Monday, 31 December 2007
Once DS had gone back to London, I was able to get my sewing room back. I celebrated by making a feathered star. It's a Martha McClosky pattern I picked up from the Home and Garden Television site. I know it's really only pictures of the demonstration, but the instructions were a bit tricky to follow, especially when it came to assembling the block. 'Stitch each row together and complete' wasn't really enough for me - maybe I should have bought the book! Anyway, I'm pleased with the result, although I still have to work out whether I want to make more to start another quilt, or whether the journey was sufficient.
Hope everyone has a good time today, and has a happy, healthy and productive 2008!
Saturday, 22 December 2007
It's a felt mince pie! Isn't it gorgeous? Unfortunately, she tells me you can't eat it, but that means it'll be available to enhance our Christmas table for years to come!
Merry Christmas to all, and a happy, healthy new year.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
However, my friend Chris has recently alerted me to a wonderful place to buy fabrics, where the range of fabrics and service is excellent, and the postage costs minimal. It's www.webfabrics.net They have an extensive selction of fabrics for about $8 a yard, and with the weak dollar that means about £4 a yard! I am particulary interested in Victorian reproduction fabrics (another group of designs which don't seem to make over here) so bought 5 yards of fabric, which with postage, cost me only £25.64 and arrived after only 11 days from my order! I could have bought another yard of fabric for the same postage cost of $11, but didn't want to strain the credit card bill too much at this time of year!
Here are my goodies, all reproduction fabrics to add to my stash. Carly at Webfabrics sent me a little extra, a piece of sunflower fabric with a lovely little gift tag saying 'Happy Sewing'. The tag was made from fabric Heat and Bonded on to card - now there's an idea!
Of course, I couldn't resist something to add to my novelty fabrics collection. Here is 'Daily Grind'.If you look at Webfabrics' site, be aware that fabric is by the yard (not metre) and priced in half yards or sometimes fat quarters. If you're a cheapskate like me, scroll down to the weekly specials, where fabric is even cheaper! Happy surfing!
Friday, 14 December 2007
I made sure I was on the second row, behind Tracey, so that I could follow her if my mind went blank or I fell over my own feet, but didn't realise that I was standing in a black spot, which has made the photos difficult to see. Never mind. At least you can't really see the look of blind panic on my face! I tried to smile, but when you're doing your best to co-ordinate hands, arms, chest, hips and feet, and keep in time with the music, your facial muscles are the least of your concerns.
People always think that you have to show lots of flesh if you're doing belly dancing. I suppose if you want to make a career of it, it attracts the crowds, but at hobby level, anything goes. You can see here that people are wearing a variety of different costumes, with various amounts of flesh on show. The one thing they have in common is the wearing of a coin belt - shaking your hips is so satisfying when they jingle!
We were all supposed to be doing the same choreography, but this photo looks as if it's a bit of an improv session. I think we've just turned right round, and some people are quicker into position than others.Belly dancing is great fun, and I would recommend it to anyone, whatever shape, size or age. It's done to music, is great exercise, like quilting it's effectively a ladies-only hobby, with all the benefits that being in a sisterhood brings, and gives you an opportunity to dress sparkly and jingly and reveal your inner goddess! It's also a fantastic conversational gambit which you can use to great effect at parties - it ensures people always remember you!
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
When I was a girl, everyone had a cloth shopping bag for carrying purchases home in. Nowadays, plastic carrier bags are most often used, although there is a movement to go back to reusing bags, and many supermarkets give incentives to people who bring, and use, their own bags. Hopefully my friend will be able to use this when she does her weekly shop. Not only will she have her green credentials on display, but the sophisticated Michael Miller fabric will count for extra Brownie Points, surely!
Sunday, 9 December 2007
I seem to have gone a bit house-crazy (what would Freud have to say about that?) and houses are my theme for the Winter Class I took with Tonya. We had to start by thinking what Christmas meant to us, and to me, the feeling of togetherness and bonhomie when friends (old and new) and family get together is the best part of the celebrations. So I decided to make houses, with all kinds of people (and creatures!) peeping out of the windows, and a space underneath for all the people who visit us over Christmas to sign their names. That way, it will be a real record of the best part of Christmas for me. I made the letters using Tonya's clever improvisational method, and changed the saying to 'people' rather than 'men' as we have a feminist in the house, (my DD). I really have more hand quilting to do, but need to hang this up on the dining room wall ready for people to sign.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
Saturday, 1 December 2007
So when I saw on Tonya's blog that she made reusable fabric gift bags, I was motivated to have a go. First I tipped out all the off-cuts of wadding I had saved 'just in case' and found some which could be sewn together.
I chose the fabric for outer and lining, cut it to shape, zigzagged a couple of pieces of wadding to the required size and then made the bag. Tonya gives detailed instructions, but basically I layered the fabrics right sides together with the wadding on top, sewed all round the edge, leaving a gap to turn through, turned right sides out, folded the bag into shape and sewed up the sides of the bag and along the flap to top stitch.
Here are the first two I made. They're about 10 inches square. Tonya suggested using Velcro to close them, but I just put on ribbon ties - my children are in their twenties and not likely to get try to peep before the day.
Then I made two more using pieces of Christmas fabric which have been lurking in my Christmas box for years, one a Debbie Mumm and the other a horrible cheap piece I picked up somewhere or other. Another plus on the recycling front! I put little ribbon loops on these and sewed buttons on for closing. Seems to work well enough.
I have no idea what I will be putting in these bags, but as long as it fits in, the gift doesn't have to be the exact same shape. At least it will slightly reduce the mountain of wrapping paper which is cleared up every Christmas morning, and has had the welcome effect of reducing my stash too! Let me just go and see what other pieces of Christmas fabric are still lurking....
Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Striaghtaway she said it was beyond repair. She looked at the fabrics and said that there were at least two which were woodblock prints, and one was a known pillar print. It's the glazed chintz with the shield and chain fence background on in the picture. She thought that was about 1830. There was another floral chintz which was from the same era.
There were also patches of purple fabric, which became very fashionable when William Perkin invented analine mauve dye in 1856. (This was first used for silks, but influenced cotton fabric production where the colour was much duller, as here). The red fabric with the seaweed pattern is in fact a double pink.
Barbara thought some of the fabrics had been dyed using a manganese solution, which had rotted the fabric, and caused so much of the damage.
Barbara also confirmed what we had thought, that the quilt had been remodelled, probably in the 1940s or 1950s, just before it was sold. The multicoloured patches are mid-twentieth century fabric which has been appliqued on top of the patches. Maybe it was to repair or strengthen it or maybe to brighten it up.
It's obvious how out of keeping these patches are. Barbara also said that the backing and quilting had certainly been done at the same time. The backing is a furnishing fabric and the quilting is 'in the ditch', a fashion never seen on old quilts. The inner is domette, which is a lightweight lining fabric used in curtain making.
The egde is finished in a very unusual way. The edge of the quilt top has been folded over to a depth of about an inch (losing all the points on the front!), and then the backing has been slipstitched on (with green thread - another 20th century giveaway!) about a quarter of an inch below the fold. An old British quilt would have been finished with a knife edge.
All in all, the quilt is still a puzzle. It seems that the top is mid/late Victorian (it's only as old as its youngest fabric) which was originally either a top or a coverlet. Someone decided to remodel it in the 1950s, appliqued some patches on top, layered it with domette and furnishing fabric, quilted it in the ditch and sold it.
Thanks to Barbara for this information, but I'm still looking for more!
Sunday, 25 November 2007
This is her and me out shopping together. (I'm the one with the lime green top and big feet, and she's the one with brown curls and trendy ear rings. We're both well endowed in the carrier bag department!) Don't know what I'll use it for yet, but it'll be something very special.
Friday, 16 November 2007
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
This isn't my original idea, but one by Eleanor Dugan which was featured in Quilter's Newsletter magazine in December 2001. The idea is that you make a list of everything you can think of about the person the quilt is for, such as jobs, hobbies, places they have been, favourite foods, star signs etc. then look through your stash for images. It's surprising what you have, and even the writing on selvedges can be useful. Cut the images with a half inch seam allownace and then start to arrange them in groups by size. Four small square ones can make a four-patch, several long ones can make a strip, etc. Try and make the shapes into a rectangle, ading plain or geometric fabrics to fill the gaps. Some shapes can be fused on, to break up the regularity. Border, layer, quilt and bind and then add embellishments, such as badges, buttons, charms.
This card has a picture of Stuart as a young man (in a nice hand knitted jumper!), his initials ST, writing because he's a teacher, tea and coffee motifs because he'll often make a cuppa for everyone, wood and stone fabrics and paintbrush for his DIY, the child on his shoulder because he's a dad, wine because ... well, you can guess that one, plaid because he wore a kilt to his wedding, horseshoes for good luck and the eyes (next to the teapot at the bottom) because he works with visually impaired children.
I had great fun making it, and I'm sure he'll like it too.
Friday, 9 November 2007
One thing I have been doing is preparing for the meeting of a small quilt group I belong to called The Flutterwheels. Half a dozen friends decided they would like to meet up to do projects which would extend their skills and challenge them. We meet just 6 times a year and all try out the same new block or technique, then when the blocks are completed, we raffle them off between ourselves, so everyone gets a chance to try something, but they're not stuck with odd blocks which just go into your UFO box. This year we have been looking at illusions. We have made Crazy Log Cabin Roses (a la Jan Mullen), Double Nine Patches, Fans, and this time's challenge is Kaleidoscope. We decided on Mediterranean colours and here are my blocks. If everyone makes four, that will make 24 altogether, which is either a lap quilt, or a good start for a bed quilt.
Our last illusion is Storm at Sea, which we have chosen to do in red, for a change. This block looks so complex, but it's actually very easy. It's just two squares within squares and then two diamonds in rectangles. The blocks are 12" finished so they should knit up big. You can already see the circles apearing, even though I've only done two blocks.
Aaprt from this, I've been quilting a Linus quilt, making more Chaos Crumb blocks for DD's sofa quilt (82 down, 18 to go) and making a greeting card quilt for a colleague who's retiring. I'll post a photo of that when it's done.
Something on my to-do list is to make a quilt to give to the lady who gave me the antique quilt in poor repair. I think it would be fair to replace old for new. My friend Sylvia has kindly given me this lovely medallion which will be perfect as a centre for the quilt. The colours and design are so old fashioned and ideal for framing in 19th century colours of browns, beiges, reds and blues. I think I'll get on with it as soon as I've washed the kitchen floor!
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
The writing at the bottom of the hanginging doesn't stand out too well, but at least it throws the emphasis onto the pumpkin!
My friend Jane has lent me a fascinating book called 'Stars by Magic' by Nancy Johnson-Srebro. It shows how to make lone star blocks without cutting triangles or dealing with the dreaded Y seam. Of course, I had to have a go and instead of starting with the easiest block (block 1, would you belive?) I started on block9. Here are the pieces I cut for this block.
All squares and rectangles, but quite a few of each, as you'll agree.
The block is very impressive, and the instructions are very clear, but beware - even on Halloween, magic doesn't come into it! Accuracy comes into it, and as you'll see, if you look closely at the block, I had to do a bit of fudging to get the diamonds to fit together, and I think more fudging will be necessary if I want all my yellow diamonds to have points!
One downside for this method is the left overs, which are not insignificant. (They aren't really fuzzy like this, I think they jumped when I clicked the camera.)
Nancy helpfully says you can 'discard the cut off triangles or save for another project'. Discard the triangles! Who is this woman that she can cheerfully drop large pieces of fabric into the bin? I've got into the habit of saving crumbs to make Chaos Crumb blocks, so the idea of dropping a triangle of fabric which is half of a 6 inch square into the bin, isn't one which appeals!
However, these are minor criticisms. The book is great and has clear instructions for 30 different star blocks in up to 10 sizes, and certainly cuts out the tricky Y seams. Now I have to decide what I'm going to do with a 12" lone star block. Perhaps I'll put it in my UFO box for now...........
Tuesday, 23 October 2007
Sunday, 21 October 2007
4 jobs I have had
working as a Sturday girl in a cake shop
packing lollies at Trebor factory
Camp America counsellor (all before I started teaching!)
4 films I could watch over and over
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Sixth Sense (not very sophisticated taste, I'm afraid)
4 places I have lived
Derby (bit of a Midlander, really)
4 favourite foods
fresh bread (don't have a sweet tooth)
4 favourite colors
lime green (especially in quilts!)
anything bright (can't do pastels)
4 places I would like to visit
Shanghai (just fancy it)
Sydney (always wanted to go down under)
Hong Kong (I hear it's a very vibrant place with great shopping)
Paduca (don't need to explain this one!)
4 people I'd like to meet
Germaine Greer (so clever)
Tracey Emin (seems like good fun)
Ewan MacGregor (dishy)
Camilla Parker Bowles (she always keeps her own counsel, and I bet she's got lots to tell)
I'm not going to tag anyone else as I've changed the categories a bit. Got to go and peel some vegetables for Sunday lunch now. Hopefully will squeeze a bit of quilting time in after the washing up.
Friday, 19 October 2007
Then, wasn't it typical that they all arrived on the same day, and some lovely cards from children who had received Project Linus quilts.
Here you can see the lovely chilli key-ring from Karol-Ann (the sparkliness of the beads hasn't come out well, but it almost looks real in the photo! Thanks to her also for the chilli fabric. I love novelty fabrics and will stroke it for a bit, then add it to my collection. I was inspired to buy the book by a comment from Joyce. We have both been trying some ideas Tonya gives on her blog (she calls her blog Lazy Gal Tonya, which is a laugh if you look at her work) and Joyce recommended the book. I've seen some quilts by Freddy Moran before, and love the bright colours and relaxed piecing, so thought I'd give it a go. More of that later, no doubt!
I don't get too much feedback from the Linus quilts I deliver, but am always touched by the letters and cards which make it.
I have finally finished my Mile a Minute, but due to an accidental error by Patti, who set us all off in the first place by showing her excellent tutorial, the name has to be changed to Crumb Chaos blocks. Have a look at Patti's blog for a full explanation. Unfortunately, it was too late to change this quilt's name, but I will note this for the future.
Since it is to be a sofa quilt, I wanted to quilt it well to strengthen it, so decided to use Jane's idea of the cinnamon roll quilting motif, from Kim Diehl's book 'Simple Blessings'. I don't actually know what a cinnamon roll is, so I have re-named it the Swiss roll motif, and take comfort from the fact that good, homemade Swiss rolls are often a bit lopsided and cracked, and match my quilting motifs perfectly!
I think they look good on this scrappy quilt and I'm sure all the bottoms which sit on the quilt will be appreciative too.
Tuesday, 16 October 2007
Needless to say, all this planning paid dividends and all went smoothly during the show. Here are some photos of the event.
I hope this lady isn't touching that quilt - I'll have to notify the Quilt Police if I decide she is!