Friday, 29 October 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Autumn 2010

This is my entry to the current Bloggers Quilt Festival.

This quilt is one of the woven fabric quilts that I've enjoyed making over the last couple of months.  Small - it's only 9" x 11" - it's portable, simple, and lovely!  I couldn't think of a nicer destination for some strips of my old linen shorts and calico.  The hand dyed silk that I used for the quilting is lovely - a real treat to use.  It's been lovely to enjoy the simple fabric and stitch combination, and I'd like to make more quiltlets exploring this a bit further.  I will learn to try and make things that fit within 'standard' frames though.  Just a little narrower and this would fit into a ready made  A4 frame, rather than making me wonder about the cost of custom framing versus attaching this to fabric covered mountboard!

I've been taking a jewellery course - just five weeks - and wanted to incorporate some of the materials and techniques that I've learnt to give this quiltlet a little more sparkle.  I'm in love with tiger tail and crimp beads (and thus my jewellery pliers too) although I'm not sure that the different fixings for beads are entirely appropriate in such a small scale.  I'm looking forward to using them again on different quiltlets though.

Right, can't stop here blogging.  There is a whole virtual quilt show that needs exploring - and only limited time before two small people start demanding breakfast!

I hope that you are having quilt show fun too!
Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Liberty Jack Bandwagon

I've been keen to try my hand at a 'Liberty Jack' type design since seeing Janey Forgan's in the V&A exhibition earlier this year.  My dear friend Kate's moving to Australia and asking for a similar cushion cover was a handy excuse to choose a few 'Liberty style' prints (and I can thoroughly recommend the stall on the Cattle Market site in Kingston on Mondays if you, too, are looking for cotton or lawn prints at a reasonable price).

There are any number of tutorials about how to make this type of design, but I didn't find any (at a quick look) who incorporated the counterchange of the saltaires (or for those who haven't been reading the Observer Book of Flags, making sure that the white of the St Andrew's diagonal cross is dominant over the red diagonal cross of St Patrick, by having more white showing 'higher' closer to the hoist, or pole side).  I notice that Janey Forgan's does, and I wanted mine to as well.  Easy enough to achieve, technically accurate, but I'm not sure that I'd do it next time, as the diluted 'even placement' is easier on eye, as this reads quite lop-sided to me, despite being square (and yes, I know that flags aren't usually square either, but checking with Kate she'd wanted a square cushion).

It's 16" square, and made with raw edge applique.  To keep it soft I didn't use any fusibles - but I have 'pinked' all the edges to reduce the amount of fraying - I love my wavy edged rotary cutter!  Another quick project completed.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

In the nick of time.

I'm usually quite organised and like to get things done well before the deadline - but it doesn't always work out like that.  This card is due for a birthday in two days time (part of the BQLPC birthday swap), so allowing time for it to be posted, today was the last chance to get it it was made today!

Do you recognise the fabrics?  Guess who is being thrifty with her tiny scraps of pre-fused fabric left over from the flower tree project?  Yup - I started cutting some of them last night to make this little garland.  Fused and stitched it today, and all I need to do now is to write the address and message on the back, and walk it to the pillar box.

I did have a good 'quilt clearing' weekend, though - I managed to give away four quilts - always a good feeling.  The decks are now clear and ready for me to re-start work on the flower tree quilt, which still needs to have it's baggy bits sorted out before I can carry on quilting.

Watch this space - but don't hold your breath, as I think that this might be a slow stage in the project!

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Got there! (well, ok, I still need to add a label and wash it, but I'm saying that it's near enough done to post about).

For once I added up the hours that it took.  I'm quite impressed with what one can achieve with 17 hours of free time, some fabric and some wadding.  The result is a 60" square quilt.  I really hope that my second eldest nephew will like it - although I'm a bit concerned that it's a bit too stripey.  At least all the stripes are going in the directions that I'm expecting, and the 'arms' of the stars are all spinning the way that I was expecting too!

It would have been quicker to make, but I like to make oversize half-square triangles and trim them to size, which actually turns out to be more time consuming than I'd thought.  I did save time by trying (for the second time only) a binding style where you leave the backing over sized, fold it, and then stitch the folded side down to the front.  On the plus side you can make sure that you don't cut any 'points' off your triangles.  On the down side it doesn't feel as firm as the binding that I usually do, and the corners are much trickier to get right.  Or at least, I think that they must be harder to get right, as in eight corners there is maybe one that could qualify in terms of  'rightness'! 

Onwards and upwards, I'd better get on with printing out a label or three (I've got - the shame of it - other quilts that still need labelling too) and the domestic chores which have been shunted to the side pending the big finish.  Just 50 minutes until the end of school, but ha! a mixture of school clubs and hired help mean that I don't have any childcare responsibilities for another 90 minutes - so plenty of time to do the chores and prepare for the four small people who will descend at that point......

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Race is On!

I've made this quilt for my eldest nephew (and Shhhh!  anyone who knows him, unless they think it's too girly, in which case speak out loud and clear and tell me) from lovely Amy Butler fabrics and calico. The pattern template is simple - a CD!  I also used some text fabric (thank you, Avril!) on the central circle that's a bit like 'Janet and John' - overall my homage to his Media / English studies.  I finished it this morning, when DH kindly took the girls to the supermarket so I could have a little sewing time. 

Now the question is this.  Can I make a quilt for his younger brother from scratch in the five days that I have until I need it to be finished, so that I can given them quilts when I see them, instead of waiting until Christmas?

I've decided on a simple pattern (although I say it's simple, the only time I made it before, I got some of the pieces turned in the wrong directions - a surprisingly large number of them, it turns out!).  I like the idea of the friendship stars and how they link to create a secondary pattern.  Now I just need to check which fabrics I might have enough of, cut them, sew them, cut them so more, sew them some more, add wadding and a backing, baste it, quilt it, bind it and sew the label on.......

I'd better hope that DH is going to take the girls out again tomorrow so that I can get a bit of a start, and then really get to work on it when the girls are back at school on Monday!

Ready, steady, sew!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Fragments IV and my busy girls.

I've started! I've started a few small embellishments for my latest woven strips quilt (cunningly named Fragments IV - I can see a series and understand the nomenclature!. OK, so at the moment they look a little like glamorous safety pins, but I've got some other ideas to try, honest!

This week at my jewellery class we learnt to extend the techniques learned at last week's class by making bracelets. I've already done a little extra by making kilt pin brooches. Actually, I only planned and made the one on the left, F made the one in the middle, G made the one on the right (and made some surprisingly tasteful choices!). I can see that jewellery making could easily become a shared activity for the three of us. Good for our fine motor skills and patience, I'm sure!

The girls also enjoyed making postcards to swap with a very kind friend who'd sent them fabric cards. I'm quite proud of the girls for knowing that if you get a special card through the post it's nice to 'swap' and send one in return.

Frankie started one with a picture of Alfie the dog on a beach, but changed her mind and asked me to start a doodle pattern for her to colour. Georgie went straight for icebergs, polar bear, penguins (yes, we've told her that they won't meet, but she says that she knows that but they can in her picture) and dolphins. I didn't help with the composition but I did help with stitching the elements down.

I'd like to get some more quilting done this week. Projects seem to be slow moving at the moment, rather like me.....

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Stay at Home Robin - October

Not quite as early as some months, but this morning I've sewn the fourth part of my 'Stay at Home Robin'. I've left the ends of the block slightly extended so that I can trim them along with the blocks that they are joined to when I add more to this piece. I'm trying to ease away from the 90 degree angles used when I joined the first three blocks!

You can see all the other lovely pieces coming along on the dedicated blog here.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

It's all about the loops.....

I decided to sign up for a five week long Jewellery Making course at my local library. An unlikely choice for someone who wears a stone wedding ring (not very tolerant of metals, which make me very itchy and sore)and can't remember when she last wore jewellery. Still, I thought that I might be able to make some interesting embellishments for quilts (!) or cards.

I've revised my opinions. I now think that I can make Christmas presents and small bits of loveliness to give away to all sorts of people. Based on my one lesson so far I've seen what lovely items there are, and have purchased some bits and bobs from eBay - mostly charm bracelets and kilt pins, but some extra beads, crimp beads, tiger tail and findings too to supplement the fabulous kit that we were given.

The lovely Raquel was both friendly and patient. She took us through the basics that had been provided in the kit, showed us lots of examples of her work and then let us loose to start making, whilst staying on hand to answer questions as soon as we had them. We could choose our techniques, and I made three pairs of fairly even earrings: one pair using tiger tail and crimp beads, two pairs using pins. The key lesson this week was forming lovely even, tight loops that won't fall off the earring findings.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the course!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Leonard Hugh Picken

Leonard Hugh Picken
7th Nov 1918 - 1st Oct 2010

He was a lovely uncle, an interesting person, and will be sorely missed by us all.