Sunday, 1 March 2015

BLOG 237


BLOG 237 Sunday March 1st 2015

Hapus Dewi Sant.

And now for something completely different, as the saying goes. Question: What do you do with a drawer full of large print fabrics when you need a rag rug for your utility room?  Answer: You make one! These fabrics have been left over from my garden gate years when I used to construct large scale gardens which required big floral prints. I don’t want to work on large pieces now so I thought I would shift some of this fabric in a different way. I also need a hand project for the times when I go to various local craft groups. In my life before quilt making, I used to crochet lampshades using balls of dishcloth cotton; here is the only one I have now and that must be all of 30 years old!

                              Crocheted lampshade

 
So it was to crochet that I turned to make use of the fabrics. I hadn’t used a crochet hook for years but it all came back very easily. Here are the first 4 squares.

                                                             4 squares

 
And here are the fabrics they came from. The busy fabrics produce a lovely effect and it doesn’t seem to matter whether the right or wrong side is visible, that just adds interest.

                                                           Fabric 1

                                                                  Fabric 2

                                                               Fabric 3

                                                              Fabric 4
 

I wanted to cut the fabric as efficiently as possible with a rotary cutter and ruler so I removed both of the selvedges first and folded the fabric, placing it on my cutting board with both the trimmed selvedge to my left and the fold of the fabric to the right. (I produced 1 square from an 11” length x 42”wide fabric strip.)

I cut ½” strips across the fabric from right to left, going across the folded edge on the right side but stopping 1” short of the trimmed edges on the left side.

                                                     Across the fold

                                                          Stopping short


I separated the layers (this is important) and started to release the individual strips of fabric cutting the edge where necessary.

                                                         Separated strips

 I rolled up the fabric in a ball for convenience so it is ready to crochet using an 8mm hook.

                                                            Ball of fabric

 In advance, I am already thinking of how to join the squares together. As I have drawers of black off-cuts, again from the wrought iron years, it seemed like a good idea to use that fabric.

 
                                                            Crocheted seam

                                                          Reverse seam

 NOT a good idea! I think the best solution would be to use any left-over strips from the squares to join them together more subtly……..

………..And then I went into a local charity shop and bought this one for £4:00! I will persevere with the crocheted one now that I have started it, and I can swop it over with this one when it needs laundering.

                                                     Charity shop rug

Sunday, 22 February 2015

BLOG 236


BLOG 236

 My daughter’s throw for her settee is well under way now. I have spent the week using the last bits of the main fabric and the size has been adjusted accordingly. It went together very well and here it is after the three layers have been put together. I have used Warm and Natural batting and there is a luscious red spotted fabric on the back. Only the quilting to do now and this I will do using a free motion foot and orange thread.

 
                                                       Tessa’s throw

                                                               Detail

 For starters, after pinning it very securely, I have gone round the outside edge with a long stitch. This is just to keep the edges level and to stop the top from shifting whilst I sew. I always try out quilting patterns with pencil first to get the feel of what I want to do and after I have chosen the one that flows well, I make a start. I chose the one I have fenced in the centre of the page.

                                                            Quilting ideas
 

I started at one corner and worked my way across the quilt and this took 6 hours over 2 days. It was a good job I was attending a yoga class on Friday, to stretch the knotted shoulders and re-align the stiff neck. Who says that quilting isn’t bad for your health?!!

 

                                                           Quilting



In situ
 

I have had my ‘Lady of the Lake’ quilt back from being quilted on a long-arm quilting machine, ‘quilting by cheque book’ as it is affectionately known. It was not cheap at £130:00 but I am thrilled with the results. Diane at Castle Court Quilters quilted it for me and she is such a perfectionist. One of my corners was a bit out, causing a distortion and so she spent a day unpicking two seams and readjusting them with basting stitches (I was charged extra for that and rightly so for wrongly sewn!). She quilted over the top of these stitches and all I had to do was to re-sew the seam by applique from the top and remove the basting stitches to complete. After binding and a couple of local show-and-tells it has found its place on the bed. Delighted of Nercwys!

 
                                                                  Lady of the Lake

 And my treat this week? I have spent time doing a jigsaw loaned by a friend. It is called ‘Cats in the Craft room’ and, with 1000 pieces, it was hard going at times. Here’s proof that I finished it!
 

                                                                       Jigsaw
 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

BLOG 235


BLOG 235 February 15th 2015


I am starting this week’s blog by repeating the profound words I uttered last week with regard to the ‘Remembrance’ wall hanging.

If it comes together, I will submit it; if it doesn’t what the hell! Working with these thoughts in the back of my mind has been very liberating. Nothing is wasted in the process; I have learned valuable lessons in problem solving and I have had lots of sewing practice!

And what prophetic words they turned out to be! I had done a considerable amount of detailed stitching with cotton thread on the sea side of the hanging.

                                               Stitching

 
And so, because I couldn’t wait any longer to see the effect, I decided to start on the soldering. Horror of horrors! Apart from being able to make holes through all the layers, the felt just would not burn. What had been sold to me a synthetic felt must have had some wool content in it because it resisted the heat of the soldering iron. By using a soldering iron and a heat gun, I had hoped to produce a lacy effect in order to portray the fragility of life in the face of a hurricane force storm. Using scissors to cut out the gaps just didn’t work; it looked too measured. I was so disappointed but the valuable lesson of testing your felt before you start to work was learned and the quilt has been binned. ‘Cancel and continue’ comes to mind; I won’t dwell on failure but I will learn the lesson taught!

                                             Binned

 Here are some more favourites from Quiltfest, which has finished once again for another year. This clever hanging uses stripped fabric so well. The applique stems and flowers are offset with such precision. Your eyes jump about all over the place when you view this quilt, giving the feeling of a having a migraine!

 
 
      
                                               Stripes


This was a jolly colourful piece made in the sort of fabrics that I would consider using myself. I just liked it.

 
 
                                         A broken jug

 And this one is poignant, by its association with WW1 and with its imagery. It is such a thoughtful piece.

 
 
 

                                A little piece of England

 Here is my A4 contemporary quilt hanging amongst some other entries. My initial thought was that my quilt seemed quite formal compared to the ‘looseness’ and innovation of many of the others. Anything seems to be acceptable for ‘contemporary’.

 
                                       A4 Contemporary

 And my quilt alongside my friend Jennifer’s quilt.

                                                Region 13

 

 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

BLOG 234


BLOG 234 February 8th 2015

I have continued to work on the ‘Remembrance’ wall hanging this past week. In my mind, I’m not sure it will work but, because I haven’t committed myself to being part of this project, and because no-one is expecting an entry from me, I can work very freely and intuitively. If it comes together, I will submit it; if it doesn’t what the hell! Working with these thoughts in the back of my mind has been very liberating. Nothing is wasted in the process; I have learned valuable lessons in problem solving and I have had lots of sewing practice! It is quite a stylised piece and here is the progress-so-far in pictures.

                                   Wave patterns

                                      Wind patterns

                                       Sea scape

                                        Batik land mass

                                        Painted fusible

                                   Fusible in place

                                     Sheers on top

                                 Stitching

 Last week and this week, Quiltfest is being held in the Royal Pavilion in Llangollen. I have been down for a quick look and I think it is excellent. Instead of having the work of one quilter on display (which can be a bit samey) there are contributions from many quilters. The theme ‘I like Region 13 because ……’ inspired many members to put needle to cloth and the variety of quilts on display are as individual as the quilters making them. Also on display are a series of quilts on the theme of ‘Dislocation’ by the members of the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilters’ Guild. If you are live nearby, make sure you get to this event, you will not be disappointed. Here are 3 quilts from the ‘Dislocation’ exhibition.




        
       Beautiful use of colour and fine stitchery.



    

A suitcase lay abandoned on a London street; there must be a story behind it but it will never be known. The picture was manipulated and printed so that the colours gradually faded.
 


    

People are often uprooted and displaced in the name of progress. This quilt shows people held back by barbed wire in a confined area, whilst a cut-out of their shapes in sheer fabric remains.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

BLOG 233


BLOG 233 Sunday February 1st

 

Happy February! This past week I have continued to mentally plan my ‘Remembrance’ wall hanging. In my mind’s eye, it is spectacular in its concept, simple in its construction and already completed. BUT it’s getting from the ‘all in the mind’ stage to putting it down on paper and getting started. And there is nothing worse than a blank sheet of paper to give you designers’ block!!!

                                     Scary blank paper

 
My first task was to draw the Holyhead coast line between N Stack and S Stack where the rescue took place. Pleasingly, this divided the paper into two, almost on the diagonal.

                                                   Coast

I played with pencil and eraser and line to try and get the feeling of the ferocity of the waves around the coastline. These were there marked in when I was satisfied with the shapes.

                                               Waves
 

And then I thought about wind patterns and enjoyed the freedom of adding swirls and strong lateral lines.

                                               Winds

 
At that stage I reckoned that I had enough to get me started. Typically for me, I never know completely how it is going to finish because I am anxious to start working with colours. I know that the background will be blue felt and I will use synthetics and sheers. I want to try and build on what I have learned from previous attempts with the Susan Lenz technique. And what’s not to like about this palette?

                                               Palette

 I ironed a fusible onto the felt, not painted this time because I couldn’t see the point. This is going to be well covered by the other fabrics. A second piece of fusible will be painted in jewel tones because this will be seen through the colours of the sheers. I wanted to transfer the coast line onto the fusible, and this I did with Dress maker’s carbon paper. (I used to use this all the time when I needed to transfer a gate pattern onto black fabric. The white and yellow sheets are particularly good.)

                                     Marking the fusible


Fusible was ironed onto smaller pieces of the synthetic fabric.

                               Fusible onto synthetics


I cut the synthetics into strips of differing sizes and then I stood back to re-connect with the pattern. Why would I need strips when I am doing ferocious waves? And that is where the project has stalled this week and I need to think again. Designing can be tricky!

                                                   Strips
 

And on a lighter note: I usually look after one or other of my granddaughters sometime during the week and I just love it! It is always on an ad hoc basis where I say I’m free a certain day and can I help out. We are heavily into Playdoh at the moment and I spent most of one morning making teddy bears with a mould. ‘Annudder one Grammy’ was all that needed to be said; we were aiming for an installation like the terracotta warriors!!

                                        Installation