I was planning a review of the previous year and came across unused pictures of completed projects so here is a gleeful collection of things I'm glad I finished! The first is a Union Jack quilt begun in my patchwork classes about 4 years ago. I'd had enough of the very prescriptive accuracy demanded by a standard quilt and wanted to go off piste with a rag style. If it looks easy, chances are, it isn't. This wasn't. Union Jack's are hard and as you can see below. I got it wrong. (Bottom right corner - no idea how it overshot it's implied rectangular shape). This wrongness made me so frustrated, I hid the unfinished quilt top, moved house and made Other Stuff. I rediscovered the unloved squash of fabric in a bundle last summer and tried to save it. I failed to mend that design error (grrrr) but I did learn to love the quilt because it offered me a chance to do some freestyle quilting on a large scale. And gave me the opportunity to get to know my new sewing machine with its massive 11 inch throat.

Here it is wafting in a summer breeze. The fabrics behind are pre-washed ready for the next quilt. For the quilting, I wanted the effect of babbling brooks starting from the centre, feeding into larger rivers, washing over pebbles and eventually becoming the sea surrounding the British Isles.

It worked out just as I wanted and was a real joy to do. The fluid movements and swinging the quilt around took a little getting used to and there are a few sharp angles to begin with but once you find your rhythm it's great fun. I'm going to stop writing about this one now because sitting here looking at the pictures I'm seeing even more errors. Ho hum, it sits over the end of my bed and has been used for curling up with on cold evenings. I've learned a whole lot about "easy" quilts and never giving up and at least I got a cuddle rug from it.

Here's a cushion cover. This was designed to match a quilt made a couple of years ago for my sis-in-law-ish. The colour choices had been hers and it was a good challenge to find ways to lighten the colour mix and stop it looking like a bruise. (Something I nearly managed on several design tryouts). I came to really like the impact of the solid black against the soft, feminine pinks. 

And my final quilt (although not final quilty thing) of 2015 was this chevron design quilt in male colours for a male man. Just like I'm never doing rag quilts again, I'm never doing chevrons again! I had to have a mass cutting out of these shapes because every time I did some work on it and walked away, by the time I returned, I'd forgotten how to cut the angles. I kept spending 30-40 mins figuring it all out again. Sheesh! And I was already feeling the pressure because I needed to have it ready to mail to Scotland as a Christmas present.

Of course, in the end, like an opening night at the theatre after a dreadful dress rehearsal, it was all fine. The angles sewed up nicely once the cutting out was done and the top came together quite quickly. Genius alert... what I have learned with quilts is to lay out the pieces and play around with the design until it's just right, then take a pic to refer back to. You're welcome. I think that will turn out to be my only genius gift to the world of quilting and I'm sure has already been claimed by many, many others. I am learning to love the imperfections I manage to add to each quilt I make, happy in the knowledge that when a quilt is wrapped around your shoulders or over your knees, all you're aware of is the cosy warmth from those layers. Delicious. 

My final quilty thing was a basket from a pattern bought at last November's stitch and quilt event. I fell in love with the bold colours of these when I saw them on display and since a crafty girl always needs a bag for Stuff, I had a go at the largest bag.

Nice and easy to bring together using darts and some fun quilting. This is it inside out having it's base attached.

And the finished item. I use it to store needle felting wool for current projects. (See previous post about my slinky fox.)

The final, final project pre Christmas was this birthday board. I've seen these all over Pinterest (I'm addicted, send help) and had to have a go at making my own. Let me be quite clear, freezer paper is BRILLIANT! You decide on your text, make it go backwards (invert it?) print it on the shiney side of some freezer paper already cut to fit through your printer and with the ink still wet, use the back of a spoon to transfer the lettering to a piece of wood. I think I may spend 2016 transferring all sorts of words onto bits of wood. Use shrink plastic and a big hole punch to create the discs, write name and date in permanent ink, punch a hole in the top and bottom then shrink. Finally, spend the next five nights making your eyes go bandy in your strongest reading glasses, swearing at how fiddley the dang thang is.

Hang in pride of place and say to everyone who asks "Oh the birthday board, no I didn't buy it, I made it. Yes it is a good idea isn't it, yes I thought it up all myself, no I've never heard of Pinterest..."

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