Monday, 30 March 2009

BQL March Challenge Quilt.

Managed to get my March challenge quilt finished with one day to spare! I am really pleased with how this one has turned out - especially the FMQ!
When I found out it had to include a photo I knew that it would be 'Patches' - my patchwork cat! The FMQ around the background of the photo really makes her stand out.
It is only a mini quilt - 12.5 inches square but was a pleasure to make.
These photos show the back so you can see how I did the FMQ (free motion quilting).
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Saturday, 28 March 2009

More Quilted Chickens!

I have been working some more on my samples of free motion quilted chickens. First I decided to do some experimenting on the piece I showed in the last post. I added more quilting and used different colours to see how they worked. I decided from this piece that I liked it better leaving some areas of the chickens without quilting and that colours nearer to the colour of the fabric worked better than using 'chicken' colours such as red or brown. So I made this next sample and I think that this is what I will be using for my finished piece. Although the fabric I will be using is an orange space dyed fabric.
This is a close up - ignore the pencil marks as they will be washed out!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Free Motion Quilted Chickens.

I am now working on my fourth City & Guilds piece which will be a sewing machine cover. One of the pieces has to focus mostly on quilting so I have been busy practising my free motion quilting. My theme is chickens and I wanted to include quilted words in the piece. I have used some basic chicken shapes and am experimenting with how I can decorate them with quilting.
I want to try to make the quilting look like stylised feathers.

I am quite pleased with how these are looking.

I have also been experimenting with words - I have found that these have been very difficult to do with some of the fancy metallic threads and that cheap 100% polyester gives the best results. Someone told me this is what Philippa Naylor uses so I could be in good company!

This sample has been very heavily quilted - possibly too heavily - but I never thought I would master this meandering type of machine quilting. It just goes to show that the advice on machine quilting is correct - you need to practise!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

What I have been doing - not quilting!

Over the last few days we have been out and about and I have a few photos and info about exhibitions that might be of use to people who live close enough to Barnsley. (Probably not that many of you!)
You know you are getting old when you go to a gig and its just too loud - well that's what happened to me last night! We went to see Limehouse Lizzy - a tribute to Thin Lizzy - and my ears are still ringing!

Here is a photo of the band on stage but I actually prefer the photo underneath. The music was so loud it actually knocked the bottles and glasses onto the floor! (Yes, I did actually see this with my own eyes!) Talk about a health and safety risk!Also this week we visited an exhibition on album cover art at the newly restored Civic Theatre in Barnsley.

This exhibition runs until May 1st and is well worth a visit. Also entry is free!
Below are photos of just a few of the album covers some of which brought back memories for me and show that I was not always an old fogey!

I never really liked the Happy Mondays but this sleeve is a great inspiration for a quilt!

Also on display at the Civic is this exhibition featuring photos of the Arctic Monkeys. They are a local band from Sheffield but some of them studied at Barnsley College. Talking of Barnsley College, one of the main buildings is being demolished giving me loads of great photos - here is just one of them.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Gears Of War completed and gone to its new home.

This was how my practice piece turned out after it had dried and the stencil had been removed. This next photo shows the second 'real' piece done on a larger piece of fabric. It also shows the quilting lines. The quilt was not heavily quilted so it needed a lot of tacking to keep the layers in place.
Here is the finished quilt. It came out at just over 4 feet square - it should have been a bit longer but I had a few issues squaring up the fabric.
And here it is in its new home! We went to deliver it to Jamie last night. Jamie is on the right and Robert, my youngest son on the left.
He was very pleased to receive it and it now has pride of place on his bed. As you can see he is looking well although he still has about 6 weeks before he can go out and is having regular checks on the blood clot on his brain which they are hoping will disperse naturally.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

February Birthday Block Swap.

Yes I know its March!!
I was late doing this and I felt so guilty that I had to make two! Actually I always enjoy the swaps and find that often I want to make more than one.
February was Sherry's month - she wanted black and white blocks 12 inches square.
This first block is from Judy Hopkins' Book Once More Around The Block - it is called 'squirrel in a cage' (??)

The second block I made up to use the pieces I had left over - this would've worked really well except that I cut the outer borders wrong TWICE and had to cut into much more black. Anyway I am going to make some little black and white HST's for my maverick stars border with what is left over.
Cilla decided I needed some help!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Two more Noah's Ark Blocks

I have two more of the Noah's Ark blocks done and am still really enjoying stitching them. I even took the kangaroos with me to work to stitch at lunchtime - much to the interest of my students - mostly late teenage girls. It is such a shame that not many younger people do crafts in this country.
I am going to be working on the lions next - hopefully later today.
Spent most of yesterday working on the Gears of War quilt which is now finished - had to pack in stitching the binding at 2am and finished it when I woke up. We hope to deliver it to Jamie this afternoon. I will post photos on my blog tomorrow.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Gears of War Quilt

Good news today. Jamie, my son's friend who was injured last week in a dreadful accident has left hospital today. He will be housebound for a while so I need to get on with his quilt!
This is the image I have been working with - it is from an XBox game called Gears of War. Quite appropriate for a young man with head injuries??!! First I drew the design onto paper and then made a freezer paper stencil. The size is 24 inches square.
This is my practice piece. The stencil has been ironed onto the black fabric.

Then I sponged it with red fabric paint - it is still wet in this picture but I think the overall effect should be good. When it is dry I will have to put in the lines of the mouth and fill in the bits where I had to leave the nose and eyes attached.
Also today I have tidied one of my fabric cupboards - I had to take this photo because I could not believe that it is actually my cupboard. The rest of the room is still a tip but at least I have made a start. Everything was in plastic bags before and I could never find anything.

I also bought a large container for my white fabrics for dyeing and plains for backings - but look what happened when my back was turned!

Monday, 2 March 2009

BQL 2009 Challenge - February.

This is my challenge quiltlet for February. It is based on some lovely heart batik fabric which I bought a few weeks ago, mixed with some hand dyes, stripes and checks. It is approximately 15 inches square. I really enjoyed the free piecing style although decided to quilt in the ditch as I did not want to lose the mis-matching corners.
Bit of a rush to finish it though - I am really bad at leaving things to the last minute. It was finished late last Thursday - deadline was Friday and I knew I would have no time as I was teaching.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Lynette Anderson Noah's Ark BOM

OK, I admit it, I read loads of quilting blogs! Too many probably.
However one of the techniques that I have been admiring is embroidery in quilts - sometimes known as 'stitchery' or even a variation of redwork. For many years I have been an embroiderer so was really drawn to this technique. I never was much of a 'freestyle' embroiderer but loved the primitive / folk art qualities of the designs.
One set of designs that I particularly liked was the Noah's Ark block of the month by Lynette Anderson. Here is the link if you want to join in.

This is my version of the first block. It was lovely and easy to stitch, so relaxing and easy to do while watching TV. The white fabric I have used is from a vintage cotton pillowcase I bought in a charity shop for 35p. There should be enough to do all the blocks and it has a lovely washed and worn feel to it.

I decided that I wanted to make my blocks double the size so my finished quilt will come out bigger. So this little block is approx 5 inches square. This has worked fine with the first two blocks but I have had a few technical hitches enlarging the others. Hopefully I will be able to resolve these as I really love the designs.

Here is a close up. Have a look at Lynette's blog - I am sure you will be tempted!

I am also working on a new quilt which needs to be done quite quickly. I am just at the design stage but will share on the blog soon. Last Monday my youngest son's close friend was in a very serious accident and will be in hospital for some time. He was crossing at a pelican (pedestrian) crossing and a car hit him going at high speed through the red light. He suffered serious head and neck injuries and it was touch and go for a few hours whether he would survive. He is in hospital in the nearest city to us but we are hoping that he will be transferred to the local hospital soon (which just happens to be a few minutes walk from our house). He has a blood clot on his brain and may need surgery so the doctors are waiting to see how the situation develops before they move him.
Obviously I thought about making him a quilt immediately. I mentioned it to Rob expecting him to dimiss the idea as childish as Jamie is 18 years old. However he thought it was a great idea and we have even been working on the design together. It will be a fabric painted wholecloth quilt based on an image from an Xbox game which Jamie happens to have tatooed on his arm!