Saturday, 30 March 2013

Patchwork in a pub

Patchwork, a pub and theatre - what's not to like?!  A new theatre venue has recently opened in Leicester - in a room over a pub!  'Upstairs at the Western' is a fringe venue with lots of new work and thought-provoking performances.  When I saw that a show called 'Patchwork Lives', a work where a character called Quilter told women's stories was to visit the venue, I asked whether we could 'fly the flag' and have a Project Linus sewing afternoon there, before watching the play.  The venue and company were very supportive, so on Thursday, seven of us took sewing machines and fabric, and set up in the lounge bar of the pub!

We made ourselves at home and hung quilts from the picture rails, covering the pictures and signs!


We had decided to make log cabin blocks, so I hung the Blue Peter over the dart board, and off we went!  Lesley kindly voluteered to iron - sorry, press - and she was kept very busy.
Muriel kindly agreed to put together our 'Easy Street' blocks, and she did a fabulous job.
Here are Julie and Maria choosing logs for their cabins.  
Here you can see 'Easy Street' laid out for Muriel, and a young quilter, Sarah, who had brought her own fabric to make into a quilt.  I asked if she had ever used a sewing machine before.  'Yes,' she said.  'When was that?' said her incredulous mum.  'At grandma's,' said Sarah.  Thank goodness for grandmas, say I!  She did a great job and made some 4-patches, which she joined and bordered.  I gave her mum instructions for making it into a cushion, and another quilter was born!  
I'm just checking that everyone is on track - and they were!
Paula and Eileen had a great time and made several blocks.

Here Sarah, myself and the front of house manager for the show are playing with blocks and making different patterns - my favourite part!  We had several other visitors, some of whom sewed and some who watched.  All were welcome.  Then we had something to eat and watched the show.  A great time was had by all, so thank you The Western, Off the Fence productions, visitors and my lovely Linus ladies!  When are we doing it again?

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Out of the cupboard

The Delectable Mountains are now finished!  Hooray!  I so hate waste, and had had these blocks for such a long time, I was despairing of ever using them up!  They're quite masculine in design and colour, and fit it quite well with the football boot border.  I'm sure a young man will be happy to snuggle under it.
 So while I was hand stitching the border, I needed a nachine project to work on.  We've recently been invited to an 80th birthday party, and when I was thinking about what we could take as a present, I suddenly thought of these blocks which I had made from 'Quilting the Garden'.  I had challenged myself to use a dark background for the applique, instead of light, but once all 9 blocks were finished, didn't really feel I had a use for a king size quilt in burgundy!  However, just four 21" blocks would make a reasonable lap quilt.  Here are the four blocks I chose. 
Where to go next?  Sashing was the obvious answer, and ochre seemed to be the colour, so off to the Bramble Patch I went, with my good friend Jackie.  Two sets of eyes are definitely better than one, but even with that advantage, we could find very little ochre fabric, and nothing ( yes, literally nothing) in the right shade of burgundy for the final border!  I knew there were fashions in colours, but thought there would be something in such a well-stocked shop. 

Luckily the ochre we found (which we thought was a little light) has done the job well.

More sashing and cornerstones and I'm ready for the final border.  The fabric hanging on the right of the photo is out of my stash and is the best match we could find.

The final top, looking good.  I've got less than two weeks to finish it, so I'd better get going!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A little sewing

I have done a little sewing this week.  I had a request from Rosemary who works for the Diana Project for Children with Life-limiting Conditions for a Mickey Mouse quilt for a little boy who's very poorly, in and out of hospital and loves Mickey!  I didn't have any suitable fabric, but managed to get this lovely panel off the internet, and it was all quilted and bound in record time. As you can see, the weather was cold and blustery, and we had to hang on to the quilt to stop it sailing away!
Today I went to Rocheberie Quilters and saw Liz demonstrating this clever item.

As my DS said, 'Is it supposed to be that shape?'  Yes it is, because it's a bowl holder to heat things up in the microwave.

You put the bowl of soup/porridge/whatever in the middle of the holder, put in the microwave, and then you can just pick up the corners of the holder to lift the bowl out!  No more slopped contents or burned fingers!  I think I'll just go and make another!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

International Quilting Day!

I don't suppose that International Quilting Day figures on most people's calendars - I notice that Google have missed a trick by not designing a special logo for it! - but I was glad to be able to mark it!  Liz had organised an exhibition of quilts in Saint Andrew's Church in Rugby, and there was to be sewing today!  Here I am with Muriel, Chris and Carole (Liz is behind the camera) working on my hexagons.  You can see some of Liz's beautiful work in the background.  It was lovely to be able to sew , chat and catch up with friends.
Then home, and since it's a miserable wet day, finished machine quilting this UFO.  It was a set of delectable mountains which I had started for a border, and then discarded.  I joined the mauntains up and then spent ages trying to think what to do to make it up to a sensible size - Seminole strips, piano keys, sawtooths? - until I had my Eureka! moment, and thought KISS!  Keep It Simple, Stupid!  Just whack a border on it!
  Luckily I had some football boot fabric which sort of went, so there it is - all ready for the binding!  I've cut some red binding, which I think will finish it off.  Some football-mad boy will (hopefully) love it!

So while I was in the quilting mood, I got out this quilt which Andrea had layered and started to quilt for Project Linus.  I don't know why she gave up, but it was easy to finish it off.  The fabrics are gorgeous, and some blue binding will complete it.

I hope your International Quilting Day has been equally productive and enjoyable!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Lots of sewing

The last week has been filled with sewing, but none of it has been done by me!  Last Tuesday five members of our local group, Piecemakers, went into a local school and did patchwork with the 10 and 11 year olds.  The children were wonderful, all keen and beautifully behaved, and this is one of the completed cushions.  The pattern is from 'Quiltmaker' and is perfect for a first project, as there is no way you can lose your points!  If they're wonky, they just sparkle more, so it's win/win!

We bought a selection of bright colours, and the spotty one went down particularly well.
Then on Thursday it was Knit and Stitch, a monthly group making charity items for good causes.

We had a bumper attendance of quilters, and even had to get out an extra table!

Everyone beavered away and lots got done.

Here is our version of Bonnie Hunter's 'Easy Street', which we have made over the last few sessions.  It just needs a couple of corners and a border and it'll be complete.  To say it has been made by half a dozen different quilters, most of whom aren't very experienced, it went together amazingly well! 

Then on Saturday I taught a class on Magic Tile.  Unfortunately my camera battery gave out after this photo, but at least I have this eveidence. 

Yesterday DS returned from working in Japan for a month, and he was laden with goodies!  Here are two magazines for me (sorry they're on their side!) one of lots of log cabin designs and one with taupe-a gogo!  Lots of food for thought there. 

And he even managed to find fabric - the blue one is the Shinkansen (bullet train) and the pink one famous Japanese cartoon characters.  He knows what kind of things I like!

And here is something special.  He went to a craft centre, and there was a quilter there.  He admired her work and told her that his mother was a fellow quilter, so she gave him this leaf for me!  Thank you Japanese fellow quilter, and although I can't say thank you in person, remember that what goes around, comes around! 

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Two finishes and some play

Why, oh why, do I put off layering up quilts, when it's really so quick?  I needed this Granny Squares quilt as a teaching sample, so got on with finishing it.  Easy peasy.  I quilted the squares in the ditch and then some meanders in the white spaces.  Well, quilting just holds the layers together, doesn't it?!  I love this design, and the way the values of the fabrics make the blocks look very different.  Some blocks are definitely X shaped, some are chequerboards and some (like the one in the right hand corner) just squares!  I also like the way the eye is fooled into thinking the squares making the pattern are the same, ie all the same pale blue, when in fact, they may all be pale blue, but they're all different fabrics!  Magic.
Then while I was on a roll, I finished this applique medallion.  Again I did a lot of in the ditch quilting, and meander in the borders.  A finish is better than a UFO any day!  So then I had my permission to play! 

Bonnie Hunter has been encouraging people to use these spool blocks as leaders and enders.  They're made from 1.5" strips, and I couldn't resist making a few.  They're really easy and very effective.

Here is another of Bonnie's spool designs, but made with 2" strips.  I have only made one of these so far.  Looking good.

Then I remembered somewhere seeing some spools which were slightly more realistic, with stripy fabric to look like thread, so I designed one of those for myself.  The tops of the spool were quite tricky as they are rectangular - why on earth didn't I stick to squares?!

Then by chance I came across this pattern for scrappy spools by Victoriana Quilt Designs.  They are much bigger still (finish at 6") but were great fun to make, and  'knit up big'. 

Anybody got any more spool designs I can try?!