Thursday, 11 December 2014

Two finishes

Things have been busy round here with Christmas things (lunches, days out, shopping etc) but I've managed to keep up with my Grand Illusion blocks.  

I made them using the flip and stitch method, and no, I didn't make any bonus triangles, I just cut off the excess and threw it in the bin!  Sometimes, enough is enough!  I'm glad I only aimed for half Bonnie's number, as it took several sessions to make even that number.
And I went to the Christmas celebration at one of my groups, Talking Textiles, and this is what we made. 

Isn't he cute?  But wait.  There's more.

What about that!  Bunty and Jenny showed us how to use conductive thread (who knew that even existed!), switches and stuff to make his nose light up.  If you're interested in making your own, there is a free tutorial on and you can buy the items you need from them too.  Great fun!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Another challenge

I have finished my quilt using the 'Dear Jane' blocks, and since it's for Rhiannon, have called it 'Dear Rhiannon'.  DS will take it down to hers on Sunday.  Hope she likes it.

So what am I doing now?  Can't let the sewing machine remain idle!  Apart from the blue string blocks and of course my Bonnie Hunter Grand Illusion, I needed to get on with the Linus Winter Challenge.  This was just an idea of mine to get some quilts which were gender neutral.  I bought some fabric with dogs on it, and cut into half yard pieces.  I had had wadding cot packs donated by the Warm Company, so gave out a piece of fabric plus the wadding and challenged people to make a quilt.  The results will be judged in January and a prize of a layer cake and book awarded.  

Here is the fabric (why is it upside down?) and here is my progress so far.

I cut the dog fabric into 4.5" squares then had a rummage in the orphans bags and found all the half square triangles etc to fill in the spaces.  A couple of borders and it'll be done.  Easy!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Grand illusion part one - completed!

Well, although I've completed what I need to make, I've only aimed for half the number of blocks Bonnie stipulates.  I'll see if I want to make more later.

Here are my 50 broken dishes blocks and 40 half square triangles.  I made the HSTs in the 'sew either side of the line' method, as my pieces of fabric were suitably sized.  What's next, Bonnie?

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Waiting for thread

I can't waste my time while I'm waiting for the postman to bring me some thread to complete my 'Dear Jane' quilt, so I've started a new project!  Well, it seemed ok, as i've nearly finished one, so the UFO pile will stay the same.  The advantage of this one, is that  it's a Bonnie Hunter, using lots of blue fabric and particularly strings which might reduce the Linus blue bin slightly.  (Don't hold your breath, though. Scrap bins never seem to get emptier, even for a keen scrap quilter like me!) 

These blocks are looking great, and although they look complex, they are just a central nine patch turned on point with string triangle corners, then flying geese for the final frame!  In the top right hand block can you see the fabric with rows of numbers?  It's part of a 2005 Debbie Mumm fabric calendar which was donated to Linus.  I cut the pictures off to save for another time, then sliced the dates up and put in the neutrals box.  Perfect!  
And speaking of Bonnie hunter, I hope everyone has checked out the first instalment of her new Grand Illusion mystery quilt!  If you have never done one of Bonnie's mysteries before, I can heartily recommend them.  They are great fun, and always turn out to be stunning.  One piece of advice is that Bonnie's quilts are always huge, so I always start off making half the number of blocks she suggests, or even a quarter.  You can always add more blocks later, and you can appreciate that to make 140 half square triangles rather than 280 is a lot more appealing!  I have started by cutting up 'kits' for us to sew up at the next Linus sewing session next week. 

Here are the kits and my Blue Peter ready to go. Perhaps I'll have some time later to start cutting for myself!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Oh no!

I have layered and tacked my 'Dear Jane' quilt and decided how to quilt it.  If time had been on my side I would have quilted each block individually ( or should that read might have quilted each block individually! ) but as things are, I have used an all over design.  Jane suggested Baptist Fans, which would have been ideal, but all the marking didn't appeal, so it was spirals instead.

I'm very pleased at how the lovely King Tut variegated thread doesn't overpower the lighter blocks, and no marking needed!  But then, disaster struck. 

Still the bottom corner to quilt, an empty bobbin, and only this paltry amount of thread left!  Luckily 'New Threads' mail order service is speedy and well priced.  I'm sure more thread will be here in a couple of days and I can still meet my deadline!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Dear Jane

I have been working hard on my Dear Jane blocks, as I have agreed to give them to DS's friend as a housewarming present on 6th December, so no time pressures there!  I had already bigged them up by putting them on point and putting plain blue squares between them, which looked pretty good.  But not big enough for a vaguely credible bed quilt.  Next was a flying geese border.  It adds another 8" all round, so what's not to like? 

I have to admit that I had help from Jane and Liz here, so thank you both!  Still not big enough, but I need a plain border, if I'm to get it layered and quilted in time.  

What better than this fabulous Barbara Brackman fabric for the final border? A perfect solution!  A bit of careful cutting and it'll be a top!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014


I was looking at the latest copy of 'Quiltmaker' - one of my all time favourite magazines - when my eye strayed to the Basic Lessons page.  I'm not foolish enough to think there would be nothing there forme to learn, when I came to the bit about Backing and Basting.  

In case you can't read it, it says 'Make the quilt backing 4-8" larger than the top.'  This is pretty standard information for layering up.  But really - four to eight inches!  That's a lot of excess!  The received wisdom is that the fabric will pull up when it's quilted.  Well, yes, that's true, but surely the back and the top will pull up roughly the same amount? 

I'm not really suggesting you cut the backing the same size as the top (as I have foolishly done here!)

Just leave an inch or so, to prevent having to add to the backing if you've not centred the top quite right.  Any thoughts?