Sunday, 17 May 2015

BLOG 248

BLOG 248

I did get to sew with my friends last Monday but, unusually for me, I slept in so I had no chance of getting anything together for my scribble drawing experiment before I went. So armed with just a sewing machine and a heap colourful scraps I decided to have a patchwork day instead of a thread day.  I joined strips (no longer than 8”) together at right angles to one another to make several long lines.

                                                    Heap of strips

 I trimmed the joins, ironed the seams and then cut them into 10 ½” strips. I joined these strips together just making sure no colours were duplicated in adjacent rows.

                                                      Joining the strips

 After I had made 6, I began to wonder what multiple blocks would look like (a migraine, a stained glass, a car crash!!) and whether the effort was going to be worth it. Here are two layouts for the blocks.

                                                         Side by side

                                                 Alternating blocks

 ….. And that’s as far as I got because I then fell fowl of a chest infection. I have never had one before and it absolutely floored me. (Well it settee’d me actually because I spent the next 3 days on the sofa.) Even now, after 6 days, I am still delicate with none of my usual energy. If I start to cough it is so painful.  I think it is going to take a lot of shifting. So to pad out this blog, let me show you what I have done with my quilts in the hallway.

                                    Y Gorlan hallway

                                           Display 1

                                               Display 2

                                             Display 3


Sunday, 10 May 2015

BLOG 247

BLOG 247

Refreshed after a lovely week on the island of Menorca, I have just ventured into my studio for the first time. As I always do a grand tidy up before I go away, (clearing the surfaces, putting things back to where they belong, throwing out ‘surplus to requirement’ stuff), it was all clean and tidy and a pleasure to be in there. Not much sewing has been done so far as you can imagine as holiday washing had to come first, but that is all ironed and aired and now I am chomping at the bit to get going. I have been toying with the idea of making another quilt for  my in-a-wall series and here is the potential starting point (with a bit more work) for ‘fish-in-a-wall’.

                                                        Fish doodle

 I am always drawing on holiday, for my own interest and not for public viewing, and I have started to become quite intrigued with scribble drawing. I actually draw small circles over and over again, increasing the pressure on the pencil for darker shading. In the back of my mind I am wondering if I can do this in layers of thread, definitely food for thought ….. And then I looked on Google and what a diversity of inspiration there is there. Here is a humble sample of my drawing; I have a long way to go! But as I am fond of saying, you don’t get good at something by not trying it! I join friends tomorrow for a day’s sewing, so I may give it a whirl.

                                                           Scribble drawing 1

 Looking back in my sketch book, I see that I also tried it on a flight last year after visiting the Yellowstone National Park, hence the subject matter.

                                              Scribble drawing 2

 Desperate to sew however, I have put some more thought into the colourful quilt block that I sampled before I went on holiday. I intend to continue with this as a ‘quilt-as-you-go’ project just to get rid of my heaps of colourful scraps. So with enthusiasm, I put the block onto batting and backing and pinned the layers together.

                                                         Pinned layers

I chose 2 multi-coloured threads, one for the top and a different one for the bobbin. I sewed a stabilising row of stitches around the outside edge of the block 1/8” in to keep the layers stable.

                                             Multi-coloured threads

And before I knew it, I had quilted the sample block with a favourite free-motion design.

                                                 Quilted block front


The squares of backing fabrics will be cut from colourful fabric also. So I’m working with colour again and this makes me happy so all is well with my world. I hope to make some progress with this project in the next few weeks so watch this space.

                                                       Quilted block back


Thursday, 30 April 2015

BLOG 246

BLOG 246
Little time has been given to sewing this week, as much effort has been spent preparing for the holiday. We leave tomorrow and my sister and her husband arrive to look after the cats for the duration; this means we can relax, knowing they are being spoiled!

I have trays and bags full of colourful fabric off-cuts from other projects and it has always bothered me that they lay idle Whilst unused, they are just scraps but, when used, they could become a beautiful (hopefully) quilt. Knowing my love of colour, there was no doubt that these bits would be used at some stage; that ‘some stage’ just happens to be now!
                                                             Basket 1

                                                                Basket 2

 A friend told me recently about strips (perhaps from a jelly roll) that are joined together on the diagonal and then re-cut and re-joined and then used to make quilt squares. I have searched the internet to find a reference without success so I thought I would just have a go anyway and see what happened. My strips are cut at 1 ½”.

                                                              1 ½” strips

Some strips were a lot lighter than the others and I decided straight away to discard all the light fabrics.


TIP: To join 2 strips on the diagonal, place them with RS together at right angles to one another.

                                                        Right angles

Sew across the diagonal. To help with this, draw a line on the table of your machine that extends from the needle (the line on the right is ¼” away and irrelevant to this stage). Line up the top corner with the needle and the bottom corner with that centre line and sew across.

                                                       Lining up

When it is sewn, cut away the excess fabric on the corner.


I pressed all the seams in the same direction and cut the strips at 10 ½” so I will need 10 strips to make a block.


 I joined the strips together to make a block and so far I like what I see!


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

BLOG 245

BLOG 245
I am happy to be back home again after the family party in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Roger’s Auntie arranged a family reunion for her 90th birthday and it was held in the family farmhouse which is situated in a delightful setting known as The Pludds. A winding approach road climbs high up a wooded hill, eventually giving way to stunning views over the surrounding countryside and beyond. It is a run-down, old fashioned farm, and visiting it is like stepping into a time-warp. (I feel it would make an excellent setting for an old TV programme or film!) It’s certainly not a pretty farm, worked at barely a subsistence level, but everything about it is fascinating. It is very special to us as part of the extended family.

But enough of my social life, this week I have been working on a challenge. At Gresford craft group, I share a table with 8 others and we all laugh and chat our way through the morning. One friend light-heartedly accused another of stirring and suggested we buy her a wooden spoon. As we all enjoyed the humour, I said that something positive can come of this; what about a wooden spoon challenge? The accuser bought the wooden spoons, and we subtitled it ‘Blame it on Jane!’ because Jane was the accused. Here are the rules:

THE WOODEN SPOON CHALLENGE ‘Blame it on Jane’ for stirring and Val for buying the spoons!!

This challenge is only for our table at the Tuesday morning session at Gresford craft group and it is meant to be a bit of fun. Participants are not allowed to take it seriously in any way, shape or form!

Everyone will be given a wooden spoon (thanks Val), traditionally used for stirring (blame Jane).

You can use any craft you like to showcase your talents but the spoon must be recognisable in the final piece. (Eg you can’t just stuff it in a cushion and hide it!) You can drill holes in it if necessary.

You have until June to complete your challenge as it will be part of a small display in Gresford exhibition this year (note: small display, don’t get too carried away that you need to deliver it on a juggernaut!)

TIP: Look at expressions to do with spoons or perhaps the shape will get you started. Think about its function or what it could become. Let your imagination run riot and, above all, have a bit of fun.

I have made a start by using thread to make some traditional Welsh Love spoons. These are sewn onto a couple of water-soluble layers with sheers trapped in between. I tried to shade the colours but was restricted by the my lack of choice amongst my threads. These measure about 2” x 5”.  

                                               Threads on water soluble

This small one has been sewn with a YLI variegated thread and is only 2” high.

                        Variegated thread

 I have made another Burning Issues piece for a friend. Here it is at the stitched stage; the burning, which is the best stage, is yet to come.

                                                       Burning Issues #6


 Another friend has just had a birthday and I was late getting her Birthday Tweet bird ready for the occasion. I have made the body out of recycled embroidery, a la Suzette Smart, and prepared a felted stone for it to stand on.  Here it is awaiting its label. I think my friend might like it!

                                                    Birthday Tweet right

                                                Birthday Tweet left

I will try to get a short Blog posted by the end of this week; we are holidaying in Menorca for a week, leaving on Friday. I wonder what I will find there to inspire me?

Friday, 24 April 2015

BLOG 245

Apologises for a late blog this time round; I am away for the WE at a family party.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

BLOG 244

BLOG 244


I am hung! We went to Holyhead to the Ucheldre centre on Tuesday with a car full of quilts and hangings, and 4 hours later, my exhibition was hung. I then walked the length of the breakwater to the light house at the end to say hello to my Mam (some of her ashes had been scattered there). We visited cousins where we had a lovely meal before returning to the centre to do the opening address for the resident quilting group who also have an exhibition of their work. Thankfully, it was a lovely day all round because, as you may know, it has been the focus of my endeavours for the last month or so. For my evening address, I decided to do an alphabet of quilts, trying to find a quilt or hanging to represent each letter. The difficult ones were X, Y and Z! For X, I showed an extraordinary quilt, the one I would save if the house was on fire! For Y (and I have no affection at all for yoyos!) I used the word yardage and mentioned the no-fail formula for buying fabric: work out how much you want, double it and add a yard. For Z, I said they could finish their zeds as it was all over! Here are some of my quilts on display.

                                                   A String of Diamonds

                                               Lady of the Lake

                                 Delectable Mountain

                                                             Group quilt 1

                                                            Group Quilt 2

                                                            Group quilt 3

                                            Group quilt 4

                                 Gentiana Alpina  and Floral display

                      Tree of Life

                                             Positive and Negative Jacobean

                                                              Red Equus





                                           Mosaic still life

                                           Hollyhocks and Poppies

                                                            Sunflower and Iris

                                   Foxglove and Sunflowers in blue vase

                                                        Burning Issues