Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My Workroom

"Workroom" is a bit of a grand name for where I do my quilting.  It is in fact the spare room/young man's change room/storage space/book room/access to the cat run.  It is the converted garage of our house and is rather tastefully decked out in a lot of pine so it has the nickname "sauna room".  For a couple of years though it has been my sewing room too and I have been fortunate enough to have the support of a loving husband who has helped me to equip it with my beloved Bernina and way too much Ikea furniture.  First came the bookcases which are hidden behind a white flannel covering to create my design wall, then the sewing table and lamp and now my storage system complete with patchwork boxes!
That gigantic storage system is now holding all of my fabric stash organised into colour families and themes, boxes of scraps (which still need proper sorting) and WIPs (of which I have more than I realised - still, you can never be without a half finished quilt can you?) 
There are still bags of baby clothes and other baby paraphernalia to go to loving homes or the shed but for now it is a huge improvement on what it was like before.  I should have taken a before picture to show how much better this is but that would have been embarrassing :). 
I can see much washing of fabric I had no room to store, reviving of semi completed projects and hours of playing with my that I have the breathing space in there.

Saturday, 13 April 2013


It has been quite some time since my last post as it has been a bit of a slow start to the year when it comes to finishing off projects.  I am guessing now the chill of Autumn is in the air that might change!  Currently I have a number of quilts in progress on the go at various stages of completion and of course hundreds of ideas floating in my head!  Not to mention the piles of fat quarters, scraps and yardage gathering in my workspace with ideas of their own....

However for now there is one more completed quilt, finished because of said chill in the air and also because it is a project close to my heart.  My little boy moved into his big boy bed and a while ago I promised a larger big boy bed topper to mark the occasion.  Also it will hopefully make a perfect snuggle quilt for the sofa when it gets really chilly while watching playschool. :)

There was a slight sense of urgency for me because I feel he is growing up just so quickly and I am not sure how long his interest in Spot the dog will last!  Fortunately he seems to like his new quilt so he is still my little boy and not outgrown it before it was even finished....

The centre is a panel, which I managed to pick up on sale, along with the Spot border material.  As they were end of line I didn't have quite as much of the border as I would have liked so had to, as Tim Gunn would say, "make it work".  Also while I do like using coordinates from the same range, you can have too much of a good thing, leading to a quilt design which is potentially a bit flat, so of course I had to have a rummage in my boxes.  I was particularly excited to excavate the red 1930's retro bone material!  It made the perfect foil to the green.  The corner blocks helped make the Spot border material make it around the quilt.

 Piecing this quilt was fairly straightforward - centre panel, two borders and corner blocks.  Quilting however left me a little unsure this time due to the large expanse of the centre piece so it sat for some time sandwiched, with the borders ditch stitched, in my workspace.  I didn't want to quilt over the images but also needed to ensure the quilting was dense enough for regular washing and toddler wear and tear.  I finally bit the bullet and tried my first free motion quilting...

I like the zen and regularity of straight line quilting and am really getting into trying different straight line techniques but free motion has always left me feeling a bit lost.  Stippling certainly makes me freeze up.  However, I wanted to experiment and try something new and as this was a project for my little boy I felt I could.  I chose to repeat the start motif and keep it fairly free in design, making the stars the size required to pretty much fill the negative space behind the pictures.  After a bit of warming up on some scraps and some more stalled attempts with just the darning foot I admitted I needed my flashy little stitch regulator that came with my Bernina.  I was a bit skeptical about how useful it would be but I ate my words.  Perfect stitch tension and length if not perfect star shapes!  I have included the close up here as they are fairly hard to see from a distance, which probably isn't a bad thing and certainly knowing this gave me the confidence to press on and not worry so much about perfection. :)  By the end I was enjoying myself enough to add a star to each corner block too!

The backing is a single piece of spotty quilting flannel, which is beautifully soft and has great flop.  The binding is a simple yellow and white spot. 

That was quite a post for such a simple, fun little quilt - I must be missing blogging!