Wednesday, 28 September 2016

More ticking off

I have been having some sewing time recently, as Richard is currently directing two plays ('See How they Run' and 'Aladdin') and has been at rehearsals several evenings in the last week or two.  While the cat's away, the mouse will sew! 

UFO number 3 is done.  I'm pleased with it, and even more pleased to see it finished! 

Number 4 is nearly a top.  This Bonnie Hunter design is great for using up 2" strips and squares. 

Number 5 is being quilted.  I'm doing the light areas in cream and the dark areas in blue, and then a blue binding. 

I've been hand sewing the Kansas Stars onto this quilt.  It's looking good, and I think it'll benefit from some fancy borders, but that's a decision for another day. 

And gradually, the lozenges are being sewn onto this Lucy Boston example.  Only another half dozen to go. 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Ticking them off

I've been fairly good and haven't started any new projects, just been beavering away at my UFOs.  The pink hexagons is number 1 done.  This colour challenge is number 2, 

Not wonderful, but there are stars on the front and orange chickens on the back.  And number 3 is the Squedge quilt, ready for its binding.

I wanted to bind it in the same fabric as the turquoise border, but the fabric had sold out.  The other turquoise is a good enough match.  

And here is a little digression.  I finished off this Mile a Minute with stars quilt to show at Piecemakers, as it uses the star Accuquilt die we recently bought. I think it it looks good, but I won't count it in my UFO tally.  Oh, and I added another UFO on the end. 

Just four Patchwork of the Crosses blocks which I made for a workshop.  I just need a few edging lozenges, and then I can big it up into a baby quilt.  Great project for evenings in front of the tv! 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


I've long ago come to terms with the fact that I'm usually the last person to know something, but I couldn't believe it when Pippa Moss told me on Saturday that Quilters Newsletter Magazine is finishing, and the next issue will be the last one!  It's like being told the BBC is finishing.  They are both well respected beacons in their field.  Both the BBC and QNM were the first examples of their type, (the BBC in 1936 and QNM in 1969.) 

They both cover world wide news, comedy, popular issues, academic issues, instructions, entertainment and food for thought.  (The only way they differ is that the BBC covers a lot of sport, and I find the lack of sports coverage in quilting magazines a refreshing change!) 
For those who subscribe to the magazine, their subscription will be filled with 'Quilting Arts' which seems to me a bit like cancelling the BBC and replacing it with Dave; both are tv channels, but don't have all that much in common beyond that. 
So, what are we o do?  We just have to mourn its passing, as there is no other quilting magazine which can claim to cover the whole world of quilting.  RIP QNM. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

In the ditch

Several people recently have confessed their fear of and insecurities about quilting. These people will confidently tackle all kinds of piecing challenges, but a completed top is something to dread.  One friend even told me that she had a completed top high she was particularly pleased with, and she kept looking at it, thinking, 'it looks lovely now, but I'll ruin it when I quilt it'.  That's such a shame (as well as being completely untrue!).  A lot of people prefer piecing to quilting, which is fine, but they can easily quilt their tops without stress.  
'I'll just quilt it in the ditch' is one solution, although sewing a straight line isn't as easy as it sounds. 

You can see here a couple of examples of how 'in the ditch' isn't always as straightforward as it seems.  I quite admit that I could do better than this if I wasn't so slapdash, but keeping the sewing line straight over all those layers and intersections isn't that easy.  So what to do?  Try something else. 

Sometimes I cheat, and sew 'not in the ditch'. I choose the colour of one of the sides, then quilt deliberately just a fraction of an inch on the same colour fabric.  I still wobble, but hopefully I wobble on the fabric, not in the intersection.  Less visible with the same effect.  

Or explore some of the decorative stitches on your machine.  You can still use your walking foot to do all kinds of different stitches.  This is one I've never used before, and I know it's not in the ditch, but it could be.  

And here is a detail from a Linus quilt of a great use of a decorative stitch.  Again, not in the ditch, but easy and effective, or even easier and more effective.  A bit of lateral thinking can work wonders!  Push that box! 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Back again

I haven't been blogging at all recently, for various reasons, one of which being that blogs seem to have become rather outmoded, and people prefer Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, not to mention Snapchat and Tinder - whoops!  Sorry, I don't think Tinder should be in that list!  Anyway, then after one or two people had commented on my silence, I decided that although I am a member of Facebook, it's the opportunity for sharing interesting information and ideas which I like about blogging, so I'm back!  
My Mum died this year and sorting out her bungalow has concentrated my mind on the amount of stuff we all have, and how things in cupboards just stay there happily for year, after year, after year!  So, yet again, I've been turning out my UFO cupboard, with aim of completing or letting them go. 

First up were these hexies which I made from a magazine pattern.  I am never going to make enough for a quilt (and why did I choose pink?) so I appliquéd them onto a background, added a few flying geese, and here we are. A lovely Linus quilt. 

Next was a bag with three and a quarter blocks I made using a Squedge ruler. 

I completed the fourth block and added a border. 

Anyone who likes yellow, will love this.  Result. 

I never let old UFOs get in the way of a new project, so made several scrappy blocks each on a different colour theme.  

Not the most attractive quilt ever, but with its bright orange chicken backing and once it's quilted I think it will be OK. 

Next is a bag of Bonnie Hunter Monkey Wrench blocks, 

Bonnie's Tulip Fields blocks

And these hand pieced circles (two different kinds which I'm hoping will play together nicely.  
This should keep me out of mischief for a while - maybe! 

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Not quite what I had in mind!

For the forthcoming 'zip evening' at my local quilt group, I've been thinking about how to make a simple tote bag with a zip in an hour!  Well, I know you couldn't make the whole thing in the hour, but at least you could get the zip technique under your belt and finish the bag later.  I had more fabric left from my previous bag, so chose a zip and contrasting fabric to do the job.  I added tabs to the zip, and thought I could just bind the edges of the bag, and that would be easy. 

Here is one of the tabs.  It seemed like a good idea, but getting the biding round the corner was very tricky, and it limits the opening to the bag.  Plus, one side is bigger than the other, and one has a tuck in it! 

I suppose it doesn't look too bad  (you can see the tabs have more room on one side than the other, here!) but I think I'll have to go back to the drawing board on this one.  Unpicking is never my first port of call, but this time it'll have to happen! 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Getting ahead

I'm not a person who thrives on pressure.  I like to keep ahead of the game and be prepared.  So, here we are. I'm doing a zip workshop in July, so have made a sample already. 

This zip is integral, and has an inside pocket.  Normally I would put it in a bag lining, but since the workshop is just an hour, I thought it would be good to make something manageable.  This simple bag 
Can have a zip put in it very quickly, so people can get the technique under their belt.  
Then I made my challenge blocks.  Circles is the challenge, and here is my first block. 

I wanted to needle turn, but couldn't face the stress of trying to keep circles circular, so used the foil method.

You need a circle of cardboard the correct size.  Make a pile with a piece of foil, a circle of fabric larger than you want the circle to finish on top of it right side down, with the card on top. 

Pull the foil tightly round the card.  Make sure it's very circular, with no points. 

Iron on the front and back.  

When the foil has cooled, undo it, and hey presto!  A perfect circle ready to appliqué!  You can use the foil several times before it's too crumpled.  Good idea! 
Hope the recipient will like the blocks.