Wednesday, 26 January 2011

State of stash

This will be the last post for January so I thought I would share with you whether my stash has increased or not during the month.

I have managed to use a total of 11 metres but added a further 7  - so all in all the stash has reduced by 4 metres.  Doesn't sound much but every little helps - if I managed that every month I could have busted nearly 50 metres over the year.

Am off to walk in snowy mountains for a week and will post when I return.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Design inspiration

Having finished the two porjects and not having even ordered the fabric for the two large appplique quilts, I am returning to a hand project that has been ongoing for a while. It is the project I take to my groups and frankly don't do much with in between so this is going to take some time!

It is called "Cornflowers in a cornfield" and is all hand sewn.
Here is a close up

The small circle in the middle is about 1/4" across.

When one is seriously challenged on the design front with lack of drawing skills, you have to invent other means of finding designs and the inspiration for this quilt was my ironing board cover. You can see the pattern of the large flower in the centre.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Challenge quilt

The BQL challenge quilt is finished. It measures 12" x 18" and once again proves that I really can't draw at all.  But I thoroughly enjoyed doing the machine thread work and hope that someone will want to swap it. It could end up anywhere in the world or - if no-one likes it enough, I will be hanging it on my wall!  It is based on the view out of my office - up near the roof of the houses opposite there is a branch which I have attempted to copy
Here is my original sketch (told you I can't draw)
I even managed to find some wood effect fabric in my stash

Then I added the leaves
The quilting was all done with a varidated brown thread for the branches and twigs and a pale green on the leaves.

and here is a detail

Two finishes in one weekend - I feel I need to go and lie down in a darkened room to recover.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

One down, a million to go

The pink quilt is finished - yesterday the binding went on and the quilt was washed and laid out for drying - I will leave it on the floor for two or three days so that it comes up totally square. I did put it in the tumble dryer until it was damp.

I can't claim credit for the design as I used elements from the books by Piece of Cake   Designs . The recipient of this quilt asked for a pink quilt and she certainly got one! The main background in pieced in 9" squares and 9" x 18" rectangles.  The green border is 1 1/2" x 6" blocks and the outer border is 3" squares. All the quilting is by hand - the applique pieces are quilted in a variegated Steph Francis thread - pink/red/purple for the flowers and a variegated green for the leaves.  The background is quilted in a variegated pink thread.

I still have not chosen a name for the quilt - "Pink Bouquet" or "Claudia's Bouquet" are front runners at the moment but I will ponder on it some more. It is her university quilt so I have a while before I have to sew on the label and give it to her.

I have to go and start my challenge quiltlet for the BQL challenge (BQL is a yahoo group of mainly British Quilters but with lots of quilters from overseas as well).- lots of other people have already posted their efforts and I have had to give up looking at them - they are all so good and it is easy to become distracted by what you see and think "oh yes - I could do something like that" and then you end up not thinking for yourself. The challenges before were easy as you just posted photographs when they were finished but this one is really scary as you are able to vote for your favourite five and then hopefully you will be chosen to receive that - yes we are actually swapping quilts! And you could be swapping with someone from the other side of the world.

Enough prevaricating I must get on. Hopefully you will see the results tomorrow.

I got this link from the Stashbusters goupr - just in case you are thinking of re-organising your stash - imagine the fabric she could have bought with price of the boxes.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


A good day is one when a new quilting magazine drops on the mat. Definitely time for a cup of coffee and a good read.  This month's Quilters Newsletter is a brilliant one and I have only managed to read a few pages so far.

My dilemna is almost over - I have decided to go ahead and order the dark blue fabric - now my only problem is to choose the shade. I am going to take the design to my quilt group on Friday and discuss it further. I also will buy the background for the McLean Roseville quilt.

Now I am off to teach my group and have to do some more ironing in preparation. They are all doing so well and in a few weeks time we should have two of them quilting up their quilts a storm.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011


There is a beautiful block of the month that I badly want to start - it's huge and full of lots of applique. The last quilt I made by this designer I offered to my local church and school as the major raffle prize at the summer fair. I managed to complete the entire quilt out of stash and so only had to pay for the longarm quilting - my own machine quilting is really not good and I did not want to ruin what was promising to be a beautiful piece. Anyway I was happy to do it and thankfully it raised quite a lot of money for a good cause.

Now I have a problem - the new design needs 11 yards of background fabric. I think I can fudge all the applique and pieced block colours from my stash but the quilt is designed with a dark background - shown in black but I think dark blue would be better.(The overall theme is winter and Christmas)  Question is do I spend a shed load of money on all that fabric or do I just collect the pattern month by month and make the quilt sometime never.

I was hoping not to spend too much on supplies this year but that could get blown out of the window with this quilt.

Not to mention the other applique quilt I want to start which needs another 10 metres background as well.

So I will go and do some hand sewing and contemplate.

Here is a picture of my stash in the workroom - enough to make a few more quilts I think!

Monday, 17 January 2011

scrap quilt

This is a small quilt that I made using the quarter square triangle ruler from Creative Grids. All the fabric came from my stash of 2 1/2" strips. It is a great way to use up one colour of your strips. The blue one are in the ongoing half square triangle quilt and I have a pink one with 60 degree triangles started as well.
I am now off to iron all the fabrics I bought yesterday.

I am getting a few quilt tops together at the moment as I am going to buy a new Bernina in the summer and will need lots of practice at machine quilting - they will not be big quilts but again will use up my stash and can be given away as charity quilts at the end of the day.

I am also trying to keep a tally of the amount of fabric I use this year so that I can calculate whether the stash has decreased over the year. So far the pink quilt has used 8 metres of fabric. The calculation I am using is length x width of quilt top + 20% for seam allowances, divided by 40 and then divided by 39. I have added a further metre for the applique and binding. At least that is more than I bought yesterday!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Falling off the wagon

I am meant to on "No Buy" for fabric - at least according to the Stashbusters yahoo group, to which I belong, you can buy the Bs - i.e. backings, background, borders and binding. So what did I do today - went to a fabric sale where all the local shops are selling off their stock before the new lines arrive in the spring. I even had a mental list of what I wanted to buy - 9 metres for the background to do the Kim McLean Roseville quilt and some dark blue fabric for the new Beth Ferrier block of the month. Well, I could not find anything for either cause so ended up buying more fat quarters.
In my defence the group on the left are for one of my students at the centre as she wants to make a quilt in "lavender" colours so here is a variety for her to choose from.
The middle lot - well in my view you can never have too many dots or stripes and I am sure they will eventually prove useful.
The lot on the right - I just loved the rose fabric and in fact managed to buy 3 x 1/2" metre cuts - sadly someone was in the queue in front of me and snaffled the fabric on the bolt. Now the keen eyed among you will notice that the tone on tone orange is the same fabric - what can I say!
Now off to the washing machine and will hopefully be able to iron and smooth them all tomorrow before adding them to the stash.

Managed to get six more blocks of the blue quilt sewn yesterday so not an entirely fruitless weekend.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Headers and footers

The pink quilt now has its binding machined on and I will wait to hand sew it down until the next meeting of my quilting group next week as I will need a hand project.

I have a huge collection of blue and cream half square triangles which have been cut using the specialist ruler from Creative Grids which are meant to be used for jelly rolls. I have been cutting up fabrics that I have had in my stash for ages and really do not like any more but when they are cut up small enough, even the most awful fabric seems to improve.
These boxes sit next to my sewing machine so that I can use the triangles as headers and footers (I do also admit to cheating occasionally and doing some mindless sewing of these triangles!!). The box on the top left is for sewn triangles that have not been pressed or trimmed (I am fanatical about the trimming so that all the squares are the same size) and the box on the top right are for the pressed squares which are ready to be sewn into blocks. These are 8" square and every blue fabric in each block is different.

The bocks at the moment are in three strips as I have no idea how large the quilt will end up - I still have a lot of 2 1/2" strips which could be cut up. It is a wonderful way of using your stash.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Friday 14th January

I have finally finished hand quilting the applique quilt. Now all I have to do is cut the binding and sew it on. I used two wonderful varigated silk threads to outline the applique (pink/purple for the flowers and green for the leaves and stems). The background quilting is in a varigated pink thread.  I will post a photograph of the completed quilt when it is finished. I have not found a name for the quilt yet so the label will have to wait for a bit. It was made for the daughter of a friend who is in the middle of her A levels and will hopefully be going on to University. This is latest of a series of "Univerity" quilts that I have made for friends' children and friends of my son.

I have a huge amount of work to do in preparation for next week's teaching at a centre for people with mental health problems. I do all the cutting out of the pieces here and one of the girls arrived this week with a stash of new fabric for a quilt for her daughter. It all needs washing and ironing before I can start cutting. Also I have to draw quilting lines on a quilt that one of my students is hand quilting. They do all the stitching by hand, starting with a small cushion and then they get into quilts proper. The pattern they use for the cushion and sometimes for the quilt is Friendship Star in a 12" block. The construction is fairly simple and the patches are quite big which is helpful to those who find fine motor skills difficult. I usually sew on borders on my machine and a layer up the quilts as well. If they really can't do the quilting then I tend to bring the quilts home and machine quilt them. I also put on all the bindings. The class is very flexible but we often get up to six people at a time. I know that doesn't sound much but none of them can thread a needle so I am kept constantly busy!

Off to do some proper money-making work now and then to the DIY store to buy duck tape to temporarily sort out a leaking shower - what joy!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thursday 13th January

I saw some beautiful quilts at Christies yesterday where there was a display of some of the quilts from the American Museum in Bath . There was a wonderful Star of Bethlehem which would be greaat to do in modern bright colours - worth a thought.

I have just walked back from the shopping centre and phtoographed the back of the local higher educational college. The colours on the vertical struts change all the time.

Hoping to finish the hand quilting on a quilt this evening - will post photos once I have put the border on.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

January 11th 2011

This is my first post and I will be blogging about my quilting life - the quilts I make and the things that I like about the whole process. I hope that it will concentrate my approach to quilting and mean that I take more photographs of the quilts I make.