Saturday, 30 November 2013

Stairway to Henna

A little while ago, Beth Studley from Love from Beth showed us at the London Modern Quilt Guild samples of the beautiful line of fabric she had designed for Makower called Henna. She also later asked who wanted to take part in a challenge to design "something" with her fabric. Of course I jumped at the chance and towards the end of last month, I received a lovely parcel with 6 FQs of the line and a brief to get my something done by 30 November. If you know me, you'll know that I am usually a last minute person, I probably work better with a deadline! So this week, on top of the Advent calendar and the Diamond Quilt I *had* to finish my Henna Quilt, that I thankfully started piecing last week-end!
When I received the fabric I had originally envisaged an applique wall-hanging with one (or more) of these Indian elephants that are heavily decorated, I thought it would work well with such vibrant colours but I was a bit intimidated by the idea and worried about not getting the elephants the way I pictured them in my head so I abandoned that idea. I then had a flash of inspiration when I was making my Broken Herringbone blocks. I thought about the white strip and how I could apply this to a different block that I really like: the Bento Box so I decided to try and make some Broken Bento Box. A few scribbles on a sheet of paper later, I had a recipe for a beginner-friendly quilt that could be easily made with pre-cuts too!
As I said before I had 6 FQ  that I paired into 3 groups. I'll show you how to make blocks from one group (I made 3 blocks from each group of 2 FQs as I wanted to have fabric leftover for the binding)
Each block will take:
Fabric  1: 1 square 5.5' (you could use a charm pack and your final block would be slightly smaller)
Fabric 2: 2 strips 2.5' x 20'
Solid (white): 2 strips 1.5' x width of fabric
Now take the square and the white strip and sew the white strip to the square
Add a strip to the left and right first. Press towards the centre. Add to the top and bottom. Press towards the centre and trim.
Now add the 2.5'strip.
You can get one small and one large rectangle from your strip but you won't get the 2 large ones. So use the first trip and sew to the square on the top. Take the second strip and sew to the bottom. Press towards the 2.5' strip. Trim. Add the 2.5' strip to each remaining side. Press and trim.
Now add the remaining white strip as before: to opposite sides, press towards the printed fabric and trim, then to the 2 remaining sides, press towards the printed fabric and trim. This is ideal for chain piecing (and makes it of course even faster!)
Your block should now be 13.5' (13' if you used a charm square to start)

Now it is time to slice the square into 4 smaller building blocks. Measure the central square (it should be 5' if you started with a 5.5' square and 4.5' if you used a charm square)
Cut your block in half (6.5'). I lined my ruler with my central square and cut at 2.5
You now have 2 half blocks 6.5' x 13' that will be cut in half again
Repeat the same to have 2 x 6.5' squares
Trim your building blocks to 6.5' square if needs be

And now you are ready to play! Broken Bento Boxes?

Plus Blocks?

Or just a random arrangements?

Well I settle on this one which reminds me of a staircase hence the name of the quilt Stairway to Henna.
 For the quilting, I decided to break the squares and straight line a little bit and free-motioned some "string of pearls" following the stairs on the white strips. I really like the effect, if I can say so myself!
And for the binding I used the remaining fabric to make a scrappy binding.

I will probably use it as a bed runner, but of course it would work as a table runner or wall hanging. And it you use more that 6FQs, well you could end up with a much bigger quilt!

I hope you enjoyed reading my tutorial. If you make the blocks/quilts and you have any question or anything which doesn't make sense, please let me know! Thank you Beth for allowing me to play along.

Quilt statistic: 24' x 54'
Machine pieced and free motion quilted
Fabric: Henna and Klona white

And that's one more OPAM for November and a completed challenge!

As for the Advent Calendar, it is quilted and the binding is on but it still needs to be hand sewn at the back. That will be for tomorrow but of course Miss Baby will get her first chocolate tomorrow regardless!

Friday, 29 November 2013

One more quilt, one less UFO

Wow time flies when you are having fun! I didn't realised it had been a week since I posted anything. I must say I have kept myself busy! Work is crazy mad at the moment and I added to that by deciding I needed to finish 3 quilt by tomorrow night. OK there are not big huge quilt but still, neither top was pieced completely a week ago. So I worked on the piecing for all 3 last week-end and got my Diamond Quilt ready for quilting

that was after I unpicked my last row as I thought it looked upside down.
my Advent calendar with all its pockets on
and my Hena quilt pieced by the end of Sunday.

I quilted my Diamond quilt first (which took 2 evenings in total and one for the binding) to be able to send it away to my Mum this week. I picked a lovely red binding (Joy by Kate Spain Moda fabric)
and the back was a brown bubble fabric by Timeless Treasure (one less in my pile of backing now!)
I kept the quilting simple by echoing the diamonds

and it was in the post on Thursday!

One OPAM for me, one less UFO and my Lazy Bums challenge completed, how good is that?
I hope my Mum's friend likes it now!
Thank you to all my fellow bees for making lovely blocks for me last year that are finally turned into a quilt.
Linking to Quilt it Thursday, Whoop Whoop Friday.

Friday, 22 November 2013

More bee blocks catching up!

Yes my usual activity these days, catching up with my bee blocks. In between my broken herringbone blocks last week, I also finished my + and x blocks for Carol

and I finsished a batch of Granny Square blocks
for Michelle

for Rachael

for Jodie

A few more to finish and I will have caught up finally! Linking to Whoop Whoop Friday

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Work in progress

I am catching up with a few things but I also still have loads on the go of course! I like to have more than one thing going (!) (well in reality I probably have about 20) but I also like to finish some stuff! I am resisting very hard at the moment to just run and start a new project. There is a Midnight in the Oasis quilt-along over on Sharon's blog Fabrics and Flowers. Well I have the pattern, from Quiltmania, I have identified the focus fabric and the background as well I think. What do you think? Polka dots or map?

 but... I am trying to be good and finish other things first.

So this week I started some Christmas coasters for a swap. They only need quilting now so I am hoping to have them ready very soon! I really like this red Scandinavian fabric and paired with the green it makes for a lovely traditional Christmas feeling I think.

I also got out some blocks I got from a bee last year, which have made it to my UFO list. They were made based on a pattern in 99 Modern Blocks. I have 11 blocks in total because one of the bee member dropped out half-way through. I was considering making a 12th blocks but while playing with the blocks I already had I realised one was a lot bigger than the others, which is not too bad as it is only because the seam allowances were not very accurate. So I am taking this block apart and will sew it back to fit.
The other problem is that one of the blocks is really badly sewn. The block wasn't easy with all the HSTs but I wish the lady would made it didn't trim to size because my doing so she completely cut off the points on the left of the block on the picture and slightly on the right too. Again I was going to take it apart to try and sew it back together until I realised one of the row is not useable. This is such a shame.
Have you had blocks like this from some bees, where you couldn't really use them? I feel really bad about it.
I am thinking of taking it apart anyway and maybe using it on the back of the quilt, since effort and time has been spent by someone else for me, I feel really bad leaving it out. This is also my Lazy Bum challenge for November so I should really finish this quilt by the end of the month, doable? Stay tuned!
Linking to WIP Wednesday, WOW, Brit Thursday Linky, Needle and Thread Thursday.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

And my EPP rosaces are finished

The last few weeks, I have been much more disciplined on the train and spent less time on my phone/more time sewing. And you know what, well of course it has paid off!

 I have finished my 2 very late EPP blocks for Shevvy.

I really like those blocks and the colour scheme she picked. I can't wait to see her finished quilt.
Linking to Building Blocks Tuesday.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A little Christmas basket

Yes I know I am a useless joiner but when May asked whether anyone was interested in a secret Christmas basket swap, of course I couldn't resist. So this week-end, I made this Scandinavian-inspired little basket for my secret partner.

The basket is very cute and easy to make from this tutorial from Tina at Seaside Stitches

I didn't have any fancy buttons to put on the folded corners but I had this lovely glass star beads that I bought in Prague a few years back. I thought they would be perfect for a Christmas basket!

And this morning, I filled it wih chocolates and a few magnets before sending it on its way to ???
And of course this one OPAM for November. I am hoping for more this month because I have a few swap items I need to make and a quilt to finish so watch this space!
Linking to Needle and Thread Thursday

Monday, 18 November 2013

I have been spoiled!

Last week was my birthday, yes another year has passed! I have been very busy in the kitchen to cook cakes for work, for home and for our childminder the day before but I was spoiled when I came home from work with some lovely presents. My friend gave me a lovely hand-painted mug which I really love

and my DH bought me a stack of books which should keep me busy for a while
reading for the holidays
ideas to keep me busy on the way to the holidays!
lovely projects in this one but I am not sure I'll see it often as it seems Miss Strawberry Shortcake has already claimed it as (almost) her own.

 and also some Clover templates.

 I have never used Clover templates before so I can't wait to try. They should come in handy for fussy cutting.


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