Sunday, 30 September 2012

Sunday again - more UFO work.

You remember my treasure box quilt, with all the lovely batik fabrics and the great mottled fabric for the back?

Well the backing fabric wasn't quite big enough. So I decided to make a strip of pieced fabric that I could use to increase it's size. And managed to find enough to hopefully even bind it with too.
I spent hours cutting it all to 2.5 inches (being the most common size of fabrics already in strips) and eventually managed to put it together. I also managed to find more scraps of matching but not exactly the same, to increase the interest, I hope.

I have also got a new phone and an app to blog from, so I hope this comes out nicely...
Anyway, as you can see, I managed to make quite a long strip of binding, so it should work. I even have some black left that I may be able to use to round out the front as I think a multicoloured binding will need a dark division.

If I have enough I was thinking of dividing the backing up into 4 or 6 with it too.
What are people's thoughts on something something like that? Does it matter, if I quilt the front in squares, if the quilting doesn't match up with the back?
Watch this space!

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Free fabric!!

I got a package in the post yesterday morning.  It was small and squashable and I'm very excited...

I have just started following the blog of a lovely lady,  and as a reward, she sent me some beautiful squares of fabric to inspire me.  Right now I don't have a plan for them, but once I've finished the 3 major projects I'm doing, I'll make a plan, because they are such a good selection of fabrics, and none of them are the same.   

 The irises are just amazing, and I'm almost sad that there isn't another one of them in the pack, but I'm also pretty enamoured with the 2 spotty ones that have obviously been batiked or some similar method that messes with the structure of the actual fabric, so the spots are all a bit 3d...

Thank you Laura!!!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Post number 10!

Well!  I never expected to get to number 10 so quickly, but it's great, because having a weekly project to blog about is really making sure I actually sit down and do some sewing - maybe not on a weeknight when I'm knackered, but I do at least try and get something done at the weekend. 

So far this week I haven't managed to do any sewing for myself, but I did go to my friend Natalie's house and help her with a project.  I say helped.  I got a bit overtired and ended up cutting the fabric wrong.  I felt pretty bad about that, but I'll make it up somehow.  At least it was only a couple of bits.
Anyway, I'm teaching Nat how to make quilts, bit by bit, and she's getting the hang of it.  Natalie's a jewellery designer and she also sells vintage costume jewellery so she's got the ideas and designing side of things and just needs help with learning how to put it into practice.

The first project I did with her was making a cushion cover.  We designed it together, using simple piecing to create her initial and border it with lots of lovely fabrics... Here's the photo..  It turned out pretty nice didn't it?

So you can see the sort of stuff Natalie likes (not my thing at all, but hey ho!)  So when I went to my quilting group a few weeks ago I looked at the sales table and look what I found for her - some really lovely pieces of fabric with vintage patterns.  One piece is really quite large, and is properly vintage too from what I can see.  Well worth the £2.50 I put into the pot!!

If you are interested in this kind of style, not only in fabrics, but dresses and china etc, take a look at Natalie's page,  She has some amazing items there!!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fun at a quilt show

Today I haven't been working on any quilts, but I have been looking at them. 

Earlier this week I got a delivery from Quilter's Haven, where I had some birthday vouchers to be used.  I used them to buy the wadding and what I hoped I could use for the backing for my treasure box quilt, which I have been working on for my UFO Sundays with Leah Day.  The wadding is just what Leah recommended we use, Quilters Dream, and it looks to me so far to be really nice.  The backing looks really good too, but I had thought the amount I bought would be just enough - turns out to be just not enough.  How frustrating!  It's also a little greener than I expected, but my treasure box quilt is all sorts of colours, so I think it'll work.

This pic is slightly greener than the actual fabric, but you get the idea...

Anyway, I spent the afternoon with my quilting friend Julie at a quilt show, the Quilter's Guild, Region 2 at Hever Castle's annual country life show.  It was full of amazing stuff, which I'm really not sure I'm allowed to post photos of, so I'll keep it to partials.  There were some amazing ones, but I was expecting that...

 This one was an amazingly pretty quilt, but I was more struck by the quilting than the piecing.  It was very skilfully done from what I could see.

 This was done by a mother and daughter group (If I remember from what Julie read out of her programme).  The whole quilt was just fantastic, using muted colours like this, with fabrics that were pieced then cut and put together in curves and circles etc.  Just mesmerising...

 Can you see a colour theme coming over here?  I always seem to be drawn to purples, jades, that sort of stuff.  This one, I wasn't too enamoured by the whole quilt, but the colours and quilting drew me in...

 Beautiful piecing, beautiful colours, gorgeous batik feeling...

I had some strange thoughts while I was walking round looking at all these quilts.  It's odd - I don't normally think about how much I've grown/changed, and I don't like the fact that I change - no-one wants to feel that they are getting older.  However, today it struck me that I now look at quilts in a completely different light to the way I used to a couple of years ago.  
The first time I came to the Hever show, 3 or 4 years ago, I walked round in awe.  I looked at everything, knowing how much work goes into making one of these (I was making my 'Seeing Stars' quilt at the time), and every quilt I looked at inspired a feeling of 'Oh my god, the amount of work in here is crazy, I could never do this sort of thing'.  
Now  I look at them and can evaluate the level of skill required to make the pattern, look at the piecing and tell if it has been done by a beginner or someone much more accomplished and look at the quilting and make up my mind about that one too.  Strangely, it didn't affect me in a completely nice way - I found myself looking at some and thinking that the skill of some of the quilters wasn't enough for the pattern they had chosen, and thinking negatively about the fact that some quilts hadn't been quilted in the way that I would have done.  Once I realised I was doing this I tried to keep a tab on when this was happening.  I realised that because my skill has increased over the years, and I have been introduced to more complicated quilting, I now think of quilting as quilting, not the piecing and sewing it together that most people think of.  If something has been pieced, with no thought to the quilting, say they have just quilted in the ditch, I now look at it and feel that there is something missing - it's not a completed quilt to me.  It's also making me re-think 'Seeing Stars', that maybe I should put some more quilting on it.  

What do you think?  As it's my first quilt, should I leave it as it is, or should I continue with it now I think it needs more work??

I also had a quick walk around the Italian garden, in the sunshine (maybe the last nice weekend we have this summer, Autumn is coming....)

I was struck by the textures and patterns, and I think I might use some of these to design a quilt someday.  Maybe.  When I get round to it...

Monday, 10 September 2012

UFO Sunday again already?

This week, I decided to work on one of my WIPs because my UFO is currently waiting for the rest of the wadding and fabric to be delivered.

I'm making a scrap quilt for my neighbour to say thank you for looking after my dog once a week and our ferrets every time we go away.  She'd great, so she deserves something absolutely fantastic.  But I have no money to buy fantastic fabric.  So I'm making it.  Out of practiacally all the craps I've ever made, or at least all the scraps I've made and kept over the last 3 or 4 years.  I also asked my mother in law if she had any, and apparently she had been keeping some specially for me, knowing how much I like to fiddle with tiny scraps.

I have already made about 4 or 5 'squares' that aren't anywhere near being square, and I'll have to bring up to size later with the shedloads of 1 or 2 inch strips that are waiting for the job, but this time I decided to go back into the scrap bag and start from scratch again.  And this is how it went.  Playing jigsaw with randomy cut bits and bobs made this pile of ironing...

And after ironing, it made some fantastic shapes...

I end up using the scrap pieces really like a cross between jigsaw pieces and stitch and flip - just without the base bit of fabric.

So I place them on my sewing table and look for the best match to one or other of the sides on another.  And if I can't, then not to worry, just get the best fit and cut some off if it's not right.  After all, these were scraps that would never have got used otherwise, so it's not really wasting.  I keep telling myself that.  I really can't stand wasting fabric!!

This is how far I got (it's about 11pm by now, on a school night so no matter how much in the flow I am, I have to stop here. (boo hoo!)

But if you really can't bear to throw away the bits you cut off, then you can do this with them.  My favourite piece so far, and it's not even as big as the palm of my hand yet - the secret is to use bits that are already sewn together.  Find a piece that you have sewn and cut some off, large enough to get a seam of about 1/8 inch or bigger that is made of 2 pieces of fabric, and sew that to another one of similar proportions.  Make sure you keep ironing though.  And I suggest it will probably need a lot of free motion quilting on top of it....

Sunday, 9 September 2012

5 years already??

So this weekend my husband and I went out for a lovely wander at some new woodland trust places we'd not been before.  Why?  Well, apart from the fact that we like walking and the dog demands it, was our 5th wedding anniversary. 
It was a lovely morning, once we actually found the entrance to the first place, the Bearstead Woodland Trust.  There was a little less woodland than we had hoped, but as it's actually on the edge of a large village we couldn't have expected much more.  It was a lovely place, and we walked for almost an hour there before turning back and going on to the next place.
For our picnic lunch we'd had a recommendation to go to Cobtree Park. 
We went there with our lovely picnic pack that we won at a Jubilee celebration.  Real plates and glasses and everything!  Appletizer to celebrate, and lots of sticks being thrown to keep the dog happy too.  It was a fantastic day out, one that we don't take the time to do enough. 

Sadly Ben came down with a fever in the evening so the rest of the weekend has been a bit of a washout.  Doing a little bit of sewing here and there, so maybe I'll post something in the next day or 2.

 My gorgeous husband.....
 Zac.  Needs constant attention....
A fantastic picnic site with loads of places for kids to play too.  If you have any!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

UFO Sunday, fun with my Janome group

 UFO Sunday again.  I can't believe the week is so short! 

So I continued with my project from last week, but in a different setting this week.  I go to a monthly Janome owners' club.  We get to do our own projects if we like, or one that is being shown by another member.  We bring our machines and what's so fantastic is that there are usually a couple of people with a machine the same or similar, so if anyone  has any questions about how to use them or any of the accessories there is someone that can help.  We also have our local stockist, Jim, from Ashford Sewing Centre, visiting every so often, so in addition to selling us stuff we probably don't need to buy, he can also help with any problems and even look at any machines that are playing up.

So I managed to use the village hall to lay the pieces out and pin them, and then I sat down and pieced the rest of the top. 

And here is the final product. Well, not exactly final, I still need to sort out a border and the rest of the stuff a quilt needs...

 Oddly enough, somehow I managed to make 2 more squares than I needed, so I decided to use them to make something else, maybe a little bag...?

I picked some of the fabrics I'd randomly put into my bag to bring with me, and decided to piece a strippy back for it.  I cut them into 2.5 in strips and then cut the middle strip out and turned it around.

I then started quilting the hell out of it.  I didn't get far before the day finished and we had to pack up, but this is the jist of what I'll be doing...

While I was drinking a leisurely cup of tea I thought I'd go round and have a look at what everyone else was up to.  This first picture is a 'book' of sewing needles and other small things - the lady that made this was sick of all the small things falling to the bottom of whatever they were in and decided to make something that kept them easily accessible.  The lining is pelmet vilene, so it's pretty stiff.

The next thing that caught my eye was a bag that another lady had seen someone carrying and decided to try and copy using just her memory.  Her label says it all...  I'm pretty impressed, and I love the idea, it's so simple!

Something else that I think we will be shown next time is this...  It's called markal paint, fabric paint that can marble.  I've no idea how it works yet, but it looks fantastic!

And this is our group.  Lots of friendly ladies, including my mother-in-law and a friend, my goddaughter's mother.  I get a whole lot more work done here than I ever do at home, probably because there's so much more space and no distractions (well, apart from too much tea and chatting!)

UFO Sundays on the Free Motion Quilting Project