26 September 2015

Saturday Workshop

I went to a workshop at Pauline's Patchwork in Dorchester.  The class was tutored by Quilt Artist K3n, Kathryn Chambers, called Stitch a Rainbow.  The morning was taken up with cutting and layering 0.75" strips of fabric in, as the name suggests, in a rainbow of colours.  Some ladies in the group made a lot bigger pieces but for me my piece was around 23" x 10", as I didn't want to spend a long time on agonising over colours, and I did get to some points over the colour choices where it became difficult. After a lunch break it was time to sew.

I think there could have been a less marked contrast between the yellows from golden yellow to lime yellow, but not bad.

The stripes, attached to wadding needed to be stitched down, starting with a straight stitch where the strips overlap. More stitching was added, with some fancy machine stitches added.  I've stitched from the bottom purple strips and got as far as the yellow strips, by the time the class ended.  

More to complete with the addition of some free machined 'bubbles' that we were shown, together with some Applique circles, which I think will added a bit 'extra' to this piece.  I'm looking forward to working during the week on this piece.

20 September 2015

Old Quilts

Yesterday I started a clear out of the built in wardrobe in my sewing room.  It seems very congested at the moment and I do need to clear some stuff, so I've got out some older quilts from the top shelf and laid them out onto the bed for a bit of airing. I thought I would take this opportunity to show you a couple of quilts I made a long time ago.

This is quilt was a mystery quilt using Debbie Mumm fabrics (so this does date this quilt, this designer hasn't had a fabric range for years) which was run by Bramble Patch in Weedon by post.  At the time I saw it advertised in one of the quilt magazines and I liked the style of fabrics.  I can't remember how long the mystery went on for, but had a standing order and each month was sent a pack of fabrics and this is what I made

Before being stuck at the top shelf of the wardrobe it did drape over the recliner chair in the living room.  It's size is 52" wide by 63" long so would fit a single bed, though we don't any single beds in the house any more.

Here's a close up
and another
They were lovely fabrics and even getting this quilt out makes me smile

And I even made a label too

There we are it was made between July 1999 to May 2000. Wow, finished that over 15 years ago!

This small quilt. just 24.5" square doesn't have a label (tut,tut!), but as the shop where I got the idea from closed about 2005/6 its probably about 2004-ish.  Another collection of fabric, this time from Thimbleberries, who made country style fabrics. to make a nine block quilt of 6" blocks. These were using a fat quarter pack.

Although I had the idea, I didn't have a pattern so it was a case of searching for quilt blocks that would easily convert to that size.   There is a mistake in one of the blocks, I know it's there but I'm not going to tell you where that is.
 Here's a close up of one of the blocks and the sashing.  I didn't want plain square cornerstones in the sashing, so added small triangles and I remember those were fiddly but added another dimension to the quilt. Can you tell by now that I like stars?
There was a quarter left but wasn't big enough to back the quilt so added another fabric to 'frame' it.  As I said no label, but it did have a hanging sleeve. I think I may put this right and get that done sometime soon.

I hope you've enjoyed these old quilts.

15 September 2015

Going Traditional

As well as working through the Farmer's Wife 1930's sampler blocks, I also taken to making a Baltimore Album block because the Bourne Quilters wanted to make some blocks I have, reluctantly, joined in with this. I bought the Album book by Mimi Dietrich from Amazon the same time as the Farmer's Wife one and have read through some of the book while on my daily commute on the bus.

Before I attempted my first block, at Bourne Quilters we had a go at making a ruffled flower, the cream one on the right.  I had another go with the pink fabric.  The ruffled flowers are made with a long narrow strip of fabric with gathering stitches made in a zig zag and pulled up. The gathered strip is coiled and stitched in place to hold it together.

Then I made a start, first of all the strips going across the middle (should be used to that having made all those small narrow strips for Jacquie's quilt).  Then using freezer paper shapes, cut and turned the seam allowances on the appliqué pieces with the help of some Sewfine glue.

In my room is a bed settee, so clearing a space there and placing a couple of cushions on the floor I had a small cushion on my lap to rest my sewing on.  I'm finding so far that I'm enjoying hand stitching, but I can't work on it for too long, so I put the sewing down and do something else, then get back to it later, which I find works best for me.

My equipment.

A bit more sewing and a small bag of appliqués ready to see
In the book it suggests making a block a month for 12 months so that you end up with enough to make a quilt.  Hmm, have to wait and see if that happens, but enjoying the experience so far, which is surprising me, as I dint think it was my thing.

Mini Quilt Swap

Back in April/May on UK Quilters United group on Facebook, a mini quilt swap sub group was set up to make mini quilts to swap in September.  I was assigned my partner to make and send a quilt to and with basic info about likes/dislikes and through seeing various posts on Facebook was able to "stalk" her to find out more.  As she has her quilt now I can reveal how I made the quilt.

My partner is Jacquie from Guernsey and by chance she happened to take a photo of the floor of her daughter's Victorian house, which instantly gave me inspiration for the design here

I then did a rough sketch before drafting the design onto some freezer paper

From the info I had I knew that she liked butterflies and I had just the fabric a pink background with mauve, yellow and blue butterflies. Along with a batik with butterflies I then went on to choose a fabric for the "grout" for the tiles and thought a deep purple would set it off.  Only trouble was I have just enough fabric to squeeze out half inch strips to make quarter inch tape to go on the quilt.

I put the drafted drawing under some stabiliser to put the fabric pieces onto and iron on to hold the fabrics pieces together

The inner square was just too small so a border with the dark purple strip and the deep pink cornerstones made it to 15"square. I then added the quarter inch strips.

Before quilting

After quilting and with the binding.  I did find some pieces of butterfly fabric to put on top but did I take a photo after then? Of course not!
Label on the back
A few bits and bobs to put in with the quilt.

Jacquie received her quilt on Monday and she is delighted with it and knows exactly where she will be hanging it.  Meanwhile someone else in the swap was making a quilt just for me.  

Here it is

Some lovely flying geese, my favourite quilt block.  The greens will go well in my room and the orange  geese just add an extra pop of colour.  This came from Mary in Bodmin, Cornwall.  Just down the road from Bodmin is Padstow

She included a lovely linen tea town from Padstow in the style of those old fashioned railway posters.  Far too good for drying the dishes, we will have to find a home to hang that too.  Didn't take a good photo of that, save it for next time. 

She owns an internet shop called Patchwork Dreamer, with some lovely fabrics. Temptation indeed!

13 September 2015


Just a few miles away but a longish drive away from Poole is Swanage, an old fashioned holiday town in the Purbecks where I went yesterday to enjoy a warm autumn day.  I went there to help my work colleagues volunteering to paint part of the pier's barriers.  

The pier itself is not straight it goes around a bend and the end is on 2 levels. An upper deck for promenaders and the lower deck for boats and people fishing. As you see in my picture there are some small brass plaques where people have sponsored a plank on the pier.  We painted a section just before the bend to the steps leading to the upper deck. This proved a bit difficult as the sea breezes were pretty strong and blew some of the paint off the brushes as we painted if the brushes were overloaded. We were rewarded with fish and chips at lunchtime and quickly finished the section we were working on soon after.

Swanage was also hosting a Folk Festival weekend too, so while working we were seranaded by folk music and dancing, not just on the pier, but also could hear music from the town too.

After the pier painting, I wanted to return to Poole on the open top bus service back to Poole, so I walked through the town taking in the sights of the folk dancers.

Here's my trip back to Sandbanks, Poole, where there is a chain ferry that joins Sandbanks with Studland and the Purbeks.

Just out of Swanage I saw the catamaran leaving Poole for the Channel Islands and France, behind that you can just make out the white cliffs on the Isle of Wight.

Excuse on the bus of the ferry looking towards Sandbanks
Looking through the bus towards the Haven Hotel a yacht was sailing across in front of the ferry.
In the bay in Sandbanks, where the tide was going out there were a lot of kite surfers with their brightly coloured kites against the bright blue sky.  I took the bus up to Westbourne between Poole and Bournemouth where I could change buses and head for Poole and home.

It's simple things like this that make me feel really lucky to live in a lovely part of the country.

06 September 2015

Farmer's Wife 1930's Sampler 1

The This post is the first of posts about the progress of the Farmer's Wife 1930s sampler blocks that I will be working on. The Sew Along will start later this month but I wanted to get a 'feel' for working on this. The book has a CD with templates and also for foundation (paper) piecing. I think some people may be English Paper Piecing their blocks (EPP), but sometimes my eyesight struggles with EPP after a while so I think that more detailed blocks may need foundation piecing to deal with all those little shapes.  There are some simple blocks that can be worked out for rotary cutting and piecing, so I had a go at two of them on Wednesday.

I really like the freshness of the fabrics. These are Bonnie and Sarah

This block is called Patricia, which I made this morning. I thought after I made this it looked a bit Christmassy. 

Having fun with these simple blocks. 

01 September 2015

Secret Squirrel!

Not much to show for the end of this month, as I have a mini quilt swap to keep secret for another week or so until the recipient in the swap receives it.  I've also made a small present for my sister, but her birthday is in another week so that's hush hush too.

I have bound the Indian Lady in progress since the end of July in sari ribbon, which took a bit of sorting out and ironing for a decent piece to bind the quilt with.

I've even found some earrings for her and I will take my time adding some bangles to her arms. I think I might couch some fancy threads I have in my embroidery stash.

In August we had our holiday in the West Midlands which included a Diesel engine driving experience for David and Festival of Quilts visits for me and a first visit to the Festival for David. We also had some time exploring Birmingham City centre too. More about our holiday here, here and here.

Since the Festival I have discovered the Farmers Wife 1930s quilt and although I couldn't get the book in Birmingham I did buy it online after and bought a collection of fabrics from Sew And Quilt.  There seems to a revival of 1930's fabrics so there may be more to look out for later. Kerry of Very Kerry Berry is starting a Sew Along, which I hope I can keep up with. Here's a pic of the fabrics from the Gracie's Schoolhouse Classics collection

Something lovely to look forward to in September.

Like the new look this month?  Thought I'd have a bit of a change while I was playing around with the settings.  Let me know what you think - I'd like a bit of feedback.