Monday, 25 April 2011

Quick and Dirty!

Not much sewing over the last week, but I've finally taken a snap of the 'camp blanket' that  I made for DD1's Brownie camp fire excursions.

It really was 'quick and dirty' techniques at their finest.  A large (and lovely) Laurel Burch mermaid panel for the centre (what a lovely present that was from her Aunty Nicky), simple maths to add panels for badges to be sewn to, and then a forgiving border which also wraps around the edge to become the binding too.  Each part 'stitch and flipped' onto fleece, with a couple of extra lines of 'quilting' across the mermaid panel to stop it from shifting.  No more than two hours from idea to completion, as I was able to 'shop my stash' for the fabrics and the fleece backing - and that was with DD2 'helping' me as she was off school that day!

Now, of course, I'm after a similar - but different -  Laurel Burch panel piece for DD2's blanket.....

My other 'quick fix' was to not learn how to draw out marvellous quilting designs in Quilt Pro, but instead to purchase a loopy tree design from Urban Threads and trace it using wash-away pen.  Much quicker, but I am a little concerned that the hot weather might 'set' the pen.  I really didn't envisage summer temperatures so early in the year.  I will get around to original quilting designs at some point, but I knew that I only had limited time to set up some hand quilting, and that the drafting stage wouldn't be a fast one for me!

I'm back-stitch quilting it over lambs wool wadding and butter muslin backing - and it feels lovely and soft.  I've actually made more progress than this shows, but forgot to take a photo of it.  It's going to be around for a while, though, so I'll post another picture later in the process.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Quilting on the run

Does anyone else feel that time is rushing past?  I can hardly believe that it's Friday - or that we are half-way through April!

I've done some lovely quilty things this week.

First came a hand quilting / water colour pencil technique workshop with Jacquie Harvey.  I loved seeing her work - the miniatures were truly astonishing - but the workshop piece that I'm making doesn't feel very 'me' - despite by best attempts at brightening up the colours to suit me better!   I'll be happy to finish it and make it into something for someone else to love, though.  For me the best bits of learning were to do with the materials that Jacquie herself uses.  I've indulged in a little retail therapy and bought some wool batting and butter muslin for the backing, and will use some of the cotton sateen that Avril bought us to try some more hand stitching.  I will also investigate how to produce my own quilting patterns in Quilt Pro, as I'd like a speedy but unique way of designing (although I might have to go back to free hand drawing, photocopying and glue sticks - I'll see!).

Then my friend Benta came to tea, on her way to RKQ as a visitor for our April meeting.

The meeting was a fascinating talk by Maggie Rowell - one of the two Fabric Freedom designers.  She was not only both interesting and entertaining, talking about taking a fabric range from an initial idea through painstaking painting to the printing process and on to selling the fabrics, but also very generous.  She had brought a large selection of fat quarters for us lucky listeners to share and then, perhaps because she'd spotted (purely by chance!) a Fabric Freedom print in one of the baby quilts that I'd given to Jenny's husband's foster charity, she gave me a whole Stripper roll, entitled 'In the Pink'.  Well!  I could hardly believe it!  I see more lovely charity quilts being made in the future, and I'm wondering if I could do something for the Children's Hospice that she supports - Shooting Star Chase.  I will have to contact them to see if they accept donation quilts at all.

I'm still slightly star struck as I realised that she was one of the designers of one of my favourite fabric ranges, Coloured Dreams......

I also chose three Christmas FQ's - they will be perfect for making some demonstration 'Christmas Chickens' (not sure why they aren't turkeys, perhaps that's only if they don't turn out well) for the workshop at RKQ later in the year.

All the excitement plus having the girls at home for the school holidays has rather meant that my sewing time has been curtailed, of course.  The casualty is 'Super Nova' which is distinctly lacking star quality at the moment.  I am now more than two weeks behind the quilt-a-long!  Still, I've got an unexpectedly free day on Monday (a silver lining as a Tuesday hospital appointment means that I won't be setting off for the New Forest with the rest of the family) and I will see what I can accomplish then.

Hope that you are all preparing for a lovely Easter break.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Playing Catie Catch-up!

I think that the idea of a quilt along is that you do things at the same time, more or less, as everyone else in the group.  So having joined the Super Nova quilt along, and knowing that the next set of instructions would be given each Thursday, you' d have to wonder why I didn't finish the first weeks task (cutting) until the Sunday AFTER the second set of instructions were given out.  Then you'd have to wonder why I didn't catch up and manage to finish the sewing today, so that I was ready for the instructions tomorrow.....which will be my last child-free (thus offering most sewing possibilities) day for another two and a half weeks.  Even with deciding to sew without ironing (not something that I'd usually do with half-square triangles) to speed things up I only managed to produce three out of the nine sets of blocks.  Oh well, I'll just have to see how I get on tomorrow!

I am just wondering where the time went!

Admittedly I have finished another couple of projects this week.  I've made some map based post cards and ATC's (ahem, oh yes, not all of them edged yet, I remember). 

And I finished this little baby quilt.  With interesting quilting....  I decided to follow an idea that I'd read some years ago about following outlines on the backing fabric to quilt.  I liked the idea, but it turns out that the rows of scooped icecream (like the centre star, I used the same fabric for the backing) weren't quite as clear to follow as one might have near the bottom it all gets a bit skew-whiff.  I think that I might have to frog stitch (rip-it, rip-it) and re-do it!  Apart from that I liked the idea, and was able to space the quilting so that it wasn't too close together to make the quilt too stiff.

Other fun things this week were jewellery making with some girl friends.  I introduced them to the delights of tiger tail (a nylon coating metal wire) and crimp beads - a combination of materials that I really, really like, and probably the favourite thing of mine that I learnt about on my jewellery course last year.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the earrings and bracelets that I made before giving them away.  Never mind, I'm sure that there will be more made in the future.

Hope that you've got some lovely spring projects on the go too.