Spotlight have had 30% off all fabrics over the few days between Christmas and New Year. Of course I had to go check it out and of course I found some fabric I had to have, though dressmaking fabric, rather than quilting fabric. I’m quite looking forward to getting stuck into some garment sewing but needed to get the charm top out of the way to clear the workspace.
Finished but for a little more Pressing
Today I managed to both name our new canoe in a moving ceremony at Lilydale Lake (well, in a ceremony anyway) and finish my MYO charm top. Along the way I learned a new trick that reduces the likelihood of messing up a planned row between the table and the sewing machine, something that has been an ongoing challenge for me.
Basically, you put one safety pin in the block to the far left, two in the block to the far right, and then you work inwards until it’s time to join the two components of the row. You can string piece right up to the last join and it’s been working well for me. I can’t imagine that others haven’t also used this approach but this time I came up with it myself rather than reading it on someone else’s blog.
I made a video to show you the technique but it seems WordPress want me to pay for an upgrade before I can show it to you directly, so that will have to wait for now.
I found the backing fabric for the charm top at Spotlight, too and have decided to take this one to the professional quilter after all, to get it off my ‘to do’ list and onto hers.
I’ve been inspired lately by a couple of our fellow bloggers who have made lovely quilts out of charm squares. I’d link to their posts but, sadly, I can’t remember where they were.
Sewing squares together is not usually my thing, but I liked the look of what I saw and I’m trying to get more into doing my own (simple, straight line) quilting so I thought I’d make my own lap sized quilt out of squares.
Why buy when you can make?
Being a rugged individualist (or perhaps just to save money) I decided to make my own charm squares. I cut them at four inches square to accommodate the maximum quilting width recommended for the Hobbs Heirloom batting I plan to use. To explain that, my plan is to quilt it using the seams as a guide, quilting about 1cm away from each seam. (Staying in the ditch is too difficult, I’ve found.) I also liked the idea of working with a slightly smaller square than the standard five inch commercial offering, for aesthetic reasons.
Crazy Mom Quilts says that a nice lap size quilt is 60″ x 72″. For those of you who think metric, that’s roughly 150cm by 180cm. My quilt will be smaller because I ran out of fabric but I’m including the link because I found it to be a useful reference.
Three of the fabric designs are somehow related to the wonderful Victoria & Albert Museum and bear their copyright and I’m curious about the link to what might just be my favourite museum in the whole, wide world. One fabric was already in my stash and I used a Prisma plain homespun to break up the patterns with a solid. I’ll use the Prisma for the binding, too.
This is how it’s looking so far. Again, I am drawing inspiration from one of my fellow quilting bloggers who asked “Why work on one project, when you can work on several.” Just don’t ask me how the binding is coming along on the bento box quilt.
Stacked Coins Quilt Top
A while A year ago I treated myself to a couple of packs of Moda Wildflower Serenade charm squares from Thumpacat Fabrics in New Zealand. It was a complete impulse buy (regular readers will be seeing a theme here) and I was stumped by what to do with them. I posted a call for suggestions on the Quilting Board but didn’t get any more specific recommendations than to go to the Moda Bakeshop.
I had first thought about making hourglass blocks, stacked on each other in long columns. Later I dismissed that idea and strung the charm squares together loosely based on the instructions for the Stacked Coins Baby Quilt, most of which I cheerfully ignored.
I was able to make a start in between family visits on Christmas Day, thanks to the fact that our family celebrates with a festive meal and gift giving on Christmas Eve, following the European tradition.
There was a long hiatus after Christmas when we got busy with garden work (harvesting potatoes), painting our front fence and sailing. The sailing is a whole other blog post, as we received some very colourful abuse for having a sail boat at the boat ramp. The abuse was meted out by a
lady woman who clearly thought we had a lesser right than the motor boats to use the very crowded boat ramp. I was particularly un-impressed as the profanities were dealt out in the presence of some very tender young ears. As this is a quilting blog and not a blog on modern etiquette I’ll leave it at that.
To make the top I matched light to dark squares and sewed a seam along parallel raw edges. Then I cut each square in half down the middle and opened them up to made one light and one dark ‘coin’. Next, I sewed 30 coins end to end in a long stack and put sashing of 4 1/2 inches between each stack of coins.
I have put the border on and worked out how I can piece a backing together but I’m not happy with the direction this quilt has taken. The proportions don’t seem right to me (it’s 43 inches wide and 62 inches long.) The Wildfower Serenade fabric isn’t very babyish and most of my friends have children that are beyond the baby stage, so my thoughts had been along the lines of making a picnic throw or a lap quilt for a senior. But neither of those ideas feels quite right.
The only thing that crosses my mind at this stage is that maybe it could be used as a bed footer – the drape hotels put at the base of their beds to prevent guests making dirty foot marks on the bed covers. I really don’t know. The other option is just to list it on eBay and see whether someone else can find a beauty in this quilt top that I am unable to see.
eBay is looking like at strong contender to me at this stage.
Charm Squares from ThumpaCat Fabrics
My order from ThumpaCat Fabrics in the South Island of New Zealand arrived last night.
Check out their cute label. I love the bright colours and the apple shape. The delivery was speedy and I didn’t have to pay for postage on this order. Have to be happy about that.
I’ve been researching what I might do with my charm squares and found a couple of ideas and resources.
MinnesotaCharms.com has a nice little table to let you quickly see what size you can make with different numbers of charm squares. It’s hard to read the table on the page but if you open the Charm Math table in a new window and then zoom in on that it becomes readable.
Missouri Quilt Star Company has an inspirational video on making a Snowball Cham Quilt on their quilters forum. It would be nice if they also posted a still picture of the finished quilt, but you can always pause the video or watch it a few times over, as I did. I really like the snowball look as they’ve done it so this is now looking like it might win over my original hourglass idea.
I had an impulsive morning on the internet on Saturday. I decided to check out a new (or new to me) online fabric store in New Zealand called Thumpacat Fabrics. Strange name and their prices are quoted by the half yard, which is a bit of a trap for young players. It caught me by surprise, anyway.
From here in Australia, New Zealand is just ‘across the ditch’ and the exchange rate is favourable if you have Australian dollars to spend. I stumbled across something I liked on their sale page. I bought two packs of Moda Wildflowers Serenade on sale, on a complete whim. I liked the ‘grown-up’ autumnal tones and pre-cut squares are something new to me.
I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do when 80 squares of 5 inch (13cm) fabric turn up. I posted a query on Quilting Board but haven’t had many suggestions at this stage, other than to go to the Moda Bakeshop and look for something there.
At this stage I’m thinking hourglasses.