Saturday 11 December 2010

Happy Christmas

The light level is pants at the moment so apologies for the quality of the photos.

I actually made this a couple of years ago from a pattern that I have long since lost.

I abbreviated it though because the original pattern had a border of wonky stars all around it. I ran out of pre-Christmas time...
...and decided Christmas could still be celebrated without wonky stars.
Sometimes we have to put the brakes on our handmade journey and take a short cut every now and then. And that includes choosing not to take an iron to the bottom border that remains wavy, having hibernated in the loft for the last 11 months.
Merry Christmas wherever you are and see you again next year.

Friday 29 October 2010

It's that time of year again...

...when Amy very kindly arranges the Bloggers Quilt Festival. For many of us (myself included) who are miles from anything quilt related, the BQF is a fantastic chance to see what other quilters around the world have been up to.

The quilt I am showing I just finished this morning.
 It's my interpretation of a quilt from the Kaffe Fasset book Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts. (A little aside: I automatically used to think of Amazon for books but this is a link to who I now use: The Book Depository which offers free worldwide postage and has a rather addictive world map which shows in real time who is buying what around the world).

As with all my quilts, they are made from my stash, nothing is ever bought specifically for a quilt and 90% of the fabric comes from the sale sections of websites. my stash I found some big blowsey Kaffe Fasset flowers, some Amy Butler, Phillip Jacobs and some other bits and bobs I'd completely forgotten I had. The caramel coloured solid is a shot cotton I've had for yonks and I can't remember what it was.
 It sat for ages on my 'design wall' - aka the £10 office divider panel while I had a mini-obsession with Tufted Tweets (see previous posts for outcomes of obsession) and I didn't do much with it.

Yes, I know, not the most inspiring of photos.

I then added a couple of random borders and finally got around to finishing it this week.

I straight-line quilted it with a walking foot. I don't mark the quilt, I eye-ball it so I'm not claiming it's complete 'straight'-line quilting but that's absolutely fine for me. I'm not here to make prize-winning entries, just to have fun. Once I had eye-balled the first line I then did a line either side, both of which lined up with the edge of the walking foot. I also have a play around on a piece of scrap quilt sandwich to make sure my quilt tension and stitch length are OK. For straight-line quilting I find a stitch length of 3.20 works best on my machine - Bernina 440QE

The backing is a Phillip Jacobs I had to hand, spliced with a Kona solid. I put my quilts together with a spray baste. For years I used pins but I'm definitely a spray baster. Not only does it save time but if there is the beginnings of a pucker when I am quilting, I can just lift the offending layer up and smooth down. I also have my iron on and sometimes iron a specific area of the quilt just as I am about to start quilting it. The only 'negative' thing I can say about spray basting is that after quilting for a while, your needle seems to pick up some of the glue residue and you get a little sticky bob bobbing up and down the needle. Not the worst thing in the world to happen and I just unthread and ping the glob off.
Thank you again to Amy for hosting this - I can imagine there's a whole lot of work involved. I'm off now to see what the rest of you have been up to.

Friday 22 October 2010

It's finished...

and I rather like it!

I realised that if I used one of these...
 ...I could use Perle 8 thread in a quilting needle and get the small stitches I was after. So I did and by and large, it worked. I quilted around the outline of each triangle with the Perle 8 in a lime green and a deep purple.

I decided not to add every last scrap of Tufted Tweets on the back and instead went for this:

 I free-motion quilted in each triangle with mono-filament thread in the top and a lime green cotton in the bobbin. I love the effect it creates on the back.

Binding is Michael Miller's Flora and Fauna Hive in Lime.

Monday 27 September 2010

Tufted Tweets: The Sequel if by magic, I have turned these...

...and these...
...into this. (Well not quite by magic because it took me ages actually and isn't the whole point of magic that it happens immediately)

I may be a while finishing this one off. I'm going to try and use up every last scrap of Tufted Tweets in the backing. That will mean there will be a mass of seams going on across the front as well as the back. So, because the front seams are on the bias; I will undoubtedly chicken out of machine quilting it for fear of stretching/puckering/ruining it and am going to hand quilt it instead and use some Perle 8 thread.  Just because I've never used it before and I got a good deal on a whole selection on Ebay and am itching to try them out on something.

I used the pattern from the Kaffe Fassett book Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts
For copyright reasons I'm not allowed to upload an image of the quilt pattern I used. However, as luck would have it, a newsletter from the Cotton Patch came through my door the other week and they feature the very same quilt. Here it is in Kaffe Fasset fabrics:
Looks better in Tufted Tweets don't you think ;-)

I used various Kona cotton solids that I had to hand as well as a couple of heavier weight greens that had been gathering dust. I also added a patterned green to one block only. See if you can spot it.

As of today, Tufted Tweets is my favourite fabric line.

Thursday 16 September 2010

How lucky am I?

Well clearly very lucky as my parcel arrived today from Fabrikatedesigns as part of the Urban Home Goods swap on Flickr.

I feel completely spoilt. First off there is a lovely apron which I have already road-tested during this evening's meal...'s reversible too.
Next, there is a lovely pin cushion...
...which again, has a very nice looking backside ;-)
A wonderful bag...look at the birdies...
...and this is the other side.
And finally, some fabric postcards which will be going nowhere fast as I do not ever never not nevery every intend to send to no one never.
Thank you Kate, I love them all.

And Now For Something Completely Different:I will leave you with what was on the menu in France this past weekend...

Wednesday 8 September 2010

A little bit of this....

My secret partner in the Urban Home Goods swap on Flickr received her package from me so I can reveal what I made. She said that she very much liked the artist Charley Harper. I have to confess, I had never heard of him before but a look around the internet and I am now a semi-professional Charley Harper afficianado.
So...this is my interpretation of one of Charley Harper's drawings:

She liked it. Yipee!

...and a little bit of that.
Daughter No.2 felt that if Daughter No.1 was having a new school bag, it was only right and proper that she got one too.
She chose the fabrics and I obliged.
I do like the instant gratification that making a bag brings as opposed to how long it takes to make a quilt. I've just bought this book on bag making and I have to say it is the most comprehensive and readable book on bag making I have seen in a long time. I know...I probably need to get out more ;-)

Friday 27 August 2010

When the cat is away...

....the mice will play.

It is amazing what can be accomplished when you find yourself home alone. And can I just say that in 11 years of being a mother I have never had a home alone moment up until now. This will be night number three and the last, without anyone in the house except moi. When thinking about this precious time I thought about all sorts of sociable things I could get up to and then I realised that what I actually wanted to do was sit behind my sewing machine on my own... and sew.

First box ticked was this:

I realise it is not the most revealing of pictures but that's because it is for my secret partner in the Urban Home Goods secret swap on Flickr. Have a look at the amazing creativity that is going on and you'll see why I wanted to join. I must admit that when I was assigned my secret partner I did a bit of a gulp when I looked at her Flickr photostream and saw her creativity. And then you become a bit nervous about the standard of your work. I'm massively comfortable making things for family and friends probably because what they know about quilting you could write on the back of a matchbox. However, when it is for a fellow quilter you start to worry where your work falls on the quilt crapometer. I even poured over a YouTube video on how to finish sewing your binding on the bias because previously I'd done it the other way of just joining the two straight ends.

This is the back.
 Yes, I know...still not much to go on. Hopefully, I'll be able to show the full reveal in the next couple of weeks, speed of various countries postal systems permitting.

Second finish was this:

Daughter No.1 requested a new school bag for the new school year at her new school. "Pink and black please." I'm not a huge fan of solid pink and solid black together so it's blackish and pinkish and I hope she likes it. And if she shows any sign of dissent towards it, I shall swiftly remind her that 'pretty much most other mothers go out and buy their kids backpacks for school so just be grateful that you've got a kind and creative mother who gives up her valuable time to make you something a little bit different.' Or words to that effect;-)
As far as bag patterns go, this one was ridiculously easy to make. The longest part was the cutting out of the fabric. If anyone is interested, I used this pattern which I bought from here when they were having one of their hard-to-resist 'free worldwide postage' offers the other week:

As you can see, I have yet to master the art of getting all the pattern pieces back in the envelope. About as successful a job as I make of folding maps properly back together.
I followed the pattern almost to a T except I added in an extra layer (ie there was none mentioned) of fusible interfacing to both the outside and the lining as I felt just fabric and fleece was not going to be sturdy enough.

And finally...I have started work on a quilt with the purple and green colourway of Tufted Tweets. Something hopefully to share in a few weeks.

P.S. And they all got made listening to these guys. I found myself standing in Bromley High Street (UK) a couple of years ago and they were busking. And I stopped and I stared and I stopped and I stared some more and then I did something I have never ever done before - I bought a street buskers CD. And here we are, two years on and they are still busking and I (without exception, like all the people on YouTube and Amazon ( can not for the life of me/us understand why they have not hit the big time. This is real music made by real people and I defy you not to smile/get up and dance/go for a run when you have listened to this.
And when you have; listen to this and this and maybe you'll get what I get about them.

Wednesday 25 August 2010

How to win all the prizes in a quilt show

Well actually that's a bit of a distortion of the truth because it is in fact an 'agricultural and horticultural show' and I entered my quilts into the 'patchwork' section. Sorry, but I find that such an old-fashioned word. top tip for making sure that you do a clean sweep is to...

make sure that... one else has entered.

Simple huh?

So that is £5 for first prize, £3 for second and £2 for third. Festival of Quilts Birmingham, Houston, Paducah; eat your heart out.

Mind you, I bet none of those great quilt shows have their 'patchwork' section sharing marquee space with a pygmy goat (females must be dry and males neutered), three meringues on a plate and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh OK, well maybe not the partridge bit but definitely five dahlias, miniature decorative and most definitely not over four inches.
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