Thursday, December 29, 2011

QAYG Hexagons

This is Jack's quilt made in 2008.  It was designed to be used as a play rug on the floor.  Each hexagon has been cut from a 6.5 inch square using nesting hexagon templates from Kiwi Quilts.  It's a Quilt As You Go (QAYG) quilt.  Each hexagon has a same size batting hexagon and a larger backing fabric hexagon.  The backing fabric is folded over the front, then a wide decorative machine stitch in a contrasting colour thread sews the folded backing edge onto the front with batting.  The hexagons are joined with a ladder stitch also by machine.  Here's the other side with it's rainbow colour scheme:

Jack got heaps of use from this quilt; and then his sister Amelia used it as well. It reminds me of the poem "For Baby" by Nancy Riddell.

It's OK if you sit on your quilt.

It's OK if your bottle gets spilt.

If you swallow some air

And you burp, don't despair,

It's OK if you spit on your quilt.

There are scraps old and new on your quilt.

Put together for you on your quilt.

If your gums feel numb

'Cause your teeth haven't come,

It's OK if you chew on your quilt.

We expect you to lie on your quilt.

If you hurt, you may cry on your quilt.

On a cold rainy night,

Don't you fret; you're all right,

You'll be snug, warm and dry on your quilt.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Spy Evening Stars

Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville site is one of my favourite places to browse.  I like Bonnie's chatty style and her great patchwork ideas - she never seems to stop!

Recently in her blog Bonnie shares the progress of a new quilt for a baby boy.

The quilt starts with some novelty print 4.5 inch squares which become the centre of Evening Star blocks.

The blocks increase in number using 2.5 inch strips to make the flying geese and corner squares.

Now, if I was working with these nice bright blocks I would probably sash them with some nice neutral fabric to draw them altogether - but Bonnie is never neutral.

How's that!  I certainly wouldn't have thought of black and white checkerboard strips, but doesn't it look great!  I like the way the black and white extends into the multicolored border.

You can read all the details of this starry I Spy here, and here, and here.  Well done Bonnie - you've inspired us once again!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A UFO Bites the Dust

This is one of the first quilts I started when I began selling I Spy charms on eBay, so it must have begun about 2005. I started with 6.5 inch squares and arranged them in six groups of four.  I added a 2.5 inch pink block to one corner of each big square to make a snowball type corner.  The four blocks were sewn together, then a pink sashing added.
Next I sorted through my I Spy stash and found pieces that were at least 3.5 inches wide.  I sewed these pieces into strips and stashed the big blocks.
Then the mostly finished top went into a cupboard and sat for six years.  It was retrieved, I'm glad to say, when the new sewing machine arrived and I could quilt big quilts once more (the Singer Featherweight did have its limitations).

I still had the bright pink fabric stored with the top so that was fine.  I chose a light coloured print from the stash and sewed a corner square on each corner, then round the whole top with a 2.5 inch strip.  I added a pink corner and again went around the whole top.  The back was a bright print of waterfalls and flamingos, also from the stash, and there was enough pink to do the binding.
Yesterday I took the completed quilt to one of our local social care agencies to add to their stash of Christmas presents.  It took a while but the quilt will finally have a proper home.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

She Sells Seashells

I am pleased to announce that the winner of the fat quarters is Dee Soden.  Well done Dee, you'll have to let me know which two fat quarters you would like.

I was looking through some of my photos to find a quilt to decorate this post, and I came across my Summer quilt.  Now that it's summertime in Australia this is the topper on our own bed.  Hubby collects seashells so I made this shell themed quilt a few years ago.  Many people like to walk on the beach and pick up seashells, but a conchologist takes shell collecting to a whole new level. Our spare bedroom has floor to ceiling shelves with boxes full of categorised seashells.  The shell collection takes up almost as much room as my stash (but it is much more organised....)
Most children's I Spy quilts cover a wide range of objects, but it's fun to pick a theme and collect fabrics to suit.  An adult's quilt is more likely to be based on a theme like a hobby, sport or travel.  I have collections of chicken fabrics (for myself), cat fabrics (to make a quilt for my brother one day) and music fabrics (also for me).  Do you have collections?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Still looking for a winner....

Have you left a comment for a chance to win some fat quarters?  I made this little quilt from the Girly Parade print.  It's now a doll's blanket for granddaughter Amelia. The pink squares are 4.5 inches with flying geese made from 2.5 inch strips.  I like the way the same design elements make squares or stars.

So to be the winner - leave a comment on my blog answering the question, "When did you make your first I Spy quilt?"  The randomly chosen winner will receive two fat quarters - your choice - from the new fabric range from Australian designed twomonkeys fabrics.  Post a link to my blog from your blog and you'll get a another chance to win.
The competition closes on Monday evening 5th December. Which fat quarters will you choose?!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Time for a Give Away

Now that this new blog has a few postings it's time to get some followers.  Which can only mean one thing - time for a free giveaway!
These lovely prints are Australian designed from twomonkeys. I think they are just right for an I Spy but of course they can be used in any kid's project.  This quiltlet is made from 'Night Watch' using a Disappearing 9 patch.

I'm giving away two fat quarters from this range to the winner of the competition. To enter just comment on the question, "When did you make your first I Spy quilt?"  If you link the give away to your blog I'll give you a second chance to win. 
Which two fat quarters will you choose?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Talking Quilt

I bought a stack of old quilt magazines at a secondhand book sale. I was browsing through 'Country Quilts - Fall 1995' when I came across an article on 'The Talking Quilt'. It was an I Spy quilt made with 98 different novelty print charm squares. The author made square in a square blocks with each charm square, sashed with navy blue, and put the blocks on point with a wide border. It looked very nice, but the best part of the article was two pages of ideas for using charm squares.

Here's a few of the author's block ideas.   I used 6.5 inch charm squares that I sell at Two Bits Patches and made them up to 12 inch blocks.

Do you have a favourite pattern for a child's quilt? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Cobblestones / 9 patch

Log Cabin / Pieced Star

Square in a Square / Antique Tile.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Two Blues and Borders

This is another quilt from 2009.  The pattern is a bit of an optical illusion.  The blocks look slighty staggered but are quite square - well, as square as my occasionally slapdash piecing allows.  I thought the pattern would work well with my I Spy scraps. I used two blues as you can see and with some quick strip piecing and lots of prints I put this top together. Everything was from the stash, so it's a free quilt.

 I put three borders on the finished top. I did the sides first - dark blue, random novelty prints, then another dark blue. When the sides were finished I did the same borders on each end. It's the first time I've sewn borders properly - you know, measure across the centre of the quilt, average the results, blah, blah, blah. I usually attach a border and cut off the excess. I did it properly because I was added three borders. 

Now when I do borders I spread the top out on the lounge room floor.  Instead of measuring the centre and then measuring the fabric for the border I just lay the border fabric across the middle of the quilt and cut it to match.  Much faster!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Spy in the Pinks

I made this I Spy quilt, In the Pinks, early in 2009.  It's a really easy pattern. I used 24 6.5 inch I Spy prints for the centre of the blocks. The border for each block is 2.5 inch strips, 8 fat quarters are enough to do all the blocks.
I don't measure and cut the sashing pieces. I strip piece the blocks and sashings. I take a 2.5 inch strip and put one square on top, right sides together (of course) and sew.  When I get to the end of the first block I chose another block, place it behind the first block leaving a little gap and keep sewing.  If the strips are cut from fat quarters then 3 squares are sewn on each strip.
When I've filled up the first strip I chose another colour and sew squares onto it in the same way.  Take all the sewn units to the ironing board, press towards the sashing, then use ruler and rotaty cutter to divide the blocks.  Do the same thing with the opposite side of the I Spy square.
When you add the sides to the block you will only get two blocks attached to each strip.  When all the blocks are sashed you will have quite a few leftovers.  Don't put them away just yet!  Cut all the remaining strips into 2.5 inch squares and store them in a container labeled '2.5 inch squares'.  Then when you chose to make a scrap quilt you already have a box of useful squares.

I often quilt with diagonal lines, it's easier to ease the 'crossings' on the bias than on the straight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Spy a 4 patch at Quiltville is probably my favourite quilting site.  I have two of Bonnie Hunter's books.  I love her Scrap User's System and her Leaders and Enders Method.  This I Spy uses 4.5 inch novelty print squares and lengths of blue, orange and white fabric.  Bonnie's instructions are very clear and detailed; you can find them here.
This 4 patch is a great design.  I like the way you notice the white squares in lines, and then you focus on the orange squares... wait, blue squares too!  There is always motion as you keep looking - I've just discovered that the big squares seem to float above the rest...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Spy a Triple Treat

I finished making this I Spy quilt in time for Jack's 3rd birthday.  It ended up very bright and busy - just like Jack!  The blocks are made from 3 different sized squares - 2.5 inch, 3.5 inch and 6.5 inch.  The large squares, 15 in all, I chose carefully to reflect the things that Jack likes.  The smallest squares are a mix of I Spy and tone on tone fabrics in red, yellow, orange, blue and green.  I avoided purple and pink, this is definitely a quilt for a boy.
I made Triple Treat on my Singer 1950s Featherweight.  In fact, everything I've sewn in the last twelve months has been on this Singer. It runs like a charm.  Because this Singer is so small I used a Quilt As You Go (QAYG) method to quilt the single bed size quilt.  I enjoyed QAYG; it's so nice to finish the top and find the whole quilt is done.
And did Jack like his birthday present?  See for yourself!