Sunday, 30 March 2014

My First Real Adventure in Free Motion Quilting

I recently finished a quilt top that I made from a Moda Jelly Roll. I wasn't all that happy with what I ended up doing but at the time I just didn't have any real inspiration for it. Basically I made squares using 3 strips of each fabric (I had originally intended to mix up the different fabrics but really struggled to get a layout that looked right) and bordered them with white fabric.

The end result was actually quite fun and fresh, with the lovely crisp white borders and the bright colours from the jelly roll. The quilt ended up pretty huge, and naturally I decided it was the perfect one to do my first ever free motion quilting on (I don't like to start small!). I honestly wasn't sure how on earth I was going to manage to get this quilt through my machine as the throat of the machine is pretty small and I actually did quite a bit of research with the idea of getting a new machine that would make everything a bit easier. After my research I realised I'd be saving up for quite a long time to get one of the machine's I wanted so went back to my trusty machine.

For my first quilt, I had managed to machine quilt it by rolling it up into a huge sausage, but that was for simple stitch in the ditch quilting and I didn't think that would really work for this one. Also, that sausage of quilt gets pretty heavy and I didn't fancy wrangling with one on this massive quilt! I had read somewhere online that some people basically just smoosh the quilt into the throat as they go. I thought I might as well give that a go, as if others can do it then I surely can too! 

I also read that I should get the trickiest part done first. As the quilt was 9 squares by 9 squares I would have to get the 9 central squares done first. This was definitely the hardest part, it made my arms ache so much trying to get all that quilt smooshed over into the throat. I marked the central area using quilter's tape, as I thought it would be easy for me to forget where I was and end up doing something the hard way that could have been so much easier! I had decided on stippling for my first go as it is apparently the easiest method to learn first. So I got the middle all done and thought I'd try the outer edges to see if they were more manageable, and I soon got into the groove! Before I knew it, I had finished 5 of the 9 areas I had mentally mapped out on the quilt. I had a bit of a stretch and then glanced up at the machine and to my horror I saw this:

There is nothing worse than seeing this sight when you don't have any more thread! I sucked up my disappointment and decided I would just have to take a trip to the shops in the morning. I also decided that I would invest in some more bobbins as one of the best tips I found was to pre-fill a bunch a bobbins so that when one runs out you can just pop a new full one in without having to refill them and break up your quilting momentum. I only had two bobbins that were nearly empty when I started so kept having to stop to refill and it did get annoying!

I'm actually pretty glad that I did run out of thread as I'm sure I would have carried on until I finished. The amount of pain I felt in my shoulders that night was ridiculous! It reminded me of the pain you get in your arms when you paint a wall and you haven't done it in a long time!

So this was my first section of stippling, along with the quilter's tape. I think it looks so much better than it does on the section where I haven't done any quilting so this picture made me feel pretty happy. It also made me realise that my FMQ looks a lot better from a distance than it does close up! I have REALLY got to work on my hand/foot coordination! There are some really long stitches and some really really tiny ones! I have considered ripping out the really bad areas and redoing them, but I think I will actually keep it as it is, so that as I get better at FMQ I can see my progress by comparing it to this one. Also this quilt is for our guest room so it won't get used that often. Also, despite it's flaws, I'm still pretty proud of this one!

The next morning I ventured out into the world to get myself some more thread and some new bobbins. I may or may not have also ended up buying a book of quilt blocks while I was there! I got home and got straight on with it!

I whizzed through it as I was getting a bit more confident with moving the fabric. I realised at this point that as I moved the fabric around I was ducking my head around, up and down and to the side with each squiggle I drew. It really reminded me of playing on racing games on the xbox, as I am unable to stop myself turning the controller as I go round corners (it definitely helps you get round them better!)

And pretty soon it was all done! Hurrah! My first attempt at FMQ all finished and looking lovely! Now I won't let myself look at it too closely because it is so inconsistent, but I love it (from afar). 

Now all I had left to do was to trim off the excess background and wadding and get it binded! So I started trimming away and as I turned the quilt around to get at another side, tragedy struck! The open scissors in my hand caught the quilt right in the middle and cut a little V shape right through all three layers! I don't think I could have been more upset at this point, to go through all that hard work and ruin it simply by not thinking before I acted! I decided the only thing I could really do at this point was to satin stitch the hole closed. So now there is a satin stitched V right in the middle of my quilt! If this was a quilt that I was giving away I think I would have had a complete meltdown, as there's no way I would be able to give someone a quilt that I had ruined like that!

But anywho, there was no point in crying about it, the quilt still needed binding. I had chosen a light purple backing for this one so went for a darker purple binding, as it would pick out some of the colours in the quilt. So here it is, in all it's glory:

And here is the approval of the quilt inspector:

That looks like a thumbs up to me!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cutting out pieces

I've been pretty poorly for the last few days because naughty Muv has given me her cough. To normal people a cough is nothing much to worry about, but when you team it with ME/CFS it is an absolute misery. All my symptoms have flared up in a rather dramatic way so I have been spending a lot of time in bed in a lot of pain and unable to do much apart from nap and maybe read a book.

Luckily, before the cough reared it's ugly head, I managed to get a bit of quiltyness in! I've had the fabric for this one for a little while now and wasn't really sure what to do with them (apart from knowing who the quilt would eventually be for). I finally settled on quite a simple plan for this one. As there are four different prints in four different colours, I will make small squares out of 4 strips and then make those smaller squares into larger ones so that all 16 fabrics are included in each square.

It took quite a bit of maths for me to work out the size of the strips (when my brain isn't working due to the ME/CFS maths can be quite a struggle!) and I eventually settled on strips that were 1 3/4" wide and 5 1/2" long to make 5 1/2" squares when 4 are joined together. So I set about cutting them out. I had worked out I needed 36 strips of each fabric. In my calculations I had used 18" x 22" as the size of the fat quarters (information I found online somewhere). Unfortunately that included the selvage along one edge, so where I had worked out I could get 4 5 1/2" strips from the 22" long section, I could actually only get 3!

AAH! Panic set in at this point as I had cut out 2 whole pieces of fabric before I realised! I set it all aside for a while as I needed to have a think about what to do. I knew I could make 30 of the big squares instead of 36 but that would shrink the size of the quilt by quite a lot and I am determined not to make anymore quilts that are too short! Eventually I managed to work out that I could make the strips 1 5/8" wide and 5" long. So I got to work and soon had all the fabric cut into lovely little piles of strips ready to be sewn :)

I had bought the fabrics as bundles from Fabric Rehab but in the bundles there was a different print included in the purple pack than in all the others, so I had ordered another one of the sketch fabrics from them to try and get them all the same pattern. I wasn't really happy with it though as I had to get a pink one rather than purple as they didn't have it (which is obviously why there was a different one in the purple bundle). After I had cut them out I was looking around online and found a purple version of sketch at Backstitch and was overjoyed! I ordered it on the 18th and it arrived here on the 19th! Amazing service! They have lots of lovely fabric that I wish to own as well so I'm pretty sure I will be back there soon! I haven't yet cut out the purple sketch so the photo has the pink one rather than the purple.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Purple Quilt

When I finished this quilt, I was so proud of myself. I'd decided I wanted to do something a bit harder than just joining squares and rectangles together so I chose Half Square Triangles. After a lot of Googling to find a pattern I liked I came across the "Walkabout Quilt" and thought it was perfect! It looked reasonably simple and I went about drawing out my pattern. As I wanted it to be about the size of a double duvet I added an extra row of pieces all around the original design.

I then went down to the local fabric shop and bought up most of their purple and white fat quarters. The whites are all different white on white prints. I believe I ended up using 6 white fat quarters and 6 purple ones.

I then spent quite a while looking up how to make half square triangles and discovered there were many ways to do it. I couldn't work out how to make sure they would be the right size so ended up just guessing really! I used the method that makes 8 half square triangles out of each square of fabric shown here and as I only needed 16 of each fabric I only had to cut out 2 big squares from each colour of fabric. Pretty simple so far!

I had randomly purchased 2 metres of a beautiful purpley batik fabric from Doughtys (they have an awesome selection of batiks!) in a previous order and thought it would be perfect for the other squares. As I was kind of making it up as I went along I realised I needed to sew together all the HST squares to make them into arrows before I knew what size the plain squares needed to be. So pretty soon I had 24 lovely purple and white arrows piled up waiting for their batik squares. So I cut out 25 squares from the batik fabric (I can't actually remember what size they ended up being!).

I then used my special sticky fabric thingy to lay them all out and had pretty soon sewed it all together. I realised at this point that it would definitely need a border to make it a useable size. I got back online and ordered two different purples as I thought I wanted to do a lighter border and then a darker one round the edge of that. I also ordered the backing fabric at the same time in the darker purple (but they had it in extra wide so I didn't have to sew the backing together).

Once it all arrived I realised that the quilt would look far too busy with the two tone border so I plumped for just using the darker fabric. Unfortunately I had ordered the fabric based on using both, so when it came down to it I ended up with another quilt that isn't quite big enough even though I made the border a big as I could with the fabric that I had! I didn't realise about the size until I was finished quilting it though and thought I had just about managed to get it right!

As the hand quilting had gone so well the time before I decided to have another crack at it with this one. I decided to quilt 1/4" from the seams in the arrow squares with purple thread on the white sections and white thread on the purple sections. I wasn't really sure what to do with the batik squares until I stumbled across this template and thought it would be perfect! The template is great, the only slight problem I have now is storing it because the pieces don't like to stay together and ended up spread all over my box of quilting supplies!

I played around with different ways to mark the quilt top for quilting. For the arrow squares I used quilter's tape which worked out really well (although I did end up using more than one roll of it and I'd only purchased one in the first place so had to wait for delivery on another one!) and I liked that it didn't actually mark the quilt. For the wavy squares on the batik section I realised I would have to mark the quilt as I had no other way of doing it! I ended up using one of those blue water erasable quilt markers which did work out but I would definitely recommend testing that they do erase from your fabric before use.

For the border I thought I wanted to continue the wavy lines theme and had seen people online using a wavy line template for their border. I searched and searched online to try and find somewhere that sold the template in the UK. But it was all in vain, there was no template for me! So I ended up making my own template. It worked out a lot better than I expected to, although I did have several attempts at making the template! I started out trying to use a laminating pouch by putting it through the laminater and then cutting it out with a craft knife. This sort of worked but the plastic was very flimsy and floppy and I had basically printed out a picture of the template available in the USA and copied it. It ended up with very small waves that were too close together. I tried again doing it this way but just wasn't happy with the results. 

Whilst in the local fabric shop I noticed they were selling template plastic sheets with a grid printed on. I thought this could work so I bought a pack (I believe you get 2 in a pack) and headed home to fashion myself a template. Rather than using the print out I had already tried I decided to use the edge of the largest of the wavy squares templates. This worked really well and because the plastic had a grid on it I could make sure I had them evenly spaced. So I ended up with some lovely wavy lines all along the length of the border and wavy squares in the batik corner sections.

The quilting took maybe 3 - 4 weeks on this one as it was a bit more intense than my previous one but I love the way it turned out! I used Hobbs Heirloom 100% wool batting for this one as I wanted to try out something different (I had previously used 50% cotton 50% bamboo and 100% cotton). I actually really like the wool batting. I was really worried when I first opened the package as it looked like it would fall to pieces if I as much as blew on it, but I gave a soak in the tub before I used it and hung it out in the sun to dry and it survived that so I felt a bit better about it after I did that! I love the way the quilting stands out with this wadding. It makes it look almost puffy compared to the cotton and cotton/bamboo ones as they are so flat in comparison.

Lessons learned in the making of this quilt:
  •  Wool batting is actually rather nice and not at all scary!
  • Patterns can easily be adapted for whatever your needs
  • Hand quilting gets better and easier with time 
  • Template plastic is a pretty handy thing to have around

Friday, 14 March 2014

Free Motion Quilting Practice

So I managed to get a bit of practice in today free motion quilting. It didn't go all that well, but I did learn a few things along the way! For example, make sure you lower the presser foot before you start sewing, otherwise this happens:

As soon as I worked it out it all made sense why the sewing machine was making a hideous clunky grindy noise! So I put the presser foot down and all was well. It's kind of annoying that the free motion foot doesn't look any different when it is down to when it is up, so I may have made the same mistake again later on in the practice session! 

So I attempted to do a wood grain effect type thing but I'm not sure it looks right...I don't know what it is about it that I don't like but I think I will try a few other ways to do it before I do the real thing.

Maybe the lines need to be wavier than they are? I did this whole bit and then realised that I had forgotten to cover the feed dogs. I put the cover on to do the little "detail" parts and then the tension went all screwy so I don't like the way those bits look at all. 

I decided to have a play with the tension and do what I've seen on other blogs where you mark the fabric with the tension for each piece of sewing and ended up with this:

I think I'm probably going to end up having the tension between 3 and 4 as those are the ones that look the best.

One thing I really wished as I was doing all this was that I had one of those machines where you can program it to stop with the needle down. It would have made it so much easier!! Also I wish it had a speed control thingy so I could set it to a medium speed and it wouldn't matter if I accidentally pressed too hard on the foot pedal!

This took me about an hour to do so goodness knows how long the real thing will take me! Although I did have to mess about changing the presser foot over and then back again at the end so that Muv can use the sewing machine. I did also have to take the little metal plate thing off when I forgot to lower the presser foot (again) and ended up with a huge tangle stuck under it!

After I'd done I decided to take photos straight away so I wouldn't forget so I laid it out nicely on my bed and this happened:

So after I'd finished with the photos I folded it up and gave it to him as a pillow! At least he appreciates my efforts :)

Energy levels decimated

So I spent the whole of yesterday in bed, recovering from the day I spent making the Secret Project Quilt Top. I guess I got a little over excited making it and just couldn't stop. Looking back on it now, I should have stopped when I finished the quilt top at around lunchtime, but at the time it seemed super important to make those pillowcases and practice free motion quilting.

I'm feeling a little better today (still exhausted, but not completely incapable) so will hopefully have another practice at free motion quilting again this afternoon.

From the little practice I had the other day, I need to focus on tension, the speed I move the quilt sandwich and the speed the machine is pretty much everything you need to free motion quilt!

I was hoping to have a practice on another quilt top that I've made before doing the Secret Project Quilt but I don't think that going to happen now that the quilt top is made! I told you I'm not very patient!

So hopefully I'll be back later with some pictures of my free motion attempts! I think I'm going to go for stippling on the background area of the quilt and try a sort of wood grain effect for the main body...if I can manage it that is! We'll have to see how it goes!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Jigsaw Quilt

So Jigsaw Quilt was my second quilty creation and was made for my Sister, Tozzi (not her real name!). I made it using a Jelly Roll that I ordered online from Doughty's. I saw the Jelly Roll and thought it would be perfect for a quilt for her as it was beautiful rainbowy colours. It ended up being a lot less rainbowy than I imagined (not the jelly roll, the quilt!).

I had spent quite a while Googling "Jelly Roll Quilts" after it actually arrived because I was suddenly struck with the thought "What the hell am I going to do with this?". I stumbled across a lovely picture of a quilt that looked like it was made up of jigsaw pieces - I believe it can be found here - and decided to give that a go. 

As my first quilt hadn't involved any need to lay out the pieces (due to my lovely map) I wasn't sure where to start with deciding where things were going to go. I was having a casual browse at the local fabric shop and spotted a special sheet for laying out quilt pieces. I thought to myself "Why do I need a special sheet? I'll just use an old sheet from at home." Well that didn't go too well as I ended up crawling around the floor while the dog tried to bite my nose (If you are on the floor, you must be trying to play!). I think I laid out about 10 pieces before I gave up on that one!

I decided to head back to the shop and invest in the special sheet. I'm really glad I made that decision now as it means I can pack everything away when I run out of energy mid-sew and not worry that the dog will jump all over it and steal bits of fabric. I can't remember what it was called or who makes it but its basically a sheet of fabric that other fabrics will temporarily attach to without any need for pins or glue! It comes with a huge sheet of slightly waxy paper that you put over the fabrics before you fold it up (so you don't end up with fabrics stuck to the wrong side of the sheet when you unfold it!).

I laid out the strips and squares that I had made but couldn't really find a way to do it that I liked, so I ended up moving things around a lot (which was a lot easier with the sheet thingy on a double bed so the dog couldn't steal my nose!) and eventually gave up and folded it all away. When I came back to it several weeks later I decided that actually it looked ok apart from a few parts where there were samey colours together so I sorted that out and I had my layout!

It sewed together pretty quickly and with only a few errors along the way (sewing along the rows and putting things the wrong way up was the main issue I had!) and pretty soon I had myself a (rather small) quilt top. 

I then decided to try my hand at a border to make it a useable size. I didn't really plan the border other than "I want this quilt to be big", which may have been a mistake now that I look back on it! I happily sewed it on, not really knowing what I was doing. Once it was all done I popped it into the washing machine. I was horrified (how naive!) upon removing the quilt to find that the black border fabric had greyed all the beautiful rainbowy colours, and that all the oranges were now dingy brown! I was so upset! All that hard work and I'd ruined it simply by not prewashing!

After the heartbreak I set about making my "quilt sandwich". This was a lot trickier than with my first quilt, mainly because the first quilt is about the size of a long single duvet and this was more of a double bed size. So the quilt sandwich making involved clearing most of the furniture in our living room up to one end and crawling about (I am not a natural crawler!) all over the place to spray baste it.So eventually I finished up with all the crawling and the quilt sandwich was ready! Hurrah! 

Whilst pootling about on the internet I had found some quilting templates. I found one that reminded me of waves and thought it would be perfect for my border! What I didn't really think about when I bought it was how I was going to get this lovely looking stencil stitched nicely onto the quilt. As I had only ever machine quilted in (not so) straight lines I thought machine quilting would probably not be the answer to my conundrum, so I decided to hand quilt it.

The thought of hand quilting terrified me to start with, but naturally the wonderful world of quilty bloggers sorted me out on that one! Nothing to worry about! So I popped down to the shop and bought thimbles, needles, thread etc. and returned home to get stuck in. I decided to stitch in the ditch around all the puzzle pieces in the main part of the quilt. I set about trying to use the thimble I had bought. I didn't realise anything in the world could be as complicated as trying to use a thimble! My finger just couldn't get in the right place to actually use it so I gave up on that after many frustrated minutes! I spent quite a while looking it up online and still was none the wiser as to how it would actually work. Eventually I stumbled across a blog where the person had the same issue as me (weird fingers, maybe?) and they had eventually found one that they could use. "Hurrah!" I thought and eagerly clicked on the link. Only to find that it could only be bought from Australia. I looked around for a bit longer and eventually decided to just go for it and ordered the thimblelady thimble.

Now, I'm not a very patient person so I decided to carry on hand quilting the jigsaw pieces and hope that the thimble (and accompanying book on "how to hand quilt without pain") arrived before I got to the swirly waves on the border! The result of this is some very large, very wonky hand quilting around the puzzle pieces and it also resulted in a hell of a lot of pain in the muscle below my thumb! The thimble did indeed manage to arrive before I started on the waves and came with a practice pattern for me to try my new thimble out on. I'm very glad it came with the kit as I could see my hand quilting improving very rapidly as I completed it! I can't say that hand quilting is completely pain free with the thimblelady thimble, but there is no way I'd have managed the swirly waves as well as I did without it! 

I think the hand quilting took a couple of weeks to finish (it's very simple hand quilting). My next mistake was about to happen (obviously I didn't know it at the time) when I decided to trim the border down a bit to make the swirly pattern more central in the border. I trimmed off quite a bit and it turns out the quilt is now too short to keep my whole Sister warm at night, giving her either cold feet or cold shoulders. Very upsetting! But on the positive side, a lesson learned (or was it?)!

Lessons learned in the making of this quilt:
  • Prewash fabric!!!
  • Make the quilt to a specific size, and stick to it!
  • How to hand quilt

Secret Project Quilt Top Finished!

So, I received the fabric yesterday and got it straight in the wash (I have had some bad experiences where I haven't prewashed so realise this is a must now!). By the afternoon it had had a few hours hanging in the airing cupboard to dry and was ready to be ironed. So I stood and ironed all the fabrics - normally I hate ironing but there's something lovely about ironing a fresh new piece of fabric that's about to be turned into something awesome! Once it was ironed it seemed a shame to not start the cutting out so I went ahead. By around 8pm I had a few bits done and decided to call it a night.

I woke up early this morning because my room was too hot so decided to get on with it. By around lunchtime the quilt top was finished! Amazing! I made several mistakes along the way but everything worked out ok in the end!

I had quite a bit of fabric left so I decided to make some matching pillowcases to go with it.

I quite literally can't believe how awesome it all looks. And that I actually created it all!

I've decided to have a go at free motion quilting on this one and had a little practice this wasn't great but I shall do a lot more practice before I have a go at the real thing! I am tempted to pop down to the local fabric shop to get the wadding and backing but I worry that if I have that available to me, I won't be able to stop myself doing it for real!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

I'm Excited!

What is the cause of this excitement? The fabric for my secret project arrived today! It's gone straight in the wash so will hopefully be dry and ironed ready for tomorrow so I can finally make a start on it! Huzzah!

This is the second lot of fabric I have bought for this project, the first lot looked perfect when I ordered them online but when they arrived I was terribly disappointed as they just weren't right - what I had ordered as a dark blue fabric turned out to be a bright turquoise! And when I reveal the secret project you will understand that bright turquoise just wouldn't do. Luckily Muv decided that the turquoise would work for one of her projects so I didn't have to go through the annoyance of sending it back!

I then went online to Minerva Crafts and Fabrics who had helped me with enquiries previously and the sales staff couldn't have been more helpful. They checked the fabrics I enquired about and even sent me photos of them all on the table next to each other so I could be sure that they worked together. Fabulous service! 

I also received the background fabric today all the way from America. I wasn't expecting to receive it until around the 18th so I'm super excited to have it a week earlier! This also means it will be prewashed at the same time as the other fabric so I can plough right on through to the finish :)

Monday, 10 March 2014

Quilty Number One

As this was a finished product when I decided to start this blog, all photos are of the completed project. Hopefully any new projects I will remember to take pictures along the way!

Looking back on my first ever quilt now makes me realise how unprepared I was to enter the world of quilting! I had never heard of a rotary cutter, quilter's rulers or a walking foot and had very little knowledge of seam allowances. Hence my first quilt has many many imperfections. However, I love it. Simply because it is my first quilt (and it is rather beautiful despite it's flaws).

The quilt began it's early life when I stumbled across the website Fabric Rehab  and fell in love with many of the wonderful fabrics they sell. I purchased one of their fat quarter bundles and gleefully awaited it's arrival. After I placed the order I realised that they had an actual shop a mere 25 minutes away from me! Unfortunately due to my illness I have still not managed to visit the actual shop, but I live in hope that one day I will manage to trick one of my family members into taking me there! The fabric arrived really quickly and I quickly realised that these "fat quarters" weren't going to get me very far in making my first quilt! 

I spent a lot of time planning it, I drew myself a lovely colour coded map which was absolutely invaluable! Unfortunately I didn't think to use graph paper - that would have been far too easy! Once I had planned it I knew how many fat quarters I would need in the end and hurriedly ordered some more. If memory serves me correctly I ended up using 15 fat quarters in total (5 pink, 5 blue and 5 green).

As I had no idea what a rotary cutter and cutting mat were, I painstakingly drew around a cardboard template I had made to get 25 squares out of each fat quarter. I then sat and cut each of those squares out using a pretty blunt and painful pair of scissors (lesson learnt!). Once I had done that I had 15 lovely (and maybe slightly wonky) piles of fabric.

I followed my map and ended up with 25 strips of joined together squares. I wish I had learnt how important seam allowances are before that point, as when I joined the strips together there were an awful lot of places that should have joined but didn't! Although with the cutting out method I used, I'm not even sure seam allowances would have helped!

  So I joined the strips together and suddenly had myself a completed quilt top! Amazing! Then it struck me that I had absolutely no idea how to quilt it, or even what that meant! So I hopped onto Google and the wonderful quilty world helped me out! I discovered I needed a walking foot for my sewing machine, something called wadding, backing fabric and some binding. I quickly ordered my self a walking foot and got myself down to my local fabric shop (right in the village where I live, awesome!). Before I went I had read many many descriptions of different types of wadding, but still didn't really know what I wanted. I ended up going by feel and decided on the Sew Simple 50% cotton 50% bamboo wadding as it was the softest (and most expensive) one they had.

 I decided to machine quilt my first one as the thought of hand quilting made me want to be sick! I'm not much of a hand sewer and am not the most patient of people so thought this way would be quickest. So I got back onto Google to find out the easiest way to machine quilt. After a lot of reading I decided I would keep it simple and "stitch in the ditch". So I dutifully rolled my quilt up into a sausage and started stitching away.

I mostly managed to stay in the ditch but this was pretty difficult for me and I think I ended up doing everything a bit too fast and therefore it's not very accurate! I had decided on a purple binding as I didn't want to use any of the colours already in the quilt (might have been a weird decision now that I'm writing it down...) so I also used a purple quilting thread. It was a variegated thread but I don't think there was much need for that as you can't see any of it! I also plumped for a purpley pinky mottled backing fabric which reminded me of clouds at sunset.

I thought I would struggle with the binding as I'd never done it before but it was actually a breeze! I used a very helpful tutorial found here. I don't think I would have managed it half as well without it!

Lessons learned in the making of this quilt:
  • Buy a rotary cutter and quilt ruler(s)!
  • Use graph paper for quilt planning
  • Be more patient when using the sewing machine 
  • Make use of online tutorials

Sunday, 9 March 2014

First post :)

I am Sisty, a 25 year old from the UK.

I started making quilts a year ago because I was off sick from work due to a flare up of a very long term illness. I have had CFS/ME since I was 11 and have always managed to cope with everything life threw at me...until about 18 months ago when my body decided it wasn't having it anymore and decided to have a major crash. I guess with this illness, the more you push and push to get through it, the worse off you end up! I am currently at the worst I have ever been and am still off sick from work.

The only thing that gives me joy at the moment is quilting. I love how they come together from a pile of fabrics to create something that just makes me smile. It is also pretty handy that I get to sit down for a lot of the quilt making process (particularly hand quilting a humungous quilt!).
I also enjoy the piles of fabric I have hoarded in the past year. I would hate to think of the actual amount of money I have spent on all those piles of fabric..but I love them!

I have only made 4 quilts so far, my first was a very basic, just squares quilt which I machine quilted by stitching in the ditch. The second was a "jigsaw puzzle" quilt which I made for my Sister. The third is known as "Purple Quilt" and was my favourite creation...until I made the "Sunset" Quilt that was a Christmas present for my Sister-in-Law. I will add some photos of those quilts as soon as I work out how to! (This is my first ever blog so please bear with me while I learn how to do things!) I am currently working on a secret project that I am very excited about but will not be able to write much about it until the recipient has...well, received it!

Anyway, I intend to chronicle my quilt making escapades and hopefully include lots of handy hints along the way, as I have learnt pretty much all I know about quilting from other people's blogs and tutorials.