Sunday, 29 April 2012



This week I have been concentrating on Janet’s signature quilt. This is a very personal gift from me to her, to record her 60th birthday. I prepared patches in advance and mingled amongst the guests at her party, explaining why I wanted them to sign a bit of fabric (come on, humour me!). I took coloured pens, fine ones especially for writing on fabric, and I gave each guest a chance to practice first on piece of scrap fabric to get used to writing on fabric.


To start you need fabric. I haven’t a clue how much I will need as I don’t know how many signatures I will be collecting. But I have 3 metres of a colourful batik and plenty of good quality cream calico. The large squares of cream and colour are cut at 3 ½” and the small squares of colour are 2”.

01 Fabric
The block is a 9-patch, consisting of 4 repeated corner squares (for the signatures) and 4 repeated star-point squares and a coloured centre square.

02 The block

03 The 9-patches

For each block, you will need to prepare 4 corner squares like this.

04 Signed corner square

To make the signed corner squares: place a 2” coloured square onto the corner of a cream square. Sew across the diagonal of the coloured square.

TIP: This is the best tip ever for accurate sewing without marking the fabric first! You will see a marked black line on my machine which is in line with my needle. I place the lower corner of the coloured square on this line and watch it move along that line towards the needle as I sew. I gives a perfect diagonal and you can’t go wrong!

05 Sew across the diagonal

06 Add a second square on the opposite corner

07 Before trimming

08 After trimming and pressing

For each block you will need 4 star-point squares like this.

09 The star-point square
To make the star-point squares: place a 2” coloured square onto the corner of a cream square. Sew across the diagonal of the coloured square as above. Trim away the corner and press the triangle over.

10 Corner triangle, trimmed

11 Corner triangle, pressed

Add a second square on the adjacent corner and sew it across the diagonal in the same way.

12 Adjacent triangle
TIP: If you can’t bear to throw these triangles away, they can be sewn together with a ¼” seam and used for the border.

More next week!

Sunday, 22 April 2012


I have also been working on the seascape I covered with voile a couple of weeks ago. Here are a few close-ups of the stitches I have used for texture.

Texture 1

Texture 2

Texture 3

The only problem I have noticed so far is that the voile is moving on top of the strips as I texture the picture. I hope it doesn’t cause too much distortion.

Another good friend celebrated her 60th birthday last week, on the same day as me. She has always rubbed it in that I am 3 years older than she is, so it will be sweet to be able to lump us altogether as ‘in our 60s’ now! Naturally a box was part of the occasion.


Janet’s box
At her party last night, I collected signatures for the start of her signature quit. ..Now she is over 60, the dearie will need a quilt to wrap round her arthritic knees (she doesn’t log into my blog so I am safe!). More of that next week.

At last, the makers of the Meer Kat Quilt have managed to get together at the same time as the quilt has been home from competition. We had another Visitor’s Choice win at the Uttoxeter Show.

Jenny, Sue, Barbara, Dilys, Jackie, Liz, Marion, Jennifer, alias Merely Kats

Sunday, 15 April 2012


Yesterday, I completed my final teaching engagement at the Mellor
textile event near Stockport. It was a well organised event in a beautiful
setting on the edge of Cheshire. As the principal speaker in the morning, I was
able to give my quilts a well-deserved airing and I had the opportunity to sell
some books and patterns.
It took me a good few days to prepare thoroughly for the half-day
workshop because I decided to prepare a new project suitable for the 3 hours. I
also opted to provide packs for the 15 students on the course, so everyone
started to learn the ‘painting with fabric’ process with the right sort of fabrics.
This required ironing fusible to the vase and flower fabrics and joining
together 2 fabrics, a light and a dark, to make the background.
ASIDE: There is nothing more debilitating than
turning up to a workshop with fabrics that aren’t going to do what you want them
to do. There’s enough anxiety involved in learning a new method in the first
place without fretting over fabric choices. I rarely do fabric packs but in a general
group like this, where not all the members were quilter who would have a hefty
stash of fabrics behind them, I decided to provide prepared fabric. It was
greatly appreciated I have to say!)
Here is a visual outline of the method.

Prepare a vase or two

Position a vase or two onto a prepared background

Prepare some different flowers and leaves

Start to arrange the flowers and leaves in the vases

Free-motion machine stitch to add texture

Sunday, 8 April 2012


We had a lovely time in Hawaii, with lots of adventures, and I did

get to see some traditional and iconic quilts in the museum in Waikiki.

Museum Quilts 1

Museum Quilts 2

Museum Quilts 3

Museum Quilts 4

We were indoors because Oahu had its worst rain (but at least it
was warm rain!) in living memory and we were in it … often! Our rather-untrendy
‘kags-in-bags’ were the most used item of clothing on this island! I went to
the shopping mall to attend a free 2 hour Hawaiian quilting class only to find
it had been cancelled because the teacher’s house had been flooded. Thwarted

The shops had Hawaiian quilted crafts for sale, churned out specifically
for the tourist market. Here is Red Ted sitting on a typical display.

Tourist Quilts

ASIDE: Red Ted is one of my granddaughter’s
favourite toys. He came on holiday with us and we took pictures of him in
unusual places, doing unusual things. Being bright red, he stands out in any
environment and we had fun weaving daily email stories around him for Ella.
The quilt hung on the wall below was a rare sighting amongst those
made for the tourist market.

Shop Display

Well aware that I have an exhibition coming up soon at the
Ucheldre centre in Holyhead, on the island of Anglesey, I decided to get a
wriggle on with a couple of pieces of work that I would like to exhibit. Both
have been featured in earlier blogs but, (and if you are a regular follower you
will know this) I do have a habit of starting something and then going onto
something else. Working this way keeps me interested and alert creatively and
it allows me to mentally develop the ‘resting’ work before physically sewing
it. A sort of ‘suck it and see’ approach if you like.

The first quilt is the Seascape. Constructed using my painterly
method, wadding and backing were added using the turn-through method I have
described in past blogs. Then it was left unquilted, awaiting further

Seascape before Voile

I have never tried overlaying my pictures with
chiffon/voile/netting or the like before but I decided to try it when I can
across this piece of rainbow voile.

Rainbow Voile

This shows how the voile transforms the colours of the original
wall hanging. It was given it a warm glow and intensified the colours. And I
like it!

Seascape after Voile

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


Since landing back from Hawaii on Sunday, I have had a hectic 2
days slumped over my sewing machine quilting the Blue Tit for Chris Porter’s
exhibition on the theme of ‘Something borrowed, Something Blue’. I can
recommend a project like that for dealing with jet lag. I can’t sleep on night
flights so want to sleep all day on my return. This project kept me alert all
day and I slept well that evening. I called the wall hanging ‘sTITched’ justifying its suitability for
the theme by claiming it as an image borrowed from nature! As I forgot in my
haste to take a picture, you can see what it looked like without a border in
Blog 85.
Tomorrow I go to Alston Hall as the invited tutor to a group
called Shirl’s Girls. These residential courses are great fun and I have been
teaching this group annually for 15+ years. Most come year after year but
occasionally there are new faces and they are always made very welcome. I will
be teaching the Memorabilia Box (see the last Blog) and Landscape quilts (Blog
74). I don’t kid myself that these quilters will be there just to hang on my
every word! It’s the camaraderie that’s most important, the getting up-to-date with
each other’s lives again. And, if I am very lucky, perhaps I will see a
finished project or two from last year (fingers crossed). Mind you, I will have
to behave myself over the week end because some of them know my sister and my
mother! Here are the diverse samples to show what Shirl’s girls achieved
over the WE. I am so proud of them and I applaud their individuality.
Jan’s box with embellished lid
Ruth’s box with striped fabric

Shirley’s silk striped box with cross-stitched lid

Marion’s box with antique beading
Jean’s mini log cabin continued from last year

Shirley ad Susan’s Liberty scrap quilt

Janet’s eascape

Carol’s contemporary garden inspired by Paul Klee
Vivienne’s Tuscany landscape
Daphne’s formal garden

Marion’s contemporary woodland

Erica’s mountainous landscape
Bernie’s distant hills
Freda’s Yorkshire landscape