Sunday, 18 February 2018

BLOG 384

BLOG 384
Last week we enjoyed our pancakes on Tuesday and saw the start of Lent on Wednesday. Ever since I was a little girl at Sunday school, I have given up something for the 6 weeks leading up to Easter and this year is no exception. But this year, as well as giving something up, I have also decided to take something on! I am going to make a Linus quilt for each week of Lent so that someone will benefit from my efforts somewhere along the line. The first quilt started with a treasured cat fabric which I have had for many years, always thinking I would make something really special with it. But sometimes we can get too fixated on a fabric believing it is too good to use and then, before you know it, it has gone out of fashion and it looks dated. And you then wonder why you bought it in the first place! I have many fabrics like that believe me. So the message here is to use and enjoy your fabrics before they get ‘bin-bagged’ by the family!

This was constructed using simple patchwork technique. I cut 6 ½” squares (because I have a 6 ½” ruler and it was easy to cut!) from both the cat fabric and a complementary batik and drew a rough plan of what I wanted to achieve.

              Cat fabric

              6 ½” squares

              Rough plan
I sewed the blocks together in pairs, making sure that 12 had the cat on the right hand side and 9 had the cat on the left hand side. These were then sewn together to make rows of 6 squares.

             Sewing sequence 1

             Sewing sequence 2

            2 Rows
I pinned at the seams, making sure that they butted up against one another and sewed the rows together to construct the quilt top. Job done!

            Pin the seams

              Quilt top
I attended a willow weaving workshop a few days ago; this was something I have always wanted to have a go at. Really, I want a flock of sheep for our paddock but, having had a go at a hare, the sheep are not going to happen! The course was run at Ruthin Craft Centre by Juliette Hamilton and she was a very good teacher. It was hands-on, full-on and we worked non-stop.  We all moved forward together at each stage and every one of us walked out with a hare. Impressive! I even followed one home in a car; it was sitting in the passenger seat looking out of the window! My Hare Flick (‘Allo ‘Allo) will go out into the garden when the weather improves and after it has been treated.

             Hare Flick








Sunday, 11 February 2018

BLOG 383

BLOG 383

This week I have been making some poppies which will go towards the display in the Gresford show this year. We have all been asked to contribute poppies, making them in whatever medium we choose. We are aiming for 500 and they are starting to trickle in. Some have been knitted, some crocheted but many have been sewn. Someone in the morning group (Lorna?) brought in a batch she had made using the British Legion poppy. This was such a simple approach and it was very effective too. It suddenly made the task less daunting and became do-able for me!

            British Legion poppy
I made a template from the original poppy and cut out several and added some slightly larger red circles, and black circles for the centre.

             Pattern pieces
As I wanted the flower to appear dimensional, I cut into the top shaped red piece on either side of the centre. This allowed me to over-lap the cut edges and my first line of sewing was across them to hold them in place on the underneath red circle.

           Making the tuck
The black circle was placed in the centre and I sewed short lines on the vertical, the horizontal and both diagonals to hold it down. There is a lot of bulk under the machine foot so these stabilising rows helped to squash it all down.

            Securing the centre

             Stabilising rows
Then it was a case of some scribbles radiating from the centre to complete the poppies.  Simple really but very effective. To finish we were asked to sew safety pins onto the back so that it will make it easier to attach them to a background for a display purposes. Job done!

              Finished poppy
I also made some more of my daily squares. In truth, I am generally playing catch up on this project but I am bang up to date now thankfully. They are sewn onto a heavy interfacing with a meandering stitch and then cut finally to 3½” square.

              Tree motif

Sewn Squares

            Sewn squares

                   Other motifs






Sunday, 4 February 2018

BLOG 382

BLOG 382

And for your delight and delectation this week, I am posting pictures of Llangollen Quiltfest which is on in the Royal Pavilion and the Museum, 1st to 28th Feb, 10am to 4pm. It is a wonderful display of quilts from the members of the Quilters’ Guild, Region 13. The variety is amazing from traditional to contemporary and it is very inspirational. Try and make an effort to see this exhibition, it is well worth enjoying these quilts ‘in the flesh’ as it were! Here is small selection:-























Sunday, 28 January 2018

BLOG 381

BLOG 381
January is slipping away and the days are starting to lengthen so there is a lovely feeling of warm hope that we are emerging from the gloom of winter. The snow drops are out in force and the daffodils are poking their snake-like heads above the soil. I’m sure there will be more bad weather to come but that extra hour of daylight is just enough to raise the spirits. Another way of raising spirits is to immerse yourself in fabric, particularly those in the warm range of the colour wheel! Katie’s wall hanging is such a project and I have romped on with it this week. Whereas Ella is unquestionably a multi-coloured sort of girl, Katie is definitely pinks and purples. So I added the short borders top and bottom and the longer side borders next, trimmed them and then used a darker strip to join and bind. Job done!

                Short borders 

                  Long borders 
           Finished hanging

 One of my flower vase quilts has hung for years in a huge frame above the fire place but we noticed this week that the frame was starting to come apart. This meant that I was able to liberate the quilt from the frame so, now that it is no longer behind glass, I can enjoy the colours, texture and detail of it again. It was made from ready-fused batiks which were cut using either a fluted or a pinked rotary cutter or pinking shears. And because it was made of such small pieces, I had to use plenty of stitch to hold them down, to add texture and to enhance the detail. It is always nice to revisit a piece of work and it makes me question why I have left this way of working behind. It was a method that I developed a few years ago but there must be more scope for development??? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!

                Flower vases

             Detail 1

                Detail 2 

            Detail 3

                  Detail 4

               Detail 5

Sunday, 21 January 2018

BLOG 380

Blog 380
It has been a week of intense soldering, cord making and lacing in order to get my wall hanging ready for Llangollen. I feel as though I have been wearing my respirator permanently and I have grooves on my cheeks to prove it! Still better to be safe than sorry; those fumes from soldering are very toxic!

              Detail 1

                 Detail 2 

              Detail 3 
I ran a line of cording round the outside edge to complete it (and not before time). I am delighted with the result and now I know what I am doing, I think I want to make another one straight away to reinforce the learned process in my mind and hands. BTW: The name remained as ‘Contemporary Welsh’ in the absence of anything better!

               Contemporary Welsh 
               Hanging sleeve 

I did a bit of a catch-up on my daily squares. These are mounting up nicely but I need to purchase some more pelmet Vilene to back them before I can sew around the cut edges. Or perhaps I will use heavy interfacing, just to add some body. As I don’t know what I am going to do with them yet, it’s hard to make any decisions at this stage.

                 Daily squares
And just take a look at these fabric squares. They are drawings made by one of my granddaughters when she was nearly 3 1/2. I asked her to draw things that made her happy on paper using fabric transfer crayons. Predictably she chose the following: Mum, Dad, sister, herself, house, rainbow, a flower and, my favourite, a bee! I am about to border them with a bright fabric to make a small wall hanging capturing ‘a moment in time’.

              Katie’s drawings

                       My favourite