Monday, 29 September 2014

Bright Scrappy QATW

Just a quick post to show my first finish for FAL quarter 3. I actually finished this quilt sometime ago but being a complete numpty I had taken photos ( which I hadn't uploaded to dropbox) and then promptly dropped my phone down the loo ( don't ask- it was in the back pocket of my jeans). Anyway, we visited  Madlen in London this weekend and I managed  to take some more photos.
 In the end she chose this one, which was the quilt I had made for her, rather than the blue/pink one I have shown earlier. So here it is:

She wanted something bright, so I think this fits the bill.

I backed it with extra wide  lime green with white spot fabric to continue with the bright feel.

Quilt Stats:
The quilt measures 6ft x7ft
Front made with strips from my stash
 Back: Extra wide lime spot ( can't remember who this is by)
Binding: Kona Valentine
Quilted in my usual wavy lines using So Fine.


Finish Along 2014

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Market Hall Decorations for the Abergavenny Food Festival

For the past 3 weeks , I have been crafting/sewing of a different kind. Every year for the past 15 years volunteers have made decorations to hang in the Market Hall for the now famous Abergavenny Food Festival. The absolutely wonderful Tina Reeves designs and oversees the production of the decorations using the Art's Alive building in Crickhowell. The work is done by an 'army' of volunteers with people popping in when they can. Tina manages to direct this team to produce the most wonderful decorations and keep her calm demeanour throughout, whilst up against a tight time schedule.
This year Tina chose the theme of pigs with ( very on trend) Matisse-like garlands to decorate the hall. So we all set to , to produce 1 Black Boar ( called Boris), 6 sows from a variety of pigs, including a British Lop, Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth, Wild Boar, Sandy and Black, a Saddleback and 13 piglets.
 The decorations are the most amazing constructions made from what feels like smoke and mirrors! Firstly, a cardboard frame is constructed and given shape by stuffing it full of newspaper held in place with sellotape and the odd bit of chicken wire. Then, the pigs are covered with a layer of polyester wadding glued and sewn into place. Next a layer of stretchy jersey, which Tina has dyed, is sewn over the pig to look like skin. Then the ears, eyes, snout, teats, tails etc are added. Finally, the pigs were painted with spots etc to replicate the correct features for their particular breed.
This all sounds easy but in fact takes hours. Getting the 'skin' on was like pattern cutting on the hoof( ha , ha! but we did have Oliver who spent several days making the hooves out of plastic milk cartons and sticking them on).It took me a whole morning to sew the teats on one pig ( with lots of jokes about not making them too long because then they looked more like little boys!! ).
Unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the painting process ( my least favourite bit because I'm way out of my comfort zone). The pigs and garlands are then suspended from the roof of the market hall, so indeed pigs can fly, given the right circumstances!

The sad thing is the decorations ( which really are community based) are now under threat as being too expensive, even though the work is nearly all done by volunteers who don't get paid except with a free entry ticket to the Food Festival.
This morning Mr Hare and I got up early as we had tickets for Radio 4's Saturday Live which was broadcast live from The Borough Theatre in Abergavenny and very entertaining it was too.
I'm hoping to get back to my usual sewing next week because I haven't achieved virtually anything in my FAL list for the third quarter.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Update Time

Well, what can I say, July and most of August have come and gone. As usual I have been busy,  with a lot of driving up and down motorways ( more of that in another post). I've managed to fit in a lot of sewing related trips ( accounting for some of the driving) including FQR in London, a shisha and kantha embroidery workshop, also in London, FOQ at the NEC and a day of longarm quilting using templates ( rulers) with Kim Brunner  at The Cottonpatch.

The classes in FQR retreat this year were fantastic! I won't say much , as it has been said in other peoples posts( Hadley did a great summary here  and here and here ) and I'm a bit late in the day but I learnt  masses in such a short space of time. Of course I haven't finished any of my samples, and I can't find my Thomas Knauer knots anywhere, though they must be somewhere in my sewing room. Jenny Kingwell is truly amazing and her quilts in real life were just stunning and so much better in real life than the photo's can convey.

After FQR retreat my shisha and kantha workshop was a real disappointment. It was meant to be 3 days and I only went for the first day. Life's too short to waste on poor classes. After the intense and focused teaching in FQR retreat it was like wading through treacle. The teacher was very pleasant but disorganised and this is all I achieved in one whole day of sewing:

I enjoyed my brief trip to FOQ and managed to meet up, if only briefly with tons of people. As usual I vowed to organise myself to visit on more than one day. It was  fantastic to see the LMQG stand with all their beautiful work. I completely missed the EMQG entry ( sorry Moira!).And I managed to resist buying too much but I did buy the microtech needles recommended by  Phillippa Naylor. She was demonstrating FMQ on the bernina stand. I really want to do one of her residential courses as she is so talented.
I spent one day at The Cotton Patch in Birmingham learning how to use rulers on the Handiquilter. This was very instructive and Kim Brunner is a very good teacher and had some great patterns which she shared with us. How about these as filler patterns:

Or the smaller version:
I now need to practice, practice and practice all I learnt to improve my skills. Oh and of course, I need to buy tons of new rulers .I'm glad I'll have something to ask for, for Christmas ( there I've said the C word ;0)) 
I have done some sewing as well. I've made my bee blocks:
These are  the July blocks for together@do.good stitches ( we had a break for August), and this
for FQ Bumbling Honeys for July. These are the August blocks:
I also perused t'internet and made a Superhero Cape for the 3 year old next door. I adapted this pattern by making it a bit more rounded in the corners and adding a Superman logo with his initial. Here is Harri, in his underpants , modelling it though he's approx. twice as tall as Haydn.
Needless to say, the recipient is over joyed with it and his friends have been fighting to borrow it. I may have to make some more!
I have a Q3 FAL finish to reveal in another post and I've made good progress on my medallion quilt.
The next round , after the flying geese is going to be this churn dash
If you are still with me up until now, I think that's enough. That's the trouble with not doing regular posts.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Finish-a-long Quarter 3

I did pretty well in the last quarter, but I'm going to scale down my list for this next quarter ( though there is still too much on it) making it a bit more achievable, I hope.
Anyway, here goes:

1)Sparkle Punch Quilt.
This is the next quilt to be loaded on the longarm

2)Scrap Vomit
This just needs binding

3)Triangles Baby Quilt
This needs quilting and binding.
4) Scrappy Trip around the World (no 2)
Blocks need to be sewn together before I can continue

5) X and + quilt for Lois
Need to sew  the blocks together.

6)Blue Medallion Quilt
This is a new one I have started. It's destined for my BF's son. I had done one paper pieced different block for this but then changed my mind but it wasn't thrilling me. So, combined with the fact that I wanted to make a designed- by- me medallion quilt ( as opposed to a known pattern), I embarked on this new blue quilt.  I'm thrilled with it so far:

7) Scrappy Value Quilt.
I have taken up Bonnie Hunters idea of leaders and enders, and started sewing HST's at the beginning and end of chain piecing other blocks. This way, you barely notice you are making another quilt. Every time I use a fabric, I cut an extra 5 inch square and combine one low volume with another of a 'louder' volume and make the HST's

I've accumulated quite a pile already!
8)It's a Wonderful World
This is still a pile of blocks. I'm hoping to make a few more blocks for this quilt in Jenny Kingwell's Green Tea and Sweet Beans class at FQR retreat.
I think that is more than enough. I also think Katie is doing a fantastic job with the FAL.


Finish Along 2014

Monday, 30 June 2014

Jigsaw Quilt- Ta Da!

This will be my last post of finished quilts for this second quarter of the FAL with Katie. I have another quilt ( scrap vomit) quilted but it needs binding and I know that I won't get that done in time. Tomorrow, I'm driving to Durham with Mr Hare because my lovely boy Harri is graduating on Wednesday. He's done really well, so all those hours of hand -holding, essay reading/ editing etc have been worth it. We are also going to meet his girlfriend Juliette's parents for the first time. I have put on weight so had to buy a new dress, which I was reluctant to do, because since I retired I have favoured comfort over looks and quite frankly look like a bag lady most of the time. I have suitable clothes, I just can't fit into them!
Anyway, onto the quilt. This is the second baby quilt I have made recently and appeared in my list as a boy baby quilt, though I actually think it is probably gender neutral

I used the same ish fabrics on the back and I like both sides equally.
The fabrics are mostly Timber and Leaf by Sarah Watts with a few others thrown in. I used some X and + fabric by Alison Glass , Sketch in citron and used a border of squared elements in citron. There are a few other fabrics in there that I can't identify. I used the brown fox fabric for the binding to finish it all off.
I've decided to try and learn something new each week ( probably should be every day but I'm not sure I could manage that). So, one of my new things this week is I learnt how to do the jigsaw pattern for the quilting, which I thought was appropriate given it is a jigsaw quilt.  I used this tutorial and actually it's a fairly simple pattern.
I also decided to hand stitch the binding on. This reminded me why I nearly always machine stitch my bindings- I ended up with shredded fingertips on my right hand. Note to self, always pack a thimble when you go away for the weekend!
 Quilt Stats
Finished size: 41 x 53 inches
 Fabrics from stash as above
Wadding from stash- I have no idea what it was
Quilted with So Fine
This is my sixth finished quilt this quarter. I think this is a record for me. Of course, even though I still have loads of WIP's to finish ( though less than I had), I've still started another two quilts, I can't help myself! All will be revealed soon.
My original Fal list is here and my updated 2nd quarter list is here

Finish Along 2014

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Scrappy Trip Around the World finished

With the end of the second quarter of FAL rapidly approaching I have a couple of short posts to reveal my finished quilts. I'm doing really well this quarter, despite being busy doing other things. This is my fifth finished quilt in the last 3 months, so I'm really pleased with myself!
Here it is:

And here is the back:
I really like the extra wide quilt backs, they make life so much easier! These phone photo's don't quite convey how pretty this quilt really is- I know I need to get a better camera.
After my marathon quilting extravaganza with the last quilt, I just used very straightforward serpentine quilting on this quilt. The front is so busy that I think more complicated quilting would be wasted. The binding was from Lizzy House's Constellations ( can't remember the exact name) and I really like the way it finishes it off.
Originally, I had intended this quilt for the daughter of my BF but Madlen saw it and said she wanted it. I have the blocks for  another scrappy trip quilt (to be sewn together soon!) that was meant to be for her ( Madlen), so now I'm going to finish that one and let her choose between the two. They are both very pretty so I don't think it will matter which one she decides upon.
This was again quilted with So Fine in colour 401.
Quilt Stats:
Finished quilt size: 70 x 80 inches ( it's shrunk a little in the wash)
Front: made in various strips from stash
Back: Spot on spot in pink by Robert Kaufman
Binding : from Lizzy House's constellations
Quilted: in So Fine 
Another second quarter FAL

Finish Along 2014

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Another ST quilt finished

I have another quilt finished. I'm definitely on a roll as I have another reveal after this one and a couple of quilts very near to completion. These are not as difficult as they sound because I have a huge backlog of tops/blocks that needed making into finished quilts.
So onto the finished quilt.
Last year  FQR quilt bee decided to make some quilts for Siblings Together. We decided on the scrappy trip around the world and made a blue one and a pink one. I had volunteered to sew the blue one into a quilt top, then a quilt. It was difficult as quite a number of the blocks sent to me were not 12 1/2 inches square but smaller. This I discovered is a common problem with quilting bees, mainly to do with the inaccuracy of the quarter inch seam.However, the blocks we had chosen have to line up reasonably well or it just doesn't work. So, I made several more blocks myself and some of my bee mates did too and I managed to make the blue quilt top. Then disaster struck in the shape of my house fire, so Kate kindly finished the quilt off and it was given to ST at the FQR retreat last summer.
Rather than do nothing with the smaller blocks, I  put 4 that were the same size as a middle medallion and deconstructed some of the others to make borders. I also had some flying geese blocks left over from Harri's quilt. I made a lot more and here is the finished result:

And the back:
The backing fabric is from Ikea but was designed by Beckman College ( I think there was only a limited run of this). The solid blue fabric in the quilt top is also from Ikea.
After the fancy quilting on my previous ST quilt I chose to do very straight forward quilting on this one. To add a bit of variety though, I chose a variegated polyester thread called Fantastico from Superior Threads. It was a disaster! I don't know if it was me and my inexperience, but the thread kept breaking and shredding and I had to unpick so much of it that my hands hurt. I also discovered that I had to underfill the bobbins or the thread just slid off the bobbin and tangled up.
To add insult to injury, the variegated thread doesn't really show up that well and I probably needn't have bothered!
I used a Kona navy solid for the binding to finish it all off.
I'm very pleased with the finished result ( and that it's finished at all) and I'll be taking it to the retreat next month to give to Siblings Together.
Quilt stats:
Finished size: 62 x 54 inches
Front: Spare blocks and Ikea blue solid
Wadding from stash
Backing fabric: Ikea
Binding : navy Kona solid
Quilted in Fantastico by Superior Threads
This is another 2nd quarter finish for FAL

Finish Along 2014