Sunshine quilt

Sunshine quilt

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Winter cherries

Summer cherries have turned into winter cherries, but the centre of the quilt top is finally done

There are 49 blocks,29 of which are cherries. As you can imagine the blanket stitch took a while!!
Here's a close up

Can you see all the blanket stitches - phew - they took a long time! I'm having a rest from it for a while. My plan is a seminole border using the same blues in a white background, but the way things are going I may never have time for this - we shall see!!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Quilt in use

This is just a quick post to show you one of my quilts in use. I wrote about completing this quilt here.
I made the quilt as a wedding present for one of Harriet's friends. Harriet said the new owner really loved it and this is it in use. Just what a quilt is for in my opinion!Apparently it has gone on the honeymoon. I must admit I often take one of my quilts away with me - and they have proved perfect for holiday cottages with not enough blankets or dodgy sofas that you are not too keen to sit on!

Still a lot of quilting going on here - I am powering on to finish the centre of my cherries quilt. In this picture there is just one row, but now there are five with two more to go. What slows me down is blanket stitching the cherries - but I now only have about three more to go.

I went to the Quilt Fair at Duxford yesterday. It was useful in terms of stocking up on boring bits and pieces - cutter blades, needles, freezer paper etc - but the fabric was pretty uninspiring - all felt a bit end of season and scrappy. I have to say there is so much choice on the internet it's hard not to be disappointed when the real life fabric is not such a good standard.

Back soon with some pics of the cherry quilt and then on to a couple of playmats for Christmas presents.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Two quilts - one old and one new

The weeks seem to be flying past at the moment. Work is really busy which is good - but I am only just finding time for crafting and not enough time for blogging. But never mind - here I am with two quilts to show you - one old and one new.
Here is the old one

It's only my second quilt made for one of my daughters. It came for a visit to go in our washing machine as hers is a bit dodgy. I photographed it as it was drying with the autumn sun streaming through it. The pattern is Lisbon Tile from Jane Brocket's Gentle Art of Quilting which was the book that first got me started. I chose all the fabrics on various trips to John Lewis haberdashery while I was working in Southampton. Looking back at it now I am surprised how pretty it is. I am tempted to try this pattern again.

And here is the new quilt

This is for the new baby which my other daughter is expecting in January - a little crib quilt. This baby is clearly going to have very sophisticated tastes - none of your kiddy fabric here. This is made   from Carolyn Friedlander Botanics. It's reversible and has a Lotta Jansdotter pattern on the back and a small concession to childhood with a tiny blue pattern of ducks round the outside.

I quilted in one inch squares which meant it has shrunk a little bit more than expected - but for a first try it looks OK to me - and to use a phrase from one of Lynn Edwards book - we'll hope the baby isn't a sophisticated quilter yet, so it won't notice!!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

A crochet baby blanket

Although there is a great deal of quilting going on here I can't show you as the thing I am making is a gift. It's taking a lot of time but I hope the results will be worth it!

What I can show you is this

A big pile of crochet squares! There are about 55 there at the moment - but I need 63 so I am ploughing on - not helped by the fact that I seem to have developed crocheter's collarbone!! I think I am zooming on so fast with these the muscles in my right shoulder are really protesting. I crochet by holding the wool taut with my left hand and picking off the stitches with the hook in my right. So lots of little movement with my right arm and shoulder.

This is going to be a baby blanket. It uses Sirdar Snuggly 100% cotton yarn and this pattern. These Elmer squares are pretty solid and I thought this would be a good idea as there are fewer holes for little fingers to get caught in than traditional granny squares. My only worry is that the 100% cotton yarn will be a bit heavy, but if it is it can always be used as a mat for lying on.

As you can guess from the colours we don't know if it is a girl or a boy - but I think I have got all bases covered here! Once I have finished the squares - and my shoulder means I can't do any intensive crochet at the moment (!!!) my next job is to block them and then I am going to crochet them together.

It's a little bit of an experiment - but I hope it turns out OK! Fingers crossed.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Finished quilt from earlier in the year

I finished this quilt much earlier in the year - probably in January I think - but I haven't been able to put it on the blog because it was for a wedding present and the wedding didn't take place till August. Here it is

It's a favourite pattern from Pam and Nicki Lintott and is the same as the one I have on the front page of my blog. It's easy to make with no fiddly matching of seams and allows you to focus on the colour choices. This one has all my favourite colours and some significant scraps from other quilts including some from a quilt I made for the bride's sister-in-law ( my daughter) and some from a table runner used at my other daughter's wedding. I quilted the central part of the quilt in a grid which you can see below and then free-motion quilted the border to include some hearts.

I think it looks lovely in the Spring sunshine here in England - hope it looks just as nice in the sun in LA!!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Quick and easy quilt Ta-Dah

This quilt certainly has been a quick finish - partly because it is an easy pattern and partly because it is quite a bit smaller than the ones I have been working on recently. I washed it as soon as it was finished and it has that lovely crinkly look that goes with the vintage material so well.

Do you like it? This was it on the washing line. After my colour running disaster with the blue batik quilt I bunged in a colour catcher and held my breath but I needn't have worried. It was fine. I used a scrappy binding as planned and the very economical blue spotty backing worked very well. In the next photo, with the sun behind it there is almost a stained glass effect.

You can just see the joins in the wadding - about a third of the way from the top running horizontally but I think that is fine. I just need to add a cross stitch label and I am going to applique a couple of red hearts on the back and it's done.

I quilted it in a very simple pattern here

But what I didn't realise was how hard it would be to get the middle of the quilt through my machine for all the corners. Several times I had to stand up and puuuuuull the quilt through the hole in my machine. A machine with a bigger hole will certainly be very welcome one day soon now! I've got my eye on a Bernina - but its ruinously expensive so is having to wait.

Anyway - I hope you like this quickie quilt - I am also hoping to get a pic of it with its new owner after the wedding!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Quick and easy quilt and a rant about prices!

I am making a quilt for a wedding present for my daughter to give to one of her friends. It needed to be a simple pattern that I could make out of one Jelly Roll which would be big enough to sit under but not huge.
Here is my design

It's a really straightforward square in a square pattern. My daughter chose a Chloe's Closet Jelly Roll and with 42 strips I got 42 squares - just. You might be able to see a couple of the squares down the left hand side are a bit scrappy. I made the border out of some lovely Robert Kaufmann fabric I got out of a Craftsy reduced fabric bundle - 14 yards for some ridiculously cheap price and lovely soft fabric. I can highly recommend the Craftsy supplies section - even with postage to the UK I think it represents excellent value and a really quick service.

My daughter, who is resolutely non- crafty laid out the pattern and I think she has done a good job. It's not entirely random as it has the yellow through the middle, but it looks quite scrappy which I like. I'm busy quilting it at the moment and it is looking good. I've used a plain spot background which I got for about £3.50 a metre. So all in all I hope this will make a lovely unique present at a reasonable price. I also used some large pieces of wadding which I had left over and they have worked very well. I spray basted them and just overlapped them and you really can't see any joins. It's quite heavily quilted so none of the pieces should move now.

While we are talking good value - I had an email from QuiltHome in the US advertising 20% off Kaffe Fassett fabric. I was so pleased with my Shadow Pinwheel quilt I want to make another using these fabrics so I am collecting them. I just refuse to pay the £13.00 per metre typical of UK prices. Anyway I have just ordered 8 yards from QuiltHome that works out at about £6.50 a yard including postage. I realise I may have to pay tax but even so it is just so much cheaper than buying in the UK. It makes me a bit sad as I know we should be using our fabric shops in this country, but this is just too much of a difference to ignore.

Anyway - hope you like my quick and easy quilt - I've loved making it and I am very much hoping its new owner ( wedding in October and not ( I hope!!) a blog reader) will love it too!!

Just to add - I had about 5 inches left from several strips so I am going to join these with some fabric left over from my daughter's table runners at her own wedding and a few 1930's reproduction fabric scraps I have by me to make the binding - so not a scrap of that jelly roll wasted!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Scrappy quilt - first stage finish

This is the completed first stage of my truly scrappy quilt. You saw the first quarter of it here - we thought it looked a bit like a delta wing plane - but now it has all four quarters in place and as I thought the pattern has emerged much more clearly. I am pleasantly surprised by how it has turned out. As you can imagine the piecing was a bit tedious. I am convinced quilting is good exercise as I had to get up to my ironing board so many times it was like a workout. Initially I worried about the inaccuracy of the piecing. I found it was almost impossible to get perfectly accurate joins with rows of 21 squares at the longest point especially because there was such a wide variety of fabrics in terms of stretch. However once I got into it I realised the main thing was the overall effect which is not troubled by any dodgy joins!

What I love, and I hope you can see is that I really have raided my scrap bins. I haven't cut into new fabrics and you can see there is real mix of fabrics. I had to have a pretty wide interpretation of the 'light' team as otherwise I would not have had enough but I like the mixture of fabrics a lot. I also like how each one reminds me of where and why I bought/acquired it. For example the blue/white, pink/white dots were a gift from my daughter, the bottom middle dark pink was from my mug rug partner in Holland - I could go on for hours ....

All that remains now is to add the borders and quilt. All in all a successful project so far - all the better for the fact that I did not have high expectations of this one. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Shadow pinwheel ta-dah

Well it's been a very long time coming but I have finally finished the shadow pinwheel. What started out as a bit of an experiment with a couple of layer cakes turned into my biggest ever quilt. I made a considerable dent in my stash too which I am pleased about. Everything about this quilt turned out to be difficult and it has required some perseverance to get it done. The final sting in the tail was the quilting which took ages. I decided to do narrow lines of quilting round the edge as I wanted it to have a defined border.

These just took ages - about 15 minutes to get round each circle - but I think the final effect was worth it. It gives it a great texture and a really defined border. Also the extra stiffness at the edge seems to make it hang well.

It's in the washing machine at the moment - it will be well used and will need to be washed so I thought since the weather is so warm I would start as I mean to go on. It's got 5 colour catcher sheets in with it just in case!!

So now I am working on a much smaller quilt - back to my scrap 2.5 inch squares which will be infinitely more relaxing than this monster. I'd love to know what you think of it. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea but I love the mix of saturated colour. Oh and as an afterthought - here's the back - Kaffe Fassett shirt stripes in green - reminds me of a deck chair!

later note: - phew washed fine  - the colour catchers were a kind of black colour after it finished washing - but the white remained white and everything else looks fine!

Monday, 14 July 2014

A troublesome quilt!

You may remember I was waiting for supplies and time to sandwich up my colourful pinwheel quilt. I've been busy at work recently (which is a good thing since I run my own business!) so I had been waiting for a few free hours to get this big job done. Well the time I had identified came - but I started later than I wanted and it was a really hot and humid day. Doing the quilt sandwich was trouble from start to finish. I did actually achieve it in the end - and you can see I am starting the laborious process of quilting in the ditch here.

The whole process has been fraught with difficulty. Normally I manage very well using 505 basting spray and spreading out my layers on a big piece of floor. I don't know whether it was because the weather was hot, but the spray seemed to stick too firmly and then I had massive wrinkles right in the middle of this massive quilt. So I kept having to peel it back and smooth it down until I thought the wadding was sure to disintegrate.

I persevered and finally got it smooth. It's not the best job I've done but it's good enough.

And then I decided to quilt between the pinwheel squares without marking my lines. You would have thought I could manage to go between 2 points about 6 inches apart in a straight line - but OH NO. So I had to unpick a whole long row of quilting. Anyone who worried about quilt stitching coming undone need not have done. It took me ages to get all those stitches out. It's finally under the machine and coming together. It started off looking like a floppy mess, but as I am getting the (many) rows of quilting in it is starting to behave itself. I will show you the outcome in  a few days (I hope)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Scrappy quilt

For a long time now I have had a growing scrap box - almost too full to get the lid on! So I decided I needed to use this up. My first plan was to get some boxes to sort scraps into colours. And then I had to find some inspiration. As usual I turned to one of my favourite designers, Lynne Edwards and her patterns. In this book Stash Buster Quilts there is an intriguing pattern for using up small scraps in on-point squares - but it is pieced in four quarters and then joined together round the middle square. Here is my first quarter

You sort the scraps into colour teams and then follow her pattern for sewing them together. At the moment it looks a bit of a muddle but I am sure it will be clearer when I have finished all four pieces and sewn them together. I think I made a slight mistake choosing purple and blue to go so close together - but these are the colours I've got most of. I keep being tempted to cut into new fabric - but I have kept this to a minimum as I really want to use up my scraps rather than create a lot more new ones!

So far it has been good fun. My piecing accuracy leaves a lot to be desired but I don't think that spoils the overall effect.

I will keep you posted as it grows though I need to take a break from it and make some more cherries as I have run out of soothing blanket stitch for the evening - see here

Monday, 23 June 2014

Summer cherries quilt

As an antidote to the wild colours of the shadow pinwheel I'm calming down with the ordered demands of this cherry applique quilt. I showed you the first square earlier on - and now I am starting to put it together as a quilt.

Progress is slow - although I have enough cherries completed for the next row - but I'm really enjoying the soothing blanket stitching which is all in black. I have to work out a cunning plan to stop the little tail ends of black thread from the start knots on the applique showing through the white fabric - but I am pretty sure I can do that.

Incidentally we are having some hot weather in the UK at the moment which is unusual to say the least. We are all using the quilts which live on various beds to sleep under and they are proving just the right level of cover. They are all made from cotton with cotton wadding and are the perfect breathable layer. Here is someone demonstrating just how comfortable they are!!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Shadow pinwheel - the top is complete

Well I've finished piecing the top and I am really pleased with it. So glad I didn't resort to a kit. I'm pleased with the colour choice and how the brights work together. But the sharp eyed among you will see I got one of the patches the wrong way round.Damn! However the good news is that I unpicked it with very little trouble and it is now correct. Just waiting for further quilting supplies. 6 yards of green Kaffe shirt stripes for the backing and a yard of purple and cerise dots for the binding from America. Then some Quilters Dream thin wadding and a can of 505 basting spray and I'm away. I waited to see if I liked the top before splashing out on expensive backing but the general consensus is that it is worth it!!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Quilt inspiration

While I am ploughing on sewing together all the patches for my pinwheel quilt I thought I would just take a brief interlude to show you where my colour inspiration comes from.

This is a corner of my garden which is a bit of a vision in purple, blue, pink and green. This is the main theme of my pinwheel quilt and I can see why these are always the colours I fall back on. I love the easy way they go together and I recognise the way that the enormous variety of greens tone down what might be a rather lurid pink from the lupin on the left hand side. Another lesson for quilting from this picture might be the way the light brown of the fence seems to show off the foreground colours - and I would not have thought of introducing a beige fabric with the glowing greens and purples - must make mental note of this!

This picture also shows some good toning purples. I love the way the white stripy grass highlights the vivid irises and aquilegias in the foreground - a reminder of how white or very light colours can be used to enhance other colours. And then the final picture below - which proves that even nature gets it wrong sometimes - well I suppose it was my fault really planting a red and a pink so close together - each lovely in their own right but not so close together. More quilty stuff soon - nearly finished the pinwheel quilt top.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A big scrappy quilt in progress

Not a wonderful photo cause it is from my phone - but this is pretty much the final layout for my shadow pinwheel. As you can see it covers all the free space on the bedroom floor, so I need to pick it up now and start sewing it together. Organising the squares has been great fun - like doing a massive jigsaw- but I'm pretty much happy with it now. I've made just a few adjustments since this picture. More to follow as I sew it together!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

And now for something completely different

My last posts have been about my crazy coloured attempt at a Kaffe stylee quilt. Well I needed a break from all that improvisation to do something really controlled where I didn't have to make any colour choices. So I have started another project which is from Lynne Edwards book  Blanket Stitch Quilts. It's my version of the Cherry Ripe pattern. It is wonderfully soothing - nice easy bondaweb applique and then blanket stitch in black. The only colour choices have been which red and which green to use for the cherries!

I made up six of these squares and took them on holiday with me to do the blanket stitch. It was lovely - so easy - and I do enjoy a bit of hand sewing.

I then contemplated how I was going to make them into a quilt. I looked at the examples in Lynne's book and I preferred the ones where the cherry squares are broken up by something different, rather than just all cherries and sashing. I also wanted to use colours other than red and green to make sure the finished quilt would fit into the furnishings I already have at home ( not much red and green there). So I chose to alternate the cherries with a simple blue and low value 9 patch square. Here it is below

I've used just one blue fabric for each block.

I know this quilt will take me a long time to finish but that's OK. I'm in no rush. And I can keep it going alongside other more speedy quilts. It will be great for hand sewing in the sun ( if it ever stops raining in the UK!). I hope you like it!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Not so bad after all

Just a very quick photo from my phone to show you the next stage in the colour layout. It's far from finished but I am liking it a whole lot better now. I will be away for a bit so may not be able to do any more for a while - but I have got myself to a place where I am happy to leave it and feel that when I come back I may be able to make some satisfactory progress!!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Hey - no colour police either !?

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that one of my main preoccupations with quilt making is working with colour. I don't feel very confident about colour choices and combinations. In the last week or so I have been working a little bit more on this quilt.

But I've really struggled as I have tried to combine brights from several palettes and have felt that I have lost my way with this design. Interestingly as I have lost confidence in the colour choices my sewing has become really slapdash and several of the pinwheels are poorly matched. I had decided to give up and put what I have done on one side and continue with something where colour choice is not such an issue - but then I went to Keukenhof - the Dutch tulip and bulb gardens and the colours here - and my reflections on them have persuaded me to give it another go.

Two things struck me at Keukenhof - firstly ( and this is not the first time I have thought this) is that pretty much any combination in nature looks good. Think purple and yellow pansies - a combination which I usually hate but love in these flowers.

If this isn't in your face colour wise I don't know what is - but it's good isn't it? And the second thing was how very defined my favourite colour palettes are. In the first picture the top left pinwheel is all my favourite colours. At Keukenhof these were my perfect combinations below


and here

But in quilt making I want to actively break out of these constraints to be confident in different palettes like this .....

Or even this?

Yikes - now this is some combination - but I kind of like it.

So I guess I am going to persevere with my colour pinwheel. I think cause I was never very arty I feel like I may get it WRONG. But of course just as there are no quilt police, there are no colour police either. And if I hate it I will certainly learn from it. If nothing else it will be a liberating experience - well that's what I am telling myself!

Monday, 21 April 2014

A few of my favourite things - and a long overdue ta-dah

Well I've finally finished the orange quilt. It's taken 18 months - 18 months of being put down and picked up, waiting for fabric in the post , buying wadding, running out of thread etc. But now it's done. The photos don't do it justice and I will try to get my husband to take some better ones - here it is

Can you see the bottom of a doggy quilt model in this photo? He was so flattered to be asked to be in the first picture he wouldn't move out of the way. And here is another photo - these are the favourite things....

Wilfy the quilt model and a glimpse of the garden. It's a bit shaming that the pond you can see behind was started almost a year after the quilt!

The pattern is a half log cabin made entirely out of strips of fabric from the Kaffe Fassett collective. Its quilted in a 2 inch grid all over in orange thread and has lightweight Quilters Dream 100% cotton wadding inside which gives it a very nice drape. I haven't measured how big it is but it is made to fit a King Size bed - but not come over the pillows. Here it is in place

And here's the detail

I'm delighted to have completed it and also very pleased with the results. It has been an education in using colour and the differing effects and influences of colours when they are seen in relation to each other. It has also taught me that even though my technique leaves quite a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy the overall effect is really lovely - and a lot can be salvaged by judicious final trimming of squares. I hope you like it too!!

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.