I've now been quilting for three and a half years. This blog is my personal quilting diary, that charts my progress (and occasional regression) from the start. I use it so I can look back at my past projects...and hopefully see my skills improve!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

The Saga that is Aerial

I finished binding this quilt this morning.  I had intended it to be larger, but because I wasn't enjoying making it, I called it a day earlier than intended.

I was really excited by the project when I started.  I used some beautiful Caryl Fallert ombre fabrics I have been hoarding and added some Kona Solids. 

The pattern blocks were foundation paper pieced.  I expect that most of my problems were caused by not reading the pattern.  I discovered I needed to leave about an inch and a half around the outside of each piece or they could not be sewn together correctly into the block.  When the pieces were trimmed, the backstitching I had done at the start and end of every seam was cut off so when the paper was removed, the stitches at the edges cam loose and had to be resewn.  When I sewed the blocks together the seams were bulky and difficult to press. I pressed the top with starch before sandwiching it, but I clearly didn't iron it well enough, because there was some creases that became evident when I quilted it...so I had more remedial work to do. 

Quite honestly, I am sick of the sight of it.  I will try to learn from my mistakes and...move on!

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Three months since I Last Updated my Blog

I have made a reasonable start to the year.  I finished piecing my Amish with a Twist quilt.  It is sandwiched and waiting to be quilted.  It is over 100 inches square, so will be a big job.  It is too big to photograph in the bungalow and too wet to hang outside!

I took part in the Modern Quilt Guild mini swap.  I had a lovely swap partner, Vickie, from Illinois.  I made a mini from ombre fabrics in my stash and hand dyed some silk to use as extra pops of colour.  The design is one that I adapted from a Quilt Show demo by Alex Anderson.  I think the design would work in a lot of different palettes and different sizes.

I received a lovely mini in return.  It is a two-sided quilt.  I still need to take photos.

I made the Lavender Fields quilt (pattern by Jacqueline de Jonge) in about a month.  I  spent a lot of time on it...but the weather was SO wet and miserable!  It really helped the time to pass.

I used batiks from my stash.  I tried to match what I had with photos of the suggested fabrics on the pattern.  Where my fabrics were different I tried to go for a similar level of colour saturation.

I would strongly recommend the pattern.  It was much easier to piece than I thought it would be.  The centre of each block is sewn first and then the arcs are sewn onto the edges.  They fit together very well, partly due to the curved pieces being shallow.  It was important to stick to the directions as four identical arcs are pieced into four blocks to get the effect as shown in the pattern. 

I chose the pattern because I love batik blues and greens and the white space in the centre of the blocks.  Being able to free motion quilt the block centres gives the quilt more texture and interest.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Recreating an old Favourite

I have always loved the Hearts and Crosses coverlet in the Quilters' Guild collection and have made two previous quilts with more than a nod to the original. 

This time I wanted to make a 'modern' version using the same dimensions as the original. 

When I look at the original (on the cover of the pattern), I can see that the maker sometimes changed fabrics part way along a strip.  How 'Improv'! I guess nothing is new.

I wanted to use Improv crosses (slash and Insert) rather than the Victorian style ones on the original.  I moved the hearts to the cornerstones.  Their appearance is more subtle than in the original.  I left the sashing plain as the quilt is already very busy.  The eye needs to rest somewhere!

So, what do I think of it, so far?  In retrospect, I think that using more pale strips would have been easier on the eye. I am not used to adding random colours to a quilt.  I am a planner and always coordinate the fabrics I put together.  I was determined to take a more carefree approach.  I found it difficult but will persevere as I think serendipity can be good, too.  If I had not been trying to mimic the original, I would have chosen to use my striped fabric in all of the sashing...but it is what it is!

I have finished piecing the top and now need to get ready for my least enjoyable part of making a quilt - the sandwiching!  I also still need to think about a backing fabric for the quilt. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Some Progress

Now the summer is a distant memory, I have been able to make some progress with my quilting and patchwork.  As always, I have several projects on the go.

I started a log cabin quilt at a workshop about a month ago.  I had a kit that had sat waiting for a couple of years.  The workshop seemed a good opportunity to start it.  Over 1700 pieces of fabric later, the top is finished.  Not sure when I will get around to quilting it, as I still need to cut 200 more squares to piece the backing.

I have finally quilted the Di Ford Hall quilt 'Rochester'.  I just need to hand sew the back of the binding...then, I will take a photo.

I finished free motion quilting a Hoffman digital panel.  I just followed the edges and veins in the leaves.

I still need to hand sew the binding on the little butterfly quilt.  I used some South African Shwe Shwe fabrics.  I tried grafitti quilting for the first time.  Next time, I need to have greater differentiation of the motifs.

Thursday, 5 September 2019


I have the binding on my large Tulips and Hearts quilt.  I still need to hand sew binding to the back - 300 inches, so will probably save that task for next week when Hawkinge Patchwork group starts up again after the summer break.

I find myself being pulled more towards modern quilting and improv quilting.  I'm not sure why,  but I think it might be to do with the white space.  When I first came across the modern quilt movement I was unmoved.  Initially, it seemed to only use a very limited palette of colours such as blue, beige, orange, black and grey and retro patterned fabric. Maybe that was a misconception on my part.  More recently it seems to have become a much broader church with every colour represented and a real mixture of solid and patterned fabrics.

I think I am happiest when I allow myself the freedom of working with freedom and without pressure or expectation.

Yesterday, I used a photo my husband took at Stonehenge last year as the starting point for a little improv piece.  It was an experiment really.  I used my light box to trace the shapes of the standing stones...but I squared them all off in my tracing. Initially I was going to use the traced diagram as a pattern and cut the pieces exactly...but then I decided to free hand cut the pieces.  After all, I wasn't interested in making an exact copy of the stones.  Before cutting the pieces, I fused some Steam a Seam Light to the back of the fabric.

I used a small piece of Benartex Caryl Bryer Fallert fabric I've been hoarding for the background.

I have machined the binding and just need to hand stitch the back to finish.  I have ideas of doing more in this style, but we will see!

Once I had fused the pieces, I fused the pieces of the monument.  When I looked at it, I realised it needed something else so dragged out my Sizzix and cut a circle for the Sun.  This also gave me the name for the piece - 'Solstice'.  Before sandwiching and quilting, I roughly free motion quilted around all the pieces of fabric in black thread.  I changed out my top thread for a lovely variegated Isacord thread and quilted some wavy rays to finish the piece.

So, what do I think of it?  I'm reasonably happy but I am never thrilled with the fraying I get with raw edge applique.  It drives me nuts.  Either I need to learn to do it better...or maybe just try to relax about it!!!

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Hearts and Tulips

Making progress with my design.  It is the first large quilty I've designed in a long time.  I took the photo a couple of days ago.  Since then, I've hand appliqued the corner hearts, sandwiched and stabilised the quilt top.  I started FMQ the centre medallion, but wasn't happy...so am now in the process of unpicking!  The quilt will finish 76 inches square.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Swap Quilts

I recently took part in the UKQU Mini Swap.  It is a three way swap.   I have done several in the past and enjoyed the experience.  I always make two minis based on a sheet of my swap partner's likes and dislikes and then send the one I think she would like best.

Both of this year's efforts were foundation paper pieced and finished at just under 20 inches.

The first mini was based on traditional New York Beauty  blocks but with a modern interpretation.  I really enjoyed thinking about the free motion quilting to sew in the white space.

The second mini was a much smaller version of Peggy Martin's Summer in Provence quilt.  I think the original was 36 inches square.

Both were fun to make.  I added a little bling to both with some heat set crystals.

It was difficult yo decide which to send, but in the end I sent the NYB.

I received a lovely Improv mini from my swap partner.  I love Improv quilts, circles,  log cabins and bold colours, so my swap partner was right on the money!