Friday, 31 December 2010

Got it!

I looked on Bonnie Hunter's site this morning, but no more information about 'Roll roll, cotton boll.' I suppose it's not Friday yet in Quiltville. So, I checked my emails, and found that there was a lovely one from Cheri, reminding me of the red squares - which I had completely forgotten. And then 'ping' there it was - the solution to how those blooming parallelograms would fit in!
Am I nearly there now?! At least I'm heartened that my brain has a few grey cells left to take me into the new year! See you there!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and voila!

Holiday times are such great times, but it's always good to get back to normal! Today I have been doing a mammoth clear-round and clean, and felt I could treat myself to some serious sewing this afternoon. Now all the components for (half) Bonnie Hunter's 'Roll, roll, cotton boll' are done. Hooray! And since Bonnie's last set of instructions promise that tomorrow we will start to put the components together, and I'm too impatient to wait, I thought I'd try and work out what the blocks might be like for myself.

First try. Looking good, but rather a lot of gaps there.

Next idea, but not much better. It's those blooming parallelograms which are the main problem. How on earth will they fit anywhere? Maybe it's better not to start with the string block.Oh, yes, very dynamic, but still hopeless!

I give up, and will have to wait till tomorrow. How close am I, Bonnie?

Thursday, 23 December 2010

1, 2, 3, 4 and now 5!

I'm really enjoying the Bonnie Hunter quilt I'm making. It is perfect for this time of year, when you feel the need to do some sewing, but it has to be something mindless, because you either don't have the energy to do planning and creating, you just want something repetitive to take your mind off all the streses and strains of the season or you only have time for a few minutes sewing! I'm only planning a smaller quilt, so have just made half the reqired blocks, until I see where it's heading.

Step one, pink and green 3-strips.

Step 2, pink and brown half square triangles.

Step 3 (my favourite so far), string-pieced blocks. And I was very good after I'd done them all, and cut whatever remained into useable 2", 2.5" etc strips and squares, and had only a few pieces to put into my strings bag!

Step 4 (quick and easy), green and neutral 2-patches and squares.

And now for step 5, a million tiny half square triangles! (I'm exaggerating slightly, but HSTs which finish at 1.5" and I need 300 of them, even though I'm only doing half the quilt, is a lot of work!). I'm starting by 'shopping in my stash' and have looked in my box of leftover part-blocks to see if there are any blocks ready to go. I've found these flying geese, hourblocks, a pinwheel and diamond in the square, which will cut down beautifully to make a start on the blocks. Next. it's into the reds box to have a rummage!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Another start

On Monday, I had no quilts to finish, no housework to do, no Christmas shopping or baking to do, so I decided to start another quilt. (My nose has just grown about 15 inches, by the way, after all those lies!) Anyway, I looked on Bonnie Hunter's website, as I so much enjoyed making her 'Christmas Lights' design last year, and she has another new quilt! It's called 'Roll, roll, Cotton boll' and what really appeals to me is Bonnie's instructions that you shop in your stash first, and then, if you can't find what you want, get your purse out! Here is the first set of blocks.

I only made half as many, as I didn't want a huge quilt - or can decide that later! I was pleased to find that all the greens came from my 2" strip box!

I skipped the second set, as I was so excited at using strings and strips. I've never used telephone book paper as a foundation before, and enjoyed not only the thriftiness of it, but also the ease of tearing away! (I usually really hate taking out foundation paper!) Hope we don't need to find the number of anyone whose name begins with 'A' before we get a new phone book!

And here are some of the finished string blocks. Bonnie encourages you to use anything with a white/cream background, which gave me the chance to use this strange black/white/red fabric which I bought from a vintage shop some while ago. This is definitely my kind of patchwork!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

It must be that time of year!

I'm getting in the Christmas mood, and as usual, have decided to make a few special cards for close family. Here are two which are ready to post.

They were really fun to make, and kept me busy for an evening of tv rubbish viewing.

I started with some vintage Christmas images which I printed out onto fabric. (I foolishly used pretreated fabric, then realised I could have used just plain cotton ironed onto freezer paper, as nobody washes a Christmas card!) There are lots of images on Google, so have a brouse.

Next I put different cream fabrics round to frame the pictures.

Then came the fun bit. A bit of a rummage in my lace and ribbon boxes to find suitable decorations, and a play with decorative stitches on my machine, and metallic threads. The final touches were a bit of hand embroidery and some beads or sequins.

The hardest part was enlarging the aperture cards to accommodate the different shapes of the final desin. Now I have to brave the queues at the post office to get them weighed - wouldn't do to send a lovely card which costs the recipient money, is it!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Celtic Knots

The current block from my challenge group is the Celtic Knot. This is where a bias strip of fabric is wound over and under itself to make a geometric pattern, usually endless. These designs were originally found in manuscripts and carvings made by the Celts in Britain (pre 1000 AD), and are wonderful. Since my blocks are smaller than everyone else's, I had to find a simpler design. Luckily my friend Di has a collection of books with Celtic designs, and I found this one from the Book of Kells.

DH is away on business so I had some time yesterday to get on with these blocks. My first problem was to trace the design onto the light blue fabric. I generally use the window as my light box, but it was dark by the time I realised I needed daylight! Well, they say necessity is the mother of invention, so how's this for an idea?

I balanced my 12.5" square ruler on my sewing machine and a handy box, put a desk lamp underneath, and the design (and fabric) on top! Worked like a charm. In case you're interested in what I used to mark the knot, it was tailor's chalk. It showed up beautifully on the blue, and was soft enough not to drag the fabric.

As to the assembling of the knot, I used a Clover tape maker with fusible web. This made it fairly easy to make the tape and position it on the fabric ready for sewing. Here's the next one ready to complete. If you see me soon, and hear me mumbling, 'Over, under, over, under,' you'll know why!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Secrets and snow

I have been busy sewing, but not anything I can share! I am making a Christmas gift for someone who reads my blog, so that will have to keep under wraps (literally!) until after Christmas. Jane and I are organising a sewing day for Rocheberie Quilters in January, and I've been making blocks for that. It's a mystery day, so that's got to stay secret too!

So the only things I've got which are worth showing are photos of the weather.

This is from my front window,

and this is from the back. Lovely to look at, but not much fun for the traveller.

Right. Back to my sewing machine!