Friday, 29 October 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Firstly thank you to Amy for hosting this wonderful event which brings all us quilt bloggers together. I am really excited to be part of this again and to spend happy hours looking at everyone else's quilts and reading their stories and finding new blogs to follow.
Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival
I have chosen to enter my Kaffe Fassett diagonal madness quilt into the festival because it was a lot of firsts for me.
Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness
It was my first full sized (approx 80" x 80") quilt.  It was also the first quilt of this size that I quilted myself.  It was the first quilt I made for someone outside of my household (my Mum).  And it was the first time I used Kaffe Fassett fabrics which I absolutely loved - to my surprise given that so much colour terrifies me.
Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness
I confess that, as I pieced it, I cringed with horror at the terrible colour mistakes Kaffe had made as he designed this quilt - orange next to brown and pink, purple and red - surely not.  But of course, once it was all done and hung from the climbing frame, you can see the quilt as a whole and all those colours look beautiful together.
Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness
And it also looks fabulous on the bed in the guest room at my parents house.  I pop and in take a little peep while I'm there although I don't stay long because I start to notice things I could have done better.  I think that's a failing most quilters have, we don't see the overall beauty of something we've made but hone in on the mistakes.  Anyway, the important thing about this quilt is that I made it for my Mum and she really loves it, which makes me feel pretty good.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Amitie BOM

In the summer, Rita (Red Pepper Quilts) put this photo on her blog and, although the idea of a BOM programme ("block of the month", where a fabric shop sends you a block pattern and the fabrics to make that block each month) had not appealed to me before, both the fabrics in the quilt and the challenge of all those different circles really appealed to me and so I signed up.
The programme is run by a fabric shop in Melbourne called Amitie and the quilt designed by the shop's owner, Jennifer Kingwell, and the whole thing is shown in this blog post of hers.  For months one and two, we have been sent the fabric for three of the circles.  The first involved curved seams and meeting 8 points in the centre which I struggled with for quite a long time but got (nearly) there in the end.
Amitie Textiles BOM
For cirles two and three I made a right mess of piecing the small inner circles.  I machine pieced them and they were a right mess so I took them apart and hand sewed them and they were an even worse mess  so ended up appliqueing them in the end.   I decided to throw in a few of my own fabrics to circles 2 and 3, not because I don't love the ones Amitie sent but to see how I do with mixing them up a bit as colour combinations are not my strong point.  Hopefully November's fabrics and instructions should arrive soon.  If anyone reading this post is also doing this BOM, I'd love to see how you are doing too.
Amitie BOM blocks 2 and 3

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Another summer update

Catching up on everything I didn't blog about over the summer, I worked on another English Paper Piecing project while I was lazing by the pool on holiday with the family in Spain.  You will all have heard of Brioni aka flossyblossy but did you know that her husband, known on the internet as Curly Boy, designs quilt patterns?  Well I managed to twist his arm and be given a sneak peek or a future pattern release, called roundabout.  Here's my paper pieced version of it although I did simplify the pattern so avoid having 16 points meeting in the middle - 8 was enough for me:
Curly Boy's Roundabout
I made it using the wonderful Arcadia fabrics mixed with some co-ordinating solids and, where I didn't have any fabric to fill in the triangles, the patio stones are filling for the moment.  Here it is with the brown star at the centre and a sheet as the filler for the fabric gaps!
Curly Boy's Roundabout
I really need to get off my backside and do something with these blocks but at the moment they're in the UFO pile awaiting some kind of a decision.  I'm not in a paper piecing mood at the moment so they're going to have to wait a while before they end up being something - maybe a wall hanging.  Maybe a few pillows.  Maybe a table runner.  Maybe a skirt.  I'm just kidding.  Shoot me if you ever see me walking around dressed in a patchwork item.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Penguin Books quilt top nearly finished but how should I quilt it?

Just one more row of snow sashing to go all around, back in amethyst with a decorative strip running across near the top (seen in the left of the picture) and bind in charcoal, coal or mid grey.  I have no idea how to quilt this - suggestions please.
Off to my other sister's in London tomorrow - my four kids, her four kids, her new puppy - will we make it through the doors of Liberty with that lot in tow?  Probably not!
Julia, amethyst is the purple on the very right of the second from bottom row.  The colour I am likely to bind in (thin strip round the outside) is bottom right and there will be one more strip of white round the whole thing before that.  Look we've had that tree cut down in the right of the picture - it makes the dining room, aka, my sewing room, much brighter!

Another summer update

Over the summer holidays, while we were sitting by the pool in Spain on our family holiday, I caught up on some hand sewing.  I love English paper piecing and I love hexagons but I wanted to come up with something a bit more modern than the grandmother's flower garden quilts.  So I printed out some equilateral triangle paper from incompetech (where you can print out all sorts of shapes, including hexagons, in any size - great for hexagon paper piecing templates), drew up some large hexagons and sub divided them into paper piecing templates to make these babies:Tanya Whelan Dolce EPP hexagons
The fabrics are Kona white and a Kona pastels jelly roll from my friend Mandy's UK Kona solids shop and a dolce jelly roll from UK fabric shop Saints & Pinners.  The only thing is I still think they're a bit boring so I've sent them to the members of one of my online bees, Busy Bees for them to have a go at making this quilt a bit less boring and samey.  Can't wait to see what they come up with.  Then I'm going to sash in mid-grey and voila!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Layout of Penguin Book Quilt finalised

After much scrabbling round on the conservatory floor, we have finalised the layout of my sister's Penguin book quilt which you can see pictured below with my son's feet in the foreground.  It will be sashed with 2" Kona snow strips, backed with Kona amethyst and a special surprise embellishment not yet revealed but I'm undecided about the binding.  I'm thinking snow for simplicity, Mandy thinks black, to echo the writing on the books.  Any thoughts or advice anyone?
Organising penguin book quilt layout

Friday, 22 October 2010

Anyone going to Harrogate?

Is anyone in the UK going to the Harrogate Stitching and Knitting show?  Mandy and I are going on the Thursday if anyone fancies meeting up for coffee.

Bee Block catch-up

I got so sidetracked this summer swapping and bee-ing over on Flickr that nothing much I've made showed up on my blog so I thought I'd do a few catch-up posts, as much for my own benefit as anything else.  So catch-up no. 1 is this summer's bee blocks.
Bee Blocks summer 2010
I think my favourite is the beach huts on the bottom right, not because it looks the best out of all of these  (actually I think it looks a bit lack lustre compared to what I had in my mind) but because it was the first thing I made with my new sewing machine, which I got for my birthday at the start of October.  Look at that perfect blanket stitch and look at those swirly waves.
Beach huts
And of course that is my other piece of major news - the new sewing machine.  I'll save that for another post because it does deserve a post all of its own but let me tell you, the new sewing machine is as life changing as the day I persuaded my husband that I needed an electric blanket or the day I persuaded him that I needed one of those coffee machines where you take a little pod and put it in the top of the machine - no fannying around with beans and grounds and all that fuss and faff and faddle.  Actually, more life changing than the coffee machine but possibly less life changing than the electric blanket - do I sound old?  

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Union Jacks in Castle Peeps

Well I thought my Union Jack blocks in Whimsy were the coolest thing out there but it turns out I was wrong.  Take a look at these Castle Peeps Union Jack blocks made by Jenny Welding Caps. What do you think?
Castle Peeps Blocks

Saturday, 16 October 2010

One block down, 55 to go

In my Penguin Books quilt for my sister Julia.  I started with this book because it's her favourite author and her favourite colour.  Amongst the titles on the quilt there will be some classics, some of her favourites, one of my husband's favourites, one of her partner's favourites, a few funny titles of genuine books, including "How to catch a cannonball" and "Knitted Historical Figures".
I printed the top and bottom logos on the books onto fabric in the same way as the book titles, as described in my previous post, attached them to the fabric with Steam-a-Seam Lite and then added a simple black running stitch around the edge.  

Friday, 15 October 2010

How to print on fabric

So step one of the Penguin Books quilt for my sister is to print 56 classic book titles onto fabric.  To do this, I bought a bottle of Bubble Jet Set 2000, cut 28 pieces of Kona snow into pieces 9" by 10", soaked them in the Bubble Jet Set 2000 and hung them up to dry dripping over the tray so I can pour the spare solution back into the bottle.

Once they are dry, iron each one to a sheet of freezer paper and trim the fabric to the size of the freezer paper.  Put each sheet into the printer and print the book titles on, or whatever you want to print on the fabric.  Leave the fabric for half an hour for the printer ink to dry then wash in a mild hand washing detergent solution.  Once again, hang them out to dry.
You can see here I have The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, East of Eden and The Little White Horse amongst other drying out.  Once they are dry, they will be sewn to the coloured tops and bottoms of the books.  Ooh I've just noticed, if you look down the corridoor you can see my tree panels and Authentic coin quilt hanging up  on the left and on the right is the bell I ring for the kids to come for tea!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Ooh, long time no blog

Yikes, did I really let so long go between posts.  I used to post about 27 times a day and now I'm managing about once a month.  But I have a few projects bubbling under which I want to record on here.  The first is making a quilt for my big sister who has just moved from Paris to Grenoble.  The second is the dolce quilt blocks I hand pieced over the summer which need to be pulled into a quilt.  The third is my neice's quilt which I can now get on with as I have my sparkly new machine (Janome 7700 for anyone who's interested).  I'll be talking about the second and third ones in posts over the next few days but will start with  Julia's quilt (she calls herself Rolleiflex when she comments on this blog and made a hilarious picture of herself to make me laugh when she comments so look out for her and her comedy picture.

In a flickr bee, we were asked to make a block showing a "collection".  Scared of complicated piecing, I decided to go for books.  Which are square and I can do square.  This is the block I made:

And now for a whole quilt of these - 56 books in total.  So I got my fabrics yesterday to get started (from Simply Solids of course).  Three metres of Kona Snow (Julia, this is off white) and a Robert Kaufmann dusty palette jelly roll.

So three questions for blog readers and Julia.  Firstly, will a quilt look good in a mix of all these colours, one per book or should there be more of some, fewer of others, no purples or whatever.  Secondly,  should we have any patterned fabrics in there or just plains?  Thirdly, I need 56 classic penguin titles.  You can see I have six already and a few more in my head but I'm not up to 56 yet so, if you can think of a few classics for me, that would really help.

Step one in making this quilt is pre-soaking the Kona Snow in Bubble Jet Set.  More of that in my next post.