Sunday, 29 September 2013

Favourite Quilts - Linking with Mary at Molly Flanders

A few days ago I read Mary's post on her blog Molly Flanders where she had been considering which of her own quilts were her personal favourites.  She asked readers to decide on their own favourite quilts ( ones they had made themselves, not other people's that they admired).

That made me think back over the many, many quilts I have made myself over the past 16 years. 
Five immediately came to mind as absolute favourites and several more as ones I really loved.

So, here are my Top Five Favourites and reasons why I love them so much.


This was the first String quilt I had made although I had wanted to make one for a while.
I had a very personal reason for wanting to make a Rainbow Quilt, in memory of my dear son, but had struggled to think of how I could interpret the "Rainbow Theme".  Suddenly the idea for this quilt came to me.  It combined my love of colour, scraps and strings into one quilt which I felt spoke Christopher's name.
If you look closely you will see that I incorporated the ROYGBIV colours into the solid strips creating the diamond pattern within the String Quilt.  As there are 9 blocks I had to repeat the Red and Yellow solids in the corners which I felt balanced the quilt nicely.
The coloured strings are all made from scraps that I had in my stash and I restricted my colours choices to ROYGBIV colours.
I gave it to our daughter in memory of her brother and she hung it on the wall of her new baby's room along with some family photos including some of Christopher. Our little granddaughter loved this quilt from when she was just months old and loved looking at its brightness.  Later on she was able to look for colours and play I Spy too.
Since then I have made several String Quilts, one very similar to this original one but several scrappy ones including a couple made in the QAYG style. 

A very special one as it was made for my Granddaughter. Our daughter didn't know whether she was expecting a boy or a girl but she wanted a quilt starring Sunbonnet Sues and Overall Bills as she had always loved these motifs on other quilts I had made.
So I made the Sugar and Spice Cot Quilt, very pink and girly with lots of Sunbonnet Sues and also another "Boy Quilt" which had Overall Bills.  As baby Annalise came along, Sugar and Spice Quilt was the quilt gifted to her.  It was used so much, washed over and over again and now lives on Annalise's bed at our house.

Two close ups of this quilt:



This quilt was inspired by Gwen Marston's book Liberated Quilts. 
I loved Gwen's work and was lucky enough to attend a one day workshop that she gave at our Quilt Group in New Zealand.  It was a marvellous day, everyone had a wonderful time, free from the idea of being perfect and just enjoying colours and putting scraps together. 

The Quilt we made that day was a Liberated String Quilt and I have done several of these since as it remains a favourite pattern. But then of course I went on to try out lots of Gwen's Liberated blocks and made this Star quilt.
I called it Watermelon Stars because it featured a watermelon fabric which had languished in my stash for some time.  The quilt eventually was gifted to a baby born in New Zealand so it was apt that it went to the country where I first made a Gwen Marston inspired quilt.


Again Gwen Marston Stars, this time in girly pinks and lilacs and gifted to my very good friend's granddaughter who was born a few months after our granddaughter.


I originally made this Cot Quilt for another baby but loved it so much I couldn't part with it!  Another quilt was made for that particular baby!
So this quilt lives at our house and covers the doll's house when it is not in use. Annalise plays with it and when she was first learning to count she regularly counted the elephants and found the pairs with matching blankets on their backs.

It's still one of my favourite quilts for all sorts of reasons. 
It was the first quilt where I had set blocks on point.  Thinking about it I haven't made another quilt since using blocks set on point.  I shall have to rectify that!  I love elephants and these little elephants with their embroidered tails and 3D tassels appealed to me. AND it was a lot of work! Sometimes when you gift quilts the recipients aren't always aware of how much time and effort has gone into the gift and I felt this particular quilt should live here, where it was truly appreciated!

I have loved thinking back over the quilts I have made and have had great fun looking through my Flickr Photostream, deciding which ones to write about in this blog.

Like everyone else who quilts, each quilt is loved and each one has a story to tell. It has been great wandering down memory Lane.

Looking at my quilts and deciding on my favourites has pinpointed once again how much I love colour, scraps, strings, applique, and Gwen Marston -style Wonky, Liberated Quilts.

Thank you Mary ( Molly Flanders blog) for suggesting this exercise!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Oops, made a quilt top whilst I was tidying

Last Thursday when I linked up with Clare's Brit Sewing Thursday Linky I expressed the idea that I would tidy my sewing room and perhaps continue the Mr Scarecrow quilt.

Did it happen?  Well, yes ....... and no......................!

I started to tidy my sewing room and came across a pile of fabrics I had been adding to in readiness for a Scrap Republic Beeline Quilt.  It seemed silly to put that carefully sorted pile away into a plastic bag in a drawer.  Didn't it???????????

So, over the next two days I sewed the (carefully chosen) scraps into this lovely Quilt Top:

I love Emily Cier's book Scrap Republic.  Probably because I enjoy making quilts from scraps, something out of nothing sort of idea, and I LOVE colour and rainbows.
So, this quilt top is literally scraps, many that I have received in Scrap Swaps and others the remains of quilts made years ago but the left overs safely stashed away. I have increased the size of the quilt, more details when it is finished.
Thursday is also my Patchwork Group day and last week I was given a plastic bag of paired triangles(light and dark) which were off cuts from trimming blocks.  For my sins I have got the reputation (with good reason!) of being the person who loves to make Crumb blocks. However, as I made the Beeline Quilt top I used the paired triangles as leaders/enders and made Half Square triangles as I went along.  Didn't quite finish the pile so yesterday I finished sewing the triangle pairs and started to trim the squares to 1.75". Still not quite finished, but up to 100 already!  My intention is to make Pinwheel blocks and either make up a Quilt top myself or to hand them back to Wendy, the lady who donated them originally.  She is an absolute star, having made, or been the inspiration of making, literally hundreds of Linus Quilts. 
So, watch this space.
This has been another very happy and satisfying week on the Quilt Front.
Two baby quilts mailed last week and two baby quilts arrived safely and were loved this week!
Went to my Patchwork Group this morning - a lovely time as always! - and came home to a beautiful email from Germany, thanking me for the Cornerstones Quilt and attached was a delightful photo of baby Jasmine wrapped in a fluffy pink blanket, fast asleep in her cot. Underneath was my quilt, which fitted the cot perfectly! Wonderful!
Friendly frogs was equally well received.  Mum and Dad overwhelmed as they didn't expect a quilt and baby George's Granny was in  tears! This is why I make quilts.  I get so much pleasure making them and then that is trebled when I know people love them too.
As for Mr Scarecrow, nothing added to him, although I have carefully packed finished parts of borders into a plastic bag and neatly put them with the top as it stands to date.  Watch this space!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

An exciting week - 2 new babies so homes for 2 of my quilts.

Thursday has whizzed around again and it's time to link up with Clare's Brit Sewing Linky on her Maybush Studio blog.

What a great week it's been! 
Two babies were born, a little girl called Jasmine on 17th September in Germany and a little boy named George in this country the following day, the 18th - which also happened to be our 42nd Wedding Anniversary!

So now two of my finished quilts have a home.

This one was posted this afternoon to Germany for little Jasmine:

Cornerstones Quilt

I really thought Jasmine's Mum Saskia was expecting a boy so I had been furiously trying to make a boy's quilt.  However, I need not have worried as Jasmine came along and I had four finished Girls Quilts to choose from.  I couldn't decide so I asked my husband to choose and Cornerstones was the outright winner.  A hand embroidered label was added and off it went to Jasmine this afternoon.

George put in an appearance yesterday.  I've seen an emailed photo and he is gorgeous!
His quilt is Friendly Frogs and this evening I will be hand embroidering the label so that gift can be posted tomorrow.

Friendly Frogs
So now I can relax, continue more slowly with the I Spy Freckles Quilt and perhaps get back to
Mr Scarecrow.
On the Anniversary front we celebrated in style, as we had four fabulous days in London.
We packed so much into our extra long weekend, seeing lots, walking loads, catching up with friends, 2 plays, 2 exhibitions and several Art Galleries!  And of course some lovely food and wine!
Hard to pick out a favourite but as my blog is primarily about quilting and crafts I have to mention the wonderful Coronation Exhibition at Buckingham Palace. It was marvellous.
Beautifully staged so everyone had the opportunity to see the exhibits really close up.  The embroidery and beadwork on the dresses were absolutely stunning. 
I cannot  imagine how Her Majesty stood - let alone walked! - in her heavily beaded dress and the long heavy purple train.
I was a little girl of 6 at the time of the Coronation and remember huddling round our newly bought first television with its 9" screen. Seeing the Exhibition brought back a lot of memories for both my husband and me, although we didn't know each other then and lived in different parts of the country.
So, perhaps a quieter week coming up. But lots of sewing no doubt, and perhaps a little tidying of my sewing room.  Rather a lot of scraps lying about that need sorting and putting away!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A finish and a start

Thursday again!  How the weeks are flying past.
It's time for linking with Clare's Brit Sewing Thursday Linky.

I have worked very hard this week to finish the Friendly Frogs Baby Quilt I had in the pipeline.
One of my best friends is due to become a Grandma again - her son and his wife's baby was due on the 7th so is now officially late.  That was good for me as I didn't know until the 2nd that they were expecting a boy.  The last time I asked it seemed as though they had decided to wait and see whether it was a boy or girl.
Then I realised that all the finished baby Quilts I had definitely looked "girly" so I had better get a move on with the Frogs quilt.  And I have.

I put on the binding yesterday and sat at my Patchwork Group this morning, hand sewing the binding down.

And here it is, all finished and ready to go!

Friendly Frogs Baby Quilt
And a Close up of some of the Log cabin blocks:
I made this quilt entirely from stash:
The Log cabin centres are cut from a strip of 11 cartoon-style frog print squares,
The logs are from my Scraps,
The sashing is a Kona Aqua solid I had about a metre of,
The backing is Rowan's Westminster Fibers "Button Flowers", which has a navy background with orange centred flowers, turquoise petals and fresh green leaves.  The flowers remind me of a child's drawing so I thought this was suitable.
I bought the piece of backing fabric half price in a sale quite a while ago and it was JUST large enough for this quilt.  After I trimmed the edges before putting on the binding I was left with a wof 2" strip!
The yellow binding was cut from a metre of spotty "Cherry on the top" fabric I bought at the Festival of Quilts for my Binding Stash.
So, a Thursday Finish!
And I have also made a Thursday Start!
As I still don't have a spare Boy's Quilt and I have discovered that the next baby I want to make a quilt for will probably be delivered by C Section on the 17th (Help!) I decided to make another I Spy Freckles Quilt.
This is one of my quicker Baby Quilts so yesterday I fussy cut and fusible webbed 25 freckles and this afternoon I am ironing them onto a piece of plain blue fabric, ready to hand blanket stitch.
So, a successful week on the sewing front.
Happy sewing!
Here they are, all backed with fusible web and ready for action.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Making progress with Mr Scarecrow

I recently started to make a Gwen Marston style medallion quilt using an appliqued scarecrow for the centre.

This week I have been slowly adding borders. The original idea stemmed from Gwen Marston's Liberated Medallion Quilts book.
When I began to think about the borders I also used ideas from the two books Gwen wrote with Freddie Moran: Collaborative Quilting and Freddie and Gwen Collaborate Again.

I love the quilts and the clever way Gwen and Freddie simplify blocks and use colour and colour and MORE colour!

One of the borders I wanted to try was the Sawtooth border made from HSTs using 2" squares.
I was very pleased with how these turned out.  I am using an autumn palette of yellows, oranges, green and some blue, picking out the colours of the scarecrow.  The dominant colour of the HSTs was orange so I decided just to add this border to the two sides.  Top and bottom as well would have been overkill!  Another border was made from my favourite scrappy pinwheels.  I used 2.5" squares from my stash for these and I was pleased with the result.

So, here is Mr Scarecrow Medallion Quilt so far:

Still a long way to go and I think I need to add some other colours, not sure what at the moment.

However, this is on hold as I have to hurry and finish my Frog Quilt.  The baby is due any day and I discovered two days ago that it will be a boy.  I have several Girl quilts finished but this is the only Boy one in the pipeline.  Lots of hand quilting being done over the last two days!  Nearly finished so hopefully it will be done in time.

Linking with Clare's Maybush Studio blog and her Brit Sewing Thursday Linky.