Friday, 31 October 2008

BQL October Bag!

Well, I am still in this challenge - just! - with only 2 more bags to go to complete the full twelve for the year! I didn't think I was going to get this one done and I thought it looked as if it was far too complicated.
Anyway I am so glad I did because it really is a lovely bag! I used some UFO blocks to make the QSTs - they were originally HSTs for a 'dinosaur' quilt for DS2 that I had 'fallen out' with. This means the colours are quite drab and you will see a few fossils in there but I think that it has made quite a good looking bag. All the better for using up some forgotten blocks.

Patches just checking the points before layering and quilting!

The quilting was difficult because of all those points meeting at each corner - so I aborted my first attempt and did parallel lines which missed most of the bulk and gives quite a pleasing quilting design.

Gizmo was very unimpressed with the finished result when I photographed it this afternoon but I am very pleased with it.

Happy Halloween to everyone - I have made 3 pumpkin pies this afternoon and we are just about to go to my friend Caroline's Birthday/Halloween Party. (Yes we do suspect she may be a witch!!)

Monday, 27 October 2008

October Birthday Block Swap

Last night I completed my October Birthday Block for Ginger. She asked for a star with a separate design in the centre - mine is a pinwheel but does not stand out that much because of the subtle colours of the fabrics. Not sure which photo is best so I included both.

Ginger asked for soft shades of blue and pink and I was quite uncertain which fabrics to choose. However with a bit of research I found that she likes this fabric range - Posh by Moda. I only had a charm pack so had to mix the patterns up a bit - hope she likes it!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Vintage Laura Ashley fabrics and Paula Nadelstern's Kaleidoscope Quilts

These are the books by Paula Nadelstern that I have been using for my inspiration for my quilt design. There are also loads of tips on fussy cutting and how to use different areas of your fabric to get different effects. My fabrics are not quite as solid as the ones she uses so my kaleidoscope will not look quite as rich in colour. Both these books are difficult to get hold of so I was lucky enough to borrow the top one from my teacher and the snowflake one I borrowed from the library. Paula has a new one published in November on the subject of Kaleidoscope quilts - one for the Christmas list!
This next photo shows a selection of the fabrics I am using. I wanted to show that I am using all 4.5 inch squares. All these have come from ebay and are the original squares sold in packs in the Laura Ashley shops in the 1980s.
A couple of years ago I bought this book from a sale at a local quilt show for £1. I thought I had hit the jackpot as it is an invaluable reference of the fabrics that were on sale in 1984. I therefore know that all the fabrics I am using in my quilt are from 1984 or earlier.
This page from the book has the details of the patchwork packs sold in the shops at the time. These are what I collect and often you can buy them still in the original packaging. I will have to post some photos of my collection at another time.
I have photographed these next 3 pages to show that the fabrics I am using appear in the book and also perhaps to jog the memories of a few fellow Laura Ashley fans.

Monday, 20 October 2008

My City & Guilds Quilt - Welsh Medallion Quilt using vintage Laura Ashley fabric.

I have to complete 5 pieces in my second year of City & Guilds, one of which has to be a quilt. I decided that I wanted to make a welsh style medallion quilt using vintage Laura Ashley fabric. I collect this fabric and often buy it from ebay. The only problem with the fabric I am using for my quilt is that it is all in 5 inch squares!
I was going to do a simple star in a star design for my centre of my medallion but my teacher suggested that I should try a kaleidoscope design based on the work of Paula Nadelstern. Although it has been quite stressful working out the design - I am so glad she suggested this and I do feel that I have learnt a lot so far.
The first problem was a design source as I knew that I wanted a welsh star design as I was using welsh fabrics. Eventually after much googling I found this Church window which is from a church in North Wales. It works very well as it has a basic hexagon design.

After lots of sketching I came up with this design to fit as closely to the design source as possible but also having no pieces larger than the 5 inch squares!

Yesterday I started to cut my fabrics and this photo shows one segment of the hexagon in the placement that I have found the most pleasing so far. I am two months into my second year and I feel as if I don't have much to show for it yet - but believe me I have spent many hours on this design. However it is very satisfying to know that it is all your own original design and I am quite pleased with it so far. I also love the vintage fabrics and what pleases me the most is that I am going to give a modern twist to the welsh medallion quilt but still use the vintage fabrics.
I still need to make templates and cutting the pieces will be very challenging as I need to get the same part of the fabric onto each one. I am seriously thinking of hand piecing this quilt as I think that will give me the most accuracy.
I hope to keep you up to date with my progress - what do you think of it so far?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Do you work best under pressure?

A while ago I promised to make a set of curtains for a friends VW camper. Anyway last week I got word that they were attending a big VW event in London and Brighton on October 17th and would the curtains be ready??
I had set aside all spare time last weekend and this week to try to get ready for my next City & Guilds class but this is what I have been working on instead! The curtains are double sided so that they look just as good from outside as inside and I have stitched in tabs with press studs to fasten them back when open. The van is a 1960s split screen VW camper in turquoise and white. I promise to add some photos when I have them. I have done 6 pairs for the side windows and 1 pair for the back window. I still have the large curtain for the cab to do but I ran out of time.
The fabric was bought from the USA and of course I did not buy enough! Luckily I did have a personal stash of this which I am now going to have to use. This fabric is like rocking horse droppings and I cannot find any more in any of the online shops I have searched. It is from the range Lightning Bugs and other Mysteries by Heather Ross for Free Spirit Fabrics. I know that I have some readers of this blog from the US so if you do find some in your LQS please let me know!!!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Quilters Guild Quilt Museum Exhibition - Quilts in Common.

On Saturday we went to York for my first visit to the Quilters Guild Quilt Museum and Gallery. We were there for the first day of the new exhibition 'Quilts in Common'. Photos are not allowed in the gallery but I have included a couple of photos from my brochure to give you an idea of what it is like.
There are around 20 quilts on display from the International Quilt Study Centre & Museum in Nebraska USA. They are arranged in 7 groups as in the photo above and the exhibition shows how quilts from different times and countries show a common theme. A very clever idea which works very well in my opinion.
We are lucky enough to be only one hour away from York so I hope to get to as many of their exhibitions as possible. Anyway it is well worth a visit and runs until 11 January 2009.
While in York I made my first visit to a Kath Kidston shop - I just love the vintage style even if it is all a bit twee.
Just had to make a couple of frivolous purchases! I love this pin tin!
I also love this fabric - this is just a tea towel - the fabric is £18 per metre! I wonder if they ever have it on sale..................?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Quilts for Belarus Update

On Wednesday last week we invited Jack and Elaine Cooper from the charity 'Friends of Belarus' to talk to our Embroidery Group and to show slides of the children receiving quilts we sent at Easter. The pictures are not great but I will share them so you get a feel for how the evening went. You can click on them to enlarge them if you want a closer look! We donated another 30 quilts to go to Belarus for Easter 2009. Some of them are displayed on the screen top left of the photo.
Jack brought some of the traditional crafts made by the children in the school they support in Belarus.
Lots of our members knit and crochet hats, scarves, blankets etc for the children. These are some we sent with him on Wednesday.
Three of our members put together stalls selling items which they had made - all the profits went to Jack.
Altogether we raised £300 cash for Jack's next trip and Jack and Elaine went home with a car bulging with donated quilts, knitted items and donated clothing. What a great result!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Our weekend craft project - crochet rugs!

As we were lucky enough to spend lots of time crafting this weekend, Lynne and I decided to try making crochet rugs out of fabric strips. We learnt how to cut continuous strips of fabric (quite time consuming but we have it mastered now!!) and then we used them to make circular rugs. We used thin jersey fabric but cotton would be best as you can tear the strips rather than using the rotary cutter. Lynne's rug turned out approx 30 inches in diameter and only took her a few hours to make.
It is really thick and heavy and of course washable and now has pride of place in her bathroom! Mine is not quite finished but is a mirror image of hers. We both really loved the technique and hope to be making more rugs soon.

A weekend in the Yorkshire Dales

This weekend was spent with 6 friends from my embroidery group in the Yorkshire Dales. On Sunday morning we went on a 3 mile walk and I thought I'd share some of the photos with you - especially for those of you who visit from outside the uk!