Friday, 19 August 2011

Kamen Weave

Regina Grewe was so kind as to give me a copy of her pattern for 'paper piecing with a twist' and I couldn't wait to give it a go. She has two possible patterns, but I chose the interlocking pattern (Kamen Weave) rather than the one where there are stand alone motifs, as I especially like subsidiary patterns.

Here is my version, in reds and creams. I especially like the way she tells you to make the triangles. You only fold the corners over once, leaving a 'rabbit's ear' poking out. (You can see them all around the edge!) The ear just tucks under the next patch, thus giving a nice pointed edge to the triangle. Usually with paper piecing, the points are all folded over, and this makes them blunt. This gives a much crisper final result.

This is a really nice idea for paper piecing, and it went together beautifully. Thank you very much Regina for your kindness. Now I have to decide whether to keep going, or make it into a Christmas table mat! Which do you think?

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Festival of Quilts

Despite the fact that our household has been completely consumed by our production of 'A Midsummer's Night Dream' I couldn't miss out on the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham! I went with my friend Pauline, who had never been to the FOQ before, and was suitably impressed. Our first task on arrival was to find the German quilter Regina Grewe as she had contacted me about the old hexagon top I had finished. She was doing a workshop on English Paper Piecing with a Twist and wanted a good photo of the quilt to display. I went one better than than that, and took the quilt for her class to examine, along with some of the papers. She had sent a photo to help with identification, and she was easy to spot ot the Quilter's Guild stand by the entrance.
She is a lovely lady, and was delighted to see the old quilt, and the papers. I popped up to collect the quilt while her class was busy sewing, and the technique is intriguing. I wanted to buy a pattern from her, but she gave me one as a 'thank you present'. Quite unnecessary, but much appreciated! Thank you so much. When I get a sewing evening, I'll look forward to trying this technique.

Pauline and I spent most of our time looking at the traditional quilts (and shopping) so most of the photos represent this bias. This one is very traditional, but appealed to me, as it's a sampler quilt of stars. Looking good.

This one is a stunning choice of colours, and techniques range from log cabin to applique. Sumptuous.Not everyone agrees with the judges about the winners, but I loved this quilt. It's beautifully designed and constructed.This was a double whammy for me. I love strippies and I love writing. At first glance this one just looks like a strippy, but a clser investigation reveals that the strips are covered with writing. The quilt celerates a gap year adventure, and the writing is taken from emails received by an anxious family.

I wish my handwriting was as neat as this, never mind my free motion quilting!

Here is another strippy with applique in the plain strips.
I was intrigued by this charming alphabet quilt, as I couldn't work out what there was in the seaside scene which began with 'rh' (or why you would put 'rh' on an alphabet quilt at all! Then I looked in the show guide and found it was a Welsh alphabet quilt. What a super idea, and very intriguing.
This fabulous scrap quilt looks stunning from a distance. (Sorry, but we felt the border didn't enhance the quilt as much as one in a plainer fabric would have done. Isn't it easy to 'improve' other people's quilts?)

A beautiful quilt with a simple pattern which relies on colour for its impact.Here is part of the Bayeaux Tapestry beautifully rendered in applique. Unfortunately there was no entry in the show guide, as I wanted to know something about it.This quilt was inspired by a visit to the Foundling Museum in London, and seeing the tokens people left with their babies, in the hope of identifying and recovering them in the future. Some of the inscrptions were heart-rending.This art quilt was especially striking when viewed from a distance.Then we did some shopping, and as I asked if I could reach past someone to get a bolt of red fabric, said person enquired, 'Is your name Lynda Hill?' and it was Loulee who had flown over from the Isle of Man! I had been more focused on the fabric (which turned out to be the perfect colour) than meeting blogfriends! It was great to see her in the flesh! After the shopping and lunch we marvelled over the tentmakers of Cairo and their work. Here you can see some of their fantastic work and a craftsman just visible in the checked shirt. Their work is exquisite, and their designs amazing.Then to the Fabric Creations, which had some wierd and wonderful exhibits. These cakes were particularly eye-catching!And to end as I began, with hexagons. This pictorial quilt is made entirely from black, white and grey hexagons. Wow! Despite all the time we spent shopping, I was very good, and only bought what I needed. Red fabric for a bag lining, blue batik for sashing my leaders and enders, blue reproductions for 'Dear Jane' and some nice threads. A lovely day in lovely company. Thank you Pauline, Regina and Loulee - you made my day!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

That's better!

Yesterday I went to a local group called 'Talking Textiles'. It's an informal group of embroiderers, knitters, quilters and textile enthusiasts who book a village hall, take a project and have the time and space to get on with it. This week Jane was able to bring her lovely daughters, aged 8 and 17 with her. The 8 year old sews and has just learned to knit, while her older sister is an expert, committed knitter. I took my 'Kiss in the Corner' as I was determined to get to grips with it. I arrived about 10 o'clock, set up my machine, made a coffee, admired others' blocks and work, got advice from friends about a set of Linus blocks I had been given, received some more Linus blocks, and then at 11.15 came a voice from Jane's younger daughter, "Lynda hasn't done anything yet!" How awful to be judged by an 8 year old and found wanting! It was just the kind of encouragement I need so I set to and am very pleased with my progress so far.

The Friendship Stars are very clearly visible now (and will look even better once it's all joined up). Now I'm off to cut more yellow squares.

Monday, 8 August 2011


Have I finished my Carolina Lilies? What do you think? I've been seduced into getting on with some more of Bonnie Hunter's 'Kiss in the corner'. I found the blocks easy enough to do (a churn dash and a three-patch with triangle corners) but had great difficulty putting the components together.

There should be little Friendship Stars with bright yellow centres appearing, and they're not. No matter how I turned the blocks, they wouldn't play nicely together. (This could be why it's been in its box for a month or two!) Then, light dawned. The little triangles on the three-patches have to go one way, and of course, some were going the right way and some the wrong.

Here are the wrong ones. But why, oh why is it that there are eleven (and a half) going the wrong way, and only nine going the right? I suppose there's a subclause somewhere in Sod's Law which decrees that any sets of incorrectly orientated blocks will exceed the sum of the sets of correctly aligned blocks!

So a bit of undoing and resewing later and you can just see the stars beginning to twinkle! That's better!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Carolina Lily sorted (well, almost)

I have been struggling to make this month's block for my challenge group, which is Carolina Lily. The problem is that I am reducing all the blocks to 8" finished, and when a block is a nine-patch, it's very tricky indeed. Also, the Carolina Lily is a very busy block, with lots of Y seams, and reducing it too much would have been a nightmare. Luckily I have recently had a birthday, and with the money my DMinlaw gave me, I have invested in a copy of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

How Barbara has managed to catalogue so many blocks so efficiently I don't know, but I'm very glad she did. I can thoroughly recommend this book, as it is fabulous inspiration for any patchworker.

Here is a page of possible Carolina Lily layouts, which has given me the inspiration for tackling my own.I decided to piece the lilies by hand using the American method. This made the Y seams much easier to handle. For small pieces, I'd certainly recommend this method for its ease and accuracy.And here is the block ready to be assembled. So far, so good, but this is when it all went wrong.This is the completed block, which looked very good until I checked the measurements. It measures 8", which means it will be 7.5" finished! Oh blow! Never mind. I'll just have to unpick it and put in some slightly wider sashing. Not a major problem, just and inconvenience.

And as to other matters, there seems to be always something to do for the production. Today I have been to the charity shop to get a brooch for my costume. The Mechanicals in 'Midsummer Night's Dream' are going to be dressed like Miss Marple, so need tasteful brooches to pin at their necks. This one has obviously lost all its 'diamonds' but will be perfect for the job!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Must try harder

I haven't been very good at keeping up with blogging recently (neither mine nor anyone else's), and comments have been made. 'Lynda must be very busy with 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', as she hasn't posted on her blog much recently.' Too true. Must try harder. So this is what I've done over the past few days.

I have finally bordered, layered up and bound this scrappy hearts quilt which I started ages and ages ago. I have just quilted it in the ditch and then done a freely quilted heart inside each blue heart. It will be perfect for Linus.

Another Linus is this Dutchman's Puzzle quilt, made from just five blocks. The blocks were made at our monthly Knit and Stitch sessions and I just put them together. Putting blocks on point always makes for a great quilt. I have a bit of the binding to sew down, then it's finished.

Then today, I have been fiddling about with leaves for, yes, you guessed it, a certain production! I made the banner for the scenes in the town hall, and we have decided to have leafy bunting for the wood scenes. Lots of leaves have been cut out from various green fabrics, including these gorgeous ones from upholstery fabric. They'll look great under the lights.

However, as you can see, they curl alarmingly, and aren't very attractive on the reverse.

So, I decided it would be the work of minutes to pair them (wrong sides together) and just sew a few veins on them to stiffen them up.

Hey presto! Nice shiney leaves ready to go on the 18 metres of bottle green twill tape DS and I bought last week. Thankfully, someone else has volunteered to do that job, so I can get on with a bit more real sewing!