Saturday, 31 July 2010

Head hurting

My head is hurting! It's not used to lots of mathematical calculations! My challenge group have decided to work on own projects, and take them from Lynne Edwards' new sampler quilt book.

This makes 12" blocks, which are sashed and quilted as you go. We decided to make 12 different blocks, and worked out that if we made two of each, it would make to be a nice big double bed sized quilt, which was already quilted. The first blocks to be tackled are 2 Delectable Mountains blocks. I spent a while thinking about this, and possible colourways, and finally decided to do my own thing. (What a surprise!)
I took my inspiration from the fabulous Sundial Coverlet in the Victioria and Albert Museum, and decided to make my quilt in mainly reproduction fabrics in blue and brown.

Obviously a bit of a rethink was in order, which started off my headache problems. I worked out that if I made the blocks at 8" finished, and made 4 of each, with a centre medallion (possibly of a sundial) 16" square, then it would make a quilt which was 64" without borders. Perfect!

Here is my design - sorry it's a bit faint. All the circles are blocks, and then I will have to do something in the corners to make it square, but that's a decision for later.

Next headache was to reduce the instructions from a 12" block to an 8" one. I made a prototype (which was too big) and then one which was fine.

And here is my first block, measuring in at 8" finished (more or less!).

When I've taken some paracetamol and had a lie down and a cup of tea, I'll make the other three!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A finish (and a start!)

I have been quilting and sewing the binding on my Gwen Marston free pieced stars quilt, and now it is finished!

I will take it round to my friend's soon. I love the cream binding, and the way it throws the focus into the centre of the quilt. I also love the fact that I have used up all the Kaffe Fassett fabrics I bought, even the charm pack!

While I was finishing off, I needed a bit of piecing to keep me going, so I had a rummage in the Linus box. I found these lovely scraps of Moda fabric in dusty pinks, burgundy and cream. They look like pieces left over from a kit or layer cake or something. There was also a reasonably sized piece of floral fabric from the same (or a similar) range. What to do?
Most of the scraps were small, so I though fourpatches was a good idea. I decided to make a Bonnie Hunter design, 'I spy a 4 patch' which I have made before and been very pleased with. I started by having the dark squares in a scrappy arrangement, but soon decided that wasn't right.
Here is my final arrangement. Much better! Now I'll audition border fabric.

Friday, 23 July 2010

A present

A friend of mine, decided that she wanted to learn about patchwork. Naturally, I offered to show her the basics, and we spent a lovely day constructing star blocks and making them up into a bag. (I thought that if when she starts piecing, she decides it's not for her, at least she'll have a bag to show for it, rather than a few oddd blocks!). Not surprisingly, she's hooked, and is now planning a sampler quilt, to get some techniques under her belt!
Which is why I was mystified when she came with a large squishy present for me. She had been busy sewing, but not her sampler blocks.

She had made me a beautiful bag as a thank you for the help I'd given her! She had chosen pink and green fabric (some of the green with writing on it - my all-time favourite kind of fabric!) She's already branching out, as she has added a diamond to the centre of one of the stars,

and on the other side, a scrappy heart block and a block of her own invention! (She said it went wrong, but I know the truth - she made it up specially for me!) Thank you so much, Pauline. I'll be looking forward to many happy hours of quilting together!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Retirement party

Things have been very hectic here, because not only have I had a big birthday, but I am retiring from my teaching job at the end of this school year. Although my actual finishing date isn't till 31st August, I will finish work when the schools break up this week. Strange but good.
Last week, apart from my birthday celebrations, I had my works retirement party. It was lovely. Lots of colleagues, past and present, came to help celebrate, and of course I had gifts. My colleagues know me pretty well, and apart from a lovely gold necklace, I had vouchers for the local quilting shop and this!

Everyone had been primed to bring a small gift of a piece of fabric, ribbon, some thread or beads, and green had been mentioned as emminently suitable! I had great fun unpacking and stroking it all!
There is one other gift I must just mention, from my special friend and quilt-lover, Sue.

What do you think of that? She knows me so well!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Milestone birthday!

This week I have had a big birthday. (Hint: look on my profile, and you can find out which one!) To celebrate, my immediate family and I went to a posh local hotel for a meal.

Chris doesn't look too happy here (!) but I can assure you that we all had a wonderful time. The surroundings (a nineteenth century stately home now converted into a luxury hotel) were fabulous and the food excellent. The portions were such that we had to skip dessert and opt for coffee in the lounge instead. Although you can get a flavour of the atmosphere from the photo, if you want to see more of it, click here, and if you fancy a treat, go for afternoon tea!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Quilting problem solved!

I have layered up my Gwen Marston free-pieced stars, and was ready to start quilting. But how to start?

I knew I didn't want to do all over quilting, as I wanted to quilt a wreath or something in the spaces between the blocks. But if I did that, the stars needed something to stabilise them, otherwise, they would just puff up and be lost. In the ditch was the perfect solution, but all that turning of the quilt would have been so, so tedious. Then I received the July/August copy of 'Quiltmaker'. One of the things I like about this magasine is that there are always quilting designs included for every quilt. Was there a design for a starry quilt? Yes! Star Harbour, by Eileen Fowler had a quilting design which could be done with free-motion quilting. Here is my version.
And here is the result. Now I just have to quilt the other 48!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

What a 'Nice day'!

The green blocks that I made earlier in the week certainly got my creative juices going! I couldn't stop making them! They are quick, big (finishing at 12") and are perfect for the assortment of fabrics donated to Project Linus, so the top is now completed!

The one in the book is much bigger, but I thought that was big enough for even a teenage Linus quilt. The instructions are from 'Schnibbles times two' by Carrie Nelson.

I hope Carrie will forgive me if I say there is nothing really earth-shattering in the book, but it features lots of lovely quilts made from either layer cakes (or 10" squares in my case) and charm packs. All the designs are illustrated in both sizes. Since the layer cakes have lots of different fabrics, it's easy to make the designs up as scrappy quilts, and I'm looking forward to making up more of the designs for Linus. And if you're on the look-out for quick, easy charity designs, which use up scraps, this could be the book for you too!