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!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Two Finishes in one Week

It's been pedal to the metal over the past week.  I had two long term quilting projects that needed to be finished.

The first quilt is for my younger son, Peter.  He is a mariner...hence the maritime theme.  This was also my first attempt at designing a medallion style quilt.  I used a wide range of techniques in piecing the quilt including foundation paper piecing, broderie perse and English paper piecing.  The ships came from a purchased panel.

The second quilt is an 80 inch square quilt I started about a year ago.  The pattern for this was created by Joanna Figurola of Figtree Quilts.  Piecing the top was very straightforward, but then the problems started.  I wanted to quilt it entirely by hand using big stitch and using perle cotton. The wadding was so heavy, it was absolute murder on my hands. I found that I liked the look of it in the spools but it looked awful in the sashing. I then unpicked the sashing quilting and quilted it using the tiny throat space on my Bernina 1008. I realised after it was too late to change it, that I would have to quilt the feathers on half the quilt upside down, as I couldn't fit more than half of the quilt into the throat space. To cut a long story short, the quilt has taken me a year to finish. I really fell out of love with it. I just hope the passage of time will help to rekindle my fondness of it!

 Happy quilting, all!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Is it me?

First...the things that make me happy...

I am making good progress with one of the borders on the quilt I am hand piecing.  This border has over 670 little pieces of fabric in it.  There are lots more borders to go after this one, but I'm enjoying the process.

Somewhere on the Internet a couple of years ago, I saw someone had made some fabric bowls in the shape of flowers.  It has taken me a long time to get around to it, but yesterday I had a go and made two.  I am pleased with them.  I fused some angelina to the fabric before I thread painted the bowls, so they catch the light and sparkle.  I had to learn from my mistakes, so the first one took some time to make.  I made the second one in a third of the time.  It is fun to play!

I get fed up with my tools rolling off my sewing table, so I made myself a 'tooly'.  I purchased the pattern on Craftsy.   It is just great.  It sits well on my table next to my machine.  I now know where my seam ripper, marking pens, rotary cutter etc are...and the big bonus is that all I need to do is grab it, close it and I am ready for my patchwork group meeting...no more spending 20 minutes looking for my supplies to take with me.

It was a quick, easy make.  The fleece provides a sturdy non-slip base and doubles as a pincushion.  The pattern called for a hairband as a closure, but I didn't have one.  I did have some white knicker elastic, so hand dyed it.

Now...is it me?

I have had a subscription for Quiltmania magazine for the last two or three years.  The latest issue hasn't arrived.  I know via Facebook groups that other foreign subscribers received their magazine two weeks ago.  I emailed the magazine using their contact form...You'd think they might have the courtesy to reply...but no.  I posted on their Facebook page...still no reply...so I messaged them via Facebook...no reply.  I think I am generally fairly calm and pragmatic, having spent many years teaching...but I find being ignored a challenge!  What makes it worse is that I am half way through the Quiltmania Mystery quilt, so cannot continue without the pattern that is printed in the magazine.  I'm not really sure where I go from here.  The materials for the quilt are sent by Petra Prins in the Netherlands every two months, but are no use to me without the pattern.  Feeling frustrated and invisible! I quilt because it helps me to relax and it makes me happy.  I don't need angst in my life.  Maybe I'll feel better after a good night's sleep!

Update this morning: I have had a message reponse from Quiltmania today. They are sending out another copy for me...so fngers crossed!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Decisions, decisions

I love to break up large projects with small projects.  I need that instant gratification of a quick finish sometimes.

I've had some fabric lurking in my stash for a while, but didn't know what to do with it. I thought I'd have a go at making a bag. The colours are pretty loud, but I guess I'll never see another the same. The pattern was designed by Susan Brubaker Knapp.  My husband's comment was 'I guess I'll see you coming!'

 I have started to make a second bag, from the same pattern, using batiks this time.    This has prompted some thought about the choices I make when I FMQ.  OK...so we quilt for a practical reason - to hold the layers of fabric and batting together.  This can be as simple as straight lines or stitch in the ditch.  The purpose of FMQ, must, then, be to enhance the appearance of a quilt.  When I quilted the bag above, I followed the contours of the designs, so the quilting is very subtle.  I used pebbles along the sides and bottom of the bag.  I wanted to Australian fabrics to be the main event.

That brings me to my second bag.  I have just started quilting the panels.  The batik fabrics are quite 'busy'.  I thought about whether to use a brown or orange thread.  In the end I went for orange and used a simple, freeform design.  I don't know if the design would be called paisley, mussel shells or freeform feathers.  When I stood back and looked at the quilting, all I could seem to see was the quilting, with the fabric taking a back seat.  I feel disappointed about this, but this panel will just show a little at the top of the front of the bag, and at the back.


Fabric unquilted

So, what have I learned...I should have gone for the brown thread!  I will need to think carefully about the thread and design I use for the front panels.  Hmmmm.

I am making good, if slow progress with my hand pieced Billings quilt.

Happy quilting! xx

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Lush and Verdant

Not much progress to report this week.  I was inspired by the ferns in my front garden to draw some ferns unfurling and then to attempt to FMQ them.  I used a fat quarter yard of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton and Isacord thread.  I used a dark green thread for the ferns and regretted it.  The thread looks black, rather than green against the shot cotton.  I used Patsy Thompson's method for doing trapunto for the first time.  It does make the ferns pop.  I intended to leave the piece with just the thread  - like a wholecloth, but to my eyes, it looked pretty dull, so I used my Inktense pencils lightly to add a little dimension.  I think the piece would have looked better with some hand dyed backing...maybe next time.  I get frustrated with myself at times, but I learn from each and every mistake. :)

A fern in my front garden

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Difficult Times

There are no two ways about it - life can be tough.  On the 9th May, my beloved Daisy, passed away suddenly.  She was only 10 years old.  Every day has been difficult and I haven't felt like sharing my sorrow with anyone.  People have their own set of problems.  She was a wonderful dog and companion. 

I didn't use my sewing machine for six weeks, but have started hand piecing a quilt.  The pattern is called the Hertfordshire quilt from  Carolyn Konig's book.  I think it is based on the Billings quilt.  There are many more borders to add.  I have made a start and think of Daisy as I stitch.

Last week I managed to complete the third block of the 2015 Quiltmania mystery quilt. I have found an easier way todo all the trapunto work.  Hurrah!

The last couple of weeks have seen me back at my sewing machine. I have started quilting my son's quilt.  He is a mariner, so I hope he will like it.

A lone star quilt is on my bucket list.  I wanted to attempt a small lone star to see if I can cope with all those matching seams and points.  I had some fabric I didn't much like so decided to use that.  I even managed to practice some FMQ.  I do, now, realise why it isn't a good idea to use white batting under black cloth.  I have little fuzzies over the back of the piece.  Lesson learned.  I still don't like the fabric, but I think I can cope with the piecing.