Wednesday 29 December 2021

Happy New Year!

 Happy New Year!

I'm pleased to say that I finished the year with a completed quilt 'flimsy'!  The first of the star quilts is put together.

Not a great photo - but it was enough to show me that I'd made an error - oops!  Can you see that the left hand side of the right hand middle star is wrong?  I made a mistake and didn't pick it up when I made the single star, only when it was sewn into the top.

Don't worry, I've fixed the problem now.

Just waiting for the wadding and thinking about what fabric(s) to use for the backing.

In the meantime, enjoy the remains of the festivities, and if you feel the need to make resolutions, remember to include something lovely and crafty or arty in there.  Good for you, good for your mental health.  Take care in 2022 everyone!

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Happy Christmas!

In this season of giving I had a bonus - a surprise visit from a friend who has settled in Australia.  Perfect, as I was able to pass over this somewhat delayed wedding gift to her and her husband!

A year after I finished it (see or read about it here) it is with the people that it was sewn for.

It makes me very happy!
Alongside that I've made a couple more stars.  

They will look familiar, but the 'echo' fabric is different for this quilt top, breeze blue rather than  sea foam green.

The background, print and inner star points are all the same as the last quilt top, though.
More things that make me happy, sewing anything for friends and family!

Hope that you are going to have the happiest Christmas that you can in the circumstances that you find yourself.

Festive wishes to one and all!

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Tiny Ornament Sew Along

Kitty Wilkins, aka The Night Quilter, has been hosting a tiny ornaments sew along for the last couple of weeks.  I've been slightly dull and made 9 of the same pattern (so far!) - but I really love this stupidly small Christmas tree!
So there was a bit of this going on - trimming blocks and cutting ribbons for them, before sewing around them ready for stuffing and finishing.
But one of the best things about them? All the trees and the immediate backgrounds for them came from the scraps from some of these star blocks!

Isn't that great?  

I've kept the rest of the triangles from the 'covered corner' method that was used in this pattern to use in more tiny stitching silliness - although they wouldn't usually meet my standards for keeping, as I can't cut a 1.5" square out of them....lucky these tiny ornaments can rescue them!

 These are the final two stars of the nine to make the first quilt.  Still not laid out and sewn together!  Still, progress, even if slow, is progress.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

More Stars

Four more Vintage Tile blocks made this week!

When I lay them out together like this, you can see how the secondary stars appear in the background.

Isn't it lovely?

The finished size that I am going to make is 9 blocks.

Onwards and upwards - I still need to make another 2 stars to make my total for this first of two quilts that I've planned.

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Seeing Stars

I see a lot of these in my near future!  I'm making two almost matching quilts (one for my eldest and one for her best friend).  Same pattern for each - Vintage Tiles by Lou Orth - but a different 'shadow' colour on each quilt, so that they are different but similar.

I need to make nine stars for each quilt (60" square finished).

I have cut out all the pieces and make block 'kits' for all of them.

I think that on a 'good' day I can probably make two blocks a day - but it does rather depend on what else is going on.  So far I've had a day when I made one, a day when I made two and a day when I made none!  It's not really going to plan!

I've decided that I'd better not try and stick to my original idea - of a quilt top being finished in a week - as it seems like that might be unrealistic, with the rest of real life needing to happen too!

So you might be seeing more of these appearing in my blog over some weeks yet!


Wednesday 24 November 2021

This and That

I have been sewing, but not so much on my own projects!  Its the pre-Christmas time of year when I tend to help my girls with the sewing for their mini businesses:  if you want fabric gift bags and wrapping look HERE for Georgie's shop, and if you want fabric cleansing pads then look HERE for Frankie's business.
As well as topping up the stocks of actual products, I've spent a little time making this bunting style banner for the stall that Georgie is going to have at the Orleans House Gallery Christmas Shopping Weekend (it doesn't trip of the tongue, does it?!?).  If you are local to Twickenham and want to pop and see her (or me), she has a stall on Saturday 4th December.  Entry to the show is free, and it looks like there will be lots of lovely things to buy!

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Improv Complete

Finished!  Fully quilted and bound (although I confess, no actual label yet).

I'm pleased with how it's turned out.

The large scale blocks from the workshop (thank you again, Brenda Gael Smith!) I quilted with diagonal lines.  The jury is still out on whether I should halve the space between them to give a denser fill, but I like the handle of the quilt how it is, so I think that I will go with feel over the look of it....
You can just see at the edges here that the border blocks were quilted with a loose meander.
Floral backing from my stash.  Not perfect, but the right size (well, with a 10" blue insert strip that I forgot to take a photo of!) and at least the blues in it work from the front to the back.

The binding was the same printed fabric that I used for the insert strips on the front to make everything fit.

This is how it looks now that it's complete.  It was great for using my home cut 5" and 10" pieces from my scrap drawer!  I even managed to get enough contrast in most of the border blocks without cutting any extra or pushing the colour paletter from the centre blocks too far!
And what decided me on this block layout in the end?  

It was this coverlet!  Made by an unknown maker, but associated with the marriage of John and Elizabeth Chapman.  This part of it was made in England in about 1829 (with printed borders not shown here added some decades later).  It was displayed at the V&A museum at their quilt exhibition several years ago. Much more detail about it here on their web site.  Makes me laugh that the story of it says that the papers used in the 'jockey cap' blocks were supposed (by tales in family history) to be the couple's love letters, but when looked at, they were random ledger sheets, adverts or anything else that came to hand! Far more prosaic, but it really doesn't detract from the quilt, does it?

Off to pull some fabrics for another quilt now. Maybe I should add a secret to it, or just start rumours about it.  The chances for fun are endless, aren't they?!

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Improv Progress

 I've made good progress on my improv circles this week - and completed the 80 curve blocks, which I turned into 20 4-patch blocks and used to surround the original workshop layout.

Two things strike me.  

1) I was relaxed enough with the improv to accept that I needed infill strips to make the border blocks fit the centre medallion.

2) The border blocks aren't quite 'improv' enough - they are all too similar to one another.

All good to learn about it in practical ways!

This flimsy is approximately 50" square.  I need to make a backing, cut the batting and get this basted!

Wednesday 3 November 2021

More Improv

There has been a lot of this going on!  I've decided to add a simple improv border, using the techniques that I  learned on Brenda Gael Smith's workshop.

Which means that I've had a lot of this coming through the sewing machine....
....leading to a lot of these on my cutting mat ready for trimming.

With 80 small blocks to make, it's going to take me a little while, as I'm still a bit tired after half term last week.  Slow processes are still enjoyable though!

I also made a few masks - I felt very out of practice - some with ear loops, some with head loops.  Straightforward once I'd got my groove back!

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Orphan Blocks Brought Together.

I finished the quilt!  Earlier in the month I showed you the orphan blocks that I'd discovered on an old design sheet.

I had to lose a couple that didn't fit the colour scheme, and raid the scrap box for a few more squares and strips, but I was able to make a dozen squares.  All pretty random, but it does the job!

Sashed with some purple polka dot from my stash, and then bound with the same fabric.

I quilted it with a loopy meander - nothing fancy.
Backed with this 'winking kitty' fabric, that's another completed quilt!  At the moment its on the back of my sofa ready to cover chilly feet, but it will probably be donated.

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!