Mug Rugs from Pam

I received the beautiful mug rugs from my swap partner Pam a few days ago, which made their way safely to Singapore from USA!  It was so exciting to receive the mug rugs, and boy was I amazed when I opened the package to see loads of other goodies which Pam sent over!  There were two packs of Hannah Montana fabric squares, one pack of charm squares from my favourite Figtree Quilts collection “Gypsy Rose” and a notepad with a pen.  It was so sweet and thoughtful of her.  God does wonderful things connecting two people from miles away.  It’s just so amazing how Pam even knows I’m a fan of Figtree Quilts!

I love the colour combinations, so pastel and very suitable for spring.  Pam’s workmanship and quilting skills are just excellent, from the way little details like the small butterfly and lines on the basket are sewn.

Mug rugs and goodies from Pam

Mug rugs and goodies from Pam

Springtime mug rugs from Pam

Springtime mug rugs from Pam

Growing flowers mug rug

Growing flowers mug rug

Flower basket mug rug

Flower basket mug rug

I love how she used embroidery to sew the quilt label, so professionally and uniquely done!

Quilt Labels

Quilt Labels

This is my best swap so far, as the previous two didn’t turn out very well.  Very glad to know a new friend from this swap!  I hope she receives my mug rugs soon, and will like what I’ve made for her.

Springtime Mug Rugs are Completed

After working on the mug rugs for a few weeks, they are finally completed!  I hope I had more time to work on them though and improve on the colour combinations.  It’s a pity I was really ill over the past few weeks and had to cope with the children’s exams at the same time, and could not dedicate more time and efforts into making better ones.  In addition, I had to meet the deadline of shipping the mug rugs over by 13 May.

Check out the mug rugs which I sent to my swap partner Pam from USA early this week.  I’ve just received the beautiful mug rugs she made for me with loads of goodies, which I’ll share in my next blog post.  Hope she’ll receive my mug rugs soon.

The Springtime Mug Rugs are completed

The Springtime Mug Rugs are completed

Growing Flowers Mug Rug

Growing Flowers Mug Rug

Flower Basket Mug Rug

Flower Basket Mug Rug

Quilt label for Growing Flowers Mug Rug

Quilt label for Growing Flowers Mug Rug

Quilt label for Flower Basket Mug Rug

Quilt label for Flower Basket Mug Rug

I also spent some time to sew a cardholder for Pam.  I hope she likes it!

A little goodie for Pam - namecard holder

A little goodie for Pam – namecard holder

Progress of Mug Rug Swap

My progress wasn’t as fast as expected for the two mug rugs as I’ve been ill since last week and was suffering from back pain, which doesn’t allow me to sew for long periods.  Having to cope with tutoring the kids for their mid-year exams didn’t help too.  :(

I’m however working on the hand appliques for the Flower Basket Mug Rug top now, as I’ve completed the Growing Flowers Mug Rug top last week.  What’s left is actually to quilt and bind the mug rug.

I’ve unfortunately missed the deadline to mail the mug rugs which is today!  I’ve just emailed my swap partner to explain the situation and hope she understands.  Working on it really hard now, so I can mail it out by next week.

Here’s some snapshots on what I’ve completed so far:

Completed Growing Flowers Mug Rug Top

Completed Growing Flowers Mug Rug Top

Flower Basket Mug Rug Appliqued Top

Flower Basket Mug Rug Appliqued Top

Celebrating the Birth of a Butterfly!

After a long journey of two years, the Hungry Caterpillar quilt is finally completed!  No words can explain the exhilaration and joy as we see the transition of a little caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly!  The completed quilt measures 64″ x 92″, my biggest project so far!

Check out my masterpiece!

The completed Hungry Caterpillar quilt, standing proud and tall

The completed Hungry Caterpillar quilt, standing proud and tall

Edith & Eponine holding up the completed quilt proudly

Edith & Eponine holding up the completed quilt proudly

Well of course, the happiest has to be the lucky recipient of the quilt!

Eponine snuggling up with the quilt, while reading her favourite "The Little Hungry Caterpillar" storybook

Eponine snuggling up with the quilt, while reading her favourite “The Hungry Caterpillar” storybook

Eponine snuggling up comfortably with the quilt she's looking forward to for the past two years!

Eponine snuggling up comfortably with the quilt she’s looking forward to for the past two years!

Good night...and sweet dreams with tiny caterpillars!

Good night…and sweet dreams with tiny caterpillars!

Sweet dreams....with the Hungry Caterpillar quilt

Sweet dreams….with the Hungry Caterpillar quilt

Sharing some snapshots of how the binding of the quilt is done.

caterpillar-046

caterpillar-047

caterpillar-051

caterpillar-049

caterpillar-052

I feel a bit helpless now that the quilt is finally completed.  It’s a surreal feeling, as I didn’t expect myself to pull through the entire process.  Very glad that my hard work and perseverance paid off!

Now, time to move on to the next project!  :)

Binding the Caterpillar Quilt

It’s time to bind the Hungry Caterpillar quilt!  This is not my favourite step of the quilting process, but an important one to wrap up the project.

I start off the process by cutting off all excess backing fabrics and batting, to ensure that the top and backing are of the same size.  I take great care in the cutting to ensure that not too much or too less is snipped off.  After all, so much work has been put into the quilt thus far, and we wouldn’t want to create a boo-boo at this critical stage to ruin the beautiful quilt!

Cutting excess fabrics off

Cutting excess fabrics off

Removing basting pins

Removing basting pins

Quilt with access fabrics cut off, ready for binding!

Quilt with access fabrics cut off, ready for binding!

After the cutting has been completed, I attach the binding.  The 2.5″ strips had been sewn together earlier to form a long binding strip, and pressed in half length-wise.  The binding is attached one side at a time.

One side of the quilt with binding attached

One side of the quilt with binding attached

A closer look at the attached binding

A closer look at the attached binding

The binding is sewn on using a 1/4″ seam.

Now's the time to start sewing the binding!

Now’s the time to start sewing the binding!

Sewing the binding with 1/4" seam

Sewing the binding with 1/4″ seam

I prefer to do a mitered corner binding, for a nicer finish.

Quilt with mitered corner binding attached

Quilt with mitered corner binding attached

Closeup of attaching a mitered corner binding

Closeup of attaching a mitered corner binding

Viola!  The quilt with all four sides of binding all attached!  But….this is not all, now comes the tedious process of hand stitching the top part of the binding to the back of the fabric.  I’m targeting to have the binding handsewn in a week’s time, as it’ll make a little girl very happy, enjoying her sweet slumbers with wriggly caterpillars!  I’ll be sharing more updates in my next blog post!

Binding is attached on all four sides of quilt

Binding is attached on all four sides of quilt

Quilt Challenge in Singapore

There’s an upcoming Quilt Challenge in Singapore in October and the theme is “Striptease”.  The terms and conditions state that the quilt should be pieced by strips not wider than 2.5″ and it should not be larger than a single bed size.

This is probably the first time I’ve heard of a quilt show in Singapore and I’m participating!  With my amateur skills, I know I’ll probably not win anything but decided to go for it anyway for the fun of it and to meet and learn from fellow quilters.

I happen to have a few jelly rolls/honey buns on hand, so that’s what I’ll use for my quilt.  Finally they could be put to good use!

I was thinking about my quilt design and finally decided on this pretty pinwheel quilt which I saw in the Moda Bake Shop:

http://www.modabakeshop.com/2010/08/pinwheels-in-house-quilt.html

It’s pretty and simple enough to piece together.  With my limited time, I definitely can’t go for any complicated designs.  Not forgetting I only have four more months to work on it!

Here’s my WIP – what I have completed so far:

Squares cut from my honey bun and charm squares, ready to be pieced
Here’s the completed pinwheel blocks – 25 in total
Arranging one of the pinwheel blocks with the log cabin borders

I’m using the “Fresh Cottons” honey bun and “Fig and Plum” charm squares for this quilt – all from my favourite Fig Tree Quilts.  The finished size is 35″ x 35″.

I’ve finished arranging five blocks as of last night – 20 more to go!  It’s not easy to match the pinwheel blocks to the appropriate log cabin borders and this is where it gets all exciting!  This is such a fun quilt to work on and I can’t wait to complete it, so I’ll be in time to submit it for the quilt show.

Learning Free Motion Quilting

Having successfully machine quilted a quilt for Edith, I told myself that it’s time to move on and attempt FMQ.  These three words struck a fear into me as it meant that I had to leave my comfort zone of using a walking foot, drop my feed dogs and switch to an intimidating darning foot!  Not forgetting the insecurities of having to deal with the freedom that the darning foot brings!

I had attended a machine quilting class more than 2 years ago, which taught me the basics of using a walking foot and FMQ.  Since then, I was so overcome with fear I didn’t even wanna recognise the existence of the darning foot and hid it in a sewing box so I would not see it!  LOL.  Even though I did bring it out once or twice to practice, but my stitches were so horrible I quickly hid it in the box again.

Since the completion of Edith’s quilt, I told myself I ought to get out of my hibernation and get some FMQ done!  Hence, I’ve been working hard at it since May and practicing on small practice quilts.  It was frustrating and discouraging at first, as I simply can’t get rid of eyelashes on the back, loopy threads on the front and getting even stitches.  Took me almost one month to trial and error, to troubleshoot my tension problems by playing with the top tension settings, needles, threads, machine speed etc. 

Anyway, my perseverance and patience finally paid off after I raised my feed dogs.  This was after I wrote to Leah Day for advice on my tension problems.  Leah is just so awesome and talented.  As young as she is, she created the Free Motion Quilting Project to help fellow quilters who have problems with FMQ.  I’ve been religiously following through her online tutorials since May and have learnt so much!

http://www.daystyledesigns.com/365difficultymain.htm

I’m still not very good in FMQ yet, but with practice, I could see my stitches getting more even and my confidence level increasing.  It’s just PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND MORE PRACTICE!  I’ve even started some FMQ on a table runner I’m working on right now.  I hope that with more practice, I could be as good as many quilters out there.