Friday, July 26, 2013

The Ultimate Villian

A day or two ago I suddenly had an urgent need to paper piece.  Even though it's been ages between visits, I figured I wouldn't need to start off small with some Tippencanoe blocks, oh no, I wanted to dive straight in with the baddiest of all baddies, Darth Vader.

Fabric pulled for Darth Vader quilt block

When I first saw this pattern, by Kristy of Quiet Play, I knew I had to make it for my cousin's Star Wars obsessed son.  At just 3.5 years old he's already a full bottle on all the characters and says of Darth Vader, his absolute favourite, "He's not all that bad".  Too cute!

As Mr 3.5 can be a fussy eater at times, I thought a special placemat may encourage him to sit at the table and at least try to have a few mouthfuls of dinner.  Well, anything is worth a shot, right?


I was super excited when I finished the binding on this baby - the whole thing looked pretty much like I had imagined.  That and I was just so glad it was finished because it was not a fun project for me.

Those following me on IG know I had at least one episode with the unpicker but, in all honesty, it was closer to 10.  Talk about frustrating!  I pieced the wrong pieces, I sewed over folds, I didn't have right sides together and I tried to use pieces that were too small.  I was just not feeling the paper piecing love, let me tell you!  At one point I even snipped my finger with the scissors.  Ok, ok, I did that twice.

THEN... I had a few issues lining the seams up (totally my stupidity, nothing to do with the pattern!) so Darth Vader has ended up with a few wrinkles between his eyes.  I figure that with the life he leads that was inevitable anyway.  ;)

QUILTED PLACEMAT - Darth Vader has wrinkles

For the quilting I decided on a random grid pattern, using some of the seams to start with and then going from there.  I've done this style before, on this quilt, and really like the look.


I also stitched around Darth himself, which you can see a bit better on the back.

QUILTED PLACEMAT - Darth Vader (back)

A spotty binding finished him off at 13.5" x 9.5".


Well... I thought he was finished but after pulling this out of the washing machine I noticed a small hole where the seam had pulled out.  ARGH!!!

QUILTED PLACEMAT - Darth Vader (hole)

Yes, I cursed.  Loudly.  More than once.  He is truly a bad, bad, bad man.  :(

So, dear readers, what do I do now?  How do I fix this?  Plan A is to scream, stomp on it and throw it in the bin.  Plan B is to glam Darth up with a pretty flower - but I have a feeling Mr 3.5 may object.  Any ideas for a Plan C?  Anyone?

HELP!  Please.  With a cherry on top.

Paper Piecing Party

Linking up with the Paper Piecing Party over at Kristy's house.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WIP - Browns, Blocks, Baddies and Bears

I have been super-dooper pre-occupied of late and, though that has had a negative effect on my blogging, the opposite can be said about my sewing.

Here's a quick overview of some of the things I've been working on of late -

Toffee Shards Quilt

I finished this quilt top weeks ago in preparation to link up to Le Challenge on July 15... but then I forgot.  Doh!

Toffee Shards - HST quilt top

Last month's theme was TOFFEE so I took my inspiration from images of toffee shards - hence the name.

I've since unpicked the quilting I started (stop groaning Mum), with the need to re-baste after my rather poor job initially.  I will get this one finished - and soon - to gift to a darling baby boy.  Watch this space. 

Churn Dash Blocks

For July, Rachel requested that all of us in the Care circle of do.good.stitches, make scrappy Churn Dash blocks.  I went a little crazy and whipped up three.




Please excuse the dodgy IG pics. I bundled these babies up before realising I hadn't taken "proper" photos.

Darth Vader

I've been planning to piece this bad dude ever since I saw Kristy's version, made from her free pattern (available here).  Oh yes, you read that correctly.  Free.


So... the pattern is printed and the fabrics have been pulled.  It will be interesting to see how long this takes me (to even start).  ;)

Bear Paw Quilt

I've gone Bear Paw crazy and have now completed 23 blocks out of 25.  Whoop!


Unfortunately the final two reds are proving difficult as I hunt for the perfect shades, with the probably ridiculous hope of some not-too-pink tone-on-tone fabrics.  The search continues.
Of course, the other projects on my FAL list for this quarter have also been playing quite heavily on my mind.  I may just have to get a move on with those soon.  That donkey will not quilt itself!  ;)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. Stop by and say hello to the gang.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sweet Pouch Swap

I may still be in the midst of Stephanie's Triple Zip Pouch Swap but that didn't stop me in the slightest from signing up to Alyce's Sweet Pouch Swap.  Lucky I didn't hesitate, too, as sign ups closed after just 5 hours - as 100 people had already registered their interest.  Talk about popular.

So, I am thankful I got in quickly and am able to take part.  Yay!

This swap is a bit different for me as it is completely open and therefore allows me to converse with my partner to pinpoint her exact likes and dislikes.  No guesswork needed here.  I have been partnered with Yvette from Knoxville, TN who is actually Australian-born so might already have an idea of the sweet treats she'd like to receive (???).

Before that we get to that point, though, I've made another little mosaic to give Yvette an idea of my own loves.

MOSAIC - Sweet Pouch Swap, Round 2, 2013

I hope that gives you some idea, Yvette, but feel free to shoot a million questions my way, if need be.

Until then... I'm heading off to take some pics of what I've been working on of late.  I figure that I need to prove that my pre-occupation and lack of blogging has not meant a lack of sewing.  ;)

See you all for WIP Wednesday tomorrow.  :) 


Thursday, July 11, 2013

FAL - 3rd Quarter Here I Come

she can quilt

I am excited to be linking up for my first ever Finish-A-Long.  I am definitely the type of person who needs help & motivation from an outside source to keep me on track - so this idea of just narrowing things down to a few projects to work on over 3 months is perfect.

Saying that, though, as I know other, new, must-do-right-this-second projects will pop up along the way, I've tried to keep my list realistic and just limited to four special (to me) quilts. 

In no particular order may I present:

The Donkey Quilt

HST Donkey Quilt, in progress
Blogged here

I LOVE this little guy.  Unfortunately he has sat in my WIP pile for far too long.  I want, no, correction, need to see him finished.

Shiver Me Timbers

Jolly Roger Pirate quilt top
Blogged here

My pirate quilt top hasn't been hanging around that long but I do want to see it finished and lovingly used as soon as possible, before our winter is over.

Tippecanoe Cushion cum Quilt

Tippencanoe quilt blocks, 3x3, March 2013
Blogged here

These Tippecanoe blocks have held a special place in my heart for a while now.  I love the look of them sooo much I somehow managed to get talked into increasing this proposed cushion cover into a whole quilt.  Um... ok.  I've actually done a few more blocks since this photo was taken but I still have a ways to go.  And don't even ask how I'm thinking I'll actually quilt this baby.  I have absolutely no idea.

Bear Paws Quilt

QUILT BLOCKS - Bear Paws in orange
Blogged here

Another newby, this one can't be ignored because it is too much fun.  Plus I already have most of the pieces cut and the backing fabric ready and waiting so have no real excuse not to get it done.

Well, that's my list for the 3rd quarter.  Fingers crossed I can make a real dent in these projects before October.

Are you playing along too? Link ups close on the 15th - so get in quick.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Zip It Real Good

As regular readers know, I signed up for Stephanie's Triple-Zip Pouch Swap and, exciting news, yesterday I received my partner's details so stalking has begun.  Yippee!!

Triple-Zip Pouch Swap

Before I get too carried away with that, though, I thought it best to have a trial run so I downloaded the Triple-Zip Pouch tutorial by the amazing Debbie of A Quilter's Table and got a-cutting.

There are soooo many gorgeous fabric and colour combinations of triple-zip pouches out there but I opted for something simple (and available) and went with solid purples, ombre style.

Preparing for a practice run, ombre style #triplezip #triplezipswap

Thanks to Debbie's great tutorial, it all came together quickly and easily (not taking into account my own slackness).

When it comes to zips I prefer to sew quite closely to the teeth - so that the tape on the sides isn't too visible.  This can mean that my seam allowance is >1/4" so I ended up re-cutting the two lighter purples so that they were 1 3/4" wide rather than the suggested 1 1/4".  I cut all the other pieces exactly per Debbie's instructions.

Oh, and sewing so close to the zip may or may not result in a needle - finger injury.  Or so I hear.  Ahem.

For the final step I turned to this tutorial for an alternative ending (with pics) - and it worked like a treat.


Here she is in all her finished glory.  I think that the ombre look turned out really well.  It would look amazing in pinks.  Or blues.  Or greens.


As you can see, I somehow managed to sew over the zips on the left-hand side - whereas the right is as it should be.  Hmm.  I also need to work on popping those corners out so it doesn't end up so... crappy.  Never fear, dear partner... I will perfect it.   :)


The lining is a sweet paisley, left over from this quilt.  I still love it.


I've been meaning to make one of these pouches ever since I saw them explode all over the Blogosphere so I was thrilled to finally have an excuse to give it a go.  I'm really happy with the final result (regardless of the oopsies) and will definitely be making myself more of these!

Until then, though, I really should think about my partner.  I have started playing with fabrics and have so far pulled these options.  What do you think?  Obviously I'm hoping that my secret partner has a say but comments or suggestions from you all would be much appreciated.

Triple Zip Pouch Swap - option 1
Option 1

Triple Zip Pouch Swap - option 2
Option 2

Thanks!  I'm off to continue stalking and pulling fabrics.


On a side note - jump onto IG and share a pic of your sewing space as it is right now.  Use hashtag #sewingspaceshame.  Let's keep it real - and, no doubt, have a giggle!  I have a feeling that I'm not the only... err... messy one.   :)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Triple-Zip Pouch Swap

The lovely and talented Stephanie from Quarter Incher is hosting a Triple-Zip Pouch Swap and I've just jumped on board.  Are you playing along too?

For my secret partner's benefit, here is my mosaic.

MOSAIC - Triple Zip Pouch Swap 2013

I've included a variety of makes, not just zip pouches, to showcase my preferences in design, style and colour combinations.  I love brights and moderns, geometric prints and solids.  Please, dear partner, no batiks or reproduction fabric.

I hope that is enough to get the wheels turning.  I can't wait to see what lovely pouch I receive.

If you'd like to join in the fun - sign ups close this Saturday so be quick! After that we'll all be assigned our partners and the stalking can begin.  Fun!!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Guest Blogging

Le Challenge

I'm posting over on the Le Challenge blog today... so please pop over to check it out.  Only 2 weeks left til the linky party so it's time to get inspired!