Tuesday, 31 January 2012

UFO Challenge #1 finished!

I have been working hard to complete my first UFO Challenge of 2012, and finshed sewing the binding this morning! Here it is in all its glory!

For something which was started in 2003, I think that's a pretty impressive finish! If you look carefully, Liz, you can just see the feathers I have quilted in the spacer rectangles (bottom right is the best one). The rest of it was quilted in the ditch, with a little hand echo quilting round the basket contents. Now I'm itching to find out which number comes out next!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Panto, a laugh and a salutory warning

Panto is now finished, and while it was very enjoyable, I can't say I'm not glad to be getting on with the old routine. Here is a photo of nearly all of the cast so you can see how many costumes were needed. (The lady in the front left was the dragon, and didn't need to be dressed till after the interval and Jess was in the changing room, probably plugged into her DS or whatever, and didn't hear the call!) The show was very well received, and most people's highlights were when Kalifa got splatted by eagle poo (porridge) and DD and Russ's song 'Be Prepared' from 'The Lion King'. Both were show-stopping!
And here is the laugh - the Dame and Kate doing the crossword together in the dressing room! All the Dame's costumes were very heavy and hot, so Dickie took the opportunity to strip down to his 'undies' in between scenes. (Ian was just waiting for the Crusaders' Arabian market scene!)

And the warning? Jane (make-up artist) and I took the opportunity for a little quilty talk while the show was running. She was concerned about her ever increasing scrap bag, and I suggested the Bonnie Hunter scrap-users system. She was so impressed, that in the time between the matinee and evening performances, she started to cut her scraps, and cut the end of her left index finger off! It was bleeding so profusely that she ended up in A&E! Luckily, they dressed it for her, and she was back at her post for the evening performance. What a trouper! It just goes to show, rotary cutters are very sharp!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Camelot the Panto

I have been working hard on assembling the costumes for 'Camelot - the Panto'. I volunteered to do the job to help out our good friend Dawn, without considering the fact that it was a cast of thirty, with some people having two, three or five different costumes! I haven't had to make them all as we have a costume store which has had some items in it, but I've had to make more than I wanted to! (Obviously, I'd rather have been quilting!)

On the far right are the maidens (costumes from the store with added head dresses).
On the right is DD as Morgan Le Fay, Arthur's evil sister, with costume from store with added sleeves and belt.

Here is Igraine, Arthur's mother, with costume from the store, retrimmed, with added sleeves, belt and head dress.

Now for some of the men. Three Black Knights, with dyed tunics and made hoods. (Richard forgot his belt that day!)
Merlin, in a costume from the store and made scabbard for his i-wand.

On the right are the baddies - The Black Wurst and his sidekick Frank Furter, with made costumes. (When I showed the director the costumes, which have the German eagle appliqued on them, he said, 'Oh, I thought crossed sausages would have been good.' I managed to refrain from hitting him, just saying that appliqued brown sausages would have been hard to make realistic, and there was a danger of them looking like something very unsavoury. He had the good grace to agree!)

And here are some more knights, with a mixture of costumes left over from Robin Hood and some made by me. I'll post some more pictures after the final two performances today. Oh, no she won't! Oh yes I will!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Nearly there

The last week has been a bit manic, with panto costumes to finish. Since I last posted, I've made five knight's tunics and dyed them grey, sourced boot covers, crowns and sequins, collected walk-down costumes from the hire shop, added hooks and eyes for security, press studs for modesty, lowered necklines, highered hems and sewn up splits. Oh, and fetched bloomers, stripey socks, stuffed fish and sausages from our store.

But yesterday I found time to border and layer my first challenge UFO!

The green border isn't quite as lurid as that, and I'm very pleased with it. I've already started quilting it, and will have to get a move on if I'm to finish it before the end of the month. I can't work on it tonight as it's dress rehearsal, but hope to sneak a bit of time tomorrow!

Monday, 16 January 2012

A little distraction

I'm not getting on with my challenge quilt, but it's all Muriel's fault. She bought this panel on a whim (probably in a sale, I expect) and then wondered why on earth she'd been struck by a whim when she got it home, so kindly donated it to Project Linus! It's lovely and bright, so perfect for teenage Linus quilts, but why, oh why do they make panels with 8 blocks? And the border strips (there was one on each side) are never enough to do anything with, either. Then I had an idea. Maybe the border strips would be enough for a central block, bringing the total to a very useable nine.

I dug out my Dresden Plate ruler, and cut wedges from the border. There wasn't enough fabric for my purpose, but I managed to find some fabric in my stash which fitted the bill.

Here is a Dresden Plate which turned out pretty well - the yellow circle in the centre hides a multitude of sins, thank goodness!

And here is the layout for the quilt! It's not a prize-winner, but at least it's solved the 'panel problem'. I hope Muriel approves!

Monday, 9 January 2012

A middle

I was shocked (but not surprised!) at the number of UFOs which were in my cupboard, and am determined to keep up with the challenge to finish one a month. So once I'd got the fabric for the Calendar Baskets, it was all systems go!
This isn't going to be an earth-shattering quilt, but I'm pleased with the way it's going so far. I'm going to put a mid-green narrow border on it, then a wider light green. Despite a good rummage in my green fabric box, there's no light green of quite the right shade. That means I'll have to make another trip to the quilt shop. What a shame!

Friday, 6 January 2012

A start

I have decided how to use my basket blocks in an arrangement which won't have me falling asleep with boredom while I sew! Some while ago I bought a book which had some great ideas for using spacers with blocks to help them 'knit up big'. I thought it might be useful for Linus quilts, and put it on my shelf.
It's called 'Circle of Nine' by Janet Houts and Jean Ann Wright. They give instructions for 24 quilts, which all have the same idea, of nine feature blocks arranged in a circle and the spaces filled in by rectangles of fabric, flying geese, four-patches or whatever compliments the blocks. This seemed to me to be ideal for my purpose. The only snag was that I have twelve blocks, not nine, but I decided to use three either on the back or for another purpose, so that problem was easily solved!

I think the baskets are busy enough not to warrant fancy spacers, so I chose this arrangement, with rectangles of fabric between the blocks.

And here is the fabric I have bought today. It's busy enough to hold its own with the baskets, but not in a position to overwhelm them. Now to the cutting!

Monday, 2 January 2012

It's number 5!

Judy has just announced the number of this month's UFO to be completed, and it's number 5! (Good job it's not number 3 the Twelve Days of Christmas, because I can't just lay my hand on that at the moment!)
I made these blocks in 2003 (gulp) as it was a series in 'Quiltmaker magazine. It was supposed to make a perpetual calendar, but I decided to make the blocks up into a quilt. (That's a joke!) Several of the blocks were rather American (especially July and November) so I changed July from a patriotic motif into flowers, and November's turkey into fireworks. I did make them up into a top, but hated it so much that I undid it!

As you can see, recently I had another look at the blocks and decided the frames were too big. Some have been resized, which is probably a good thing. Now, it's on with my thinking cap to work out how to put them together in a way that isn't a 3x4 setting. Any ideas out there?

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2012 resolutions

Judy over at Patchwork Times has issued a UFO challenge. The idea is that you nominate twelve UFOs (twelve? you'd better believe I have at least that many!) and agree to complete them by the end of the year. Since completing UFOs needed to be one of my resolutions, I'm happy to join in! I'll start by listing the UFOs on my side bar (they have been there for a while!). Number 1 will be my Reproduction Quilt, number 2 the Stack and Slash, number 3 the 12 Days of Christmas, number 4 the Pinwheel and number 5 Calendar Baskets. Some of these I can hardly remember!
Number 6 is my Sampler Challenge quilt, which is progressing quite nicely. I only have two more clamshell blocks to make and then it will be time to choose a border etc.Number 7 will be this Linus quilt made from four-patches. It needs a bright border to cheer it up a bit.

Number 8 a Mile A Minute waiting for a border. It's been waiting for a recipient before I decide on border colour, if you know what I mean.

Number 9 a Rebecca Collins Lucky Dip quilt which I'll be using as a teaching sample in January. I'm going to demonstrate adding borders and layering up so this will be finished soon anyway.

Number 10 is my Barbara Brackman Civil War quilt. I've layered up the central part (and have bought border fabric). I'm quilting this part first and then will add the border in 'quilt as you go' style. I've never done this before so hope it works!

And here at number 11 are my Orca Bay blocks - well, some of them. It's a great design, but rather dark. I'm glad I've only done half the blocks, so will see how big a quilt I can make with them.

And finally at number 12 are my Crumb-Along blocks. I love these and don't have too many left to make.

My other quilty resolution is to do more improvised blocks. This year I seem to have made lots of named blocks, and I feel it's time for a change! Here's to 2012 - may it be happy, healthy and quilty! Cheers!