Monday, 31 August 2015

Grandmas, eggs and sucking

This post will be, to many, like teaching your grandma to suck eggs!  I know lots of people already know this, but it was new to me, so might be new to others.  
Have you ever admired quilting which is a wavy line, which was 'one of the fancy stitches on my machine, and done with the walking foot'?  Something like this?

I've looked and looked on my machine, and I don't have any stitches like that.
But then, I experimented. 

I found the three stitch zigzag on my machine, then shortened the width and lengthened the stitch, and hey presto!  the searched for effect.  
Here is the quilt, which was made by several hands at a Linus sewing session.  

Once it's bound, it'll be even more gorgeous! 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

My Dresden Circles quilt is still on the design wall, and while I've been quilting something for Linus, I've been looking at it. 

The circles have all gone, and it's now a yellow quilt. That's not what I want.  It's the old trick of putting a border on a multicoloured quilt to find the quilt has 'become' that colour.   The yellow border has to come off.  Maybe a blue border instead or perhaps piano keys.  Only one thing is certain, the yellow has to go! 

A little bit good, and a little bit bad

I've been busy trying to finish the two quilts I have promised for Piecemakers' exhibition in October.  (I know it's quite a way off, but sometimes life bowls you a curve ball, and I don't want to be caught out!)
I am sewing the binding onto my Grand Illusion.  

Still not my favourite Bonnie design, but I think the quilting in the ditch has emphasised the stars and made it easier to read. 

Borders are on my Dresden Circles.  Decisions now to be made about quilting designs.  I've already discussed this with the very knowledgeable Liz, and have a few ideas.  Again I want to quilting to bring out the design, not just hold the layers together.  I want to bring the circles out, and if possible the double circles. 
So, quite good.  But then I saw this. 

A free quilt pattern!  Looks awesome!  There are 34 pages of the pattern, (although they don't use much ink, just lots of paper - good for using the back of other things).  Will I ever make it?  Don't hold your breath!  But then, it is gorgeous! 

Friday, 21 August 2015

The usual story

As usual, I've been distracted.  Instead of making more 'fifteen' words, I've been doing other things.  One is reasonable.  The local Linus ladies made lots of nine-patches from squares, all in pink.  I'm going to show this technique at The Big Textile Show in September, and thought I'd join the blocks together as a kind of Blue Peter.  Since September isn't far off, I decided I'd better get on with it.  

I had to add a few extra blocks, but with a narrow bright border, then a wider paler border, that'll do.  But then I was browsing in a bookshop, and saw these clever basket blocks. 

The basket parts are cut from two squares, and then the handles are appliqués onto a narrow rectangle and sewn at the top!  The fairies brought a set of matching red, black and grey fabrics, so I thought I'd use some of those and make a sophisticated Linus quilt for a teenager.  Just need to appliqué more handles! 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Czech is a doddle

Next is Czech.  This was a doddle, as I drew the letters out on graph paper, bonded them on, and used another machine blanket stitch.  

Maybe the stitch is a bit big, but it adds a spikey quality to the letters, which seems appropriate for (what I assume to be) a spikey language! 

And here is the progress so far.  I've included the part-finished Dutch reverse appliqué, just to see how the colours gel.  So far, so good.  

Monday, 17 August 2015

Welsh proves quite tricky

 The next technique I wanted to use was an old favourite of mine, improvised letters.  These are simply made from strips, with no particular pattern or instructions.  I decided that Welsh fifteen ( bymtheg of course!) was the word to do.  I started, naturally enough, with the 'b'. 

Oh dear.  It's a bit big.  I could only get the first three letters in at this rate.  Better start again with smaller strips. 

Quite a bit smaller, but still far too big.  I really prefer my letters to be rounded, but if they are to be small enough, they will have to be angular.  One advantage of no curves, is that it's both easier and quicker! 

Here is the finished block.  A bit squashed, but all the letters are there.  I'll try an easier language next time! 

Sunday, 16 August 2015


My local quilt group, Lutterworth Piecemakers, will have been meeting for fifteen years in October.  Fifteen years of friendship, inspiration and fun.  To mark this event there is a committee challenge to make a patchwork item on the theme of 'fifteen'.  I have spent the last eight months scratching my head, hoping an idea would come to me, and finally, eureka!  I have decided to make 16 blocks (15+1) with the word fifteen written in different languages! Here is my progress so far. 

In case you're wondering, there is English, French, Gujerati, Italian and German so far.  I then decided to add to the challenge to make each word in a different font style, and using a different technique.  The font styles are self evident, and the techniques so far are needle turned, satin stitch, straight stitch and machine blanket stitch.  I don't think I'll manage to find 15 different techniques, but I have one or two more up my sleeve!  Now, what language shall I do next? 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Festival of Quilts

Last week it was the wonderful Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham.  It's a must-see as far as I'm concerned, plus an opportunity to do some serious shopping.  I had my list all ready. 

Here it is.  A scrap with some of the light yellow I needed for a border on my Dresden Circles, some of the bright yellow for a border on Grand Illusion, and green for another border.  I saw a friend there who was telling of someone she met on the train, who had said she needed blue for a border, and said, "I have the shade in here," pointing to her head.  She must be quite exceptional if she can carry colours in her head.  I know I certainly can't, which is why I needed swatches.   
And here is the result. 

The green works well on this medallion.  Although I had quite a bit of the pink and green floral, there wasn't quite as much as I'd thought.  Never mind, some more Easy Street leftovers make suitable corners! 

The bright yellow was perfect for the border strip on the Grand Illusion.  I don't usually follow Bonnie's border instructions, but since most of it was already pieced, I went with it.  I don't think it's my favourite Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, as it's very busy, even for Bonnie!  I'm sure it'll be better once it's quilted - once I think of a pattern to bring out the design.  

And here is the light yellow, waiting for a narrow border (blue? red? pink?) before it's attached.  
And did I buy anything else?  Not much, actually.  Four fat quarters from Hannah's Room, some Aurofil thread, and a new cutting mat.  I spent time on the Project Linus stand, and of course admiring the fabulous quilts.  A great day out. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


I've finally joined my Dresden circles quilt into a square.  

I'm really pleased wit it - for one thing, the measurements pretty much worked out!  There's a lot of bias, both in the strips and the on-point arrangement, but not too much distortion.  

I'm delighted at the double circles which have appeared, and when I showed it this morning to some friends, they spied the stars!

Not sure where to go from here.  I want a border or two, but I'll leave that decision for now, and enjoy the arrangement!