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Fat Quarter Shop's Charm Box Quilt Blog Hop

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on the Charm Box Quilt Blog Hop with the Fat Quarter Shop.  If you haven’t been here before, it’s nice to meet you, feel free to have a poke around in other pages while you’re here.

The Charm Box Quilt is a new free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop for a 36 1/2" x 45 1/2" quilt which is perfect for beginners, and requires only 2 charm packs and 3 yards of solids to complete the entire thing, that’s front, back and binding!

For my version I went with 1 pack of Doe from Carolyn Friedlander, and 1 pack of the co-ordinating Kona solids, then added in yardage of 3 of the co-ordinating solids (Shadow, Niagara and Prussian) to give my sashing, backing and binding respectively (sorry about the rather crinkly look on the left, it got folded a bit awkwardly in the car):

It was amazingly fast to put together, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever done a quilt in a day before, so this is perfect for those last minute baby gifts.  For beginners, there’s a video that the girls at the Fat Quarter Shop have put together to walk you through the entire process, which you can find here

The free pattern can be picked up here, and for any of you that might be struggling with working out the perfect fabric combo, there’s even a kit available which contains fabrics from Aloha Girl, which was the line used in the pattern diagrams and video, and is available here.

A couple of nights ago I handed this over to a friend of mine who just had a baby – funnily enough, I’d always thought baby quilts were small, until I actually saw this one next to the baby!  Suffice to say I think it will cover her for a while :oD
Work In Progress Wednesday

Whew, the last week seems to have flown by!  Saturday during the day I was rather sidetracked by the rugby - 221 points and 27 tries in 3 games, what a day in the 6 Nations!  Plus the best team won in the end ;o)  I was also out to dinner with a bunch of quilty ladies on Saturday night - Karen Lewis was 'on tour' teaching at Jo Avery's shop in Edinburgh, and Fiona, Robin, Clare and Sheila and I went out to Cafe Andaluz for fabulous tapas.  The train back to Glasgow was 'interesting' given the state of the fans returning from Murrayfield at that time o.O  Yesterday afternoon also saw me back at uni giving 3rd years careers advice about how to become me when they grow up (heaven help them!)

Anyway, in between socialising and jollity, I managed to finish my rainbow IG mini swap, and also got all the photos for my Rainy Days And Mondays bag for the upcoming pattern.  Plus there was a secret block, but, well, it was a secret ;o)

Finishes This Week:

My rainbow IG mini swap was highly inspired by Nicole of Modern Handcraft who I follow on IG having met her at Market last year.  I did it my way (and with rather more glue than the original!), but I discovered when I went to link to it here that she has a tute on her blog if you'd like to see how to make one yourself.  I used a mini charm pack of Kona Solids from their 'extension' a couple of years ago that had been searching for the perfect project.  I paired it with Sketch prints for both the background and the binding.

Here's the latest Rainy Days & Mondays bag, in a French advertisement laden laminate:

In Progress This Week:

Nothing else - wasn't the above quite enough?!

To Be Worked On This Week

Do you know, I haven't quite decided yet :o)

Linking up with Lee and the gang:

Camera Challenge 3 - Triangle Of Light – Understanding Shutter Speed

Last month we enthusiastically embraced the first side of the Triangle Of Light, Aperture, and this month we’re going to move round to Shutter Speed.  The main purpose of this month is to see the effect that different shutter speeds can have on different elements within your photos.

Your challenge is this:

Find a willing moving subject that you can get reasonably close to.  It needs to be quite fast moving, such as a dog chasing a stick, a sports team running around or perhaps some moving cars (although if your neighbours call the police because you’ve started loitering at the end of the road with your camera, don’t blame me!)

Switch your camera into Shutter Priority mode – in this mode the camera will find the aperture best suited for your shutter speed to give you a well exposed image.  You should also be able to adjust the ISO in this setting.  Ideally you want your ISO number to be as low as possible, as the higher the number, the grainier the photo, so aim for a maximum of about 800 if you can, but preferably around 100-200.

For the best focussing results, now is the time to investigate in your manual whether or not your camera has a continuous auto-focus setting – AI Servo on Canon or Continuous Servo on Nikons (other brands are available, it’s just that I don’t know what they call them, sorry!).  This setting effectively allows you to track the movement of your subject from the point that you half press the shutter button until the time you take the photo, so you can start focussing on your moving object as they come into the shot, and press the button when you like the composition.

With shutter speed I suggest you start fast and work your way down.  Now the challenge with how shutter speed is displayed, is that the numbers seem to go from large to small and then large again, so here’s how to interpret them:

If you see a whole number on its own, eg 250, that means your shutter speed is 1/250 th of a second.  When you start to see a “ after the number, then it is being measured in whole seconds, with fractions in 10ths afterwards, so 1” is 1 second, and 0”3 is 3/10 of a second.

To work through your shutter speeds, start with a very large number (around 1000 for cars or 500 for moving people/animals) and work your way down.  As with the aperture you don’t want to be hitting every number on the way down, but every 3-5 should suffice.

For your next challenge, try leaving your shutter speed at a fixed amount (around 125 for cars, 30 for cyclists and 15 for runners/animals), then instead of letting the subject move past you, try following the movement of your subject and pressing the shutter as you move.

Finally see if you can locate some running water where you can actually see the movement, eg a waterfall (and a waterfall can be inches high, it doesn’t need to be huge numbers of feet high!), or a running tap.  Take your camera off servo mode and focus on a rock or something within your waterfall or on your tap if you’re going the indoor route, then try going from around 300 down.  If you’re using a tap, you may need some additional light to help you along, so a couple of desk lamps either side would help.

I look forward to seeing your results in a couple of weeks!
Would You Like To Learn To Quilt?

Are you in the Glasgow area and would like to learn to quilt?  Well from the 30th April I'm teaching a beginners class at The Stitchery in Sandyford Place.

The class will cover how to use your sewing machine for quilt making, making quilt blocks, assembling them into a quilt top, then basting, quilting and binding.

For this first class we will be making a giant star lap quilt:

For more information, or to book, head over to The Stitchery to see the class page.  I look forward to seeing some of you there :o)
Work In Progress Wednesday

Despite my fervent hopes to the contrary, my main WIP this week has been finishing the bathroom, which I finally did last night.  Or so I thought.  Then I found when I was scrubbing off all the decorating debris, that there was a crack in the bath.  I could have cried!  So on the phone to the suppliers and fitters to sort it out...

In the non paint-filled times, I finished my Quilt Now Issue 11 project, and have been playing jigsaw puzzles with hexies for my rainbow IG mini swap.  That part was the more enjoyable part of the week...

Finishes This Week:

Quilt Now Issue 11 project, which will be available in May.

Last but one round of the Brit Bee medallions, which I hope we'll be able to reveal soon.

The bathroom (round 1), sorry, I don't have photos of the former horror!  I can tell you it was green with greenish cream fittings and a dead electric shower (and the replacement attached to taps one scalded you if you stood up due to differing hot/cold water pressures)

From the door towards the sink:

Moving round to the left:

And the last corner, the shower above the offending bath

In Progress This Week:

Rainbow mini swap mini.  My partner has been deathly silent on IG, and after a vote on IG by my followers didn't tell me a decisive direction to head in, I just went with what fabrics I wanted in the end, because, you know, it's all about me ;o)  I've been having a bit of a hexie placement crisis though, any thoughts?

To Be Worked On This Week:

Rainbow mini swap - I need to finish this very soon, so it's my first priority.
Writing up my Rainy Days And Mondays bag - painting pushed this off the list last week unfortunately

Linking up with Lee and the gang:

Bag Making Basics - Inset Zipped Pocket Tutorial

Pockets can be the thing that absolutely make a bag.  Although it can be handy to have large spaces to hold books, laptops and more, sometimes it's handy to have a separate, secure pocket to hold smaller items.  Inset zipped pockets fulfil this role perfectly, and the good news is that there's a nice, simple way to make them.

They can be added to the inside of a bag, like in the Whole Lotta Bag:

Or on the outside, like in the Traveller Bag:

First you will need to establish the size and placement of the pocket you want to add, so for this there's a few things you need to consider:

1. It's a good idea to keep the seam allowance from the pocket away from the seam allowance of the body of your bag so that they don't end up getting caught up in each other.  When I'm making bags I use a 1/2" seam allowance for security, so I make my pockets at least 1" shorter on all sides than the bag piece I'm adding it to.
2. What size zip you will need - you need to leave at least 1" of fabric at either end of the zip so you can sew up the sides of the pocket.
3. Where to add the zip - I try to keep 1 1/2" of fabric above the zip so I can sew across the top of the pocket.
4. Whether to make the pocket out of one or 2 pieces of fabric - both are possible, and if you have non-directional fabric and/or upside down prints on one side don't freak you out, the one piece method is marginally quicker.  The instructions below show the 2 piece method pocket method, but for the 1 piece version, you need to take the desired height of your pocket, double it and subtract 2 x seam allowance (since you won't be creating a seam at the top) then when you make the pocket, keep the back of the pocket portion of fabric above the zip as well as the amount you decided to leave above the zip.  When you come to sew the pocket up, just fold the back portion down, aligning the bottom and side edges.

Now you've worked all that out, it's time to sew!

1. The first thing you need to do is prepare your zip.  Regardless of whether you're using a zip that's exactly the right length, or one that needs to be cut down to size, you should tack the tape together just past where it should end, as per the photo below (please note your eyes are not deceiving you, the zip in this first photo is a lighter colour than the one used further down, sorry!).  This is really important, otherwise the tape splays out too much at the end and it looks wonky.

2. Place one of your pocket pieces right sides together with the bag piece you're adding the pocket to (in the 2 step method, you would have the backing portion overhanging at the top).  You can centre this, put it to one side, even put it on a slant, whatever floats your boat.  I tend to be rather conventionally boring and put mine parallel to the top/bottom of the bag piece.

3. Draw in your zip placement.  Draw your first line to be the length of your zip opening, placed the distance you would like the zip to be from the top.  Then draw a parallel line 1/4" above and 1/4" below that first line.  Join the ends with a short line, and then connect the corners to the centre line with an angled line about 1/4" in from each end.  You have now created the box for the opening, plus marked your cutting line.

4.  Sew all the way around the outer box, starting in the centre at the top, and pivoting carefully at each corner - don't overshoot at the corners and try and backstitch, or it will affect the turn through.

5.  Using a pair of sharp pointed scissors, cut up the centre line between the angled lines.  Cut up the angled lines to the corners, getting as close as you can to the stitching - failing to do this will warp your pocket when you try and turn it through.

6.  Pull the pocket through the opening, smoothing around the opening once turned through, and press.

7.  Take your zip and place it behind the opening.  There are 3 ways you can go from here:

a. Stick it in place with double sided tape/binding tape
b. Pin it in place, being careful not to distort the zip
c. Baste it in place by hand

There's no real rules, just do whatever you're comfortable with.

8. Topstitch your zip in place, roughly 1/8" from the edge of the opening:

9. Flip the bag piece over, and if you're using the 2 piece method, place the second pocket piece right sides together with the first.  For the 1 piece method, fold the back piece down.  Sew around all the open edges of the pocket, keeping the bag piece out of the way

And you're done!
Quilt Now Issue 9 - Charming Layers Wallet

The latest issue of Quilt Now should have landed on your doorstep or on the shelves of your local newsagents this week for those of you in the UK.

And my contribution to the 30 projects in this issue is a wallet which I spent far too much time thinking up complex instructions for, only for the final solution to the card pockets to hit me in bed in the middle of the night about 5 days after I'd started trying to work it out!  It wasn't that complex after all, you'll be pleased to know...

There are 4 card pockets, a little zipped change section and a note section at the back.  There's no turning through of pieces, it's all bound like a teeny wee quilt.

As for the name, it uses charm squares and layer cake pieces, so I was able to finally use some orphans.