Thursday, 31 March 2011


I promise that this is the last post about my weekend away but I hope some of you will think it is the best! I simply love the windows of French food shops and I found several lovely examples which I want to share with you.
All these came from the same window!

well what can I say - it's chocolate.

I even managed to include some felt flowers in this one!

And in the market there were the following lovely things to appreciate

Look at the fantastic colour of the mushroom stems.

OK I promise that is enough of the holiday snaps and I will concentrate on sewing for a bit.  I will post again when I have finally finished something.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


Here is another set of photographs from the weekend trip which I hope will bring a smile to your face on this very dreary day in London (just waiting for the rain to arrive).
I just loved the containers in this photo.
The blocks of colour of flower stalls are just inspirational and make one want to grap fabric from the stash I find.
And finally....

This is a statue outside the International Train Station!

I managed to find a shop that sold masses of felt and made the most beautiful objects with them - cushions, bags etc. I did not buy any of the patterns but several bits of the fabric found their way into my luggage and here is a photo of the display in the shop

I have an idea of a felt applique cushion in the back of my mind but first I have to finish some of the projects I have on the go.
Tomorrow will be the final photos of the trip - I think you may agree they are worth the wait!!!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A wonderful weekend

I am just back from a wonderful weekend in Lille - lots of shopping and good food. What more could one ask for.
Here are some photographs of the local architecture
A magical courtyard near the Opera where they were holding a book fair

A typical street scene - notice all the cobbles - they are absolutely everywhere.

The west facade of the main church which has been totally rebuilt over the years.  A great use of modern design to complement the mediaeval church.

Fantastic decorative detail on lots of the buildings

I could so move in here tomorrow.

Just love the charcoal grey paint.

Slightly made building and there were huge plants behind the first floor window giving a Day of the Tryffids look.

This was created by filling in one of the many canals to create a small lake where there were locals fishing.

Just loved the detail on the pavement in one of the main streets - perhaps I should have copied it entirely for my racing track quilt.

On the sewing front, I managed to find two quilting shops and another full of buttons and beads - but more of that tomorrow.

Spent a lovely day hand appliqueing the third block of my Roseville quilt. I should be able to finish it this weekend.

More photographs tomorrow but on a different theme.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Hoffman batiks

Have just discovered a blog referring to the Hoffman range of batiks where as you scroll down you can see the names and inventory numbers of all the recent Hoffman prints.  Don't think I will be printing all this out but it is a very useful tool. 


Fabric swatches

I have not had time to do any sewing so have nothing new to show you.

I was browsing Sandra Leichner's blog and she referred to a marvellous new idea (perhaps it has been going for ages) that Robert Kaufman fabrics have introduced. You can print off all the fabrics with their inventory numbers.  I think this is a great idea for keeing track of the batiks you have in your collection. I don't know about you but I seem to forget what I have got when I am at the shows and just buy more - only to get home and find I already have that fabric. I reckon that if I printed off a few sheets of the collections I like and mark those I have at home, it would save me a huge amount of money and stop the stash increasing. All stashbusters should be happy with that. I am not on "no buy" but am trying to keep the increase down to a dull roar. I think this is particularly useful for batiks as they do not have any registration marks but it is also useful for printed collections.

Anyway I hope you might find this useful.

I am off to France for a long weekend and so will not be blogging for the next few days. I need a break as I have been doing too much preparation work for too many projects and not achieving a great deal.

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


I have finally managed to sew all the sixteen blue blocks for the Beth Ferrier quilt
and I am nearly half way towards completing the 117 small circles. I am doing them in a variety of blues and will post a photograph when they are all complete.

Monday, 21 March 2011

International Quilting Day

I spent the day at my local Guild's regional day.  What a fund of inspiration. We had an inspiring talk by Gail Lawther on her series of New Zealand quilts.  All the techniques she used was fascinating and needless to say I succombed to buying her book. But the good news is that I have finally decided on the design for the next BQL skinnny challenge and have made a very small sketch with lots of notes so that I hope to be able to start it next week.

The other lecture was on the Amish people and their quilts by Jan Jefferson (I could not find a website for her) but she has written several books on the life and customs of the Amish people. She was brought up in Lancaster County and was accustomed to their way of life as she grew up. It was fascinating and she managed to put flesh on the bones of the usual stories one hears.  I was fascinated by the fact that although they stand for simple and functional objects, they have a long tradition of hand quilting in very decorative styles - i.e. feathers etc., instead of plain straight quilting.

Needless to say I managed to find some fabric to buy but in my defense they are all for my students at the Centre - one of them is sewing a purple/mauve quilt with pink highlights and she has rejected most of the fabrics that I have in my stash so I thought I had better get some more for her to choose from. Hopefully none of them will end up being added to my stash at all.

Here is a photograph of a quilt that Liz Turner has made in my Thursday class. It is her third quilt and she even quilted it on the machine.

Congratulations Liz - it looks marvellous.

Here is also a quilt by one of the members from the Centre - she chose the fabrics (it is a navy not black) and has worked so hard to achieve this.

I did absolutely no sewing all weekend and hope to have a bit of time to do some this week. Will let you know.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Racing Track top

Finally, I have finished sewing the top for this quilt. All the freezer templates have been removed and now I am ready to layer it up for quilting.
Now I am off to start on the blocks for the Beth Ferrier quilt and the 117 small berries that are needed - thank goodness for the craft tool that can cut the 3/4" circles out of the washable fusible. It makes life a lot easier.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Racing track 2

I sat and thought about the corners of the quilt top for ages last night and eventually decided to change it.
I made a curved template for the blue and used the overall pattern for the outer piece on the block. I think it looks much better and gives a proper impression of the chicane effect I wanted.  I have all the pieces ready to be glued and will then create the blocks using machine applique.  Hopefully the top will be finished by the end of the week.
Enough sewing for today - I am off to enjoy myself with friends for lunch.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Racing track

I decided that I ought to get on with the commission for the small boy.  I had sketched the design in a notebook and thought I knew what I was doing.  So I set about making the blocks and laid them out
This did not look right at all so I went back to the sketch and realised that I had omitted a whole lot of blocks.

This looked more promising, so I filled in with some more plain blocks

That is more like it.  Now for a mock up of one of the corners. There will be a chicane in each corner.

Now I see it, I am not sure about the small blue piece sticking out into the yellow and wonder if I should keep the blue to the inside and the yellow to the outside. I could do a curved piece of the blue to continue the blue all the way round and a cresent shape of the background fabric.
Anyone else got any suggestions?

I will go and sew the three middle rows together and see what inspiration strikes.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


I played hookey from work today and had a wonderful trip to The handweavers studio in north London.
The shop was fantastic.

Lots of beautiful threads in all sorts of materials - silk, cotton, rayon, wool and many more.

What a treasure trove and needless to say I succombed and bought some.

Some are silk and some cotton and they will all be marvellous for hand quilting.  Have I got a project to use them in at the moment - no of course not, but the good thing about threads is that they don't take up much room and I can always dream.

I also went totally overboard and bought some tussah silk tops in the most marvellous colours

These are silk fibres which can be used with an embellisher. They come from Australia at Treetops colour harmonies I hope you can see them clearly in the pictures. The names of the fibres are magical - from top left
birds of paradise, thunderstorm, seahell, lavender lace, tranquil, southern seas and, at the bottom, madras.
Now all I need is to borrow an embellishing machine from my friend Maggie and see what happens. Both the madras and seashell fibres may end up in my pink heart quilt, I think.  The others - who knows!

If anyone out there and reading this has used this fibres, I would love to know what you have done with them.

Off to do some stroking!!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Roseville Block 3

I am finally beginning to work out how to make these blocks. The stems come first - made bias binding, fusible webbing on the back and then sewn down.
Then your take the individual shapes and glue and sew them into individual flowers

here are the flowers. This is such a good way of doing it as when it comes to sewing down the flowers you have a relatively large piece to sew around. I tend to use a Bottomline thread in sage green in the bobbin and an invisible thread on the top. I really enjoy the machine applique method but am not adverse to hand appliqueing the odd piece as well. As long as I have glued under all the edges, I am quite happy.

Then you place the largest pieces on to give the block a frame

Once you have got the frame of the block sewn down, then all you have to do is fill in with the flowers and leaves you have created earlier.
I am off to a small quilting group today to show them what I have been doing but I doubt I will get any time to sew - we seem to chat too much!! But hopefully I will be able to show you the finished block in a day or two.

Monday, 7 March 2011


When my quilt group came over on Friday, I decided to demonstrate the Sue Pelland rulers.  Well I should have known better. How is it that when you are excited about something and want to share it, everything goes wrong.  Well naturally it did - I was not concentrating and suddenly had cut out a leaf shape that was totally different from all the others. I have no idea how it happened but you could see the enthusiasm of all the others gathered round waning visibly.
But once they had left I continued to cut and came up with the following design

Some of the points do not meet exactly so I am thinking of using small circles of fabric to cover the points. I have also cut out several different sizes of leaves in the same fabric and am thinking of just doing an applique quilt with the various sizes of flowers.

Also managed to get the pink blocks done for the Beth Ferrier quilt over the weekend.

Off to do some work on the third Roseville block.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Student's work

I was teaching on Thursday evening and one of my students has finished this quilt.
She pieced the whole thing by hand and then had it machine quilted on a longarm machine. People always seem to think that hand piecing is so slow but if the only time you have to sew is in your lunch hour or do not have the space for a machine at home, then had piecing can really be done quite quickly.
The quilting is lovely, in a varigated blue, white and red thread with stars on it.

I love the way she has included an apple fabric in the top as he son (for whom this is intended) loves apples.
Congratulations Jane - brilliant work.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Roseville Block 2

I have finally managed to finish the second block of the Roseville quilt.
It has ended up not quite as flat as I would have liked but I think I have decided that I will have to hand quilt this quilt anyway so I will just have to do more quilting to flatten the whole thing out.  At the moment I can't still get a handle on the final colour scheme - am just trying to include the same sort of fabric in each block and hope it will all come together - if it is a disaster, I will just end up with a lot of cushions to sell!.

 But the technique is becoming clearer with each block. The fusible on the back of the bias binding has helped a lot and with the next block I am going to use the turquoise washable marker pen to draw in the stem lines and I am going to sew them all down first. Can't imagine why it has taken me this long to work out this system but hopefully it is going to be quicker.

The best news is that my local group here in London has decided to postpone their next show until spring 1213 which should give me plenty of time to finish this quilt and the Beth Ferrier as well.  It sounds an age away but I was beginning to panic when the first suggested date was autumn 1212.

Have just cut out the shapes for Block 3 and will post them as soon as they are all glued and ready for sewing.