Saturday, 30 January 2010

Philippa Naylor Workshop - Precision Piecing

Last Saturday I attended a workshop with Philippa Naylor who visited our embroidery/quilting group here in Barnsley.
I finished the sample last night so here it is....
Not quite as precise as it could be but better than I have acheived in the past. I used hand dyed fabric which I really enjoy working with.

I have picked up quite a few tips which I will use in the future. For example - pressing seams open can help to improve accuracy in complicated designs, try to use finer cotton fabrics for intricate piecing and never underestimate the importance of correct pressing!
I also learned how to make mitred borders which is something I had never tried before.

We had a lovely day, Philippa is an excellent teacher - try to get to one of her workshops if you can!

This is a photo of the room we use - loads of space, we are very lucky!

On Wednesday Philippa returned to talk to our group - four ladies had finished their samples.
Philippa is on the left with her pile of magnificent quilts. She gave a very inspirational and interesting lecture about her life in Saudi Arabia and her quilts.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Liberated Quilting

This is the book I have waiting for ever since I discovered Gwen Marston's style of quilting last year. I had it on pre order from Amazon since Christmas and it arrived a few days ago.
It is an excellent book and has loads of ideas I am looking forward to trying.

It also goes well with my liberated stripes quilt which is still not quite finished.
What have you been doing with your time? I hear you ask!


Since Christmas I have taught my first 3 patchwork and quilting workshops which went very well. I have been to College for a weekend for my City & Guilds. I have also made my first fabric postcard which I can't share until it arrives at its destination.

Also, almost at opposite ends of the spectrum I have taken a workshop with award winning quilter Philippa Naylor in precision piecing! I have not completed my workshop sample yet but will hopefully report soon.

So as you can see I have not been too lazy - except perhaps when it comes to updating my blog!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Liberated Stripes Quilt.

The weather is no better here today - still snowing and school closed again. The novelty has worn off now and I want it to go away. Indoor quilting activities are great but this week I have two important quilting events that require travel and at the moment both could be under threat so that is making me stressed.

Over the weekend I have been working on the second quilt made with the over dyed striped fabric. This came about because I had so many leftovers and trial blocks fom the first quilt and also because I wanted to try more liberated quilting. My interpretation of liberated quilting in this particular quilt is using up all the leftovers in as pleasing a pattern as possible.

This is my progress as of last night. It is 33 inches square and has one more border to go on which will be a nine patch border.
I know that some of you in blogland will hate it because it is loud and busy and a bit chaotic but I rather like it and I love being able to use up all the bits so that I can feel a project is truly finished.
Here are photos of the various stages. When using scraps I find the medallion style easier to work with.

I started with 5 metres of striped fabric (it was probably a little extra as they are often generous with the cutting of sale fabric) which was 56 inches wide. Some was over dyed with procion dyes, some dyed in an indigo dye bath and some left undyed. If I have calculated correctly I will have managed to make two quilts with this fabric, both approx 40 inches square including both backs and bindings! So you can see there won't be much fabric left!
One quilt will have a plain undyed back and the other a pieced back which I have made but not had chance to photograph.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

A visit to Rob Ryan's Exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The snow is still really thick here and driving on the side roads is treacherous especially after dark. However my son Rob's school reopened today and we are trying to carry on regardless!
Today is Geoff's birthday and we decided to venture to Rob Ryan's exhibition at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Most of the exhibits were closed and access to the sculptures in the park was only for those with long wellies!
However Rob's exhibition was open and more than lived up to expectations. If you are in the Yorkshire area before Feb 21st I thoroughly recommend it. Admission is free but you do have to pay to park.

Rob Ryan is an artist famous for his papercuts and screen prints. You can read more about his work and the exhibition on his blog. He has made loads of vinyl stickers for the windows at the sculpture park which are really striking - I really love his birds!

These window pictures were too big to take proper pictures of but you get the idea!

I first heard about Rob's work in an article about Clothkits in Sew Hip Magazine as he has designed some fabric for them.
The other reason we knew about his exhibition was through the Arts Council Own Art scheme which we watched a TV programme about. This is a scheme where you can have an interest free loan to buy contemporary art.
The photo above shows our first purchase of original contemporary art which we will buy through this scheme.

I also bought this limited edition card only available at the exhibition. I love it because of the birds and its connection to sewing!
All this was followed by a fish & chip lunch so it was a good birthday for the birthday boy!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snow Day.

Today has been a snow day - this means schools have been closed and most people have not been to work or come home early. It was snowing steadily at 7am and snowed until after it got dark at 4pm. We have had at least 6 inches of snow which is quite a lot for us.
It is good to stay warm indoors and get on with quilting, or even just household chores but if it continues it will start to mean things I enjoy will be cancelled.
I have already had to cancel a visit to a dear friend tomorrow and my embroidery meeting tomorrow night might be at risk. Thursday is hubbie's birthday and we are hoping to go out for the day and that might not be possible either.

This is the view from our back window just as it was getting dark. The building is actually a little brick built outhouse which used to be the wash house when our house was built about 100 years ago.

My car and our road completely covered in snow.

The chickens have had to stay in the hen house all day and the cats have stayed in too.
Here they are enjoying tuna for lunch!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Layout for Striped Boxes Quilt.

Yesterday I completed my striped boxes quilt top. This photo is before I sewed it together but you get the idea. Each block is 10 inches square and the quilt is 16 blocks in total. Finished size is around 38 inches square. There will not be a border and it will be bound in a dark blue version of the striped fabric which was dyed in an indigo bath.

Here is a closer look at some of the smaller blocks. The fabric is quite stretchy and frays a lot so perfect boxes were unacheivable but I like them slightly wonky!

I had loads of bits left over, lots of triangles from the ends of strips so then I made this 10 inch block. I think that this will be a centre of a quilt from the leftovers. I am going to try to be as free as possible in making this one, just build it up as I go along and see what appears.

It is SO COLD here at the moment - here is Patches snuggled under the radiator with a friend!
Jude has adopted a little cat called Lilly who could be Patches' older, fatter sister!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year!

I have been trying to get round to posting for the last few days but never seemed to get there. It is a funny time of year between Christmas and New Year, I have been socialising, watching movies, eating chocolate and drinking wine, pastimes I don't do of much of these days! If you need a funny movie to cheer you up in this post Christmas gloom I can recommend 'The Hangover'. I have done some sewing - more about that later.

The main purpose of this post is to wish a Happy New Year to everyone who visits this blog. Hello to Nia in Australia - I keep thinking about you in the sunshine as we freeze here in the uk! Hello to Mary - it was lovely to hear from you and I am so glad you keep checking up on me on my blog! Hello to all my fellow City & Guilds students - hope you had a good break from college work over the holidays - I know I did. And hello to everyone else reading this - I do appreciate your visits.

As for the snow - we did have a White Christmas - more of a cold icy one actually - no snow on Christmas day but quite a heavy burst on Christmas Eve. Probably only about 4 inches deep at any time but that is enough to cause quite a lot of disruption here in the uk! There is more snow forecast but it may not ever arrive. However the weather is extremely COLD which just makes you want to stay inside and QUILT!

So onto the sewing. At College in December we did loads of dyeing techniques, the results of which I will show soon. One of them was 'over dyeing' which I have been wanting to try for a while. I bought some striped fabric for £1 per yard to have a go with.
These are the results.

This is the original fabric - it is 100% cotton but it is a bit thinner than proper quilting cotton and has some open weave areas as part of the pattern which has made it quite challenging to sew with.

I have been wanting to work with stripes after seeing the quilt Kaffe Fassett did where he made striped fabric into squares. So when I was in America, Indiana to be precise, I bought this ruler which I have been using to cut the triangles to make the squares.

In case you were in doubt about how much cheaper quilting equipment is in America here is a photo of the receipt I found in the bag! It is actually for another ruler but you get the idea!

I have been playing with this striped fabric over the Christmas holidays and have learnt a lot about what works and what doesn't. I have nearly put together a small quilt top and am now working on another using all the reject blocks and leftovers. Photos to follow soon.