Ali Wilkinson

I’ve been a little busy…

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Work is going mad as we are now two weeks from the go-live of our new IT system and so I am not getting a lot of sewing time in the evening during the week. So busy at work, but also busy at home this weekend when I DID get some sewing time!

I participated in a Curves Camp online class at the start of this year, run by Rachel of I’ve done three or four classes with Rachel and count her as quilting inspiration as well as having a fondness for her and her family in that from-a-distance-blogger kind of way. There were 7 of us in the Camp version of the class and we got to know each other well through the weekly online chats, flickr and emails. Shortly after the class ended Rachel gave birth to Eleni. If any of my readers also read Rachel’s blog you will be aware that Eleni’s birth was not straightforward and she has suffered neurological damage. My fellow Campers and I were all shocked and concerned for Rachel and her family and we decided to do what only sewists know to do and  make something for Rachel’s two other children to show that we are thinking of them right now.

The above photo is of my part of that “something”. I am also the coordinator and assembler of these items and I made one completely yesterday and will complete the other tomorrow as it’s a public holiday here in NZ. Just in case Rachel is a reader of my blog (oh, how I would like to think that, but somehow I am not sure I have made it onto her quilt blog radar yet!) I am not going to share what we made until I know she has received the package. It’s the first time I have participated in a group sewing effort or bee and the same for all the participants, but so far, so good. Contributions came from NZ North Island, the UK, Canada and the US. It feels good to do something like this for someone else, especially when that someone else is known for her own charity and caring for others.

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I also finished up this quilt which is an Amy Butler design using her Hapi range. I bought this a good year ago and it has languished in my room for many months. Do you buy things on a whim like this and then feel uninspired when they arrive? I forced myself to cut and assemble the top back in January or February intending for it to be the first thing I machine quilted of this size, but when it came to it I was not in the mood to quilt it and so I gave it to Verina Thirlwell to edge to edge for me in a really simple figure of 8 all over. The fabric is so dark I used a black batting for the first time and I am happy with the results.

I added the binding yesterday and as I wanted to finally get this monkey off my back I also machine sewed it to both sides. I have never done this before and usually machine sew to the front then turn and whipstitch the rear. This hand whip stitching is the thing I hate the most about this hobby of mine. Sometimes I am in the mood and have the quilt over my knee in the middle of winter with a great TV series back to back to keep me entertained. But most of the time I hate it. Confession time – I have three quilts that are IN USE on beds that have the binding sewn to the front and not yet to the rear!! Shhh! Don’t tell the Quilt Police!

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I think for this type of quilt which has a busy pattern and was thrown together very quickly in the first place, this machine binding works well. As you can see from the photo above, the front is sewn normally and then the binding is wrapped around and then sewn onto the backing by sewing in the ditch on the front right next to the edge of the binding. This method might work nicely for one of the quilts awaiting full finishing, but unfortunately the other two will definitely need whipstitching. It’s a good thing Netflix has arrived in New Zealand!

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This is the front of the quilt. It is built up medallion style with triangles and borders, but what I think is quite effective with this particular fabric is that many of the patterns have diamond designs that create an illusion of tricky piecing having taken place.

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I bought the pattern and kit from Hawthorne Threads but even after fussy cutting the floral triangles and the diamond borders I am still left with acres of fabric remaining. That is somewhat annoying as it’s quite distinctive and so won’t be easily blended in and lost into other quilts, and the cost of the unnecessary fabric (and the shipping of it!) could probably have been better used. (actually, this should not surprise me as I think Amy Butler writes her patterns for fussy cutting and matching of seam repeats with fabric to spare. When I made a gumball pouff I ended up with twice as much fabric as I needed, and ditto when I made her weekender bag. Just a tip for anyone buying her patterns!)

The quilt finishes at 64″ x 74″. It’s called Window to the Soul and the fabric and pattern are by Amy Butler.

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So you’d think with a Secret Project and this quilt complete that I would have been done, but no, wait, there’s more!

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I knew I would not hang about to use the lovely AMH fabric I bought last weekend! Here is my Idea Pouch (pattern here) made using a few fat quarters. I switched it up a little and used two different fabrics for the top part and bottom part of the back (pattern piece D) so that when it folded over to close there would be contrast. I also only used my fancy fabric on the parts of the lining that show – once again the top part of lining pattern piece D.

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When I had cut the two parts for piece D I realised I had failed to add a seam allowance and so the flap is 1/2″ shorter than it should be, but I think when I make another of these I again won’t worry about adding the seam allowance as the flap size like this is just fine.

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This pouch is the right size for an iPad in the main part. There is also a pocket pouch which has a pleat so that it can contain lots of other “stuff” and there is a pencil/pen holder too.

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The pattern calls for a ribbon and button closure similar to office files or internal mail envelopes (does “internal mail” even exist anymore?! Am I showing my age that I remember when physical papers got sent around large companies in an internal mail system?!). I am not a fan of those closures and so I chose to use a large press-stud instead. I had thought of a magnetic closure but am worried that it will interfere with the electronics of the iPad/Kindle that gets stored in this pouch.

I have to say that this project LOOKS daunting but was so easy peasy! The pattern is well written and the whole thing comes together quite quickly. Using my method of split fabric on the back uses a full fat quarter of the main fabric, half a fat quarter of the backing, contrast fabric and lining, and a further fat quarter of the plain lining fabric (which I don’t show but is a Kona Ruby Red).

Golden Child returned from her overseas jaunt today and already has a friend round to hang out. Both of them are quite taken with the Idea Pouch and I have promised to enlarge the pattern and make them laptop sized ones for school using “cool fabric” (!! don’t they understand how cool Anna-Maria is?!!).  I think this will be great for school to protect the laptop, keep pens to hand and in the pouch they can carry their “diary log book” or whatever it is that they call the book they log homework and assignments and school activities in.

OK, I had better post this and then post my Sunday Stash too. Tomorrow is a holiday here and I have plans to make the other Secret Project item, sew up at least one In-flight bird block and possibly make another Idea Pouch.


3 thoughts on “I’ve been a little busy…

  1. Gosh you’ve been very busy. I’m loving all the makes. The Amy Butler quilt is beautiful but it must be annoying to have so much fabric left over. I don’t buy patterns or kits myself but do find I often have lots of fabric left over when I overestimate what I will need for a particular projct. Thankfully there are lots of projects and ideas out there that are great for using up scraps, which can often be easily stretched quite far when mixed with solids. The pouch is great, and I presonally think the press stud is the perfect closure for it. And yes internal mail still exists. I send plenty of it and although our internal envelopes don’t have the button and ribbon closures, but they do still exist elsewhere.

  2. Wow, for being so busy with regular life, you have certainly done a lot of sewing. I LOVE your confession about using the quilts with unfinished bindings. That is pretty funny but I won’t tell. Very sweet of you and your group to make something special for Rachel’s family. Really thoughtful.

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