Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Quilters Guild of the British Isles

The Quilt Museum in York has been nominated for a National Lottery Award under their heritage category. Now they need lots of votes as the project which receives the most votes will be eligible for additional funding. I hope all your quilt lovers out there will feel inclined to go to the link and vote for the project "Unfolding the Quilts".  The museum really does need additional funding in order to continue its education work as well as the conservation of its collection. The voting is open until 20th June.

Many thanks for your help.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Completed centre

Going on retreat - even in one's own home - really does work wonders. I have managed to sew fairly solidly for the past three days and have something concrete to show for it.

I finally completed Block 9 while watching the cycling (I will have to find something else to do next week as the Giro is now over and it is several weeks until the Tour de France!). Perhaps a bit of proper paid work in another life might be a good idea to sort everything out.
Well I was chuffed with that and then thought I would do the really scary bit and pin all the blocks up on my design wall.  This was a stomach churning moment - would I like all the colours together, was it too loud and brash - I would not know until I had tried so I went for it.

I sat and stared at it for ages and finally decided that I liked it.  I like the contrast between the stylised and realistic flowers and the way some bits are more fussy that others.

The good thing about only working with one or two designers' fabrics is of course that they all somehow go together - the colour strikes are similar and so the only jarring areas may be where I have added my own fabric - mainly the bias strips on the baskets but even those I like. The flowers I like best are the deconstructed roses in the top left block, the grapes in the middle centre block and the symmetry of the middle bottom block.

Although I have been using Beth Ferrier's way of glueing the pieces, I have found that I have been doing much more hand applique than on the first one or two blocks. It is very soothing to just stitch in the evening, especially all the small circles. It is more difficult when you have layers of applique shapes and those I think I would continue to do by machine.

I know they all need squaring up and piecing together and I am a long way from finishing but I feel a milestone has been reached.

Off now to do my skinny challenges but with a huge grin on my face.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Roseville Block 8

I have been working hard this weekend on more Roseville blocks - I want to get the central nine blocks completed and all sewn together.
Here is block 8
I love the way the fussy cutting of a flower have produced the wings on the birds that look a bit like feathers.

I am getting a bit concerned as to how all the blocks are going to look when they are up on the design wall together - it really is a very busy quilt - should I have made it in a more subdued colour palette or at least restricted my range of fabrics - at the moment I have no idea but I will post photographs as soon as I have finished the last block.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Roseville Block 7

I have finally finished all the cactus plants - boy were they difficult to machine but I think they look good.

Block 8 has been a bit more problematical as I forgot that most of the pattern is not mirrored and I did not reverse the pattern - hence I had to redo a lot of the pieces (which I will keep for a cushion or something) and so it has been a bit slower. Here is a photo of it partially completed.
I will have time to hand sew some of the circles tonight and then hopefully to finish it over the weekend. I really like how the birds have turned out.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Quick Update

I am still glueing like mad but did manage to sew something onto the background just for you to see.
The pesky cactus flowers have taken forever and just as long to sew down as well.

I have also cheated a bit and done the baskets.
Sometimes it is nice just to have a long straight line to applique!

Sadly no more time to sew today but I am hoping to get a bit more done tomorrow.  This weekend is a retreat on the Stashbusters site and we also have an extra day's holiday here in the UK so I am hoping to get a move on.  Mind you I also have two small A4 size quilts to make for the BQL challenge - a bit short on inspiration at the moment but I am leaning towards appliqueing some leaves and then embellishing them. How many can I fit on an A4 sheet - well I guess three, perhaps I will do a range of colours through the seasons.

Off to see soe modern ballet tonight which I enjoy but it is also a very good time to quilt design I find if my mind wanders off!!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Cutting frenzy

I have spent a wonderful afternoon cutting out the fabric for the last three blocks for the central Roseville blocks.
Here is the mess to prove it
I find it easier to roughly cut around each shape and then sit quietly and do the proper 1/4" seam allowance. I think I managed a good overall balance of colour but I guess that some small pieces may have to be changed when they are all glued and placed on the background.

Now all the fabrics are back in their home

I have found it easier to keep all these fabrics together and not return them to the stash at every opportunity.

Now off to prepare for Charlie's birthday - thankfully far too old for a cake (at 23) and he has decided on having a few friends around for a take-away curry before heading out to the pub.  He has an interview for a trainee job tomorrow so I am just hoping he does not overindulge too much.

Off to my quilting group in the morning so can start to glue all the pieces. Might even be able to get some actual sewing done over the weekend - I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

out of touch

Sorry I have been out of touch but I have reached a really boring part of the Roseville quilt - I now have three blocks worth of templates cut out and tomorrow will be starting to fuse them onto the fabric and cut out the shapes.  Will post a photo or two of the mess that will ensure!!

Off to do some teaching with my weekly group.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Temporary design wall

All four bunting pieces are now sewn and I have hung them up
Sadly my sewingroom/ office does not have space for a permanent design wall but I have discovered that if I pull out one or two pieces from my stash I can pin  thing to them. If I want to use a design wall I have some of the gridded flannel which works very well but it is fun to put up things that have been finished as well.

Off to take the freezer paper out and then get on with the narcissus.

Friday, 13 May 2011


Finally I have managed to attach some of the applique pieces to the background in the Beth Ferrier quilt. It is rather scary to start with the outer borders - one is going to have to make such that all the inside blocks are incredibly accurate but it certainly feels good to  have something to show for all the hard  work. I did the swags using freezer paper so will have to cut away the background fabric and  wet the fabric to remove the paper.  All that can wait until tomorrow.
The colours in these photographs has been a bit washed out - the bunting is more of a golden colour.  I am not going to sew down the second bit of the tassels just yet as some of them are going to overlap onto the adjacent blocks I think.

I have done two and have another two to do tomorrow. What a good afternoon's work.

Mind you I still have about 40 narcissus to complete but they are nearly all hand work at the moment so I can do them in the evenings.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Making life a bit easier for yourself

Choosing to make applique quilts is not a quick option - no running up a quilt in a weekend - well not in my case anyway. And then, I am working on two large ones at once which can complicate things. So I have a strategy:

  1. Use a lap tray so that you can do your cutting out and gluing on it. There is an LED light to help you dock the pieces, a small well (meant to be used for a drink but that is far too dangerous with precious fabric around!) for snippets you have to cut off and an indent for the glue pen and cuticle stick. So everything to hand - now sit back comfortably and begin
  2. The banks here in the UK (and I am sure elsewhere in the world) are only too happy to give away small plastic packets that they like you to use when you are depositing coins. Well I have a better use for them. Each separate piece for an applique motif is put in a separate bag (i.e. all the A pieces in one bag and all the Bs in another). Then you can just take one bag at a time to do all the edges - simple yeah.  This also means that you can put a bag, the glue pen and stick in your handbag when out and do a few whenever you have the time.
  3. When cutting out masses of small shapes for the applique motif, spring loaded scissors are a real asset. They put far less strain on your fingers and have a cushioned grip.
Sometimes I put all the elements for each motif in a bag. these are all about the size of a finger nail so I certainly don't want to lose any.
Here is one of the narcissus flowers finished (I still have to sew around the yellow centre - only another 60 to go!
There will be plenty of gluing this afternoon as my son has commandeered the TV to watch a really important football (soccer) match.  I can get endless stuff done and still appear to be taking an interest.  How ever did I become a single mum who knew a great deal about football - I have no idea but the funny thing is I kind of enjoy it now after all these years.  Mind you he does put up  with my cycling passion so I guess I can't complain.

Hope you all have a good weekend.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Working with colours

I have been concentrating on the applique elements of the Beth Ferrier quilt. Yesterday it was my turn to host my local group and we all sat and sewed in the garden.  I managed to do all the individual bits for the partridges
I know it still needs an eye and there is also a coxcomb to embroider on once it is appliqued to the background but they are all finished. I really did not enjoy working on all nine of these and then I suddenly realised that it was because of the colours involved. I have been working with much brighter colours recently and all the brown was a bit depressing. I know it will look OK on the quilt but in isolation I am not sure. Trying to find lemon and dark brown thread was also a challenge! Not my usual colours at all.

Also have managed to complete all 30 lemons

Now off to tackle the tassels and the narcissi flowers.

It finally managed to rain here last night so I will not have to spend ages watering the garden.

The Giro d'Italia starts this afternoon so I will need lots of hand projects in order to have something to do while watching the cycling for the next three weeks. I know that some people think it is rather like watching paint dry and admittedly all the action happens in the last ten minutes but I love looking at the marvellous landscapes and castles along the route. Sewing and cycling - what more could a girl ask for!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

International Quilt Study Centre

I have just discovered that you can sign up for the quilt of the month at the International Quilt Study Centre. What a marvellous way to enjoy some fantastic old quilts on a regular basis. I am sure that everyone over the pond knows about this but to those of us over here in Europe this may come as a nice surprise. It is free to sign up and spend a few minutes enjoying the marvellous work by our fellow stitchers.

I am knee deep in lemons and partridges for the Beth Ferrier quilt. I am hoping to be able to sew the lemons today and will post photo when they are done.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Roseville Block 6

Oh I do like long weekends - even if the sun is shining and one should be taking advantage of that. I can think of better ways of enjoying myself.  Sewing and listening to the radio means that I have managed to finish Block 6.

Have spent the morning cutting out templates for the Beth Ferrier quilt and docking my lemons. Most of them are done and I will show a photo when I have sewn them. 

Might not have anything else to show for a while as work is descending at a rate where I will be swamped for a bit.

Monday, 2 May 2011

state of stash

Last month was a real stash busting month with 8 metres being used on the Racing Track quilt (I even gave away all the small offcuts to a friend who is collecting child related fabrics) and also a quick cot quilt for Japan. So all in all I managed to use 11 metres. That means I am only  5 metres more than my total at the beginning of the year. I am slowly working my way through the Roseville quilt and the Beth Ferrier one so that the fabric quantities for that are not going to show until they are finished but I am happy about the way things are going.

The only problem about working on two large applique quilts at once is that the fabric count does not go down nearly fast enough but when the two large quilts are included I think they will be approximately 20 metres each.

Meanwhile I have finished another Roseville block

Will now try and get on with block number 6

Sunday, 1 May 2011

A quilt from the past

On one of the yahoo groups that I belong to there has been chatter about sampler quilts and whether they are a good way to teach beginners. The views were varied as you would expect but I said that I had designed a slightly different sampler quilt when I used to teach. Someone then asked for a photo and I realised that I only had a snapshot of it (done before the digital age).  Luckily I knew who had bought it so, this morning I went round and took a photograph of two of it.

The photograph is not brilliant but I think you can see the sort of thing I was trying to achieve. I no longer work in these colours so it was nice to see that it had stood the test of time - now what would it look like in batiks and Kaffe Fassett fabrics I wonder.
Here are a few more details.

Nearly all the techniques that one would expect from a more traditonal sampler quilt are there but I thought it was a more lively version.