Monthly Archives: August 2013

Work-in-Progress Wednesday

Huh, is it Wednesday already?

I’ve got a few irons in the fire at the moment, but the most pressing one (pressing! harhar!) is getting Rachel’s quilt finished. On Saturday I put together the quilt back (of which I took no photos because… I don’t know). It is, as requested, mostly black, but I added two 2,5″ stripes near the top and near the bottom with scraps from the front, running from purple to green, in alternating directions. I also included a small square near the bottom with an embroidered dedication, made by mom. It took me ages to put the back together, mostly because I’m one of these people who cut first and then measure, but in the end it turned out just fine.

I spray basted the quilt on Sunday morning, which took ages and was really messy because I was doing it on our carpet which is just covered in lint and cat hair. This normally doesn’t show, except when you’re working with black fabric, so there was an awful lot of de-linting as I was getting it ready to quilt. It was so tiring that I took a couple of hours’ break and went to the kitchen to make some stock and jam, only to come back to this:

Kiwi and Schnitzel, sending me a message to take the rest of the day off.

Kiwi and Schnitzel, sending me a message to take the rest of the day off.

How cute are they?! They stayed in that position for a good three hours and I didn’t have the heart to push them off, so I just left them and puttered a bit more. By the time they finally walked away the quilt was completely wrinkled and hairy and I had to press and de-lint it, again. I decided they were giving me a message to take the rest of the day off.

We had a bank holiday on Monday so I started quilting that morning. Because I insist on making things hard for myself, I decided to quilt each block in straight-line spirals. Is that a thing? Not sure what term to use to describe starting on the outside of the square and working in? Concentric squares? Here are a couple of pictures.

Concentric squares. Notice THE ENTIRE QUILT in that six" throat space?

Concentric squares. Notice THE ENTIRE QUILT in that six” throat space? FUN!

You’ll notice I’m using a regular foot, not a walking foot. That’s because the walking foot that came with my machine has nowhere to slot in a guide. Well done, Janome! Ever so helpful to do that so I’ll pony up £40 for an actually usable walking foot! This might explain why I got a bit of squishiness at the start of some of the squares. It’s obviously annoying, but I’m not especially fussed about it.

Things get a little squashy at the start of each block.

I’m using an Aurifil 50wt thread and I honestly don’t know how I ever sewed with Gutermann. It is AWFUL. I tried using it in my machine after I put the quilt aside and it just jammed up constantly. Infuriating. Anyway, for the top I’ve used a variegated blue/green shade and on the back I’m using a dark grey. I’ve only been quilting the blue/green squares so far, but I’ll switch to the variegated purple when I’m ready to tackle these. For the three feature blocks I was thinking of quilting just diagonal lines in one direction, just to switch things up a bit.

I realized this weekend that I’ll need to finish the whole quilt by this weekend as the birthday girl turns 18 on the tenth. NO PRESSURE.

 

rainbow-chevron-quilt

Half-Square Triangle Chevron Quilt

When you’re new to quilting everything looks daunting. You start out making lots of mistakes and doing a lot more work than you need to because you’re guessing how to do things that others have figured out long before you.

I’ve not done a tremendous amount of angled sewing. It’s pretty much been straight lines for me so far, so chevron quilts looked quite complicated, until I came across this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

A couple of years ago, right after I’d learned to sew, I went to a quilt shop with my mom and sister and bought a Tonga Treats 2.5” strip pack, which turned into this (cat not included)(unless you want her; she’s a bit of a beast). My sister bought the matching layer cake, but nearly two years later it had turned into nothing at all. I convinced her that she wasn’t going to do anything with it anyway, so she may as well just give it to me! And she did! And it’s just perfect for this chevron quilt, isn’t it?!

Finished half-square triangles.

Finished half-square triangles.

I didn’t have a white layer cake, so I cut out squares from some white-on-white fabric I had in my stash and got to work. Piecing this quilt took no time at all. I did it piecemeal but I estimate that I had a finished top in about 6-7 hours, including the (minimal) cutting time. You could probably save an hour if you’re working with two sets of layer cakes.

Finished chevron quilt top

Finished chevron quilt top. Special appearance: My piggy slippers.

For the quilting, I followed along the chevron with straight lines, though I admit I just sort of went at it without measuring (I used the sewing guide), so things got a little squishy towards the bottom of each chevron. I used white thread in the white spaces, and matching colours in the coloured sections. It probably took me longer to quilt this quilt than it did to piece it. It just seemed endless, particularly on my sewing machine, which has a tiny, TINY harp.

Quilted chevron quilt

Quilted chevron quilt.

Quilting detail.

Quilting detail.

For the back I used a colourful polka dot fabric. I normally add an extra touch to the back of a quilt to connect it to the top (usually a patched strip using the fabrics from the top) but I had a deadline, plus the backing fabric, though colourful, didn’t really match the colours of the batiks on the front nor was it white, which would have clashed with the leftovers I had.

It's not really finished unless Schnitzel has supervised the quilting.

It’s not really finished unless Schnitzel has planted herself on it while I’m working.

I made the binding out of the leftover strips I had from my sofa project and I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. I originally intended to fully machine bind, but it was taking too long and was looking pretty dodgy, so I hand finished it.

Binding detail. That's the same polka dot as the quilt back.

Binding detail. That’s the same polka dot as the quilt back.

The deadline I mentioned for this quilt was a visit to Toronto, where I left the quilt behind at my parents’ house. I didn’t cajole that layer cake out of my sister because I’m mean, I did it so I could make her a quilt to welcome her to her new/old home in Toronto, to which she’ll be returning after having lived in Israel for over a decade.

Oscar’s Baby Quilt

This baby is kind of my fault. My friends and former colleagues A and J used to be just A and J until I quit to move to England. Guess who hooked up at my going-away party? And three years later, Oscar arrived, so it was only fitting that I would make him a quilt.

I chose colours that more or less went with the colour scheme in their apartment; anything baby-ish would have looked out of place (um, not that I’ve been there for a while–for all I know they’ve turned it bubble gum pink).

I’m partial to 4” square quilts, so for this one I used shades of grey, purple, and green.

Quilt top

The back is made of a green polka dot Tilda fabric, with a vertical line of scraps from the quilt top.

Quilt back

For the quilting, I stitched straight lines, a quarter inch on either side of the seam line. To add a bit of interest, though I’m sure not many would notice, I used purple thread for the upper quilt lines, and green for the lower ones.

Quilting detail

The binding used the same green polka dot Tilda, with a short length of one of the purple fabrics aligned to one of the square rows. I managed to completely machine bind this quilt using the tutorial by Red Pepper Quilts. It wasn’t perfect, but I was really pleased with it. I’ve since tried machine binding two other quilts, to rather disastrous results, so I’m going to have to have a rethink about binding.

Binding detail

Along with the quilt, I sent some fabric cubes that I sewed ages ago and were just sitting in a drawer, waiting for a recipient. Doesn’t he model them all well?

Oscar

Loulouthi Tiles quilt

Checking in with my first Work-In-Progress Wednesday post.

When my friend asked me to make a quilt for her daughter’s 18th birthday I got really excited. I’ve been wanting to make a version of Tula Pink’s Fade to Pink quilt for a while and having seen this version of it, I figured I could do it almost completely from my stash. So one morning before I went to work I pulled together some fabric and sent her this photo:

Fade to pink 1

The response I got was: “Am thinking vivid, but restricting colours to blue, purple, red? Any views?”

I could get excited about red, but purple and blue? And red, purple, and blue together? I countered with this suggestion of light blues and greens:

Fade to pink 2

The response was: “Just make it purple and blue with a black background.”

Hmm. I was starting to have some doubts at this point. I went to the Abakhan sale hoping to find something because I don’t have much in the stash in those shades, and was looking for some sort of patterned black for the sashing and back (I really don’t like solids), which I couldn’t really find much of. I texted to tell her I was struggling with it and she said: “Oh, no. Just plain black. That way if she hates it she can just turn it over and will have a black blanket.”

I nearly cried. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less than make this quilt.

I had a think about it and decided to abandon Fade to Pink. If I was going to make a Tula quilt, I wanted to at least enjoy it! I looked around and found the Loulouthi Tiles quilt at Stitched in Color, which could work with a limited palette and wouldn’t be difficult to put together (ha!). When I went to Toronto I managed to get loads of plain black cotton at Fabricland for $4 a meter (FOUR DOLLARS A METER! I’d be lucky to pay that for a fat quarter in the UK). Then I went to Sew Sisters and started taking apart their batik wall until I could come up with the right combination of blues and purples. I confess, there was some green in there, too. I was pushing the envelope on this a bit and was afraid that after all that, my friend wouldn’t like it anyway, at which point I’d be stuck with a quilt that the Germ wouldn’t even let me have in the house because its colours would be so. sad.

I managed to get the fabric cut and the top pieced in one day, and well, don’t I just LOVE IT!

Loulouthi assembly

All laid out. Don’t worry, the cats got to it every time I had my back turned and I had to completely reorganize it about three times.

Loulouthi main panels

Main panels detail. I am in flove with that purple.

The outcome certainly turned my frown upside down. These still aren’t the colours I’d naturally gravitate towards, but they work so well together and I hope the birthday girl loves it, too (her mom did–yay!).

Loulouthi top

Finished quilt top.

Since my deadline for this is early September, I’m hoping to finish this off this weekend. I had a possible epiphany about machine quilting the binding and I’m eager to try it and to report back.

Festival of Quilts 2013

I’m still winding down from the Festival of Quilts and thought I’d tell you a little about it. I went to the Festival for the first time last year, at which point I had been quilting for less than a year, and it is safe to say that I was completely overwhelmed by what I saw. You can see my pictures of the quilts on display last year over here.

Last year, not knowing what to expect, I decided to spend two days at the show, which in retrospect was one day too many. This year I decided that one day would be more than enough, but I did head to Birmingham the night before to attend the Designer Dinner at the Hilton, headlined by Tula Pink. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have figured out that I LOVE Tula Pink. I adore just about everything she does. She was at the festival last year, but I felt really shy about approaching her so I just got her to sign my book, took a picture with her, and slunk awkwardly away. Well. Her talk this year was hilarious and interesting and I’m really glad I went. I’m less glad I spent money to stay at the Hilton Metropole at the NEC, where the event was held, because it was completely NAFF. The food was gross and the room they stuck me in had this for a view and this for a bathroom. Seriously, I’ve seen more atmospheric prisons. Anyway.

Hilton

The talk was great and there were a few quilts on display that I was completely excited about. Also in attendance and sitting right in front of me was KAFFE FASSETT! So close I could touch him, were it not so utterly creepy to do so!

The quilts Tula had on display for the talk included three versions of the City Sampler: Gridlock, the one I’m working on; Skyline; and Trellis. The Anchors Aweigh quilt was also there, along with a couple of quilts featuring her newest fabric line, Acacia. She encouraged people to come up and touch the quilts after her talk, since she believes that quilts should be used, not just displayed (at one point, talking about someone else’s quilt, she said she wanted to just grab it and stomp on it). This was in contrast to all the Kaffe Fassett quilts on display, which all had “don’t touch” signs on them.

This is Gridlock, the version of the City Sampler that I am currently working on. I can stop talking about how I take crappy iPhone pictures at this point, right? Anyway. It took me some time to figure out how to describe this quilt and it finally dawned on me–it glowed! The colours as they come through in the book are very vibrant, which I love, but in person the quilt was ever so slightly more muted and it just glowed. It took my breath away.

Gridlock

For the Trellis version, Tula limited her palette to just three shades: yellows, blues, and greens. Unlike Gridlock and Skyline, this version has the blocks framed, which I quite like. Not sure how I feel about the colour scheme.

Trellis

Since I’m going through a bit of a grey phase at the moment (well, in my head), I really liked Skyline. What I really liked about this quilt were some of the details in the quilting. The blocks are arranged like a city skyline, with each tower at a different height. The quilting (which I sadly didn’t capture well, though you can see the beginning of what I mean at the top of the third “building” from the left) is used to introduce the features of a typical skyline, like antennas at the top of the buildings, and the wind tunnels that tall skyscrapers create. Skyline 1

But possibly the coolest feature was this: In the skyline, the quilt included an airplane carrying a banner. Check out what makes up the banner!

Skyline 2

All of these were quilted by Angela Walters. On a funny tangent, read how Angela Walters came to quilt for Tula Pink.

The following morning I headed over to the hall quite early, armed with a list of things I wanted to get from the vendors. I skipped the quilt displays and headed straight for the shops, which were not very busy first thing in the morning, so I managed to do a quick recce before I started in again more slowly. I picked up a STUPID amount of fabric throughout the day, along with a few tools (that’s not all of it).

On my list of things to do was trying out some sewing machines. If I’m going to be serious about this quilting palaver, I really need a more advanced machine, since the one I have is about as basic as it gets, but then I saw a stand featuring the Handi Quilter, which is a movable platform on which you place your sewing machine to convert it into a long-arm sewing machine. Including a much more advanced Janome machine, the total price was around £1,800. Not chump change, but I was thinking of spending a few hundred pounds on a sewing machine only, so if I could combine that with a long-arm machine (they go for thousands), well HELLO! (Have I mentioned that my least favourite part of quilting is, well… quilting?). So I played with it for a bit and walked away, and then came back later for another go, and it was so much fun! I absolutely suck at it, but it was still fun! Obviously I wasn’t plonking down that kind of money right then and there (since I don’t actually have any to speak of), but the wheels were definitely churning. And then I found another stall that sells a similar platform, sans sewing machine, for as little as £355. Of course the size I’m after costs twice that, but still, I could use it with my own machine for a while while I save up to upgrade the machine. So that’s going to happen at some point soon, I think. This company is located in Wales and we’re headed down there in October, so I’ll see if I can get to properly test drive it while we’re there and will then hopefully buy it before we move back to Germany in the new year.

Guess who was sitting in the Pfaff booth, playing with the sewing machines just as I happened to be going by? ANN FROM GREAT BRITISH SEWING BEE! I KNOW! Stuart from the show was at the dinner the previous evening and I also saw him walking around the halls that morning, though I didn’t approach him because he was putting out an “I’m really super important” kind of vibe, but as soon as I saw Ann I just had to walk over and say hello. She was delightful! We talked for about five minutes, about sewing and quilting and the show, and she was just the loveliest person you could possibly imagine.

by early afternoon it started getting really busy in the vendors’ area, so I went over to look at the quilts. I took far fewer pictures this year and thinking about it, it’s probably because a lot of the quilts that were a complete mystery to me a year ago seemed quite straightforward this time around. Not because I’ve made something similar or plan to, but because I’ve managed to parse down the process and “get” how a lot of those quilts were pieced. I’m not much of an art quilter (read, not at all). I have neither the vision nor the inclination towards it, but I was completely awed and inspired by what I saw last year. I have a sense that there wasn’t quite as much of the arty stuff on display this year–it was a lot more patchwork–but there were some really astonishing pieces. You can see my pictures from this year’s festival here, but here are a few I was particularly taken with.

Last year I was absolutely in awe of this quilt. The same quilter had a small gallery on display and I was especially taken with this quilt. The image on the right is a zoom in on the details of the face. How amazing is that? And I was so focused on the facial features that I only later noticed (when I was looking at my pictures, actually) the birds quilted onto the white background.

Face

The London Underground was some sort of theme and there were a few quilts that featured it, but I really liked this one. I think it captured perfectly how the tube can open up the city for you.

Mind the Gap

My hands-down favourite quilt of the entire festival was this one (detail on the right). The detail in the image and the intricacy of the applique and the stitching are absolutely mind boggling.

Violin

By 4pm I was pretty much done (mentally and physically). My train back home was at 7:20pm so I headed into Birmingham and grabbed an early dinner at Jamie’s Italian. I treated myself to a really delicious elderflower cocktail to congratulate myself on a day well played, and then headed back home. I really enjoyed the show again this year. Since I won’t be living in the UK at this time next year, I’ll have to decide whether to fly in next year, but my inclination is that I will.

Which was your favourite quilt in the show?

Friday Favourites

I spend far too much time on Flickr looking at quilts (let’s not talk of what I think of the Flickr redesign, because my mother always said that if I don’t have something nice to say, not to say anything at all) and scooping up ideas. I have dozens of quilts in my favourites, so why not share a few?!

These are a few of my favourite things at the moment, and you might spot a trend or two. The ever-present rainbow, of course; half-square triangles; and chevrons. There’ll be a post in the next two weeks with a chevron project I recently completed, but I’m keeping it seekrit for now, until the recipient receives it.

I bought a bunch of Tula Pink Saltwater fabric at the Festival of Quilts, which I hope to use for a diamond half-square triangle quilt. Will be sketching it out this weekend to see how it works out with the three colour ways before I start cutting into it. This, incidentally, is the only designer collection I have ever bought–I’m not generally a fan of collections, but Saltwater is just. perfect.

Is that Lava Meets Sea quilt not the most beautiful thing you’ve seen?! There’s a detailed post by Sarah to tell you how she did it and to share tips on colour and value. There are sketches and stuff! And there are so many other treats on her site–go give her a visit! I’ll stop with the exclamations now!

Friday Favourites 15.08.2013

1. Ombre Love 2. sew positive wall hanging 3. Spectrum Baby Quilt 4. For baby Madison Moore! 5. Patterns for Quilted Nursery, 6. Bungle Jungle 7. Lava Meets Sea Quilt Tilted 8. Diamond 9. rainbow scraps quilt 10. Scribbles finished 11. Diamond Tread quilt 12. Tula 100 / Tula 70 13. Up on my blog 14. Terrain woven blocks 15. picnic quilt 16. Bottom of Table Runner

City Sampler Sew-Along

I’ve never been good at long-term projects. I am easily bored and even more easily distracted, which is why I’ve resisted joining any sew-alongs making the rounds in the quilting community. Until, that is, Tula Pink published her City Sampler book.

I should probably mention I don’t especially care for sampler quilts, but I was so impressed with Tula’s first book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink, that I had to buy this one, and when Sara from Sew Sweetness announced she’d be running a sew-along for the book, I decided to play along.

True to my word about not being any good at long-term projects, I jumped right in and made nine blocks in one weekend, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing. However, now that I’m documenting my quilting, there is somewhere to be accountable for it so I’ll try to get a block or two (of the hundred in the book) done each week, and to hopefully finish the quilt by the end of the Sew Along in January. That’s doable, no? It’ll also ensure that I sit down at my machine and actually sew at least once a week instead of just dreaming about and planning my sewing projects.

I was incredibly lucky to see and touch the Gridlock quilt in person this weekend at the Festival of Quilts, and I am even more motivated now to get this quilt made. I can’t even describe how much this quilt… glowed. It was so, so beautiful in person–so much more so than in the book!

Tula Pink Gridlock quilt

Another shoddy, fuzzy iPhone picture, you say? Tula Pink Gridlock City Sampler

In the book, each two-page spread is dedicated to a single block. The left side shows a photo of the finished and quilted block, and the right side provides an illustration of how to piece it. It’s a simple and quite lovely presentation. The last part of the book offers a number of block assembly options, and I’m going with the Gridlock assembly, which has the blocks arranged (shockingly) in a rainbow range, with vertical and horizontal sashing. Quite helpfully, the blocks photographed in the book are from the Gridlock configuration and are already arranged to create the rainbow range, so as long as I stick to the colour scheme in the book for each block, I don’t need to calculate how many blocks I need of each colour in order to attain the range.

Like my Missing U quilt, I initially planned to only use scraps for this quilt, but realized I’d never finish it if I waited for scraps, so I’ll cut into fabric as necessary. Since the blocks for this this quilt are quite small (6.5” unfinished), they don’t call for much fabric anyway. That said, I’ll still go to scraps before turning to my stash, so I won’t be making the blocks in the same order as the book, but rather will go with whatever scrap colours I have.

Here are the pictures of the blocks I’ve done so far (more dodgy photography, I know. I started constructing a lightbox this weekend to make sure that this never happens again!)(who am I kidding, the iPhone is never more than a foot away from me and is always the first camera I reach for)(but I promise to try!). You can also follow along on my Flickr stream, where I have a set dedicated to this quilt.

Mosaic

I took my sewing machine in for a service (and um, to help recover the feed dog screw I may have dropped into it) so I spent last night cutting up pieces for five or six more blocks. I’ll cut a few more this week so I can power through the blocks as soon as I get her back.

Just One Slab

I bought Sunday Morning Quilts when I was at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham last year (going again this weekend, stay tuned for a post!). The book, authord by Jean Nyberg of Crazy Mom Quilts and Cheryl Arkinson of Dining Room Empire, is all about scrappy quilting projects. I looked through it shortly after I got it and then set it aside and mostly forgot about it for the next few months.

A couple of months ago I had another look through and decided to make the Quilted Storage Box project, which uses scraps to create boxes for storing scraps. This seemed a logical first step (they thought so too, which is why they put it at the front of the book), since my scraps were a bit all over the place. I really enjoyed making the scrappy surfaces for this, but the truth was that it turned into a really time-consuming and kind of tedious project. That said, the boxes turned out beautiful and I am quite pleased with them, though I made the mistake of not inserting cardboard to the sides, thinking they would be thick enough to retain their shapes having added extra-thick interfacing; instead, they’re quite squashy, but I’m willing to live with it for now. (Amusingly, by the time I’d finished making them, I no longer had many scraps left to put in them.)

Scrap boxes

Scrappy storage boxes, Sunday Morning Quilts

Having completed that project, I then took a closer look at the projects in the book and just fell in love with the Missing U quilt. With the exception of incorporating a single white scrap, it uses the same block assembly technique that the scrap boxes used, which is just to sew scrap to scrap until you get a 15.5” square. I ended up making four blocks, in purple, green, light blue, and red. I didn’t have enough scraps of the other rainbow colours to make more slabs, but decided to wait for the scraps build up rather than cutting into fabric from my stash.

IMG_6730

Missing U quilt blocks, Sunday Morning Quilts

Since I was working on a couple of other quilts at the time, one of which was a priority as it had a deadline, I’d not gone back to making more blocks, until I saw a post by Cheryl, asking for Missing U block donations for a quilting drive to benefit victims of severe flooding in southern Alberta. I debated whether to just package up the blocks I’d made and send them in or whether to make new ones, and decided to go for new. Many of the scraps I’d used in my blocks had a bit of meaning to me, having come from my first forays into quilting, and since I’m making the quilt for someone special, it felt like it added an extra dimension to the quilt. I didn’t have quite enough scraps to make new blocks for the quilting drive, so I did cut into a bunch of fabric that had been given to me, of which I had plenty and to which I was not particularly attached. I managed to make four slabs before my trip to Toronto in July, and another one while there by raiding my mom’s stash.

Having cut into fabric to make these blocks, it occured to me that I don’t need to wait for the scraps to accumulate for the special quilt I’m making, and that I have plenty of fabric I can cut into without even making a dent in the stash, so this may mean the quilt will be ready sometime in this century.

Addendum 1. I’ve decided I can’t live with the wonky, squashy boxes and have been adding the cardboard to bolster them up. Massive difference.

squashy

Not squashy, squashy.

Addendum 2. Cheryl managed to collect 1,630 slabs. That’s ONE THOUSAND, SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY, people! Well done!

Addendum 3. Most of the photos I’ve taken since 2010 have been with the iPhone. I realize that the photo quality of iPhone pics is pretty fantastic if you want to look at your photos on your phone, but pretty awful under any other condition. I’m starting to take photos with my DSLR, but most of what I’ve made over the past couple of years has fallen victim to the iPhone, so apologies in advance for the shoddy photos I might upload initially.

How I came to sew

I spend a fair bit of my time wishing ill on the UK Border Agency, but I suppose it deserves some credit, because I never would have learned to sew if not for its maddeningly obtuse and discriminatory policies. I  moved to England in 2010 for my partner’s work secondment and because of a tedious visa process that punishes people (like me) who choose not to get married, I was not allowed to work while my application was pending, nor could I seek work as it was unclear how quickly the visa would be forthcoming. So I signed up for a sewing class, and then another and another.

They weren’t quilting classes, they were sewing workshops where you brought whatever you wanted to work on and the teacher would help you along. I had a terrible time loading the bobbin (Wait, you need to hook the thread of this thingy here? That only took me a month to figure out) and had no control over my speed or over straight lines, but after a few weeks I produced a couple of decent items. 

pinafore

Clothing peg pinnafore || Pattern from One Yard Wonders

Tea Towels

First attempt at patchwork

When I finally did get a visa that allowed me to stay on the island, the first thing I did was to leave it. I flew to Toronto to visit my parents and got to play in my mom’s sewing room. A good friend was pregnant at the time so I got some tips from my mom on how to make her a baby quilt. It was a basic affair–just one piece of top and backing fabrics and diagonal straight-line quilting. The binding was wonky and I poked myself with a needle and bled all over it without noticing it until I’d finished, which brought about a mild panic attack, but turned out fine (Blood just washes away. Who knew?)(My sister did).

Eep!  First baby quilt

EEP!

With that ever-complicated project done, I decided to scale things up and to make a massive European king-sized quilt as a wedding gift for my partner’s ex (as you do)(yes, really). That quilt was a hot mess, but apparently, non-quilters (amusingly referred to as Muggles by Off-Kilter Quilter) are even less aware than me about quilting screw-ups, so I managed to get away with it. It was a very simple design with very large pieces (inspired by a quilt made by Bijou Lovely, who now sells the pattern so if you don’t want to melt your brain with math like I did, go buy it!). The piecing wasn’t too difficult, but nothing lined up and the straight-line quilting was a nightmare since the quilt was huge, the batting was cheap and high-loft, and my machine is tiny. I don’t have a good photo of the finished quilt, but this is it right before I started basting it. That’s my entire dining room.

The quilt that ate Berlin

The quilt that ate Berlin.

When I’d finished, my first thought was, “never again!” My next thought was that I’m totally doing this again, so for the past two years I’ve been a quilter.

Funnily enough, I couldn’t wait to find work during my first bout with the UKBA, but now that we’re entering our second round (I had my passport with visa stolen and the dirty evil bastards are making me REAPPLY FROM SCRATCH), I’m kind of hopeful they’ll make me quit my job so I can spend all my time sewing.

I’m New: Please Bear with Me

I had to wear a tag that said that in my first corporate job. There was a little picture of a bear on it. Twenty years on, I am still mortified about it. Speaking of corporate jobs, don’t they just blow? Mine does, which is why I spend every free minute (and some not-so-free minutes) at my corporate job dreaming about and planning my sewing projects.

There are hundreds of quilting blogs around. How will mine be different? I don’t know–I’ll know once I’ve managed to make it a little different. While I’m trying to figure it out, I’ll be using this space to keep track of what I’m working on, to record the new things I’m learning or hope to be learning, to find and share inspiration, and to hopefully join a lively and welcoming community.

In the meantime, I’m new, so please bear with me!

DreamweaverTula Pink Dreamweaver quilt, completed in early 2013