Monday, 27 July 2009

Becky's roses

The weather has been foul recently - lots of heavy rain and wind, day after day. If you want a sample, look at Jane's post about why she came back early from holiday! Add to this a weekend where DH went to a stag do on Saturday (go-karting in the afternoon and then a pub crawl in the evening) and then drove 30 miles to play half a game of cricket and then watch the pitch slowly flood and you'll understand why I've managed to get my roses top together!

It looks pretty dull, but the light is so poor today (more rain), that even though I put all the lights on in my bedroom it hasn't helped much. It's actually quite fresh and pretty and fairly pastel.

One thing I discovered about this pattern is a way to save fabric. The instructions tell you to cut out all the pieces for all the rose petals before you start. I rarely do that, as I'm always itching to get on with the sewing and hate cutting. This time I was glad, because since the petals are of decreasing size

and you then cut them away at the back to reduce bulk, I realised that I only needed to cut the first two large petals, and could cut the smaller ones from the cut-away fabric! We'll beat this recession yet!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Generous quilters

Any sensible person, having just finished a double bed sized quilt would make a little bag, a wall hanging or chip away at the ever increasing pile of UFOs all ready and waiting. Unfortunately, sensible isn't really a word to describe my quilting habits! Our friend Becky (she of panto principal boy fame) has just bought her first house, and in response to her delight, I offered to make her a quilt. What colour? Pastel pink. What size? Double. Serves me right for offering and then asking!
I'm not really a pink person, so was delighted to see a lovely pink quilt which Loulee had made from a kit. I asked her for buying details and was disappointed to find it didn't seem to be available any more. Never mind, I was sure I could work it out for myself, so asked Loulee to tell me the size of the blocks. She is so generous that she sent me the pattern in the post! How great is that! Thank you, Loulee.
So I assembled some pink fabrics, trying to keep them medium and light, and leaving most of my brights in the drawer.

Then I started to make up the blocks. I found that a couple of the darker fabrics were too much, and I turned a couple over to use the back, as it was more in keeping with the theme. Two of the blocks in the present bottom row are too dark, and I'll have to unpick them. Do you agree?

The pattern calls for 25 blocks, but I'm making 36 so it will be big enough. Becky completes in a fortnight, so I'd better get a move on!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Mile A Minute Finished!

People often ask how long it takes to make a quilt, and recently I've been able to answer that (in my own case). Last year, I made 24 quilts - of various sizes - so, it must have taken me a fortnight! This year, however, I've not finished very many at all (8, actually) which means it's taking me about a month for each! Still, I've now finished my last bodice, the summer holidays are looming, and here's my Mile A Minute for J all done!

I bound it with various pieces of dark grey fabric from my stash. The quilting posed a problem. I couldn't decide whether to do meander, a design with stars, hearts, leaves or what, so I did them all! I started with meander with leaves,

then moved to meander with stars, (this one's a bit wonky, but so what!)

then with hearts.

I added a bit of writing just for fun (this is the 'Boys' from 'The Jersey Boys' which is the West End show he's currently working on),

and finished with double loops.

The label's on, and it's ready for his birthday next month. Hooray! Now for the next one.....

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Thanks, Elaine!

I'm not managing to get much patchwork done, what with rehearsing and costume-making, but I have finally solved my bodice-ripping problem, thanks to my clever friend Elaine!
Nicky has to have her bodice ripped open at the back (by Keith, playing the nasty Robbie Ross). Several people sugested Velcro would be the solution, but in this case it wouldn't be, unfortunately. The play is being performed in a thrust configuration, which means that the audience is sitting on three sides, on the same level as the actors. This means that they would be able to see the Velcro very well once the bodice was open. Also, the bodice is laced down the back, with the opening edge to edge, so there is nothing to attach the Velcro to either.

Here is the bodice from the front. I've fully lined it, as Nicky won't be able to wear a bra, and I wanted it to be comfortable for her. I used some black fabric for the lining in the back, as she has to be whipped in the first scene (off stage, thank goodness!), so it's likely that her bodice will get stained by the blood/makeup, and I thought it wouldn't show up so much on the black.

Here you can see the back, and the way the it closes. I have some cord which I will use to fasten the back together, but for the 'ripping scene' Elaine suggested just tacking the back together like thisShe has a shawl on over her bodice, and we can add the cord as well, but then Keith can just break the cotton and expose her (scarred) back! We tried it on Monday, and it made quite satisfactory ripping sounds! Hooray! Only one more bodice to go!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

My First Quilt

Camile and Carrie are hosting a challenge for people to post their first quilt and their latest quilt, with something they have learned along they way. (Only one thing?! I've learned so very much!) Well, here is my first quilt, made in 1975 by the English paper piecing method.

I started work in a primary school in London in the early 1970s and one of the other teachers was making a quilt of hexagons. I had always sewn, and thought this was a perfect way to use up my dressmaking scraps. I decided to unify it by making all the rosettes purple, and when my scraps ran out, I begged scraps from other sewers and even bought (long) quarters of fabric from shops and markets and used the Laura Ashley offcuts which many people bought at the time. When I was planning my wedding in 1975 I decided to make the quilt up using all the completed rosettes. I solved the problem of the irregular edge by appliqueing the hexagons onto plain purple borders. I wadded and tied the quilt to complete it. The quilt has seen stalwart service on picnics, sofas and as a rug for babies to sit on in the garden, which explains why it is so faded. To say that the fabrics are a mix of fibres and weights, it has survived remarkably well.

This is my latest completed quilt. It's called 'Feathers' and was a mystery quilt I made at Rocheberie Schoolhouse Quilters. I'm still very much a scrap quilter, even after all this time, but one thing I've learned is how to machine quilt successfully.