Sunday, 24 February 2008

Better now

After all my playing with Crumb Chaos blocks, orphans and Linus Kits, I felt strong enough to return to the two projects I foolishly had decided to concentrate on earlier this month.
I managed to make the final Blind Man's Fancy block. I've only made nine blocks, (which was more than enough for me) while the original pattern had sixteen! Some people have real stamina! Then I chose some fabric for the sashing.

I'm not altogether happy with it, as I think it would have been better if the sashing had been darker. The problem was, that since the blocks are all scrappy, with darks and lights in different positions in each block, both the light and the dark fabrics didn't work with all the blocks. As you can see, I have started to put a flying geese border on it, and then there will be another (plain) border to finish it off. I think the flying geese will give it some definition.I've also been gradually assembling my applique block. Only a few more leaves and some stars to go, and then I can tackle the last block. The only problem then is all the head scratching which will go on while I try to decide how to put them together! It's a hard life!

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Bored now

It's no good - a leopard can never change its spots. I am not a master of patience, and I can't do just one (or even two) projects at a time. I have done one more block for my BMF quilt, but it was a real effort. Only one more to go, but I just had to do something different before I fell asleep in front of my sewing machine. So here are the fruits of my happy morning.

Twelve Crumb Chaos blocks and one wonky house.

Tonya alerted me to the fact that Bonnie from Quiltville is moving house, and that it might be nice to send her a house block to celebrate. Since I have used one of Bonnie's patterns in the past (and may well do in the future) I thought I would make one. Tonya suggested that using red as a background would unify the blocks - after all, red is a neutral, isn't it? I'll put a few Crumb blocks in the envelope as well - a different fabric selection always enhances a scrap quilt.

Now I'm feeling better, I might be able to do the last purple block - or maybe I'll have a look in my UFO box for more diversions!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Old and new

Tonya has posted a photo taken out of her kitchen window. Poor Tonya will be very jealous when she sees the view out of mine, as all she looks at is the side of a building! (OK, I know you're lucky enough to live in fabulous Paris, Tonya, but you can't have everything your own way!)

As you can see, I'm not much of a gardener, although I have quite a lot of tubs on the patio - which is directly in front of the window and out of shot. Once the spring comes, the leaves hide the house at the bottom of the garden and make it quite private and pleasant. The sun comes round from the side of the garden and sets at the back, so we have a lovely mixture of sunshine and shade in the garden at any one time. Perfect! What do you see out of your kitchen window?

As Project Linus co-ordinator I get a lot of donations. Obvoiously they are mainly quilts, tops or quilt blocks, but sometimes it's sewing related stuff people don't want, which I am able to sell to get money to buy wadding (this is the only thing I rarely get donations of). Recently, someone gave me a box which had belonged to a lady who had died. When I opened the box, it was obviously works in progress.

One project is the inevitable hexagon quilt, with a little bag of hexgons precut from all kinds of fabric (including the dreaded Crimplene!) and the other is Cathedral Window, with two long sections joined up, and lots of fabric cut up and put into little packs with their cardboard templates all ready to go. Supplies are in the tin, along with the instructions for the quilt cut from a magazine. It's somehow sad that all that effort and hard work went into starting something which will never now be finished. I'll take the completed pieces to my local group's sales table and see if someone would like to adopt them. The fabric will go into the Linus boxes. Thankyou, fellow quilter, we're all thinking of you.

My works in progress continue to progress. I've made two more blocks for my Blind Man's Fancy quilt, so only two more to go. Then I will sash them, but I haven't decided what colour to go for. I'm tempted to go for lilac or a pale blue, but then green would look very nice too. What do people think?

I've also been getting on with my applique. Poor DH has a stinking cold, so we haven't been out much this weekend, and while he's been slumped on the settee, I've been plying my needle. So far, so good.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Works in progress

As regular visitors to this blog will know well, I am not known for my stickability. I'm forever bitting and bobbing, and rarely do one thing at a time. Well, I've decided to calm down (for a while at least) and only work on two (or maybe three) projects at once.
Following Jane's encouraging comments about my applique quilt, I have decided to get on with that. Here is the progress so far on block 8 of 9.

There is a join across the top of the vase, but it doesn't bother me. Surely that's what patchwork is all about - cutting up fabric and sewing it back together again! I didn't have quite enough to cut the shape out of the piece I had, so I joined a bit on one side. When it's done, the leaves will hide the seam pretty much.

I couldn't manage without some piecing as well, so I've decided to concentrate on this Blind Man's Fancy quilt I found in Quilter's Newsletter (December 2002 if you're interested). It's for my DS's good friend Michaela, who is currently on tour as stage manager with 'High School Musical', loves purple and yearns for a quilt of her own. The blocks are 18" finished, so they knit up quite big. The only tricky (and tedious) part is the half square triangles, but they look so good, it's worth it.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Sofa quilt 2

I have just finished machine-quilting the Crumb Chaos sofa quilt for DD. It's about 66" square, and I wasn't looking forward to layering it up ready to quilt. For the first time I used Sharon Schamer's method of using two pieces of wood! This has to be the best way of layering a quilt, as I could do it all without crawling on the floor at all - it's all done on my dining room table, with me sitting at my ease on a chair. Basically you wind the backing and top onto two pieces of wood, and then unroll them, a little at a time, with the wadding inbetween. Then you either tack, pin or staple the layers together, whatever method you prefer. It's so easy to get everything flat, and since you're only doing 8" or 10" at a time, you can control all three quilt components.

Here's a photo of a Linus quilt being layered by the same method, but have a look at Sharon's tutorial. I can guarantee you'll find it very easy to get fantastic results.
Since this quilt will get sat on a lot, I wanted to quilt it all over, and spent a while considering different pattern possibilities. I liked the Swiss roll design I did on the last sofa quilt, but fancied something different.
Quiltmaker magazine always has lots of suggestions for how to quilt the patterns they give, so I looked in the latest edition for inspiration. I found this lovely scalloped teardrop, which I thought would work well, so went for it!

The instructions suggest you sew it in lots of different directions to add interest, but when I tried it, I only got completely confused and couldn't work out where I'd quilted and where I hadn't, so I just did rough rows. My teardrops ended up a bit pointy, but I thought they looked good.

You can't really see the shapes on the backing, but you can see it's pretty flat. DD was delighted with the quilt, and immediately snuggled under it. She especially liked the quilting, and said, 'The quilting's fantastic! Did you choose that vagina shape specially for me?" I hadn't spotted it before, but I suppose there's a slight resemblance, although mine doesn't have the attractive scallops round it - or at least, it didn't the last time I looked! Excuse me, I'm just going to find a mirror!

Friday, 1 February 2008

Lucky number 7

Last year I started a challenge quilt with a local group, Rocheberie Quilters. So far, I have completed seven of the nine blocks needed but it's taken me a whole year! Well, I did choose one of the slowest methods, needleturn applique, but even so, I'm well behind! Yesterday I managed to finish this block, Hearts of Spring, so have only two more to do.

The blocks are from the book 'Quilting the Garden' and will be great when I've done them all and worked out how to put them together! Here are the six waiting blocks.

I still have Winter Bloom and Autumn Splendour to do. I'll start on Winter Bloom now (very appropriate given the weather in the UK at the moment) and at this rate of progress, by the time I've finished that, I'll probably be in tune with the seasons to do Autumn Splendour!