Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 (quilting) achievements

It's the end of another year, and while I feel as if I've done loads of sewing (and DH would definitely agree with that!) I don't seem to have many quilts to show for it - fifteen at the last count. However, here are my favourite quilts from the year.

Jane and I organised a workshop to make this block from 'Slice 'Em amd Dice 'Em' Quilts. It's a very versatile block and looks great in these donated Linus fabrics.

I love Mile a Minute at the best of times, and these single colour blocks make a MAM rainbow quilt!

Bonnie Hunter designs some fabulous quilts, and this one (which she calls Kiss in the Corner) was a great opportunity to use up some of my favourite yellow fabrics. Since there were several mistakes in it, I called mine 'Nobody's Perfect'.

I taught a class on Log Cabin this year, and here is my scrappy one. The design is 'streak of lightning variation' and I love it! I hope Luc - the current owner - likes it as much!

And here is my gorgeous Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll, designed by Bonnie Hunter and given to my cousin's lovely grandaughter Stephanie. She was over the moon to own it, and couldn't wait for the envy it would provoke from her flatmates.

As to other achievements, I have fulfilled last year's resolution to spread the word about quilting. My beginners' quilting class has been very successful (and what a super bunch of ladies!) and I have also had workshops with the Lutterworth Knit and Stitch, Botcheston WI, Wingerworth TWG and Chesterfield TWG. I suppose that's the reason I haven't achieved as many finished quilts of my own as I would have liked - I've been busy planning, writing instructions, cutting fabric kits for Linus workshops, and then sewing blocks together, layering up, quilting and binding to finish! And with 245 Linus quilts donated in Leicestershire this year, I suppose it's a very good reason too!


They say that 'one man's trash is another man's treasure' and today I got the 'treasure' part! DS is having a bit of a sort out, and had a pile of shirts ready to go to the charity shop. Well, they're not all going to arrive there, as I've snaffled some of them!

Oh, blow! Blogger seems to be on strike, as far as moving photos around. Here is a lovely fabric which looks quite Oriental, or maybe from the Dutch East Indies! This one is almost reproduction, amd will be a great basic.
Here are all the ones I want, ready to be cut up. They are all 100% cotton, and they are going to be lovely additions to my stash. Thank you so much DS and sorry charity shop - you'll have to make do with t-shirts and jumpers!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Twinkle, twinkle, Christmas Star!

It's Christmas Eve here in the UK and so far Father Christmas has delivered presents to all those in Australia, New Zealand, China, India and Russia, and is currently bringing good cheer to Africa - Zanzibar in particular! I know because I'm tracking him by courtesy of NORAD and will be waiting to greet him when he arrives in my locality later tonight.

And here is a little Christmas offering by way of a Bonnie Hunter Orca Bay Christmas star! I've fallen very behind with this mystery, but hope to catch up once the festivities are over. In the meanwhile, I hope all your Christmas presents are squishy, and you and your family have a wonderful day!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Slow going

In common with most people, I have been very busy recently. Along with Christmas shows (attended and performed in), carol concerts, invitations, a wedding anniversary (36 years this time!), mince pies (made and consumed), shopping, cleaning and wrapping, I have done just a little sewing.
Despite having said that the pale star block in my Civil War quilt didn't bother me, it began to stand out more and more. My adage is always that once you make a mistake, if it doesn't bother you, leave it, but if it does, take it out. This one needed to come out.It's replacement isn't perfect (a patterned background fabric would have been even better) but this time it doesn't bother me and I'm hoping for a little time to layer it up. I've decided to complete it in 'quilt as you go', as I think the quilting will need to be precise, and it will be much more manageable before the borders are added. What do you think my chances are of getting it layered up before the Big Day?!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas cheer

It's a busy time of year, and I have been busy sewing, as well as doing all kinds of other things (stand by for a reveal of the panto outfits I've been making!). However, I thought I would share something I made a few years ago for DD and had basically forgotten about.

I needleturned it all, which was fun at the time, and there were labels for DD and her housemates. Now it's family members who have to watch their step, with DS on the 'Naughty' list, and everyone else on the 'Nice'! DS is away checking on his play in Birmingham, and I'm sure the labels will have moved round when he gets back!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


After some hard work, I have finished the blocks for my Barbara Brackman Civil War Quilt! Barbara hasn't finished giving instructions yet - there are 53 blocks in total, one for each week - but I've made enough for what I want to do.

The blocks were fun to do, although lots of them were quite challenging. She gives clear cutting instructions, but I would have liked 'finish at' measurements for some of the block components. It would definitely have helped my accuracy! It's lucky I'm a past master at fudging and easing, as I think the blocks have gone together well enough. I still struggle with 'Y' seams - yes I know how, pivot etc, but they still turn out puckered and pleated.

This poor cake stand block is a case in point - or no point, if you look at the base of the purple diamonds! So when it came to this star, I chickened out and paper pieced it. Much easier! (In fact, I wish I'd done the block in darker colours, but too bad.)The last block I did was this one, and I decided to give Y seams one more try. Practice makes perfect, and I was amazed that (with a little bit of attention with the iron!) this has turned out well. My method was to sew up to the V of the Y then take it off the machine. I pulled the next part of the seam together and manipulated it by hand to make all the fabric lie completely flat. Then back onto the machine and sew the other half of the V. It worked for me!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Orca Bay and Christmas!

I'm getting on well with my Orca Bay blocks - I suppose since I'm only doing half the required number, that's not surprising! String piecing is right up my street though, and I loved Bonnie's suggestion about using old dressmaking patterns as foundations!

I though the paper would be too flimsy, but it's perfect - especially since I'm making more theatrical costumes, and have plenty of patterns floating around at the moment. Here are all my blocks completed ready for the next instructions.

And here is a little warm-up to the holiday just around the corner. We had another Santa Fun Run here in Lutterworth, and this time, DH decided to take part. He's the one on the left, and good friend Ali is the one on the right. They decided to walk rather than run, but still completed the 5.5km course in about an hour. There were 980 people in the run this year, whcih will result in a huge financial boost for all sorts of local charities. Well done all who took part!

I have been getting in the festive mood too, by making this table runner. I designed it as a make for ladies who come to our Knit and Stitch sessions, as a thank you for all the hard work they have done for charities this year. If you would like to make one, the central part was 18.5" x 6.5" and the letters were bonded on. The first border was 1.5" cut (1" finished) and the outer border 2.5" cut (2" finished). I machine quilted in the ditch round the borders, and hand quilted round the letters. Very simple, but very effective. Have fun!