Blanket #2 in the making

Quilt #2 in progress

This time, it’s smaller squares with similar patterns BUT at least two mistakes plus a couple of off-center squares…I think I ought to NOT put my patches together when it’s late at night – bleary eyes and all.

The patchwork design this time is slightly different. I was aiming for an all-white/cream outer border followed by an all-brown second border and then a number of crosses in the same pieces of fabric but inverted alternately. The error, sad to say, is towards the end – the pieces that I last worked on. Note to self – must NOT take breaks in between sewing blocks. I had done things differently this time, choosing to work on sewing up half of the squares into 4×4 blocks instead of doing all of them at one go. Hence the errors.

Nil didn’t even notice it until I pointed it out…well, actually I didn’t notice it until I took a closer look at the picture just moments ago. His remark was funny to say the least – “Never mind, it’s for so-and-so” and promptly gave me the cheekiest grin ever.

Yes, I married a good AND funny man. 8)

On a totally unrelated topic, can someone tell me if I would still look good in a lace teddy? Being pregnant, I can hardly fit into my undies let alone sexy undies. Hm…maybe I should just wait till after Eva is born to fit into a lace teddy.

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Eva’s Red & Pink Cuddly

Quilt #1: Showing off the binding and backing

Quilt #1: Eva’s Red & Pink Cuddly
Width | Approx 78 cm
Length | Approx 105 cm
Pattern details | 5″ 100% cotton squares from Moda’s Charm Park Candy Kisses (Ebay), random arrangement
Batting | None
Backing | 100% cotton fabric from Textile Ambience
Binding | Single fold 100% cotton tape in black from Textile Ambience

I’m seriously in love with the colour – the black makes the red pop out (white would have muted the colours and blended in) but hey, Nil and I weren’t exactly looking for the typical baby receiving blanket when we chose the colours. We were quite tired with pastels (y’know how it is with baby clothes and all) and sometimes I think Nil feels that pastels are only great when you’re dead or sick. Ugh.

We did, however, had some problems agreeing on the colour for the backing. Nil wanted something much darker since he felt that the colours were already bright enough but I wanted something that co-ordinated with the colour scheme like red or cream.

After checking out the textile shop nearby, we finally decided on this lovely dark blood red fabric with equally gorgeous dark flowery design for the back. Cutting it down to size and sewing it to the squares weren’t an issue. Working with the bias tape on the other hand was another story altogether. I had purchased about 4 metres of single fold bias tape without realising that I ought to have bought DOUBLE fold instead. Gah.

So after much hunting online for tutorials and what-nots on using bias tapes, I decided to turn this single fold into a double fold. Then there was the issue of sewing it on and such. Mind you, when I was learning sewing in school, working with trimmings and bias tapes was something that I never liked doing…simply because I sucked at it. So I did more read up, referred to a couple of online videos and braved the whole bias tape thing.

The end result was neat but not quite perfect. Still, Nil proclaims that it’s looks great for a first timer. Now this little baby will head off to the washing and storage while I get back to work on Quilt #2 and figuring out which looks better – a suit or a tuxedo. Heh.

Quilt #1: Fresh from the oven

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Blanket #1 in the making

Fabric stash No 1

It all started with some precut squares that I bought from the US via Ebay – yes, when it comes to stash enabling for fabric, Ebay is seriously evil! Of course there was the newly adopted Elna to constantly tempt me but being an utter newbie, I couldn’t resist these squares.

Anyway, these precut 5″ squares are from one of Moda’s Charm Packs bundles and each of the 37 squares are different. I felt that 37 squares weren’t enough for an ideal sized baby blanket so I bought two packs of the same bundle which resulted in some minor repetition but it still yielded a pretty nice colour combo.

Since I knew next to nothing about quilting, I spent a few days – while waiting for the fabric to show up – surfing the Internet for tutorials and such. Of course, I couldn’t find one real site for all the things I needed so I had to piece bits of information here and there on my own. I discovered things like chain piecing (god sent!), the importance of pinning and yes, pressing plus the all crazy devil of sewing up a 1/4″ seam.

My first patchwork project!

My Elna has marks on the panel indicating seam measurements so instead of doing a 1/4″ so I am currently sewing up a 10mm seam or slightly less. Nil did remark that it was a bit tad much so I might try to make do with less in my next project (yes, the squares arrived and this time, they are 3″ squares!!!!). Anyway, the total number of pieced blocks are 70 and I have extra 4 squares which I’ll probably use for a separate patchwork project. One thing yummy about patchwork is that you can use fabric scraps and it’ll still be okay!

Surprisingly, putting the squares together took very little time – of course, pinning the pieces according to the preset framework and then pressing them after sewing up each seam/side was tedious. I ended up mixing up one or two squares but nothing problematic about it. I started late last night working with with a 2-block patch, then joining 2-block patches to form a 2×2 block and so forth. The whole thing was done just before 11am and now, it’s awaiting some good old measuring before I head off to buy some fabric for the backing and binding.

I don’t think I’ll bat this so it’ll just be a simple patchwork blanket. I figure while it’ll be nice to bat it and all – give it some fluff – it might get a bit too warm for Eva in the summer or as a receiving blanket. So yes, with any luck, I ought to be done with this before the week is out! W00t! On a side note, I am so tempted to buy more fabric that is on sale! Eeks!

Quilt 01: Putting the squares together.

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New toy!

The 1975 - 1977 Elna Lotus TSP

A couple of weeks back, I spoke of helping Nil out with cleaning out his grandmother’s apartment because she was sick and needed to hire a live-in nurse. She had lived in the said apartment since the 1950s and it was home for a short while for Nil and his parents when he was a kid. Needless to say, the place is full of vintage goods, from real mink (gifts from my grandfather’s clients – he was a banker) to tons of yarn, baby clothes and buttons.

My father-in-law was adamant that whatever wasn’t of use was going to the trash – Nil’s grandmother survived two world wars and was not in the habit of trashing things just like that so there was a lot of stashed things which she later on forgot about over the years. So when he found an old 1970s sewing machine, we thought it would be a waste to trash it considering that Nil’s grandmother hardly used it. Upon closer examination, we discovered that on the surface, it was in mint condition so Nil suggested that I adopt it…together with some of her yarn stash. She gladly approved of it.

Today, I managed to test out this little vintage baby. It’s an Elna Lotus TSP which is circa 1975 to 1977. Portable and quite lightweight for a vintage electric machine, it comes with a full set of accessories (bobbins, threader, oil, brush, extra guide pedals, needles), foot pedal and two manuals. Believe it or not, it sews pretty well for an oldie – took us a minute or two to figure out how to get things going because the manual was in French and the only one who understands French really well doesn’t know how to operate a sewing machine. HAHAHAHA. Still, despite not knowing how to operate a sewing machine, the manual is very user friendly and Nil sewed his first straight line as he proudly proclaimed!

So far, things look promising and the tension, stitch width and all has been set up. I have yet to really test it out on proper fabric, but hopefully we’ll have something to show for by this week with my first patchwork project. In the meantime, it’s back to the sewing machine and surfing the net for info on hotels like the Riviera Hotel. My belly is getting awfully big for anything else so am afraid that the spinning wheel will go into hiatus soon together with fibre dyeing. *sobs*

The 1975 - 1977 Elna Lotus TSP

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