Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Plated Up!

I've finished the quilt with my Dresden Plate in the middle.  Some fun and games when trying to fit the 'cone' (blunt triangles) borders around the central plate medallion.  I hadn't really thought through that the ends of each strip would be sloping, so I'd have to add additional 'half' cones in order to straighten the ends up and then couldn't work out how long to make the longer strips in order to match the light / dark pattern.....I quite like the cones effect, but next time won't try to fit a block into the middle of it!

Still, I'm pleased with it as a quilt, as it's made almost entirely with fabric given to me by lovely friend, Lesley B., and will make a lovely donation quilt.  I also got to play with a newish Dresden plate template, which was ideal for the odd shaped scraps that I was given.  It was the same shape cut out for the cones and the plate blades, just treated differently.

The quilt is about 60" x 54" and I've got just a few blades left to play with some more.

You'll have spotted the different photos of the same quilt.  Just experimenting to see which looks best.  What do you think?  You get to choose between flat, but not looking rectangular as I couldn't get high enough above it, hung bumpily on a book case with book ends, folded over a chair (threads from the cushion fringe, not the quilt!), and slouched over a chair......  I don't see a career in staging quilts or photographing them in my near future!

Friday, 21 January 2011

More Quilting Fun

Yesterday I had a lovely time when I had a quilting 'internet date' - Stella Z. from BQL was in London and came to visit, and we had a lovely time talking about quilts and family.  She also brought the most amazing bag of short lengths of trimmings that she'd found.  I don't know who was more excited, me or the DD's!  I would have taken a photo, but needless to say they are scattered all around the living room, so that wouldn't be an easy task!  (Stella also bought us an eye-poppingly large bar of Swiss chocolate.......and as the girls are living out as much Roald Dahl as possible we've talked (over breakfast) about cabbage soup, working in a toothpaste factory, and then carefully peeled back the wrapper to see if there was a gold ticket in there.  No gold ticket, but the girls very happy with a square of chocolate instead!).  Thanks Stella!

Taken up the idea of the bunting quilts which seem to be multiplying over the web at the moment, I made a little one for Stella.

I also made a little stitched notebook cover (seen here without the notebook in) as a birthday present for a friend.....I think that next time I tried one I'd make the 'pockets' for the front and back covers deeper, and perhaps add more decorative stitching.  Always good to try new things, though - although I'd made 'stuck down' covers before this was the first removable (and hopefully re-usable) cover that I'd tried.

I also treated myself (for the princely sum of £2.80, I think - the wonders of on-line shopping for second hand books!) this book, which had been mentioned on Singer list that I'm a member of.  It was published in 1972, and that is apparent in not only the photos, but some of the text too.  It does, however, try to cover as much ground as possible, and covers all the basics of sewing clothes, soft furnishings and what quirks and foibles you will find with different fabrics, different attachments, all sorts. Instructional but dated, much how I feel.

Another on-line 'treat' was a download of a sewing machine manual - for the Frister and Rossman PZ that the girls were given for Christmas.  I just thought that knowing where the maintenance points on it were would be helpful, plus it might explain some of the attachments that I can't decipher (if it's not one of my three feet that I use for P&Q I have a mental blank!).

More work on a larger quilt has also happened, just the binding to hand stitch down and then I can take a photo to show you.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Is Spring on the Way?

No, I've not been spotting early primroses, just clearing the odd section of the loft (not as tough as it sounds - there is a staircase up to it, windows, lights, carpet.....but lots of stored items behind curtains made of 'vintage' duvet covers which need reviewing, sorting and tidying.

Knowing that DH had planned 'loft January' for us, I think that my thoughts were turning to post Christmas clearing, if not exactly spring cleaning.  Anyway, when I had to come up with an A3 challenge piece for swapping (that had to appeal to other quilters as well as myself, that's the tricky part!) I thought that I'd stay with my 'theme' of a stitchery surrounded by fabric, just fancy it up a little to bring the size up.  This quote seemed appropriate, and the rest of the ideas and colours followed this initial stitching - all in my 'go to' blue based palette which I think is quite spring like.

I've also been given by my super lovely and generous sister some more quilting goodies - I have already been asked for one of the purses (one of the smaller projects) by DD2.  I would suggest that she had a go at making it herself, but I think that she needs to get used to the speed of the new machine before she tries curves and zips!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Helping Our Antipodean (and other) Friends

When you hear on the news that an area the size of France and Germany combined is flooded it is almost unimaginable.  When you see the photos of houses with just their roofs showing above the water it becomes more imaginable.  This was written describing what I'd heard about Australia.  Then I listened to the radio again and heard about the flooding in Brazil and the flooding in Sri Lanka, and remembered that there is still work going on for the relief of those affected by the floods in Pakistan and Nepal.

I can't think that there is a good way to lose the contents of your home - think about the memories that you have stored in yours on scraps of paper, memory sticks, and worn into your possessions.  If you'd like to help some of the people who have lost these things, and the useful items like nappies and somewhere to put them, then please consider donating on one of the flood relief sites or trying your hand at one of the on-line bloggers auctions that are running next week.

I originally posted Australian sites for donating / bidding at fund raising auctions, but you might want to share your money around and send it to one or more organisations who support these other areas too.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Tutorial for Stitchery Wall Hangings

If, like me, you love having a little hand stitching to pick up, you probably have one or more stitcheries that you’d like to do something with. I used Urban Threads designs (the joy of instant download shopping!) and stitched these, which I’ve made into small hangings with a fabric folded inner frame. Here’s how.

Recipe for hanging 18” x 11 ½”:

Centre: 1 stitchery (mine stitched from an A4 printed design, and cut to 9 ½” x 15”)
Inner Frame: 9 ½” x ¾” x 2 from dark fabric and 18” x ¾” x 2 from dark fabric
Border: 9 ½” x 2” x 2 and 18” x 2” x 2 from light or medium fabric
Binding: 75” x 1 ¼” (or cut to your own preferences)
Wadding: 18” x 13”
Backing: 18” x 13” plus 17” x 4” for hanging sleeve


1) Place backing (right side down), wadding, and the stitchery (face up and centred) together and spray baste if desired. It’s probably best to add any quilting to the stitchery at this point, although it is possible to do it once the inner frame and borders have been added, as I did with this example

2) Starting with the two shorter sides, fold the inner frame in half with right sides out, and place it along the edge of the stitchery. Put the border piece on top of this, and stitch down with a scant ¼” seam. You will be stitching through the backing, wadding and four layers of fabric, so feel free to take it slowly!

3) Repeat with the longer borders, pinning if necessary to smooth the short borders flat and straight.

4) Trim all layers to a neat rectangle.

5) Now, a decision to make. If I know that a hanging is always going to be a hanging I usually pin the pre-hemmed hanging sleeve on now, so that one long seam is sewn at the same time as the binding. If you’d rather not do this, then leave the sleeve off until step 7, otherwise hem three sides of it now and pin the long unfinished edge to match the top edge of your quilt.

6) Bind. I like to use a 45 degree cut to start, and then finish off using this cut (and three drawn lines) to work out where to cut the binding (I think that this technique was from Lynne Edwards’ Sampler Book) but everyone has their favourite methods.

7) If you haven’t already done this, stitch a simple ¼” hem around the fabric for the hanging sleeve, and add to the back / top of your hanging – if you’ve already stitched one long side in, just finish off by hand stitching that lower edge.

8) Label, hang it up, and sit back and enjoy!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Ready for next Christmas?


Decorations packed away?  Tree down?  Pine needles and tinsel vacuumed up for another year?  We've reached that happy state, apart from the three hangings that I've been making .....which are rather Christmassy in theme!  They are the rogue projects that didn't get completed before Christmas, but which can now lie in one of crates of decorations ready to be discovered (and probably given away) next year.

What I am doing is writing a quick tutorial on how to make a small hanging using a stitchery as it's centre, as I suspect that I'm not the only person who stitches away at these but sometimes needs a push to finish items.  This is a simple and fast way to do that.....but I haven't quite added the photos to the text - another item on the 'to do list' that hasn't quite made it to the top yet!

What else have I been doing?  Well, I've made a batch of postcards and that I shouldn't get caught out with deadlines for them later in the year (or at least, that's the plan - I'll need a few more than this, though!), 


I've entered Kates little quilt swap, I've tidied some of the floor space in the craft room, and I've started stitching for the BQL swap challenge. 


Oh, and I've completed Round 7 on Kate's stay at home round robin.  So, lots of small projects again!  I am planning to work on my dresden plate / tumblers quilt soon, though, so progress being made in small ways.