Sunday, 28 August 2011

A little bit of progress

I've begun to quilt my Strawberry Patch Quilt. I started by echoing around the anvil blocks with I think really helps to accentuate the pattern. 

I think it needs something in the centre of the blocks to finish it off. Otherwise there's a clear 9" across the middle without quilting which I think is a little too much. I bought this stencil from The Fat Quarters but I'm struggling to quilt it.

It's only 3" big so the curves are very tight and I can't seem to get them right. I'll have another couple of tries before I give up. This week I've also completed a long over due task. I made these two cuties for my twin nieces for Christmas 2009.

 Last year they were given back to me in desperate need of some TLC. I've patched them up and they're ready for round two. I didn't want the twins' big sister to feel left out when I gave them back so I made her a little friend too.

He's from the latest Tilda book and I think he turned out super cute. I hope they last a little longer this time!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

WIP Wednesday No. 3

I'm getting back to normal after the crazy 30th birthday and The Festival of Quilts. I had an job interview yesterday that I am very hopeful about so I'm treating myself to a couple of sewing days.

Strawberry Patch
The top is all finished and it's in the process of being layered over the kitchen table. Need to think of a quilting plan now. I might try and do a nice motif in the centre squares of the anvils. It turned out well on my Verna quilt.

I picked out the shot cottons I wanted to use to go with my dots and I mixed in a couple of Amy Butler solids that I had in my stash because there were no greens. I think this is a good balance now.

I'm enjoying matching the colours to the spots and so far I've made 3 spotty hexagons. They take me hours because I only seem to be able to do tiny little stitches. When I try larger ones they just go wonky!

At the Festival of Quilts I got tempted by these stripes and bought half a yard of each to make some different hexagons to break up the stars.

I made one up to see if I could manage to match the stripes and I think it turned out really well

When I was rooting around in the tool box the other day I found a clamp and decided that this would be a great place to store my hexagons. Keeps my desk clear and gives me a bit of eye candy when I'm working at my computer.

Other projects
  • Neutral jelly roll bear paws - Still waiting to be basted and quilted. 
  • It's a hoot - After seeing some of the lovely quilts Rita at Red Pepper Quilts has been making with this line I think I'm just going to jump in rather than dithering.
  • Tea cosies - I've drafted a larger template for the fish scales so Fishy Fish Fish mark II is on his way. I have also bought monkey fabric so watch out for his face soon.
  • Frosted window panes - It's a mystery where that pattern has gone!
  • Antique quilt - Found the silk, does that count as starting?

Why not pop over to Freshly pieced to see what everyone else is up to this Wednesday?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Festival of Quilts: Part 2

I remembered my camera for day two at The Festival of Quilts so be ready for a very picture heavy post. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view. After all the shopping on day one we decided to concentrate on the exhibited quilts on day two. I was surprised by which quilts I was drawn to but I think the overall theme is: I love symmetry.

In the Traditional Quilt section, it wasn't the pieced quilts but the appliqué that really caught my attention. The first quilt didn't win a prize but was commended. I thought the simple colour scheme made a terrific impact and the quilting was fantastic. The appliqué was done by machine using a zig-zag stitch in an invisible thread. I think it would have definitely got a prize if it had been hand done.

The second was the winner of the category. This was all hand appliquéd, hand quilted and hand beaded. I dread to think how long it took but it was absolutely beautiful in person. Makes me think I should really try appliqué.

The other section that I found intriguing was the pictorial quilts. Previously, I would have walked straight through this section but some of the quilts were so beautiful you just had to stop and marvel.

This is a small section of the winning quilt, can't you just feel the heat of that sun?

This one reminded me of holidays on the Isle of Wight; crabbing off the dock and drinking gin and tonic at sunset - bliss!

There were a couple of exhibitions that weren't part of the competition. These quilts were from the "Arabic Inspiration" stall. They really call out to my love of symmetry.

This was the "Tentmakers of Cairo" stall. There were some absolutely beautiful quilts that were all hand appliquéd. There were two Egyptian men in there sewing panels all day long and they were amazing to watch. So quick!

My camera ran out of batteries there so all the rest of my photos were taken on my phone. I took some fantastic Hexagon inspiration pictures so I'll try and get those up on Flickr,

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Festival of Quilts: Part 1

I am back in the hotel after a heavy day of shopping at The Festival of Quilts. Note to self: when you're going to be on your feet shopping for 7 hours, don't go to the bookshop first!

I very stupidly forgot to take my camera so settled for shopping today, quilt ogling tomorrow. Here's a run down of my splurges tactical purchases.

For the hex-a-long I decided on shot cottons instead of solids to frame my spots. I thought they would give the quilt a little bit more interest. I got both of these fat-eighth stacks from Oakshott Fabrics and have just spent a fun half hour in the hotel bar matching up fabrics to spots. I guess that doesn't happen often because the waiter moseyed on over to ask what I was doing (I wonder what he'll think when I start basting my diamonds!).

I also fell in love with this large scale floral by Kaffe Fassett. I thought I could fussy cut the large flowers for the odd non-pieced hexie. They will probably have other flowers poking in the edges but I'll see how it works. I bought a half yard which should give me about 8 big flowers. This beauty came from Doughty's

I didn't plan on buying it but mum was inspired after getting her book signed by Kaffe himself and spent 45 mins picking 21 different prints for a quilt. I had to buy at least one. It would be rude not to!

For non-hex-a-long quilting I bought this book:

Seriously! There really are 5500 quilt blocks in there. Do I just start at number 1 and keep going?

I promise I'll have my camera tomorrow so you can see some of the beautiful quilts in the exhibition, including the hysterical winner of the group quilt section which has a lot of meerkats.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

WIP Wednesday No. 2

My English paper pieces are all packed up ready to get on the train to The Festival of Quilts. Hopefully I will be buying some solids using the 10% discount voucher I just printed off over at Lilys Quilts so I can start putting these together into hexagons.

I sashed my Strawberry patch quilt. 

There is a 4" border of the background fabric to go on still but I've noticed a bit of a boo boo. The background fabric is so pale that it is hard to tell the difference between the front and the back.

This square in the corner of the anvil is actually pieced in upside down. That's the wrong side of the fabric on the top. I'm going to have to do some tactical unpicking to swap it round.

I have a new challenge. A friend of my mother's has this heirloom quilt. It's entirely hand-quilted on silk with a pale mint colour on the top and a mustard colour on the back. It was given to her by the best friend of her mother and is at least 70 years old.

You may be able to make out some spots of discolouration in the centre of the quilt. Her husband left a pen on it and the ink leaked all over. When she tried to clean it off she's lost some of the colour. There are also some patches of wear where the batting is showing through. 

The plan is to use some of the ivory silk left over from the wedding quilt to make a Dresden plate for the centre and some appliqué shapes to cover the worn bits. Hopefully we can keep this beautiful quilt going a little longer.

Why not pop over to Freshly pieced to see what everyone else is up to this Wednesday?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

And the whole world goes mad

It's been a busy weekend. My friends came from all over the country to celebrate my turning 30 and we had a fantastic night (I'm in the middle hugging my big sister).

Unfortunately, while we were out partying the country went mad. There are riots all over London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. I feel a little strange sitting in my little room sewing away while buildings are being burnt, shops are being looted and the police are fighting battles in the street. Not sure what else to do though so sewing it is!

I've been working on basting my spotty diamonds. The good thing about hand sewing these is that I can do it while watching the news and they're so pretty they make me feel a little bit more light hearted. I also found a use for all the empty Ferrero Rocher boxes.

They're as snug as a bug in a rug. I hope things calm down soon. I have a lot of friends in London and I can't sleep for worry.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

WIP Wednesday

There hasn't been much sewing going on this week. Lots of job applications and interviews (unfortunately no jobs) and a lot of organisation for my 30th birthday on Saturday.

Fishy Fish Fish tea cosy got finished.  This is what happens when you ask 3 year old twins to name a fish.

Both sides are the same so he looks like a 3D fish when he's sat on his tea pot. I absolutely adore him.

The only snag is that I sewed his pupils on when the sides were separate and when I sewed it all together it turns out that he's quite cock-eyed.

Never mind. Back to the WIPs, or should that be WsIP? 
  • Hex-a-long - Solid fabric still hasn't arrived but I've printed out lots of sheets of triangular grids from incompetech. These polka dots are just too tempting so I'm going to start sewing my flower centres and add the solid outsides when they arrive.

  • Strawberry Patch - I spent most of this afternoon trying to figure out if I'd bought enough fabric to sash the blocks. I've come to the conclusion that I have but looking back on my calculations I'm not sure how I've worked that out. I appear to have underlined 37 several times but I'm not sure why!

  • Neutral jelly roll bear paws - Still waiting to be basted and quilted. 
  • It's a hoot - Still debating layout. Maybe I'll have to come up with something completely different
  • Frosted window panes - Lost the pattern again. This quilt is destined not to be made.