Sunshine quilt

Sunshine quilt

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Homage to Kaffe's Shadow Pinwheel

Ever since I have had the book Quilt Grandeur I've loved the really bright, colour dense quilts in it. I love 'Blue Haze' and I also love the 'Shadow Pinwheel'. I toyed with the idea of buying one of the kits to re-create one of these quilts, but I decided I couldn't justify this with all the fabric I have in my stash and I thought I would give a try to creating my own. At the moment I am just at the point of selecting colours and putting them together.

First of all I dug out a pack of 20 ten inch Kaffe dots. And then I also unearthed a partly used layer cake of Philip Jacobs big flowery prints. I wanted very much not to just rely on mixing up Rowan fabrics so I have added in some that I have been saving from some Fabric Freedom fat quarters that I have by me - can you see the little fishes in the blue pinwheel at the back?

I'm not sure about the pink and white dots in the next shot - I think I have to accept that when I put everything together I may discard some combinations. I have pored over the Shadow pinwheel picture - the clearest I can find on the web is about half way down the linked page) and realised I need to repeat fabrics from the pinwheels in the triangles and also use some fabrics in different combinations in the pinwheels in order to get a sense of coherence. My main criterion for colour choice at the moment is richness rather than trying to match things. The next shot is some of the other combinations I am auditioning!

It's not a safe palette is it?? I guess it may be wonderful or a complete disaster - but I won't know till I try. I am a bit limited as I really don't want to buy new fabric - or at least only a little if I need it.

So watch this space - slow going as I am finishing quilting the orange monster and also very much enjoying making mug rugs for the quilting gallery spring swop ( I like them so much I'm going to try and make a few more for easter gifts).

I'd love to know what you think ( if you think yuk - just don't tell me!!)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Fabric stuffing!

Just a quick post with some quilty good news. I managed to get my orange and brown half log cabin quilt through my machine so that I can grid quilt it.
Here it is! And it isn't unbearably difficult either.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get the volume of quilt sandwich through the machine so that I could do a squared grid all over the quilt which was my quilting pattern of choice. It was a happy accident really. I love to use Quilter's Dream wadding and I went over to the Cotton Patch to buy it. I was feeling a bit strapped for cash and the lighter version was a good bit cheaper than the next weight up so I bought that. This has made the whole quilt sandwich a lot thinner. In fact I prefer it for this quilt which is not going to be used to keep warm under - more for decoration.

I also love the feel of the Kaffe materials. I splashed out on a Philip Jacobs print for the back and the whole quilt is so soft - and a real riot of colour. There's nothing subtle about it.

Quilting is slow progress as it is so big - but relaxing to do. Only problem is that I am using MASSES of thread.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Three cushions and a plan

Right back in January my husband issued me with a challenge for the year - only a small one but nevertheless a challenge. It was to sell something I had made to someone I didn't know.So here's the plan. I have been wanting to try an Etsy shop for ages, but I have to be careful of the fact that if I am busy for work I often can't drop everything to make something. So the plan is to make several things before I start the Etsy shop.

This is my first attempt at building up some stock. Three really simple cushions. Here they are one by one

This one is made of a bright pink plain and a tiny white flower outlined in black on two colours of pink background.

This one is a plain blue and a selection of blue and red based 30s prints.

And this one is a tiny cream star fabric and a mixture of the 30s prints. They all have the fronts quilted with a one inch grid pattern and a contrasting square binding round the outside.

My next plan is to make some more in different styles and then when I have about 8 or 10  I will start the Etsy shop. I need to check out postage and packaging too. I'm pleased with the result so far. At the moment this feels like a mountain to climb - but I'm glad I've done it and albeit a little more slowly than I thought am sticking to my plans.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Delayed ta-dah

Just a very quick post to say this quilt which you can see in more detail here and here is now finished. The jury is out on whether I like it!! Isn't that strange? I made this quilt working on the principle that since it was for me I would just go with the flow and use fabrics I loved and easy quilting patterns. I should love it. I did love it while I was putting it together - but now I am not so sure! The only way I can express it is that it feels a bit too busy, almost a bit sickly and over the top. I'm not sure if it was because I was really involved in making it when I had some bad news and this has kind of rubbed off on the quilt. It feels as though it is associated with difficult things rather than the enjoyment and achievement I usually feel on completing a quilt.

I've got a plan though. I'm not going to give it away - I'm going to put it away for a bit in a cupboard and then get it out and see if I like it any better.

I'm taking a break now and working on some very simple cushions which I am really enjoying. I went to the Sewing for Pleasure show in Birmingham last week and added a little to my stash which I really enjoyed too. More of cushions and stashes soon - but now I have got an hour to go and sew - sew I must go and get on with it!! Back soon.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mug rugs - stepping back into my blog

This is a practice mug rug I made in preparation for the Quilting Gallery olympic mug rug swap. It was the first time I have done anything like this in many ways - first time for a swap, first time for a mug rug and first time for applique. Before I sent the mug rugs to my partner I had a little practice and this was my first attempt. I was actually quite pleased with it. I especially liked the backing fabric with the clouds which was from the lovely collection by Heather Moore for Cloud 9. My second attempts which went to my swap partner Crystal in Maine, USA are here

and here

I really enjoyed making the mug rugs - especially the hand stitched blanket stitches round the edges. It has opened my eyes to a whole new option for quilting and I have very much enjoyed learning more about this from Lynne Edwards blanket stitch quilt books. I'm planning making a cushion using this technique and one of her motifs - perhaps the cherries or even a butterfly if I feel brave!

For those of you who read this blog regularly you will notice I haven't been able to post for several weeks. Things are just beginning to get back to some semblance of normality round here and I have been determined to get back to my blogging. It took such an effort to get started that I really didn't want to give up. Not only have I not been able to blog, but I haven't felt much like sewing either - but I'm getting there. Sometimes when there is a lot of other stuff going on the urge to sew deserts me. When my children were younger and I was phenomenally busy with work and study and looking after people it would desert me for years at a time, only returning on holiday when I would pick up some cross stitch or some knitting. Now I am glad it has only  been gone for a matter of weeks. Does that happen to you? Sometimes when it has gone I wonder what would happen if it didn't return - but happily it has been there waiting for me every time so far.

I've signed up for the Easter mug rug challenge as a motivation to keep sewing in the short term even if it is something small - and I might even get back to that huge quilting task mentioned here and here soon.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Slow progress, no progress

It's been a trying week, with no quilting or sewing to speak of due to family emergencies - but I badly don't want to let my blog stagnate as it is an important part of retaining normality for me in difficult circumstances. I have made little progress on my blue quilt below

although I have decided to hand quilt the smallest squares with a variety of different coloured embroidery silks. This looks pretty I think and has solved the problem of getting a lot of quilt under a small machine. One day I will invest in one of the bigger machines - but that's a long way off!

So I have started this post with a picture of a cushion I made at Christmas for my sister in law, simply because it's a nice bright photo and its simplicity cheers me up. It was the easiest of patterns, just strips in a variety of widths. I've hand quilted this one too - see here

I've used embroidery silk here too. I used to do quite a lot of needlepoint so I still have a really good selection of colours which is probably why it is my thread of choice.
I tried a new approach to the back as well which I like and have used again since

It's just an overlap with the top edge of the join trimmed with binding.

Not a very inspiring post - but an important one for me that shows my blog doesn't fall at the first difficult life hurdle. Better next time - I hope!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sock therapy

I have been knitting socks for several years now - I can't remember how long exactly - but at least 5 or 6 years. I find it extremely therapeutic. I know the pattern well now so it doesn't cause me any trouble. For me it is the perfect knitting pattern with an excellent mix of mindless knitting (from the top to turning the heel and then again along the foot) with the slightly more challenging element of turning the heel and finishing off the toe.

I've just finished the pair above which were knitted in some lovely wool called Lorna's Laces which you can find here at Modern Knitting. I can really recommend this wool - the colours are beautiful and the feel of the wool lovely too. It's a wool nylon mix which I always use for socks and they wear really well.

I knit the socks on rotation for anyone who needs them in the family. Two pairs went to Afghanistan where apparently even though it is hot in the day it is very cold at night. I am just about to start a new pair in this colour called iris garden. What a lovely name for a colour  - I can't wait.

These are some irises from my garden last year - which incidentally is my inspiration for so much of my crafty stuff.

If you fancy knitting some socks I would highly recommend giving it a try even if just to get your hands on the beautiful colours of wool available to make them. There are numerous free patterns on Ravelry. I prefer tiny needles and 4 ply wool but there are loads to choose from.