Thursday, 29 August 2013

My 2013 Quilts Tally to date

I have just looked at my 2013 Sets on Flickr for my finishes so far for this year and I am so pleased with my totals to date. 11 finished quilts of which 4 are UFOs.
Not bad for someone who hand quilts and never machine quilts which obviously makes my quilt finishing a much slower process.

Already hand quilting another one!

Another UFO finished

Another UFO finished yesterday and I have just photographed it so I can link with Clare of Maybush Studio blog for her Brit Sewing Thursday Linky.

I made this Peter Rabbit quilt top in Feb/March 2010 when I was stuck in the house recovering from the Norovirus and a chest infection.  I felt awful and sad that I couldn't be with my daughter helping with our baby granddaughter who had just been born.

To help ease the frustration I made a few quilt tops, raiding my stash, especially my scraps.
This Peter Rabbit quilt top was one of the tops I made. 
A friend saw it and asked if I could make something similar for her niece's baby.  I did and finished that really quickly and  off it went to America where it is hung on the wall of the baby's room.    Apparently it was deemed too nice to use, it was an heirloom, hence pride of place on the wall!  Still there although that baby is now a three year old  little girl.

But my original top was put away and not finished.

Fast forward to a few months ago when it came to light again whilst I was sorting out my sewing room and it was put into a big plastic box of UFOs.  About three weeks ago it was this quilt top's turn to be finished.  I used a piece of backing fabric I had bought on sale for half price and hand quilted it in the ditch.

Yesterday I added a lovely pink binding, just the colour of strawberry ice cream.  I bought this fabric at the Festival of Quilts and I think it finishes the quilt nicely.

The fabric is called Cherry on Top by Keiki for moda and is made in Japan.  It has a lovely soft feel to it and was an ideal choice for the binding.

So, a drum roll for another finished UFO!

The front:
A close up showing the log cabin blocks:

Showing the backing and binding:

I fussy cut Peter Rabbit motifs for the centres of the log cabins and used strips cut from my scraps in pink, blue, yellow and green which were the main colours of the motifs.
The quilt was hand quilted in the ditch using a cream quilting thread and finished at 36" x 36".

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Thrilled with my FIRST EVER Drawstring bag

My last post featured the patchwork Book bag I had made for little Rosie.

This post features my FIRST EVER Drawstring Bag!  Can't tell you how pleased I am with myself. 

I was determined to use only 2.5" squares from my stash and had originally decided on a blue, green, orange  and yellow colourway.  But when I set them out on my "Design Floor" (aka the carpet in my sewing room!) the arrangement didn't thrill me.

It looked dull and boring and very "un-zingy".  So I left it, did something else and went back the next day when I decided to only keep the green squares and use pink and purple for the rest of the patchwork.  Much better!

After that I added another row across and jiggled around with the placement a bit.

I have never made a proper Drawstring bag before and my friend Sarah suggested I follow an excellent tutorial on the Pink Penguin blog.  It's actually for a Reversible Bag but I just used a piece of purple Moda marble fabric for the lining.

Then, as Sarah told me, I carefully followed the blog's instructions. 
I have a real problem with Spatial  Awareness so I couldn't see in my head how the instructions for joining the casing to the front of the bag and then to the lining would work out.  But they did!  I threaded 2 lengths of cord through the casing as instructed and - hey presto! - I had a bright, colourful Drawstring bag that worked!

The Back:

The Front:
And the drawn-up bag:

It measures 12" x 14" which I think should be the right size for a small pair of trainers, T shirt and shorts.

I have just popped round to Rosie's Granny's house with the two finished bags and she was equally delighted.  Hope Rosie likes them too.

Isn't it a great feeling when you try something new and it works out well?

Just realised that I used 154 x 2.5" squares from my Stash and I didn't have to cut one specially for these projects.  Proves that a few moments spent cutting scraps into squares when you finish a project does pay dividends.  Now I need to cut more squares, especially pink, purple and green as I am virtually out of those colours.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Rosie's Patchwork Bag

There hasn't been too much sewing around here recently.  Enjoying the summer, being in the garden (not gardening as I have a sore back!) and taking my gorgeous little granddaughter out for Crafty Adventures.  Had a great time.

We had a friend, her Mum and two children round for a cup of tea last Wednesday.  Rosie, who is four any day now, will be starting School in September.  As we have once a year School entry in our county Rosie starts in Reception ( first year of the primary School in the UK) in a couple of weeks' time.  Rosie's Granny knows I love making Patchwork quilts, cushions and bags so asked if she could ask me a favour.  Of course!  So I was asked if I could make a Book Bag (with handles) and Gym Bag (with a drawstring) both having Rosie's name on the front.

I finished the Book Bag yesterday and I'm very happy with the result:

 The Front:
The Back:
I have a box with plastic ziplock bags full of various sized squares which I add to whenever I have suitable sized fabric scraps to cut into squares.  Nothing is ever wasted here!
I have several bags of  2.5" squares because I have been intending to make Katy's (of Imagingermonkey fame) Scrap Vomit Quilt.  I even took part in two swaps on Swap Bot to get more 2.5" squares.  So I had a lot to choose from.  Decided on this colourway: pinks, greens and yellows.
As all the patchwork squares were already cut it didn't take long to make the patchwork pieces for the front and back of the bag.  I found a piece of pink fabric with turquoise dots which was big enough for the lining and the handles. Even a little left over: a larger scrap for my Scraps drawer and, yes, you've guessed it!  Four more 2.5" squares!  70 squares used on the bag and only 4 put back in my stash.  Oh dear, I shall have to do a bit of replenishing!
Not before I start Rosie's Gym Bag though.  I have found a great tutorial on Pink Penguin's Blog so I hope to start that project tomorrow.
When Rosie was born I made a Teddy Bear quilt for her which she still loves apparently.  Her Mummy says she still has the washing instructions I sent along with the quilt and follows them faithfully.

Rosie's Teddy Quilt
I love hearing that my gifted quilts have been loved and used and washed and washed.  Makes all the work making them so worthwhile.  In fact I would say it gave me a "Rosy glow'!
Linking up with Clare's  Maybush Studio blog  
for  Brit Sewing Thursday Linky
Happy sewing!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Festival of Quilts 2013, NEC, Birmingham

Not much sewing done this week but a LOT of quilt-gazing and oohing and aahing at the expertise of the clever folk who showed quilts at The Festival Of Quilts.

This the 11th Festival of Quilts (FOQ from now on in this post!) and I have visited every one of them. 
For the fist 9 years I was a Quilt Angel, unpacking, hanging them and then taking down and repacking for return to the owners.  Hard work but I enjoyed it.  However, over the past two years my health has not allowed me to continue to do this sort of physical work so I am now a Festival visitor.

It is a huge Show, consisting of several hundred competition quilts, galleries of themed quilts (particular quilt makers such as Lynne Edwards), Countries such as Russia and India, and many many stalls selling all kinds of quilting essentials: needles, buttons, sewing and quilting machines, fabrics galore, notions, rulers and cutting boards, fabric paints etc etc!

I went twice this year as there really is far too much to see in one day.  On Thursday I went with my sister and we had a wonderful time together looking at quilts and bumping into quilting friends - one all the way from New Zealand!  I had no idea Beverley would be there and it was marvellous to see her.  She was on a 21 day Quilting Holiday and had been in Ireland visiting a Quilt Show before the trip brought them to the NEC.

Yesterday I visited the FOQ again, looking at all the galleries and stalls I hadn't had time for on Thursday.  That was a lot!  Then I walked through all the competition quilts again and took nearly 60 photos of my favourites.

When I am looking at quilts I am naturally drawn to the more traditional ones.  However, personally I am not so keen on Baltimore-style quilts but I can appreciate and marvel at the wonderful needlework needed to make them.
One that really caught my eye was a Two Person quilt made by Alexandra Rankin & Janette Chilver, entitled The Wild Flower Garden. 

The detail was amazing. Here's one small patch of strawberries: 

Then there are quilts that I admire and marvel at, knowing that I would never be clever enough to make them and they wouldn't be my style of quilt anyway.
There were several that sang out to me in this category and I have picked my two favourites.
Firstly, a portrait of David Tennant, all made from snippets of fabric. AMAZING!

I would not know where to start to make such a work of art.
Then there was a quilt which I had walked past on Thursday, just thinking it was a collection of green and blue squares.  The catalogue blurb said it was made from 864 pieced 2.5" squares and half squares of fabric. The title James Dean puzzled me.
However, as I walked past it again yesterday there was a huddle of people all looking at the quilt through their camera lenses.  Viewed like that, suddenly, as if by magic, there appeared James Dean!
I don't possess a fancy up-to-the-minute camera and this photo doesn't do it justice, but perhaps enough to show the cleverness of this quiltmaker, Michael Caputo.
Another quilt which I thought was amazing was Little Stars by Jean Ball.  Traditional hand-sewn American ( ie not over papers) stars.  The quilt was hand quilted and had tiny Prairie points edging.

And a more detailed close up of some of the stars.

Now a few photos from the Galleries:
From The Russian Quilt Gallery, a quirky one, like a child's drawing:

From Crossroads- A Middle Eastern Festival:
 and, finally,

From the Gallery called Godharis: Quilts from India:

All of these Indian quilts were made of scraps of all kinds of recycled fabric; old saris, feed sacks and polyester, all hand sewn into quilts and featuring quite large top stitching which added to the decoration but also strengthened and stabilised the recycled materials.

And from Beneath the Southern Skies, a close-up of a section from the Pohutukawa quilt:

And finally from the Galleries, a quilt which was based on a photograph of the quiltmaker's grandfather. It was made from a scrim-style fabric, teased out to form the features and clothing of the old gentleman. It was quite wonderful.
And in closer detail:

And finally, one of my favourite Competition quilts made by Marianne Mohandes,
called Full Circle:
Marianne said she made the quilt as a gift to herself after reaching the 5 year point following Breast cancer.  The circles symbolise the shape of the breast.  The colours and the reason for making the quilt resonate with me.  A winner in my book!
Of course I couldn't walk past all of those stalls without buying something.  A few basics for my stash, Kona-style plains in a dusky pink and sky blue, two Moda spots in yellow and pink and four fat quarters. Oh, and a packet of darning needles!
Today, a quieter day, no walking as I am stiff from being on my feet so much this week.  But so worth it!



Friday, 2 August 2013

Small Blog Meet link up

Another brief post to say I am linking up with the Small Blog Meet on Lily's Quilts blog. Great idea for us bloggers who are small and would like to link up with fellow quilting bloggers.
Just off to do some linking up!

Linking up with Lily's Quilts.

Linking up with Fresh Sewing Day on Lily's Quilts. I'm not computer savvy enough to know how to 'Grab a blog' so this post is my Link to the blog.
I enjoy reading the posts on this blog and so pleased to hear how well the Siblings Together Quilts are doing. I made one last year and thoroughly enjoyed making it. Even better knowing that some little person will have a quilt as a concrete reminder of such a special Camp.
I am sewing in between enjoying this wonderful summer weather we have been experiencing. A little hand quilting or hand sewing the bindings on finished quilts as I sit in the shade in our garden. I'm doing well with finishing quilts this year and have even finished some UFOs. Hurrah!
So, do leave a comment on my blog. I wrote a blogpost yesterday which gives an up-to-date view of where I am on the quilt front.
Happy sewing!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Project Scarecrow

Joining in with Maybush Studio blog's Thursday Linky

A couple of years ago one of my Patchwork friends had a clear-out prior to downsizing her home.  I picked up a few unwanted scraps including a Printed Scarecrow which had already been roughly cut out.
At the time I thought I could turn it into an appliqued Child's cushion.
And there it languished in a drawer all forgotten and unloved until I found it again a couple of months ago.  It was then moved near my sewing table and stayed there for a while!.........................
Until yesterday afternoon. 

The idea of a cushion no longer appealed but I had a brainwave.  How about doing some applique, using a fusible webbing to attach the scarecrow to a backing and create the centre for a Medallion quilt?
So, after searching amongst my smaller pieces I found a wheat-coloured striped fabric, very like a field where Mr Scarecrow could stand.

And here he is!

Last year I made a Medallion Quilt for Siblings Together, using Gwen Marston's great book called
Liberated Medallion Quilts.
So, border by border I am going to see how this quilt develops.  The first border is going to be a narrow one, from a navy blue fabric I have already picked out from my stash. but before this I have to hand blanket stitch around Mr Scarecrow.  May do that tonight when I catch up on a couple of TV programmes I've recorded.