Thursday, 23 June 2011

Another block

Here is the "green" block finished
Only two more to go and hopefully I will be able to do them over the weekend and next week.

I am now committed - I have just put down the deposit on my new Bernina machine. It is so expensive that I can't even begin to comprehend why I am doing this. Of course, I know why - the bigger throat for quilting and the myriad of new stitches that it will have but it is very daunting.  I am going for the Bernina 820 as it does everything I need. I had a play at Sandown Quilt Show last week and I could not believe the difference it will make to the appliqueing process.  You can start the stitch programme over and over again so that you can get the "bite" stitch into the sharp points and into the deep Vs.  Most of you will have machines that can do this anyway but my present Bernina is 16 years old and has none of these finer points.  I was slightly alarmed when the expert used an instrument like a dentist's mirror to check that the bobbin was in right - and she threads machines for a living all day long!! - but I guess I will get used to it. Luckily I should have most of the summer to play and will do a bit every day - sounds rather like homework but at least it will be fun.
I should be able to collect the real machine towards the end of July and will definitely post a photo then. Thankfully I managed to get the deposit down before the price rises by 14% on 1st July - ouch!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Roseville - first corner block

I have finally finished the first corner block - all the small circles (which are 1/2" and 3/4" in size) were sewn by hand - thank goodness for Bottom Line  as all the stitches just disappear with this thread.
It does look very pale in parts but as a corner block I quite like that. now to get on with the others.

happy stitching

Monday, 20 June 2011


This afternoon I have been going through my old magazines.  I have years' worth of  patchwork magazines that I have loved reading at the time but have never made a quilt from any of the patterns. So I have decided that it is time that some of them go. The first batch were copies of Australian Patchwork and Quilting, of which I have about ten years.  I really liked seeing what was happening on the other side of the world, the adverts were always particularly good but I just can't go on giving them house room when I never make any of the patterns.

I was fairly ruthless and only cut out things that I actually thought I might make in the future or the odd tip which I knew I would forget without a prompt.

I will however keep my collection (probably about 15 years) of Quilters Newsletter Magazine. I just love this one, and it is fascinating to see when the new tools and ideas came to the fore.  Thankfully they are now only publishing every two months so the pile is growing at a slower rate.  I also get Quilting Arts which is a revelation and has a mass of techniques I want to try. And Australia still gets a look in with Quilters Companion.  Here in the UK our magazines are not brilliant and so I do not bother to subscribe to any of them.

Next will have to come the books - I am dreading this bit but I really no longer need all the basic books I have - or rather I need one, not lots. I invested in Jenny Beyer's huge encyclopaedia of blocks so I have patterns for every block under the sun and the early books I bought back in the 90s seem very dated now.

What will I do with all the magazines - well they will be offered to my students on Thursday and after that the rest will go to one of my quilting groups in September.  Anything to get them out of the house!

I did not manage to do much sewing over the weekend so have no photos to show you but will try and do something this week.

Hope you are all managing to do lots of sewing. I don't think summer is ever going to come here in London so there is lots of opportunity to catch up with projects - it seems to be more April weather and really very cold as well.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Sandown quilt show

Finally I managed to get to a quilt show - was having serious withdraw symptoms having not been to a show since Festival last August.

Some of the quilts were superb - lots of machine quilting and with some lovely colour combinations. I do not have the names of all the makers but here are some photos

I loved the subtle colours of these vases
The white lines were staggered so it produced this wonderful effect and here is a detail.
This could be a great use for all the strips I have, both 1 1/2" and 2 1/2"

This was the championship quilt and here is a detail

This was a wonderful painted quilt by Sheen Norquay and again here is a detail

A big pat on the back as I did not buy any fabric - stuck to my list of threads and managed to get most of them.

Bought a copy of Sue Spargo's Contemporary Folk as I just love her designs and I have a small stash of felt that I am intending to use to make small things - pincushions and the odd cushion as well.

I did rather blow the budget and buy EQ7 software to help me design large quilts. I have been looking forward to this for ages and once I have conquered the instructions (which seem incredibly complicated but I guess I will get my head around) it will be all systems go.

Spent ages on the Bernina stand, probably driving the poor guy mad, as I had a list of questions about the 820 machine which I have been saving up for.  I had a practice at the machine applique and was delighted with the results - it is so responsive to commands and will be much easier to use on small pieces.  How have I put up with my machine for so long, I will never know. The bummer is that Bernina is about to raise the price by over 10% so it looks as if I will have to get my order in next week. I probably won't take delivery until after I get back from holiday but it will be nice to go away with the happy thought that most of the summer can be spent getting to grips with this monster.

We have our church fair tomorrow so I will not be able to do any sewing or playing until Sunday but hope to blog then and let you know how I have been getting on. The Roseville corner blocks are all glued and so a day at the sewing machine should mean that progress will be made.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Roseville corner blocks

So sorry I have not written anything for a while but work and life had to take precedence for a while. Now I am back on track for a bit.
I decided to concentrate on the four corner blocks before tackling the long borders.
Here is the first one

My first impression is that it was very "green" and so I sat on it for a day or two and quite frankly it did not improve but I decided to do all the other corner blocks first and then see how they all sat together.
So I then did two more

This is only the bare bones of the three blocks (they need a mass of circles to be added and some of them need the black bias binding.  They are not the same at all but actually I am beginning to like them. One of the most difficult things with this quilt is choosing the fabrics and with every block it seems to get harder as you want it all to blend with those you have already done.

Mind you I am really pleased with the wings and tails of the birds - they came from a marvellous flower fabric that just seems to have the feathery look I needed.
I still have the fourth block to do and that is going to take a while to do the glueing - you would not believe how complicated the leaves and flowers are and there are ten of each
So I will go and make a start.  Andy Murray is playing in the final of Queen's Club and one definitely needs something to do while watching as it is never easy to support him. Then the Tour of Switzerland beckons so I reckon that sorts out my afternoon very satisfactorily.

Tomorrow I am off the the Textile Exhibition at East Berkshire College in Windsor. I have seen some of the work that will be on display and it is mind boggling - they are certainly textile people rather than quilters but the standard is extremely high. I will try and take some photos if they let me.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Skinny challenge

I have finally managed to finish the skinny challenge for the BQL group.  The challenge was two 8" x 12" pieces which were similar but not a pair.

and here is a close up of the quilting.

Although the machine quilting is not brilliant but any means I am certainly getting a bit better - I really need to spend time on my white board to practice knowing where I am going and how to get out of corners.

Perhaps I will go off and do some while watching the cyclying.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

All sewn up

It was extremely scary to have to square up the nine blocks but I think I have got them more or less straight.
They are pinned onto my design wall which is not attached to anything which is why the bottom row do not appear too straight.
Now off to start the corner blocks but that will probably not be until next week - sadly works calls for the remainer of this week.