Friday, 28 October 2011

Carla's Quilt for the BQF

It's that time of year again - Amy's Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  If you haven't joined in before take a leap of faith and go for it.  Write a post about a quilt you've made, add in the button from Amy's Creative Side and go and link up.  You get to meet a lot of new quilters and often get new visitors to your blog which is fun for everyone, especially new bloggers.  Click on the button below to link up to all the other quilters taking part in Amy's wonderful festival.  


The quilt I'm showing this time round is one I have just finished and mailed to France.  It was made for a friend of my sister's who has been more like family to my sister than just a plain old friend.  My sister lives in France so has none of her side of the family around to help with children, life, the universe and everything but Carla has been like family for her so it was a real pleasure to have a chance to make a quilt for her new apartment.  

Carla asked me about six months ago if I would make a quilt for her and we agreed on Ruby Star Rising, which is to say I kind of nudged her in that direction and she happily liked the suggestion. 

We decided to mix these up with some Kona solids: candy green, coral, ash, charcoal, amber and cyan.

The prints looked to me like they really needed showcasing so I decided to make each of them a picture on a sort of wall of portraits.  Each one was framed with a skinny strip of colour then a charcoal picture frae and hung on Kona coral wall paper.  I Quilted As You Go - sixteen 25" square blocks to make a whopping 100" square quilt.  Criss cross quilting on the pictures to give the impression of glass.  Straight line quilting on the charcoal frames and squiggly quilting on the coral wallpaper.  

The only picture I have of the whole quilt was of it sitting on my lawn, taken from the attic bedroom and before the quilt was bound.  To give an impression of the size of this quilt, all my children are in this photo but are the size of ants so you probably can't actually see them.  The quilt has now (last week) arrived in Paris and will soon be installed in Carla's new flat at which point she has promised me she will take photos for the blog of the quilt in its new home but for now this is all I can show you.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Modern Blocks Book

This book is now available to buy from Amazon (and no doubt other book sellers).

Here are a couple of pages from the book showing the two blocks I contributed: Just Jack, a 12" union jack block.

And Windmill, a 12" double circle of flying geese block.  I chose the name windmill because it was catchier than "Double Circle of Flying Geese" and because my Mum spent many of her working days in charge of the Windmill and Watermill section of the British Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.  Occasionally she comments on my blog under the psuedonym "Windy Miller".

There are lots of other wonderful blocks in the book some of which you can see on the front and back of the book.  And if you put your reading glasses on and go grab a magnifying glass, you can even see my name on the back of the book which, oddly, was pretty exciting for me.  I have never been in print before so I'm ready to leave multiple copies of this book in multiple locations around my house for people to stumble upon and say: "Oh look, she's got the same name as you".

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Christmas Gifts for Quilters 4 (and giveaway)

So, once again, here is a button you can grab for your blog.  The button links back to the original intro post for this series and, over time, that post will link to all the subsequent posts in the series so just leave the button lying around when friends and relatives are around and hope that they click through and get some great ideas of what to get you for Christmas.  And just in case none of your relatives are showing any interest in any of these great ideas, there are two giveaways at the end of this post so chance your arm at winning something for yourself.

Christmas Gifts for Quilters
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This week's suggestions are two wonderful computer programs tailor made for quilters; one to plan and design your quilts and one to catalogue them.  The first is EQ7, a computer program which enables to you design your own quilts, design blocks and print your own quilt patterns.

Or you can use quilts and blocks in the program's database and then add in fabric swatches from EQ7's library, from fabric companies' websites or scanned from your own fabrics to see how a quilt would look made up in the fabrics of your choice.  

Although designed for Windows, I understand that there is a Yahoo group for EQ7 Mac users who run EQ7 on their Macs using Windows and Parallels.  Check this out before buying the program if you are a Mac user.  

The second program is Quilt Album which is a computer program designed for you to catalogue all your quilts on the computer.  Perfect for those os us making quilts faster than we can keep track of them...  You just drop in a photo of the quilt and then add information about the quilt; when it was made, who for, who quilted it, the size of the quilt etc.  All your quilts can be catalogued and kept track of in one place on your computer.  As well as keeping track of your quilts on the computer, you can also print out album pages so you have a hard copy album.  You can even print out greetings cards and business cards with your quilts on them.  This program is designed to work both on Macs and on PCs.

There are giveaways for both of these programs at this end of this post but, in the meantime, if you would like to invest in a copy of Quilt Album, the makers have given me a discount code to give you a $5 discount on the program.  Just click through using the button below and use the code shown in the button to obtain the $5 discount.

And, in case you friends and relatives are not taking the hints in these Christmas Gifts posts, there is a copy of each of these programs up for grabs this week and three chances to win one of them:

1.   Leave a comment to say you are a follower.
2.   Leave a comment to say you spread the word (twitter, facebook, blog etc.)
3.   Leave a comment telling me what your favourite sewing notion is.  

Winners will be picked this time next week (2 November) so tune back in to see if you were one of the lucky ones.  

And the winners are...

The winners of Kerry's wonderful paper pieced winter woolies pattern are:

The Christmas for Quilters and Giveaway post will be delayed until tomorrow or later today as I have been stricken with the winter sickness bug, details of which I will keep to myself. I am all better now though.  I will be contacting the winners of Kerry's giveaway to get your email addresses so that the pdf can be emailed to you.  

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Quilting the Circle Game

Some of you may remember the Circle Game quilt I've been making for a year now - a BOM from Amitie Textiles in Melbourne.  The finished top looked like this.

Amitie BOM The Circle Game

Well I've taken my mate Trudi's advice and stay-quilted it with a few straight lines just to hold the whole thing in place.  Having done that, I've taken out the basting pins and bound the quilt with a scrappy binding before embarking on FMQing.  I prefer to quilt my quilts without the batting hanging out at the sides because it gets up my nose and makes me sneeze.

I normally can't afford designer fabrics for the backs of quilts but splurged on this quilt because so many hours and hours have gone into it.  So, instead of my default backing of an old sheet, this one is backed by the Michael Miller Going Coastal print, the bottle tops, which I am in love with.

So far I have FMQed three of the circles.  I've invested in a whole stack of Aurifil colours for this quilt and am just going to go crazy on it.  Anything goes.  No rules.  Using the Bosh Bash Bosh school of quilting where you just make it up as you go along.  For better or worse.

Amitie BOM the circle game - thinking about quilting

And here, in case you're interested, here are my FMQ rules and guidelines.

1.   Shoulders down, music on, smile, chillax, enjoy, however rubbish your quilting is looking.

2.   Do not unpick.  NEVER.  If it goes wrong, keep on smiling and keep on going, just pretend it never happened.  Once it's washed, you will never notice that little bit where your brain sent error messages to your arms.  Only unpick if you get major bird's nests on the back because your tension's gone haywire.

3.   Keep reminding yourself that this is not going into a quilting contest, will not enter a show and will never be judged by anyone who knows anything about quilting.   Unless you're a professional quilter in which case you won't be reading this drivel anyway.  Well you might be reading it but you won't be learning anything from it.  And also remember that anyone who knows anything about quilting will see it and be kind anyway because they know how hard FMQ is.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

And that's what it's all about

Remember the Penguin Books quilt I made for my big sister?

Penguin Books Quilt finished

Here is a photo she sent me today of my niece and nephew pulling rude faces possibly at her but more likely intended for me.  

And that's what it's all about.  

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A revolution in pillow making...?

Whilst tweeting with Julia from Gone to Earth last week, she mentioned that she had a new product in the shop.  A fusible fleece which piqued my interest so I ordered some to see what could be done with it.  Here's the pillow I made.

I started with this beautiful mini quilt made by Tia Camp Follower Bag Lady which I saw and instantly told Tia I needed to pretty much downright copy.  And seeing as my Etchings Wovens FQ stack was calling out to me, I rustled up a pillow.

18" X 28" - it is the size of a standard UK pillow (and I mean pillow) so no cushion insert shopping needed - just steal a pillow from one of my many children, they'll never notice.  Six wonky 6" stars, 2" scrappy stripes and hey presto.   And then came the magical bit.  I cut off a piece of the fusible fleece, ironed it on, quilted and bound and hey presto.  No basting pins to take out as you go, no puckering because the fabric was attached to the fleece all over, no messy basting spray or pins and also no backing fabric because the back of the fusible fleece is nice and smooth.  The fleece also quilts beautifully, and, from a quick afternoon old lady nap before pick-up time, is very comfy to nap on too.

I hear that people also use it for bags, mini quilts, purses, pouches and even door stops.  If you're in the UK and want to try some, get in touch with Julia at Gone to Earth.  I apologise for not researching stockists around the world but google "vilene fusible fleece" and you should find it.  And, if you Etchings, you might also be interested in knowing that Julia has just taken delivery of some of the Cabbages and Roses Northcote Range new line - it will be listed very shortly in her shop.  These are Moda fabrics designed in Britain for a Brit Shabby Chic look, I fell in love with them when I was working on my hexalong and managed to get my hands on a layer cake.  Here they are made up in a fab union jack quilt.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Christmas for Quilters 3 (+ giveaway)

So, once again, here is a button you can grab for your blog.  The button links back to the original intro post for this series and, over time, that post will link to all the subsequent posts in the series so just leave the button lying around when friends and relatives are around and hope that they click through and get some great ideas of what to get you for Christmas.  And just in case none of your relatives are showing any interest in any of these great ideas, there's a brand new paper piecing pattern giveaway at the end of this post (and hopefully all the CG4Q posts will have giveaways).

Christmas Gifts for Quilters
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This week I wanted to suggest a Christmas gift I only found out about last night.  Now you will have noticed the new trend on flickr and in blogland for paper pieced blocks and bees with themes such as kitchenalia, mail, doors, windows.  There are a few people at the forefront of this trend, principally in my mind, Penny Sewtakeahike, Ayumi Pink Penguin and Kerry verykerryberry.  Kerry has been drafting her own patterns for a while now and is about to start releasing them for sale in her Etsy shop.  There will be whole series of these patterns with different themes, all of which will make wonderful gifts for quilters.  Kerry's first pattern is the paper pieced winter woolies pdf pattern; hat, scarf and gloves.  Here is a wonderful wall hanging Kerry made using this pattern.

And another fabulous version made yesterday by Amy of During Quiet Time.  

If any of you would be interested in winning this pattern, I managed to twist Kerry's arm into letting me give three away as part of my Christmas for Quilters giveaways and the requirements of the giveaway are at the end of the post.  If you have already bought the pattern by the time the giveaway ends and then win one, Kerry will let you have her next pattern free instead.  So if you just can't wait, feel free to go ahead and buy the pattern now.  

And now I need to pick out four international and four Brit winners of the various and hugely generous Aurifil gifts bestowed on you by Signor Aurifil, Alex Veronelli.  All the winners were picked by Random Number Generator.

Firstly, the winners of the Ultra Collections:

The international winner is:

The Brit winner is: 

Secondly the winners of the Designer Collections:

The international winner is:

And the Brit winner is:

And finally the winners of the boxes of six Aurifil spools:

The international winners are:

And the Brit winners are:

Congratulations to all the winners.  Please email me with your name, your comment number and your mailing address so that the Aurifil threads can be mailed out to you. 

To enter today's giveaway to have a chance of winning one of Kerry's paper pieced winter wollies patterns, you have three chances.  The giveaway will close a week today (26 October) at which point the next CG4Q post will go up and a new giveaway announced.  

1.   Comment to say you follow this blog.  
2.   Comment to say you've spread the word about the giveaway (blog, facebook, twitter, google+ etc).
3.   Comment to let me know what other paper pieced designs you might like to see Kerry produce in the future.