Saturday, 31 March 2012

Giving Something Back V

I want to start this post with a thank you firstly to Delma who is the person at the head of this amazing charity Siblings Together which brings together siblings separated by the care system.  Secondly I want to thank Laura Needles, Pins and Baking Tins for being the Prince Phillip to my Queen during this exciting week.  She has been my sounding board, sidekick and consigliere and most importantly she never lets me get too big for my boots.  And a third thank you - and the biggest one - to all of you in this country AND also all around the world who have stepped right on in, pledging quilts, finishing WIPs, making blocks, planning new quilts, donating fabrics, organising block parties, offering quilting services etc. etc. etc.

Spread the word

If you want to know more about this project, go to the starter post here and join the Flickr group here.  If you click here you can find all the hard core information you need including shipping address, quilt size guide, kids' ages, timescale etc.  This week, two calls for blocks were made in the group. the first was by Judith Needles and Lemons, calling for 8 1/2" simple log cabin blocks.  For specific block and fabric requirements, click here.  Judith gave as an example this Flea Market Fancy log cabin quilt made by Natalie from Greenleaf Goods who explains more about it in her blogpost here.

Flea Market Fancy quilt

Nicolette Dutchcomfort (and many others) has made a few of these squares already:

blocks for Siblings Together

Then Trudi Quilting Prolifically posted in the group with a request for granny squares.  Click here to find out exact block and fabric requirements.  Katy's quilt gives you an idea of the sort of thing Trudi is aiming to make:

granny square quilt top

More quilts and WIPs have been appearing in the Flickr group pages including this teal and ash quilt made by Charlotte:

Amy Butler quilt

And this Tumbling Little Apples quilt top made by Kelly:

Tumbling Little Apples quilt

Jennifer in the US has the fabric but not the time and so is offering a whole variety of fabric stacks from her stash for people to use if they have the time but not the fabric.  

Dark Aqua/Pink

Kate from M is for Make got together with Karen Blueberry Park.  Karen chose fabrics from Kate's shop to make into a quilt.  Here is the set she chose. 

siblings quilt

Michael Oakshott emailed me as soon as the post went up last week to say that Oakshott would be sending a pair of these City Lights shot cotton quilts.  Since he and I both have twins, we both love the idea - as I know many of you do - of matching quilts for siblings.  

When I pressed "publish" on the original post last week I emailed Delma and said, "here goes nothing" clearly forgetting  for a few brief moments the overwhelming generosity of quilters all around the world.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Postcards from Paris Pillow

At the Fat Quarterly London Retreat I am going to be teaching foundation paper piecing.  The class has been designed around a Union Jack pillow but I have decided to widen it to include this Postcards from Paris pillow as well as another pillow involving more advanced paper piecing so that all standards of paper piecer will be catered for in the class.  This pillow consists of four square within a square within a square blocks sashed with cornerstones.  


I called it Postcards from Paris because it has that kind of vintagey Parisian feel to it, helped in part by using Etchings, Curio and a lovely Paris fabric which Krista Poppyprint kindly sent me a couple of months ago.  Kerry VeryKerryBerry helped me put all the fabrics together because I'm not so good at that - I sent her photos of the fabrics I was thinking of using and she helped me to make a cohesive stack for a vintagey Parisian look.  If you're coming to London and this is the pillow you fancy making, let me know.  Anyone not coming to London will be able to buy the London Retreat issue of Fat Quarterly which has all three of my paper pieced pillow patterns in.  

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Giving Something Back IV

Grab the button and spread the word!

Quilts for Siblings Together
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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Giving Something Back III

For more information on quilts being given to Siblings Together, a charity dedicated to bringing together siblings split apart by the UK care system, go to the previous two posts on this blog which contain the original plea for help as well as mailing details.  And the Flickr group is here.  There has been some chat in the Flickr group about putting labels on quilts and Laura has designed this beautifully simple label which we can all print out and sew to the backs of quilts.  One the right hand side is a little extra space so the kids can perhaps get their siblings to write a little message for them to take home with them and keep near to them.  Thank you Laura and thank you those of you who suggested the white label for siblings to write on.
Quilt label for Siblings together

Giving Something Back II

Sherbet Pips for Siblings Together 

Thank you all for the overwhelmingly generous response to yesterday's post about Siblings Together, an initiative dedicated towards promoting positive contact between siblings separated by care.  I have put in this post photos taken from the Flickr Group of some of the quilts which will be sent to Siblings Together to be given to the children attending the camps as a reminder of a special time spent with their siblings.  Let your cursor hover over each photo to see who is generously finishing and donating these beautiful quilts.  Click through and you will find the Flickr group where more beautiful quilts are appearing.  

Jelly Filled quilt top

Delma from Siblings Together has given us an address, telephone, email and camp start dates:

Siblings Together
320 Southwark Park Road
London SE16 2HA

Tel: 02072316925
Mob: 07899892745

Hopscotch quilt top 

 And from Delma:
"There is no specific deadline for sending quilt to us but the summer camps are running from 29th July until end early September. Kids come from all over the UK, they are often placed hundreds of miles apart. The very rarely get a holiday together if ever. We run these each year so the more the merrier for us and we are trying to run more through the winter time.


 I love all of your responders!  I will take photos of each quilt and put them on our facebook group before they dissapear into siblingdom! I want to exhibit these I have been trying to make an exhibition at the foundling museum in London perhaps they will consider quilts for the siblings as a basis for a an exhibition along with photographs. I will let you know and I wish I could reply to all your generous readers individually but please send them my warmest thanks on behalf of the children.  Keep going with this there are plenty more children out there. Delma"

  Rainbow Quilt

And finally a HUGE thank you from me for your overwhelmingly generous response to Delma's amazing work.  

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Giving Something Back

I've been mulling lately about where this quilting is going, if it's going anywhere at all.  Do I want to try to make money from quilting?  Do I just want to sit back and enjoy it?  Do I want to sell quilts?  Try to write a book?  Sell quilt patterns?  And in the midst of all those thoughts, something happened at the weekend which made me stop and think - come on Lynne, it's not all about you.  I was visiting my sister in London for the weekend and we were chatting with a friend of hers and sooner or later the subject of my quilting came up.

She told me about a charity she helps in the UK called Siblings Together which is an initiative dedicated towards promoting positive contact between siblings separated by care. The trauma of separation from siblings and the lifelong impact this can have is too often overlooked. 'Siblings Together' aims to provide opportunities for planned, enjoyable, high quality contact. This is achieved initially through holiday camps, with the additional aims of building foundations for continued contact and educating a generation of social workers about the importance of sibling family contact. 

 My sister's friend was telling us about camps they go on camps where she cooks for 40-50 children, all siblings separated by the care system. The siblings get time to play and just be together which is so important for their short and long term well being. She also told us that they would love to be able to give something to these kids - something to comfort them, keep them warm, take away from camp as a reminder of the time they've had with their siblings, something homemade, just for them, to keep. Children moved from pillar to post in the care system often won't have something special like that, homemade just for them, to bring them warmth and a little comfort and maybe a few happy memories.

Which got me to thinking, what can I do? Well I can donate a quilt or two of course. Would anyone out there be interested in donating a quilt or two (or maybe more)? Could we get 50 quilts by the summer?  That would be something, wouldn't it?  One quilt for every single one of those kids at the camp.  And why have I posted pictures of old projects of mine in this post?  Well I'm thinking of the quilts I've made which might make great kids quilts for this project.  Hexagon Park for a little girl.  Rough and Tumble for a teenager perhaps.  Do you have any quilts you've made which have just sat in a cupboard just waiting for a chance like this?  And if you get involved and feel like blogging it, maybe we can spread the word enough to get this done before those kids go off to their camps in the summer.

Would you join me?  Would you get involved?  I have created a Flickr group where we can see what we can come up with.  Please leave comments on this post letting me know if you would like to get involved in any way at all and hop on over to the Flickr group, join up and see what we can do.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Thank you Sil XXX

Earlier this year I committed to the Fab Little Quilt Swap on Flickr and today my parcel arrived.  Sent all the way from Brazil by Silvana, known as Silort on Flickr.  Sil is an incredible talented piecer and the quilt she made for me is a stunning example of her work.

What you don't realise until you see it in person is that the rainbow stripes in the triangle are pieced using tiny little 1/4" strips. This mini is really stunning in person - very summery, happy and beautifully pieced and quilted.  Sil is a superstar.  

And she also made me this supercute watermelon pouch which my twin girls are desperate to get their hands on (sorry twins, this one's for me).  And she sent me some lovely Brazilian chocolates as well as a roll-up of Kaffe Fassett fabrics - anyone who knows me knows I adore KF fabrics and don't have any where near enough.  Thank you Sil, you have made my day although I do feel a little bit sick from eating all the chocolates in one go instead of having breakfast which you, as a doctor, would not condone, I am sure. 

And thank you so much to the organisers of this wonderful swap - Carol mamacjt and Susan Flossie Blossoms especially, as the angel mama and my own mama - I had real fun with this one and you spoiled me with the person you chose to make for me.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

How I FMQ - what not to do

I have come to realise, the more I learn about how other people piece and quilt, that often I break most of the rules, mostly in my quest to get done sooner.  I aim to get a competent job done rather than aiming for perfection or for a quilt that could be entered in a show.  If I were ever to enter a quilt in a show, someone else would have to have done the quilting as mine is competent but mediocre.  So here is how I FMQ.  It works for me but it will make real quilters cringe in horror.

1.   I do not lower the feed dogs.  It seems to work better for me that way (incidentally I have a Janome 7700 which is a cracking machine).

2.   I quilt with Aurifil 40wt or 50wt.  I use 40wt when I want a more defined look and 50wt when I want the quilting to fade more into the background and just hold the thing together or create an over all texture.  Using these threads, I do not need to play with my machine's tension for FMQ.

3.   I use the closed toe FMQ foot.  The open toe one always seems to get snagged in seams.

4.   I FMQ with the stitch plate set to the open setting.  On the Janome, you can have the closed hold setting and the open hole.  This is a wider hole in the plate, meant for wider stitches like zigzagging but, for some reason, my machine FMQs better with this open.

5.   I put the same thread in the machine top and bottom.

6.   I hold onto the thread with my right hand as I thread the machine with my left hand.  I have noticed that, if I do not do this, I get all sorts of loopy mess underneath.  This is my one most important tip and the one thing I do which really makes a difference - I always double check that the loops aren't appearing underneath after I've quilted a few loops after re-threading.

7.   I use Superior titanium topstitch needles.  I cannot recommend these needles highly enough.  Although slightly more expensive than other needles, they last way longer and stay sharper way longer and are worth the extra cost.

8.   I leave my stitch length set at whatever it is already on - usually 2.2.  I do not put this to zero.

9.  I do not pull my bottom thread up to the top when I start.  OK so this makes little nests on the back each time I start but I just trim these at the end of the whole process.  I know this is not how proper quilters do it but this is how I do it.

10.   If there is a long thread on top when I start which will get dragged around by the closed toe FMQ foot, I stitch a few stitches in place and then snip this thread to about an inch long.  All threads like this get trimmed in the final "snagging".

11.   I wear a pair of bright pink gardening gloves.  These are not chosen because they are better than quilting gloves but because I went to a garden centre one day, saw them and bought them.  To test out which pair were the most grippy on cotton, I rubbed them on my 12 year old's shirt whilst we were in the garden centre.  This weirded him out.  My husband was all excited that I appeared to be showing an interest in gardening by buying gardening gloves.  He lives in hope that one day I will take an interest in housework, cooking and gardening.  Slim hope.

12.   I use a Janome FMQ bobbin holder.  If you are confident in changing the bobbin tension on your machine, you would not need this but I am not.  The tension on the FMQ bobbin holder is lower than on the regular one so the thread can fly through the machine as I FMQ like a speed demon.
13.   I push the pedal hard to the floor and quilt as fast as possible.  I always have the machine set so the needle stops in the down position so I can stop, re-adjust and re-start.

14.   I don't stop as frequently as I should so I often get funny little areas which have gone wrong.  I try never to unpick.  I remind myself that I am not aiming for perfection and that the quilt police are not visiting any time soon.

15.   I use my machine's quilting table which is a plastic see through slide-on affair and holds more of the quilt at the right level.  I also put a chair to my left so that parts of the quilt not on the table sit on the chair and do not pull so hard on the quilting.

16.   I also add a cushion or two onto my sewing chair so that I am higher up in relation to the quilting.

17.   My current favourite quilting stitch is a loopy meander.  I can do this fast and furious and it looks OK.  Not professional but OK.  In general I like overall quilting designs rather than designs that pick out different features on the quilt but that's just me.  I also like dense quilting.

18.   I like warm and natural to make a quilt look really nice but I prefer Heirloom 80/20 for a quilt that you use on the sofa to snuggle under so I mostly use the Heirloom because quilts are for snuggling more than for looking.

19.   I sing along to my quilting, sometimes I hold an imaginary lesson where I'm teaching quilting to an imaginary audience which is odd since I'm not that skilled at it.  I guess I'm teaching to proper beginners.

20.   Once I'm done and trimmed square and bound, I take the whole thing to the sofa, in front of something good on the telly and trim off all the little threads.  I have a small pair of scissors in one hand for this, a pair of tweezers for teensy threads and a Korbond lint roller to pick up all the threads.  Snip, roll, snip, roll, snip, roll.   That roller keeps a messy job all nice and tidy.

And that's how I quilt.  Fast and mediocre.  Nothing wrong with that.

Could I be any prouder?

Although not Welsh myself, I have a Welsh husband and, in case you missed it, Wales won the Grand Slam today.  My son and husband went to the match and could I be any prouder of my son wearing top to toe Welsh paraphenalia.

And my husband dressed as a leek.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Fancy winning some Aurifil?

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning this wonderful Aurifil thread collection, "Shades of Green", a special edition for International Quilt Festival of Ireland, you need to go here and follow the couldn't-be-simpler instructions.  A winner will be drawn on Wednesday to don't delay.

Friday, 16 March 2012


STOP PRESS: my current must-have fabric line and a line with more coolness points than I can count, Curious Nature by Mr Amy Butler, aka David Butler, aka Parson Gray (his fabric designing alter ego) has just this week hit the decks chez Tracey Pereira's online fabric shop, Quiltmehappy.  Tracey says "it's so much nicer than the online pictures".  Great blenders, deep sultry colours, perfect line for a manly quilt if ever I saw one.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Collecting cool fabrics

In attempt to be one of the cool girls, I'm going to try to amass some of the cool fabrics the cool girls use.  I'm not cool, never have been, never will be and, according to my kids, even using the word cool is uncool.  I'm currently loving black and white blenders and chartreuse and white blenders and to that end have invested in these few for no other purpose currently than to up my coolness.   Masquerade in black from Sew Fresh Fabrics.

This Paris Tea Panel from Eternal Maker which I have been hunting for high and low and chanced on it on their wonderful site. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Those aren't pillows...

Hop on over to the Fat Quarterly blog today to find out more about this pillow I made using Moda's new line, Quilt Blocks and Jenny Pedigo's wonderful quick curve ruler.  Only over here in the UK we would call this a cushion.  A pillow is used at bedtime to put your head on.  A cushion decorates a sofa - and in expensive magazines it can also decorate a bed but there would still have to be pillows to sleep on, the cushions, or we might even call them scatter cushions, would sit on top serving no apparent purpose at all.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Looking to buy some Oakshott?

I have had numerous enquiries over the past few weeks since my epiphanous discovery of Oakshott shot cottons about how to buy Oakshott if you are not in the UK.  To start with, you can buy from their website.  Anyone outside the European Union will get the 20% value added tax deducted at the till (a deduction of 16.6% of amount you see on the website)  because you are not paying our taxes.  To the US, there is then a £13.50 delivery charge and the shot cottons tend to arrive within a very few days.  So for any orders over  £67.50, the tax deduction effectively pays the shipping for you.  Shipping to Canada, Australia, NZ, Singapore,  Malaysia and Hong Kong is £15 and to Brazil is £20.
There are two US stockists, pinwheels and a verb for keeping warm and Oakshott are hoping to increase that as more quilters around the world discover their shot cottons.  If you want to read more about these cottons, take a look at some what Rita, Chawne, Marianne, Elizabeth and a verb for keeping warm are saying about them.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Trying new technology

Having had such a huge success with touchdraw for my ipad, i thought i would try a couple more apps. First blogpress for inserting photos and writing my blogposts. That went well.

I can't say that the dragon dictation was quite so successful. Here's what it thought I said. Literally copied and pasted from the app. You can kind of get the gist of what I was saying but I'm not sure my blog is going to be enhanced by this kind of gibberish. Or maybe it would be?

Okay Summerfields entrancingly technology flowable my blog festival I'm going to try out DragonDictate shouldn't circum-sitting in bed dictating my blog post and Ermintrudes try to blog plasticine trachytic photo from my Apple mobile device and put it into my perplexed.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Free piecing with Oakshott

In the bee I am in called "Free Bee' where last month I made that power station coling tower block (still wondering what I was thinking really), Krista Spotted Stone asked for us to make a fan of wedges using Sherri Lynn Woods' awesomeness in design in her tutorial which can be found here. My current favourite Oakshott colours are the rich inky pinks and purples which I mixed with some greys and a couple of pops of yellow. 
Free Bee March for Krista by Lynne @ Lilys Quilts
I say a couple, a couple is two and I used three, so I guess I meant a threeple. I'm not sure I'm done with this yet. It's as big as Krista asked for but I don't think I can stop - it's very soothing doing this piecing so I think I might add a few more strips on before I send it off to her. She asked us not to trim the edges and that is killing me - I feel like I'm walking round with a badly cut fringe....a few hours later...this thing keeps on growing.  I need to stop now before it takes over the whole sewing room...

Oakshott free piecing

Friday, 9 March 2012

My sewing tips

Take a moment to pop over to Fi's endlessly useful and informative wesbite, The Sewing Directory to read my top five sewing tips including my magical secret way to get crucial points to meet which I used to make this block (which incidentally I will be teaching an all-new-super-sized and re-drafted version of at the Fat Quarterly London retreat):

Happy Birthday Katy Jones

Happy Birthday Mrs Jones.  If any of you have a moment, you can go here to wish her many happy returns which my Dad says to us on our birthdays and I have no idea what it means. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Gypsy Wife Amitie BOM

The new Amitie BOM has kicked off and my first block is made. Jen always starts off these BOMs with a nice easy starter block. I love to use these BOMs to play with my stash a bit too so I've used some of Jen's fabrics in this block and some of my own too.  My husband may come and leave a rude comment on this post because he thinks it's funny when I saying I'm going to play with my stash; he thinks it's a euphemism. 
Gypsy Wife Amitie BOM by Lynne @ Lilys Quilts

For anyone wishing to play along, there is a Flickr group here. The Circle Game BOM is also being re-run at the moment and for information about that and this BOM, go to Amitie Textiles website and they will get you enrolled. And the best piece of news for those of you who, like me, missed the Green Tea and Beans BOM, a book of that BOM is coming out soon and I am planning on it being my big summer holiday hand sewing project. Can't wait.  Oh and here is the picture of the finished Gypsy Wife quilt in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

London - a paper piecing workshop

So out of the goodness of my heart, I have an alternative paper piecing pattern for any of you coming to the London Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat in June.

In fact there will be a choice of three.  This one, which uses four templates plus sashing and cornerstones to make an 18" pillow, the union jack pillow and a newly drafted 20" pillow version of this Double Circle of Flying Geese block. So plenty to choose from if you're coming.  I've pieced the pillow tops and will show you the finished pillows once they're done, maybe next week.  And don't worry, if you can't come to the retreat, each of these patterns will be appearing in a special London retreat edition available free to attendees and for everyone else to buy.

And yes, I drew these all by myself with Touchdraw for iPad, the best app ever.  I'm like a one woman graphics machine right now.