Sunday, 24 February 2013

Guilt-free sewing

Since I'm trying not to start new projects and feel (very slightly!) guilty when I sew on them, I've had a fun time sewing things which aren't new quilts!  Our local group is planning to go into schools and do some sewing with the 11 year olds, and this is the design we've chosen.  It was on a 'Quiltmaker' site called LRN2QLT, and the good thing about this star is that it can't lose its points! 
We will offer the block to make a bag or a cushion, and let the children choose which one they like.  We bid for some money from Waitrose and are using it to buy fabric and supplies for this project.  Thank you very much, Waitrose!

And then I've been making this woven ribbon block, which was great fun.  I have to make 4 and then pass them over to Liz, who will make them up into a charity quilt.  Lots of new sewing, but no new quilts. Hooray!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Hopeless case!

My new year's resolution has bit the dust.  For someone with the attention span of a goldfish, there is no way I can stop myself from starting new projects.  I love the excitement of putting fabrics together and making something new, so why did I think I could ration myself?  I will pledge to finish all the UFOs I agreed to this year, but I can't wait to start something when I've been inspired! 
Here is my Home and Garden block for this month.  I've nearly finished quilting it.  I pieced it and needle turned it, rather than using Bondaweb, because that's what I like doing.  (The fence was Bondawebbed, because I couldn't think of a better way of doing it!)  I'm allowed to do this, as it's not a new project.
Here is my Challenge Group house (chosen by dice!) now complete.  Well, not complete, because I don't like the doorstep - it's too dark (and not central) so I'll replace it.  But although it's a bit 'in your face' I really like it.

And this is what I've been tempted into making.  I found it on Sujata's blog and fell for it.  Lots of 1.5" scraps used, so what's not to like?   It looks a bit wonky, but I must reassure you that it's perfectly straight (!!), just the optical illusion of dark and light strips make it look unbalanced.  Well, if you believe that .......

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Don't look!

Don't look at this post if you're of an envious disposition, as it might spoil your mood!  Like most quilters, my stash has been steadily getting out of hand.  From a couple of carrier bags, it has multiplied into numerous bags, boxes, cartons, drawers and cupboards, and finds itself stored in several rooms in the house.  DH was starting to get worried, so we had a little trip to IKEA to see if we could get some better storage, where it would be accessible but more contained!  I really wanted shelving, so I could store the plastic boxes I already have, but none of the shelving systems were deep enough, so we compromised on this wire basket arrangement. 
I had already bought a smaller unit like this 10 or 12 years ago, and since it was still in perfect condition, I was happy to buy more.  The three units with drawers and top shelves cost just over £100, which we felt was money well spent.  The question was, would I be able to empty the boxes I already had, the ones under our bed, the one under DS's bed and the drawer in the chest in the spare room and get it all in? 

The answer is YES!  I even have a couple of drawers for computer paper and other stuff, so, hooray!  It was quite interesting how the drawers filled up.  I have a drawer for white fabric, creams, yellow (with a small bag of orange), red, pink, light and lime green, dark green, light blue, medium blue, dark blue, purple, light brown, dark brown , grey and black and novelty.  And the good thing is that there's a little space on the right hand side of the units where I can put my other sewing machine, wadding, quilts in progress and general stuff.  Perfect!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Failed again!

I made a resolution not to start a new quilt until I'd finished an old one, and so far so good - two quilts finished, three quilts started.  Whoops!  Well, new year's resolutions are usually broken well before 9th February, so I suppose it's not too bad. 

This jelly roll quilt is nearly a top, it's just waiting for borders, so I couldn't resist starting the centre block for my challenge group quilt.  This time it will be a Roosting Robin (just like a Round Robin, except it doesn't get passed round!) and the first direction is 'house'.  Right up my street (sorry, no pun intended!).  I decided to make a medallion quilt and toyed with a nice Baltimore applique house or something more whacky Gwen Marston-style.  What to do if you can't decide? - do both!  So here is my inspiration, a beautiful  Baltimore appliqued house, from Elly Sienkiewicz's book, 'Baltimore Beauties and Beyond', 

and here is my free-pieced interpretation!  I'm just cutting strips and sewing them together, and so far I'm loving it.
I might add a little applique in the form of pillars and fan lights, and maybe I won't.  Hooray to be working with bright colours!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Hot magic tile!

I persevered with the Magic Tile, and now it's a top! 
I'm pleased with it, although it's a bit of an acquired taste - hot, hot, hot!  I'll let it cool down slightly before I quilt it - I need the thinking time!

Friday, 1 February 2013

A finish, so a start!

 I'm making good progress on my UFOs, and have finished this pinwheel quilt I started in 2005!  I enjoyed making it from a charm pack plus various light fabrics, but once it was a top, didn't really like it - a bit too 'old lady' for my taste!  But now it's done and will wing its way to Ann Hill for her Alzheimer's fundraiser, and perhaps find a good home with an old lady!
Jane gave me good advice about the binding: either burgundy or gutsy ochre was the recommendation.  The burgundy wasn't right, but the gutsy ochre was perfect (and used up one of those fat quarters I can't believe I ever bought - bonus!)

So now I'm allowed to start something new, and open my jelly roll!  This turned out to be a perplexing experience.  The fabrics are all gorgeous, but how are you supposed to use them?
The lights are really very light, but there aren't enough to use as background, and too many to ignore.

The darks are dark, and again, a strange number.

The mediums (gorgeous, gorgeous!) are the majority of the fabrics, but how on earth do you make these all play together?  Most of the patterns in books I have found suggest you use a jelly roll, then a background fabric.  Good idea, but what do I use with these?  A light would have to be very light to make the light fabrics stand out, and a dark would have to be similarly dark! 

Here is the design I chose, from Pam and Nicky Lintott's 'Jelly Roll Quilts' book, but you can see how their jelly roll was similar to mine, in having quite a range of values, with very light ones, which to me make a very wishy washy result.  (And I don't do wishy washy!)  So, my solution?  I'm using the light fabrics as background, and adding other lights from my stash.  The darks and mediums will make the stars, and I'm adding a few fabrics from my stash to make up the numbers of darks.
Here's the first block - so far so good!