Sunday, 24 March 2013

Busy week

I know it's been a while since I wrote here, but I have not been doing nothing, I have been VERY busy, hence no time to do a blog post!
The deadline for entering quilts into the Henley Arts Trail is Monday 25th March, so I had to decide which quilts to put in and as the last date for handing the quilts in is the 19th April, that left me with only a few days to finish said quilts.  Well seeing as I am going to Borneo  on Thursday for 2 1/2 weeks,  that did not leave me with very long to finish them.  Luckily, the schools have not broken up yet and as husband and son number 1 is already in Indonesia, I am more or less a free agent at the moment and boy did I make use of this freedom.  I quilted and stitched for 3 days solid from early on till late at night and this is what I have achieved:

I have started this one in May last year, having cut out all the squares to make the yo-yo's, it was my 'pick up and go' kit which more or less lived in the car.  Once all the yo-yo's were made, all 197 of them, and the appliqueing of the houses were complete, it took just another 2 days to complete the quilt top, but it has been lying around waiting for the perfect piece of backing fabric and a bit of free time to do the quilting.  My original plan was to use a cream backing, which I bought, but when I cut it out, I found a thin red thread running through the cream fabric. I have never come across this before, and went back to my local quilt shop, to buy a new piece.  As she measured it out, we spotted another red thread running through it, so I decided not to buy it and look for something else. I didn't see anything that would match and was about to give up the search, when another customer changed her mind about a fabric she was going to buy and IT WAS JUST PERFECT!!!! So, not wanting to seem too eager, for in case she changed her mind, I walked away praying she was going to leave it, as I needed a large piece and there was not a lot on the bolt, and she did.  HOORAY! And there was just enough on the bolt, so this was meant to be.
If I had shown an interest or looked keen on the fabric while the previous customer was undecided, she might have been worried that she will be missing out and bought it anyway (if you are chuckling now, let me assure you this is what happens when women shop for fabric, next time you are at a quilt show, stand back and observe, I guarantee you will not have long to wait!)
The pattern is by Bunny Hill designs and I have bought it when I was in Salt Lake City last year, I hope my SLC buddies can remember this! We were all going to post what we had made and I am still waiting to see what they have done.....
I have used continuous curves for the central panel with a feather inner border and then done swirly curls as background filler in the outer border.  The two red borders were left without quilting so that they pop up.   The quilt has now got it's hanging sleeve in place and is blocked.  All that is left for me to do, is to make the label and sew this on.  I think I will manage that when I get back from my trip.

Whoo...s afraid in the dark?

This will be my second entry, I originally planned on making it for a charity that collects quilts for children in need, but was told 'no buttons' please as it is for a child (health and safety and all that malarkey).  I will hang on to this one until someone wants to buy it.  I could have made the eyes out of fabric, but I thought the buttons so much more playful and honestly, have they stopped selling clothes for kids with button fastenings?  I rest my case.

I'm calling this one "Whoo...s afraid in the dark?"  I love the way the baby owls are all uncertain about leaving the nest and the mum's encouraging them to go and the possums look worried too.  I have used a swirly curly design, which I have free motion quilted in the background as it makes me think of a noisy windy night with leaves blowing about.  I loved quilting this one.  I still have to sew the little buttons on for the firefly heads and then this one will be finished too.

I will not post again for the next 4 weeks or so, as I will be on an expedition in Borneo and then have to get children back to school and university, but my next post will be all about the trip.  I am told that it is very hot and humid there, that will make a welcome change from the SNOW and cold weather we are having in UK at the moment.  Whatever happened to spring?  It is supposed to be getting warmer now, not colder!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Project "Hope Asia" and Lorna's block

Project "Hope Asia"

I have promised a friend that I will make him a quilt to help raise funds for his charity "Hope Asia"
Information about this charity can be seen at :

When I offered to make this quilt, I had no idea what I was going to make, but having spent a considerable amount of time pondering how to maximise the appeal to as wide an 'audience' as possible,  I decided on a traditional pattern, made with more modern, almost masculine fabric in a size that would fit on either a double bed or single bed.
I have the perfect fabric for this already, called Rhapsodie Coloree designed by Ricky Tims and decided to use it with a 'Stonehenge' cream background to soften it a little.  I have no idea what I am going to use for the backing fabric, as I have just enough of the Stonehenge cream fabric for the quilt top.  I bought the Stonehenge fabric in the States so am not sure if I will be able to get the same fabric in the UK. I will do a search and see what comes up.

I am using a pattern designed by Annie Unrein called "Criss cross" and have used her method of making half square triangles. Provided you can stitch straight on marked lines and can cut accurately, this is a really quick (!) way of making 8 half square triangles.

Foundation piecing pattern sheet 

What it looks like on the back
Cutting after sewing

Half square triangles opened up and paper removed

Sixteen hours later and I have completed all my half square triangles and assembled my blocks and laid some of them out on my design wall.  Just as well I have the design wall.....error on the bottom row!

Looking at the quilt laid out on the design wall, I also decided to make the quilt a bit bigger, so that it will be a 'proper' double quilt, it can still be used on a single bed, it will just overhang the sides more.
 My design wall is not big enough to take all the blocks, so I just lay out the ones that I can fit on, take a photo when I am happy and then lay them out on the floor so that I can repeat the process  with the remaining blocks.  I will then take more photos and look at all the photos side by side until I am happy with the layout,  before starting to stitch the blocks together.

Borders finished and quilt top finally finished, ironed flat and ready to be marked for quilting.  This has so far taken 25 hours.  Ever wondered what the quilt top looks like from the back before it is quilted?

Photo taken of back of quilt top

Undecided how to quilt at the moment, still not sure what fabric to use as backing,  might pop into my local quilt shop with the quilt top and see what I can find.

Quilt top ready to be quilted


In the meantime a quilting friend, Lorna,  is making a quilt for herself out of blocks that all her quilting friends have made for her from a piece of fabric that she has sent to them all.  The idea is that you make the block, to your own design, pattern, etc, and that the block will remind her of you.  She has also asked me (and very honoured I am) and I have had lots of fun thinking about ideas.  We met on the trip to Japan and I was her "shopping buddy" and we had particular fun  in a YEN  1000 shop (equivalent of a dollar store in US, but bit more expensive) and shopping for kimonos, bags and fabrics.  We even skipped lunch one day so that we can fit a bit of extra shopping in..... so my block really had to be about our joint love of shopping.  I decided to make the block like  a shopwindow with display of a kimono and handbags and rolls of fabric and frame it in crazy patchwork as there is no other form of patchwork that says "FUN" so much as crazy style, so this is my block..... hope you like it Lorna!

Lorna's block

Just saying ..... this block is only 6" square .....
If I could make a bigger block, I would have been able to add scarves, patterns, trinkets and all sorts of other things too! (LOL)