Sunday, 30 April 2017

BLOG 345

BLOG 345
I am working hard on the scrap crazy quilt with the faint hope that I can get it finished for the Gresford show in June. Today I can’t say that the show is next month which brings it scarily close whereas tomorrow I will be able to! Gosh! Will I get it finished in time, especially with 12 days taken out for a holiday? With the light and dark scrap bags close to hand, I got my head down and pressed on, ever optimistic. When I go to the local craft clubs that I attend, where hand sewing is a necessity, I usually start the centres off. These are then pinned onto paper when I get home and I continue them by machine.

            Lights and darks


             Foundation pieced


Several rows of 10 blocks have been completed and I needed to try the top for size, so I know how many more are required. (That’s wasn’t a very helpful exercise as the 20 I need seems all the more daunting but it looks good so that will hopefully spur me on!)

            Trying for size


This week, I have resurrected some quilt blocks that I had abandoned, to see what I could do with them so that the effort I put into making them wasn’t wasted. So far one has been quilted and awaits some applique as a cushion front. The other has been arranged as a long strip and quilted. I have been trying to make images of sunflowers in thread and shears but there is some way to go yet.

            Quilted cushion top

Quilted strip

           Shear sunflower

           More ideas

And for your delight and delectation, here is a scrap ‘block of the month’ quilt made by one of the members of our competition quilt group. Marion has joined her blocks together with a quilt-as-you-go method and has done a mixture of hand and machine sewing on it. It’s just lovely!

Marion’s quilt

Sunday, 23 April 2017

BLOG 344

BLOG 344

This week I needed to get a wriggle on and prepare my exhibits for a local exhibition. Called ‘Virgin Art’, it takes place annually in the Church of St Mary Virgin, Mold from 1st to 6th May. I entered framed textiles last year for the first time and sold a couple of pieces so I thought I would enter again this year. The felted houses started to take shape as soon as black stitching was added. Here is the potential layout on a neutral coloured mount board.


And here is ‘Rainbow Houses’ framed. (Forgive the quality of the pictures this time; it was difficult to take them behind glass and they are much better than they are shown here!) I stuck each house on its own smaller piece of card before sticking them onto the background card.

                Rainbow houses

I also prepared 2 synthetic pieces which were burned with a soldering iron. To mount them onto background neutral card, I puncture 2 holes at each corner and sew them in place. On the back I cover the stitches with masking tape.

            Sewn and masked

               Burning Issues#3

             Burning Issues #8

                Burning Issues #9

And my heart swells with pride to show the next picture; this my granddaughter Ella holding her first quilt!!! She had one day with the sharer of the grandchildren when she made the quilt top and this was followed by another day with me when she quilted and bound it. With two grandmothers deeply involved in quilting she doesn’t stand a chance, poor kid!

           Ella’s first Quilt



Sunday, 16 April 2017

BLOG 343

BLOG 343

I went off at a tangent this week to make more felt houses with my embellisher. I can’t resist the colours of the wools and I feel as though I’m painting when I start to use the fibres. I will be entering a few pictures for sale in a local exhibition and the Rainbow houses will be one of my exhibits.

            Felt palette

                 Original houses

              Mashing fibres
             Adding layers


I had to press on this week with the commissioned quilt, mainly because I will be away at the end of May so time is getting short. This quilt had to be quilted as a whole cloth quilt which brings its own challenges, mainly that of manoeuvring a large expanse of fabric under the arm of the sewing machine. I chose a free-flowing design with loops and used a variegated thread back and front. This thread was on a large cone and so I had to make sure that it ran freely through the machine by placing the cone directly underneath a bulldog clip which I attached to the spike where the reel usually goes. It worked very well.
              Quilting pattern
            Variegated thread
             Bulldog clip

 And after many hours slumped over the machine, it was quilted, the edge was bound and the border was signed. Phew! This is your two-sided quilt Chris Evans; I hope you like it!
              Quilted front
            Quilted back
             Completed front
              Completed back


Sunday, 9 April 2017

BLOG 342

Blog 342
I have spent much time this week concentrating on the back of the rainbow quilt, patch-working a design so the buyer can use both sides of the quilt. I decided to do large blocks with a variety of batiks, cut at 13”. 4 were stacked together and cut randomly as shown below. They were then shuffled to give one of each of the fabrics on every layer before being sewn back together.

                Stack and cut


               4 blocks

Several blocks later and there was enough variety for the quilt back.

             Quilt back

               Back, front and wadding

I didn’t have a large enough floor area to put the layers together as I usually prefer to do. So I used our large kitchen table and secured the quilt back with masking tape at the start of the process.

              Kitchen table

             Ready to quilt

And while I think about how I am going to machine quilt the beast, I needed to make a birthday card for a friend who will be 95 next week. I coloured some Bondaweb with Brusho paint and then ironed it onto a firm calico. I traced on the letters and then filled them in with thread stars. A bit of definition and detail helped to complete the embroidery which was stuck onto cream card.


               Red stitch

              Orange stitch



               Finished card

BTW: One of our Pacific Island friends who we met up with recently professes to be a bit of a racing buff so when he said that we should look out for a horse called ‘One for Arthur’ we promptly forgot about it …….. That is until the list was shown in the paper for the runners in the Grand National. So, on Saturday morning, my husband aged 72 went into the Bookies for the very first time in his life to place a bet on this horse, only to be confused and befuddled by the procedure. A kind gentleman in an adjacent queue filled in the betting slip for him and the money was handed over at the counter. And the rest as they say is history and we will find out tomorrow exactly what we have won!!!!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

BLOG 341

BLOG 341

Nothing concentrates the mind more than a form which you have to fill in! It demands actions and decisions and it makes you focus on what it is demanded of you. Such was the case at the Gresford craft group this week when we were given the forms for the exhibition in June. We were asked on the form what we will be putting in the exhibition just 2 months hence. It seemed a long way into the future on the day before going to Gresford but, when the form was placed in front of me, it brought it threateningly close!

I then thought of the colourful quilt that I have promised to make for someone and panic set in. This is just what I needed so, with Rog away for a couple for days, I got stuck in! The client had asked for a colourful quilt not unlike the Multi-coloured Dream Quilt which I made for and sold at the exhibition last year. I never like to repeat a piece of work as I think quilts need to be individual and, if I made the same thing over and over, I wouldn’t feel as though I was developing as a quilter. All you have to do now is look at the waste basket to see that there is proof of activity.

               Proof of activity

 I decided to make a string quilt as I have masses of colourful strips which are ideal for this project. Habitually, I start off in a vaguely organised fashion but it doesn’t take long for chaos to descend. I have always believed this to be a vital part of the creative process and I don’t want to stunt my innate creativity by having to worry about tidiness and orderliness. (That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!)

             Disorganised chaos

               Creative clutter

 As is my preference, I chose to use a paper piecing method for accuracy. I have gone through this method in previous blogs, and there is so much about string quilts on the internet, so I am not going to dwell too much on the detail.  Here is what I am trying to achieve.

                 The vague masterplan
               The building block

              Triangle 1

             Triangle 2

The block and the 2 triangles will be used to build the larger sections which will make up the finished quilt, as in a 9-patch. I have decided to break down the quilt into smaller sections to make it easier to handle when I get to the machine quilting stage. As the client also wants the back of the quilt to be useable in its own right, that could be some distance away!

               Section 1

             Section 2

And then look what happened! I got so fed up with rooting through my strips to find ones of a suitable length that I decided to spend a few minutes at the end of a sewing session sorting them out into vague piles. I cannot tell you how much this revolutionised and speeded up my procedure so just ignore the rubbish above about stunted creativity!!