Wednesday 26 September 2012

Liberating List Bashing!

I'm really enjoying trying to clear my orphan blocks.  This was particularly liberating - having had a good time hand stitching this (very good practice!) I realised that I didn't actually have any way of using it, so it's been stuck to my wall with a pin for something over a year nowI decided it was time to take the rotary cutter to it - and have harvested the bases for three post cards, 4 ATC's and one tag. Not bad for something that would otherwise be destined for the textile bin.

I did wonder about applying some paint or crayon colour before I chopped it up, but decided against it - not quite as brave as I might be, it turns out!

This was my next use of orphan blocks - some of them over two years old, I was horrified to realise!  A bit of novelty fabric, a bit of sashing, and I have another small quilt to donate.

I can see that it's not the most beautiful or cohesive design, but it has some interest to children, and I hope will be a nice fabric hug for someone.

This was something else on my 'list of UFOs' - a very simple hand quilted cushion.  I'd been held up for a little while by running out of the thread that I'd be using....and not being able to remember the name of where I'd bought it from either.  Luckily Lis knew which shop I was talking about (isn't Blogland wonderful?) and I've been able to order more (with just a few extra threads, ahem) and finish the cushion cover.
Next on my hit list was the desire to make some items for the craft sales table for my group's quilt show.  I've added these bags to the others that I made earlier in the year, and a couple of cards too (oh, and one of the cards used another little orphan block - I was pleased with that!).
This productive week also included some work on my C&G module, including a 3d presentation of some of my work.  Isn't this fun? It's like a mini theatre of postcard stands..... ;-)

I'm quite worn out by all the excitement.  Only a few more bits and bobs of unfinished projects or blocks to use, and then my 'design wall' (a piece of fleece hanging from a wooden dowel) will be empty, and I'll turn my attention to my scrap drawers, perhaps.

Time for a rest, and then I need to catch up with TAST (again!).

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Happy Quilting!

Another quilt 'Angelika-ed' - do you recognise the patched strips from the kitchen bench throws?  These are the trimmings from the first throw (and yes, I did know that I was making it oversized, but that was the easiest way to construct the blocks and put it together!).

I quilted feathers in all five rows, although the white quilting on the blue strips doesn't show in the photos. I was quite pleased with the feathers as I managed to stitch them without any pen or pencil guides at all, just a curved line for the spine marked with a Hera marker.  Fuss free, although I might want to mark the start and stops if the piece was more formal and I wanted to keep them the same length!

You can see the quilting a little more clearly here, although not the pretty variegated King Tut thread, which is very jolly.

Most of the rest of the week has been taken up with C&G design work (and putting together a 3d star book showing the samples of quilting and some quilt history).

I've done quite well for 'found' treasure, though.  Ribbon from new pyjamas for DD1, elastic cord from wellies for both girls, and,best of all, lovely twisted multicolour threads from my Abel and Cole veg box!  This was our first one, and if they give me lovely thread each week I can see that I will be even more likely to keep them going than if it was just the delicious veggies!

Thursday 13 September 2012

Making more progress

Almost finished this, my A3 challenge piece this week.  It might have been called finished if I didn't think that the text was a bit weedy!  I'm happy to have the writing there, but I need to take the time to bulk it out either by adding extra threads or by using different stitches.

Other than that, it is recognisably a map, (and for those who know the area, perhaps even recognisable as a map of Twickenham), with concentric more or less circles radiating out from our home.  I've added buttons to show destinations we go to each week (swimming, gymnastics, ballet, schools, Brownies) and looped thread around to show the journeys.  Although I'm not sure that the balance of the design is quite right, I'm pretty happy with the technical aspects of applying coloured voiles, stitched around them and then burning off the excess around the edge.  That's how the 'green spaces' and the river were added.  I really want to try more of this!

Come and see it for real at my quilt group's local exhibition - Friday 5th Oct to Sunday 7th Oct (10 - 5pm each day) at The Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington TW11 9NN.  All profits to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The actual finish this week is another quilt that will be in the exhibition.  I started it at a workshop with Jan Hassard last November, but didn't do anything more with it until this summer when it's slowly crept to a finish.

I can see that it needs blocking to sort out the wobbly bottom (wouldn't it be lovely if some pins and a spray of water would sort out my wobbly bottom - what a thought!) but I'm pleased with the overall look of it.

I'm hoping that once we've sorted out the living room (soon to be re-decorated) that it will hang on the wall in there.  Must remember to mention that to DH......!

My other quilty escapade this week was to go to a talk (again, my local quilt group) by the hugely talented Maggie Barber.  She not only showed us her wonderful quilts, but was kind enough to let us get up 'close and personal' with them all too.  I came away thinking that I should probably just hang up my sewing needles for ever, as the standard of her work was so incredible!  (I've clearly decided that this was an overreaction, and have decided to carry on sewing, but to try and do what I do a bit better!).

I hope that you are finding plenty to inspire you in your world too!  Happy sewing!

Friday 7 September 2012

Mind the Gap!

 Can you see the iconic London Underground logo?  Almost?  Please say that you can - squint if necessary!

This small sample (just over 6" almost square) must have taken me about 8 hours to make.  Each yo-yo (or Suffolk puff, if you are being posh) was drawn up around a 1p piece, so they finished quite small.

It was interesting. It was slightly too repetitive. I won't have to make another sample like this for my C&G course.  I'm pleased that I've done it once!

Far quicker, on a relative scale, was this, the second of the kitchen bench cover-up quilts (thrown over the kitchen arm chair for this photo). As I'd make the top at the same time as the first one I just had the quilting to do.

Another tick on my 'to-do' list.  In the last month I've managed 5 ticks, 3 half-ticks (projects started or moved forward significantly) and 5 more items still to start, let alone finish - most of which I'd like finished by the end of the month.  Lucky that most of them are small projects, but not, I'm hoping, as time consuming as this weeks small project!

Monday 3 September 2012

From Rubbish to Respectable

 Some years ago I made two covers for the benches in my kitchen.  The tension on the sewing wasn't great, and as I was in a hurry to get them finished they were quilted with just a small spiral motif in the plain squares.

They looked nice, until the wear and tear on them (they were on the kitchen benches, after all, and see a lot of sitting and shuffling action) began to tell.  Seams started unravelling in the pieced blocks and despite my best efforts, chocolate and ketchup stains became permanent design additions.

It was time to take action.  Rather than replace them completely (after all, the wadding and backing were still sound) I decided on a makeover.

Ta-da!  Over the holiday I made two quilt tops - and this is the first one quilted onto the old quilt.  Firmer seams, more generous allowances, lots more quilting (just a stipple, nothing fancy!) and a lazy 'binding' that is just the front folded to the back and zig-zagged down.

They won't win prizes.  They don't need to.  It's just my kitchen and a few bottoms that need to appreciate the improvement!

Just one more quilting session, another binding session, and the second quilt will also be complete to make the whole run of benches a lot smarter.

What a great start to the autumn, and what a good use of my batik stash!