Sunday, 23 November 2014

Soy Amado No. 52

If I'd remembered how quick it is to knock one of these up, I wouldn't have taken a four month break from making them.

And if I hadn't waited so long, I wouldn't now be faced with all my possible photo locations drowning in a depressingly dank sense of greyness.

The sky is grey.

The sea seems grey.

The land is grey.

And did I mention windy too?

As the winter starts to close in, I am reminded of random facts I have retained over the years. In particular, the one from a former work colleague who used to work for Ann Summers and who told me that the company sold more vibrators on my island that to anywhere else in the British Isles.

I'm not sure if that's a reflection on the adult male population here or that in the winter with such dismal weather there is very little to do.  If you had a choice between an AS purchase or pondering whether to drive clockwise or anti-clockwise round the island for a little bit of light relief on a slow Sunday afternoon, what would you do?

Click here if you'd like some more enlightening facts about life on a small island.
No. 19 in particular struck a chord with me - is a daily NEWSpaper for 62,000 people really possible?

Anyway, I digressed.

This is No. 52.

Friday, 21 November 2014

A long time coming

It has taken me what seems like ages to finish quilting this quilt.

Granted I kind of went off the quilting boil for a while.

Like completely off.

The summer was so lovely my quilting mojo totally disappeared.

I stopped reading quilt blogs and magazines and replaced it with other types of reading.

I read books that made me cry. A lot.

And books that had me fanning myself. A lot.

Ok, an awful lot.

And generally I took a complete step back from quilting world.

As the weeks went by and the weather turned from summer, to autumn, to  I-can't-remember-the-last-day-it-didn't-rain, I started thinking about the room at the top of the house again and whether I fancied venturing in there. I told myself I'd get excited again when Anna Marie Horner released a new line - which she did. I would sell my right kidney for any AMH stuff (well, not strictly true, I only have one anyway so slight exaggeration), especially as I thought Pretty Potent was her best collection ever. And then Honor Roll came out and (sorry AMH) for the first time ever I didn't rush to buy it.

It was at that point, with not even my AMH enthusiasm barometer working, that I did wonder if my passion for all things quilty had permanently dried up.

I hadn't missed the incessant call to purchase this line of fabric or that latest gadget.
I hadn't missed book blog tours.
I hadn't missed being told what I must have or use
I hadn't missed the whole commercialism that seems to have taken over and shaped much of quilty blog world in the past few years

However, I've missed creating for the sake of being creative.
I've missed interacting with other like-minded individuals and so I have re-emerged into quilt world.

I have slowly, slowly been quilting the above quilt.

I used so many different threads, it almost became a crash course in which threads my machine liked and which it didn't.

I used just about every brand you can think of, including a thread from a collection from my husband's aunt who passed away ten years ago.

With an Aurifil 40wt in my bobbin, the thread which hands down quilted the most beautifully, was this one.

It's a Sulky 40wt. I'm not sure what line it's from but it produces a lovely shimmer to the quilting.

I've slightly darkened this image up so you can hopefully see the glean that comes off the thread.

All the other threads I used played fine, it was just for me, the Sulky 40wt was the stand-out star of the whole long process.

With so much stop starting as I changed threads, there were an awful lot of threads to bury once I finished quilting. I think I underestimated just how long it would take.

Then it was on to binding.

And finally it was done.

On the down side, the image doesn't really capture the wonderful texture the quilt has from being quilted so densely.

On the plus side, I don't think the image captures the rain pouring down as I took this picture.

I have no doubt my opinions will change but just for the moment, it's my most favourite quilt.

So what's next?

Well as you can imagine, with a blog as prestigious as this one, I am inundated with requests to collaborate on all sorts of things.  I was particularly thrilled to receive this email.

Not wishing to dilute the authenticity and integrity of my blog, after much soul-searching I've decided to decline this intriguing offer.

Sorry Paul.

Meanwhile, now I am emerging from my quilt funk, I have ideas a plenty for more quilts, as well as a pile of Soy Amado quilt blocks (hello Canada, I haven't forgotten you) that need sorting out.

I am back.

I think.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Soy Amado No. 51

Technically it's not summer any more.

Technically that means I was going to be doing more quilting.

Truthfully, summer is still hanging on in there and as long as it does, I'm afraid my sewing room is just not calling me.

I did manage Soy Amado No. 51 though.

It's got quite a few (but not all) blocks that were originally made to 12". I kept them back, thinking that eventually there would be enough for a 12" quilt block quilt.

Eventually I gave up on that idea and cut down some 12 1/2" blocks to the same size to make Soy Amado No. 51

It has the insanely gorgeous rainbow, flying geese, paper piecing skills of Kelly.

Which will mean I will find it very hard to send it on its way.

But I will.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Around The World Blog Hop

Being asked by Becca if I wanted to join in the Around The World Blog Hop meant a good enough reason to get out of my summer blog-less funk and post something.

I was tempted to say 'no' because I don't know that I have anything new to say that you haven't heard already but because it was Becca and because I like what she does and because I like the premise of finding out about what quilters are up to all around the world, I'm saying 'yes' and joining in.

Just don't expect any earth shattering revelations about me and quilting.


What am I working on?

Quilting this one.

I love it.

I love it so much I can't screw it up.

I can't do an all-over diagonal/straight line/cross-hatch.

I can't.

It deserves more.

So I have slowly, at an almost glacial pace, been fmq it bit by bit with as many different random designs as my head can think of.

Whatever I feel like, I am doing it.

And in the process I've discovered I don't really like quilting gloves.

I think it was a combination of the long, warm summer, taking a class with Philippa Naylor and a Craftsy one with Ann Petersen (neither of whom use quilting gloves) that made me give their preferred option of rubberised shelf liner a go.

And I like it.

A lot.

I feel more in control, my fingers don't get clammy and the whole process just feels more natural.

I've also started a new quilt, made predominantly from 60 degree triangles, with the colours inspired by this piece of fabric.

It's from Kathy Doughty's line A Wandering Mind and I just liked the colours on this feature fabric.

So I've cut up a whole hot mess of other fabrics to add in and am just playing around with ideas.

I don't have a plan.

I'm kind of making it up as I go along.

That could be a metaphor for life.

And finally, I'm going to make a dent in this tower of Soy Amado quilt blocks.

Yes, I did succumb and buy a whole bolt of Nummers because, well, it's a rite of passage for a true quilter.

It's sat there for the best part of the summer and it needs to be turned into quilts.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
This is where it gets boring.

I have absolutely no idea.

Does it differ?

I'm just doing what I'm doing.

Why do I create what I do?
That's an easy one.

With quilting there are no defined rules. You can make what you want, how you want. You can follow a pattern or make it up as you go along. You can use one colour or a hundred and one. You can use old fabric, new fabric and at the end of your process you'll still have created a quilt that is completely unique and (hopefully) an expression of you.

It's a chance to get lost in a creative process that slows me down, relaxes me and allows me to get subsumed in the enjoyment of the process than necessarily the end result.

It's an opportunity to give something that can't be bought.

An opportunity to give a bit of myself to someone else.

How does my creative process work?
It's completely random.

It may start with fabric, with colour, with an idea for a pattern, with the need to try a commercial pattern and see if I can make it my own.

It's an exercise in pushing myself to just do something different.

I don't want to plan a quilt. I don't want to map it out beforehand. I don't want to calculate the fabrics I'll need (because secretly I want to run out half way through and push myself to use something different and take the quilt in another and unexpected direction). I don't want to think about what it will look like when it is finished because I don't really have that idea in my head when I start.

I just want to start with the kernel of an idea and see where it leads.

To play around.

To just have fun.

And those, I believe, are all the questions answered. I'm supposed to link to three more quilters to keep this going but I'm not linking to anyone specifically. Instead, if you'd like to join in, please feel free to start your own Around The World Blog post.

In the meantime, I suppose I should be doing something about this.

*I don't know where the Around The World Blog Hop originated. If anyone knows, please say as it would be good to link up with others doing this too and share.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Hand Quilting Heaven

After almost a year of slowly on and off hand quilting, I have a finish.

What follows are a random selection of images I took of the quilt, to try and give you some idea what fantastic texture dense hand quilting has added to the quilt.

I talked about the original seed of an idea for this quilt here where I set out to try and make a quilt that had an antique, muted feel to it, yet mixed in more contemporary, modern fabric with some of the traditional chintz.

The honeycomb centre pieces are entirely hand pieced (not EPP) and radiate out to darker shades at the edges,

The quilting was mostly outlining the shapes, nothing too taxing.

It was just the sort of project to return to every now and again.

Summer has been racing by and it's been too fun and too hot to spend any spare time indoors. Quilt related activities ground to a welcome halt -  save for the odd evening when it was cool enough for me to feel the urge to sew and then I picked this quilt up and hand quilted my sewing compulsions away.

Soy Amado blocks have continued to turn up on my door stop so that's a scratch I'll soon need to itch and I've been dipping in and out of blog reading from time to time - this post in particular resonated with me- you should definitely read it- including clicking on the link she gives to the YouTube video.

Makes you think.

Overall, the lack of sewing machine activities has meant I've really enjoyed turning to what got me into quilting in the first place - slow hand piecing and slow hand quilting.

It's hard to beat.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Stitching just because

After the last few months of production line quilt assembling, I had accumulated quite a few ideas in my head of quilts I'd like to make and this was the first one to become a reality.

Earlier in the year I purchased a Triangler ruler and the accompanying book.

Perverse as it may sound, I was attracted to them because I didn't have half of quilty blog land telling me I needed them. I'd also seen the book (which is more of a booklet) and liked the variety of kaleidoscope patterns you could create with the ruler, all from piecing it in rows.

And in truth, the booklet should be a book. There is so much information crammed into just 20 pages and ideas to experiment with and try out that I actually don't know why more people aren't singing this booklet's praises. I think it's money well worth spent.

I chose to kick off my use of the ruler with the cover quilt, which is called Cosmos.

I knew I wanted to go scrappier than the original version and I knew I wanted to use as many of my Anna Maria Horner fabrics and I knew I wanted it to be bright and cheerful and that was my starting point.

And I've loved piecing it. Granted there are quite a few points you need to match up and a fair bit of cutting if you go for a decently large size (approx 70" x 76" in this case) but it was worth it. I cut and pieced 25 kaleidoscope coloured shapes and it was great to showcase so many different fabrics.

The pattern suggested using white as a background but I decided instead to use three AMH fabrics (different colours, same print) for the background just to keep the eyes even more interested. I also used two different complimentary fabrics for the star points where the pattern has you using one.

I love it.
I really love it.

It's just so completely happy and fun and random and makes me realise why I love quilting so very much.

And I've missed that feeling these past few months.

linking up to Finish It Up Friday

I feel I'm back :-)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Soy Amado No. 50

Did we really get to 50 so quickly.

I guess we did.

That's an amazing one thousand blocks I've sewn together. If you'd told me six months ago I wouldn't have believed you.

Technically that means I've reached my goal BUT (!) I still have a few more blocks here to sew into a couple of quilts, plus I know of a box in transit from Canada with 100 blocks in so I'll still carry on till I've got these out the way.

Now for No. 50, I  asked The Photographer to get the cruise ship in with the quilt as I thought it would make for an interesting shot and this is what I discovered when I uploaded the images to the computer.

Possibly not completely what I had in mind.

No. 50 is all about pinks and purples and the other pig whose mate appears in No. 47. A female pig no less with a rather fetching white bow in her hair.

And we're levitating quite nicely too.

Note the clouds - we've had a little rain but not enough.

As you can perhaps see, there are some beautiful quilting skills going on with this one.

Soy Amado No. 50

And as promised, a little look back at the last six months.


And what did I learn from the last six months?

  • That it is far easier and much less hassle to turn the other cheek and not do anything 
  • But so much more rewarding if you do something

  • That you don't need the latest and designated 'must have' fabric to make great quilts
  • Whatever you have to hand is just as good and far more personal

  • That help doesn't always come from where you think it will come 
  • But it will come and from people and places you didn't even know existed before 

  • Not everyone will understand the concept of 12  1/2" (and some people won't understand the concept of quilted quilt blocks either!)
  • But I became very adept at fudging up to a quarter of an inch more or less

  • That if I ever do something like this again I really do need to mix up my footwear some more

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