Saturday, 31 May 2014

Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt swap

I came across the Schnitzel & Boo Mini Quilt Swap on Instagram and was persuaded to join in - not that I took much convincing! 

So now I have been matched up with my partner ... whose identity shall remain a secret, I have been doing a little stalking through their profile, Instagram and blog to see what they like!

Apparently NOT batiks or bright colours ... preferring blues, greys and greens. Kate Spain and Denyse Schmidt are favourite designers and I can see why, they have some lovely collections! 

I thought I would give you a sneak peak at what has been under my machine tonight ...

Can you tell what it is? 

I have had a bit of fun getting this to work how I want it to ... only a little glueing needed to finish it off! 

Monday, 19 May 2014

For Baby Kazmi

I was delighted to hear that one of my previous colleagues, Tahier, had been blessed with a little baby boy a few weeks ago. They called him Ehsan meaning "perfection" or "excellence".

Both mum and baby were recovering nicely when I popped into the Maternity Ward late one night to see them. I was made very welcome and treated to dates and Gulab Jamun, a small syrupy doughnut ball which is a traditional type of sweet pastry served to guests. 

Knowing that he will no doubt be swamped with gifts and that there are strong links with Pakistan and patchworking I decided to make Baby Ehsan a more traditionally British patchwork quilt.

I started with lots of 2" squares cut from the Benartex Cool Britannia range of fabric (some of which had been happily 'rescued' from the scrap bin in The Skep). I had bought some of the Crowns fabric in dark blue in their sale and so I decided that this would make a great border, with white dot minky fabric for the backing. 

Cool Britannia - Landmark, Crowns & Cityscape

As it's a fairly easy design didn't take any photos of the piecing. I sewed the 2" squares together in a random order and placed them together to form rows, taking care not to place any two squares of the same print together. Normally it would take me a while to order the placement of squares on each row ensuring an even distribution of colours and prints. However as I didn't have lots of spare squares to play with, I didn't worry if there was not an order to the pattern on this occasion. 

I then sewed the rows together trimming the edges to ensure a crisp finish adding a small trim to the top and bottom of the squares before completing it with the outer border. Some of my squares were a little narrow, I had 'help' cutting them at the time! This means that the piecing does not join accurately at the corner of each square along the rows. 

When the borders were added I was amazed how quickly I had a quilt top! Generally I have not added chunky borders before, but this time I wanted room to quilt them with a free-motion pattern. Having added a fairly light batting, I basted the top and stitched in lines over the squared centre. This was not quite in the ditch at the points the squares didn't align, I suppose it helps to highlight the stitching which contrasts with the fabric. Hopefully it will add to the 'handcrafted' feel. This photo gives you an idea of the central panel although the colours are a little distorted:

I then drew a few bus outlines as templates on squared paper and, having had a quick practice run on a 5" square of fabric with batting to ensure tension was up to scratch, I pinned the bus templates to the outer border in various places.

Using free-motion quilting I then stipple stitched with buses 'drawn' at the points I had pinned the templates. I adjusted the exact position of the buses as I went, to fit with the stipple stitching. Once I had the outline stitched I removed the paper. This was a painful process for some of the buses and I resorted to a pin to wheedle the last bits free.

I have now had lovely cuddles with little Ehsan, isn't he just adorable! Tahier and Umal not only loved the gift but they have promised me lots more cuddles and have already sent me photos of him with the quilt in use!

Baby quilts are not just for bedtime ... I think they are so handy for tummy time, additional warmth in the car or buggy and as additional comfort & padding for a shopping trolley, swing or highchair!

I am linking up this finish with Kate's Finish Along as this is on my Q2 list of things I hoped to complete!