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, 24 August 2015

Quiltmania Mystery BOM 2015

I have managed to finish Part 4 of the Quiltmania 2015 Mystery BOM.   It is amazing how much time can be spent on one block!  There were several stages to this:

  1. Piece the block. Attach cheesecloth backing.
  2. Fuse applique flowers and leaves to the block.
  3. Outline all the appliques with stranded cotton, so trapunto stuffing can be added from the back.
  4. Add the stuffing to the appliques.
  5. Embroider the appliques.

Hand embroidery is not my forte, but I am persevering with this project.  I find the hand stuffing onerous, so I don't think I would do another quilt using this method, but I have been delighted to get experience using methods I would never have tried otherwise.  There are two more parts yet to come...I'm guessing sashing and borders?

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Festival of Quilts 2015

Very little practical progress since last week, but I did spend two lovely, exhausting days at The Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.  There were a huge number of lovely quilts on display.  I didn't see a large number of reproduction style quilts on show.  I was disappointed by this, but I just have to accept that my personal preferences are in the minority in the greater scheme of taste in quilts.  Although I don't have numbers to back this up, me feeling was that the majority of quilts on show were in the art quilt category...and lovely, they were.  I managed to spend the money I had saved to spend at the show as well as my birthday money, so came home with some quilting goodies.  I bought some reproduction border fabrics and fabric for broderie perse from Petra Prins - not to mention a pattern for Di Ford's Sutton Grange.  I also managed to get my hands on a versatile ruler (intended for a longarm), to use with my Westalee ruler foot.  A couple of books came home with me as well, not to mention a new A4 rotary cutting mat (as my old one is in a bad way).  I took 130+ photos of quilts but haven't got around to resizing and compressing most of them yet, but can't resist showing the Tentmaker of Cairo's lovely work.

 I needed a couple of days to get over the trip.  I have lots of projects in mind, but at the moment I am struggling to decide on the order of tackling them!  In the meantime, I have taken a quilt out of my cupboard to work on.  This quilt was the third I ever made (two and a half years ago) and the first and only paper pieced quilt I've made.  I ruined the quilt by machine quilting it REALLY badly.  I did not have the skills and in retrospect, I should have just stitched in the ditch.  So, now I am unpicking ALL the FMQ, and have started quilting it again.  Last time, I used a rainbow King Tut thread.  This didn't work well, as the thread disappears and then reappears which isn't great.  The main problems are with the quilting.  My tension is off for most of the quilting and my stitch length varies hugely - really short at the tops of loops and very long on straight seams.  The motifs are a mess.  Yuck.  This time, I am using a gold, metallic thread.  I am using my ruler foot, so that the straight lines are quilted straight!  So far I have spent a whole day unpicking...nearly there.  I have redone about a quarter of the quilt.


I am hoping that when it is done, I won't have to hide it away, anymore!

Happy quilting, all!

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A FMQ Finish

One of the main reasons I want to become more proficient at FMQ, is so that I can machine quilt wholecloths.  This week I took an old tablecloth that, I think, cost me £5 a few years ago and quilted it.

I used Hobbs Tuscan wool wadding and a tonal white backing.  The centre wreath motif was a free quilting design from Forest Quilting.  I resized it so that it would not cover the embroidery on the tablecloth.  The motifs around the quilt were a combination of a Forest Quilting motif, which I rearranged and my own curled feather design in the centre.    I ditched around every embroidered motif, as I wanted to feature the embroidery.

Overall, for a first effort at quilting a wholecloth, I am pleased.  However, there are a few areas I need to improve on, next time.

  1. Echoing around the motifs (maybe three times) would create more 'light and shade'.
  2. The gridwork would have looked better if it had been slightly smaller. 
  3. I should have used heirloom style feathers instead of 'banana' feathers.  The feathers would have looked crisper.
  4. Using a finer thread for the pebbles would have given them a crisper outline.
I learn best from my mistakes.  I am glad that I decided to start with a rather tired looking tablecloth instead of a real heirloom.  It definitely looks a lot better quilted, than it did before, so that's a win in my book!

I am off to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham tomorrow.  It will be my first ever visit.  I am prepared to be overwhelmed!

Happy quilting!