Wednesday, 28 April 2010

More Little Folks Dot In The Middle Quilt

As promised here are some more Little Folks Dot In The Middle quilt pics after my blogger frustrations yesterday.

I dithered for quite a long time before I took the plunge and bought some Little Folks. I don't know what held me back. I guess I'm a bit cautious of so much pattern and colour in each fabric, it can be a bit overwhelming if you want to make a quilt I find. But I kept seeing quilts I loved made in Little Folks, here and here.

In the end I decided to go for fat quarters and have a play. As soon as the fabrics came I was in love. They feel sooooo lovely. But I could see straight away that i) any pattern had to have big pieces to make the most of the patterns within the fabrics ii)I needed something to tone down the exuberance a bit ( I'm so English and reserved, I know it!).

After my Hope Valley Baskets success, using a traditional block pattern, tempering colours with a grey, I decided to take the same approach. I used an album block (often used in the past for quilts where the participants would add their names, for charity quilts, or as a parting gift to a member of the community moving away etc). The blocks came together really quickly ( they are 12' x12') but when I laid them out I felt like the middle of the block was just too bare! It's well known that I can seldom make a quilt without circles, so I started with a large circle applique based on drawing around a cup. I strip pieced a square of fabric using the 4 fabrics in the block and then using freezer paper made a circle. But it looked too big. I decided to downscale dramatically, made a dot, based on drawing around a cotton reel ( YLI cotton quilting thread) and ironed over two fabrics pieced together so I had a little half and half dot. Then I appliqued them on. I counted the colours wrongly and ended up with an extra blue. Rather than fiddle about again I decided to adopt the 'humility block' approach and popped the little blue button in the yellow block.
I think I love it! Now I have to plan some quilting. I want to do something a bit more decorative than my normal style. I especially love how the quilting works on this quilt. I'm inspired by old quilts with their elaborate quilting patterns, so I'm off to do some research.

p.s Have you got your copy of Fat Quarterly yet? It's fab, do go and buy one here

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Little Folks Dot In The Middle Quilt

Ta da! My Little Folks Dot In The Middle Quilt top is finished and ready to quilt. I just realised that this poor quilt has been a bit un-blogged as it's been going on in the background to my hard slog hand quilting regime that I have put myself on! Every now and again though the spirit has rebelled and I have had a little clandestine sew of this... It's Anna Maria Horner Little Folks Voiles, using a traditional album block with an untraditional dot in the middle. More pics tomorrow when blogger will hopefully play nicely:(

Monday, 26 April 2010

My First Quilt - As Snug as a Bear in a Pram

The biggest of my Smalls is now officially a quilter having just finished her first quilt, aged 6.
I'm so proud of her, isn't it lovely? Scraps she painstakingly selected from the scrap bin, rotary cut by me, sewn together by hand by her, quilted by her in perle cotton in a big flower designed by her, bound by me. Loved by Mr Bear. She asked me how old I was when I finished my first quilt, I told her 21 (ahem!), she looked at me ( slightly pitying) and said 'well mummy I'll be able to do reeeeaaaaly hard quilts by the time I am 21 won't I?', ......i guess she will...

Friday, 23 April 2010

Good Things are Worth Waiting For

In my last post I was having a small overwhelmed moan about how much hand quilting I had to do and how long it all took. I said I wanted to start machine quilting. You all said, but hand quilting is so lovely and special. And you are right. Next time I'm at that inevitable lose hope stage when hand quilting - it's a little past half way, but before the end is in sight - just refer me to this post won't you? You see I always forget just how fab it feels when the quilting is done and the binding is starting to smarten it all up, and the quilt's real potential shows itself. This afternoon I was sewing binding, in the garden, looking at all the long awaited bulbs starting to bloom, and thinking how Good Things are Worth Waiting For -I suppose that's what makes them so good.
If anyone fancies making a quilt like this, I used the Creative Grids Circle in a Square ruler, and the fabrics are a mixture of Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, Momo Wonderland and Oakshott Shot Cottons, the backing is Amy Butler Love and the binding is Oakshott. The circle ruler is so easy to use so don't be frightened of circles! I loved making it so much I am already building a little fabric pile for a primary colours circles quilt using the same ruler......

p.s I'm thinking I'd probably better check out those long arm quilters just in case!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Pile Up

It's official. I need to either get faster at hand quilting, get slower at top piecing, or learn to machine quilt. I have three basted quilts in progress of being hand quilted ( that's just three current ones, there are at least 4 or 5 shamefully skulking in the chest in the Front Room), and another two tops nearing completion......aggghhhh. It's time to get over the machine quilting fear or find a long arm quilter here in the UK - any recommendations?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Interruptions from Eruptions

Normal blogging service now resumed after a bit of an interruption caused by the volcanic eruptions resulted in me being a single parent for a week as poor hubby battled to get home form Europe along with millions of others. As such, time for blogging luxuries were in short supply as three kiddies had to be single handedly herded and tended for several days. We filled the time with a bit of baking. I am always a fan of the kids cake decorations ( see here for my favourite) but this cake has shot to the top of the chart. They told me it's called 'Iceland without a Volcano'. Love them.
Anyway, the poor FrontRoom has been sadly unvisited, but a little bit of progress is that the Little Folks quilt blocks are starting to take shape. I am using an Album Block, but I'm having a wobble about leaving the big space in the middle empty. Whilst holding an empty mug waiting for the kettle to boil I wondered about a circle shape? Turns out my favourite cup of tea mug is just the right size, will have a play and see how it looks.......

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Daisy Chain Days

The sun has been shining and we've had nothing better to do than to enjoy the garden, make some daisy chains to decorate the blossoming fruit trees, read Jane Brocket's beautiful new book and dream of summer. Bliss.

I did make a start on cutting out my Little Folks quilt top. Am still dithering, but progress is being made, oh and another 6m of HubbaBubba quilting completed!

There's not much time in modern life where dreaming is prioritised, do you think unexpected sunny days in early spring exist solely to remind us that sometimes its best just to BE?

Enjoy the sun wherever you are x

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Going Around the Bend

The kids are still enjoying their Easter holidays and the sun has been shining so there has been lots of long days in the garden which is just heaven after the winter of snow and cold we have had. We have Nana here for the week too so the vegetable patch is getting licked into shape ready for summer.

So there hasn't been all that much new progress in MyFrontRoom sewing room. I am still going round in circles hand quilting HubbaBubba. It's looking fab, but its a surprisingly huge amount of quilting! I have measured out that each circle requires 1.5m of quilting to make up each spiral ( nerdy alert!) and I have 42 circles to quilt so 63 metres of continuous hand quilting round and round in circles, no wonder I'm going slightly around the bend!

I do have the indulgence of looking over at my new love, Little Folks fat quarter pile. At the moment I have about a hundred different ideas of what to do with them, but I suspect that the best thing would just be a straightforward patch quilt? They are just too pretty to cut into to have a play and see!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

HubbaBubba HandQuilted

HubbaBubba quilt has been pieced and basted and I started hand quilting it at the weekend. I decided to do spirals as a welcome break. I have been quilting away on BabyButtonsBigBedQuilt for a week where I have been dutifully outline quilting each little Heather Ross square. I love hand quilting but even I am finding it a little deadly. I usually favour big free form shapes for quilting, but the Heather Ross blocks are so detailed already I feared overdoing it.
Anyway, HubbaBubba is just whizzing along in a swirl of spirals. I had the perfect background in the stash, an Amy Butler Love purple fabric with circle flower motifs. I knew it was perfect as it seems even the circles line up on the back ( lucky co-incidence, but I will of course now claim it was planned!)
I am a huge hand quilting fan, I quilt all of my quilts by hand. There seems to be a bit of a resurgence in interest in hand quilting; this week alone I have been reading posts in praise of it here and here. It's fascinating to see how many different ways people approach it. Perhaps I'll find time for a little post on the subject soon as it's the quilting element of making a quilt that seems to be the stumbling block for so many people in starting a quilt. Anyway, it is the Easter holidays the sun is shining and dens are being made in the garden and mummy is required so don't hold you breath waiting for it!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Mid Century TV Quilt

Image from

I have had this design called Provence by Lucienne Day pinned to my board for a couple of months. I love Lucienne's fabric designs, and several quilt designs inspired by the shapes found in her work have been on my 'quilts to make' list for a while now.

I have had a special commission from my LittleBoy to make him a new quilt. Now he is not the most sophisticated client. The brief was, red, cowboys, tv............hummmm.

Now I'm almost embarrassed to have called upon Lucienne as inspiration for such a brief, but I'm surprisingly happy with how it's working out (although I think there is another quilt in this vein within me still to be made!). Here is a work in progress......

It's Kaufman Essex Linen mix as the background which I am using for the first time and I am loving. LittleBoy thinks they are TV's so on each TV are Cath Kidston Cowboys, Kokka Planes and Echino Racing Cars, just what he likes to watch on TV! He's happy, I'm happy, it's all good.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Easter Bunny Fun

My Little People are at home for Easter, so cue some Easter crafting fun! This tutorial for felt bunny finger puppets is from the purlbee and it so easy and so so cute. My biggest LilPeeps are 6 and 5 and they made them no probs, so check out the link, find a few bits and bobs of felt and some wool for a pompom tail and you're in business for a rainy afternoon of fun!

The instructions on purlbee are very comprehensive, but in a nutshell;
1. For each bunny, cut out two white felt shapes
2. And two brightly coloured bunny shapes
3. Then sew all 4 layers together, separating the ears when you get to them
4. Make a pompom for the tail and sew a little face.......! Ta Da, my little people's bunnies!
Happy Easter to you all xx