pitch on Hampden Park (organised by Ann Hill who gave us excellent advice and donated the wadding for the quilt when we met her for lunch- what a gal) and was even exhibited at the Scottish Parliament!
Quilts on Hampden Park, Glasgow, "Stitching the Pitch"

Linda, MUMs charity founder, and Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond (at Scottish Parliament)

The quilt was also part of Avery Homestore's Scottish Modern Quilt Exhibition, which was run as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Guess what? Visitors to the exhibition voted for their favourite quilt, and ours won third prize!!! This makes me happier than a seagull with a hot chip.

I love prizes, such a thrill. Six fat quarters donated by deeroo designs, I can't wait to share them with Rachel.
I'll need to think of a new project to use them for...
While I was at Avery Homestore I had a rummage and got these gorgeous fat quarters for my stash (bargain at £2 each). I possibly love bargains more than prizes! It was lovely to meet Jo while I was there and talk about our When the Rains Come quilt and the positive feedback it received in her shop.

Alas, I digress. Back to the MUMs Ladies Lunch- where the quilt raffle was drawn. Rachel and I met so many lovely people who praised us for our When the Rains Come quilt. Again I must say- Malika Favre's artwork was a pleasure and honour to work with- it was what inspired us to make the quilt in the first place. 

Blipper SpeckledCoast to this great photo of Rachel and I with the quilt we had spent so much time with and may never see again!

At the MUMs Ladies Lunch (at Norton House Hotel no less!) we met Tom Pow, who was the author of When the Rains Come. What a lovely, lovely man. I'm so pleased I got to meet him. Rachel and I were called up on stage before the raffle draw (wasn't expecting that!), blushed when Tom said much too kind things about us, and I got to give a little speech (definitely wasn't expecting that!). The crux of my few words were that if you take something that gives you joy doing, you can put it to good use and hopefully help people along the way. So why not try? Tom drew the winner of the raffle- who was my Dad!! At which point everyone laughed and I got him to redraw (didn't seem right that one of my kids would end up with the quilt after the journey it had been on!).

In the end, our little project raised a staggering £2,810. Yes, you read that right! That's a lot of raffle tickets, a lot of support from a lot of people. All from doing something that we enjoy, in our small, Edinburgh flats- something we're not even particularly brilliant at. This is enough to:
feed 400 children in Malawi
5 nutritious meals a week
for 7 months
 and this makes me exceptionally happy

Thank you thank you thank you if you bought a raffle ticket or book, it means the world to a lot of children. xx

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Scrappy Rainbow Quilt

I love making a quilt with a special person in mind. My friend Emily was getting married, and I knew I wanted to make her a quilt.

I took all my inspiration for it from the lovely couple. Emily loves all things rainbows. Ade is a bit of a hippy- really into recycling and reusing (right up my street!). So I thought I'd make a scrappy rainbow quilt- use up loads of scraps- including a few old shirts and other recycled items.

Some of the coloured blocks were randomly sewn together. I decided to include a couple of Ohio stars- which were so fun to make I want to make an Ohio star quilt soon. Some squares are scrappy log cabins. I also knew I wanted loads of white sashing- to really bring out the colours and keep it looking fresh.

My friend Rachel gave me some lovely star fabric for the backing. The quilt top ended up being 60x60 inches (how did it get so big?). I decided to make a rainbow strip to piece the two halves of the backing together- rather than just have a big seam running down the middle. It's probably the best quilt back I've made- I really like it.

I'm really into free motion embroidery for the quilting. It takes a bit longer- but the texture of the finished quilt is so....quilty. In this pic you can see I've FME'd Ade & Emily into the sashing- a nice touch for a wedding present!

The beautiful bride was really thrilled with it and uses it all the time! Fantastic- I don't mind what they end up doing with it, but it's great to know it's being used and loved!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Sew (Magazine) excited!

A friend of mine who also loves to dabble in all things sewing and quilting sent me an email saying I was in this month's Sew Magazine, page 58 to be precise.

noooooo.... really?

Yes! There we are! Number 1 no less! I am tickled pink. 

It was in June (before I started this blog) that Popular Patchwork published an article about our When the Rains Come quilt and MUMs charity. It really is so lovely that the quilting community is supporting our fundraising efforts, we've also had loads of quilting shops display the quilt to help sell tickets (I'll give a full list of supporters a bit later on, so I don't miss any out!)
You'll have to buy a back copy to read the rest of the article!

Thank you sew much Sew Magazine and Popular Patchwork- I really hope it helps us raise awareness of the MUMs charity and more people buy raffle tickets to win our When the Rains Come quilt!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Scrappy Square Quilt

We're going home for a holiday in Australia in a few days, so I thought I'd make my Mum a quilt. A basic patchwork quilt, out of leftovers.  mmmmm...leftovers!!

I love playing around with scraps- figuring out what fabric goes with what, and dealing with a riot of colour and texture.

Normally I'd sketch first, then cut out- but I did it the other way around this time, as I thought I'd randomly sew together the patchwork. I cut out loads of squares from scraps- but then worried the quilt would look a bit muddy.

I like to work in a bit of white to freshen up the quilt and let the colours look brighter.

So I sketched this design- to alternate the darks, lights and whites.

Time to get out the Singer and sew sew sew!
I don't know about you, but I suffer from craft room envy.

I love quilting blogs where you can see a big room just for sewing, full of colour, like crazy mom quilts

Make it & love it tease me with ideas for a craft room- but I live in a 2 bedroom flat in Scotland! My dining table is my craft room (and computer room, kids' study, husband's study, cat's favourite place to sleep, and sometimes we even eat dinner from it).

When I sandwich a quilt, I vacuum the rug, then I get to work on the floor. No nice big crafting tables in this home.

I hope that I can show you don't need much space to make your own quilts.

Time to remove the cat and laptop from the table and get quilting!

 Better bung up a bit of binding. Very renegade here- haven't bothered to change the walking foot, and sewing the diagonal by eye. It worked just fine. Lucky?... sometimes the easiest way is the best I think, I can't be bothered with fussing too much when sewing.

Ta daaa! I really enjoyed making this one- love the colours all the scrappy squares coming together. I think the white squares really helped.

The kids helped me add a personal touch.
This is a drawing Zoe did, that I transferred to fabric using free motion embroidery (bit of the old FME!). I also gave them a white square each and some fabric markers to draw a square for Nana.

I think Nana will love it.
I'm so happy with it! So get scrappy quilting- even if you have hardly any room at home!

I just want to say a big thank you to Joshua for my amazing new QK header, and Ever So Juliet for getting him to do it (and helping me set up this blog- she's a star!)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

An African inspired quilt for charity

Last September I took my friend Rachel (from Sew Bored, it was her birthday) to a book launch for the charity MUMs Recipes. I love this charity- I met Linda who started it a few years ago, and she is such a lovely, dedicated, and kind person. So I was pretty keen to go to the book launch for When The Rains Come- a children's book about life in Malawi by Tom Pow and Malike Favre.

The illustrations are so beautiful and rich in colour.

Maybe it was the reading by Tom Pow's wife Julie. Maybe it was the singing by a choir from an Edinburgh school. Maybe it was the free glasses of bucks fizz that we had knocked back.... Rachel came up with a great idea- for us to make a quilt for MUMs based on When the Rains Come, and raise some money for the children in Malawi.

Linda was immediately thrilled with the idea, as were we.

I mean look at these drawings and the colour! It was going to be a fun quilt to make.

Step one was to come up with an idea. 

Rachel suggested we use some fabric from Africa, as she'd made a lovely african quilt for her mother-in-law with some  fabric from Malawi.

After tossing about a few ideas, I came up with this sketch. Every second square has a character from the book (that we'd applique), and every other square would be a solid piece of African fabric. The idea is these make up the "quilt" that Oscar and Jennifer are laying under (which we took from a double page in the book).

We thought it could work, so then we got in touch with Malika Favre, who she was happy for us to use her designs, and even offered to help if we got stuck! (how lovely!).

Linda found a bag of fabric scraps for us from Malawi (I love scraps). We were ready to go!

I went to Mandors in Edinburgh for my block colours. They match so well.

For some animals I used Malawi fabric- like the chicken. The giraffe was quite fiddly, but bondaweb is great stuff and I was surprised how at precise I could cut and applique his spots.

The turtle (hero of the story!) and Grandmother Rose with Baby Grace.

I really enjoyed finishing the appliques by hand. My mum taught me how to embroider when I was about 10. I really think it added to the look. The little french knots for Rose and Grace's hair was really fun to do.

The quilt top was really starting to take shape.
Rachel then sewed some patchwork to go behind the heads of Oscar and Jennifer. By this stage I thought I'd go crazy with any more applique- but we had a goal- so I finished the children's heads for the top of the quilt- oh and 4 hands (just when you think you're done- hands! Tricky little things).

My lovely friend sent me some more fabric from Tanzania to work as a backing for the quilt. Then I quilted it together. Rachel did a fantastic job with the binding, using the Malawi fabric scraps. And it was done... woo hoo!

We are tickled pink with it. I hope you like it too! There are some great photos of it on the MUMs website (where you can read more about Linda's fantastic charity).
Oh, and if you'd like to buy raffle tickets, the When The Rains Come book, or the world famous MUMs recipe books, please visit the online shop: thanks!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Log Cabin Quilt: A fun first quilting attempt!

Welcome to my first ever blog post. Please bear with me as I stumble my way through it, trying to think of something vaguely interesting to say. 

Ummm... so- me! This blog is most likely going to be about various sewing projects I have been getting up to, maybe a random bit of craft chucked into the mix (I have been known to dabble in felting, drawing, painting, cake decorating- you know: stuff).

I got a sewing machine a few years ago, and soon decided to make my first quilt. I was inspired by my pal Rachel from Sew Bored who makes lovely quilts. I was just getting back into sewing (it had been about 20 years since I'd used a sewing machine at high school- amazing what you remember!) and I wanted to make something easy. The quilt was to be a present for my Mum's 60th. She was coming all the way from Australia to spend it with us in Scotland, so I thought something I had made myself would be nice. And it had to be forgiving- as precision wasn't my strong point.

So a fair bit of pondering on the interwebs, admiring many quilts and getting more and more addicted to the idea, then Rachel suggested I try a log cabin quilt for starters.
I saw this antique quilt and thought ooooo, then I saw this contemporary log cabin and thought ahhhh. I decided to give it a try.

It took a flippen long time- and all those strips of fabric! I had no idea all those seam allowances would add up to so much time and money!
I was pretty happy as it started shaping up though.

Best of all, Mum was chuffed to bits. She even had a wee teary.

 Master C had fun exploring Nana's new quilt.

And of course he had to go for a "ride" in it.

So then Miss Z had to have a shot, and I started getting a bit nervous if the stitching would hold or not and put an end to the fun and games. Trust Mummy to be the spoilsport!!

Right now, I'm making another one for Mum (lucky lady!) as we're going back to Australia in a few weeks! My kids are super excited, as am I. Mum has recently moved into a new house, so thought a wee quilt would be a nice pressie- more on that soon!