Friday, 13 April 2018

Same old, same old

Leopards don't change their spots, and I don't change the way I quilt.  Never let a half completed project get in the way of starting something new!  

Well, I have completed my Dollies. They are a multiracial set, with no pink faces amongst them.  Lots of different sizes and styles, with various bits of machine and hand embroidery to set them off. 

The dolly with the pink dress has flowers embroidered onto her hat - albeit rather out of focus flowers!  She looks better in reality.  

Here is a quilt made from strips and strings.  I went through a lot of donated blue fabrics and cut 2.5" strips, and put them into this arrangement from Stuart Hillard's book '100 Scrap Quilts'. It's great for anyone who likes blue.  I think I'll make some more in different colours. 

I continue to be obsessed by MAM, and here is another way of using the blocks.  It uses plenty of 2.5" and 1.5" scraps too.  I'm looking forward to quilting it. 

And here is my latest obsession.  String blocks I found on the web.  (I'll credit them when I remember where I found the picture.). More blues to make, but fun to do.  
What's happening with my Sarah Fielke quilt?  Not much.  I have more interesting things to do at the moment!  But I will get back to it, soon, honest. 

Friday, 30 March 2018


I'm still fascinated by circular blocks and have actually been to my LQS (in this case, Mo's Fabrics in Rugby) to get more of the grey star framing fabric, so I can make my quilt bigger if I want!  The first nine blocks I made were comparatively easy, as I intend to teach them at my class next year, and since the nine are all done, now I can do any I like!  

Leap before you look has always been my mantra, so I thought I'd make this block, called Utah - can't imagine why it's called that!  I love the interlocking circles, and am big headed enough to think I could achieve it!  Drafting it was difficult, as although there are templates provided, they are too small for a 12.5" block.  I decided I could make it using the American method of piecing (drawing the sewing lines on the back of the pieces and sewing carefully on the lines.)  

Well, even if I gave this a good press, it still wouldn't look anything like interlocking circles!  So, back to the drawing board, and try a bit harder to make a symmetrical pattern.  I worked out that the red points are the halfway points of each circle, simplified and redrafted it, and decided that EPP would be the best way to go for accuracy.

That's better!  Although husband says he can't see any circles, I can, and I'm quite happy with that.  One of the orange segments was a bit puffy ( I took the paper out of it before I sewed the turquoise part on, and I think it stretched a bit) but a good press with some spray starch has sorted it out.  I'll appliqué it onto a background before framing it. 

And while we're on the subject of circles, I'll share this Linus quilt which was made by several people at Knit and Stitch.  It's circular log cabin, and was pretty easy to do.  It makes me think I'd like to do some blocks like this and arrange them in a traditional log cabin pattern.  Interesting. 

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Sunbonnet Sue

I'm sorry, but I've never cared much for Sunbonnet Sue.  Some people think her cute, with her pretty dresses, floppy hat and stubby feet, but I never rated her.  She seemed so sickly sweet, often depicted watering flowers, drinking tea or usually just standing there, doing nothing!  

Not my cup of tea at all.  So I was amused when I found that there was a quilt which showed lots of ways of getting rid of her.  She is tied to railway tracks, struck by lightning, electrocuted, roasted on a spit, eaten by a snake - you get the idea!  Here she's being strangled by a rather angry-looking sunflower! 

 I didn't realise the motivation behind this quilt.  It was made by a group who were concerned that Sue showed a very outdated idea of femininity, where she was dressed modestly (actually, in a very old fashioned style), carrying out traditional female tasks in the house or countryside or just being 'seen and not heard'.  They wanted to get rid of this image, and found a very witty way of drawing attention to their ideas.  Since then, there have been other incarnations of Sue.  There is Bad Sue, where she is shown streaking, pregnant, making rude hand gestures, stripping and even kicking a snowman over!  Then there is Sinbonnet Sue, where she is shown depicting the seven deadly sins.  Such creativity and imagination. 
So, maybe I'm not sorry that I never liked Sunbonnet Sue.  She's a goodie goodie who displays all the behaviours which have been encouraged to keep women subservient and compliant.  Not the sort of gal I could make a close friend of! 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Good ideas

My friend Gwyneth has had a new sewing room.  Instead of putting up with existing tables, cupboards and shelves as she has done for years, she's had a chance to decide exactly what she wants (including an ironing board slot!) and she was eager to share photos of the new space.  It looks lovely, and she's got so many useful features into it, including some very shallow drawers which she has used to store all her threads.  No more tangles for her!  But it got me thinking about my own tangles.  My threads lived in a set of plastic drawers on my sewing table, which was an old desk with two shallow drawers in it.  What if ......

Hey presto!  By using the three shallow plastic drawers and a couple of cut down cereal boxes I have storage for nearly all my reels and spools.  And I can see eactly what there is!  The only downside is that there are so many spools with a small amount of thread on them, or horrid colours.  Where do these come from?!  So I'm aiming to use up the last bits and the yukkey stuff for piecing, so my thread drawer will look even better. 

Here is the first empty spool.  Let's hope it's the first of many! 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Circles and dollies

I have done all nine of my circles.  I'm really pleased with how they've turned out.

I have drafted all the patterns myself (except for the swirley one, which is in Kathy Doughty's book, 'Making Quilts'.  That one would have been tricky to work out. Now, the question is, do I make these up as they are, or make some more?  I have more ideas, but do I want / need a bigger quilt?  This one has 12" finished blocks, which, with sashing will make it 48" plus borders.  So, probably 60".  If I made 16 blocks, it would be 64" in the centre, plus borders, 76".  Not tooooooo big.  And I already have a bonus block. 

I'll think about it. 

But I have been getting on with my dollies.  I think that will be enough for a child's quilt.  Now, how to sash?  Lots of thinking to do! 

Monday, 19 March 2018

More circles

I have loved working on these circular blocks.  I've tried to find some easy ones and some more difficult ones as I'm thinking about using them for my 2019 class quilt.  Quite a few circle blocks need appliqué, so I wanted to find some pieced ones too.  Here is where I'm at so far. 

I love the way they sing against the grey frames.  One more to go, which will be a swirl design.  It'll be hand piecing, the American way, which might not be everyone's cup of tea, so I'm making a more straightforward wheel block as an optional replacement.  Fun times! 

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

In a spin

I've never been good at resisting new projects.  I see something, get all excited and then dive right in!  
I should be working on these cute little dollies, and getting them together. 

They'll have to wait. 
I also should be making more sliced MAM blocks, 

But they're on the back burner too!  
I saw one of Jen Kingwell's quilts on Pinterest, and was bowled over by the colours - the Australian quilters use such bright colours!- and the design. 

So, I'm using a favourite colour scheme of pink, orange, red, turquoise and green, to play with circles!  The maths is nearly killing me, but it must be good for my brain!