confessions of a fabric obsessive

Tag Archives: Rainbow

Almost no sewing at all

This is just to update you all with my current status. I’m sure a few of you will have noticed there’s been a bit of a gap in my blogging recently. My other, non-sewing (teaching) life has temporarily taken over and will continue to dominate my waking hours for a while yet.

I’m very sad about the lack of fabric-y sewing goodness that is going on in my life as a whole, but on the other hand I’m working in a job I love that will (eventually) allow me to sew professionally too.

Not enough hours in the day to get enough sleep, never mind do fun stuff. I have loads of photos that I need to blog about, and so many sewing projects in the pipeline to tell you all about too.

I just need a ten day week, or perhaps a thirty hour day?

In the meantime, here’s a few photos to show you what I’m thinking of (when I get a chance to have non-teaching thoughts, that is):

My Spoonflower shop is doing well. I have a few collections of fabric designs including one collection completely created from my own photographs. I am regularly getting messages that this person or that person has bought one of my designs.

I am, as always, incredibly behind with my Craftsy Block of the Month.  I might get a chance to catch up around December when the college is closed. Maybe. If I do, you’ll be the first to know.

Quilt requests have been backing up.

I want/need to make one for myself as well.  Maybe over the summer holidays?

My WIPs list is so long, I despair. I’ll have to just pick one at random and sew till it’s finished over the Xmas break.

I can’t remember if I blogged about my day trip to the Fashion section of the Collections Resource Centre that belongs to Leicester Museums. I went with a group of other clothes-and-sewing-mad women and there were so many oooh’s and aaaah’s and oh wow’s ….

I know I haven’t shown you all the photos I took at my first trip to the Festival of Quilts (or have I?) at Birmingham’s NEC a little while ago. Maybe next year I’ll go for two days instead of just one. So many quilts, so little time…

The winner of the traditional quilts category at this year’s Festival of Quilts

I don’t make traditional quilts but I appreciate them like crazy…


Sew-less Claire Bear

At the moment I am loving:

WIPs on Wednesday (just)

It’s Wednesday but only just. It’s evening here in the UK, a lot later than I usually post my “WIPs on Wednesday”. I’ve had a busy couple of days as you will see, and I’ve been struggling to find time to write this.

Today you’re getting the story of just one WIP in particular.

The quilt for my new niece is now finished!

It started as a pile of fabric:

I was inspired by a load of quilts that I found all over the internet and pinned to one of my boards on Pintrest so that I wouldn’t forget them.

This is the Rainbow Stack of Coins quilt that I made for my first niece born last year:

that I have blogged about here. My sister-in-law told me at Xmas that my nine month old niece tucks a little bit of it under chin every night because the fleece backing is so soft. Ahhh.

I wanted to make another bright and colourful quilt that would still be useful as my newest niece (my sister’s child) grows up and hopefully be a much-loved lap quilt when she is an adult. I didn’t want to make an identical one because, well, where’s the fun in that?

I liked this one by Spotted Stone Studio on Flickr, but I’m not ready to curve my piecing yet.

 I’d seen this rail fence quilt on Ludlow Quilt and Sew

and wanted to do a huge version of the blocks in rainbow colours (just for a change). I also spotted this one on flickr:

and this basketweave pattern  (on a website selling wooden floors, but we can’t be fussy about where inspiration comes from, can we?)

So I drew out a plan:

and did some calculating. For this six block basketweave quilt, with each block 18 by 18 inches (the quilt would have been 3 ft by 4 1/2 ft which is a perfect size for a baby/lap quilt in my opinion), I worked out that the stripes would be just over an inch wide.

Waaaay too fiddly! I probably will recycle this design for a king-sized bed quilt at some point. The quilt could be just 4 blocks, each block can be 36 to 40 inches on each side, I’ll have fewer stripes so that each one is a lot wider.

Then I looked at some of my favourite zigzag quilts, like this one from Cluck Cluck Sew:

and realised that this one:

from Bee Squared doesn’t have any half-square triangles!!! I’m really nervous about machine-stitching on the bias, which is pretty much all you do when using HSTs.

Bee Squared has retired from blogging recently but has left her blog intact. She has a tutorial on how to make a zigzag quilt with half squares, but I didn’t notice it until I was putting together this post (d’oh!). Just seeing a completed quilt top using half squares instead of half triangles was enough (told you before, I am genius!) to spark the plan in my head.

Here is the initial sketch,  as you can see it all got a little confusing at the beginning:

I also drew out a final plan with numbered fabrics (you try cutting a gazillion different fabrics into 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch rectangles) and a cutting list before I realised that I could cheat a little with the cutting. Basically exactly what Bee’s tutorial would have shown me to do, if I’d slowed down and noticed it.

So I cut and I sewed and I ironed and I sewed some more and after about 12 hours (from getting the iron out before cutting, to taking this outside to photograph) this is what I had:

It was different working with tiny little pieces compared to the huge 8 by 10 inch pieces that I’d used for the previous quilt, my daughter’s quilt :

I then just (just!) needed to back it (with brushed cotton so it will be soft), quilt and bind it.

I made the binding myself because I already had the fabric I wanted to use. I found this tutorial over on Modern Quilt Love, which made it look really easy. This was the only tutorial I could find that made me brave enough to make my own binding. I’m glad I did, it came out exactly how I wanted it too and didn’t cost me any money because I already had the fabric (yes, I know, technically it cost me whatever I had paid for the fabric in the first place, but the point is I didn’t have to spend any extra money to get the binding I wanted, which was good because I’m broke at the moment).

Just to prove I made the binding myself, here it is at the just-been-cut-into-one-long-strip-and-needs-folding-and-ironing stage:

I used two half metres of spotty fabric, cut it into 2 inch strips (because that’s the widest ruler I have) and got 19 metres!!! The quilt only took about 8 metres, so I have well over 10 metres of very cool home-made bias binding left now 🙂

This tutorial by Bee Squared was a life saver.

You know the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”? This is that picture from Bee’s tutorial:

Oh, and here’s the finished quilt in all its glory:

I couldn’t stop looking at it all day yesterday after I’d finished it. This (as yet unnamed) quilt took six months of thinking about, a fortnight of design and planning (including my false start with the unworkable thin stripes on my original design), and 24 hours over 2 weeks to cut, stitch, quilt, bind and finish.

It’s now drying on the radiator. I always wash my quilts before I give them to their new owners. That way I can be confident about how they survive in the washing machine (this is a baby quilt after all, and is going to have something spilt on it at some point) and I can also make sure that the finished quilt is clean of all evidence of pricked fingers (pins attack me at every opportunity, just call me Claire-the-human-pin-cushion).

Quick snap taken at 10pm this evening of the new quilt drying, along with some of my children’s soft toys that I discovered during my recent clear out of the loft. Very dusty, they needed a trip through the washing machine too.

Not perfect, but the most ambitious quilt I have ever tried.

Very, very proud Claire Bear

More WIPs here

More quilts here

WIPs on Wednesday on Friday

My usual Wednesday WIPs are late this week due to a number of factors, upcoming Xmas chaos, internet connection issues, and the birth of my new niece on Saturday night!!

She’s lovely, and beautiful, and cute, and she (and my sister) is/are doing well, I can’t wait to see them both (well to see them all, my nephew is seriously cute and cuddly). She’s out of hospital and at home now, keeping her Mummy, Daddy and her big brother on their toes.

Consequently, I have been distracted from sewing. My to-do list has not progressed as much as I had planned. 

This personal upcycling project is still at the sewing-the-new-collar-on stage. I’m going to visit my parents over Xmas and will have loads of time to hand-stitch this, so I’m not stressing over it any more. I will post a photo of it when it’s finished and show you what I changed.

This cloak is still a pile of fabric in the corner, although it might get done over Xmas when normal stuff (like shopping and medical appointments) will be on hold.

This is the quilt I am making for my new niece. The two spotty fabrics at the bottom are going to be turned into binding. I only started on Sunday (the day after she was born) and I’m quite impressed with how much of this I’ve got done. It will be my first ever attempt at making bias binding, it may be my last. I’ll let you know how I do it and how it turns out.

Do you want to see how far I’ve got with the quilt top? Do you? Really?

Oh, alright then, here’s the quilt top so far;

(You might have spotted that I decided against the extra-large rail fence blocks that I was contemplating in my last blog.)

I’m really quite impressed with myself. This is only my third quilt ever and, granted, it took about 5 months to decide on colour and pattern but 10 hours of cutting, sewing and ironing has got it this far. It’s not perfect, not all of the corners match up properly, but I’m going to live with that. The top’s not finished, it’s got white sashing to go around the edges before I start quilting. Now that I’ve finally made up my mind about which fleece backing it’s going to have, all I have to do is quilt it (in the couple of days after Xmas), then try not to tear my hair out cutting and making the bias binding to bind it with.

In case you’re interested, it took 14 fat quarters of fabric (one fat quarter of each colour or pattern) and if you completely ignore the colours, the blocks make a two panel basketweave pattern. I may do a how-I-did-it/tutorial in the future, but I need to finish it first!

Back to sewing

happy Claire Bear

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