Friday, 27 November 2015

Out with the old and in with the new!

I have been sewing, just not blogging recently.  However, I spent some time sorting out Linus orphans on Sunday and came across a bag of components left over from our group Celtic Solstice.  I couldn't bear to waste them, so managed to find enough parts to make nine blocks.  They aren't Bonnie's designs, but look OK.  

They looked a bit 'in your face' so I sashed them with white, and then found some perfect fabric for a gutsy border with Vikings and longboats on it!  It's Michael Miller fabric which I bought from our local shop Sew Charming.  Couldn't be better! 
Then this morning, I have seen the first instalment of Bonnie Hunter's Allietare mystery.  
Here are my fabrics 

And better still, 2" strips from my neutrals bin! 

It's always good to use up leftovers!  Now to get out my ruler and make some half square triangles!  
Incidentally, since Bonnie makes such big quilts, I always make half the number of blocks she suggests and then add or subtract when I see the result.  For Project Linus, we will make a quarter of the blocks, which should be fun and make a nice lap quilt for a child. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

It's that time of year again!

I don't mean it's Hallowe'en, or bonfire night, although both of those are at this time of year.  No, it's time for BonnieHunter's annual mystery quilt to start!  Hooray! Bonnie has revealed her colours for this year, and I couldn't resist finding them in my stash.  

First of all, golds. I've got a good selection of those. 

Then heirloom reds.  I take that to be the gutsy scarlets, the colours of tomatoes and red fruits.  

Some blacks - some left over from my Grand Illusion mystery quilt from last year. 

And of course neutrals.  I have a good collection of those, and always buy fun ones whenever I see them.  
I also need a constant fabric, a grey.  I'm good with scraps, but not usually yardage, so unfortunately I will have to go shopping for this.  What a shame!  Then I'll be all set!  Can't wait! 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Coalville Quilt Show

Yesterday I went up to Coalville to visit their first quilt show!  It was in association with Hannah's Room and was in aid of various local charities.  Helen (from the lovely Shepshed group Quilting Together) had asked me whether I would be one of the judges for the competitions.  I was flattered to be asked and hope I did a good job.  There were three categories, Autumn Splendour, a young quilters' category on Hallowe'en and a 3D object.  I tried to be as honest as I could, but still appreciative.  Nobody needs discouragement in my view.  Unfortunately I didn't take photos of the quilts, but here is Hannah's Room's stand. 

I did manage to restrain myself, despite the goodies on offer (I'd already bought last week! ) 

And here is Gill on the Linus stall. I am delighted that Gill has become rep for Leicestershire North.  We can easily work together to spread the love.  

There were several craft stalls, as well as the quilts, which, along with the refreshments, 

Made for a lovely morning out.  It was also lovely to see quilts friends from the north of the county, and meet new quilters.  They're always friendly and fun.  Even if I'm not invited next year, I'll definitely make sure to go.  

Friday, 30 October 2015

Too much

Things are rarely quiet around here, but just recently it has been a bit too much.  We've been away for a little winter sun, and then when we got back, I had a horrible tooth thing which ended up with antibiotics and an extraction.  It really knocked me out, and although I managed to fulfil my obligations at an AGM and the Lutterworth Piecemakers exhibition (which was fabulous!) it all took its toll, and I have had to build in extra recovery time.  So, the UFO pile isn't getting any smaller.  

This challenge quilt is now a top and I am delighted about the border fabric which I bought from Sew Charming in Lutterworth.  She has some beautiful fabrics at fairly reasonable prices there.  

My other challenge for Piecemakers is still a pile of blocks, and an incomplete pile at that!  
But I have managed to successfully design a quilt for my classes next year.  I wanted to cover the theme of stars, and thought if I could incorporate several designs into one quilt, then the students would have the option of making several quilts over the year, or just one.  It wasn't easy to make the different blocks play nicely together, but here is the result. 

It's waiting for its border, obviously, but there is a Lemoyne star, a friendship star, a boxy star, a variable star and a paper pieced star, apart from a few nine patch and flying geese fillers.  I'm quite satisfied with it, and hope my students will be too.  Now off to find some starry border fabric. 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Accuquilt Go!

I think the fabric cutters really come into their own with shapes which aren't rotary-cutable or are curved. While I have had the Piecemakers' cutter, I've made good use of the hearts die and the 2.5" strip cutter.  For Linus sewing, I cut out various red and pink hearts with Bondaweb on the back, some 8.5" squares of white and some red 2.5" strips.  I showed a Blue Peter and left the very talented Linus ladies to have a nice play.  This is what they came up with.

Bondawebbed hearts and then 2.5" squares put together in 16 patches as filler squares.  Bright and cheerful.  This design would look good in blue, too, or purple, or yellow .......!  I have put the blocks together and plan on a white border then one made from red four patches.  This design was definitely made quicker, easier and more accurately by using the Accuquilt Go!  If you're out there, Accuquilt, if you would like to donate one to Project Linus Leicestershire, we would put it to very good use! 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Big Textile Show

I've had a lovely (but hectic) day today at The Big Textile Show at Great Glen in Leicester.  This is the third year of this show, and I think it gets better and better!  We have been very lucky to be invited again to have a stall for Project Linus, and I hope I have shared the love by giving away free patterns for a no-strip nine patch, and doing a demo too!  It's one of those 'why didn't I think of that!' ideas, but a great time saver if you don't know it. 

Here is our stall, with the lovely Maria ready to inform and advise.  We had a great response to my demos, spread the word about hugs you can keep, and met lots of old friends.  

The show is very inclusive, and here is Tegan who is selling embroideries made by women in Madagascar.  They are fabulous, and with over 60% of the money going direct to the women, is a way of making a difference in the world.  She said that many of the women can now afford to send their children to school and have improved their housing.  Great news.  (I feel smug, because I bought a beautiful embroidery last year. A very precious possession.) 

Here is a view in the first corridor.  You can see the end of our table, and then Helen with her embroidered pashminas, again hand made and exquisite. 

Here are some of the traders.  This was a real mixture of goodies for quilters, knitters, embroiderers, mixed media people, lace makers, spinners, readers etc.  Something for everyone, and eye candy and stimulation for all. 

Here is a Guiness World Record attempt at yarn bombing a mini!  I knitted a couple of squares - I've never been part of a GWR attempt before!  This was early on, and they got a good half done by the end of the day. 

There were lots of different exhibitions, and here is a taster.  This piece is by Linda Rudkin, and was fabulous!  If this has whetted your appetite, then get along to the The Big Textile Show tomorrow to see the rest of the exhibits! 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Feeling clever (ish)

My patchwork group have recently bought a second hand Accuquilt Go! Cutter for group use.  We are hiring it out by the month, and I happened to be the first hirer!  I have looked at the different fabric cutters in the past, but not been persuaded to buy one, as I think that, for me, they would not get enough use to justify their initial outlay.  Interestingly, I have know several people who bought one, and then sold it on, as they didn't get as much use out of it as they'd expected to.  However, to hire one for a month is a different proposition altogether! 
The problem was that while the cutter itself has a handy carrying handle, the dies were all in a carrier bag.  

Here they are.  There is a really handy 2.5" strip cutter die, but it's 24" long!  Very unwieldy.  Liz suggested it might be an idea to get a trolley or suitcase to put everything in, which I thought was a good idea.  Then I decided a bag would be easier to cope with than a suitcase, although none of the supermarket type bags are long enough for the strip cutter die.  There was nothing for it but to make a bag.

Not the most attractive of bags, but since it's made of curtaining fabric and lined with the same, I'm hoping it will be durable.  The wrap around handles should give a bit of extra strength too. But then I thought we needed a list of the contents, so it could be checked off on return.  A laminated sheet inside?  A laminated sheet tied to the handles?  A luggage label tied to the handles? And then I decided.  

I cut a piece of the handle fabric, zigzagged it on the side and wrote the contents with a permanent pen!  I've left some room for future purchases to be added too.  Basic, but functional! 
And what have I been doing with the cutter? 

I used the Value die, which has 4.5" and 2.5" squares, plus 2.5" half square triangles to make this star. I quite like the triangles which have seam allowance on the side, but still glad the machine's hired, not bought.