Sunshine quilt

Sunshine quilt

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.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

I can drive a car therefore I can free motion quilt?

I find it so frustrating that I have the hand/eye/foot co-ordination to drive a car ( a manual - so lots of clutch control!) but I find free motion quilting so difficult. I was determined to try a new FMQ pattern on the border of a quilt I am working on. I wanted to do a paisley design. So I watched the craftsy lesson, I did several practice sessions, I drew loads of teardrop shapes and pivoted and echoed just like the teacher said . I'm quite pleased with the result but it just felt sooooo difficult.
Here is what I achieved. You can just about see the paisley quilting in the dark blue border

The whole quilt

Detail on the back

Do you remember when you were learning to drive and the instructor said turn right and it just didn't feel like there was enough time to look in your mirror, indicate, change down and turn the wheel? Well that's what FMQ feels like at the moment to me. I'm persevering in the hope that since I did learn to drive I will learn to FMQ but it its a hard road at the moment.

I have also done some quilting with the walking foot round the edge which was much more soothing. I did nearly bottle out of the FMQ for something in my comfort zone, but while the paisleys are very far from perfect I'm glad I tried. I was quite enjoying it by the end and felt a little bit more in control so I guess there is hope for me yet.

Easy straight line quilting

Monday, 3 February 2014

Look what arrived from the US!

I have been waiting for this to arrive from Glorious Color and here it is. 6 yards of Philip Jacobs Picottee Poppy in Ochre. It's destined for the back of my orange brown quilt that has been testing my patience. It's due to test my patience some more as I make the massive sandwich ( 72 inches by 108 inches). But I will not be defeated. I love this pattern, especially the different shades of the outside of the poppies - lovely soft and unexpected pinks and blues.

I really want to do a wide grid machine quilt on this, in line with the blocks. I've bought a lightweight wadding in the hope that I can stuff it through my machine, but I've no idea if this will work. My contingency plan is to hand quilt, but that will take me an age. So fingers crossed - you live and learn!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Quilting decision!

I know you are supposed to move things like compost sacks before you take a photo but this was before breakfast

For some reason this week has felt like a real challenge. One of those weeks where all the simple things are difficult. Do you know what I mean - even down to just opening up the computer to write a long overdue blog post and something being odd with the blogger software. Anyway, I did the most important thing you can do to a computer and shut it down and opened it up again and fingers crossed everything worked. So this train of events saw me before breakfast today (yes really) trying to take a picture of the next steps of the quilt I am working on. For those of you in the UK you will know that it is wise to take advantage of any single moment it is not raining to take pictures at the moment. Even though it was not raining it was very windy and the picture reflects that I was in a hurry - but it's good enough for you to see progress and I hope I will get some better pics tomorrow ( no rain forecast in the morning!!)

By the time I got back from the supermarket, still in a hurry, it was blowing a force 10 gale so I gave up trying to take pictures outdoors.

This is the back.I was going to use a blue spot that I had by me, but I decided to use up some smaller pieces of blue batiks and a few of the leftover strips from the front to make the back. It's the first pieced back I have done and I am not sure. I will reserve judgement on that till its finished and bound.

The photos really don't so it justice. I'm so pleased with the front especially, mainly because I have made all the decisions about fabric and design myself. I fretted about how to quilt it for ages and now I have decided.

I want to practice my free motion quilting, but I'm not good enough at it yet to risk doing it on the centre panel. So I am going to ditch stitch ( half done in these pics) round the centre squares and then quilt in line with the main seams, about 1cm either side. I am then going to free motion quilt the wide border. I've seen a pattern with spirals and have the Craftsy tutorial with Leah Day and am going to try that ( after some considerable practice). And then finally I am going to quilt the outside border in lines about 1cm apart in a very pretty toning thread I happen to have. So in a kind of limited way it is going to be a sampler of different quilting styles that I am learning. I sooo hope I don't mess it up. But I have reasoned that if I never try anything new I will never learn different things. Hope you like it anyway!