28 Feb 2011

Scrappy String Loveliness

I came home from the fabric shop with a little bit of Kaffe and a couple of rolls of scraps like this.  They only cost a couple of quid each and are truly scrappy strips.  I haven't amassed enough scraps of my own yet to do this sort of project so I thought I'd help it along on it's way. 

The strips measure from 1" to 1.5" max and are all fabrics that I would never go out and buy but they they are all beautifully ditsy, small prints.

I have unrolled them and jumbled them up, added the odd two or three of my own fabrics into the mix (ones I am not too keen on)

I am making 6.5" squares (to make 12" blocks) with the paper piecing method.  There are loads of tutorials and how-to's out there on the web so I won't link to any particular site.  I am using skinny strips of 1.5" wide max for a really scappy look and all have got a white central string of 2" wide to create a sashing when sewn together.  I have to warn you that this little creative outlet has a VERY addictive habit. 

I don't think it will take me long to get to quilt top size - the trouble will be knowing when to stop!

I will update with news on all my Swaps later in the week.

15 Feb 2011

Secret Garden Block Tutorial

I posted this photo of my Secret Garden Pinnie on Flickr yesterday and had a few requests for a tutorial/how to for the squares, so seeing as the sun was shining (for a change) I took advantage of the light and, hopefully, put together a tutorial to help you create these little beauties with ease.  This is a simplified version of Cathedral Windows blocks of which there are quite a few really good tutorials out there for those, namely this one and this one amongst many.

For my 2" finished block you have to start with a 4" square of main fabric and a shy 2" square of contrast.  The math is very easy for any size of these blocks - finished square size x 2 (example 2" = 4" template, 4" = 8" template and always the finished size for the contrast fabric).  You will need to cut an exact square template for your square to begin (I use a good old cereal box, but your template has to withstand ironing so bear that in mind!)

Cut your main fabric 1" larger than your template - so a 4" template requires a 5" square and try to be tidy with your cutting lines as this will help things to be easier.  I cut my contrast fabric 1/8th short all round - so 2" becomes 17/8"

Now you will iron your main fabric over the edges of the template to get a nice crisp edge on the fabric and try to make sure the corners are as square as possible - slapdash will make things difficult.

Proceed to do an 'origami style' style fold with this square, fold over once, then again to make a small square, and press with the iron.

Open out your fabric and fold the corners into the centre along the crease lines, again keep this as tidy as you can and pin down as you go along

Once this is done you might want to press again with the iron just to give you nice sharp lines to work with (it does help)

Place your contrast fabric like so with right side up

Now fold those corners over to the centre and pin as you go 

You want to end up with a neat little square like this

I prefer to stitch these centre points together with little stitches so that it all sits square.  (I have used contrast thread here but you ideally should use matching thread- it does depend on your project)

Now you have to 'peel/roll' back the edges of the points to expose the contrast fabric, pin as you go.

It can help to use the edge of a pin to roll the fabric back on and keep things nice and neat

As you roll back sections, you can stitch these down with tiny ladder stitches as you go or pin everything first, but you may find that so many pins will get in the way.  Try your own method here.

When you get to the outside corners, you need to close this up by about 2/8ths, this encloses the corner of the contrast fabric and achieves the 'window' effect.  Continue around the square stitching all the sections.

Once completed you can use the blocks however you choose. I stitch mine together with little ladder stitches, pulled tight to give a firm, closed edge. 

You can even make big squares too.

I hope you enjoy my first tutorial - if you have any questions please mail me or leave a comment. 

3 Feb 2011

I'm not blogging..........I'm SWAPPING!

I have really caught the Swap Bug of late.  It is rather nice though, making little bits of art for other people, strangers even!  I am now participating in 5 in total - all Flickr swaps.

Number One is the Doll Quilt Swap - fondly known as DQS10 and here is my work so far.

I am a bit further along now with the construction but I don't want to give too much away by posting pics
We can't post the quilts out until the middle of March at the earliest so I have plenty of time to make it lovely, not that it isn't already.

Number Two swap is the 3x6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee.  This involves a group of 7 making a quilt block for the other 6 members.  I choose the design for the block and all 6 have to be the same but the member (or 'Beemate') chooses her colour scheme.  The idea being that at the end of a 12 month period you will have 24 blocks each and everyone different, made by someone else but in your chosen colourscheme.

Here are my blocks I have made for my 'beehive'.  (There are 25 'beehives' taking part in this, so that is a lorra, lorra swappers!

Number Three is the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  This is coming to completion now and we will be posting out mid-February.  It is a huge swap group, with secret partners, which is lovely because it keeps up an air of excitement, anticipation, lots of speculation and barrowloads of 'rug envy'.

Here is my completed rug.

Number Four swap is the Mini QT Swap.  This has just started, like yesterday, so no work has been done yet, except for some serious brain straining over a design.  These little quilts are just 12" square and the theme for this swap is 3D.  We have got to incorporate little embellishments, sticky out bits and other nicies on this art quilt. This swap is much smaller in numbers and I am partnered with Diane from Taiwan!!

Number Five is the Scrappy Pincushion Swap, again this has just started and will be a secret swap, where we don't know who is making for us, but we know know our partner?  Again lots of brain straining with ideas for this is taking place as their are some gorgeous mini works of art in this Group.

So at present  any spare hours of the days finds me feverishly sewing, snipping or ironing for these swaps.  I love participating in them as I really enjoy crafting but I don't necessarily need items for myself or have particular projects to craft for (that is why the crochet got a bit bleurgh for me, I have a pile of cushion covers sitting in a cupboard! for no particular reason!) so swaps are ideal platforms to create in, plus you get to chat with like-minded souls in the 'discussion' areas of the Swap Groups.  If you have not ventured over there yet, pop in and have a look, there may be something for you to join in too.

Finally, as a really big footnote - can I say a huge Thank You' to all of you who come to view and read and leave lovely comments on my blog.  I DO read them and appreciate them even more so, I'm just a bit of a lazy mare when it comes to replying! ((blushes)

I am away now to see if there are anymore swaps I can join!!!