Monday, April 14, 2014

Hex N More Pillow

I recently purchased a Hex N More ruler by Jaybird Quilts.

There are lots of patterns available, and because the ruler is so well designed it is pretty easy to figure out what shapes you need to cut to make a design.

I was excited to try it out, and made a pillow.

For the 'flower', I used a fat quarter that I have had for a while, with a bold, directional stripe. I always find these prints hard to work with (and there always seems to be one in a FQ pack), this seemed to perfect opportunity to use it. I marked lines on the ruler to correspond to the fabric when I cut the 'jewels' out. The triangles and jewels were cut with the Hex N More ruler.

For the 'leaves' I used a regular ruler, and the 60º angle.

All the pieces went together so well - I pressed the seams in opposite directions which helped.

 I added a cut 1+1/2" border around the block.

The quilting was done with 100Wt thread and a #80 Microtex needle. I used a layer of cotton batting with half a layer of wool batting on the top (more on this further down).

 To make it into a pillow, I made the back piece with buttons and button holes.

I made the binding a bit wider than I usually do (cut 2+3/4" wide, folded in half), I find that this works best with the extra layer of the back piece. The pillow is 21" from point to point and 17" top to bottom. I used leftover bits of wool batting to stuff a pillow form that I made for the inside of the pillow.

Wool Batting

I love wool batting! Silk and wool batting are the only types of batting I use for bed and lap quilts.
I am strongly attached to Hobbs Tuscany Wool batting, but I was told that it was the same as Hobbs Heirloom Premium Wool batting - just different packaging. So I thought I would see-

They seemed different straight out of the package. Maybe because the Heirloom was really jammed in the bag.

The Heirloom was definitely thinner and stiffer.

They were both creased. The Tuscany wool creases usually can be smoothed out when I pin the layers together.

The Heirloom wool creases seemed really set in.

I tried steaming the Heirloom wool batting to see what would happen.

It made a huge difference! It puffed out a lot and became flat - that's the beauty of wool. After steaming my family couldn't tell the difference between the Tuscany and Heirloom.

I tried a different wool batting once, that I bought at a local fabric store off the roll. It was so disappointing! The wool bearded through. I have met lots of people since that have had the same problem with the wool batting from that store - that is why I stick to Hobbs.

It is wonderful to sleep under a wool quilt - it conforms to your body and seems to keep you at a perfect temperature, especially in summer. I also accidentally 'cooked' a quilt with wool batting in the dryer, it didn't shrink or change in any way.

I had a couple of questions yesterday about the 'half layer of wool on top of a layer of cotton batting' that I use for wall hangings etc.

Starting at a corner, 

gently pull the two layers apart.

A piece of wool batting will divide into two layers pretty easily. I place a half layer of wool on top of a piece of cotton batting.
This is a technique I learned from Cindy Needham. The cotton adds weight and stiffness, while the wool shows off quilting so nicely - the best of both fibres. The half layer of wool adds very little bulk.

This is a close up of a piece I made over a year ago (shown here), you can see the nice puffs the wool creates in the feathers.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quilting Weekend

My online quilting group had our first cyber retreat weekend! We spent the weekend together, thanks to Skype, and three of us made the same little quilt.

outside on the snow for Raewyn
The pattern is Square Dance from the book 'Fat Quarter Quilting' by Lori Smith (if you click on the book picture in the link, you can see all the quilts in the book). The book is one of my favourites - I have made 5 of the quilts, the most patterns I have used from a book.

I made a few modifications - I used a different bird pattern from the book and I changed the 'X' flowers to circles; I also have the appliqué going over the blocks. The appliqué is 'Invisible Machine Appliqué'.

I used a layer of cotton batting, with half a layer of wool batting on the top for the batting - this works great for wall hangings (it has a good weight and lays flat) and it shows the quilting off nicely. All the quilting was stitched with 100Wt thread and a #80 Microtex needle. The quilt is 16" x 20".

Thanks for the wonderful weekend Joan, Raewyn and Wendy!

This next spinning project is from March, I just forgot to show it -

100% super wash BFL fibre - the March Fibre from SweetGeorgia Yarns.

This is the first time I have spun complete skeins of Chain Plied yarn - this makes a three ply yarn the keeps the colours from getting mixed up.

More details can be found on my Ravelry page.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Blocks of the Month

These are my Pieces of Time blocks for February and March -

These are all the blocks so far-

All the appliqué blocks are finished, just pieced blocks left and the borders. These are 7.5" blocks.

I also finished piecing my Ostrich Block of the Month. I need to quilt it by the end of the month (the quilt group is have a show and tell for this BOM), then I will show more pictures, and reveal what I made with the blocks. (It's a quilt!!)

It is still unusually cold here and this was the frost on the screen door this morning.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Hand Spun Sweater

When I started spinning last year, I never imagined that I would spin enough to make a sweater - well I found a pattern that only needed a small amount of yarn!

The pattern (really a 'recipe') is 'Sassymetrical' by Gay Schiff, available for free on her blog.

This is how the sweater started-

Over 200 grams of 50% Merino/25% Bamboo/25% Silk fibre from SweetGeorgia Yarns - it was the February 2014 Fibre Club selection, inspired by the Pantone colour of the year 'Radiant Orchid'.

It was a dream to spin.

I spun a 2 ply yarn, in about a fingering/sport weight. 

The sweater is knit from the top down, so I was able to try it on I knitted and use all the yarn to make it a nice length.
Here is the link for my project page on Ravelry if you are interested in more details on how I made the sweater.

This was a really fun project to make!

I had to add a picture of my favourite backyard visitor.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

International Quilting Day

To celebrate this lovely day, I did some quilting!
My husband pointed out that it wasn't much different than any other day!

I made a little table runner using a ruler that I borrowed from my sister. The table runner is 12" x 26", the triangles are 6" high.

The ruler is called "'S' Curve - One Tool - Many Designs", but I could only find a couple of different pictures of quilts made with it. It is an interesting shape and was very easy to use.

I cut out 14 triangles, each is a different fabric. To cut out the fabric I used the small rotary cutter. I also put a layer of kitchen plastic wrap on the back of the ruler to make it less slippery.

I pieced the triangles into two rows.

I didn't use pins when I was joining triangles, I just lined up the edges as I stitched.

I pressed all the seams open.

I did pin the points together when I joined the two rows.

These triangles would also make a nice kaleidoscope pattern. I have also seen it used to make diamonds by using two triangles of the same fabric side by side.

I used cotton batting, and free motion quilted an allover meander - I just wanted something simple and flat.

For the bias binding I used a 15" square of fabric, and this method. I made the binding 2.5" wide.

I just use a rotary cutter to cut along the lines of the binding.

The finished table runner on the 'coffee table' in the family room.

We were surprised to see two squirrels at the bird feeder this week (we never see squirrels).

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Knitted Tea Cosy

This past week I knitted a tea cosy!
Like my family doesn't think I am crazy already - my son asked why there was knitting on the teapot!

The pattern is a free pattern on Ravelry, called Fairy Cake Tea Cosy by Frankie Brown. The pattern is extremely well written and easy to follow; it is written for two sizes, I made the large one. The only change that I made was that I knitted the top section in the round because I didn't want to have to sew a seam.

This project started out as 100grams of natural wool roving (Knit Picks Bare Roving, it was the first time I have used it, and I would buy it again).

I dyed about two thirds into two different colours, using acid dyes and steaming.

I spun it into a thick-and-thin, singles yarn, because I wanted a really rustic, 'homespun' look. I used a  'quick-and-dirty' short backwards draw - it took less than an hour to spin the three skeins.

I washed the skeins in very hot water to set the twist, and rinsed them in cold water to felt them slightly. It was fun to spin, and the yarn was nice to knit with.
Spinning - because knitting isn't weird enough!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!