Wednesday, 20 April 2016

SWAPS, HOPS AND MINIS

On A Mission


One of my (1000) resolutions this year was to try and be more adventurous and more active in my quilting choices and quilting life. I am so very inspired by so many things and often think I could totally do that, but I get to caught up in the "what if it doesn't work" of it all and let opportunities go by. So in the hope of gaining more confidence and developing my knowledge and skills further I might have gone slightly mad (Kerry Q is currently rolling her eyes in despair of me)and got involved in all of these.......

1. Black and White Mini Swap




This one has been put together by Sharon who can be found as @shoppershaz on Instagram and as the name suggests it is a mini quilt swap with a black and white theme. We have all been issued with a partner and are secretly working on something fab based on their requirements. Above is one of the mosaics I posted to give my partner some ideas of what has caught my eye lately and below are a few ideas I have had design wise, on what I could possibly be making for my swap buddy. 







You can follow my progress and that of all the very talented people involved in my group using #bwqs_blackbeauties or the entire swap project using #blackandwhitequiltswap


2. Color Square Swap




This is my very first swap of this kind, the idea is amazing and I am totally finding as many of these as I can to be involved in!! The process is as follows, a selection of colour options are put to you (usually 3 at a time) you can be involved in 1, 2 or all of the colour options, you need to put forward your fabric choices to be approved before purchasing I am assuming so the swap host can make sure there aren't repeats and that all fabric choices work well together. Once the thumbs up has been given, you need to cut 40 10" squares layer cake style and send them off to the host, in return you get a layer cake sent back to you in the colour or colours you selected to be apart of. Being my first attempt at this kind of swap I only opted for one colour and it was Purple! I chose the fabric below.



This particular swap is being hosted by Briawna of Purple Poppy Quilts although this swap has closed, you can find all the information about it and how to be involved in future there and also by following our progress using #PURPLEsquareswap2, #GREENsquareswap2, or #LOWVOLUMEsquareswap2 and #colorsquareswap


3. Amy Butler Low Volume Mini Swap






I literally squealed when the sign up details for this popped up on my Insta feed, I absolutely LOVE Amy Butler, who doesn't??!! I haven't had a lot of experience with Low Volume so I had to sign up in order to comply with my resolutions!! hee hee hee that's my excuse and I am sticking to it! Again this one is partner based and a secret/surprise so I can't give to much away but it is a mini quilt swap with guidelines of no smaller than 12" squared and no larger than 30" squared. 





There are so many beautiful mini quilts out there that I really struggled to narrow it down, in the end I had to make two inspirational mosaics for my partner to use as a guide, anything off of here will be super fab or an original based on these I truly don't mind. This swap has been put together and hosted by Shanya over at wifemomcreator and Stacie who can be found as @trollbrothersquiltmama on Instagram. You can see how the groups are doing using #amybutlerLVminiswap #teamshanyaABLV 


4. Amaze Me Block Swap 




Using this fantastic book by Natalia Bonner and Kathleen Whiting from Piece And Quilt and their Amaze Me block, we have been tasked with making 15 blocks using white as a background, by the end we will have enough to make a funky modern throw. Below are some examples of the blocks that have been made by the creators.




5. The Minis Blog Tour




I can't say to much about this one just yet but I am so so very flattered and excited to have been chosen to take part in this!! It's all thanks to the ridiculously talented Pat Bravo and 2 of her gorgeous lines for Art Gallery Fabrics 'Dare' and 'Essentials II', the image above is the selection I will be using. Come back on May 13th to find out more.

Well that is just a small sampling of what I am currently getting up to, I am also trying to design 4 original patterns, put together 3 quilts and I've only gone and got myself a small gig as a pattern tester!! (by now Kerry Q has rolled her eyes right out of her head!)
So if anyone has won the Lotto and would like to donate to my cause so I can stop working I'd be super grateful. 

If you are also taking part in any of these swaps I would love to hear from you and see how you are getting on.

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx

Sunday, 10 April 2016

STARTS AND FINISHES

Weekend Round-Up




It seems like only last week we had our monthly quilty catch up, but in reality I haven't seen my ladies in 2 months!! I can't believe how quickly that has gone and whilst I haven't been idol they have been stitching up a storm and I am in absolute awe of their talents.

Val has been working on her gorgeous version of Beside The Sea by Lesley Brankin for a little while now and today was the big reveal of the finished piece!




It is absolutely beautiful in the flesh, the amount of thought and detail Val put into her fabric choices really has paid off as has her patience at putting the whole thing together.










Regular readers may have noticed the beach huts! 




They are the same ones that I used in the quilt I made for my dad 2 years ago and the same pattern was used by Sue in a sampler she was making out of Salt Water by Tula Pink.

Speaking of Sue her efforts this week were focused on hand sewing the back binding strips of the gorgeous shabby chic style BOM she has been working on over the last couple of months based on Stonefields by Susan Smith. You can see the start of her journey here but for now lets just soak up the loveliness of all those hours of work.












And just a few more because I really couldn't resist this darling little Owl and The Pussy Cat block








Never one for making things easy Caroline was sewing the binding on her 'simple square' quilt, unfortunately it wasn't a simple square binding and caused all manner of blue smoke to emerge from Caroline's corner. 





That being said, she drafted the pattern herself and the outcome is lovely, looking like an English country garden in purples, blues and greens. 










Which just leaves me..... 




I have made a start on something new, it is in the beginning stages and at the moment is a load of drawings, scribbles and sellotaped pieces of paper but with any luck it is going to end up being a fabulous mini quilt for 1 of the 5 swaps I've got myself into.... oooops!!!


Happy Quilting
Kerry xx






Monday, 4 April 2016

MODERN MAN SAMPLER

Signs of the Zodiac

I have always been fascinated with (well for the 4 years I've been quilting anyway) how people/designers/shop owners can take a variety of different sized blocks and just create sampler quilts?! They all work, the blocks fit together perfectly, each design looks fab on its own but like magic when they all sit together. I have attempted a couple over the last few years: Purple Fairies, Navy Dad, Winter Stars and most recently African Star I wouldn't say I was in any way a professional but practice makes perfect right?? So here we go again....




Regular readers will know I have a real problem with Instagram, I spend hours of my life on there "researching" it was on one such occasion that I came across details of a new BOM that was being started by Diane over at From Blank Pages, I signed up immediately and just couldn't wait for it to get started. I already had my next project in mind, in fact I have actually been 'collecting' block ideas and patterns for this project since before Christmas, most of them 6" or 12" blocks however I was on the hunt for some 18" ones to fit in particular spaces that were as yet unclaimed, Zodiac gave me this option so really it had to be done yes? Yes! 

The details of Zodiac can be found here, and that's all the plugging I am going to do I'm afraid. 




Already having an idea of the direction I needed the design of 'Modern Man' to go in probably wasn't the best way to start because if these blocks don't fit in or throw the rest of them out of sync I'm going to be a bit stuffed but you know me, I love a good challenge! So I began with Pisces and I went the whole hog and jumped in with the 18" block. It's all paper pieced, my most favourite thing and the instructions and pattern pieces are clearly marked and explained, so all in all fairly straight forward, except there is that small problem of choosing fabrics.....




The clue is in the title 'modern man', my first thoughts were for grey, white, black and blue lots and lots of blue, not at all stereotypical! Having had a brief scout around there are plenty of beautiful solids that fit the bill however I've really been struggling to find some nice, modern but manly prints that will work with what I have in mind. I happened to be walking past a charity shop and saw a shirt in the window, the print on the fabric was exactly what I had in mind, a closer inspection revealed the shirt was 100% cotton and 7 shirts later I had Plan B!! #winning

I marked out which fabrics I wanted where.....that really hurt my head and then set about cutting all the fabric pieces I needed for the first block.







Marked out each section and began sewing all the little bits together! I am very lucky to have a small but absolutely beautiful sewing room/studio at home (thank you my love) with a huge window right along one wall, the light is perfect for checking each section will fit on the right place.





A few little bits turned into a piles of A,B and C units





Which in turn become sections of the intended finished block






Once all the sections have been measured ( you need to do this yourself because no measurements are given for cutting fabric) and the fabric cut, the 2 halves of the block comes together fairly quickly




There are a lot of fabric joins and points to get into the final seam of the block but removing all the paper from the seam of each section, helped to ease the bulk and thankfully on completion this one finished up the correct size and shape!!

The same can not be said for this little monster!!




I followed the same process with this block - Aquarius as I did for Pisces, however for love nor money could I get that center to line up!! GGRRRRRRR






They looked so good as quarter sections 




I tried 4 times to unpick and redo the halves to make them a whole, but the fabric started to fray and pull a bit funny, so the end result is a slightly off block which I am hoping will right itself when quilted! I know it will bother me so I'll likely end up redoing it or replacing it with something else, but it will do for now!

If you are also participating in the Zodiac BOM I would love to hear from you and see how you are getting on. If you know of any other BOMs happening get in touch, I can never have enough projects on the go!!

Happy Quilting 
Kerry xx 












Sunday, 27 March 2016

A JOURNEYS END

Signed, Sealed, Delivered





Almost a year ago I started out on an epic journey, the journey of my first commission!!(whhaaatt?? someone wants me to make them a quilt, for money??) I was rather apprehensive as up until now I had only ever made things that I wanted to, blocks or patterns that appealed to me in colours and fabrics that called to me. Most of them end up as presents for other people, but still if you're going to spend hours on something its got to spark your interest right?
Suddenly to be faced with a very specific criteria put me in a flat spin, it wasn't a style I would naturally be drawn to, nor was the colour palette something I had worked in before but you know me, I love a good challenge!! You can read about the start of my African Adventure here.

Having made a sprinting start with lots of ideas and creativity flowing it got to around August/September time and I totally stalled, it was so sunny and bright, love was blooming (swoon Mr Keeble) and I just had no motivation to sit in doors sewing bits of fabric in brown and muted shades together. The more I knew I had to do it and was running out of time, the less I seemed able to motivate myself to do. I got a bit tangled up with it all, tried out a few experimental blocks that really really didn't work, so with my motivation and now my confidence totally down the pan I stopped altogether. I had a month off where I didn't even look at it, and then started doing lots of research into all the other projects I had seen being done by the wonderful people I follow on Instagram (you can find me on there as thatssewkerry) and that 1 month suddenly became 3 months - more on that later. Now it's January and I've got less than 7 weeks to get this monster done and dusted....panic mode!! 

Having spent a huge amount of time researching all sorts of blocks, designs, quilts you name it really over the last few months I went back through it all and found this particular block called 'Capital T'. 





Originally 6" I scaled it up to be the 18" I needed and set to work finishing off the African Star. You can find out how I made this block by having a look at my new Tutorials button at the top of the home page or by clicking here


Originally I made 4 of these blocks, 1 cream, 1 tan and 2 red with the intention of having them alternating along the bottom row, rather irritatingly 4 turned out to be to wide and would have resulted in me having to cut them in a funny position in order to get them to fit and as such the repeat pattern would have been lost, but of course 3 wasn't wide enough to complete the row ggrrrrrr!!! So back to the old faithful 2.5" strips to fill up the extra space, not a total loss as it reflects the top row where a similar totally planned design feature had happened!! 





Due to the size of these blocks there were several large areas of empty space so I tried to be more adventurous with my quilting, mostly just echoing the shapes being quilted such as squares and triangles but still and adventurous step for me. 




One of my New years quilting resolutions was/is to be braver when quilting my blocks and to try to add in more quilting opportunities to the blocks or quilts I am choosing to make. It's a baby step I'll grant you but I'm proud all the same.

The next stage is slightly less exciting but with all the blocks now done they had to be joined together, I opted for my old favourite quilt-as-you-go method, although I do now have the machine space and the table space to attempt whole quilting projects it's still not something I feel brave enough to attempt. Plus I really like the idea of working on smaller bits and then suddenly having a huge quilt to put together, there's a real sense of achievement in that somewhere for me - usually mixed in with a whole lot of madness.









Blocks become rows and then rows become quilts, soon there after there is a flourish of furious hand stitching to get all the back bindings attached and all those raw edges covered, all the while a lot of swearing and stabbed fingers is going on - I've never been able to get on with a thimble! Finally arriving at that very satisfying moment when that last stitch goes in and months and months of work turn into this......









Thank you to everyone who has offered me there thoughts, opinions, ideas and just general support throughout this epic adventure, it really means very much to me and I don't think I would have believed in myself enough to get it done without you all. Lets start the next one......

Happy Quilting
Kerry xx