Tuesday, 22 July 2014

July applique block

Next week is going to be a bit manic with a party, a holiday and preparation for my parent's visit. I've spent two days sewing and have managed to cut all my fabric for the Summer Breeze quilt. I blogged about this here. An amazing amount of fabric for the queen size quilt has been reduced to various sized squares and rectangles and piecing has begun.

The pieces are all packed away for a couple of weeks and this afternoon I managed to finish the July block for the English Country Garden appliqué BOM. I had been waiting for some Heat n'Bond Featherlite as the flowers were much more intricate for this block and I did not feel I could manage needle turn appliqué. The background for the block was flying geese. I machine appliquéd the leaves, hand appliquéd the flower stem and crazy stippled the flowers. I thought that even a simple machine edging would make the individual florets look too heavy so just caught down most of the flowers with an uneven stipple. I'm pleased with how it turned out even if it is not as the experts would do it.

These are the four blocks I have completed.

The backgrounds all look slightly different in tone because of the lighting conditions when they were taken. I think it will be really pretty when I've finished and will probably have it in the conservatory during the winter to remind me of gorgeous spring and summer flowers. If you fancy having a go (and it's not too difficult) take a look at Kerry's blog. It has been really nice to have a small project like this which has a choice of techniques.

I also ordered a few fat quarters of Tanya Whelan's Barefoot Roses fabric and some perle thread from Cottonpatch. I think it may come in useful for making a rose block. I'm sure Kerry will include one (at least, I hope she does!)

Finally, I had a lovely card from Hugo and Vivi in the post today. I think Hugo may have added the bit on the left.

Tomorrow I intend to do some planning, a bit of ironing and shop for a few tops for Mike and a new dress for myself. Then I'll recover in the garden.

What great weather we are having. Enjoy the summer while it lasts. I'll be back in about 2 weeks.

Sew Cute Tuesday
I'm linking up to SewCuteTuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts. There's so much great stuff there so take a look.

Also linking up to Building Blocks Tuesday at Quilter in the Closet

Quilter in the Closet

Linking up later in the month with PennyDog Patchwork

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Two quilt shows and my new project

It has been an interesting week with plenty of quilty news.

I have taken all your advice and started a quilt for myself at last. My fabric is Printemps by 3 Sisters Fabrics for Moda. The palette is a mix of duck egg blue, pale yellows and corally pinks and has a slightly more traditional design.

I chose a pattern by Melissa Corry of Happy Quilting called Summer Breeze. I've been following Melissa for a few months and love her style. She offers masses of advice and tutorials on her blog. Check it out here. Summer Breeze was her first published pattern and is one of many available from her Craftsy shop.

I think this design will show off the fabrics I have chosen. The pattern is layer cake friendly with instructions to cut from 10" squares. I decided the queen size quilt was large enough and this size required almost 2 layers cakes plus 5.25yards of background fabric. Again I have gone for Kona Snow. Luckily Moda manufacture one of the designs in the range in an extra wide width(108") so I have ordered this for the backing. Still not sure about the border though so I'll wait until the top is finished before deciding on colour. I spent a couple of hours cutting and preparing this afternoon and ended up with the prettiest pile of scraps!

Earlier this week I visited the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Bath. In all honesty I was slightly underwhelmed. It could have been because there was so much hype in blogland about it. I much preferred last years exhibition at the Welsh Quilt Museum. However it was a lovely day out with fellow quilters from Busy Bees. There was plenty of needlepoint and knitting and clever arrangements of various artefacts but the quilts lacked impact despite the colours. The gardens were looking pretty and the Museum itself is worth a visit.

Buttoned hats

Needlepoint chair
The quilting highlight of the last week was the exhibition in my local town of Penarth by the Penarth and District Quilters. This group meets regularly in a local church hall and have years of experience in all kinds of quilting. The exhibition was a real delight.

Marvellous trapunto work on Japanese fabric

There were too many photos and too many beautiful quilts to show. What's more, there was tea and home-made cakes. A fab morning.

I'm sorry if the post is a bit photo heavy but it's been that kind of week- lots to see and admire.

I hope you are enjoying the summer wherever you are. It is going to be a warm week so I might enjoy the garden a bit myself.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Triangle quilt finished at last

During the last ten days I have driven from Cardiff to Somerset and back, Cardiff to Plymouth and back and then up to the Lake District and back so please forgive me for writing this in bed while drinking my tea. Finally though, I have finished the triangle QAL before the final deadline of July 31st.

The QAL was run by Paula (the Sassy Quilter) and finished on April 25th but so many of us were not ready so Paula extended the QAL for a second deadline thank goodness. This gave me the incentive to push through the pain barrier and I finished last week. It may be some time before I attempt another triangle quilt!

Anyway, prepare for some photos of the quilt taken in the Lake District at it's new home. I am so pleased with this quilt.

Sunnyside layer cake by Kate Spain for Moda, plus extra yardage.
Kona: Bluebell, cactus and azure for plain triangles
Kona silver for border and back.
Back: Annali Scribble and one of the Sunnyside prints.

I could kick myself for forgetting to take a closeup of the binding which is pieced and all stripy. (I blogged about making it here.) I shall ask Susannah to send a photo when she has time. I cut this as 2" binding and this really made life difficult with all the seams. If I ever do stripy binding again it would have to be 2½".

Sue Phillips made a super job of the quilting again.

I attended a 'quilt as you go' class in Eccleshall, Staffordshire on the way up north. This was at the Corner Patch, a super quilting shop run by Jane. I joined 5 local ladies for the class. Our tutor was Chris Frances. She managed to demystify the techniques by teaching us to make a simple table runner. Again no photo as I left this in Cumbria where it has become a dolly's pram quilt. However I am gaining confidence and will now try to quilt small projects myself.

Finally a photo of Hugo with his quilt.

So I have no WIPs at all and can start a new project with a clean slate. I have fabrics for a baby playmat, fabric for Isobel's quilt and for a quilt for myself at long last. Which will it be?

Linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts for a Tuesday finish and to the Triangle QAL- Last Chance Link UP!

Have a great week. I am off to a class in FMQ today!


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Hugo has my heart!

Who knew that cycling could be so compelling? Or was it the beautiful Yorkshire countryside bathed in sunshine? Move over Wimbledon- make way for the Tour de France.
I had a wonderful afternoon in front of the telly ignoring the sunshine outside. First the superb and very fast victory for Petra Kvitova all done and dusted in 54 minutes. She was unstoppable! Then fantastic coverage of the Tour on ITV4 through pretty Yorkshire villages and countryside. Makes you proud to be British. I loved the sport, the sights, the crazy commentary with very unsound historical facts and the finish with poor Mark Cavendish taking a tumble at the last moment.
All this gave me time to sit and finish the binding on Hugo's quilt so it is ready to take up to the Lakes next weekend when we visit.

So, some photos…..ta dah!!!!

The quilt was long arm quilted by Sue Phillips. I love the cloud design in variegated light green. It shows really well on the fabrics but does not dominate the design.

I blogged about this quilt here but just some quick details again.
Pattern: Key to my Heart, by sweet jane available on Etsy
Fabric: Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda (jelly roll) with Kona Silver for the border and Ikea Britten Nummer for backing.
I cannot remember the name of the binding fabric. It is black with very small slightly uneven white dots.

I know that there is a convention to name quilts so what shall I call this? If you knew Hugo and saw his beautiful big brown eyes you would know why I call it "Hugo has my heart". He's more likely to call it roads or houses!

I dropped Vivi's quilt off last Thursday and practically begged Sue to see if she could find time to quilt it. I should know by Wednesday whether it will be ready so that both the grandchildren get their quilts. If it is ready I will be sewing binding all the way up North.

I'm linking up with Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I get a Whoop Whoop? She is having a fund raising giveaway in a really good cause. Please take a second to have a look.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Quilt binding for my Triangle quilt

I started on the Triangle QAL what seems like years ago but was in fact in late April. I blogged about it here. Progress has been really slow. I kept putting it on one side firstly because I needed more fabric then because I found cutting out all those triangle a real trial. I starched, then starched again and took my time to make sure I did not stretch the bias. It was not the most enjoyable experience. Two days ago I decided that I WAS going to finish this d….d quilt and spent all yesterday and most of today on my machine. The result is a finished top and pieced backing. What, no photo????? Well, no. I want to keep this one a surprise for my little granddaughter Vivi. We are going up to the Lakes in mid July by which time I hope to have had it quilted.

However I will share the photos of the binding which I am so proud of. I followed a tutorial by Debbie of A Quilter's Table.  Debbie shares my two big interests, quilting (which she has done for 25 years) and cooking, shopping for and eating food. Her quilts are so exciting and she is just about to start running a Postcard Quilt along. I might just join in now that I've all but finished Viv's quilt.

On to the binding. Debbie's full tutorial can be found here but I thought I'd add some photos of my process.

First I lined up 1.5" strips taken from the half width of the fabric with the right ends at an approximate 45° angle. I sewed the strips into a block of about 16 strips. The block was pressed very well with all seams pressed to one side.

The right side was cut to 45° by lining up the 45° angle on the ruler with the first parallel seam.

In order to cut the bias strips I turned the fabric so that the accurately cut edge was to my left. I then cut 2" diagonal strips by lining the 45° angle line with the bottom of the strip and the 2" line with the edge.

The bias strips were then joined by matching the right side of the fabric together at 90° and sewing where I have marked with a pencil line

Once the join has been trimmed at a 45° angle the seam can be pressed open. I pressed all the strip seams to the side. When I had joined all my strips I had 300" of magnificently stripy bias binding as in the top photo.

I have added a 6" border in a silvery grey to my triangles. The backing is pieced in Annali scribble lines in white on light grey with a floral panel from the Sunnyside range. I think the striped binding looks amazing against the silver grey but you will have to take my word for it for a couple of weeks!

I'm linking with Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches for New to me in 2014 to show off my lovely stripy binding.

Have to go and get ready for my daughter visiting this weekend with Jacob and Isobel and friends coming for dinner too tomorrow night.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Swarm in June is worth a silver spoon

It must be summer. We've had at least seven days of sun here in South Wales which is getting on for a record here. Today has been a scorcher.
The best news of the day so far is that we have bees again. Mike went to look at his hives this morning because he had seen a couple of dozen bees going into his empty hive over the last couple of days. He came back this morning to say he had seen a swarm in the hedge about 30 yards from the hives. Mike has never collected a swarm himself so rang our friend and neighbour Andy for advice. Both men went to have another look and no collection necessary. The bees had found their own way into the hive. A celebration beer for the men and rosé for Carole and I.
‘A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly’ 
 It was decided that our bottom field was ready to cut for hay so that began this morning. So we will have both a load of hay and hopefully some honey later in the year.

I needed a new challenge on the quilting front and decided to confront my demons. My first attempts at appliqué had been very poor and I needed to give it another go. 

Kerry at PennyDog Patchwork is running the English Country Garden BOM. The patterns are free for the first month of the BOM then available at her Craftsy shop for just less than £1 each. A bargain!
The BOM started a couple of months ago so I had to work on the first three blocks this weekend. The background fabrics are Lynette Anderson Bread and Butter and a fabric from my stash (unknown origin). The fabrics for the flowers are all from my stash so far but I may need to buy some red for a poppy or rose later.

I love the naive simplicity of the English bluebell design. The Sarah Raven book was a present from Mike last year. Possibly one of the best wild flower books I have seen.

Kerry's instructions include a number of ways to appliqué either by machine or hand. I traced the design pieces onto freezer paper, ironed this to fabric then cut the shapes with an approximate ¼"seam allowance. I clipped the curves and used Sewline fabric glue sparingly on the seam to form the shapes. These were placed and pinned on the 12½" block and I used a Mettler silk-finish 50 wt. thread to match the background (col. 725).

The only problem I have had so far has been turning seam allowance on the points without showing any excess fabric from the front. Any tips anyone? I'm just a bit concerned as July's pattern is a hyacinth and I presume the shapes will be like the bluebells but smaller.

The June block is an Iris and I have made a start with the log cabin background and cut the petal shapes for the Iris itself. I might do some sewing this evening once the house cools down.

I have been doing very little knitting or crochet due to the hot weather but I have almost finished a bag I am making from Lucy's pattern at Attic24. It is made with a chunky yarn - Bergère Magic+ in Brebis, Lichen, Colvert, Corail, Petrol and Criquet.  Just the handle to make now and then I will have a bag for my projects.

showing the bottom of the bag
The bag is fairly large so next time I will be following Lucy's pattern for her Jolly Chunky Bag which is smaller and neater. I will be using Lucy's collection of yarn colours in Stylecraft Chunky acrylic from Wool Warehouse which are in her typical bright palette. Have a look at the selection here This should work out a bit cheaper too than the Bergère yarn.

I'm linking up with Catherine at Knotted Cotton for the Slow Bloggers linky and with Janine at Rainbow Hare Quilts for Wool on Sundays. All those of you who sometimes feel pressured to blog need to look at the Slow Bloggers manifesto! Janine has been making the most amazing jointed cloth doll family and there are always lovely project links.

I'll also be joining in the Sew Darn Crafty Linky party when it starts later today

and also joining for the first time
Slow Sunday Stitching
stitch by stitch
Have a wonderful week and keep your fingers crossed that it remains sunny to dry our hay.


***** UPDATE*****
I was too late to join the Slow Bloggers Linky but please check it out as it is being hosted by Martha at Weekend Doings. Talk about SLOW!
The manifesto for the Slow Bloggers though is on Knotted Cotton. Take a peek.