Saturday, 11 October 2014

Zoe's wrap

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Zoe is a beautiful new member of our extended family. Another baby! My Mr has lots of older brothers and sisters and there is a bit of a baby boom happening amongst their older kids, aren't we lucky!

Our nephew, her father and his wife have a great meeting story, with a very happy ending and a couple of months ago they welcomed little Zoe, their first child. Soon after she arrived they set off for four weeks on a Greek island with family (as you would) so its taken us a while to catch up.

As you know I usually make baby quilts for new arrivals, however I knew that Zoe had already been gifted a beautiful handmade quilt, so I thought long and hard about what I could make instead.

I decided on a light muslin wrap that would serve as shade protection and a light pram cover on hot summer days. Everyone needs a blankie!

Ambitiously I decided that it would be necessary to bind this wrap with handmade bias binding, which I have never made before, or sewn successfully! I did try sewing bought bias once before, for a baby wrap, and it was a big fail, and has intimidated me ever since.

The wrap I imagined had lovely patterned bias though. So armed with a million tutorials, a few youtube videos I finally went for it. And it worked, I'm happy. I can see I am going to be making a lot more bias in the future and practicing my bias sewing skills again.

Its a great way get a unique look to your handmade sewing, a great way to mix and match patterns or solids without having to search out the right colour or use that scratchy stiff bias binding you generally find in the shops.

And the fabric is a beautiful vintage paisley my Mr found for me on his op shopping travels. It's light as air and I love the morning sky blue background.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

climbing the mountain

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We've just finished two weeks of our renovation and the school holidays, a crazy mix! The whole back of the house is gone and there is half a big hole in the backyard, soon to be a whole hole next week.

I think this is the scariest part of the build (I'm hoping so) before they start putting it all back together again!

Luckily we managed to escape the dust and noise for a few nights up in the Blue Mountains this week. It was so nice to be away and destress a little. Though the place we stayed at was called Serenity Cottage which made me think of this :-)

The Blue Mountains has some of the most amazing views I've ever seen. Photos don't do them justice, they are jawdroppingly grand and there's something about the experience of standing on the edge of these huge canyons that can't be reproduced in photos. We visited a few years ago which I blogged about here.

The villages in the western part of the mountains have a lovely old time air to them, people have been holidaying in this part of the world for over a hundred years and they have managed to keep some of their old worldiness. Old guest houses, antique shops, park monuments, blossom trees. Its a world away.

We visited an old favourite lookout, Pulpit Rock near Blackheath on the first afternoon. Then did a major bushwalk down a million stairs into the Grand Canyon area. Once we dropped into the rainforest area it was like a fairy glen, and the path stepping stoned back and forth across the creek which ran down the side of the cliffs.

Coming back up those stairs was hard work and I was huffing my way up one part, groaning to myself as I rounded another corner to another staircase of steps, when I was surprised by a bird ahead. I thought it was a bush turkey till I got closer and was dazzled to find a lyrebird instead. He didn't even look up at me as he browsed his way through the leaf litter looking for food.

I managed a few photos till the others caught up with me, but he is camouflaged so well in all but this one. I was a bit starstruck but glad I have a record of this delightful meeting.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Astrid's quilt

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So as you know by now, each time a new baby comes into the extended family I've been making them a small quilt. This quilt is for the newest darling to arrive, little Astrid, my niece's first baby. We met Astrid for the first time yesterday. She's beautiful, with the cutest blonde quiff and tiny, tiny little hands.

Also traditional is that it has some pieces of flowerpress fabric designs sewn into it, and this one has nine of my patterns in its squares. Can you pick them? (see below) 

I'm really a beginner quilter, this is only my fifth quilt, and all of those were small and simple square patched quilts. But each time I make another my skills and knowledge grow a little more. Here are some of my past efforts, Poppy's quilt, Sid's quilt, Penny's quilt.

This time I got ambitious and changed direction after cutting out all squares. I decided to cut them in half and combine them in two piece blocks, alternating directions between the print and solid blocks. It meant I got to include more patterns and a second solid - a mushroom grey.

It also meant I had to retrim all the pieced squares which had become rectangles, but that went pretty quickly and probably helped keep everything straight. Next time I will decide my design before I start cutting!

For the back of the quilt I found the lightest fawn coloured and patterned flannel at Spotlight, I love flannel backed quilts for softness. I bound it with this fresh lime green spot. Its quite a unique colour combination but I think it works, its a spring quilt and it looks like one!

Quilting is done with simple horizontal lines which match in with the design.

I've said this before, but its worth saying, a simple baby quilt takes a little time but is a simple sewing project, and one that is very forgiving. If you want to have a go at making one yourself my baby quilt tutorial is over here. It shows every step needed to make a simple quilt.

I also have a binding tutorial in the works, because I found I am often dreading this step in the process, and have to look through the directions again. I took some photos this time to remind myself.

If anyone wants some of the Flowerpress fabrics in the quilt, a few of them are available in my Etsy shop. A few are digital and others screenprinted but they all play well together. I'm planning on making up some mixed packs so people can use a mix of my designs like I have here.

The dark blue stars are mine, the coloured spots, the blue blockprinted leaves, the white on linen filigree, the clouds, both blue screenprinted flowers, the blue doily on linen and the green leaf pattern on blue fabric.