Wednesday 29 March 2017

More Progress!

 The bunting that I made last week is up!  It reaches all around the kitchen (or at least, the half with the table in it!).  I'm pleased with it - and more importantly, so is the birthday girl!
 I spent a day baking.  There was a four layer birthday cake (four complete cakes - chocolate, lemon, orange and coconut).  There were 96 vanilla mini muffins.  There were 96 double chocolate mini muffins.  There were 36 lemon cupcakes.  That was a lot of cake!  Should I confess now that actually I'd got a bit muddled in my head and that I didn't really mean to make 96 of each flavour of mini muffin, but 96 in total?  It all worked out OK though.  The girls at the party only left about 70 cakes, which I palmed off on a neighbour (thank you Sarah!) who took them to a cake sale to raise funds for Red Nose Day - a complete win-win situation!
 To tired for much sewing, but I've made progress on this representation of Hounds Tor on Dartmoor.
I have to be brave now and add figures to show my family, and perhaps a bit more stitching to describe some of the fault lines in the rocks.  I would also like to add some grass / ground but I'm not sure quite how to do that.  I might try some grass coloured stitches....
 I also spent a little time quilting spiraly things in the next border on my big quilt.  Unfortunately I think that I should have left it alone, as it's becoming even more of a 'what not to do' catalogue!  Not only tucks in it, but that big puffy bar between the two areas of border quilting.....  must do better!
Even worse?  This side wasn't well basted, obviously, and I didn't realise that I'd folded the edge of the backing under until I'd quilt a chunk of it!  You have to laugh, don't you?

Needless to say I will spend a little time with the unpicker before I make any further progress on this!

I'm still excited about it.  These swirly borders are the outside edges on the sides, so I really feel that I'm making good headway on the quilting now.  I shall make as much progress as I can before the school holidays start.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Bits and Bobs

 On Saturday (happy International Quilting Day, by the way!) I went to a workshop with Janet Bolton, who produces fabulous hand sewn applique pictures.  My head wasn't in quite the right space when I arrived - and I'd forgotten to think about a subject or taken any 'starter' images with me, so rather than producing a completed piece of work I worked on two 'canvases' instead, using 'rules' and suggestions from Janet.

This first one is all about Dartmoor with uncertain weather, and will be finished with Hounds Tor and perhaps, if I'm feeling brave, my attempt at representations of my family climbing it, as they did at half term.
 This second 'canvas' carries the aqua dot fabric forward, and I'm hoping might be a chance to show one of the Dartmoor ponies that we saw.

I really like the idea of carrying another fabric from this one into another 'canvas' too - but I need to think about what the subject will be.

It was interesting to find that even though I'd started with different proportions / dimensions, both these pieces ended up at almost identical sizes.  Obviously that was the size that I fancied on Saturday!
 Two more tiny projects this week.

A 'new home' card for a friend.
And a cup and saucer for a birthday card.  The fabric scraps are from the bunting that I made with a vaguely 'vintage' feel to support the tea party that my elder daughter will enjoy for her birthday.

I might even show the bunting next week, once it's been hung for the event!

I'm still making (slow) progress on the monster quilt too - but I got quite stiff so have had a few days break from it!

This week will be more about cake baking and decorating than sewing, but I'm still hoping to make more progress on the quilt!

Wednesday 15 March 2017

More Quilting

 This is what my sewing area looks like with the monster quilt all ready for quilting.  Everything that's usually behind or to the left of the sewing machine and the extension table has been moved.  In fact, with the benefit of experience, everything that is usually under the (clear) extension table has also been moved, otherwise there is a chance that it will be jiggled out of position when I'm wrestling the quilt!
 The border of meandering gave way to a border of oyster shells.  Of course, I hadn't really thought through that although the patterns I was choosing were nice and simple, each round is considerable larger than the preceding one, so it is taking me longer than I'd thought to quilt it!
 Outside the oyster shells I'm attempting a round of mixed feathers and meandering - all quite random!  It really feels as though its been a long time since I've attempted feathers and they aren't the most beautiful of their type at the moment.  I'm hoping that I'll improve as I go round, whilst still refusing to do any mark marking on the quilt so they are VERY freehand, if you know what I mean!
 The same corner shown above from the back is shown here from the front too.  It's not great quilting, but it feels great to be doing some after several months without quilting!
Of course, other life goes on, and I was struck by this 'tufted tartan' pattern at the weekend, observed at a local ploughing match.  First furrows made perpendicular to last year's maize crop and judged before the competitors got back to work ploughing their sections with care (and sometimes careful measurements).  Fascinating to watch, whether it was tractor, rotavator or horse ploughing.

I hope that you are getting inspiration from life around you too!

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Exciting Progress!

 I've completed my 'flimsy' for the 365 challenge!!

Here it is shown with the second dark border.
 And here it is once I'd added the light top and bottom strips (I had to double each of them to take into account that I wasn't adding any light blocks to the edges of the quilt, to try and get it to match my wall space).

I have to confess that I didn't quite get the block count right the first time, so I thought that I was going to have more blocks left over than I actually did.  Luckily I still had enough to make the top that I wanted!
 It's too big for me to be able to show you the quilt in one shot, so these are the best shots that I have showing each side of the quilt.
 You can see that it's nice and bright - just like I wanted!

You can also see that the scale of the middle medallion is slightly at odds with the rest of the top.

I pondered what action to take to give it more oomph whilst I was basting it over the kitchen table.
I decided to try and address this by adding extra interest with the quilting.

Can you see here (from the back!) that I've completed a block of 'graffiti  quilting'?  The added bonus is that I've quilted the centre of the quilt, so I will have an ever decreasing amount of quilt to squeeze under the arm of the sewing machine for the rest of the quilting!
 I made it easy for myself by quilting the next round with a medium size meander stitch.

I've got a plan of what quilting patterns I want to use on each of the next four borders.  Nothing else quite as time consuming as the graffiti section!

Although I've started the quilting, I haven't fully basted the quilt yet, as I didn't have quite enough wadding - I'm about 8" short at one end!  Although I have other bits of wadding, none of them are the same type as the main piece that I've used, so I need to order some more.
We had a brief trip to Kew Gardens this week - we are lucky to live so close.  It was the final weekend of the Orchid Festival, and whilst I won't bore you with my shots of the flowers, I thought that this orchid model of a peacock was so striking that it should be included.

Hope that you are enjoying some stitching or crafting this week too.