Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Improv Workshop with Brenda Gael Smith


A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to take part in an an online workshop with Brenda Gael Smith organised by Sue of Region 1 Quilters Guild.

It was great fun! If you have any interest in sewing improv circles then I recommend it.  Brenda was entertaining, knowledgeable and well prepared fro the workshop, and she made making these circles (well, some more squircles!) great fun!

These class samples were the outcome of the three hour workshop.  They were made with 10" squares as a start point.

Of course, I didn't leave it there.....

.....after all, if you can make them big, perhaps you can make them small?

I started with 2.5" squares for this little mini, which has finished at just over 5" square.

I should have either made a narrow binding, or perhaps used the facing technique that Brenda gave us notes on.  Never mind!  Lessons to learn for another time.

I haven't decided how to complete the larger piece.  I might do 'drunkards path' style improv blocks to create a border and see where I go from there.

A work in progress!

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Going to a Good Home

Remember last week I mentioned tidying out out a wardrobe?  Well, I have to confess that it wasn't clothes I was tidying, but a big pile of quilts.

I'd hope to take them to Project Linus last year, but, you know, Covid.  The pile for donation kept growing.......

So, a couple of weeks ago, Georgie grabbed the quilts that she'd made (with a little help) from the scraps from FabWraps, I grabbed my 'spares', and we finally got them over to our local Project Linus coordinator.

You know what Project Linus is, right? An organisation that gives quilts and blankets to those who need them, named after the character in the Charlie Brown cartoons who dragged a comfort blanket with him everywhere he went.

Jacquie does the most amazing job, taking in quilts and blankets and passing them on to those who need the love and the cuddles.  Care leavers, refugees, those in foster homes....wherever she finds a need she does her best to fill it.  We are so grateful to her for doing this valuable role.  It means that we can carry on making quilts, stitching in love as we go, knowing that she will find them a suitable home.

I'm so proud of Georgie too, for carrying on this style of giving with her scraps.  

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

More Orphan Blocks

 Tidying out a wardrobe, I came across the fleece that had been my design wall for a while.  I think that I took it down one time when I had guests in the spare room (which is also my sewing room) and it had never made it back onto the rail it hung from.

Still faithfully stuck to it was this motley collection of blocks.  Some were experimental disappearing blocks, a couple were left over from a quilt that I'd made, and the others I can't remember about!

I decided this time to make them all into 12,5" squares - the size of the largest block.  Some were sewn together, some were bordered with strips from my scrap bags (I pulled out the purples and greens - but a few blue fabrics jumped in too!).

Things got messy for a while!

Eventually they became this set of 12 blocks - you can see them here laid out with the short sashing lengths sewn on, ready for the final sashing and border strips.

Always good to make something useful out of these play blocks - and somehow even better when they had just been found!

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Small Work and Gifts

I felt that it was time to make something quite small again.
Out came the printed paper foundations,

A selection of nice bright Fat Quarters and some cutting followed.

Some short length stitching happened.
Lined up, sewn up, and ready to remove the papers.
Then backed, quilted, bound.  

The whole thing could be a little more accurate, but it's nice and cheerful, and I liked the use of different threads (different colour and weight) in alternate stitched lines.

You can see it a little better on the back.

You can also see how I was trying to stitch in the ditch for the major block edges, and how wobbly that made the lines!  Never mind, I don't spend time looking at the back!

My other small sewing was this bag for Benta's birthday.  Love the colours, love the fact that I built it all from stash (including magnetic closure and interfacing).  Wasn't so sure about the balance of the bag which felt a little 'off'.

For my birthday (we share the day!) Benta had made me a bag too - but look at it!  Isn't it wonderful?!?  Beautifully sewn, with a zip around the half circle that makes the top of the bag.  I'm in awe of her and her superior skills!  She also made me an insulated cup holder, and a cloth covered rope necklace.  I'm a lucky girl!

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Forgotten WIPS

If you'd asked me if I had any WIPs (Work In Progress) I would have said that I had a soft toy sea horse that needed stuffing, and nothing else.

Tidying the loft has proved me to be a liar!  I don't know when these were put away - but it must have been years ago!

This print that I was stitching around with variagated thread still has the needle in (but not the skein of thread that I was using, which is a shame).

This not quite square block has a freezer paper template ironed on to it and nothing else.  I can't remember whether I thought I was going to just stitch around it, or whether I was going to put a contrast fabric behind it and stitch around it with the sewing machine, in order to use the stitched line to help with a non-marker needleturn end result.

Funny isn't it, that I don't know?  I think that I will probably put another layer of  white cloth behind it (to conceal any knots or untidy 'travel'stitching from showing though) and hand stitch around the template.  Perfect simple stitching!

I'm pleased that I didn't find any other projects lurking up there!

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

How do you choose?

I needed to choose my next quilting project.  For some reason (perhaps because I'm a bit tired after the summer) I found it more difficult than usual.

Usually, I have projects and colour schemes lined up in my head for at least one more project after the one that I'm actually working on.  Not this time!

So, how do you choose a project? It made me wonder?

How do I choose a project?  Well, that's a big question!

Of course, I have a 'Quilting' board on Pintrest, and that is often a nice place to start, looking for a design that appeals to me and either finding instructions for it or drawing it out in QuiltPro.

Then I have my little list (stuck to my printer, just behind my computer) where I might have jotted down ideas that appeal to me.  I usually harvest ideas from here.

Then there are the dozens of quilting books that I have, that get taken down and leafed through.

Sometimes I just leave in slips of paper, to give me a quick reminder that I'm interested in something.  Sometimes I make a quilt directly from a pattern that I find.  Sometimes it sparks a related idea.

Its funny how the quilt pattern complexity has to be just right for it to appeal at any point - turns out that I'm a bit Goldilocks about how simple or tricky blocks / quilt construction are!

Time for a bit more pondering before I decide what to sew next!

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Smallest Loom!

Have you seen these 'Speedweve' type looms around recently?  They seem to be having 'a moment' - so I decided to jump on the band wagon too! They looked like fun, and people posting on Instagram and elsewhere have produced some lovely tiny woven patches - of course.

In case you don't know what they are, in brief, they are a wooden disk with a groove around the outside of it and a metal plate with a curved section to fit around the wooden disk, and a set of hooks set on it.

This is mine, just as I'm setting it up for my first woven darn using it.

Here is is after I've set the warp threads (you catch each at the bottom then loop it over the hook at the top).

You only use as many hooks as you want in width to cover the hole.  Ideally the line of 'catch' stitches at the bottom would be straight and parallel to the hook line too!

You can see that I've started weaving in this photo.  Each time you pass the thread across, you push the top of the hooks in the other direction, so it lifts alternate threads and makes it really quick and easy to weave.

 I was lead by the branding on these leggings, so created a patch that was striped white and black.

There is a lot of learning to be had from this little experiment.  I think that working on a firm fabric would be much easier than working on stretchy jersey  - but this was the item of clothing with a hole in, so I got to play on this first!

I'm keen to try it out on some other fabric, perhaps with a mixture of colours of thread.

Fun play time!

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Post Show!

Where is my sewing?  Well, all my sewing energy was diverted into helping Georgie get ready for her stall at Kew Horticultural Show (and helping her younger sister to make some extra face cleansing pads to sell there too!).

Here is Georgie during the set up time - Kew Green looked a lot busier once the show opened!

And here she is again, all set up under a gazebo, ready to serve all the lovely people who bought from her.  Thank you, wonderful customers, she had a great time selling face to face, for the first time since Christmas 2019!

If you missed the stall and want to order some items, here are the links to the Etsy shops:

FabWraps for your fabric gift wrapping

Angelic Cleansing for your cleansing pad sets.

Looking forward to a good rest followed by a little light sewing on my own account after that!

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

It's Show Time!

 Given how much of my blog is given over to quilting, you might have thought that my title referred to a quilt show, but no, it's my local horticultural show!

Of course, I'm planning on entering a quilt into the craft section - as well as some lemon curd, perhaps some bread, and anything else that I can rustle up on Friday, ready for the show on Saturday.  If you are local, you can enter too, you don't need to be a member of the society.

We'd hoped to enter some fruit and veg, but the garden hasn't been as productive as sometimes - we've battled blight, slugs and snails this year - so I'm not sure that that will happen!

Still, I'm sure that other people will have done much better and I'm looking forward to going along, not only to help Georgie with her stall selling FabWraps, but also to see what other people have brought along to enter into the summer show.  Perhaps I'll see you there?  All welcome!

Kew Horticultural Society Show, Saturday 28th August, Kew Green, London.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Another Quilt Finish!

I'm delighted to finish this little quilt, held here so delightfully by my DD2!

I used a mixture of the half square triangles (which I made into pin wheels) and four patches made from the stack of ready cut scrap squares.

Then I used the idea of the layout from the Lintott book, so I added sashing and borders in the same fabrics to give the columns a great background.

You can see some of the pinwheels here.  The split colour triangles add extra interest.

I added very simple quilting with the walking foot.  Just one direction, wavy lines along the length of the columns.
Backed with this colourful zig zag.

It's very cheerful!

Another one on the completed pile.  This one is 41" x 55".  Perfect for a little person to cuddle up in.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Work starts on another quilt

The quilt that I finished last week used a 'covered corners' technique to make the 'pineapple' effect.  This leaves you with lovely HST bonus squares.

It takes a little while to iron and trim them, but it's really worth while!

You get to transform this sort of pile.....
....into this sort of pile.

In their book 'Jelly Roll Quilts'  the Lintotts give a bonus quilt pattern to use them up.

As they are trimmed down to 3.5" square, I might add the 3.5" squares that I already have in my scrap drawer to see if I can do something different with them.  

It's going to be fun to see what I have and what layout I might use.  This is when I really wish I had a design wall, not a design floor!!


Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Another Quilt Complete!

It's finished!

This scrap quilt that I started on holiday is now on the 'complete' pile.

I love scrap quilts.  Looking through them to see fabric given to my by my late father, or that I bought to make a specific quilt for a specific person, or that I just loved, is such a lovely thing to do!

This one, with it's completely random strip selections, has lots of movement across it.

Here it is on my sofa in 'the nook' in my sewing room.

Another one that I've got a 'can I keep' request for!  Guess that I'm not the only person in the household who likes scrap quilts!

Quilted with a 'loop the loop' pattern.
Backed with a lovely fabric (a 'Je ne Sais Quio' one) that didn't have to be pieced for the backing, which is always a treat.  

54" x 66" finished size.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Another week of scraps!

Not much in the way of photos this week - I have taken to using my phone more than my camera (better quality pictures), but they seem to have had a falling out, and despite many hours trying, I haven't yet managed to get my phone photos backed up to / transferred across to my laptop.  Grrrrrr!

So, here is just one shot of the quilt I am working on at the moment (or at least, that I was working on until the heat wave struck the UK - no sewing done for days and days now, as my sewing room gets too hot to make it fun).

It's a scrap quilt, based on a jelly roll pattern called Pineapple Surprise by Pam and Nicky Lintott.

Hoping to work on it again later in the week.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

More Scraps make a Quilt

From a whole heap of orphan blocks and scraps, this is what has emerged!

I'm pleased with it!  Using up bits and bobs from years ago as well as some that are only a year old.  Curiously satisfying!

There is raw edge applique, piecing with various degrees of complexity, hand stitched embroidery, ends of strip sets and good plain scraps.

Some of the blocks went together well, and I was pleased with how the original work had been undertaken.  This 'orange peel' coming into the corner so nicely, for example.
Other areas, like the points on this star (made more years ago than I can remember) are not something to be proud of!  However, I love the colours and the work that went into it, even if at the time I hadn't made it very accurately!  So, in it went!

It was very liberating to use up all these bits and bobs.

I stitch all my quilts with love.

This little bit of quilting made that more literal than usual!  The plain space just needed a little something extra to the loose stipple that the rest of it has.

Colourful paisley borders.

Backing and binding of a cartoon cat.

Finishing at 40" x 42" it's not huge, but enough to give a little snuggle to someone through Project Linus, I hope.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Another Quilt Complete!

More delving into the scrap drawers!

The central panel was a small heap of half square triangles, which I made into pin wheels.

Then I hunted for more fabric scraps that might play nicely with them.

The grey background all came from trimmings from another quilt made some time ago.

The red strips were the only parts that needed to come from anywhere other than the scraps pile.

I was quite pleased with this finish of 44" x 40".

Backed with a blue polka dot fabric, and bound with  another bluey grey solid.

Puffy quilting.  Not my best work, but more progress though the scraps, which is good for the soul!

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Placement Matters!

I wanted to try a micro mini disappearing 9 Patch (they each finished 2.5" square).

I used the same amount of fabric for both.  A nine patch with a red centre, and four squares each of grey and white.

In this one, the grey squares were in the middle of each strip, making the cross shape. with the white squares in the corners.  I wasn't altogether pleased with it.

In the second one, I reversed the placement of the grey and white squares.

This was much more what I wanted it to look like.  Isn't it amazing how just placing the fabric in a different way can have such a different outcome?

Isn't it great to be able to keep on learning?

I've also learnt that 'disappearing' blocks where the resulting pieces are of such different sizes don't really work for micro minis.  Useful to realise!

I thought that I'd try another placement experiment - although this time I didn't do it 'properly' with the same fussy cut focus piece in the middle.

I made the economy block - each finishing at 1.5" square.

Less dramatic difference this time!  I think that a chequerboard quilt make of these would be lovely.

Now that I'm tying this, I realise that I've actually made two chequerboard quilts with this block, one for each of my daughters to welcome them to the world!  Crikey! Sixteen and eighteen years ago - doesn't time fly!