Countdown

Friends used to ask me how I manage to find time to create and blog with two little boys in the house keeping me busy and I have to say that it was never really a problem. I sewed at night, grabbed computer time when I could during the day and just like that I got it all done. That was the time when I used to blog frequently. When I used to spend time each day catching up on the blogs I follow with Bloglovin. When I used to post to Instagram and facebook. But lately it feels like I do none of those things. My blog is rather neglected, my Bloglovin feed features hundreds of unread posts and both Instagram and facebook are strangely quiet. The only one constant, now in the background, is that I continue to create.

I have not been sharing but I think it’s time I made a serious effort to change all that. The year is drawing to a close and many of you, I’m sure, are in the midst of a last minute rush to get presents or home decor items finished in time for the festive season. I must admit that I am, for the most part, fairly organised and so as we countdown these final few weeks of the year I am going to use the time to do my best to share once more.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins Today I’m going to start with my “Acid Star” quilt. This quilt resulted from a single big block top that I had pulled from my UFO pile a couple of months ago. At 48” square the single block top was originally made as part of the Star Surround Quilt Along hosted by Melissa from happy Quilting back in 2013. My original plan was to make a single block light throw quilt for the sofa but as soon as I pulled it I knew I wanted to make it a bit bigger and more versatile. After playing around in the only design space available to me – the garden – I quickly added a couple of borders and made it up to a more practical 68” square.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and Pins

Back when I made the original top I had purchased some Calypso Frogs fabric by Ro Gregg for Paintbrush Studio fabric that I had intended to back the quilt with. Thankfully I had purchased enough yardage to still allow me to use the fabric for my larger version of the quilt.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI had a packet of Quilter’s Dream wool batting in my stash that I was eager to try out and as luck would have it was just the perfect size for this project. The only one problem that remained was finding space to base the quilt. Our house is small so there wasn’t a single room with the free floor space to baste a quilt of that size so out to the garden I went once more. I set up one of our picnic tables, got out some clamps and set to spray basting it section by section on the table top.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsFrom the minute I first lifted the basted quilt I was in love with the drape and feel of the quilt and I knew that I wanted to keep the quilting light to retain as much of the drape and loft as I could. I opted to simply echo quilting the various sections of the quilt with Aurifil threads in matching colours.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsI finished the quilt using V & Co’s Simply Color lime green ombre fabric for the binding, yet another stash find. It really pulls the design together perfectly and adds that extra pop of colour at the edges that, I think, really helps give the central star surround design some extra pop.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsThis is my biggest finish to date, and surprisingly it is also one of my favourites. I say surprisingly because the original top left me uninspired, I fell out of love with it as I was making it and I think that is why it languished in my UFO pile for so long. The addition of the borders, the bright and fun background print, the drape, the warmth… all of these things have added so much to this quilt that now it brings a great big smile to my face each and every day.

"Acid Star" star surround quilt | Mud, Pies and PinsGiven how quick this quilt was to originally make (one evening) and finally finish (one day) there is a part of me that is feeling guilty that I did not finish it a lot sooner. That said, there is also part of me that knows that, had I done so, I may not have been as happy with the finished result as I am now. Time works wonders and in this case it most defintiely gave me the experience and knowledge to let me take something I deemed imperfect and transform it into somethign I could not have previously imagined.

Broken Herringbone Tops

The MSBHQAL quilt along has drawn to a close and it’s time to link up finished quilts (and quilt tops) over on Molli Sparkles. I wish I could say my quilts were finished but unfortunately they haven’t progressed at all over the past few weeks.

The first top is finished. I’ve decided that this quilt will be called “Splintered Panes” as it reminds me so much of a stained glass panel.

MSBHQALtop1The second top “Odd one Out” remains as a single (mis-pieced) block and a pile of strips only partially sewn together.

brokenbhI realised as I started to piece the strips that I would not have enough of the marine fabric I was using as sashing and although it was promptly ordered over a month ago there were some unforseen shipping delays and the fabric only arrived late last week. With any luck I’ll get a good run at this second top during the next week or two and then I will finally sit down to some basting and quilting.

Crochet and Quilts: WiP Wednesday

Last week I shared the first of my festive strawberries, or should I say my Christmas ornaments in the making.

OrnamenthangSince then I’ve been picking up my crochet hook when I have a few minutes to spare and have been churning out lots of new snowflake tops. I am going to make use of the Ho-Ho-Ho, Let it Snow charm pack in my stash to start on some bodies for these, and I have a couple more festive fabrics on the way that I am looking forward to using as well.

Ornamenttops

I have finally made good progress on my MSBHQAL quilts. The first top is finished and ready for some quilting.

MSBHQALtop1

I’ve been slow to get started on this as it means taking out my Singer and as I have several other smaller projects on the go at the moment and I am keen to see them finished first so I have a bit more space to work with. Space is something I will definitely need because I have a few other quilt tops ready to quilt including my “Insert Retro” quilt and the single block Star Surround quilt I made as part of the recent quilt along over on Happy Quilting. It still needs a name so if anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

StarSurrtop

Before I start quilting I would also like to finish the second MSBHQAL quilt top that I have in the making. This one, which I have already named “Odd One Out”, will feature the broken test block I made at the start of the quilt along. It will also be a nine patch quilt and I have the fabrics for the remaining eight blocks cut and all ready to sew. They will be transformed into blocks later in the week when I know I will have a few hours to sit down and motor through them all.

MSBHQALtop2cut

Remember those smaller projects I mentioned earlier, well a couple of those feature some beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn from Very Berry Fabrics. More about those later in the week when they are finished, but for now here’s a little sneak peak.

LibertysneakLinking up with Lee over at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday. Hope to see you there.

Rip, Re-sew then Rinse, Repeat

I’m happy to say that I have finally finished the top of my “Sea of Pearls” Quilt, my variation on the String of Pearls Quilt that I am making for Christa’s Quilt Along. I must admit though that the last few days of sewing have not been without their trials and tribulations. I pieced the top, then pressed the top and when I finally managed to clear just enough toys out of the way to let me phototgraph the top…

CQATop1… I realised I had made a mistake. Somehow despite lots of checking and rechecking I had managed to mix up the third and fifth strings of pearls. I suppose it was the fact that they both started with the combination green, blue, yellow. I just didn’t check which green, blue and yellow. So out came the trusty seam ripper, the offending rows were ripped out and sewn in place properly. Except they weren’t. Somehow, despite lots of pinning, I managed to end up with row 5 completely out of line with the rows above it. One big mug of tea, lots more seam ripping, bobbin filling and resewing and I finally got it right.

CQATopI am very happy with how this top has turned out. I changed the pattern a bit so that it could be pieced in strips rather than blocks and am more than happy with how that has worked.

CQABlocksAnd I think that my little man is more than happy with the quilt top too, and especially with all the “hisch” he can find swimming about.

CQAAdmire

Stringing Pearls and Breaking Herringbones: WiP Wednesday

Last June I cut into some Stonehenge Undersea Adventure line by Linda Luduvico for Northcott fabrics with a view to starting “Sea of Pearls”, my variation on the String of Pearls Quilt that I intended on making as part of Christa’s Quilt Along.

CQA2And there my progress stalled. I was waiting on my chosen solids to arrive in the post but when they did arrive I had some more urgent projects (bridesmaids dresses) to keep me busy. Then there were holidays and before I knew it the summer had flown by, September had arrived and my undersea pearls remained very much unstrung.

cutpearlsNot for much longer! Monday saw me slicing and dicing.

CutdoneBy evening I was adding the first borders to my undersea pearls. Tuesday saw me drawn to my machine every chance I got as I finished piecing the pearls and strings and got ready for some stringing.

pearlstopieceI used EQ7 to play around with some fabric layouts till I found one I was happy with and by evening I had started stringing away. I must admit to cheating a bit at this stage. To cut down on sewing time, the amount of matching I would have to so and the number of seams in the final quilt I opted to use solid blocks for the strings between the pearls and to sew the quilt in rows rather than splitting the strings and sewing it as blocks as Christa had intended.

pearls2 pearls1I’m over the moon with the progress I have made on this quilt in just two days. The first two rows of pearls are complete and everything I had hoped they would be. I am really looking forward to seeing the quilt top finished later today or tomorrow.

While I was at the cutting mat on Monday I decided to cut up some undersea scraps to trial piece a broken herringbone block. The fabulous Molli Sparkles has just started the Molli Sparkles Broken Herringbone Quilt Along (MSBHQAL) and that is one quilt along I don’t intend to miss.

I’ve trialed the block and can honestly say mine is a broken broken herringbone block! It all started off wonderfully but when it came time to trim the block for the first time I lined it up at the wrong point and things went a little pear shaped after that. Not to make the exercise a total waste of time and fabric I kept piecing and salvaged a usuable block from my mistake.

brokenbhI now know how to properly line up and trim the block and I’ve also learned a lot about how the colour placement works, especially when it comes to working with directional prints. This block may be a little broken but I still say it has been a success.

Linking up with the Molli Sparkles hijacked Work in Progress Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced. Hope to see you there.