Friday, 29 February 2008

Completed projects and an introduction!

These are a couple of items completed last weekend. I have decided that I want to include finished items in my blog then I can actually see what I achieve and it may give me some incentive to get things finished!
The first two photos are of the pencil roll I have made for DS1's birthday on Tues. He will be 16 and is studying graphics and art. The next photo shows the back which I hope will be trendy enough for him! I have used elastic and a button as a fastener.

The next two photos show a finished afghan which took approx 1 year to complete. It is approx 6 x 4 feet and is made with 100% wool yarn which is spacedyed. It will be going into our VW camper to keep me warm on our camping trips.
And finally here is Gizmo, the third of my four cats. Gizmo is brother to Misty and Patches and a very handsome tom cat.

Granny Squares - work in progress

Not been feeling well this week so not much to post. This is what I am working on at the moment - my first granny square blanket or afghan. It is worked in cotton and I have now completed 24 of the 48 squares.

It will just be a two colourway alternating pattern.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Module 2 Colour - Resolved Piece - Accent Colours

The resolved piece comes at the end of each module. It is art work only which shows how you have used a design to produce your own artwork. I need to then extend this to show how the design can be used to make a quilt which is not necessary but I find that it helps me to justify the artwork. The theme for the resolved piece was accent colours and we had to continue the theme of looking at creatures in the natural world. We also had to look at complementary colours and this made me think of colourful tropical fish. I found this photo on the internet to use. The first piece of artwork is a painting of my interpretation of the photo. I then looked at sponging a blue / purple background, intentionally ignoring the green weed in the photo. I stylised the fish into two yellow triangles and made the fish smaller.
This then led to the quilt design based on triangles with the yellow fish scattered around. I think that it would be fun to piece even though it is all triangles! I would use lots of different patterned background fabrics to give the effect of the undersea landscape.
I am now working on Module 3 which is texture and hope to share some of those samples with you soon. I suppose the only frustrating thing at this stage of my course is that I don't have time to dwell on techniques that I have enjoyed and do more but there will be time for that next year.

In the meantime I have signed up for the Dear Baby Jane Challenge
which is something I have wanted to do for a while and I think that working out some of the more complicated blocks will be a good learning experience.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

What I have been doing while I should have been doing my C&G homework!

Remember when you were at school and you had loads of homework but you just couldn't get motivated? Well I've been having a few days like that. One of the things that I am doing a lot of at the moment is crochet - I love its soothing repition and it is also great for doing while watching the TV or even in bed!
This is what I have been making - having been inspired by the amigurumi craze which I have been reading about on lots of crochet blogs. He is a gift for my 13 year old son. DH and I are going on holiday without the kids in a couple of weeks, leaving him and his brother in the care of Grandma. I am making him a hamper of things for when we're away and this will be going in it. I am hoping that this will be the first of many 'little friends'.

On the subject of crochet I have been to Hobbycraft today and this wool is on sale at £1.35 for 50g. It is my favourite type of yarn - 100% cotton. I had to limit myself to just these two balls of black as I already have loads! They also had the 4ply version - really lovely stuff - get down to your local store and buy some!!The final picture shows the other thing have have made recently - it is a fabric roll for my crochet hooks. The idea came from as she has been making pencil rolls for gifts. Thanks Kate for the inspiration!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Module 2 Colour - Sample 8 - Layered Block

This is the final sample of the colour module. This one is done in hot colours and the design source I used was a picture of very colourful coral that I found in a magazine. The artwork is done using pastels. The next photo shows my stitched block. I have used my hand dyed fabrics again but have layered them with net in a matching colour. A circle of matching fabric has been placed over the net and stitched down using my hand dyed thread. Each shape has been echo quilted using black to match the background.
I was very pleased with this piece, firstly because it is so colourful but also as it made me work in ways that I never would have done before. It was done in a rush to meet the deadline but it is something I would like to revisit.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Module 2 Colour - Sample 7 Intercut blocks.

This sample was made using cool colours and was made entirely using my hand dyed fabrics. The first photo shows my design source and artwork. I then used the painting to make a pattern which was transferred onto bondaweb. The idea was to make the picture using bondaweb and then to cut it into sections and use a piece of green fabric to represent weed and then give the intercut image. I was so upset to have 'lost' my fish when I cut him that I made another one, shown in the photo below!
The following two photos show the two intercut blocks. The joins have been zigzagged with a space dyed thread and then the whole block has been quilted with a wavy line design.

I can see how this technique could be used to great effect in quilts but I am not sure that I like my blocks - especially the one where the fish has no head!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

BQL February Bag Completed

The February bag is now completed and I am so pleased with it!
This first photo shows Patches making sure the mice do not escape! There are 5 mice on one side and 4 on the other. All the tails are crocheted and then stitched onto the bag along with the mice. I then randomly quilted the bag in a swirly pattern.

So what a great day it has been! The photo below shows fabric I received from Brenda this morning, in a black and white swap.
I also attended Doughty's roadshow in Huddersfield this morning and bought 11 metres of Rowan fabric for £3 a metre. I have a very large collection of Rowan fabric following an irresistible sale on at Christmas!

And last but not least my sewing this afternoon has been accompanied by DH shouting as he watched the football on the internet - Barnsley has beaten Liverpool in the FA cup!

Friday, 15 February 2008

BQL February Bag

After spending most of last night working on my Feb bag I thought I would share my progress. Most of what I did last night was unpicking - although I did get some inspiration this morning. Which of course we all know - if things are not working out when you are sewing late at night, leave it, go to bed and you will probably have it figured out by the morning.
Anyway I had already decided I wanted to use this orange and black cat fabric for my bag. I also decided to adapt the hearts and make them into mice, this I managed without much problem. Last night it was the tails that I was working on. I tried the bobbin method as suggested with a thick gold thread and then a thick black thread - both were not heavy enough for the mouse tails - hence all the unpicking.
When I woke this morning the solution came to me - and it seems to have worked very well. I took the thick gold thread and crocheted a tail by combining it with black cotton knitting yarn. I am really pleased with this result. I am going to use gold sequins for eyes and then I am going to stitch the mice onto the bag with either orange or black top stitching. Can't decide which looks best so if anyone is reading this out in blogland - what do you think? - outline mice in black or orange?

Well I'm off now to crochet more tails!!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Patches and Misty

I have already introduced you to Patches, my tabby tortoiseshell cat. Here she is with her sister, Misty enjoying some sisterly love in their favourite spot on the back of the sofa. They were 2 years old in October. I also have their brother, Gizmo and their Mum, Maisy.

Sampler Quilts

The lack of recent posts can be explained in two ways - another City and Guilds deadline and half term! After a particularly harrowing day shopping for clothes with my two teenage sons I am looking forward to an evening of sewing. I should be working on the next batch of City and Guilds samples but it will be my February BQL bag challenge.

Last night we had our AGM for the embroidery group which I am chairperson of. Our main topic for the year has been pulled thread embroidery and here are some of the pieces finished by our members.

Some of our members are also patchworkers and here are three of their sampler quilts. We have worked on these over the last couple of years - and yes mine isn't finished yet!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Module 2 Colour - Sample 6 Clamshell

For this sample I used analogous colours - colours which are next to each other on the colour wheel. This parrot that I found was ideal.

The shape of the parrot's feathers look very much like the clamshell pattern.

The clamshell sample is not as big as it was going to be - it wasn't just that I ran out of time but I did find it rather tedious. The yellow and pale green fabrics are my own hand dyed fabrics.

The sample was made using rectangles with a curved top. The rectangles were machined pieced partially up the sides and then the tops were tacked onto a curved paper piece. Each row was then appliqued on to the row above. The whole thing was started with a row of rectangles.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Module 2 Colour - Sample 5 Curved Piecing

I have never done curved piecing before and it has always looked so difficult that I always gave it a miss. We learned how to do pinless curved piecing which involves freezer paper and glue and does not involve any curved seams. It is an excellent technique which I am sure I will use again and again.

This first photo shows my artwork. My painting is a bit childish or should we say naive(?) but I was working to a very tight deadline at the time. I chose the mallard as the block is called flying duck ( although I suppose it should have been swimming duck!) I worked to a complementary colour scheme and although green and brown are not direct complementary colours it does work if you check it on the colour wheel.
The block is actually made up of 4 mini blocks which are surrounded by a black border. I will probably bind it when we 'do binding' later in the course. The blue/green fabric is actually a feather print which I thought would be fun to represent the birds. I made 4 circle blocks, two with a small brown circle in the centre, one with a small green circle and one with a larger green circle. Each circle was cut into 4 and then reassembled to make the finished block.
This photo shows a close up so you can see the quilting. It is machine quilted about quarter of an inch from the seam - I quilted around each of the 4 ducks to give them more definition.

I know that not everyone approves of cats but 'Patches' always likes to help with the samples. She is my constant companion and was named because of her markings and my love of patchwork. It is a coincidence that she finds patchwork and quilting so enjoyable. I will introduce my other cats another time - Gizmo my tom cat prefers crocheting!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Quilts for Belarus

The group which I belong to which is actually an embroidery group makes quilts for children in Belarus. They live in the area of Belarus which was directly affected by the Chernobyl disaster. They live in very poor conditions and we hope to brighten the lives of some of them with these colourful quilts made by some of the members of my group.
They are to be taken to Belarus at Easter by a charity which is based in Leicestershire.
The photo below is a fantastic example of a scrap quilt - one of our members saves all the little pieces as long as they are one and a half inches wide and creates these really colourful quilts.

This next scrap quilt is done as a crazy patchwork which I also think works really well.

This jungle quilt uses a placemat as a centrepiece.

These are just 5 of the 30 quilts that we have packed up and ready to go to Belarus.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Module 2 Colour - Sample 4 Flying Geese

Flying geese are a very popular pattern used in the quilting world and I am sorry that I did not have the time to do them justice at this point in my course. However I am sure that I will return to them again.
Artwork was a difficult choice for this one. I wanted to show the triangular pattern in both the birds themselves and in their flying formation so I chose the photo shown below.
The triangular formation of the wings in flight is shown by the picture of the weather vane. The other picture shows the Wild Goose Chase block which is seen on many vintage quilts.

This first block shown in the photo below, is sometimes called Wild Goose chase but it can also be called Dutchman's puzzle. It is done by the Lynne Edwards method of using two sizes of squares to make the triangular unit. It is one of the blocks that I made last year as part of a sampler quilt. This quilt is of course a UFO needing one more block before I can embark on Lynne's fabulous 'quilt as you go' method.

The second sample block, shown below is the one I did to match my design source and artwork using the black for the geese and the blue for the sky. This is a foundation pieced sample.