Saturday, September 17, 2016

Gypsy Wife - the Beginning!

Whilst waiting for the new patterns and fabrics to come out for the fall, I thought I'd try my hand at a bit quilting.  It really is 'big' in Canada - much more so that in the UK (where I hail from originally), and in fact the first Canadian dollars that I earned when we moved here in 2004 was from working in a quilt shop, cutting fabric.  As you can imagine, I was handing over most of my wages each month to my employer to pay for the fabric, books, notions that I had bought!

So, what to make?  I have made a couple of quilt tops, or 'flimsys' as I have heard them referred to, as a result of buying a 'class pass' from my local quilt shop and attending some classes, and now I wanted to try something different.  Somewhere on the net I saw some photos of a pattern called Gypsy Wife by Jen Kingwell.  Oh man, what a riot of colour and pattern!  And best of all?  You can use up scraps.

I bought the pattern online via Etsy from a seller in Australia - and I would thoroughly recommend her.  I did a bit of research checking pattern cost & postage, and she came out top, saving me over $20 on some of the other sellers.  Some people have written reviews about the pattern (mostly on Amazon) commenting about the content, and as long as you go into this knowing that you will NOT be held by the hand, I think most people will be fine.  And of course, thanks to the interwebs, there are lots of blog posts to help you out - and I used these two blogs that were actually a quilt-a-long.  There are some excellent documents that list the size of the different blocks in the different units - I found it very helpful.

But first, what colours?  I was tempted to do the full 'scrappy' look, but thought it wold also be fun to have some kind of colour co-ordination, so over to Design Seeds for some inspiration.  I love this blog - and if you ever need some help with colours - this is a great place to start.  After lots of mooching around, this is the photo and colours that I plumped for:

Very Mediterranean with quite a few colour choices.  Love it!  And here is my selection:

There is a real mixture here, Amy Butler, Riley Blake, Moda, Wal-Mart, Fabricland, fat quarters, jelly rolls, charms squares, and scrappy scraps!

Once the colour choices were made, it was time to play!!

The pattern book itself has you make up all the blocks - pinwheels x 6, hourglass x 2 etc., and then link them all together in their ten sections with the long strips, finally sewing the 10 sections together.  I found it easier to make one section at a time, including the strips, starting on the left (sections 9 & 10) and working towards the right (sections 1, 2 &7).  Here are my first few blocks:

Which when put together, made this sections 9, 8 and 10):

The colours are really rich and it amazing how they all seem to 'go' together.  I tried not to have two fabrics the same touching, and I wanted to have all my strips at the bottom to be different (60 in all!)

Close up you can see more detail (well, duh!)  I have NEVER made any of these blocks before, so although I would count myself as an experienced dressmaker, I am definitely a beginner quilter.  There are a couple of differences in my blocks - sometimes because I didn't read the instructions fully, and at others for aesthetic reasons - for example the blue heart below.  The pattern directs you to have more contrast/background in the middle section where the triangles are, but I wanted mine to have a more solid appearance.  So that is what I gave it!

Well, that was my first weekend's sewing.  I am absolutely thrilled with the progress.  My camera doesn't quite capture the vibrancy of the project so far.  I will work on that for the next set of photos!

And in the meantime - ooooh, new Tina Givens patterns and autumn fabrics to play with.  I really like this look by Kaliyana called the 'Anti Suit:

Watch this space!

Have you started your Autumn sewing yet?