Bits and piecing

I’ve had a tired little man this week. Which means long naps for him and a spurt on the memory quilt for me.

Since my last post, I’ve spent several hours piecing the quilt top.

My aim was to have fewer smaller squares than my last memory quilt. Mainly because they are such a pain to join together – matching seams. This was my starting point of piecing.

IMG_0700.JPG

It wasn’t as symmetrical as I’d like. Having shown it to the friend that commissioned it, she said (with trepidation) she liked the smaller squares. I was inclined to agree. So I set about finding a way to incorporate more smaller squares, but without as many in my last quilt for her. Which looked like this:

IMG_0672.JPG

First, I played around with colour combinations of smaller squares.

IMG_0701.JPG

Then I dug out a notebook and sketched some ideas. My favoured one being this:

IMG_0707.JPG

Then it was time to try it with my squares. First the smaller squares:

IMG_0711.JPG

Then incorporating these blocks into the rest of the quilt:

IMG_0713.JPG

Not bad for a day’s nap times.

Meanwhile, I’m also ticking along with my cross stitch. There are some perks to being back at work part time:
1) lots of chatting with other adults
2) getting an hour’s lunch break – being able to shop on my own, or go to the pub and craft over a Coke and crisps with ThePolkaDotGiraffe
3) reading the Metro/my book/doing some cross stitch on the train
4) earning some money (albeit not a lot)

This afternoon, whilst catching up with last night’s Strictly while little man napped and my husband played hockey, I cross stitched.

IMG_0716.JPG

Little man was still asleep, so I dusted off my sewing machine, changed the walking foot back to my 1/4″ foot, threaded it and began sewing the squares of my quilt.

IMG_0717.JPG

IMG_0718.JPG

I’ve done the washing up, emptied the washing machine, put the bins out, written this blog post. And he’s still asleep! 3 hours and counting.

I’m going to set myself a challenge and see if I can get the quilt top sewn by the end of next week. Here goes!

Advertisements

Time for a bath

The first ever bath, in fact. Not for me – I love a bath – but for my weary, slightly grubby, cutting mat.

Since I started cutting the squares for memory quilt no.2, I’ve been finding it really hard work to cut the fabric. I wasn’t sure if this was due to a blunt rotary cutter blade or to my mat being a bit mucky and clogged up, or both. I’d ordered a new blade for my rotary cutter, but as I was due to be using my mat to cut up some wedding invitations, I thought I’d give it a clean too.

Good old Google came up trumps with this tutorial which advised giving it a bath in white vinegar and washing up liquid. So that’s what I did.

This was a good product test between own brand and branded washing up liquid. The tutorial said to work up a good lather. Happy Shopper washing up liquid failed to work up the required bubbles.

IMG_0687.JPG

Fairy Liquid did the trick.

IMG_0688.JPG

The instructions said to use a mushroom brush to work up a lather on the mat. A mushroom brush?! I have a lot of culinary implements, but I don’t own one of those. I tried a pastry brush. No lather. My son’s old toothbrush. Nope. A nail brush. Success!

IMG_0690.JPG

IMG_0691.JPG

Next up, it said to let the mat air dry or dry it with a towel. Given that I don’t have any patience, I opted for the latter. Egyptian cotton no less. I know how to show my cutting mat a good time.

IMG_0692.JPG

Time for the all important before and after pictures.

Before:

IMG_0686.JPG

IMG_0685.JPG

After:

IMG_0694.JPG

Can’t see much difference? Neither could I. It was a bit less fluffy though.

And I’m pleased to say that, when it came to cutting out the inners for the wedding invitations I’m helping my sister in law with, my scalpel ran through the paper like a dream.

The next night, I glued ribbons onto the front of all the invitations.

IMG_0696.JPG

And then I could get back to my latest memory quilt. The new blade for my rotary cutter has made such a difference. Today, I spent an hour cutting out squares and reached a grand total of 56 6×6 squares and 42 3×3 squares. I thought I’d stop there, lay them out and in order to decide which leftover fabric to cut up to fill in the gaps.

My maths failed me again, and, somewhere along the way, I thought the quilt would be made up of 70 6×6 squares. When, in fact, I needed only 60. So I’ve ended up with enough. However, having laid them out, I’m going to cut out a few more as I’m trying to get rid of the plain squares.

Here’s a sneak preview of my starting point.

IMG_0700.JPG

It’ll probably look quite different once I’ve finished swapping squares around. But I’m pleased to be at this stage already.

Onto the next one

Well, not much craft got done last week. I don’t know where my evenings go. I was reading a post by Craft Schmaft yesterday about how to find sewing time. Will have to try employing some of these strategies.

Anyway, I did – briefly – pick up my cross stitch on Thursday when I went to a Craft Cafe! I only found out about it on the morning via Facebook. It’s only been running for a month or so and is hosted every other Thursday evening at a local cupcake shop. You can bring your own craft or try something that’s been supplied. Last week it was card making. The Facebook page is here. I brought my Mum along with me for company; she did a bit of patchwork (by hand) while I cross stitched. And when our eyes were tired, we treated ourselves to one of the delicious cupcakes on offer. Cake and craft – a perfect combination!

IMG_0684.JPG

While my little man had a nap this afternoon, I got started on memory quilt number 2. This one is a girly one so I’ve been looking forward to getting started on it. I’m being much more methodical and organised this time round. Well hoping to be. So I started by cutting out all my squares of interfacing first. As before, this quilt will be made up of 70 6×6″ squares. But as I’ll use some smaller 3×3 squares to make up some of those 70 squares, I ended up cutting out 56 big squares and 24 small squares.
IMG_0680.JPG

I’ve cut the interfacing squares bigger than I need them. I’ve cut 7×7″ big squares and 4×4″ small squares. This is one of the lessons I learnt from the last quilt. Sometimes, when I’d cut the interfacing exactly to size, it didn’t quite match up when I ironed it onto the baby clothes and cut it out. So, when sewing the squares together, some of the seams stretched where the interfacing didn’t go quite to the edge. Not what you want.

The first item of clothing I picked out was a very recent addition to the pile of memory clothes. It must have been very recently outgrown by this little girl as it’s massive – compared to her newborn clothes, that is. I cut 3 big squares and 4 little squares out of it. I wanted to retain the ruffling detail, which actually hides a zip. Tough work on the rotary cutter. I’ve ordered a new blade as it was even struggling to cut through the interfacing. It has taken a battering recently. It’s even been through my fingertip 😉

IMG_0683.JPG

I could get plenty more squares out of this babygro, but have left it at this for the time being. My ‘client’ doesn’t like too much repetition.