Monday, 6 July 2015

BLOG 255

BLOG 255

I will be away at Wimbledon this weekend; it is my very first visit and Roger and I will be seated in the upper reaches of the centre court on Saturday to watch Andy Murray play, amongst others. I am very excited about the whole experience and, as we will be late back on Sunday night, I thought I’d better get my blog underway. This week I have been getting on with the quilt-as-you-go multi-coloured scrap quilt (I must find a better name for it!), first mentioned in Blog 246. I have loads of scrap fabrics left over from numerous other projects and it has proved a cathartic experience making something for nothing.


 Part 1: Most of the preparation is done on the ironing board and this is the tedious part. All these scraps have to be sorted and ironed.


 Part 2: Then it’s over to the cutting board to cut 1 ½” strips. The off-cuts will be discarded; I certainly have no intention of working with these itty bitty bits! I did a lot of my cutting at the Gresford craft group this week whilst chatting to my chums on the same table. It makes a tedious job go pleasantly and quickly.



 These strips are piled by my machine ready for off, and you can see that there is a huge variety of colourful fabrics. I have discarded any very light ones.

                                Work station

 Part 3: I over-lap 2 fabrics with RS together and it is my intention to sew on the marked diagonal. I have long since grown out of pining and marking; this is just for the picture! Here’s the sewing sequence.

                                                      Stage 1

                                                Stage 2

                                                     Stage 3

                                                 String piecing

I drop the long strands of joined fabric onto the floor, ready to be taken to the ironing board where all the seams will be ironed in the same direction. They will then be ready then for the next round of cutting.

                                              Long strands

 The waste bin where all the corners have been discarded is full of colour; it is delightful! But there is no way I am going to use them, I am probably going to put some in a bag for the grandchildren to use with glue. That will keep them quiet for a while!!

                                       Waste bin


Sunday, 28 June 2015

BLOG 254

BLOG 254

I have had a busy week, looking after 2 chocolate Labradors, preparing for Australian relatives and keeping up with the ever-burgeoning garden. No rain has been good for dog-sitting but it has meant a lot of watering had to be done. Constant winds on the hill have made the dogs frisky and the tall plants have required some staking to hold them steady. The arrival of visitors has required some modest housework and the layers of dust have been disturbed temporarily so that they can land somewhere else. It has all been great fun on the social side but, as you can imagine, little sewing has been achieved. So, I thought I’d show a quilt that I made many moons ago and which has never seen the light of day publically.

In my early quilting days, I was always on the look-out for originality anywhere and everywhere. I traced tiles from bathroom floors, made rubbings of unusual dimensional patterns, photographed buildings and pavement designs and collected motifs and pictures from cards and magazines that might eventually inspire me. Come the day when we went for afternoon tea at an aged auntie’s house. There on the table was a lovely cutwork tablecloth; it was beautifully starched and ironed and the outline of the pattern was delicately sewn in buttonhole stitch with pastel embroidery threads. It was someone’s masterpiece from a generation ago, their pride and joy, and I loved it! I subsequently borrowed this treasure and this is what I was inspired to make.

                                                     Homage to Cutwork

To give the appearance of cutwork holes, brown fabric was used. The flowers and leaves were painstakingly defined with 1/8” bias binding. Here is the centre motif with a spider’s web quilting pattern, defined using an Italian quilting technique.

                                                           Centre motif

                                 Motif detail

A larger spray of flowers was positioned next, pointing to each corner

                                                     Flower spray

 Each of the quilting motifs was given extra definition with cord.

                                                     Corded quilting

 The outer border consisted of undulating lines and inset flowers with yet more bias binding work.


 And just why didn’t this quilt see light of day?

Excuse 1: I never wash my fabrics before I use them (life’s too short!); I like to work with the stiffness or ‘body’ that the dressing gives to the fabric.

Excuse 2: Because I was excited with my design on paper and wanted to get going right away. I chose an inferior calico from stock (it’ll do!) as a background for the quilt.

Excuse 3: Once I start a piece of work, I put my head down and work on it over a period of time until I have finished, even if I have the smallest inkling that the design deserves better fabric. I don’t like to waste my efforts (I won’t admit to myself that I may have got it wrong!); I’ve started so I’ll finish!

Excuse 4: I let a cat snuggle on a corner (aw cute!) whilst I was hand (yes hand!!) quilting the background. When that cat eventually deigned to rise, yawn and stretch, it left a muddy paw print or three on a corner.

Excuse 5: To rectify this, I bunged the quilt in the washing machine once all the quilting was completed, closed my eyes and walked away thus allowing the machine to dictate the finished look of the quilt (it’ll be alright on the night!). The inferior background shrank and distorted, leaving a creased but prettily decorated rag!This quilt went into stock, at the bottom of the pile and I learned many valuable lessons from it. And I think it was probably the last time I hand quilted a quilt. I use it now as a throw in the far recesses of a bedroom where it can’t be seen publically. It seemed like a good idea at the time and, even now, I think there is a lot of design potential here. Whether I will go back and visit the idea remains to be seen, but don’t forget that you saw it on this Blog first!!

                                                          Quilt in-situ


Sunday, 21 June 2015

BLOG 253

BLOG 253

 The emphasis of the blog this week is on the Gresford show. It all went very well and involved a lot of hard work from so many willing people. We don’t know how much money we have raised yet; that will be announced (with a drum roll) at our meeting next week.

And just what was on display? Here are some notable items. This is a scrap quilt made of Liberty fabrics. The basic building block is a small square made up of a light and a dark half-square triangle. It’s the way they are placed that produces a secondary pattern.

                                                 Liberty quilt

 Here is a colourful quilt made for a child, based on the log cabin pattern. The centres of the cabin are animal pictures and the arrangement of the blocks produces a barn raising design.

                                 Childs quilt

This quilt was made for a daughter’s significant birthday by her Mum using pre-printed pictures and photo transfer prints.

                                           Birthday quilt

                          Lady of the Lake

 Our spoon challenge generated a lot of interest and the variety and quality of work was amazing.

                                  Spoon challenge 1

                 Spoon challenge 2

                                       Spoon challenge 3

 And my personal favourite was Mrs Spoonerism, made by the one who was accused of stirring! Phrases associated with quilting are printed onto calico strips and sewn onto her skirt. Brilliant!

                   Mrs Spoonerism


                                         Tea cosies for charity

                                              Children’s corner

                                                     Cross stitch

                                                   Baby display

                                             Christmas 1

                                                Christmas 2

                              General view 1

                                               General view 2

 And if you look closely at that view you will get the answer to the question I asked at the end of my blog last week. Yes I did manage to get it finished, just because the idea was in my head. I worked long and hard into the evening last Sunday to finish it and it went on display with the one I made earlier in the year.

                                                    Felted panels

The special guests at the exhibition this year were two groups who specialised in making miniatures. There were houses, rooms, outbuildings, caravans and novelty settings. Most were done to 1/12th scale but this one was made at 1/48; it was exquisite!

                                           Mini miniature

                                                   Green house


                                                Market stall

                                     Thatched cottage

 And I would just like to take a moment to applaud the unknown volunteers who made the masses of tapestry kneelers; they looked lovely hanging in the pews




Sunday, 14 June 2015

BLOG 252

BLOG 252

 I hope you are all bound for Gresford next week! We are putting up the exhibition tomorrow and it opens on Tuesday. BE THERE!


Tues –Thurs 10:30 to 8:00pm Fri 10:30-6:00pm

I have continued to complete some of my projects and label my entries but, as if that is not enough for me to do, I decided to start another long felt picture. I thought that if I finished it I would put it in the show to hang alongside the first felt panorama that I made. They would hang well side by side. Neither hanging has been registered as exhibits but the committee always has the attitude of ‘the more the merrier’ so I think they will be welcomed IF I can get the second one finished!!

I completed the background strip below during a day on my felting machine at Suzette’s. I started by laying down a solid under-layer with red (don’t know why I chose that colour but it seems to have worked!) at the bottom of the picture, dark green in the middle and grey along the top. That established a base of colour for me to work on so then I used finer strips of wool to define and brighten the landscape.

                                                       Felted strip

                                                            Detail 1

                                                            Detail 2

When I was happy with the background, I had to decide what went in the foreground for interest and definition. Towering flowers to one side seemed like a good idea for a start so I built up layers of coloured felt to hint at them.


 I wanted to bring the flowers forward by defining them more and so I added small pieces of bright coloured silks and mashed them into place.


A few French knots add even more detail.

                                                        French knots


                                                                 More silks

 The question now is ‘will she/won’t she’ get it finished to hang tomorrow in Gresford? There is still a long way to go and it is early evening already.