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.