Monday, 28 February 2011

Roseville Block 2

I spent this afternoon working on the second block - all the pieces are been glued and now I am doing the placement.
Busy sewing down the bias trips so that I can  then do the larger flowers. Hope to be able to do a bit more this evening.It's interesting  - by looking at the photograph, I can see that the bias on the right is not right and will try and correct this before sewing down. I have reverse appliqued the pieces on the vase and also the two large flowers.  Did not like the arms to the urn that I originally chose so decided on a plainish bright blue instead.

Sunday, 27 February 2011


Yesterday was mostly spent doing stuff for my students - I had to sew on borders and then layer up a quilt for one of them, so did not get as much done as I had hoped.

But today I have a finish - of sorts. I have basted and sewn all the outer bunting pieces for the Beth Ferrier quilt. The pattern called for pale gold and dark gold (it states that you need 2 metres of each) and I found that my stash did not have huge quantities of either fabric. Anyway, this is what I came up with
When seen like that it looks very beige to me but then I put it on the background fabric and I think it looks OK now. The lesson about value and proximity of fabric certainly paid off I believe.

Now that the background fabric has arrived and is duly washed and ironed I will be getting on with the pink stars. I am determined to have caught up by the time the next set of instructions come out on 15th March.

I have also been doddling for a design for the commission quilt. This is a bit different to normal as it is for a three year old who loves trucks and I think will use it far more as a playmat than a quilt.

 I am thinking of designing a road track around it. The fabric I had ordered for the border has such a large repeat that I think I am going to have to use it as a panel on the back instead. The trucks are about 5" across but do not have any visible ways of cutting them up.

Off now to watch the rugby and have a welcome cup of coffee.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Roseville Block 2

I have cut out all the pieces for Block 2 and just laid them out

Now I look at the photo it does not appear as "green" as I thought it did yesterday. The vase will have some reverse applique on it and also the big pink flower and the big red one. It is quite a challenge to think about the whole quilt when choosing fabrics. I guess it is easier when you have done a few blocks and can see where you are going.

Thankfully the bias binder maker arrived this morning so I should be able to get on with it this weekend.

Also the background fabric for the Beth Ferrier arrived, together with the backing for my truck quilt commission - not sure where the other fabrics are at the moment - somewhere in HM Customs I suspect.
Thankfully I only got charged the VAT and handling charge for each package which was not too bad.

Sadly work is about to catch up with me and so I won't be able to do any sewing for the next day or two, but I will let you know when I have glued all the applique pieces.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

First Roseville block

I finished the first Roseville block last night. Thanks to an email from Denise (many thanks) I changed the two top flowers - I was getting too symmetrical and I am beginning to realise that this quilt is going to be anything but that.
Working with all these large patterned fabrics is certainly going to be a challenge - I am feeling slightly out of my comfort zone but maybe that is a good thing. I even made up two extra flowers with the pieces I rejected so they will go into another project sometime. I hand appliqued the black stems and decided that I just hated doing that so I have sent off for a bias binder maker which you can attach the fusible webbing to. It makes the whole thing much easier in my mind. I think the green branches stick out a bit like a sore thumb but will wait until I have finished more blocks before I decide to replace this block.

I spent this morning cutting out the templates for the next block - forgot to reverse the pattern for some pieces so have started a small collection of templates which are wrong for this quilt but will surely be good for something else in the future. In the next block there are over 60 pieces in a 16" square - what have I taken on!! I will show you a mock up when I have all the pieces cut out.

Off now to cut all the pieces for the lavender quilt for one of my students as I am teaching again tomorrow.

Monday, 21 February 2011

student's quilt

One of my students at the mental health charity has finished her quilt and I thought you might like to see it. She pieced all the blocks by hand and quilted the stars. I contributed by stipple quilting the background, added the border and the binding. The finished quilt is approximately 4'8" square. (Many apologies for the bad photograph but the quilt was lying on the floor, drying out.)  It has a wonderful aged feel with the wadding having strunk slightly.

She really enjoys this session at the centre and is already thinking of another quilt in lavender and purple colours. She will be doing a more complex block next time.

In fact I must go and cut out some pieces for her now.

Sunday, 20 February 2011


This weekend the Statshbusters yahoo group have been on retreat so I decided to take the opportunity to join in.

I managed to finish all the poinsettias for the Beth Ferrier quilt. Admittedly I did have a head start as I was able to do a lot of the glueing at my  local group's Friday morning meeting. But they are all sewn and ready to be appliqued onto the background when the time comes. All the applique for this quilt will hopefully come from my stash and I was surprised to find I had enough plainish reds. I even managed to completely use up two separate fabrics - result!
I also managed to finish the cot quilt that I started last weekend. In the end I decided (with the help of a suggestion from my friend Maggie) just to stipple quilt it and so that is what I did.  The good news is that it used up 2 1/2 metres of fabric - I am going to need all the yardage I can account for to counteract the amount of fabric that I have bought this month. It is all good fabric in the fact that it is for backgrounds but it amounts to a lot. Do you think I need include it in this month if it has not arrived - or is that cheating!
Off now to do some work on my Roseville block.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

block of the month

I really like doing block of the month quilts - especially those with lots of applique - but they can be really stressful. I know it is all self-imposed but you have the urge to keep up with each instalment when it arrives and that the pieces from the previous month have all been finished.  Well today I got the second instalment of the Beth Ferrier quilt and decided I had better get on with it.

All the pieces are now cut out and ironed onto the fusible so now I will have to settle down to the glueing and then the stitching. I really don't know why I put so much pressure on myself to jump straight in - perhaps because this week has been quiet at work and I know that at the latter part of next week and the week after I will be really busy again. Is it better to have the whole set of instructions and templates at the beginning of a large quilt or to get them drip fed? The whole design and templates can be really scary to start off with - where do you start and how long is it all going to take. Needless to say no-one else cares when you finally finish a quilt but somehow once it is started then I want to get it finished. I am not a great one for having a huge pile of UFOs (unfinished objectes) sitting around.  I have enough PIGS (projects in grocery bags) as it is without any more guilt.

But the good news is that spring seems to have appeared in my garden (those that know me will know that I am the world's worst gardener and certainly con't venture out there between October and March) but I was prompted to go out and take this picture.

The rest of the camellia only has green buds so it was a lovely surprise to spy this out of my window. The snowdrops and crocuses are looking good too

Off to do some glueing.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Roseville block 1

I spent the afternoon cutting out the templates for the first block of the Roseville quilt by Kim McLean. You can see the whole quilt at Glorious Colour.  It is all made with Kaffe Fassett fabrics which as you will know are not shy and retiring. In fact the whole project is quite a scary prospect I find. Not from the sewing point of view as all the pieces are quite large and should not present a problem. The  worrying bit is the colour - this block (which will measure 16" finished) has eleven different colours in it and I still have to find something for the bias stems.  None of them are at all plain so you have a clash of different prints.  I guess only time will tell whether I have succeeded in obtaining an overall sweep of colour and that no one block stands out from the crowd.

All the seams have to turned under so the stems should look much more in proportion when they are sewn down.

So I will have something to take to sew with my group on Friday, even if it is just glueing down all the seam allowances so that I can machine applique it back home. The two blue flowers come from the same fabric but have been fussy cut to produce different results.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Applique quilt

I managed to put the top together last night

and have spent this afternoon quilting it with a buttonhole stitch - all around each element.

I wish my sewing machine did reverse buttonhole stitch - it would have made a much smoother crossover of the curves. Also I wish it had a dial to lower the length of the buttonhole stitch. Near the ends of the flower petals and the ribbons I had to stop and punch in a lower stitch and then once around the point, I had to lengthen it again. 

All the quilting is now done, except the background. Sue Pelland suggests using the templates to create a wavy form of cross hatching in the background and I am considering that. I think I will definitely quilt the inside of the circles in a cross hatch by hand.  I found a wonderful varigated rayon thread in blues and pinks in my stash and used that for the quilting, with a pale blue bottom line thread in the bobbin.

I don't think I have ever managed to get this far with a quilt in under two days so it will go some way to using up fabric this month. I already have some more shapes cut from the floral fabric and think I am going to start a box of bonded shapes which will be ready to go when I do the next quilt.  I am not sure that I ironed the misty fuse enough - those of you in America have obviously been using this for some considerable while but it is not that common over here in the UK.  Next time I want to do more decorative stitching on the petals before assembling the quilt - Patsy Thompson does some wonderful examples in her work. Don't think I will ever get as good as her but it is worth a try.

Now off to sew in all the end threads.

Friday, 11 February 2011

An exciting delivery

I have just received a set of rulers that I ordered from Sue Pelland Designs.
Oh what a joy. They may not look very much but boy can they produce results.  What they do is cut the fabric into leaf shapes which of course can be used in a myriad of ways. The large size can produce leaf or petal shapes of 8" and the small one does 2" petals.  I have used the 6" ruler side.

Well I got straight to work and decided to make a small cot quilt. You have to mistyfuse the fabric and then you can get going with the rotary cutter

I am still thinking what I can do with the small diamond shapes which are left over.  I fused a fat quarter and managed to produce a lot of 6" leaves.  I drew a 6" grid on a metre of white fabric and laid the leaf shapes down, before ironing them into place.  In less than one hour I managed to produce this quilt top

I am now going to use some of the smaller shapes to perhaps put a flower in opposite corners and maybe a ribbon flowing from the flowers.  These rulers are amazing and I know I am going to have such fun with them all. I think I am going to appliquiquilt the project in a varigated thread and a decorative stitch.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

More play

I have been playing some more with the hearts
This was made by trapping some sparkly bits in between two layers of angeline fibres. I have discovered that the best way to applique this is to sew in a straight line just inside the edge of the heart shape.

Spent a very jolly afternoon with one of my quilting groups - far too much chatting and no sewing. I will have to try and do some more pomegranates this evening.

I can't believe it - I have managed to get the comment box up and running - I looked at my page at a friend's house this afternoon and realised that somehow I had missed it when designing the page. So please do leave me a comment if you feel like it. - How exciting!!

Monday, 7 February 2011


I spent the afternoon playing with various materials such as paintsticks, angelina fibres and spray paint for a new quilt (actually I started it last year and it has been on the back burner for some considerable time). I am attempting to create a sampler of lots of different methods - mainly for my own use and I am still not sure they will make it into a finished quilt. Here are one or two photos.
This was a piece of fabric which I sprayed with a pearly pink colour through a stencil Not sure if I like it that much but it will be used for a method of applique. I think I was a bit heavy-handed with the spray but hopefully it will dry OK.

This was a heart shape that I hand embroidered last year with a variation of feather stitch and french knots in the middle.

This is a heart made with angelina fibres.

This is a piece of fabric I created using paintsticks over a grid. Once again it will be used for an applique shape.

Saturday, 5 February 2011


Some days are more productive than others and today was one of them. I had a lot of work to do for my students - one quilt had to have the backing made and then sandwiched for the start of hand quilting next week - I still have to tack round the edge but that is for tomorrow. I also managed to stipple quilt about half of another student's quilt.

Talking about machine stippling, I can't work out why but I much prefer going backwards on the quilt - sewing into the empty space behind the needle means that I don't get tied up cornering myself or crossing over the previous sewing line. Working on the students' quilts is a great way to practice and I am slowing getting better I think.

But the joy is finally getting started on the Beth Ferrier applique quilt. The background fabric is on its way and should be here in a week or two. But I could not wait to start so I have all the pink pieces for the first 8 blocks cut out and bagged up and have finally started on the applique.

This forms part of the central motif - the raw edges will get slotted under another motif in due course.

and these will end up somewhere in the border. I have a serious grin on my face at finally having started and hope to do more tomorrow. The finials were a bit fiddily but I think will pass muster in the finished quilt.

I have been watching the Pajama Quilter Tutorial DVDs in order to help my machine quilting and she advocates using a large whiteboard which you draw on in order to make your quilting more fluid. Although I think much of it is aimed at longarm quilters, I found the technique very inspiring so I am going to invest in a board about 2' x 3' and give it a whirl. I can see the point of practising knowing where you are going and in which direction and putting it into the side of the brain where hopefully it will stay - can't remember whether it is the left or right side.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Walking wonders

No time to sew at the moment as I have to catch up with work so just thought I would post some of the things we passed while walking in the snow.
I love the ripple effect of the ice.

There was running water inside this amazing ice cap.

It amazes me that water is still flowing through  these ice sculptures into the troughs.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Back to reality

Got back from Switzerland last night - five days of glorious sunshine. Here are a few pictures of the balloon festival we went to.
I even managed to find a quilt in a local shop:

There was a small quilt show in the local garden centre but sadly no person manning the show so could not get any further information. The group seemed to be called the Mountain Quilters of Saanenland. Now off to catch up on the backload of work.