Thursday, 31 May 2012

Slow day

Today has been a slow day, with not much done at all.  It's all the postman's fault, as he delivered two gorgeous books to my door this morning, and I've been absorbed in them to the exclusion of much else! 
The first one was 'Material Obsession' because I have recently been introduced to Kathy Doughty's blog, and there are some amazing quilts there.  Also it cost £9.20 from Amazon, which is barely more than 2 magazines, with more content.

The second one was Gwen Marston's new book 'Liberated Medallion Quilts' because I have all of Gwen's other books and they are pure inspiration!  £13 or three magazines for this one.  Worth every penny.  (Sorry it's on its side, as I said, I've been absorbed in the books!)  The question is, which to look at first?  Difficult decision. 

 Since Gwen was a known quantity and sure to be a treat, I explored Kathy's book first.  It has some really interesting ideas in there, some very basic and some more unusual.  This circus tent quilt was one to try, and Kathy's use of colour is fabulous!  It must be something about the light down under, as I find lots of Australaisian quilters use lots of brights - which I love!

Then on to Gwen, who definitely didn't disappoint!  Lots of lovely medallion quilts inspired by antique quilts - my favourites! Here is Gwen's scrappy medallion quilt.  Lots of orphans got used up here to great effect.
And here is an applique medallion - very useful for me: more to follow!  But if you've a hankering for more books, I can recommend both of these books, with 'Material Obseession' having patterns, and Gwen's book having instructions and inspiration galore but no patterns.  You choose.

Friday, 25 May 2012


  I have now finished my challenge for this month, and here it is!

 It has a light turquoise inner border, a blue main border and strong turquoise binding.  It looks better in the flesh than it does here.
 I was a bit worried about the binding, as it was very much stronger than the inner border, but I think it works in a kind of gradating way.  In any event, it's a FINISH, so hooray!

 And speaking of finishes, I've made decisions about the two tops I have as WIPs.  The granny squares have got a border - and a destination, since Andrew and Hannah have shown me their 12 week scan! 

The other top has gained a few more blocks and a narrow border and I will be asking some of my quilty friends to sign it so it can be a record of all the lovely quilters I know in this area.  Now to some layering up!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


I have completed my granny squares top (and another one) but I'm not completely happy with either of them. 
 The granny squares look better in the photo than in person - the colours don't look right against the white.  Maybe prettier colours would have been better, or maybe I should have stuck to my usual cream background.  Anyway, I'm certainly not undoing anything, but the question is what to do next.  The idea was that the blocks would float on the white, and after putting the white border on, quilting nd binding would be the order of the day.  Is the white border too small, or does it need another (coloured) border?   

 And here is my Rocheberie signature blocks made up into a top.  There were 21 six and a half inch blocks, which wouldn't make much of a quilt!  I added four extra strips round each block, so they are now 8" finished, and added a plain block on each corner, leaving the 21st block (mine) for the label. 
This is a close up of some of the signatures.  The next problem is, do I add a border to this, or shall I make four more log cabin blocks to complete the square and make the quilt a more useful size?  Decisions, decisions!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Granny squares

The latest task from my challenge group is to make Granny Squares.  Those of us who were around in the 70s will remember the multi-coloured crocheted squares, usually edged with black which made blankets, scarves, jumpers and even skirts.  Well, these have come back into vogue, not as woollen but cotton squares, and they look very pretty. 
I have already started to make them, and think they'll look great sashed with white, which will make them float attractively.  If you want to make some, you will need 1 central square, 3 sets of four squares for the colourful part and then 12 background squares (which are the white ones in my case) all measuring 2.5".   I started making them by laying them out and sewing them in rows, but as those at my Tuesday morning sewing group will testify, found it hard to keep track of the pattern.  So here is a much easier way of assembling them, if you fancy making your own.
 First make a nine-patch with two sets of four and the central square.
 Then take the remaining set of four and sew a backgound (white) square onto opposite sides.
 Sew the remaining background (white) squares on top of the coloured squares to make upside down 'T's.
 Sew a 'T' onto each side of the nine patch, and it's done!
Well, once you've trimmed it 0.25" away from the edge of the coloured squares it is!  Hooray!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Challenges and classes

I have been busy sewing, but not getting on with my challenge for this month.  I had a burst of energy a week ago, and put two borders on it, then got involved in other things.  The first turquoise border adds a little bit of oomph into it, and with a corresponding turquoise binding should lift it out of the mundane - hopefully! 

Apart from this (and preparing for and attending a lovely Project Linus sewing day at Churchover - look here for details of that) I've been absorbed in trying to get a sample ready for my bi-monthly class.  We're making a Bonnie Hunter Scrappy bargello this time, but we are doing applique next time, so I needed a sample. After lots of head scratching, poring over books and magasines, visits to the copy shop and making up of possibilities, I finally decided that this lovely folk-art design was the one required.  My favourite method of applique is needle turn, but since I didn't think this was appropriate for a beginners' class, I have used Heat and Bond and satin stitch.  It was a bit of a learning curve for me, but since I have some knowledgeable and helpful friends (thanks Jane and Gwyneth) I think I'm up to the required standard.  What do you think?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

It's number 2!

Judy has decided that this month's finish is number 2.  It should be easy to finish, as it's nearly a top.

I think one of the reasons it's not been finished before is that it's pretty boring.  Just blue, and not even an interesting blue at that.  It is a stack and slash technique, but with embellishments.  You stack some squares, cut them in half with an asymmetrical diagonal cut, take one of the top pieces to the bottom, and join the resultant pairs together.  Then you stack again and cut again until you're satisfied with the result.

That would be OK if I hadn't decided to embellish the squares with lace, ribbon and embroidery stitches. This makes what could have been a nice masculine quilt into something half pretty, half butch.  Oh well, maybe there's someone out there who would like a pretty blue quilt.  We'll try it and see.

 And I can hardly believe it, but I've got another finish!  My triangles with made fabric from 15 minutes play is done.  The border of green fabric with wellingtons on it (which I bought from San Fransisco!) is maybe a step too far, but I like it.

 Here's a closer view of one of the blocks so you can see the made fabric. 
Now I'm off to see if I can jazz up the blue quilt.  Fingers crossed.