Wednesday, 29 September 2010

More Simple Sewing

This is a quilt that I have made for my uncle. When I heard earlier this month that his mobility was deteriorating, but that he still wanted to sit in his conservatory so that he could see into the garden, I thought that a fleece backed quilt would be a good idea, as both 'impaired mobility' and 'sitting in the conservatory' sound chilly to me in a British autumn and I thought that fleece would be lighter and easier to pull over yourself than a normal three-layer quilt.

I wasn't quite fast enough with the construction and quilting, and my uncle has now gone into hospital, where I can't imagine he will need a quilt. I'm trying to decide what the best destination for this quilt would be. I don't think that I can give it to Dorothy House or another care home (as it's fleece backed and includes some poly-cotton shirtings in the quilt top), but perhaps one of his grandsons (my second cousins) would like it....time to cogitate.

Now it's probably time to go and tackle some more of the Infant school embroidery thread supply - looking more like The Clangers blue string pudding than a sensible collection of threads, I've been waiting for more cardboard bobbins to arrive (bless you, eBay!) so that I can carry on winding them into order. Of course, I know that it's a job that will need to be re-done at least every term, but I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that it will be a temporary improvement.

(and yes, looking at the photo again, one might wonder why I didn't put the top of the quilt furthest away from me, but off to the side instead....!)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I know......

.....that this is shameless marketing for a mobile phone company - but it's fun and cute and appeals to anyone who liked tiny things when they were young - or not so young!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A Little Sewing

Whilst pondering the flower tree quilt, I've done very little sewing (in fact, very little of anything), but I'm delighted to have been back behind a sewing machine again for the first time in over a week.

In about an hour and half I'd whipped up a little baby quilt (using my own 'free pattern') for a new cousin to two of my nieces (family, but not genetically entwined with us!). Unfortunately in my enthusiasm I managed to scorch it :-( so now the scorch mark is in iced water and I shall hope that it's gone in a couple of hours. It isn't time critical, though, as I'm not exactly sure which day over the weekend she was born (the perils of letting DH take a call with the news!) and I'd like to sew the date as well as her name onto the quiltlet.

I've also made this little piece couching some threads over a non-woven stuff, which was over some of my favourite batik. Just a small piece that will hang on my wall as a place to keep quilting badges.
Not tough, not big, not clever, but manageable and fun!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Un-quilting ;-(

I started off the quilting on the flower tree with high hopes that were met - and the micro-stippling around the central 'tree' went well, with sufficient fabric 'eaten' to satisfy me.

I always knew that the wide open areas were going to be trickier, as there was so much more fabric, but I set off with gung-ho enthusiasm and thought that it might be OK.

It wasn't. I think that it was Ferret who said '8 minutes quilting = 8 hours unpicking' - and she could well be right. I certainly had a lost day with only this handful of thread fragments to show for it.

Now I need to tackle the excess fabric some other way. My sister suggested pulling the fabric into a bunch and twisting it into flowers. I thought that she might be joking, but it's up for serious consideration (and I've just found Jacquie Harvey doing almost exactly that, but setting off with the intention of making roses, in an old Fabrications magazine). Erica on BQL suggests either starching and shifting the fabric about until the fullness is lost, or placing additional wadding behind it that will be unnoticed when the area is quilted. The trouble is, my areas are bloated and bulging rather than merely full. I'm wondering if I can combine all three. Pull, fold, starch what is left, stuff the (by now smaller area) bulge, and then slap a small butterfly on the top of it.........?

I've started by spritzing the top with water to get rid of any lingering blue marker. I rather think that my second move might be to leave the top to one side and get on with something easier while I think about it.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Progress on Meg's Garden (Flower Tree)

I'm finished sewing on the flowers, I've stitched the green grass or vines, and I've spray basted the top and wadding onto the backing..... and I'm quite happy with the progress so far. I just wish that I'd sewn down just the flowers on the tree, then re-basted, and then sewn down the flowers around the border. I'm concerned that I have an awful lot of spare fabric in the open areas (just look at it in the photo!) that I'll need to 'eat' somehow in the quilting.

I think that I'm more concerned that I don't know why it's there. Obviously I know that one would usually quilt from the centre out to the sides, but this looks like it's stretched in the open areas. Either I didn't baste sufficiently or I shouldn't use 'linen mix' fabric bought from a previously untried source on the web or....I'm not sure? Wish me luck with the quilting!

Monday, 6 September 2010

A Finish and a Start!

F finished her little quilt (approx. 12" x 9") yesterday. Thriftily made from scraps from fabric from a skirt that she made earlier in the year, and some gifted stash. Once it had the wadding in the middle she couldn't put it through her machine, so she used my Bernina. By standing up she can manage pretty well, with occasional instructions from me (generally reminding her to put the presser foot down after turning a corner).

G is still piecing a small quilt with squares and rectangles - very much a WIP!

I have started (at last!) sewing down the fusible flowers on my flower tree quilt. It's been waiting for me for a long time, it seems. Not sure how long it's going to take, but ideally I'll get them all sewn down this week and then start on the rest of the quilting on it.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Stay at Home Round Robin

I've added the third block to my stay at home (SAH) round robin.....but I'm starting to wonder if sticking to 'the rules' and have precise cuts around each of my blocks is the right thing. Each block is free pieced, so not much in the way of parallel lines and matching corners, but then I've trimmed each block to the appropriate size after that, rather than leaving the edges wavy and then seeing what needed to happen next, and I'm not sure that it has been the best approach.

I've got three options: scrap it and start again, try and be a bit freer from now on, or carry on with the 'proper' measurements. I'll have to try and decide before the start of next month, but I'm leaning towards the middle approach at the moment.

In the meantime I've used the scraps from the rectangle to make a 'feature strip', which at about 22" long is enough to make into three fabric postcards and an ATC. Nice to use up these scraps like this, and especially nice as Nephew No. 2 can have a fabric birthday card on Monday so long as I finish it tomorrow and the postal service plays the game properly!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

New Year? New Technique

Fired up by the start of the new school year I decided that it was time to take on a block that I've admired for years, but never understood how to construct before. Armed with Lynne Edwards' book 'Cathedral Window Quilts' I've now constructed my first two blocks - and followed her advice about turning them into a pincushion. The photos show the project half completed - you then sew the blocks together along the short sides in order to make the second place for a 'window'.

I love how they look. I quite enjoyed making them, but they do seem to take an extraordinary amount of fabric. This pincushion, roughly 4" square, took 2 x 8.5" squares (the green print) and 2 x 3.5" squares (the purple print). I'll certainly consider making more in the future, but I'm never going to tackle a large project with them!
What about you? Are you fired up by the cooler autumn weather or the new academic year? Are you tempted to try new techniques and take on bold projects?