Thursday, 28 July 2011

Phew! I'm glad that week's over!

I have had such a busy week and it's been coupled with an awful virus that I, my sister and my brother-in-law have all caught. I am so glad it's over and I can get back to normal.

Last weekend we threw a hen night at big sister's house for one of her best friends. It was going to be Bollywood themed so we went to a Sari shop and bought some fabric to decorate the house. Who would have thought that a few yards of fabric and some printer paper are all you need to turn a conservatory into the Taj Mahal!

It was a fabulous evening but it took a day to recover - much too much tequila! 

Today is another friend's wedding and my mum has been working on making her a quilt for a wedding present for the past 6 months. Unfortunately a couple of stints in hospital and a terribly bad back prevented her from finishing it so I promised I would get it done. There were 6 blocks left to finish but I've managed to get it all sewn together and quilted in 3 days!

Colette and Damien (the lucky couple) live in New Zealand by the beach and mum designed this using beautiful batiks to go on their porch swing. I hope they enjoy it and spend plenty of evenings snuggled under it watching the sunset.

So between hen nights, weddings, viruses and job interviews I am pretty exhausted and ready for a nap. But you know what they say about idle hands... I'm going to get started on my fishy tea cosy!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

I gave in to temptation

I've been digging through my stash, pulling out fabrics to attempt my fish and monkey but this afternoon I had to drive my mum to the LQS to buy some batting for a rush job (that's another story!). I just couldn't resist rifling through the fabrics and found these beauties:

The scale fabric jumped out at me as being perfect for the fish's body and most of the others are from the same range. I just had to buy them. I hope it turns out as well as it looks in my head.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

WIP Wednesday

All the little half-square triangles have been matched up with their central squares to make 42 beautiful anvil blocks. 

I'm just debating how to put them together now. I spent a good hour laying them out on the living room floor last night and playing around with them. I originally planned to sash them and seeing them all together like this shows me that they're a little busy to be next to each other.

Due to the wonders of modern technology I've come up with a couple of layouts. The first is the above layout with 2" sashing between all the blocks. This was the original plan but I'm still not entirely happy. I think it's the lack of symmetry in the design. The second layout shows the same sashing but rotating every other block. For some reason this is a lot more pleasing to my eye so I think this is the one I'll go for. What do you think?

Other projects:
  • Neutral jelly roll bear paws - Still waiting to be basted and quilted. 
  • It's a hoot - Debating layout. Maybe I'll have to come up with something completely different
  • Hex-a-long - Fabric ordered, can't wait to start
  • Frosted window panes - Found the pattern, more to come!

Do fish have lips?

Another day, another 5 CVs sent out. Job hunting really is mind numbingly boring. I'm glad I have my quilting to keep me sane.

I finished all the blocks for the Strawberry Patch quilt this afternoon. It turns out the pressing wasn't so bad. The trimming, however, was an absolute nightmare! I spent hours and hours bent over the cutting board as you can probably tell by the large pile of trimmings left over.

I've laid all the blocks out on the floor (I really wish I had a design wall) and balanced all the different values of the prints but I'm going to have a little play on the computer to make some final decisions. Sashing or no? All blocks in the same direction or alternating? Border or no border?

On a completely different theme, I've had tea cosies on my mind for a while now. Remember this one I made for my mum for Christmas?

I kind of copied this one from a cosy I saw in a shop window but it got me thinking about other animals that might work. I did a little doodling in front of the TV, which leads me back to my random blog title: Do fish have lips?

Because that doesn't look quite right!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

My first keeper!

I am so happy to finally have a quilt of my own. Don't get me wrong, I love giving away my quilts but there's something thrilling about making one just for yourself. I finished my Verna quilt a week ago but I was delaying unpacking my uni boxes as long as possible and I didn't want to put in my room until I was done.

It came to the point when I realised I had to bite the bullet before Tiger claimed it for good.

A good 6 hours of tidying later and I felt I had a room fit for my lovely new quilt so here it is in all it's bed-adorning beauty.

I'm really glad that I went with the quilted motif instead of attempting FMQ. I need a lot more practice and I think I would have ruined my little pretty.

I can't wait to climb into bed tonight but I have 100 more half-square triangles to trim before that's allowed :( Back to the cutting board!

Friday, 15 July 2011

I've finally succumbed to the beautiful hexagon craze. I don't know whether I'll have the patience to do it all by myself so I'm joining in with Lily's Quilt's HEX-A-LONG.

I don't know which fabrics I'll use yet. I have this palette of Kaffe Fassett spots that I'm tempted to crack open.

I think I'll need some solids to go with them though otherwise it will be pretty migraine-tastic and that's the last thing I need at the moment! Hope you join in, the more the merrier.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

My plan for doing a colour way every evening didn't work out. Once I'd started cutting and piecing I just couldn't stop. It seems to be ages since I cut fabric, I've been so busy quilting tops I had lying around. So on Monday evening I finished the red colour way (apart from trimming)

And then last night I sat down to do the next batch... First I thought, well I might as well cut them all out so that I can just piece a few every night:

Then when I started sewing and I kept telling myself just a few more, just a couple more, oooh I wonder what the checks look like:

So now they're all done and chopped up and I now have an epic pressing session ahead of me. Time to find something good on the TV to watch while I do it:

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever

I have finally decided on a pattern for my Strawberry Fields quilt. It's another traditional block called Anvil. There seem to be a lot of different blocks going by this name here are a few that I've come across:


The block I'm going for is the first one. It requires lots of half square triangles so I guess I'm going to be an expert by the time I'm done. 10 triangles per block x 42 blocks = 420 half square triangles! I used some scraps to mock up a test block before I dared hack into my layer cake and I think it's turned out pretty well.

I've sliced into my layer cake and started with my triangles but I'm going to have to do a few at a time or I'll go insane. One of the nice things about working with Fig Tree Quilts lines is that they come in a number of different colour ways so I can do one colour per evening. Here go the reds!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Free motion failure

I think we can safely say I need a lot more practice at free motion before I attempt a quilt (and maybe some lessons from somebody who knows what on earth they are doing!). Here's my attempt in all it's crazy glory:

 Some explanation may help. I was trying to follow Leah's fantastic fee motion videos at but I'm obviously doing something wrong. This was my attempt at pebble quilting. Compare it to Leah's (mine's on the left as if you couldn't tell)

That was after a good couple of hours so that wasn't going anywhere quickly. Then I tried the paisley pattern:


She makes it look so easy but it really isn't! In the end I pulled out my trusty quilting templates and went with a basic flower motif in the centre of each block

I was chugging along well and then I found it more and more difficult to rotate the quilt at the points. I looked up and realised it was 2am and assumed my body must be telling me it was time for bed. However, when I stood up I discovered the real culprit:

Not helpful Tiger! It's all quilted up and I got half the binding done in front of the TV this evening. I'm going shopping tomorrow for interview outfits and then out to the cinema with some of the guys so maybe I'll get it finished on Sunday.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Backing choices

I'm pretty much unpacked now and everything that isn't is hidden in my room where no-one can see it so, therefore, doesn't count. While unpacking I pulled out my Verna quilt top. It's the first quilt I've made for myself and I think it's also the largest I've made at a whopping 7'8" x 6'4".

The only way I could take a picture of the whole thing is by hanging it from the curtain pole and doesn't it look beautiful with the light streaming through those lovely bright colours.

Here it is draped over the sofa so you can see what it really looks like. I can't find any Verna online to back it with, it all seems to be sold out. So I took a trip to The Fat Quarters to see if I could find anything to fall in love with. 

Tanya Whelan's new line, Darla, was on display just as I walked in the door and I fell straight in love with it. I really wanted to use this blue floral but it wasn't quite the right blue:

I do love it though so it may be making an appearance in  a later quilt. I went with a coordinating check in blue and lime which is an almost perfect colour match.

Time to get that bad boy layered up and quilted. I think I'm going to try pebble quilting in the cream boxes to contrast with the angular piecing. 

I've also been working on more jobs for my niece's 5th birthday tomorrow. Big sister wanted me to make some cupcakes  but I suggested cake pops รก la Bakerella. Mine won't be anywhere near as fancy as hers (I adore her Mr Potato Head ones!) but they will be very pink and sparkly. 

Step 1: bake a cake - done! 
Step 2: crumble it up, mix it with icing and form it into cake balls - done but very messy!

They're chilling in the fridge overnight ready for their pink candy coating and sparkles sometime today. I hope they turn out OK otherwise I'll be baking a lot of cupcakes overnight!