Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Backing fit for a Circle Game

Normally I'm not precious about backing because I can't afford to be.  Fabric in the UK is hideously expensive so backing a regular sized quilt in a designer print would cost something in the region of $70-$80.  So I tend to use old sheets, IKEA sheets or duvet covers or anything else that is free or cheap.  Until now.  This time, with the Circle Game quilt I spent so many hours and blood sweat and tears over, I decided to INVEST in a fabulicious backing.

I looked high, low, north, south, east, west and all over the internet.  I wanted to find the prefect thing.  I wanted something fun and funky with a bit of a retro feel and with plenty of pattern and personality and here's what I chose.  The too cool for school Going Coastal bottle tops designed by Emily (Crazy Old Ladies Quilts) for Michael Miller is my favourite print in her wonderful beachy / coastal line.

What do you think?  What backings do you tend to choose?

Monday, 29 August 2011

Why I love Peg and Becca

Peg and Becca are the two ladies behind Sew Fresh Fabrics and were my first ever sponsor on this blog.  I approached them to sponsor me because of the way they put fabulous bundles of fabrics together.  They have put together a few bundles for me over the months, the Lily's Quilts Blenders Bundle, the Lily's Quilts Unafraid of Colour Bundle and now two new bundles.  The first is the Lily's Quilts Prince of Darkness Bundle.  22 FQs, mixed solids and prints based around the teal and raspberry Tula Pink Prince Charming fabrics.

The second is the Lily's Quilts Summer Sunshine Bundle.  17 FQs, again a mix of prints and solids but this time just a bunch of happy, summery colours.

In search of the perfect dot

When I started quilting last year, everyone was sashing in white.  And then grey became the new white.  And then dots became the new grey.  When I was working my way through the Circle Game BOM quilt, I fell in love with the Windham American Vintage cream on charcoal dot you can see in this picture.  I love how the bright scraps pop against it.  But that fabric is now OOP (out of print) and becoming very hard to find.  

So I have been keeping an eagle eye open for the perfect dot - not too big, not too small, evenly spaced and with a vintage or retro feel to it.  And bingo it hit me between the eyes when my loonybin friend Katy brought me back the teensiest little 2 1/2" charm pack of Cosmo Cricket Circa 1934 from Quilt Market.  

Sitting there, amongst those teeny little squares was the perfect dot.  Creamy white on red, creamy white on sage, creamy white on faded gold and creamy white on peppery black.  

I have plans for these dots but more of that when the dust has settled on the summer holidays, the unpacking, the washing pile the size of Everest and the preparations for going back to school at the start of September.  In the meantime, let me know, what is your favourite sashing and do you have a favourite dot?  

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Hexalong - 103 hexagons

You can join in this Hexalong at any time and use the templates I am using or just do your own hexagons.  The starter post for the HAL is here.  Share anything you make in the Lily's Quilts Flickr Group.  After piecing and piecing and piecing and piecing hexagons on holiday, I came back to find two delicious Moda layer cakes on my doormat.  Northcote Range by Cabbages and Roses

which contains wonderful vintage style chintz large and small scale prints and stripes.

And Etchings by 3 Sisters

which contains beautiful Paris map and architectural and vintage script prints.

I chose these because they match both the colour scheme of my Hexalong fabrics as well as the vintage, shabby chic style.  Without further ado, I basted an additional 50 or so large scale, unpieced hexagons from these two layer cakes bringing my total to the 103 required for my quilt (11 rows of 9 plus 4 more on the final row).  Next step, lay out the whole lot on the design wall and start piecing but right now I'm pretty excited to have 103 hexagons ready to go.  

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Big Blog Little Blog

To celebrate hitting a nice round number of followers today, I want to bring you a brand new, small UK quilting blog to your attention.

Very occasionally one of my nearest and dearest readers takes it upon themselves to start a blog and it seems like a nice chance to pay it forward by letting you all know there's a new quilty blog out there.  You all know that I spent many months with just my sister and my real life quilty friend Mandy following me and that seems to have scarred me so that when I see a new small blog, I just want to sort of magic a few followers its way.   Helen, aka Archie the Wonder Dog, started her blog just a few days ago and it would be wonderful if you all gave her a big Andy's Room Welcome and showered her with visits, comments and a few new followers.  I mean you have to love a blogger who's prepared to put her mistakes out there for all of us to enjoy.

Click here if you have a minute to go and visit Helen and say hi.

Dead Simple Quilt - more palette advice needed

So for the sake of a little try-out, I drew a table in Microsoft Word (I'm still waiting for EQ7 to arrive!) and dropped some colours into it from a Design Seeds palette.  My question is this - let's say I pick a palette like this one with five colours, is it a bit blah to use the colours in equal amounts?  

I'm wondering if it would be better to use more of the dark colour, fewer of the pale colours and then just a very few pops of the bright colour?

And more advice is needed elsewhere too.  Click on the picture below to go to another blogger, Making Rebecca Lynne, in need of palette advice:

Sew Fresh Fabrics are 2 years old today

Congratulations to two of the nicest fabric shop owners out there, Peg and Becca, whose wonderful shop, Sew Fresh Fabrics, is two years old today.  Sign up to their newsletter by clicking on this link and then linking through to their newsletter sign-up in the sidebar of the blog and you will receive a code giving you 20% off until midnight this Thursday.

I wonder if they have anything that might tempt you.  Like Kate Spain's terrain.

Or Aneela Hoey's Little Apples.

Or maybe one of their many stash builder bundles.  

I'll be shopping there for my Dead Simple Quiltalong palette bundle but more of that later.  

Monday, 22 August 2011

Hand sewing with Aurifil 50wt

I have now exhaustively tested the Aurifil 50wt thread for hand sewing with all of the English Paper Piecing I have done during this holiday.  For anyone wondering whether to give this thread a try, I would highly recommend it and you won't look back once you do.  Having been a dream for machine piecing, it has been as much a dream for hand piecing.

What makes the difference?  It glides through the fabric like butter without snagging.  It also glides back out again when removing basting stitches.  It is fine so makes nice crisp seams but is also strong so doesn't snap when you yank on it hard.  It barely tangles at all and, when it does tangle, it untangles easily because the tangles just slide out.

Holiday Quilt

Because it is strong and glides through the fabric, I managed to try a new speed piecing technique which I've never used before.  I load about three inches of whipstitch onto a short section of thread and then drag the whole lot through in one go.  I tried this with another thread and it was not smooth enough to work.

I would say I can hand stitch at least twice as fast with Aurifil as with previous threads I've used because of how wonderful it is to work with.  Any questions, let me know and if you'd like me to show you how I speed whipstitch, just let me know.

Dead Simple Quilt Palette advice needed

Erin at Missy Mac Creations is jumping into the Dead Simple Quiltalong but needs palette advice so would you mind popping over there and letting her know what you think if you have a minute.

Click on her palette options to head over to her blog to let her know what you think.  She's a smaller blog so any new followers would no doubt be more than welcome over there too!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Dead Simple Quilt fabric requirements

Apologies for accidentally pressing "publish" on a page of my calculations yesterday making some of you think I had jumped forward a few steps - we're not at that stage yet but I wanted to get the calculations done now. Fabric requirements won't come until some time in September, when the Dead Simple Quilt-a-long kicks off.

Dead Simple Quilt Button

Quiltalongs gotta have Quiltalong buttons.  It's the official law of Quiltalongs as written in article 16 from code 4 of the laws of the founding fathers (and mothers, sisters and so forth) of Quiltingland.  So grab a button, plonk it on your sidebar.  It is not a legal commitment, just an intention of possible interest.  
Dead Simple Quiltalong
<div align="center"><a href="http://lilysquilts.blogspot.com/2011/08/interested-in-dead-simple-qal.html" title="Dead Simple Quiltalong"><img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yPEk1I-IoAA/TlADTGdgVhI/AAAAAAAABn8/j46sxDrdV08/s170/6062421031_cdc5422afa_o-1.jpg" alt="Dead Simple Quiltalong" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

And get thinking about your palette choice.  You can trawl Design Seeds for something you like:

Generate a palette from any picture you choose with bighugelabs (the picture I have chosen here is the Plain Spoken Quilt made by Rebekah Don't Call Me Becky and can be found in this blogpost here):


Go to Kuler and make your own palette or use one of the many palettes created there:

Go to Colour Lovers and make your own palette or choose from one of the many palettes created there:

Or let me know if you have another great colour palette website or tool we can all go off and have a play with.  

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Interested in a Dead Simple QAL?

I'm wondering about a Dead Simple Quiltalong. Anyone fancy joining me? My idea is to make a Dead Simple Quilt, very quick, very easy. BUT the interesting thing will be the palette. Here are the Dead Simple Quiltalong posts to date.

As you all know, putting together colours and fabrics does not come at all easily to me. I often stick to one line for saftey's sake, which probably means that the quilts I make are a little bit too safe, making them a bit blah.

If you are a beginner quilter, this QAL will be perfect for you because it will be Dead Simple. If you are a more advanced quilter, I would love you to quilt along and give input, ideas and advice on colour choice and fabric mixing.

Here's my thinking. Each person picks one palette from Design-Seeds (or any other palette maker or makes their own palette) and then rummages around in their stash for a selection of fabrics matching that palette. We then all make a Dead Simple Quilt where the palette, not the piecing, is the star of the show.

If you are interested in joining in, let me know in a comment and keep your eye on the blog for more news. I'll probably get started some time in September or October. And please bear in mind the following information taken from the Design Seeds FAQ page if you are intending to use a palette from that site. In short, you can show a Design Seeds Palette on your blog but must link the image back to the original blogpost and must not alter the image in any way. You cannot reproduce Design Seeds images on Flickr.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Teeny tiny quilt

So for anyone kind enough to have helped me out with suggestions for a quilt for my parents' new house (which is 18" tall), I now have more information and need some more suggestions.  Here is a picture of the wall where it will hang.  The quilt will need to be something in the region of 8" X 3" so what suggestions does anyone have for making it?  I have a couple of ideas.  One is to just fuse tiny cut pieces of fabric onto fusible webbing.  An alternative is to make a tiny cross stitch image along the lines of a modern quilt.  Any other ideas or suggestions for something this tiny?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

OK I'd better come clean

You all came up with such wonderful ideas, suggestions and starting points that I'm now feeling a bit guilty that I was a bit economical with the truth in my previous post.  It is true that the house has just been finished and belongs to a couple I know.  It is true that it was architect designed.  It is true that they would like me to make a modern colourful quilt for the largest wall space.  However, the couple involved are my parents and the house is about 18" tall.  It was a birthday present from my Dad to my Mum and has been well over a year in the commissioning.  It is what you might call a doll's house although it's more like a miniature architect's model than a doll's house since my Mum probably won't be playing families in it with miniature modern people.  She will be furnishing it however and we are talking about a modern colourful quilt for the main wall and I really do need your suggestions.  But I didn't want your suggestions to be limited by the idea of the quilt being a miniature and the house being a doll's house.   

I am going to take the brave step into Pinterest which has completely baffled me until now and pin a lot of your fabulous suggestions.  I'd still love you to keep the suggestions coming because you have shown me so many more things than I would have come up with myself.  The finished quilt will be something like 10" x 18" and will be a proper miniature in the sense that I will design a full sized quilt but make it in miniature. For it to hang properly, I will need advice on whether to add wadding, what wadding to add and whether and how to quilt it but those problems are a while away for the moment.  

So thank you for all your wonderful suggestions and please keep them coming.  And for those of you who talked about looking at the house's surroundings, it will live in a bedroom with a Kaffe Fassett Diagonal Madness quilt on the bed so I guess you can imagine it set in rolling hills of pink, blue, orange, red, black, brown, yellow, purple, dots, swirls, stripes, flowers, leaves - well you get the picture. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Advice needed and this time I mean it

Imagine a couple you know just had this place built.  Architect designed of course.  And then imagine they asked you to make the statement piece to hang on the one floor to ceiling wall - I mean floor to two-storey ceiling.  And imagine they specified "modern" and "colourful" but then left it with you to come up with suggestions.  What would you do?  At this stage, just fire ideas at me, inspiration from the real art world.  Modern artists that translate well into fabric.  Just give me lots of ideas that will make me look like I know what I'm talking about.  So I don't look like a complete dunce.  Oh and this couple are no dunces themselves - they know about 1,000 times more about art than I do so I can't flannel, bluff or fool them.  I have to sound smart, informed and artsy.  And for anyone who knows me, that's more than a push.  

In future posts, I may have permission to tell you more about the house and its owners but I don't have that right now so just need your HELP.  NOW.  

Vote for Lee if you have a moment

Would you do me a quick favour if you have a minute?  Vote for Lee from Freshly Pieced's fabric design over at Connecting Threads.  If she wins, she gets to design her own line in fabrics co-ordinating with the fabric she designed in this picture.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?!  Click here to vote for her fabric and, if you have a moment, let me know that you did in the comments so Lee will know you have.  I've just voted.   Thank you!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hexalong - a couple more ideas

You can join in this Hexalong at any time and use the templates I am using or just do your own hexagons.  The starter post for the HAL is here.  Share anything you make in the Lily's Quilts Flickr Group.  Here I am going to show you the steps you need to take to draft a flying geese hexagon template and show you how to make a triple tumbler block.  Here is the flying geese hexagon block.

1.   Draw a hexagon on the incompetech paper 6 triangles along.  Go back to the earlier Hexalong post on drawing templates if you missed this step.  

2.   Divide the hexagon up into six triangles. 

3.   Draw the HST in each triangle as shown below.  

4.   Draw six of these and voila you have your flying geese template.  

To make the triple tumbler block, you need to start by drawing a simple diamond star template which makes a block like this:  

By placement of dark, medium and light fabrics of the same colour together with three neutral corner diamonds, you produce three little tumblers.  

And one more pic from the Festival of Quilts for you taken by Mandy of the Fat Quarterly gang posing up a storm.