Thursday, 22 August 2013

Curing bias stretch?

My spiral blocks (a la Kathy Doughty) weren't flat, even when I had not just pressed but ironed with great gusto!  Starching the fabric for subsequent spirals did the trick, but I wondered if I washed the wavy ones, they might relax back to their original shape.  And the results are ......

and no.  This one will need a bit of fudging, but I can do that.  I suppose the answer is that if it's slightly stretched, you can make it better by washing and drying flat, but if it's seriously wonky, nothing will restore it, and it's unpicking or fudging!

I made another one (from pre-starched fabric) and I love the fussy cut trees!  I have yet to start on the next round, but the fabric is already starched!

I have been busy making class samples.  Three different bag workshops at The Quarter Inch this autumn.  Click on the link (or leave a comment) if you'd like to book.

I've also put another border on my challenge quilt.  The brief was 'animals' and flying geese are definitely animals in my book.  I think there's maybe a bit too much light so far, but I'm going to put a serious wide border next to ground it.  Then the next round will be stars.  Eventually!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Problem - solved?

We had a great time on holiday (if anyone wants excellent accommodation in Penzance or recommendations of things to do in West Cornwall, don't hesitate to get in touch!) and are now safe and sound returned.  After a restorative cuppa and the loading of the washer, I was eager to iron my spiral blocks and see how flat they were.  It's not easy to see in the photos, but while they're OK, they're definitely too full.  I'm not the kind of person who needs perfection, so I can fudge them, but where did I go wrong?
Maybe I was a bit off with my seam allowances?  No, an examination of the back of the blocks shows the sewing is pretty much along the marked lines.

Maybe there was a mistake with the template, either in the book (printing processes aren't infallible) or in my drawing and cutting.  No, my template matches the pattern perfectly, and when I drew round the template to see if it makes a circle, it's fine. 

So what is the problem?  The only other thing I could think is bias stretch.  Even though I had used good quality fabrics, there was quite a bit of pulling and matching with these blocks, so maybe starching them first would help.

Hooray!  You can see that this block (with spray-starched fabrics) is as flat as a pancake!  Now, is there any way of returning stretched fabric back to its original state?  Perhaps if I wash them and dry them flat they'll spring back into shape? 
 I'll report back.  

Thursday, 15 August 2013

More hand piecing

I have become a firm follower of the Material Obsession style, and couldn't wait for the issue of their new book.  Why they changed the original title from 'Making Quilts - the Promise of Joy' I have no idea, but luckily, the inside of the book seems to be the same!
The book is, for me, much like a Kaffe Fassett quilt book - a source of inspiration and eye candy rather than a pattern book.  Both Kaffe and Kathy are masters of bright colours and unusual combinations which look effortless, but I have found (to my cost and dismay) are far from that. 

I really wanted to have a go at these spirals.  (I'm fascinated by circles at the moment.)  I've hand pieced it, and I'm sure it will look fine once I've ironed it.  It WILL!

And here is the next one beginning.

And here is the reason that I'm hand piecing and can't iron my blocks - we're on holiday in Penzance for the week.  Here is DH at Land's End.  Can you see America in the distance?  It's the next land mass, so should be out there somewhere!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Festival of Quilts!

I really like the FOQ, and am really lucky that it's only half an hour's journey from my home!   I haven't missed a year so far, and this year I had the pleasure of the company of Jane and her clever daughter.  (I don't think we would have managed to find my car in the several car parks without her!)  Jane and I are both predominantly traditional quilters, so had lots in common.  I took quite a lot of photos, so here are a selection of my favourites.
This young man (Luke, apparently) was stunningly represented.  I love the log cabin background.

This was amazing - how do people manage to make something like this?

This was equally stunning - a braid quilt but so beautifully done.  The sashing and borders were fabulous.  Looks like an antique rug!  Incidentally, there seemed to be a bit of a brown theme going on at the festival.  Rich and gorgeous. 

Brown and reproduction.  Lots of old designs combined in a new way.  I love the tiny hourglasses and the lozenges as a border.

This appealed to my sense of fun.  I love the colours and the fabrics.  Yummy! 

Not my usual kind of thing, but what's not to like?  Striking.

I have a thing going on for circles at the moment and this is circle-tastic!  Very clever use of colours, especially in the circling stars.


Brown.  Jane's daughter hated this.  I loved it! 

Triple feathered star.  TRIPLE FEATHERED STAR!  And not only that but look at the little feathered stars in the corners!  (And brown.)

More fun.  Fabulous colour choices - of course eagles have turquoise feet!

Not such a good photo, but each star was made from fussy cut fabrics, enhancing the design.  A labour of madness?!

For those of us caught up in the Granny Squares fad, a Godhari from India.  Not square, but who cares?  Beautiful.

One of Annabel Rainbow's quilts - they really have to be seen 'in the flesh' as the text machine embroidered onto them is so poignant - and the quilts are wonderful! 

Is this a quilt?  I'm not sure but I loved the colours (and the circles!)

This was the winner of the contemporary section.  Well-deserved.

A naïve applique (brown again).

A fabulous list of all the fabrics we love.  Apparently there were at least the same number which were discarded!  Fabric heaven.

A personal fun quilt.

Guess Who?  (Clue, it's the doctor!)

Another guess who, but this time less obvious.  It's a rebel without a cause.  Amazing.

I don't know who this gentleman is, but he reminds me (in his posture) of Whistler's Mother.  He's similarly valued, as he was for sale at £5,500.  Bargain!

And last but not least, brown. 
A great exhibition (and great shopping too!)

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Great Reveal

Bonnie Hunter has made a reveal of her mystery quilt 'Lazy Sunday' which has been featured in 'Quiltmaker' magazine.  This is good and not good.  It's good because it's always lovely to see a mystery quilt - especially one of Bonnie's! - and this one is stunning!  Not good because I'm assuming the magazine is now available in the USA so people there can get on and assemble the quilt, while we poor souls over The Pond have to wait till the beginning of September, which is when the Sept/Oct edition of 'Quiltmaker' will be available here!  Frustrating!

Here are my blocks so far and here is Bonnie's version.  She has sashed hers and used cornerstones, which I intend to do, if I knew the measurements of the strips!  I've decided to make my version square, it'll be about 76" square, which will be quiltable on my Janome.  I just have 8 more blocks to make, and then a long wait till September for the instructions for the next part!