Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Christmas Placemats

One of the quilting groups I belong to has been asked to make either Christmas decorations or sets of 4 Christmas placemats for a fundraiser at our local Hospice.  From now until Christmas they will have a stall in the Hospice Reception area where people can buy Christmas cards and homemade Christmas decorations and placemats.

In the past few days I have made two sets:
The first was based on an idea from Sheila who is coordinating this project:

And the second was one I designed:

I haven't made placemats before and these have bindings made in the same way as a regular quilt.
However they are time consuming to make and I think I will try the 'bagging out" method for the next set. Hope it works and speeds up the process!
Unfortunately we quilters know from experience that however beautifully made such projects are, people expect to buy them very cheaply (just because they are handmade!) and sometimes you don't even recoup the cost of the materials.  In this case anything we do earn is pure profit as all materials were donated by us group members.
Fingers crossed for the "bagging out" method!


Friday, 14 October 2016

Shoebox time again!

I have been saying all year that this year is flying past FASTER than ever. And now I KNOW I am right!

It's Shoebox Appeal time again.  Seems about three months since I was making items to put in my 2015 Shoebox. We have the service on 6th November when people bring their Shoeboxes to church and they are put at the front by the communion rail, creating a marvellous display of Christmas paper-wrapped shoeboxes. It is a wall of colour.

As usual I am filling my box with little gifts suitable for  2-4 years old girl.
I have made a patchwork tote bag, a little quilt for the teddy I bought and a knitted beanie.
Tomorrow I will go to the shops to buy the other items: toothbrush, soap, toothpaste, crayoning things, little gifts like a ball etc.  I love collecting them together and am always surprised how much can be fitted into a shoebox. There are strict rules about what the boxes can contain and after the service we have a team of ladies who go through each box, methodically checking that everything is "allowed". Next day they are taken to a local centre where they are all checked again by another team of people before they are loaded onto trucks to be despatched to various countries ready to be given to the children in time for Christmas.  It is a huge operation and everyone involved is a volunteer.

Sorry, somehow this photo has turned sideways and I don't know how to turn it around!

Off to read through the Shoebox list if "Allowed items".

Sunday, 9 October 2016

What a small world!

Yesterday I visited the Trinity Quilters Show in Sutton Coldfield.
The Show happens every 2 years and this was their 10th Show.

I immediately met an old friend, Marion.  We originally got to know each other about 14 years ago when we were both Quilt Angels at the Festival of Quilts Show in Birmingham. Then we met every year, even after we both stopped volunteering as Quilt Angels.  However, we have rather lost touch over the past couple of years - but, as I had hoped, there was Marion, taking ticket money at the Trinity Quilters Show. Marion has been involved with the group for many years, perhaps even since their inception 20 years ago. It was so lovely to see her, catch up on news and so on.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking round the Show.  Lots of lovely quilts all made by members of the group.  A table of cushions, another of bags of various kinds and a display of premature baby quilts which will be donated to Project Linus.  The baby quilts were this year's Chairman's Challenge idea.  Other years the Challenge has been small wall hangings with different themes. I thought making Linus Quilts was an excellent idea. The local Project Linus branch had a display table there too, with examples of simple and colourful children's quilts, patterns and two ladies who were so interesting to talk to.  I discovered that this group has gifted over 17,500 Linus quilts since they started (6 years ago, I think).  Isn't that an amazing total?

Here's my favourite Chairman's Challenge Quilt:
And a close up:

Coincidentally, my Patchwork Group is having a Linus Day in a couple of weeks time when we will make some premature baby quilts which we will gift directly to our local hospital. Various members in our group - including me - have donated quilts to the hospital before.  I think I may try to make a quilt like the Funky Cat quilt shown above.  I have lots of novelty fabrics which would be great in a quilt like this. Dimensions are small: 15" x 18" so they are quick to make.

Now a few of my favourite quilts from the Show:

This Japanese Applique Quilt was beautifully made, including such a lot of detail as you can see by this close up of one of the blocks:
Another Japanese style quilt also caught my eye:

An amazing Hexagon Quilt - the hexis were very small!

A cute baby quilt - I loved those teddies:
And a close up:

A large Red and White quilt with redwork blocks featuring different African animals:
And the quilt I voted for in the Visitor's Choice:
This was a beautiful Art Quilt entitled Marjorelle Gardens.  Made by a very well known UK quilter, Pauline Barnes who is also a member of Trinity Quilters.
Her programme notes said: Bamboo, Benganvillea and Waterlilies. Beautiful gardens in Marrakech which were created by the artist Jacques Majorelle who gave his name to the vivid blue colour with which he painted his studio.
It is the most beautiful blue and the quilt was exquisite.
There was a lovely quilt with sheep and borders made from snippets of Kiwiana fabrics.
I had noted it and then got chatting to the steward on duty only to find she had made the sheep quilt which she called New Zealand Lunch.
Her youngest daughter lives in NZ, in Nelson which is very near our house.  During our conversation I discovered that her daughter and husband own a restaurant (he is also the chef).  My husband and I know this restaurant very well, eating there each time we are in NZ. In fact for the last few years we have our last evening meal there as we stay overnight in a nearby motel which is handy for the very early morning taxi ride to Nelson Airport next day as we begin our long trip home.

So, what a Small World!  Here's the quilt that started my discovery:



Thursday, 29 September 2016

Groovy Movers for Oliver

I have finished another baby quilt!
This time a commission one for Oliver born on 12th September.

My friend wanted the baby's name on the front and as it was a last minute request I made a fairly simple design using some already-made crumb blocks alternately arranged with 4" squares of various coordinating fabrics.

A few weeks ago one of the Quilt shops which emails me had a sale of some children-type fabrics and I bought 3 metres of several of them to use mostly as backing fabrics. One was a lovely robot fabric, depicting some great funky robots with amusing expressions.

Here's the finished quilt:

As you can see I used the robot fabric for the borders and the backing.

The quilt measures 32" x 38".
The title "Groovy Movers" was an idea suggested by my Patchwork Group.  One of member's son's removal business is called "Groovy Movers' and the dancing robots reminded them of this name.

A close up of some of the blocks:
I mostly machine quilted this quilt, hand blanket stitched the appliqued letters and stars and hand quilted around them.
This quilt was really fun to make, quick to put together and I am pleased with the  result.  The robots really make me want to smile.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Look what I found

This afternoon I decided to sort out the cupboard where I keep Finished and Unfinished projects plus yarn, some batting etc.  Only way to do this is to get everything out and spread out on the floor.

Here are the quilts ready to gift for the next few babies (as yet unknown!)
1.  Finished Fairy Lights Quilt completed in October 2014.
2.  Two latest Baby Girl finished quilts:
3. Applique Overall Bill and Fish quilt from September 2006 entitled "Little Boy Fishing".
4. Crochet baby rug made in December 2014
5. Two knitted Premature baby hats:
There was the lovely lap sized quilt that I won in a Raffle at a Quilt Show in New Zealand back in January:

I am going to keep this on hand in the room that my granddaughter has at our house. She loves wrapping herself in a quilt to read and watch TV so it will be nice for her to have a choice of quilts for her "down time".

Then an unfinished Sampler Quilt which I am ashamed to say goes back to the very first project I started back in September 1997 when I began my Quilting Journey.  The Group I joined  (and still VERY happily a member of) was learning how to make a Sampler Quilt.  So I joined in too, making the demonstrated block each week.  They were made as QAYG blocks.  I managed the blocks very well but found it very difficult to join them together.  By then I had fallen out of love with my colour choices, they looked fairly uninspiring to me by this stage and the project was hidden away in a bag in the cupboard.  In fact over the past 19 years it has lived in several cupboards in my house!  It probably wouldn't take me too long to finish this quilt but I still can't summon up much enthusiasm.
It would probably be a good one to finish for Siblings Together.  We'll see. For the moment it has been put back in the cupboard.  Poor quilt!

Here are some of the strips:

There were also several packs of completed blocks which really should be sewn up into quilts  .....  again for Siblings Together?  Another "We'll see"!

And then, a most exciting find! A partly completed Spider web Quilt:

My Patchwork Group decided to make a quilt for Sarah, one of our members. Several people had not seen this style of quilt before so I made some blocks showing various stages to talk people through how to make them.  Once the demonstration was over those blocks got put away and eventually out they came again ( following another of my Sort Outs, I guess) back in November 2015 when I decided to participate in Jo's Country Junction UFO Challenge. 
Well the quilt got to the stage shown in the photograph above: several of the blocks already hand quilted in Perle thread and then somehow got forgotten about.
I was really thrilled to find this quilt - I had completely forgotten about it - and my intention is to finish it once the two baby boy quilts I am currently working on are finished.  Then I will put it on our granddaughter's bed at our house.
There's also an unfinished tote bag which again wouldn't take me long to complete and could perhaps be a Christmas gift.
I have enjoyed finding these UFOs and hope to show you some finishes in the not too distant future.  Of course there are other UFOs lurking in other drawers in my Sewing Room but I don't think I'll investigate those today!!


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Pink Penguin bag

A couple of years ago my quilting friend Sarah introduced our Patchwork Group to a lovely reversible drawstring bag. It measures 8.5" tall by 7.5" wide and is really useful for carrying sewing threads, needle cases, scissors etc to class.  Sarah has made each member of our group one of these bags as birthday gifts. It's quite amusing to look  around the room at our Patchwork meetings and see everyone's pretty bag being used. Because they are made from scraps each one is different.

I have made several - including one each for my husband and me to keep our various battery chargers safe in one place. So handy when we are packing for travelling, just pick up the bag of battery chargers and pop into the luggage.  No more hunting around the house for chargers!

With this in mind I decided to make one for my good friend Judy.  It's her birthday next week and as she is forever dashing around the country looking after various members of the family I thought a Battery charger bag might be useful. 
You can find the excellent Tutorial on Pink Penguin"s blog: Click on the Tutorials button and then on Reversible Drawstring bag.

Everything came from stash, the buttons from my button box.  I was very pleased to find the pair of small yellow flower buttons which I sewed on the ends of the drawstrings.  The lining is made from one of the FQs in a pack which was a gift from another Patchwork friend Ruth. Funnily enough a few days previously I cut some patches from another FQ in this pack, for another commission Baby Boy quilt I am currently working on.

Here's the bag:



I used 32 x 2.5" squares from my scrap stash and next day added another 12 back into stash.
On Thursday I was gifted a bag of scraps, mostly strips which went immediately into my Scrap Strips Stash bags and other odd shaped scraps were cut into various sizes of squares and strips and the small odd shaped leftovers went into my Crumb blocks stash.  Nothing ever goes to waste here!!