Thursday, 30 September 2010

Fourth finish (and a bonus!)

Just because I haven't posted recently doesn't mean I've been idle - the weather has been so dull and dreary that I didn't think any photos I took would be worth looking at! Well, the sun is shining today, so I've had my camera out.

Here is my fourth Linus top finished this month. Hooray! I think it was originally a strippy quilt in progress, but looks good enough with this bright pink binding, I think. I've just quilted it in the ditch to emphasise the design.
I've also been steadily working on the old hexagon quilt which was made by Emily Glass in the 1890s. I've made it up as a coverlet (no wadding), and just hand quilted round some of the lozenge and flower shapes to keep it all together. I was going to applique it to a border fabric, but in the end have folded the top and backing under, and sewn it edge to edge, as many of the old English quilts were finished.

The backing has been made up from white fabric and the pieces of fabric I printed the information I have found out about the quilt, as well as a photo of the quilt as it was when I inherited it. I am determined that the history of the quilt will go with it.

Here is a bit closer look at the back, and I have written the 1891 census record on with a Pigma pen.

The top and bottom are still in the pretty zig zag formation, but (after taking advice from knowledgeable quilty friends) I decided to fold the other edge over to make it straight. All the fabric is still there, but folded under, as so many of the old English quilts were finished. I'm so delighted that it's now in a state for people to enjoy, and if I hadn't taken the papers out, I would never have found out about the maker of the quilt!
I've also been seduced into more piecing by donations to the Linus fabric. This small bag 6"x8" had scraps presumably left over from the Bramble Patch challenge fabric 'Authentic'. It was a shame to scatter these bits into the mile a minute box, so I decided to have a go at making something from them.
There was just about enough to make Bonnie Hunter's 'I spy a 4-patch' design. Very sophisticated colours for a Linus quilt, but I'm sure a teenager would love this.
And here it is at the moment. I'm auditioning border fabric.
Shall I go for the black as a narrow border, then a wide green, or vice versa? What do you think?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Third finish!

I challenged myself to make up four Linus tops this month, and I needed to get a move on, as up to now, I'd only done two, with only five more days to go! Well, here is number three, all bound and labelled!

It was a top given to me at a meeting of Rocheberie Quilters. The maker thought that since it's in 'my colours' I might enjoy finishing it! Well, I certainly did, and I think it's a perfect bright and cheerful one for a Linus quilt.

I've actually been distracted by piecing - more people seem to like piecing than quilting and I'm no exception! I wanted to put together the sample blocks I made for the workshop last week.

Here's the completed top, made completely from donated fabrics, except for the blue solid, which came from my stash. Now if I can keep myself away from piecing, I only have one more quilt to finish and I'll have completed my challenge!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Learning curve

On Saturday I held a beginners' workshop for our local group, Piecemakers. Eight people signed up and I decided we would make some simple blocks from 'Nickel Quilts' by Charlene Speth and Pat Thode, and learn about cutting, seam allowance, pressing, 'nestling', making six patches, half square triangles and hourglasses. Quite a lot to cover in a day, but everyone was really up for it.

Alison and Liz are busy sewing, and Pauline is cutting more squares.

Margaret isn't really despondent here, she's just listening intently to Betty's explanation!
We took it slowly and there were tangible results by the end of the session. Everyone was confident with the techniques, had made all three different blocks and was raring to get home and make more.
The other result was the amount everyone had learned. Several people had 'jumped into' patchwork, and didn't really understand the basics about constructing blocks, and there were lovely coments about how much they had learned in the day. Thank you for being so generous! When I say that everyone had learned something, I obviously include myself in that group. The first thing I learned was how to work with stripes. Jane had used this lovely pink striped fabric for her half square triangles, but was unhappy that the stripes were going in different ways.

To be honest, it's never bothered me, but she was not happy. She put her thinking cap on and realised that if you made two sets of half square triangles at the same time, you could swap the components over and have one pair with horizontal stripes and one with vertical! How clever is that!

I also learned from Alison about how useful selvedges can be. She had take the selvedge off a piece of fabric whose colours particularly appealed and stuck it in her notebook for future reference while shopping. Great idea!

The other thing I learned (sorry I didn't know it before, Rosemary) was to check that people with new sewing machines are sewing an accurate quarter inch seam. Poor Rosemary had made a couple of blocks and they were turning out a little small. I advised her not to push her fabric right up to the foot, as sometimes it bunches up and you end up with too big a seam. She followed this advice, but her blocks were still too small. I measured the ditance between the needle and the foot, and it was more like three eighths! No wonder her blocks were too small! We discovered that the needle was in the zigzag position, so was not central, and once that was sorted, all was well.

The ladies were all keen to have another session to layer up and finish their quilts, so I'm looking into finding a venue for this. Who was it that said you're busier in retirement than when you went to work?!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Second finish!

It's been my first official week of retirement, and I've spent a certain amount of it sewing. (For 'a certain amount' substitute lots!) I'm making good headway into the four Linus tops I have challenged myself to finish during September.

Here is another one done. I have just quilted round the stems and flowers, and done loopy meanders in the rest. I'm realy pleased that I was able to use up these UFO border appliques, and the striped fabric has worked really well.

I am preparing for a beginners' workshop I am taking on Saturday, and as part of it, I want to show about thread-savers and leaders and enders. I have been sewing my scrap 2" squares into four-patches for a while, and thought it would be a good idea to show what could be done with them. I've joined them into nine-patches, with blue 3.5" squares.

Here they are auditioned against more of the blue. Not sure that will be the right sashing solution. Any ideas?

Sunday, 5 September 2010

A finish and more information about the hexagon quilt

I'm concentrating on getting the four Linus tops finished, and I've already done one!

It was made from (presumably) the leftovers from a kit, which were donated to Linus, and proved to be almost enough fabric to make a 'I spy a 4 patch' quilt designed by Bonnie Hunter. Here is DS kindly holding it for me to photograph. DH says he doesn't like the different borders, but I think they look good! I just hope the recipient likes them too!

I have been doing some more research into the possible maker of the hexagon top I was given. Lots of the papers were made from envelopes, and lots had the same name and address, Mrs Glass, 2 Charteris Road, Finsbury Park, London.

I checked on the 1891 census, and here are the people living at 2, Charteris Road.

Emily Sclater, widow aged 63, living on own means, born in Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.
Charles A Horpe, railway porter, aged 30, born in Fareham, Hampshire.
Mary Ann Horpe, wife, aged 26, born in Richmond, Yorkshire.
John C A Horpe, son aged 2, born in Richmond, Yorkshire.
Alfred R Horpe, son, aged 1, born in Barnet, Middlesex.

Emily Glass, widow, aged 43, living on own means, born Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.
Victor H Glass, son, aged 3, born Finsbury Park.
Elizabeth Godwin, sister, dressmaker, aged 29, born Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.

Presumably the house was divided up into flats or sections of some kind. So, while none of this information confirms who actually made the top, it looks like it was Emily Glass. As a widow living on some sort of pension, she would have had the time to do patchwork, and probably a need, after her recent bereavement. (Her son is only 3, so it must have been in the last 4 years.) She would have had access to lots of scraps, as her sister was a dressmaker, and must have had leftovers. Of course, it might have been Elizabeth who made the top, but somehow I can't imagine that a dressmaker would do hand sewing for a leisure pursuit! It's interesting that Emily Sclater was born in the same town as Emily Glass and her sister. It's surely not a coincidence - probably they were either related or friends.

I then looked at the 1881 census for Emily Glass. Then she was living at 43 Havelock Street, Islington.
Samuel Glass, railway porter, aged 39, born in Bradford.
Emily Glass, wife, aged 33, born in Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire,
Cordelia glass, daughter, aged 4, scholar, born Arnley, Yorkshire.
Lucy Martha Glass, daughter, aged 1, born Monkton Farleigh, Wiltshire.
This is odd, because there is no trace I can find of Cordelia or Lucy Glass in the 1891 census. (I checked in case they were staying with grandparents or something.) No wonder there were so many black bordered envelopes, as it Emily must have lost two daughters and a husband in 10 years. So far, I have found Samuel Glass's death in the early part of 1890, but haven't had chance to look for the girls. What a sad life Emily must have had.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Tops, tops, tops

I haven't posted recently (or caught up with others' blogs either!) as we've been away. First Paris for a few days, then Edinburgh for the Fringe. Both were great, with lovely weather in Paris and fine weather in Edinburgh, which is good going for city breaks.
Now I'm back and eager to reduce my stash and projects. Firstly, I have been designing a simple cot quilt, as I have had a request from a local craft shop for a workshop. I wanted something easy (without too much matching) yet with the 'ah!' factor.

This simple strippy seemed to fit the bill.

I used a lovely farm design as the feature fabric and then just easy 9-patches. I'll take it down to the shop and see what she thinks about it. It will be a lovely cot quilt for Linus in any event.
The layering up of the quilt got me in the mood to make up some more tops. On looking in the Linus 'tops box' I found ......

the vine strippy I completed before we went away,

the pretty pink 'I spy a 4-patch' I made in July,
a bright cot quilt made from donated log cabin blocks,

another pretty strippy donated to Linus,

and last but not least, a green top which I will look forward to quilting for Linus. That's 5 tops (not mentioning the others in the box!) I'll aim to make up one a week for the month of September. Which one shall I do first?