Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tardis Quilt - Secret Project revealed!

At last, I am revealing the Secret Project!

This is my best quilt so far, I am SO amazed by how awesome it looks!

I decided to make this when I found the gorgeous background fabric while browsing an online fabric shop. I saw it and instantly thought "Dr Who!" Then I remembered a very lovely friend who had previously asked if I could make a Tardis quilt. At the time I think I'd only made one or two quilts so my response was "No way! That's far too hard!"

I decided to get Googling and found just a few Tardis quilts. I used parts of most of them for inspiration, but mostly I made the pattern up myself. It was actually pretty simple once I had armed myself with graph paper and coloured pens! My first draft was all out of proportion and would've left me with a very oddly sized quilt! So I started again and the second draft ended up being the quilt that I made!

I was a bit worried about how to do the sign on the door of the Tardis, and the Police Box sign.

In the end I found printable fabric for the sign, and used a google image to print it out. This took a considerable amount of time, because I needed an inkjet printer and our main printer is a laser. I ended up using our old printer that hadn't been used for many years. Turns out, that's because it needed an XP computer, and all of ours are Windows 7! Took me a long while to work that out though! Eventually I decided to try Muv's work laptop, which had XP. The printer started up straight away! However, as it hadn't been used for so long all the ink had dried up! I found one of those kits to refill the cartridges and proceeded to squirt some ink in there. After I'd made a fine mess and covered myself in ink, I attempted to print again, and HUZZAH! It worked! I was really nervous that the ink would just come straight out of the fabric, but I followed the instructions to soak it in water and it didn't colour the water at all! Amazing!

The Police Box sign was made using black fabric and Dylon white fabric paint. I made a template using freezer paper and a Google image of the sign, which I resized using Publisher. I couldn't believe how awesome it looked!

Police Box sign and all my pieces cut out and labelled!

At this point I didn't have any of the blue fabrics, but was desperate to get on with it! I had ordered some fabrics online and was really excited when the parcel arrived. However, when I opened the parcel they were completely wrong! I was devastated! I ended up emailing the lovely people at Minerva Crafts and Fabrics with my dilemma, they were more than happy to help and even had a Dr Who fan on hand to ask for her opinion! They sent me a photo of the fabrics I had suggested, along with a different one that they thought would work a bit better! And it certainly did! The fabrics were totally perfect!

Amazingly the quilt took just a morning to piece! I guess the nice big pieces helped with that! The hardest part was the borders around the panels that are on the door, because I'd never attempted a mitred corner before, but they went pretty well!

One mitred corner done, 5 to go!

I decided to FMQ this one, and wanted to try and make a wood grain effect pattern for the Tardis. It went a lot better than expected with only a few problems along the way (I'm not going to point out my mistakes, as that way you won't notice them!) 

Close up of the "wood grain effect" quilting

I then started to do a large stipple on the background. This is where I ran into MAJOR problems! The thread was breaking every 30 seconds or so, which was the most frustrating thing I have ever experienced while quilting! I did everything I could think of to try and solve it. I cleaned the lint out of the machine, I changed my needles, I re-threaded hundreds of times, but nothing made any difference! In the end I decided to try the thread I'd used for the Tardis body, which worked perfectly! So I had to rip out everything I'd already done! Argh! It took 4 hours to do the original quilting, 12 hours to rip it out, and 1 hour to quilt the entire thing with the new thread!

The disaster quilting! See those MASSIVE skipped stitches? Bleugh!

The replacement, easy breezy quilting!

So the only thing left to do was bind the quilt. I got that done with no problems and then popped it into the wash to get rid of the 505 basting spray and to be sure that there were no problems. It's a good thing I did because the Police Box sign decided that it didn't want the fabric paint anymore and large sections of it flaked off! I was distraught! I could only think that I hadn't heat set the paint well enough, so I spent a loooong time with the iron after I repainted it. Luckily that seemed to do the trick and it survived the next washing intact!

How upsetting is that!?!?!

So, it was ready to gift to the lovely Fanny! I wanted it to be a complete surprise so arranged for him to come and visit. I set it up on the guest bed that he would be staying in (along with the matching pillowcases). We got a lovely video of him discovering it, but it's a bit sweary so I won't post it!!

Here it is with the matching pillowcases (with a crack in the universe as well!)

Hope you like it :-)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Oh my, it's been a while!

I knew I hadn't posted for a while, but I had no idea it'd been this long! Terrible!

Anywho, I'm back now! And I certainly haven't been idle during these months!
The Secret Project has now been gifted so can be revealed! But that will be for another post. I'm hoping to do a tutorial for it, so that will take me a little while to prepare :-)
I tried my hand at English Paper Piecing, which was not something I had previously considered, because I'm not a huge fan of hand sewing...but my mind has officially been changed on that subject! 
I started the project around the start of June, because the lovely Jessie bought me the book "Hexa-go-go" for my birthday and I also got some free hexagon papers with Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. I decided to go for the Grandmother's Flower Garden type hexagon project and I am amazed at how lovely it is (If I do say so myself!)

Due to medication changes I have been mostly bed bound and unable to concentrate on machine work, so this was the perfect project for me at this time. It has been my constant companion for 3 months, and it was completed 2 days ago (quilting and all!) It was washed yesterday morning and is still hanging out to dry, but I'm SO excited to snuggle under it :-D
Annoyingly, I discovered (as I was doing one of the last bits of quilting) that one hexagon (out of 1,150ish) had the white on white fabric the wrong way up! So it's more of a white under white now. It was my favourite of the 7 white on white fabrics that were used in this quilt, which made me a bit sad. But hey, we all have our flaws, and now my lovely quilty does too!
I had no idea how I was going to finish the edges of this quilt, and for a while was intending to chop off the edges to make them square. I already knew I wasn't going to use bias binding, no way I was going to deal with all those mitred corners!! In the end, thanks to some help from the Quilting Board, I followed a wonderful tutorial by the blogger BadSkirt. It leaves the lovely hexie edges intact, and no bias binding to deal with. It took a long time, but I'm so glad I made the effort!

I also managed to attend the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. Muv and I decided to go for 2 day tickets so that we could do a couple of hours each day. I'm so glad we made that decision, the first day almost flattened me, so I doubled up my pain meds for the second day and it went a lot better! There were so many lovely quilts on display, and a huuuuuge amount of stalls! I got quite a few bits from the show. I found the perfect backing for my hexie quilt, the exact same bluey/purple batik that I had used on the front, but in extra wide! Awesome!
We found a lovely stall called Monkey Buttons, that had loads of beautiful bag patterns. We were hooked! I think we bought 5 patterns between us, and a couple of fabric packs to make the bags. I have made the "Kangaroo Bag" and I can't believe how professional it looks! It's not quite finished, but all I have to do is bind the inside seams, which shouldn't take too long! The fabric is so lovely as well, I believe it's linen, which had me a little concerned at first, but it was wonderful to work with and really suits the bag.

I also bought some templates for a storm at sea quilt, as that one has been on my bucket list for a while now! It's in the planning stages at the moment and I'm just amazed by the different looks that can be created by just making one little change. Awesome! I'm loving the design sheets available on the Paper Pieces website - so helpful!

I kept seeing the Sizzix Big Shot at the show, and was intrigued. I was able to see one being used and thought it looked pretty awesome! Muv's friend has lent me her machine that she uses for card making. I decided to buy an apple core die so that I could try it out. I didn't want any of the strips or just squares, because they seemed a bit boring! I can see how they would be useful in the future though! I was absolutely amazed at how quick it is to use! I cut out 108 apple cores in just 40 minutes! 

No way I could've done that by hand. Also, there was no pain at the end of it. I would've been in agony if I'd done it with a rotary cutter. The part that took the longest was working out the best way to fold the fabric to get the right cut, with the least amount of wastage. 

Now I'm trying to decide on the best layout for my apple cores, which is taking longer than I thought...or perhaps I'm just trying to put off my first attempt at curved piecing! Haha, I am looking forward to giving it a go though! I think my biggest obstacle is going to be pinning...I'm not a pinner, I'm a shove it through and hope kinda girl!

Remember my post about the Juki Exceed f400? Well...due to a very lovely Muv, I am now the proud owner of the Juki Exceed f600!!!! I call her Juki, she is just the most loveliest of beasts ever! It makes me a bit sad that I haven't been able to use her very much, due to the medication change, but I will get there! I feel we will bond over the apple cores :-)

Anyway, that was the condensed version of the last 3 months of my life, hope you enjoyed it :-)