Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WIP Wednesday

This week I have made a start on choosing some fabrics for my partner for the Love of Solids swap - this is what I have come up with so far:
 A rainbow of brights or cool blue/green tones with a splash of colour.......I have a few ideas in mind for the fabric selections.
 I also still have quite a few more solid fabrics left over from last years FLOS swap which I may add in as well.

 I made my first Swoon block today for my DSQ Daisy Mae Swoon..... and I have another cut out ready to sew up. 
Hope to get at least one block done each week now that the kids are back at school:)
Linking to Wip Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Monday, January 30, 2012

iphone/ipod pouches

I was cleaning up my computer the other day and I have realized that I hadn’t posted pics of the “little” extra items that I made to send with the mini quilts as part of the Denyse Schmidt Doll Quilt swap.
So I picked a couple of coordinating DSQ prints mainly using ones from here in Australia.....

  from the Picnic & Fairgrounds and Winding Roads ranges.
and made a couple of  ipod/iphone pouches using the pattern in Janelle Winds book Pieces Of Me as I had overseas partners whom were less likely to have a copy of the book themselves.
And speaking of DSQ fabrics, this is my lovely new spotty ironing board cover - I chose it because it matches the DS blue and green dots so well...anything that can make ironing more enjoyable must be good:) And I am going to be doing a lot of pressing once I get my Swoon started....................
Linking to Sew Modern Monday @ Canoe Ridge Creations and to Fabric Tuesday @ Quiltstory. (buttons in sidebar)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The mid-Winter stitching check in

FairyFace Designs

I joined in the Winter Stitching challenge with Sarah at Fairy Face designs  and it is now time for a review of how things are going so far:)

1. Finish my Amy Butler starflower quilt – check
 2. Sew a table runner for the Modern Christmas Table runner swap – check

3. Make a christmas decoration for the above swap too - check
 4. Make a quilt for a baby due early next year – in progress. 

5. Make a “plus” quilt with the DS fabrics – check
 6. Make a “Surf” themed quilt for my BIL and his wife - check
 7. Make a fabric basket or two for Christmas pressies - check
 8. Finish my "Quilt Process" mini quilt – no further progress!
  9. Make a quilt for my friend V who should be back visiting here over the holidays – check
 10. I would like to make a quilt with predominantly red and aqua as I really love this colour combo – in progress, a Sparkle Plenty quilt using some Ruby fabric leftover from the tote bag I made.
Round 2 for the Love of Solids swap - have signed up for this again and partner assigned last week - this is my mosaic:
 Other items done but not on the list: a quilted tote bag, mini starflower quilt, DS log cabin pillow, started a Mango tango quilt for the Tangerine Tango challenge, have fabrics ready to make a Swoon quilt, made a couple of "plus" table runners and wrote a tutorial on how I made them. 
At this stage I have done 7/10 and the rest are in progress so things are looking good so far - the kids are due to go back to school next week so I will probably have a better chance of sewing again!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beef and Mango Stir fry

It is summer here in Australia and our mango tree is usually filled with of ripe mangoes about now - but due to the huge amount of rainfall here last year, sadly we have none :(   
 We try to use up our mangoes (when we have bucket loads of them) by making Mango Chutney, and we also cook Beef and Mango Stirfry. We haven't had it for a while so my hubby bought a couple of mangoes to make this delicious stirfry to celebrate Chinese New Year yesterday:
1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and marinate the thinly sliced beef strips in the fridge for about an hour.
2.  Heat the sesame oil in a wok and add the beef strips - stir fry until browned. 
3. Mix the ingredients for the sauce and add to the beef, cooking until heated through. 
4. Add ginger and spring onion - you can also add snow peas, sliced carrot, broccoli, capsicum or other vegetables if you wish.
4. When the sauce thickens, add the mango slices and serve with rice.

Enjoy:) Linking to Debs "Tuesday at the Table" @ A Quilters Table where you will find some great recipes and stories.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Plus" Table Runner tutorial

I love modern designs for quilting and in particular the "Plus” pattern. There are very few seams to match so it is a great project for a beginner and is a very effective pattern that can be adapted to any size. So far, I have made a mini quilt and a larger quilt using this design but wanted to make a table runner for the Tangerine Tango challenge so thought I'd take photos as I went and try to write it up as a tutorial - so here goes..........
 I have seen quite a few Plus quilts made up using squares but I prefer to use squares and rectangles. This pattern uses 2.5 inch wide strips, so jelly rolls are suitable also. These are then cut in lengths of 2.5, 4.5 or 6.5 inches to make up the plus shapes. You can also use scraps as the longest piece needed is 11.5 x 2.5 (to make a "full" plus).
Note: All seams are ¼ inch seam.
So ,for a runner approximately 14.5 x 29 inches long - you will need 12 full plus pieces , 5 partial plus pieces (vertical), 2 partial plus pieces (horizontal) and 10 single squares.

1. For the 12 "full" plus pieces: cut an 11.5 x 2.5 strip of fabric then subcut into one 6.5 x 2.5 inch and two 2.5 x 2.5 squares.

2. For the 5 partial (vertical) plus pieces: cut a 9.5 x 2.5 strip then subcut into one 4.5 x 2.5 and two 2.5 x 2.5 squares.
3. For the 2 partial (horizontal) plus pieces: cut a 9 x 2.5 inch strip then subcut into one 6.5 x 2.5 and one 2.5 x 2.5 square
4. For the 10 single pieces: 2.5 x 2.5 squares (many of these can be cut from the same fabric or you can just use scraps)
5. Once all of the fabrics are cut, lay them out in the Plus design. 
6. You can also begin laying them out as a dot-dot-dash-dot-dot-dash across the rows but once the pattern is started it is much easier to see where the next pieces are to go, and then just fill in the gaps. Rearrange the pieces/colours until you find a pleasing arrangement .
7. Pin and sew the rows together – I find it quicker to do chain piecing as there are many small seams.
8. Once the 14 rows are sewn together, press the seams to the side in alternating rows right and left – this helps to get a nice flat finish at the end. I use a pin on one side to help me remember which way to press the seams.
9. When they are all pressed, sew the rows together keeping them in order and matching the seams as you pin and sew.
10. Press the seams to one side and trim up the edges of the runner to make sure the sides are even.
11. Cut a piece of wadding/batting to the same size or slightly larger than your runner. Lay your backing fabric right side facing down and smooth it over so it is nice and flat, and tape down the edges to hold it in place. Then lay the batting on top of this, smoothing it out also. Lastly, the runner is placed over the batting with the right side of the runner facing up. This forms the “sandwich” as the batting is sandwiched between the backing and the top.
12. You can then baste the runner – I use pins as it is only a small area but you can also use a spray to baste the three layers together.
13. Then, using a walking foot, quilt the runner in the manner of your choice. You could free motion quilt the entire runner but I outlined the design by quilting just on the inside of each Plus:
You may also just wish to do straight line quilting along each row approximately an 1/8 or a 1/4 of an inch either side of the seams like I did with the DSQ runner below:
14. Once it is quilted, you can trim the edges and bind the runner.  I prefer to machine stitch the binding on also as it is more durable, especially for items that are washed frequently such as runners and place mats. 
Then step back and admire your lovely table runner. You can also make your runner longer or wider for different table sizes by cutting larger pieces originally or by cutting more pieces and adding them to the layout - you just need to keep the length of the pieces in a 1:2:3 ratio adding an extra 1/4 inch to each side for seam allowances .
If you make a runner or something similar using this tutorial, I would love to see your projects so please leave me a link to your blog or flickr. Also if you have any questions please ask - thanks! 
Linking to Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations ,to Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory  ( buttons in sidebar) and to Tutorial Tuesday at  Lawson and Lottis

Lawson and Lotti


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Tigerlily Baby Swoon

Still swooning along here:)  Yesterday I made a practice swoon block firstly to see if I could actually sew one as I haven't made flying geese before! And secondly I want to cut the squares for the HST's out at 4 inches then trim them back to 3.5 inch once sewn so I needed to check that I could cut all of the pieces out of a FQ - which seemed fine.
I needed to make a baby quilt for some friends who are expecting early this year, and had just enough of this very cute Michale Miller Zoology print to make the centre square. I teamed it with some Prima Tigerlily and dark grey solids, then added a 4 inch border to the finished block.
 I wasn't sure how I was going to quilt it but remembered a mini swoon made by my friend Deb! She just did a big "X" though the centre and then echo quilted using the walking foot as a guide.
So I got started last night and got one quarter quilted before we watched the 4th Pirates movie -  love Captain Jack:)
 And I may have finally decided on fabrics for my Big Swoon now that I feel "safe" using FQ - I swapped some Aussie DSQ fabrics with a US friend last year and she sent me an 18 FQ set of Daisy Mae in return which I think will be perfect. I really seem to be on an orange kick so far this year:)
Linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tangerine Table Topper

This stack of fabrics has now become my first finished project for the Tangerine Tango challenge:
 I went with the modern "Plus" design as I love how it looks with a mix of fabrics. We were allowed to use one "other" colour so I chose the light aqua/minty shade which was in both the Joel Dewberry Heirloom Tile Flourish in Amber and the Amy Butler Love aqua and orange spots .
 The table runner is 14.5" wide x 29" inches long and I quilted just on the inside of each of the plusses so this is what it looks like on the back. 
 There are quite a few fabrics in this runner - Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, organic solids, Sandi Henderson, Denyse Schmidt, honeycomb dots to name a few -  but my favourite part is the square of Daiwabo elephants in the bottom right corner:)
I took lots of photos as I made this so I hope to have a tutorial coming up some time this week so check back soon.
Linking to Sew Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations,LIttle quilt Monday at Pieceful Life,
 and to Fabric Tuesday at Quiltstory.