Friday, 31 January 2014

On Nanny's Festive Lap

When I made my mother's quilt last year, I felt the design of the quilt would work well as a pattern for beginners because there are no seams to match and the piecing is straight forward.  It is also a cost effective quilt because it uses one charm pack and basic solids for the background and block border fabric.  The layout is great for showcasing some of your favourite prints and is well suited to an "I Spy" type quilt.  So I decided to create a pattern - which, of course, meant I needed to make another version of the quilt to test the pattern!  Here is the latest version, a festive lap quilt.

I used a charm pack of Riley Blake's A Merry Little Christmas, which I got from Liz in a swap last year (thanks, Liz!).  The background fabric is not solid white, it is a white on white print which looks like paint splatters.  I chose it because it reminded me of snow (you know, because of all that snow we get here in the southern hemisphere at Christmas time), it is very hard to pick up the print in photos but if you look closely at the photo below you can make out the splashes.

The binding is a DS Quilts print from my stash.

I wanted to piece the back solely from fabric I already had in my stash and ended up going for a bleached calico with a fun mona luna print I got a few years ago from Lyndy.  With a bright white front and a bright white back this is quite possibly the most impractical quilt ever made.

I framed the scooters with leftover scraps from the front of the quilt.

I quilted it in an all over wavy line pattern using a built-in stitch on my machine.  I went on a quiltathon to finish this baby in time for Christmas - I basted, quilted and bound it in one day, that's no mean feat when you have littlies.  (I machine sewed the binding, I don't hand sew anything unless there is absolutely no alternative.) 

If you'd like to make one for yourself, this pattern is now for sale in my Craftsy store. I think this pattern would also make a great gift for a friend wanting to make their first quilt.  I'm working on a single bed pattern based on a similar design, which I think will make a great I Spy quilt for a kid's bed - so watch this space!

Quilt Stats
Finished Size: approx 53" by 63"
Pattern:  On Nanny's Lap
Fabric:1 Charm pack of A Merry Little Christmas, blocks are framed in Moda Bella Summer House Lime and a light blue from my stash, background is a white on white splash print
Backing: White calico, with Mona Luna scooter print (can't recall the name), framed in scraps from the charms pack.
Binding: DS Quilts print from my stash
Pieced and quilted by: me

Linking up to:
Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts
Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story
Anything Goes Monday - guest hosted at SergerPepper
Monday Makers at ayliN-Nilya
Making Monday at A Bright and Beautiful Life 
Show and Tell Tuesday

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Pincushion: Scraps 101

No scraps series would be complete without a pincushion, surely.  I used four 2 and a half inch squares and a fabric covered button for the front, and improv-pieced the back, which I love.  I'm loving these fabrics together, the photo doesn't really do it justice.

This is project 25 of Scraps 101.  There is so much you can do with scraps that are 2 and a half inches wide.

Linking up to:
Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sunday Stash: Meow

I've seen catnip popping up all over lately so I was pleased when this little bundle arrived this week, it's one of Fabricworm's custom bundles - @Tikimeow - which includes a couple of prints from the Catnip collection.

At the moment it's beautifying my "fabric inbox".

Linking up to:
Sunday Stash - happening this week over at Sarah's place

Friday, 24 January 2014

Scraps 101 - Be Scrap-ful! (with Serena from Sewgiving)

Hello everyone!  I'm Serena from Sewgiving and I have a confession to make ...

Recently I was contacted by Sarah to see if I would like to contribute to her Scraps 101 Challenge.  I said "Yes" immediately and then sat back and thought to myself - oops I don't have any scraps.  You see, when I finish a project, I, Serena of Sewgiving THROW MY SCRAPS OUT - uuuuuuugh! sharp intake of air from the ENTIRE quilting community.  That's right, this little girl from nothing has grown into a wasteful creature.  I don't like clutter and, well, to me scraps are clutter.  But from reading everyone's blogs I can see that whilst they are the most common cause of storage issues, they are also little rough diamonds just waiting to be polished up and played with.

I usually only buy enough fabric for the job at hand and I.DON'T.HAVE.A.STASH ... are you still with me or have you fainted?

The only scraps or cut-offs that I do keep are the little triangles that are the result of when you trim your binding pieces after joining the strips.  I was hoping to make my future grandchild a baby quilt out of them.  It's going to take a lot of saving, but with daughter's only aged 2 and 3, I've got plenty of time to save!

So without further ado (and because I have no other scraps to speak of) I shall dive into my treasured lot of triangles and prettify my new daggy 2014 diary ... ugly, isn't it?!

I started by pairing solid and patterned triangles together to see how big (or teeny, weeny small!) they would end up.

Then I measured my diary to see how many I would need to sew together to cover the diary.
I added a seam allowance of 1/4" to the final measurements and figured that I would need to add a small strip of fabric to the bottom to round things up.

I have a few layer cake pieces of Aneela Hoey's Posy range left from a recent baby quilt make, so I used these to make the final pieces of the cover.  You see, I'm getting the hang of this scrap business already!

I needed two pockets on the inside of the diary cover for the diary to slip into.  To one side of each pocket I folded and ironed 1/4" twice then top stitched for a neat finish.

I cut a piece of the text print, for the lining, to match the size of the HST front panel.

Now the diary cover needed a bit of substance added to it, so I used a bit of quilt wadding left over from my last quilt (I'm feeling more thrifty by the minute!) and quilted the front HST panel.

After trimming up my newly quilted front panel, I sewed the stripe pockets to the text lining (wrong side of stripe fabric to right side of text fabric) to complete the inside panel.

I then sewed the two panels together (right sides together) leaving a small opening at the bottom so that I could turn it out.

I then pinned and ironed the opening closed and top stitched to finish.

And there we have it.  One scrap-o-licious diary cover for 2014!

Scraps 101 has been such a wonderful series to follow so far and I'm pleased that I've been able to contribute a little to it.  If anything, it has taught me to be more aware of what little pieces of treasure I could be throwing out ... I shall be more grateful or scrap-ful in future!

Thanks for having me Sarah!

Serena xx

Thank you so much, Serena!  If you've never visited Serena's blog then now is the perfect time to pop over and say hello because she's having a GIVEAWAY!  Woohoo, who doesn't love giveaways?

I am simply astounded that there is someone in the quilting world who throws away their scraps!  Does anyone else throw them away?

Linking up to:
Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts
TGIFF hosted this week at Quilty Habit
Can I get a Whoop Whoop?
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest

Friday, 17 January 2014

Cat Bag - Cannon and Amber (Scraps 101)

Did any of you participate in Elizabeth Hartman's Catvent?  I didn't do the quilt-along but knew it was just a matter of time before I tried one of the cats - here's Cannon and Amber, made into a little bag for Ruby and made entirely out of scraps from my scrap stash (including scrap batting), so that makes this project 24 of Scraps 101.  Most of the scraps are from trimming the back of Ruby's quilt before binding.



Its perfect for carrying credit cards and any letters she needs to post!

The handles have batting in them so they've got some structure as well as being nice and soft.  I free motion quilted in the negative space around the cats, a different design on each side, and then quilted the whiskers.

It's good to be getting some FMQ practice, but it'll be a while before I'm happy with my skill level I think.

Linking up to:
TGIFF hosted this week at That's Sew Julie
Crazy Mom Quilts
Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts
Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

FMQ Starter

Recently I bought Christina's book 'First Steps to Free Motion Quilting' - which is an excellent book: it is well written, the projects are simple yet useful, and its substantial enough to be a useful resource in the future when I'm not an absolute beginner.

Practicing - this was fun once I sorted out some tension issues
Scrap batting sewn together with zigzag stitch

I made a pile of practice pads using scrap batting strips sewn together, and used scrap strips leftover from trimming a quilt back - so these practice pads are project 22 of Scraps 101.

I have managed to do one of the projects from the book - these little fabric bowls which my girls love playing with.  One of the bowls has scrappy binding, they both use scraps bits of batting sewn together like my practice pads above, so these two bowls are project 23 of Scraps 101.  Expect to see more FMQ around these ways in the future!

Linking up to:
Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts
I Quilt at Pretty Bobbins 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

My scrap storage: it's not pretty (Scraps 101)

Hot on the heels of Sarah's fantastic scrap storage system is my own ... ah, not at all pretty but cheap and functional scrap storage.

I use old 2 litre ice-cream containers for my scrap storage, one for a colour or group of colours, as well as one for novelty/multi-coloured scraps and one for felt scraps.

I also use a bigger container for white scraps (which I use a lot of), and an even larger container for batting scraps.  The long strips from trimming a quilt before binding end up in here, anything larger than about the size of my laptop is folded and stored with my batting yardage.  I also have a WIP scraps bin, which sits on my worktable - I throw bits in there as I'm working on something and then sort them into colour in a batch.

The advantages of using ice-cream containers are that they are stackable, they have lids, they're free and it's easy to change the number of containers you're using.  You could start with, for example, four containers but as your scrap stash grew you could extend it to eight (for example), and it wouldn't cost you anything other than maybe a few inches around the waist and half an hour to re-sort your scraps.  The downside is they're not pretty.

Some tips I have for scrap storage would be to trim off loose thread and odd pieces that aren't of a usable size, and press them so they're (hopefully) usable straight out of your scrap bin.

So that's mine - it's not pretty, but it works really well, and so long as you've got someone in your house who eats an awful lot of ice-cream then in no time at all you'll have enough containers for your scrap storage.  I totally agree with Sarah when she says it's worth keeping your stash beautifully organised, it really does help you actually use it.

I'm very excited that I'll be linking up, for the first time, to Sunday Stash at Molli Sparkles - hello Glitterati!!  If you're new here, why not take a look around my Scraps 101 series to see what I've been up to lately.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Scraps 101: Organization & Storage with Sarah from Sarah Quilts

Hi! I'm Sarah from Sarah Quilts and I am so pleased to be a guest at mila+cuatro today as part of Scraps 101.

It takes time to acquire an interesting and diverse collection of scraps. You can cheat a little and buy scrap bags, but nothing beats an assortment of small cherished pieces of all your favorite fabrics from years of quilting.

I'm not quite there yet but I am to the point now that I need a system for organization. So when Sarah asked me to do a guest post for her series I knew right away that I wanted to talk about organization and storage, if only to give me an excuse to address mine!

First I needed some baskets. I thought 8 was probably the maximum number of shelves I wanted to devote to scrap storage and also the maximum number of baskets I would be willing to make.

I used the Noodle-head divided basket pattern but I made a few changes. I left off some of the details that I knew wouldn't be useful for this purpose (primarily the divider and the pocket) and I made it 4 inches taller. When I did my first test basket it looked like there might not be enough structure for the basket to stand so tall, but once it was all sewn together it stands just fine. They do hang open pretty wide (possibly because I left out the dividers) but that doesn't bother me.

I pondered for quite a while how I wanted to sort them. I wasn't sure I wanted to sort them by color because I don't often go looking for scraps just based on color. In the end I decided to try sorting by color for now and see how it goes. I'm starting with these 8 categories:
  • Low volume
  • Blue-aqua
  • Green
  • Yellow-orange
  • Red-pink-purple
  • Gray-black
  • Strings
  • Multi-color scraps
I pinned a scrap to the outside of each basket to identify the contents. I have seen some quilters actually construct the baskets themselves from the color of the scraps they contain, which is a pretty cool idea. I decided not to go that route because I wanted to base the colors of my baskets on the decor of my sewing room. It also gives me the flexibility to decide to change the categories if they aren't working for me.

I used a cool Kokka print I had in my stash. I only had a half yard so I used other prints for the backs. I can always turn them around if I tire of them.

If you're interested in seeing the rest of my sewing room, I've posted a full rundown on my blog today. Spoiler alert: fabric shelf!

Linking up with Crazy Mom!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

January Goal and plans for Scraps 101

I'm linking up to A Lovely Year of Finishes this year, my first goal for January is to:

Complete a set of four improv-pieced placemats.

Sounds formidable, doesn't it?  I have started two of them and here is a sneak peak:

I also want to get up to project 30 of Scraps 101.

My most recent project I blogged about was project 21, so there's a few to get through.  In the coming weeks I'll have some guest posts from some special bloggers to share with you, which I'm really excited about. Also, as part of my Scraps 101 series I am planning a link party in February, and everyone who links up a recent scrappy project will go in the draw to win a great prize which will include (among other things) a 28mm Clover Rotary Cutter (a great size for working with scraps) and a pack of refill blades. Hopefully that will give you some motivation to rummage around in your scrap bins!

Linking up to:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Play Bank Card: Scraps 101

A pile of scraps, a plastic takeaway lid, some improv piecing and fussy cutting...

led to this play bank card.  Complete with magnetic strip and signature on the back.  The red and yellow squares are supposed to be the Mastercard logo. (Edit: the name and card number are stitched, using built-in alphabet on my machine)

I cut some plastic from a takeaway lid and sewed it inside the card to give it that bendy plastic feel.  This is project 21 of Scraps 101.

Linking up to:
Made By You Monday at Skip to My Lou
Anything Goes Monday at Stitch by Stitch
Craft-O-Maniac Monday
Monday Funday at Crafting Really Awesome Free Things
Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...