Friday, 5 February 2016

Gypsy Wife section 1 {partial seams}

Hello fellow Gypsy Wife troops!
Today I have for you the partial seam edition...

There is a partial seam in section one, and if you haven't done a partial seam before that might sound daunting. But trust me, there is no tricky technical sewing here, just a particular order in which to sew your seams that might not be immediately apparent.

I took lots of photos as a sewed this part together so you can follow along if you need to.
I am only working on part of section 1 here (5 strips in from the left inclusive). I began by laying out the pieces using the pattern diagram as a guide.

Then I stitched the pieces together that I could see went together logically enough. Now you are ready to sew your partial seam joining the long and short strips together to where I have my finger. You are going to sew this seam down from the top about 1.5" (not all the way to the bottom, hence the 'partial seam').

I pinned the strips where I wanted to stop. 

When you turn it the right way up, it looks like this and you are ready to sew it to the square in square block above.

Next, attach that pair of 8.5" strips that go on the right hand side of the block. Are you getting a sense of the logic? Fun, right? Attach that pinwheel to the bottom of those four strips now.

Now, flip the whole thing over. You're going to finish that seam that is open on the left.

That yellow pin at the top is where my previous unfinished seam ended. Start from there and sew to the bottom. This is your last seam in this part of the block.

Give it a good press and admire your handiwork!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Gypsy Wife Quilt-along 2016

It's happening!! The great Gypsy Wife adventure begins today!!

Hydeeann and I have decided to keep all the technical details over on her blog so that you don't have to work between two blogs trying to figure out what is where. At the beginning of each month we will both write a post about the section we will be working on for each month, and we will take turns at posting some little tutorials for the more complex blocks. Remember that Hydeeann is in the US, so is essentially a day behind some of us. Don't be getting impatient and thinking she has forgotten to post if you are fortunate enough to be antipodean :-)

Section 1 is a nice easy section to begin. You should find it easy enough to complete the section within a month, but don't worry if you can't. Work at your own pace so that you enjoy the process.

My number #1 tip for this quilt is to take the time to work out what is an accurate 1/4" seam using your machine. There are lots of little pieces in this pattern and you want them to go together without tearing your hair out along the way!

My second major tip which is related to the first, is to make the iron your best friend. I love pressing so I press a lot as I sew anyway but if this is not your usual practice, try to press regularly as you make the parts of this quilt. It will help with accuracy and mean you end up with a nice flat quilt top.

Tip #3 is don't worry too much about the colours/fabrics in each individual block. Try to get a bit of a balance of colours in each section, but remember that there are a LOT of blocks and once they are all together they will play with one another joyfully I promise.

Square in square blocks
There are a lot of these is this quilt. They are fun and pretty quick to make. Because they often connect sets of strips you want them to be accurate. I took some photos of the square in square block I posted at the top as I was making it.

The instructions are in the booklet on p.22. This will be a 4" finished/4.5" unfinished block.

Take the time to draw those lines on the corner squares, line the squares up with the edges of the centre square, and do your best to sew exactly on the line.

Trim as per the instructions, then I suggest pressing the seams open, this is especially helpful for the smaller sq in sq blocks.

Repeat the process with the opposite corners.

You can see that my finished block is just running off slightly in one corner. I'm not too worried about it, it might just need another press.

Happy sewing everyone :-)

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Gypsy Wife Quilt-along 2016

Well, it turns out that you probably shouldn't ponder some things in public. What happened when I pondered making another Gypsy Wife aloud on a previous blog post? Um, I'm not too sure exactly... but fast forward a few days and now it appears that I have agreed to co-host a Gypsy Wife quilt-along with my exuberant friend Hydeeann :-)

Actually, I'm really pleased that Hydeeann coaxed me into committing to Gypsy Wife #2. When I look at the photo of version 1, I still love its scrappiness and I want to see it made in colours/fabrics I also love.

Hydeeann has posted an initial outline of our epic #GypsyWifeQuiltAlong2016 adventure and there will be more details to follow. In this post I'm going to show you my fabric selection for version 2 and say a little about what I have chosen and why.

I started with a trip to my not-so-local quilt store All Things Patchwork, and bought a small selection of 20cm WOF cuts. I looked for a few fabrics that I really liked that could lead the way. Why WOF cuts? See all those long strips in the photo above? That's why. You can use FQs but I look for any short cuts I can find :-)

You can see that I also chose a few greys. I think this pattern works well with a nice supporting cast of low volume fabrics. When I got home, I raided my stash.

In making this pile of fabric I was aiming to include some specifics. I've rearranged the fabric so you can see what I am talking about.

Starting with the lower right - my large scale, multi-coloured fabrics, some of which provided the original colour direction. I'm hoping these will give the quilt its "gypsy" flavour. Directly above them are some smaller scale fabrics. A lot of the pieces in this quilt are very small, so a good number of small scale fabrics are useful. Bottom left I have included some fabrics that read quite close to solids. I may include some actual solids. I like the look of the few solids sprinkled in among the prints in version one so we'll just see how it goes. Top left are a few extra greys including a nice dark one.

Finally I have started gathering a small pile of 'maybe' fabric which I will use for little pops of punch if needed. I don't want my quilt to get too samey samey if you know what I mean (its a technical term). I won't know about these until progress is underway. They are pretty small scraps, but because I will only use them in moderation, they are perfect for the job.

Overall, I think the trick to this quilt (if you like the look of the original) is to make sure you have a nice balance of light and dark fabrics. Having said that, there are some other quite different takes on this pattern which also work really well. I'm looking forward to starting this adventure again with Hydeeann and cheering on our team mates!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Round robin round up!

Yesterday we had our first Monday Modern meeting of the year and those of us who had participated in the round robin received our completed minis back from the person who had done the quilting and binding.

I had Louise's quilt for the final round. I am not a confident quilter so I aimed for 'tidy' rather than anything more ambitious. Louise's was one of the larger minis at approximately 34" square, so quite a nice size for a baby quilt or pram quilt. With this in mind, I thought I would avoid quilting it so that it became stiff as a board. Basically I did some simple echo quilting, then found a binding fabric that I was particularly pleased with.

My centre block was worked on by Robyn then Mel and quilted by Carolyn. I'm so thrilled with it - I can't stop looking at it!  A huge thank you to Laurina who organised the round robin and kept us on track :-)

Monday, 4 January 2016

My style?

Happy New Year everyone. I hope 2016 brings you happiness and plenty of crafting time!
I'm beginning 2016 by pondering my quilting 'style'. Occasionally I post pictures on IG of projects I am working on, and occasionally Alison comments that she thinks the project 'isn't me'. I don't mind in the slightest, I would be the first to say that my style is somewhat eclectic. As my friends at Monday Modern would attest, I am also prone to saying I don't really like many quilts I have made. I would go so far as to say that I often sound like Goldilocks. "This one is too fussy... this one is too plain... this one isn't scrappy enough... this one is too scrappy..." I'm waiting for the day when I can say with excitement "this one is JUST RIGHT".

I made some collages of quilts that I do quite like as a way of thinking about what I have been making over the last couple of years. First up, the graphic series:

The top two are my favourites in this bunch. When I look at the four together I remember how much I like graphic lines/shapes.

But I also like a more scrappy look...

Again, top right is probably my favourite in this bunch (I have since given it away for a school raffle).

The two unfinished projects below are again on the scrappy continuum. The one on the left may end up being a little too quiet, while Gypsy Wife on the right is too something. I think the something has to do with the colour palette. When I look at this picture I am tempted to make it again, but use colours that are more 'me'. 

And the latest project that isn't 'me' in the eyes of my friend and quilty hero Alison?

A Liberty quilt using the pattern On a Whim by Camille Roskelly. I can see my enthusiasm for graphic shapes in evidence here. Goldilocks has already started compiling her reservations about this one, but as she always enjoys the process, if not the final product, there is no cause for concern!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Christmas making

Christmas can be a season of making, it has been for me :-)
I made a little needlebook as my secret santa gift for Monday Modern.

Originally I planned to give the Christmas tree ornament below, but I had a lot of trouble with the piping. It looks ok in the photo, but doesn't stand up to much scrutiny in real life. So its on my own tree now.

And finally, I finished my nephew's book cushion. The book is wrapped and in situ :-)

Wishing you all a happy and safe Christmas!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Vintage Spin

I stitched my Vintage Spin blocks together over the weekend - I think we can safely say this is the last quilt top of 2015. I think I will get it long-armed even though its not very big (around 56"square from memory). All the edges are bias edges and I can just see things going horribly wrong if I try to wrangle it through my machine.

The colours are quite intense close up. I'm happy with the centre fabric I chose, its kind of there, but not really fighting with the other fabrics for attention.

Unexpectedly there were a few tidy points too. I used a fair few pins when stitching this together, it is so thrilling when sometimes it is worth the effort!