Monday, 31 March 2014

Scraps

I had been wandering the web and came across Pi Day.  If you think back to your maths classes, you'll remember pi, which comes out as 3.14.  In the USA, where they can't write dates properly, this translates into the 14th of March and some people do things pie and circle related.  I missed the actual day, but I've been playing with circles for a while recently, and thought that using up some of the Linus scrap drawer (which is particularly full at the moment) to make a fabric pie in pi's honour would be a plan.  I only had a Dresden plate ruler, which was 15 degrees (that makes 24 segments) so wasn't keen to use that - too much like hard work!  I decided that a 30 degree shape would be good, then I would have 12 segments, which I felt was just enough.  I dug out my trusty geometry set and a piece of cardboard, and made myself a 30 degree wedge ruler.  (Incidentally, I have since searched for a similar one online, and can't find one.  Is there a gap in the market for this size?)
 
 
Here is my version, complete with bit missing (I must have used the cardboard for a circle previously!)    

 
And here is the block I made from some MAM blocks I had handy.  Horrible.  Not only is the design obscured by the scrappiness of the blocks, but the wedges don't meet properly in the middle.  Ugh!

 
Mark 2.  This time I cut a little bit off the bottom of the wedge so that there would be a hole in the middle (much better to applique a centre than have a mismatch) and used fabric made from strips to cut the wedges from.  Much better all round!  This one measures a whopping 15" so I decided this could be my central block, and smaller ones could go round it.

 
Here is the first of the smaller ones.  Looking good.
 
 
And here are the first five arranged on a scrappy background.  I'm appliqueing them on, and then will add some more circles (or maybe other shapes?) as the design dictates. 
!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Wood or trees?

I have been using Bonnie Hunter's leaders and enders method for ages and have a box of one and half inch squares next to my machine ready to make 9 patches.  The box was beginning to fill up, and now Mum is better I felt in need of a new project, so made the blocks up into these gorgeous trees.
 
 
 
I decided to make them up for Project Linus.  People are very generous with their fabric donations but rarely donate yardage (well, why would you?), so I had to use a variety of similar greens for the setting squares and triangles.  I think it looks fine.  Bonnie sashed her version, but I feel that sashing imprisons the blocks and constrains them, so I haven't done that with mine.

 
There was enough of this foliage print to make the border, and a thin orange border makes it all come alive.  I need to decide on matifs to quilt in the green squares, and this will be looking good. 

 
And here is my Pink MAM Stars all quilted and bound.  I'm really having a good quilty time at the moment!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Very excited!


One of my interests is local history, and I am currently doing some work on Lutterworth Probate Inventories.  These documents are absolutely fascinating, as they are a list of all the possessions a person has at death, room by room, with their values.  Recently I have been studying one from William Allibone, who died in 1720.  His property appears to have been an inn, as there are lots of rooms which are named, 'The Green Chamber, The Painted Chamber' etc, and lots of beds, chairs, linen and crockery.  He even has two coffee pots!  However, the most exciting thing for me was the entry here, in The Yellow Chamber 'Item 9 patchwork chairs'.  A reference to patchwork in 1720, here in Lutterworth!  Wow!
 
Here is the entry, and it's pretty clear.  I didn't want to get too excited, as it could mean something else, like a type of wood, or whatever, so I did some checking.  First was Bridget Long of the Quilter's Guild who confirmed that they have an 18th century patchwork chair cover in the Guild collection, so it could well be correct.  She also said it may well be the seamed rather than paper pieced patchwork, for strength.  Then I contacted Eleanor John at the Jeffrye Museum in London, who could find no reference to a furniture style called 'patchwork' and presumes it means the fabric variety!  Hooray!  That's good enough for me.  Now all I have to do is dream up a possible design!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A few things

I have been doing very little sewing recently, as my Mum has been poorly.  Very poorly.  For the first week I stayed at hers, as I didn't want to leave her on her own.  This made for quite a bit of quiet time, when I had chance to do some hand sewing.  I hadn't particularly planned to make any more of these sawtooth blocks, but I couldn't just sit around watching the tv, could I?!  I didn't have enough of the blue spot to make all the outside blades, but I think the hand dye looks OK. 
 
 
Now Mum is well enough to be left for a bit, I got on and made this class sample.  I have made a feathered star before, and remembered it wasn't as hard as it looks. 

 
It replies heavily on accuracy and a really constant quarter inch seam, but after that, it's just a block with a lot of pieces.  It will be perfect as the centre of a medallion quilt.

 
And now I have been able to get on and quilt this MAM Star quilt I made last year.  I've quilted the stars in the ditch to make them stand out, and the pink is in meander with stars.

 
Here you can see the quilting design.  Nothing fancy, but it'll hold the layers together and make it a cosy, snuggly Linus quilt.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Lucky babies

Lots of layering and quilting has been going on here, and now my quilts for the twinbabies are finished.  I took advantage of the sunshine to get some decent photos, so here is number one,
Scrappy Trip,
 
 
and here is the second quilt, a Pam Rocco design.  They were made from the same basic set of fabrics, and have the same backing, but are individuals, as I'm sure the twins will be. 

 
And here is another baby quilt, top made by DS when he was 'resting' earlier this year, and quilted by me.  This baby, Eva, is already here, so it will need to go off soon.  Her mum (also in the theatre) was working recently on a play with 'stars' in the title, hence the design.

 
And I'm determined to use up fabric, so pieced the back quite successfully.

 
Just got the rest of the binding to sew, and a label to put on, and it'll be zooming off!

Friday, 28 February 2014

Yesterday

I've been sewing, but it all seems to have been bits and bobs.  Yesterday I concentrated on getting my Celtic Solstice bordered.  I wasn't sure how many of the orange triangles I needed, as I had done my own size, but only had to make about a dozen extra.

 
The photo makes it look a bit dreary, but it looks good 'in the flesh'.  I couldn't do any more, as I don't have any green fabric suitable for the border.  Well, I'm sure I have something exactly the right colour, but never enough yardage!
 
 
So then I did some quilting on this quilt for the expected twins.  I just did diagonal lines, to emphasise the design.  I needed some pale yellow thread to do the border, and only had bright yellow, which would have overpowered it, so had to leave that for the moment.

 
I have an on-going fascination with Mile a Minute, so then rummaged in my scrap drawer and had fun making fabric.  On the left hand block you can see part of one of the leftover 'square in the corner' blocks from my Celtic Solstice.  There's always a place for orphans!

 
Then time to relax in front of the tv.  I can't just sit there, so I sewed most of the binding of the other twinbaby's quilt.  It's really not so drab, I'll try for a better photo when the sun comes out again.
So, what shall I do today?


Monday, 17 February 2014

Pastels?

Here are the MAM blocks I cut up recently, made into a top.  The big triangles are actually purple, not blue, and when the quilt has been bound in the same purple it will look great.   I have used up odd orphan blocks - can you see the wonky yellow star towards the bottom of the centre square, and a window left over from DD's wedding quilt in the middle of the bottom border?  I love using up bits and pieces, and I think it adds interest to the quilt.
 
 
When this top was finished, I must have had a bit of a brain storm as I've been working with pastels!  A friend is expecting twins fairly soon, and I thought I'd better get on with a couple of quilts.  For some reason, I decided to use a group of pastel fabrics to make two quilts with different designs.  We don't yet know the sexes of the twins, so the colour scheme is gender-neutral. 

 
I have been influenced by Pam Rocco's article on Medallion quilts in the current issue of 'Quilter's Newsletter', and decided to make these four Scrappy Trip blocks into a cot quilt by adding some borders.  I got the idea of using a cream strip in the middle of each block from my friend Chris, and I think it unites the blocks nicely.

 
This is another Pam Rocco design which I have scaled down.  Again I will be adding a gender-neutral border, a four patch border and a final border.  Looks a bit dreary here, but I think it will be better when the borders are on.   

 
I don't think that pastels will be my abiding love, but I had one more project to attempt.  My local quilt group are having a challenge to make some 12" blocks, one with lines on it, one with squares, one with triangles and the last one with circles.  It's probably an art quilt project, but I've decided to go traditional.  I'm making two of each block, and will arrange them in a nine-patch (I know, I'll need a central block!).  This will then make a nice baby quilt for Project Linus.  Here are my lines (or strings) in a Lemoyne Star.  My 'Y' seams don't get any better, but I suppose practice will eventually make perfect!