Friday, 26 September 2008


I had always fancied making a jars quilt (remember when quilts with jars full of insects were all the rage?), but never managed to collect enough suitable fabrics for one. So I was doubly delighted when I received a collection of jars which Karol-Ann kindly sent me for Linus. Apparently they has been in her UFO box for two years, and she didn't think she'd get round to using them. (Makes my UFO collection seem positively antique!) Thanks Karol-Ann for donating to Linus, and also thanks for giving me nearly enough blocks to make a jars quilt without having to buy lots of different fabrics!

Here are the blocks ready to play. I loved all the blocks, but had to reject this one as I'm not sure it's suitable for a Linus quilt!

I added a few blocks of my own and here is the basic arrangement ready for a border. The royal blue you can just see on the right is probably going to be the colour for the border as it needs something gutsy but which won't take the emphasis away from the jars.

Many thanks to all those who commented on my quandry about the old quilt I had been given for Linus. I found out who had given it to me, and it turned out to have belonged to a 91 year old lady who had recently died. Her daughter had found the quilt amongst her mother's things, and given it to a member of an embroidery group who she knew was a quiltmaker. It was she who had given it to me. After a lot of thought, I have decided that it will be better to find a museum which would like the quilt. I know it will end up in a box, but at least it will be an acid-free box in a temperature-controlled environment. It may not see the light of day much, but that means it will survive longer. If that fails (there are hoards of unfinished hexagon quilts in the UK) I will think about putting it on ebay for a collector to look after and love. OK?

Monday, 22 September 2008

Another old quilt

On Saturday I went to Rocheberie Quilters in Rugby. The members of this group are a very generous bunch, and make lots of Linus quilts for me, buy items from my rummage box of unwanted stuff and bring lots of surplus sewing-related things to keep the aforementioned rummage box in good health. Saturday was no exception. The rummage box donations dish had £19.75 in it at the end of the day, some unsold pieces from the sales table were added to the box, I had two Linus quilts to take home and someone gave me a partly completed hexagon quilt to use for Linus. I am always pleased to receive donations of any kind for Linus, and felt sure that I could cut the good part of the top about to make a suitable quilt.

Here is the quilt, displayed on my lounge carpet! Unremarkable hexagons, with the papers still on the back. I decided to take the papers out, wash it and complete the bit that was missing, as it was quite a good size and wouldn't take much work. When I turned it over, I had quite a shock, as the papers had been cut from old letters, and the writing looked to be copperplate and not very modern at all. Some of the papers had writing going across and then down, on top of one another. This was done to save postage and paper, in the Victorian era.

Then I found papers which had presumably been cut from envelopes, with postmarks on them!

This one is a handstamp from Warrington 92, which must be 1892

and this one Bathearton (?) Dec 91 which must be 1991! This proves that the papers are nearly 120 years old, and the fabric must be at least that.

The fabrics don't seem to be remarkable, but this puts me in a quandry. What do I do with it? I am loathe to give it to a museum, where it will end up in a box, and would rather finish the quilt (with reproduction fabrics) and make it into a quilt or coverlet, as the maker intended. Did I ought to try to contact the person who gave it to me (sorry, I didn't take note of who it was!) and give it back? Or can I finish it, put a donation into Linus and keep it myself? All suggestions gratefully received.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Yesterday I put all the names for my 100th blog give away into a bag, and DD kindly mixed them up and drew one out.

So, Karol-Ann, if you send me your snailmail address, I'll put the 'Quilt Tschshin', fabric and a surprise into an envelope and hurry on down to the post office!

I'm sorry there was only one winner, but all things being equal, I intend to keep on blogging for a long time, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Bags and mariner's compass

My Mum absolutely loved the Family Tree quilt! She seemed to think the figures were very like their real-life counterparts (except that my sister-in-law doesn't actually have a pointed head!) and is quite keen to get it framed. I said she can just hang it, but she says it will get dusty. I pointed out that it was fully washable, which gave her pause for thought. I 'll leave her to think about it, but maybe the cost of the framing will encourage her to hang it instead!

Meanwhile I have been having a rest from quilting by making bags. After I had made my BQL January bag, I accidentally threw away the pattern. Luckily Nik came to the rescue and let me have a copy of hers. Thanks, Nik. So I have made a bag each for DS and DD.

They chose their own fabric, DS quite restrained with cars (it was actually a shirt I bought in a charity shop, so a double whammy where recycling is concerned) and DD typically exuberant with dancing skeletons which I bought in San Francisco.

The bags fold up into a little pocket, so are handy to put in your briefcase or handbag, for spontaneous purchases.

At my quilting group 'Flutterwheels', we have continued the stars theme by doing a Mariner's Compass block. This was made using a Judy Mathieson method, where you use freezer paper, but don't sew through it. This means you still get the accuracy, but can reuse the paper and don't have to spend hours picking the blasted stuff off the back. There are nine members of the group, so someone will get 9 beautiful compasses in 'autumn' colours. Hope it's me!

Don't forget, there is still time to register for my 100th blog draw. Look at the previous post for details.

Friday, 12 September 2008


Hooray! In the nick of time I have finished my 'Family Tree' quilt, ready to give it to my Mum as a birthday present today. (It's not her birthday for another week, but I'm seeing her today, so it seemed like a good idea.)

Here is the finished quilt. I really enjoyed making it, as it was fun choosing the fabrics for the various people, and quite a challenge to make it up, to get it square and flat! I have put people's names and dates of birth next to them, for future reference, using a Pigma pen, and quilted with my favourite meander with hearts.

Here is a close-up of me, where you can see the details. I just quilted round each figure, as I didn't want to obscure them.
There is another reason for the 'Hooray!' as this is my 100th post! I can hardly believe it, but would like to say a big thank you to Jane who encouraged me to become a blogger in the first place, and all the lovely people I have met on the way.
As a thank you, I will be giving away a copy of 'Patchwork Quilt tsushin' (it's all in Japanese, but the pictures and diagrams are very clear), four blue batik fat eighths and a surprise. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post before midnight on Wednesday 19th September, and I will draw a name out of a hat. Good luck!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Dogs and bags

Things have been pretty hectic around here (work and stuff) and I haven't had much chance to sew. However, I have been working on a Linus quilt with dogs on. A little girl in the Oncology Ward at the Leicester Royal Infirmary said she would like a quilt with dogs on, in pinks and purples. Not an easy request! Mandy got onto the case and managed to find a cushion panel and some matching border fabric with little Scottie dogs in the heather on! She is even more snowed under with stuff than I am, so I volunteered to make it up.

It's not actually something I would usually make, but I'm sure a pink, purple and dog-loving little girl will think it's fabulous!

I have been trying to get my Family Tree quilt finished (nearly there!) and working on some quilting for my Mum. She is a member of the Townswomen's Guild, where they have various national and regional competitions, and since her genes are where I got my flair for making things, she likes to enter the craft sections. One of next year's challenges is to make a patchwork bag in the style of a 20th century decade and her branch's chosen decade is the 1950s, so she took that one on. Although she has done lots of sewing in her time (even made my brother's trousers when he was young) she isn't a quilter, so this was quite a challenge for her. I lent her some magasines for inspiration, and she just dived in! Dad is good on the computer, so I showed him how to print photos onto fabric, which she has incorporated into the bag. Here it is so far.

As you can see, I'm currently quilting it. here are close-ups of the two sides.

Here is the Queen's coronation in 1953, and Mum has printed off two slogans about rationing ending in 1954 and Princess Anne's birth in 1950, and used them as part of the blocks at the side.On this side is the conquest of Mount Everest in 1953, with slogans about Roger Bannister's one minute mile and the first dog in space.

Considering both Mum and Dad are in their 80s, it's not bad going at all, I say!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Fungly finish

I have finished my fungly quilt! It was a challenge on Tonya's blog to use ugly, fun and boring fabrics to make traditional blocks in a quick way. I really enjoyed making the blocks, and using up some of the ugly fabrics (mainly donated to Project Linus) was a great feeling.

I struggled a bit when it came to the borders. I auditional lots of different colours and designs (the solids were best) and in the end decided that more was best. I will donate this to project Linus, as I think an older child will hopefully find this a fun quilt. Unusually, this is one quilt that DD does not like. She says it shouldn't be called 'fungly' but 'fugly'. Since fungly is a portmanteau word comprised of fun + ugly, maybe you can guess the roots of fugly!