Thursday, 25 October 2012

Interior decorating

What I do is make quilts - pure and simple. Normally they are lap quilt size and a lot of them get given away.

So why do I ask myself, I have been spending precious sewing time making cushions for the sofa in the kitchen.

I had bought a set of circle templates at Festival this year (well if I am honest, I bought two sets and now have circles in every size possible I think!) and decided I wanted to use them on these cushions.
They are machine appliqued and then I machine quilted with a loop design.

They do the job but I can't say I enjoyed making them.  But I think there is mileage in the circles efffect - so watch this space over the coming months.

Happy quilting.

Thursday, 20 September 2012


One of the groups that I quilt with decided it was time to produce another charity quilt.  This time we agreed to do a joint quilt.  None of us have ever done a heartstring quilt so thought we would give it a go.

Here are my four blocks. The only criteria was that they had to have a red of some sort going through the middle.  We meet up again in about two weeks so it will be interesting to see what the others have done and how the whole thing comes together. My guess is that we will have to make more blocks but they are a really good way to use up my collection of 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 inch strips (you would not believe how many I have already cut!!).
I actually find this rather a difficult exercise - random is not really for me - I kept on auditioning every fabric when I should have just done with those on the top of the pile.  The blocks are 8" finished and I made them by stitching and flipping over paper.

Happy Quilting.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Emergency hug

Sometimes you just have to stop everything and make someone a hug.  A friend is about to start on a grueling round of chemotherapy and I thought she needed a comfort blanket to take to the hospital with her for her sessions. 

I don't really think she is a "quilt" person, and although I do have a small pile of completed quilts, I am not sure she would have appreciated one. So on Saturday I went shopping for 1.5 metres of fleece and decided just to bind it with a wide binding. The 1 1/2 metres makes up to a square. You just need to trim the sides where the fleece has been on the huge rollers.
I cut the binding fabric into 6" strips and then sewed a 2 1/2" border and then had sewed the binding on the back.

You can also make these for children using the marvellous patterned fleeces that are now out there.

Spent an afternoon last week cutting up the fabrics for the raffle quilt for our local group who are holding a show in May next year.  All very modern fabrics which we got from Fabricworm. We will be sharing out the blocks at the first autumn meeting next week.  I will do my two this afternoon and post tomorrow so you can see some of the colours.

Right now I have to go do some work so Happy quilting to you all.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

I'm back

I am sorry that I have been so silent for so long but have not had much to say. I know I should have told you all before I disappeared.  Excuses - do I have them?  Well I have spent a lot of time machine quilting my large applique project which was shown at the Festival of Quilts last week.

How scary was that!! Here is a photo
not a very good one but I could not get far enough back to photograph it well. The good news is that you can't see the wavy bottom edge.  It was hung by a white wholecloth quilt which made it stand out.  Actually I thought it looked OK which was a miracle really as I had not seen it all spread out since I finished it.  I got some judges' comments back which were surprisingly complimentary with only one "satisfactory" for the  wavy bottom edge.

So it will now be put away our local show next May and until the Summer Fair comes around next year when it will be the first prize in the raffle and hopefully raise a pleasing amount of money.

The Festival was marvellous as usual and it was good to have enough time to return to the quilts that I really enjoyed for a second look.  The traders were calling to me as usual and here is one bundle that I bought

I just love the modern look of this collection and want to use it in the near future.

I am still working on my other applique quilt - I had thought I would do a lot of glueing on holiday but managed to do nothing and then thought I would do it all whilst watching the Olympics but being such a sports nut I decided that I did not want to be distracted from the sport and so had a totally sewing free fortnight.

Promise I will be back again before too long

Happy Quilting

Monday, 30 April 2012

Curves challenge

We all met on Friday and showed our 12" blocks on the theme of "Curves".
Here is my contribution
I based it on a paisley design and decided to use wool felt as well as rick-rack and some cottons (I am a great fan of Sue Spargo's work and thought that I would have fun with all the embellishing techniques. I also used beads and embroidery stitches. Here is a close-up

The quilting was done by machine using a varigated YLI thread.

Happy quilting.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Tip of the day

I have been tidying my work room a bit and decided that I needed to do something with the UFOs I have - I am admitting to three - everything else is a sort of work in progress.  But with the UFOs, I decided I needed a storage system.  Far too much ironing is involved if they are stuffed into a bag so I decided to hang them up on trouser clips.
OK the top is folded in four but that is better than being screwed up into a ball.
This a quilt made from headers and footers so I guess it may be on the back of the door for some while!

This is another project that is so not going to get finished any time soon but the centre is pieced and I have pulled out the other two fabrics for the inner border and outer border - so they are all on the coathanger - just where I can find them when I get around to it. The centre was constructed with some hsts that I cut to the wrong size - ring a bell?!!!

They are all on the back of the door of my work room so I pass them all the time. Do I feel guilty about then - actually not at all at the moment. They will get done but just not now.

I am busy trying to machine quilt the large Christmas quilt - boy is it going slowly and I am the first to admit that I find outline quilting extremely difficult. All the applique has to be outlined before I can start on the infill quilting. The quilt is huge and I really should have sent it out to a LAr but did not have the money so I will have to put in the hours instead.  So if there are not too many posts in the coming weeks I hope you will bear with me.  I am hoping to have it finished by July so that I can show it at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham in August.

Have done some more dyeing but will show that to you next week.

Happy quilting.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Dyeing and overdyeing

I have been busy creating more fabric (as if I need it) but somehow this is more fun than just going to the shop.

We started with a drak brown dye which we used in different strengths
and then overdyed these in different strengths of scarlet dye to produce some wonderful colours

the reproduction colours are not so spot on but there is a nice selection. Also they seem to go with the collection of fabricworm fabrics I bought back in January - see the blog from 19th January. How cool is that.

Sadly I won't have time to do anything about them yet as I really have to sandwich my large applqiue quilt this week and start to quilt it. The deadline for the exhibition is  middle of July and I am away on holiday before that as well - so lots of long hours ahead I fear.

Happy quilting.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A finish

I have finally completed the quilt I have been making for a friend's 60th birthday (couldnot show it before as I only handed it over on Sunday).

I used some of Leah Day's exercises for the machine quilting - not brilliant I grant you but it is certainly getting better.

The blocks are Carpenter's Wheel with a star block inserted in the middle and they measure 18" square.

The Fabrics all came from stash and were chosen by her son (thanks Andrew!).

and here are some close ups of the actual quilting. The block was straight line free motion quilted and then I used three different sorts of quilting - a meander, a loop and a heart shaped leaf design.

Stupidly I forgot to take a photo of the back but will do so when I next see the recipient.

Off to do more dyeing tomorrow so will post results over the weekend hopefully.

Happy Quilting!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

I'm back

A million apologies for not having blogged for ages but I did not have a lot to say so thought you did not need to hear my ramblings.

One of my quilt groups has posed a challenge for 2012 - make a 12" finished block every two months on a specific theme.

The deadline for the first one was the end of February and the theme for this one was "Layers".  I am not very good at conceptual themes but had a go. The layers I chose to use were layers of thermafax prints on fabric.  When I had produced the fabric I felt that it had a slight aesthic quality and this was certainly the case when I had put the pieces onto the green background.

The squares were bondawebbed down and then I had the question of quilting the piece. I decided that with this very clean look, I did not want to muddle the overall image and decided just to do straight quilting.

We are now onto the second challenge which is "Curves" - so far I am thinking and formulating an idea. I will get back to you once I have finalised what I am doing.

Have been doing lots of fabric dyeing but will show you the results in the next few days.

Happy quilting.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

A new quilt

The good thing about The Beast being sick and in the hospital is that I have had to get my old Bernina out of the cupboard and start using it again. I was amazed how I had almost forgotten how to work it but slowly everything came back.

So what have I been doing. Well I have a quilt to make and thought I had better get started - it has a deadline not too far in the future and I will also have to quilt it. What pattern did I decide on - well I have always wanted to do a Carpenter's Wheel , no real reason except that I really like it.

A proper wheel has a large empty space in the middle but I did not like that and so decided to put a star in there. The block is 18" and there will be nine of them.  I have five completed and all the triangles sewn for the other four. The squaring up of each little square takes a long time - far longer than the actual sewing but it is well worth it - the  pieces go together like a dream. Or they would do if I did not keep getting the odd one round the wrong way - on all five so far I have had to do the odd bit of unpicking - so annoying.  Everything is from stash which is good.  I need to use some up this year.

Yesterday was a good day with the postman delivering the guilty purchase from Fabric Worm which I had ordered on New Year's Eve (so it does not count as a fabric purchase in 2012!!

I got a yard of this wonderful fabric
and then half yards of the following
I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with them yet but there should be enough for a decent size quilt in due course. Once they have all been washed, they will be put away in a box while I think.

I am off on holiday on Saturday so will bring you some lovely pictures of snowy vistas on my return.

Happy quilting.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


I have just had to take The Beast to the hospital and they are going to have to keep it for a week or two. Typically I went in with one problem and then discovered that my stitch length was all over the place - hopefully they will be able to sort it out soon.

So I will drag out the old Bernina this weekend as I have some straight stitching of blocks to do.

All my good intentions of doing the free motion quilting chanllenges are now on hold but hopefully I will be able to catch up when the machine comes back.
Keep your fingers crossed that all will be well.

Happy quilting.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

More FMQ and applique

I have definitely set my mito conquering free motion quilting this year - will it be brilliant by the end - who knows but I am going to give it my best shot.  To this end I have also signed up to Leah Day's free  motion quilting project. It is more intense than the 2012 FMQ challenge as there are weekly lessons!!! But her videos look really good and clear and I am going to need all the help I can get. The first lesson is all about simple stippling and she is suggesting using a sandwich of 1/2 yard.  This could also be a really good way of using up some of my stashing during the year!!!!!

As if that was not enough, I have also joined the Learning to Hand Applique yahoo group.  I know that I can applique using Beth Ferrier's method and really enjoy it but would like to be able to do more hand applique as well. This first week the project is to learn back basting. Karen, the group leader, has found some very good videos to watch and I am going to give it a crack.  I had a small heart project on the go which has been lurking in a box for some time (a year or two now) and so I am going to unearth it and practice all the new techniques on hearts.  I will post when I have done one.

So all in all I am going to be busy this year - not at all sure that too many projects will be completed by the end but the learning will be fun.

Mantra to self - DO NOT sign up to anything else!!!!!!!!

Happy quilting.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Practice makes perfect??

I have been practising my freemotion movement on th whiteboard
Then a bit more
And finally over the whole whiteboard
Actually when I look at that it does not come out too bad - OK it is not totally even - there are gaps and also I seem to have a problem with the curve on the left hand side of my leaves i.e. back from the tip to the base of the leaf.  Most of them are not at all heart shaped and I will definitely have to work on that before I do near the sewing machine.  But the writing thing is certainly true - you do somehow get it in your brain - the basic movement and placement of the motifs and the spacial awareness of where you are in relation to other leaves.

I have a ghastly feeling that this may be an easy motif to master and that they are going to get seriously harder over the year but with two more weeks of practice I hope that my practice piece will not be too horrendous.

Happy quilting.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Free motion quilting

I was browsing the web last night and came across a blog by Sewcalgal where she is offering a free motion quilting challenge with some of the top free motion quilters in the world. Well I thought about it for all of a minute or so and decided this is just what I need.  It is a self improvement challenge - you just have to produce one practice piece per month (and you can opt out) but the more you practice the theory is that the better you get. (if you are interested you need to scroll down to January 1 blog where there are more details).

So finally I am going to get to use the 2' x 3' white board I bought about two years ago. I am going to practice just drawing the design for a week or two before I start on the fabric.  I find it really difficult to get patterns in my brain and so I will be doing about half an hour each day and hope to improve. I spent the evening watching the tutorial video by Frances Moore, who is the tutor for January, (you can find it direct on Youtube) and then got carried away and watching the Patsy Thompson videos on YouTube as well - inspiring certainly but it also makes one feel totally inadequate.

Anyway - onwards and upwards - I am off to start drawing - will show you tomorrow how I got on.

Happy quilting.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Year Review

This is the day when you are meant to sum up 2011 and how much you have achieved. Well if you go on the figures it has not been a good year - only about four finishes over the whole year - but on the plus side the larege applique top is completed and another one about half done.

Did I buy more fabric than I used - probably!!!!!!!!!!!! But this year is going to be better (I managed to get in a quick shop on New Year's Eve on the internet so that will count for last year and not this one although it will not arrive until next week. It is a super collection and I will photograph it when it arrives - needless to say I ordered enough to make a whole quilt.

I want to tell you about my new best friend
This tape can be used to iron pieces of batting together so that you can use odd bits for a small quilt. You have to iron it on a very low heat (ask how I know) and it does not go hard. So I have managed to use up several small pieces on the two quilts I have been working on over the Christmas holiday. The first is the second piece of fabric I bought years ago and I just stipple quilted it to get it completed - still have the binding to hand sew but I need something to do at my group later in the week.

The second quilt is a lap size and made out of headers and footers

This was my collection of greens which had been cut into 2 1/2" strips. I found the border in my stash and also the backing
Why did I ever buy this farmyard fabric - I must have had it for about 15 years so I am glad that it has finally gone from the stash.

But then I decided that I just had to go for it with the machine quilting
I am sort of hoping that you can't see the quilting too clearly but it is meant to be loops and leaves. I have never done anything like this before but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Is it brilliant - no, not at all but better to have tried ......  I used the wonderfil splendour thread in the top and bobbin and it worked a treat, but I rather wish I had used a variagated thread - this sage green is very unforgiving on the lighter colours. Mind you it looks brilliant in the borders as you can hardly see it and it blends marvellous with the back - perhaps I should just pretend that the back is really the front.  This quilt has no destination but will be added to the pile so that I have a few ready if any are needed for special people.

So goals for 2012. 

  1. Well doing the Committed to Cloth course, Wet and Wild, will I am sure open my eyes to new opportunities.
  2. To buy less fabric than I use, except for backings and bindings
  3. To finally start doing some wood applique - I have the wool felt in bucket loads and need to get to grips with this.
  4. To complete all the challenges that the Wimbledon Quilters are doing.
  5. To machine quilt the large applique quilt and exhibit it at the Festival of Quilts in August
I think that is enough to be going on with.  I also need to list all my WHIMMS - I don't have too many UFOs but have several boxes with fabric for quilt tops in them - no patterns but just a collection of fabrics that I liked - horrifyingly some of them date back several years!

I hope that everyone has a very good year and manages to quilt as much as they want.

Happy quilting.