Ali Wilkinson

Flying High

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The top is complete! I followed the layout I shared last week and I love the result. The photo doesn’t show the Art Gallery Fabrics Oval Elements for the background as the sun has washed the detail out, but in real life they are a lovely texture to the evening sky I imagine the birds are flying in.

I pretended to my husband and Golden Child that I wanted him to go for drive and then forced them to hold up the quilt to best effect. We went to the Red Zone, which is a part of Christchurch that used to be residential but after our series of quakes was deemed not solid enough ground for residential property. The government bought the houses off all the owners and as the houses are demolished a natural parkland is emerging and birds are returning to the city limits. So it seemed fitting to take the quilt there for the photoshoot.

Of course it didn’t go as smoothly as all that….. we first went to the beach and here are the outtakes:

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Without waiting around too much, I began prepping for my next project which was to be Haze Kilim from Kaffe’s Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts book. I had bought all the required fabric earlier this year online and just needed to press out the creases, but as I ironed I noticed some of the fabrics had been cut on a distinct angle. Of the 20 half yard cuts, 15 were cut on an angle, and as these are stripes and the stripes need to be perpendicular, the process of straightening up will lose a large amount of fabric. I’m really disappointed and have emailed the vendor and hope to get it sorted. Check out the angles on these:

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So now I am not sure what project to do while I wait for the replacement fabric to arrive, so I may be some time while I lose myself down an internet rabbit hole!

Ali Wilkinson

In-flight Almost Complete

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This last weekend I finished the last two blocks for In-flight; a duck and an eagle.

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The eagle is a super huge 24″ square and has some pretty big pieces of fabric involved. It took a whole FQ of the green solid Kona with tiny scrappy bits left over. I am not a fan of making large paper piecing blocks, in particular when one of the sections of the block was almost half of the finished block, like the square cut off centre into triangles. That was very tricky to work with. I have a few tricks when making large sections or sections with large pieces of fabric in them – I stick completed parts down with glue stick and use pins to hold the loose fabric I am adding onto the already sewed pieces underneath. Even with these tricks I still ended up with some pieces wrinkling underneath necessitating use of the seam ripper a little more than I would have liked.

So now I have all the blocks made I laid out my spare design wall onto the floor and placed onto it the completed blocks in a random arrangement. I filled the gaps with spare pieces of the background fabric. I stood on the sofa and took photos, which was really useful in terms of seeing the colour distribution and fixing and imbalances.

Here is the end layout which I will now sew together ready for long arming:

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I have backing fabric already picked. I will be using the Tula Pink Freewill wideback in navy with Tula Pink Labyrinth in sprout at the edges as a feature. Now just hoping Suzet Pont can fit it into her long arm schedule in time for me to take it to our holiday home in July.

Ali Wilkinson

WIP Wednesday

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February is going to be a sewing month for me. This last weekend was a long one thanks to Waitangi Day holiday and I made the most by going to my sewing group on Sunday (the monthly one) and then sewing most o the holiday Monday.

I finished this Osprey block from TartanKiwi’s In-flight quilt project. This marks the point where I have now passed the mid way point in this quilt and it feels good! The osprey took several hours and was quite tricky. When I was assembling it I realised I had used background sky fabric for the legs so there was a gap between body and claws. Bummer! I had to unpick quite a bit to get that bit of purple in there. This is a 24″ block and in all likelihood I don’t have any more big blocks left. I say that as I kind of think I need a third blog block to balance the quilt, but I will know more when I have done two or three more 12″ blocks and can do a dry run of the layout.

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I also decided to make a better effort to get to the Tuesday night hand sewing group more often. Since getting back from holiday I’ve managed to make it 1 in 3 times, so I am feeling quite happy! I decided to make a start on the Tula Marquise quilt which I bought as a kit a few years ago. It’s made with these honeycomb shapes and I was very relieved to find that Paper Pieces make paper templates of these so I don’t have to cut them myself. Above is diamond #1. There are 30 in total, though a few are half-diamonds, and then there are grey and cream filler strips that go in between the diamonds. There are 1,400 honeycombs in total, so more than the hexagons in my Hex on the Beach quilt, but it does come together slowly and steadily.

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I also finally made these five blocks for a swap. I agreed to this almost a year ago – 6 of us from the Tuesday sewing group are participating and we each gave one or two bits of fabric of our own choice to each other. The receiver then adds more fabric and picks a design for the blocks. I have been procrastinating all this time but as the deadline is the 19th I figured I had better get on with it! This is what I spent most of Sunday’s monthly sewing group time making.

I chose the Windmill block from the book 500 Quilt Blocks. It said it was 8″ and I figured I had enough fabric from each person. Hmm. First mistake. I only realised when I was about to make the one with the deep red background that the patterned fabric provided was not enough to make two windmill sails. Ok, I figured that was easy to fix, I would just make the frame a bit wider. So I made the sails as big as I could and then cut the frame accordingly. Job done.

I started the second block. The grey, yellow and black/white one. I followed the pattern exactly and had literally only just enough of the grey background provided by the swapper, but once assembled I realised the block was an inch too small. I re-checked all measurements, checked my seams were not generous and could not work it out. I had to add the yellow frame in order to make it 8″ finished size. I was a bit miffed and irritated by this stage!

I then re-examined the measurements provided and checked that I was using the book’s method for HSTs in case that was a factor. I was really mad when I realised that the measurements in the book were never going to add up to the 8″ finished (or even 8″ unfinished) – the squares used to make the HSTs were simply 1/2″ too small! Knowing this made it so much easier for the remaining three blocks which I whipped up in no time.

Here’s the offending book in case you have it and need to make an annotation of the error!

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I have other sewing plans for February too.

Tomorrow I am going to Auckland for business and will be able to call by one, if not two, of my favourite NZ quilting shops to stock up. The last of Christchurch’s main quilting shops closed over the holidays and so I am quite hankering for 15 minutes all to myself just to wander a fabric store and be overwhelmed by colours and design. I have a few quilts in the planning stages that need yardage to add to the fat quarters and prints I already have, so I am keen to get that. I also need a new thimble and I am quite fond of the Clover silicon ones. Oh, it’s so exciting!!

In two weeks I am going only first ever quilting retreat with the girls from my Tuesday group. We are going near to Christchurch to a venue mainly used for school camps. The catering is all provided and there is even a pool. The plan had been to stay Friday and Saturday nights but I messed up and double booked for Saturday night, so I will only stay til then. Hey ho, one night is better than none!