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!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

My Expedition

I am best known as a maker of teddybears, but I have another new passion - patchwork and quilting.  This blog is my online diary to myself.  It will chart my learning journey and I hope, will document my mistakes and  successes in this expedition to 'teach an old dog new tricks'.   I have been learning to quilt for about 9 months, so the first few posts will be a summary of the journey so far.

The Beginning

While going through my loft last year, I came across a brown manilla envelope containing a bear paw patchwork block that I hand-sewed over thirty years ago.  Somehow, life got in the way and my patchwork never progressed any further.

Summer 2012 - First quilt

Ignorance is bliss.  Last summer I decided to make a patchwork quilt for my bed...this time using a sewing machine.  In my ignorance, I decided to make a large quilt using half square triangles.  How hard could it be?  I would be cutting up material and sewing it back together again.  One thing for sure, I made every mistake in the book.  I wasn't aware of the problems that bias in fabric can cause.
I used a bought pattern, but it contained mistakes and I found it difficult initially to work out how to fix the problems that arose.

I have always loved colour.  I wanted to use the autumnal colours that I could remember when I was  a little girl living in Canada.  I think of this finished first quilt as my 'Monet' quilt.  It looks good from a distance, but is a mess up close!

September - December 2012 Block of the Week Beginner Course

After completing my Monet quilt, I had caught the quilt making bug and I realised I needed professional help to improve!  I started a Block of the Week course at Kathy's Patch in Folkestone.  The course covered all the basics and twelve different blocks.

My sampler quilt was created from the blocks I made while taking the course.  At the time, I had a 'thing' for purple and lime green, and I fell in love with Fabric Freedom's Pure Velvet range of cottons.  The lime green sashing was a Fossil Fern fabric.  I needed more than twelve blocks as the quilt needed to cover a king size bed, so I made extra blocks in different colourways.  I also included a few plain blocks - some of which I hand quilted - my first ever attempt.

Paper Piecing - so much fun

At the same time as completing my Block of the Week course, I completed a Craftsy course on paper piecing by Peggy Martin.  It was a total revelation.  It was so liberating after all the very careful measuring and cutting of fabric required by conventional patchwork.  The patterns - New York Beauty, Mariner's Compass etc. were within my grasp.  I never thought I would be able to create them, as they looked so complex...but looks can be deceptive!

I had bought a few batik fabrics at a quilt show in Maidstone in October, without any idea of what I might use them for.  I just picked out colours I liked.  These fabrics became my New York Beauty wallhanging.  I had intended to make a couple of cushion covers with the blocks, but was having so much fun, I just kept making more blocks.  The pattern is a Peggy Martin design.

I then decided to make a couple of cushion covers - again paper pieced.

I also started a Be Colorful Quilt.  This is still a work in progress as a bear show in February and another in March have taken priority.  This is by far my greatest challenge.