Sunday, 27 January 2008

Strips that sizzle!

I have been quilting DD's sofa quilt this week, but ran out of thread. Machine quilting is great but you can certainly get through miles of thread! I can't get any YLI variegated thread locally, so have sent off for more. In the meanwhile I was inspired by Wanda's gorgeous sizzling strips (go back to January 11th, but be prepared for serious inspiration on the way!) and Elaine's to rummage round in my UFO box to find a set of blocks I won in a raffle at a local quilt group which had been waiting to be joined together. There were 45 of them, so I made a few more to make 49 and then played around with them a bit to see how I wanted to arrange them.

The top bit is the part where you can see the sizzling of the dark and light stripes going on, but I thought the zigzag added interest. Now I can't decided whether to just add a border and make it into a Linus/lap quilt, or whether to do something more interesting (like add some more blocks but change the colour gradually to yellow and green). Maybe it'd be better to experiment on a whole new quilt than try to mess about with this one. Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Rosie the riveter

Having a daughter with a degree in Gender Studies, I was already familiar with Rosie the Riveter. According to Wikepedia, Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the six million women who worked in the manufacturing plants that produced munitions and material during World War II. These women took the places of the male workers who were absent fighting in the Pacific and European theatres. J. Howard Miller's character is now considered a feminist icon in the US, and a herald of women's economic power to come.
Rosie and her slogan, "We can do it!" were featured on posters, magazines, and more.

Here she is with her lunch pail and rivetting gun, in characteristic 'We can do it!' pose.
You can imagine my delight when I came across this Rosie fabric in the sale at a local retailer!

I couldn't decide which I liked better, the pink or the red, blue and yellow, but there are two images on each panel, and at £3 each I bought both! Now all I need is for the BQL bag challenge to include a bag made with a 22" panel. The only qualm I would have about making a Rosie bag, is to wonder whether it's advisable to display an image with Rosie holding her rotary cutter next to her temple. Could I be sued for encouraging reckless rotary cutter behaviour in this Health-and-Safety-gone-mad world we live in? Watch this space.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

BQL bag

I have signed up for a bag challenge with the British Quilt List. It started in January this year, and you get instructions to make this lovely shopping bag which is based on the shape of a supermarket carrier bag. Providing you make the bag and post a photo of it online, every month you get instructions for a different bag. I must admit that I found the instructions challenging. There are lots of photos, but since the originator of the pattern chose to make her demo bag in turquoise with a turquoise lining, the photos didn't turn out to be as helpful as they might have been! Never mind, with a bit of help from a friend (Jane) I worked it out, and it turned out to be one of those patterns which make more sense when you're actaully doing it than when you're reading it! Have a look at Jane's great bag with biker chicks on it.

I used some of my favourite Alexander Henry 'Stylish Girls' fabric which a friend brought me back from America a few years ago. It looks great with a yellow lining. The best thing about this bag is its little pocket, which is big enough to hold the bag when you're not using it for shopping.

If you want to make this bag there's still plenty of time to join the challenge. Seee you there!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Ostrich finally complete!

In 2006 I took part in an Ostrich Challenge through BQHL. Every month there was a theme (eg. paper, flying, quarter square triangles) to make some part of a quilt top. The ostrich part comes in when you either can't think of anything to do, or life intervenes and you run out of time, so you can bury your head in the sand (like an ostrich) and give that month a miss. I did very well in keeping up with the challenge, except for the last part, when I just couldn't find anything which would finish my quilt off. Into the UFO box it went, until last week when I dug it out, tried a new idea, and hey presto! it all came together.

I knew it needed a strong border, but hadn't realised how strong it needed to be. I'm very pleased with it now.

The whole exercise was a big learning curve for me. I started with a block which was left over - an Elly Sienkevicz Baltimore lyre block - and that was the first problem. Why was it left over? Because it didn't fit in with my colours or my style. Next problem was the frame quilt format. To start with, it's fine, but the frames get bigger and bigger, and take a lot of time, work and fabric. It would have been much more sensible to have done either individual blocks or rows, in an exercise piece. The other problem is the squareness. It has to either be subverted by extra pieces, or it'll end up as a double bed quilt, as it has. Oh, well, at least I've learned something, which is what a challenge is all about.

Here is a close up of the centre block. In the end, I felt there was too much white space on the lyre shape, so closed it up with a couple of extra flowers and a few leaves. Anyone unfamiliar with Elly's work might think it was meant to be like that! The only problem I have now, is that now the quilt's out of the UFO box, it'll need quilting. I think I'll wait a few days before I tackle that challenge!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Husband at football = quilting time for me!

DH has gone over to Chesterfield with friend Russ to watch some men in shorts run around in the cold and try and kick a ball over a line. They'll have a good time, win or lose, so I have had a guilt-free sewing afternoon. I decided to try and get on with the replica quilt I am making as a swap for the old one, and succeeded very well, I think.

I have tried to keep the colours sympathetic to the old one, and used some reproduction fabrics which I had, to create the same sort of look. The border is actually more the colour it looks at the bottom of the photo, the same as the border round the central medallion.
Now I need to decide what to do next. Originally I had thought I would make it the same size as the old quilt (72"x96") , but having laid this part on our bed, I think 72"x72" would be a good enough size - and much easier to quilt! I want one more pieced frame of 12" and then no outer border. The old quilt has more pinwheels of 6" squares, but I might do square in a square to add a bit of variety. I'll probably bind it, even though that isn't very authentic, as it gives a good edge.
Any suggestions for the last frame gratefully received.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Feathered star 2

Yesterday there were 'severe weather' warnings out to tell us that snow was on the way. We were supposed to have snow coming in off the North Sea (from the east) yesterday afternoon and this morning. DD and I were quite looking forward to it, as neither of us needed to travel any where, so could enjoy it. However, we didn't see even one flake! Apparently the wind turned and the snow was only on the coast and high ground. What a swizz!

Never mind. Since it was bitterly cold, I made my own snowflake (or feathered star). This one was from Quilter's Cache. The centre should have been a solid square, but I felt it looked too solid, so made it into a star instead. The instructions were fantastic, although this star was a bit more tricky to assemble (or at least, I had to do a lot of pinning and a bit of bodging) but not really difficult. The only snag is that at 21" finished, it won't fit with the other one (15" finished) so into the UFO box it goes - for now!