Sunday, 27 February 2011

Two out of four

I have made four more of the Barbara Brackman Civil War blocks. Here they are.

The bottom two blocks, Log cabin and Seven Sisters have turned out OK, but as to the other two! The Richmond block was rather complicated, and the measurements for an 8" block had lots of eighths in them, but mine went together very well. Until, that is, I took this photo, and thought some of the blocks looked a bit small. It wasn't the other blocks which were small, but the Richmond block which was too big - 9.5" instead of 8.5"! A bit of judicious trimming wasn't an option, as I would have ended up with no points, so out with the seam ripper! I think it would have been quicker to have made a whole new block, but hindsight is a wonderful thing! I also had some trouble with the Cotton Boll (the one like an X) as I couldn't seem to print the template out in the correct size. After a couple of failures, I made my own template, and then foolishly used the measurements on the pattern for the plain triangles. I thought they were maybe a little small, but didn't realise just how small they were till the block was together. What a mess.

Four blocks completed, only two of which were correct! Never mind, just thank goodness for seam rippers.

Here are the two offenders, now reformed characters. Phew!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Disappearing nine-patch

At Rocheberie Quilters in Rugby, Jane and I recently organised a sewing day. Each person needed to bring eight ready prepared 9-patches and some toning fabric. On the day, they cut thier 9-patches into quarters, and then, using their toning fabric, used the quarters to make half square triangles. We adapted an idea from 'Slice 'Em and Dice 'Em Quilts' by Nancy Brenan Daniel. I forgot to take photos of the nine patches, but here is the resulting block. You get two blocks like this from every 9-patch.

You can see the two little squares in the centre were from the central (dark) square. Nancy sashed hers, which looks great but we didn't give any quilt assembly instructions, leaving people to discover what was best for them. Here are my blocks arranged in a kind of lattice design.

To say these were all donated fabrics from the Linus box, the result is really stunning - and it was very easy! Nancy has some really clever ideas in her book, which I can thoroughly recommend.

Friday, 18 February 2011


After a bit of hard work and some uncharacteistic perseverance, I have finished my four Mariner's Compasses!

Thank goodness I speeded up as I went along, and the last ones didn't take me a whole afternoon (about an hour for the piecing) so they are all ready for my challenge group meeting in March. How lovely to be ahead of the game!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A whole afternoon!

The next block for my challenge group is the old favourite, Mariner's Compass. I have done this block before, but wasn't looking forward to having to draft my own 8" block and sew four of them! Luckily I have a copy of Judy Matheison's 'Mariner's Compass Quilts' which has clear instructions on how to draft your own block, so that part was quite straightforward - at least, it would have been if I could have found a pair of compasses which actually stayed in the desired position, instead of wavering all over the place!

Here is the first finished block, and it took me the whole of yesterday afternoon! OK, I didn't start sewing until about 3 o'clock, but put the final stitches in the centre while I was cooking tea! Guess what I'll be doing this afternoon?!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Civil war quilt

I have been busy sewing (log cabin, nine-patch, mile a minute), but nothing very interesting. Except I've decided to make Barabara Brackman's Civil War quilt. She's posting a new block every week, with lots of information about the block names, the quilts, the people and the stories behind the events. Quite a feast for those of us who love old quilts and history! The blocks are already up to week 7, but you could still join in, as they'll be up for quite a while.
Since the American Civil War is synonymous with slavery in my mind, I started thinking about this distressing subject, and how it still exists today. Sp I decided to make a slavery quilt insted, in modern colours, with the idea that I might eventually offer it as a fund-raiser to an anti-trafficking/anti-slavery charity.

Here are my first four blocks. On the top left we have 'Catch me if you can', and next to it 'North star'. At the bottom, is '(Texas) tears' and the rather tricky '(Kansas) troubles'. Although there's only one match point on the Texas tears block, as you can possibly see from the unpicked threads, it's not an easy one! I'm still appliqueing 'Seven sisters', and hoping to catch up with the latest blocks soon. Why don't you join in too?

Friday, 4 February 2011

Spreading the word 1

One of my new year's resolutions was to spread the word about quilting (I've already forgotten what the others were!) and I've made a start. As Project Linus rep, I had organised some sewing afternoons last year, which hadn't been very well supported. In conversation with Rosie the Morsbag lady (who was also finding it hard to get volunteers), we decided to join forces and have an afternoon together, and invite knitters as well - very inclusive! Sue booked the room and organised the publicity, and we held our breath. At least there would be three of us there, and we could have a gossip and a cuppa if all else failed.

Well, as you can see, there were about 30 people keen to knit and stitch, and they didn't seem to mind being squashed in like sardines! This photo was taken near the start of the session, before the last half dozen people turned up! At least people had to talk, to say, 'sorry, I've just stepped on your foot' or 'sorry, I've just poked my knitting needle up your nose' etc. if nothing else!

Here are some of the patchworkers - both experienced and novice - and some of the blocks they made in the session. Overall there were six Morsbags made, enough blocks for 3 Linus quilts and the makings of lots of knitted pink hearts to be sold for charity. If you want to see more photos, click here. Here's to the next session im March!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Find the lady

I have been sewing the borders for my 'Roll, roll, cotton boll' quilt, but it's slow going. So of course, I've been amusing myself with other things! I continue to be fascinated by Mile a Minute, and have layered and quilted this one for my DBiL.

I tried to use some grown up fabrics for this one, football, ladies, music etc. and instead of I-spy, have decided to call it 'Find the Lady'!

In case you couldn't find her, she's here,

and here (those are knees, in case you couldn't work it out!)

and here. The fabric is a Michael Miller I bought ages ago to make a quilt for DD. I only have scraps left now.

I've also been working on another challenge for Tonya Ricucci. She asked for words for a Christmas quilt called 'Bah humbug!' and suggested insect fabrics etc. I'm sorry, but my first thought was humbugs, the stripey sweets, so have done that instead.

I got a bit confused over the 'm' as I wanted it curvy, not angular, and thanks to some welcome input from Jane, managed it in the end. I'm not sure if it's what Tonya wants, but she can always put it on the back or save it for another quilt!