Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Jigsaw Stars - the whole story

I decided last night that if this blog is going to be an online record of my quilts and my quilting, I really ought to do a blog post for each quilt when its finished recording everything that went into making it.
So this is the whole story post for Jigsaw Stars, the quilt I finished last week.
A lot of my quilting is of course tied up with my business; to some extent the two are inseparable. Jigsaw Stars was made with one of the new Hoffman Bali Crackers; a 10" square charm pack. These are Hoffman's version of a layer cake which I have just started stocking. Quite often with new products you need to make something up to inspire people. This particular colour pack, Parfait, was actually my favourite in their 5th collection of pre-cuts but it wasn't very popular among my customers. And so it fell victim to being used by me.........
I spent quite a while playing around with designs, working out how much could be cut from a 10" square. I finally settled on the design and added a dull pink Hoffman batik as a background fabric which went well with all the colours in the pack.
The piecing went together quite quickly. I cut the squares up in a methodical manner as I worked as it was important to keep the squares in the right order. I think it was about then I decided the design was good enough to be made into a pattern that I could sell.
I always take work in progress shots of my quilts. Often they are just to post on twitter etc but they are then useful for adding to pattern instructions.
I used a new wadding for this quilt, a bolt of polyester wadding from Legacy by Pellon. I've wondered about using this for some time. Just thought it was cool to have it on the shelf!
I was disappointed with it. It did say to pre-test with dark fabrics but this quilt has a variety of tones in it. It didn't beard where I was quilting but I just had a layer of fluff on the surface of the quilt which then collected in little balls of fibre like this.
 However, I have to say now that the quilt is finished and bound, it is behaving better!
This quilt was a first for me...........the first quilt I have free motion quilted. The stars in the centre were echo quilted using my walking foot but the pink background was stipple quilted. I'm quite pleased with my first effort!
I used King Tut 925 - Caravan in the top and a blue Masterpiece 138 in the bobbin as the quilt has blue backing.
The binding was put together with leftover bits from the Cracker pack...........and another first........I double bound the edges and used Wonder Clips for the first time!
Quilt summary - Jigsaw Stars
Top - Parfait Bali Cracker + Hoffman 1895 Orchid
Wadding - Legacy by Pellon Polyester
Thread - King Tut 925 + Masterpiece
Backing - Hoffman 1895 Swordfish
And that is the story of Jigsaw Stars

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I Made a Quilt!

When I say I made a quilt, I mean I have actually finished one; quilting, binding, hanging sleeve. The lot. Well apart from a label, which I will add shortly.
This is a rare occurrence for me.
I do actually make a lot of quilts.........well quilt tops. I'm designing and creating all the time, especially now that I have developed this addiction for pre-cuts. I have a further three pre-cut quilt tops to quilt and started another one over the weekend using the new Hoffman Bali collection pre-cuts.
And not meaning to boast, but I finished quilting quilt #2 on Saturday so that just needs the binding and hanging sleeve added and then that is done too!
So where is this new found explosion of getting things done come from? It's because I am combining my learning to machine quilt with making all these quilt tops. It's just so quick to whizz around with the machine. It doesn't need to be perfect, its not for a competition. It just needs to be good enough to make the quilt look good and I think so far I have achieved this.
Everything has just come together nicely as this first completed quilt is going to be a pattern that I will be launching it Quilts UK this coming week. Wanting to make it into a pattern made me realise that I really needed to learn machine quilting for me to do this. I love hand quilting but its just not practical if I want to make something as a display model.
So this is the start of something new!
And as for the quilt itself............here it is! It's made from a Bali Cracker plus background fabric so its layer cake friendly.
Quilt #2 is possibly more suitable to teach in a class as its simpler........this is something else I think I need to start doing! 

Sunday, 5 May 2013

A Good Day's Quilting

Spring has finally sprung here and we have some beautiful weather this weekend. This always gives me a real dilemma. As it's the weekend I can finally get down to some serious guilt-free sewing as I don't *have* to work but on the other hand when the sun is shining I feel that I should get out in the garden, especially as I am a bit of a fair weather kind of gardener!
I've been designing and making quite a few quilt tops recently using Hoffman pre-cuts, with a view to making them up as patterns but of course they need quilting. And they need quilting before I can have the pattern for sale! I hoping to release the first one at Quilts UK in a couple of weeks so I can show you a sneak peak but not the whole quilt just yet. It's made using a Bali Cracker ie layer cake. It was the first time I had stippled quilted ANYTHING and not quilting in straight lines was totally out of my comfort zone!
I'm quite pleased with my effort. Just need to add a bit more stippling to some bits of background in the centre and add the binding...........and its done!
I have had real problems with the wadding though. Its a polyester batting, one of the ones on the bolt from Legacy by Pellon. So much fluff and fibre has come through the fabric, not as I'm stitching just generally.
I was really disappointed although it seems to have settled down a bit now.
What I was amazed at was how quickly I was able to quilt. I know stippling isn't the most exciting of machine quilting techniques but hey it's a start!
So its onwards and upwards!