Thursday, 20 July 2017

Exhibition preview evening at Flowerpatch

Anticipation is growing for yet another great Flowerpatch Quilters Exhibition after we had an exciting preview evening of some of the entries last week.

Here below is a tantalising glimpse of a few of the quilts on show:-

Starting with flowers in gorgeous colours

quirky birds

down on the farm

traditional blocks

and these are absolutely charming!

Exhibition entries have to be taken to Liz's on the Saturday morning 29th July so they are all ready to hang on the Monday morning.

The exhibition is on from 1st to 5th August, 10 am to 4 pm each day and is at Central Methodist Church Hall in Launceston, PL15 8BA. Refreshments are available all day and we have a sales table of fabric, magazines and books, etc. which is always very popular. This year we are raising money for Cornwall Blood Bikes and have made a quilt to raffle called "Autumn Gold".

This will be our 34th exhibition and they never fail to delight - I'm really looking forward to it - Anita x

Friday, 14 July 2017

2 Sashiko Bags

Inspired by the Sashiko embroidery that I saw at Exeter in the Spring I decided that this was something I really had to try. I practised with some patterns in Susan Briscoe's "Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook" starting with the easiest even though I was dying to jump straight in with the more exciting designs. I think it paid dividends as my stitching gradually improved, especially when a dear friend gave me some proper Sashiko thread. I had been using crochet cotton which has too much twist and knotted frequently.

With my last two attempts I have made this bag which I'm delighted with and I must thank Di Wells as I have copied the style of her bag which I saw recently. She has patterns for sale on Craftsy.

I have a sashiko design on each side - hemp leaf and cross tortoiseshell. The lighter blue fabric is recycled denim.

My bag is a simple zipper pouch with the addition of a loop set into each side seam for the handles to go through. It has no internal pockets and has a "boxy bottom". I didn't use any wadding or quilt the outside of the bag, which makes it soft and slouchy. I've just realised ... I was so excited to finish it that I immediately filled it with purse, keys, etc. and I've forgotten to sew up the opening in the lining!! The lining is a cheerful gingham and the bag measures approximately 8½ " wide x 9½ " high.

I have come to the conclusion that the two most important things to try and get right when doing Sashiko embroidery are drawing an accurate grid, and leaving gaps in the stitching at sewing line intersections.

...... still lots of room for improvement!!

Of course I didn't want to waste my other Sashiko samples so I made them into a bag as well. I chose to stitch on velvet - not my best idea, but it already had a check pattern so I couldn't resist. The blue fabric is the backs of legs of some worn out denim jeans.

This bag has two large, handy, zipped pockets in the lining which is also brown velvet. It measures 12" wide by 14" high.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish it up Friday
Happy Stitching - Anita x

Friday, 16 June 2017

Storytelling at Flowerpatch

We had a really unexpected treat at Flowerpatch Quilter's June meeting. Not only were we joined by Julia and Sue of Cartwheel Crafts Centre, who brought along some wonderful fabrics and notions from their shop near Liskeard; we also had the pleasure of the company of Diana Mullis - storyteller extraordinaire.

Diana, who is the resident storyteller at the Eden Project here in Cornwall, has two passions in her life - story telling and textiles, and she combined the two to give us a delightful and entertaining talk, encouraging us to look for stories in the quilts that we make. After all "every picture tells a story" and why not our quilts? Even the fabrics that we choose to make up our quilts can have their own stories and connections - like why we chose them, where we bought them, who we were with at the time, or maybe they were given to us by a friend, or had a previous life as an item of clothing. All these types of things go together and connect to make the story of a quilt and thinking of the story can encourage us to finish our projects - we all like to know how a story ends!

Diana brought along a very personal piece of textile art to show us. Every beautiful piece of fabric, thread, ribbon, beads, etc. makes her think of a story in her life. I'm only sorry that I couldn't take a better picture of it - even I am reflected in the glass!

She also showed us fabric fragments that she had made with Tyvek which was painted and then altered with a heat gun

And some lovely pieces of dyed silk.

We were treated to two textile related stories during the evening which evoked much laughter and spontaneous applause!

Thank you, Diana, for such a super evening, and "thank you" to Julia and Sue as well.

Cartwheels Craft Centre have their Summer Fair on Saturday 24th June 2017, 10am to 4pm. That's at Penhawger Farm, Merrymeet, Liskeard, PL14 3LW.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom quilts "Finish it up Friday" and here are a few finishes from the meeting.

Firstly I think it's about time that I showed you our Flowerpatch charity quilt for this year.

It's called "Autumn Gold" and we are raising money for Cornwall Blood Bikes.

Secondly, these are some more zipper pouches made after our April meeting:
Nina's is top left and Annette made the other three.

I just love the fabrics that they've used - especially Nina's dragonflies and Annette's cute ducklings.

And the final finish is a quilt made by me and my friends - Dawn, Phyll, Sheila and Ann, which we showed to the meeting as it is being raffled at Penheale Gardens, near Egloskerry this Sunday 18th June 2017. We call it the Newspaper Quilt as it is "black, white and red all over!!" ... sorry, blame Dawn for that one!

This pic was taken before quilting and binding.

Our next meeting is on 13th July when we will have an exhibition show and tell
That's all for now
Anita x

Friday, 9 June 2017

Stitch and Flip Cushion

Are bloggers supposed to be expert at the subjects they write about and thereby instill confidence in their readers? I think not. Sometimes it's more encouraging to realise that we're all floundering around  trying out things and not always succeeding .... which is why I thought I would show you my stitch and flip cushion.

I'm not at all sure that I like it, but I do like the idea of it which is what I would like to share with you.

It is made by the stitch and flip method in the same way as we made the zipper pouches at our April Flowerpatch Quilters meeting. There is a tutorial here. This time I have used lots of curtain and upholstery fabric off-cuts. Once the front of the cover was made I decided to embroider on some leaf shapes using the seams as the centre of the leaf. I really love Sue Spargo's  appliqued and embroidered leaves and was thinking of them at the time. 

I added a red border and made up the cushion by my usual simple method ( there is a link to my printer friendly pdf file here ), using thick curtain fabric for the back.

So there we have it and  I'm sure it will get a lot of use and I will learn to love it........ in fact it's growing on me already!

Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts "Finish it up Friday"

Keep smiling - Anita x

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Pat Mallett at Flowerpatch

What an interesting and encouraging talk by Pat Mallett at our May Flowerpatch Quilters meeting. Interesting because of the wide variety of work that Pat had to show us, and encouraging because of the self effacing way in which she delivered her talk, making us all feel that we too could have a go at the many different techniques that she has used .....and have "FUN".

These are just a few of the many quilts and wall hangings that Pat showed us.

Like many of us, Pat started her patchwork journey by making a sampler quilt, but with the encouragement of Windmill Patchworks, Cowslip Workshops and Ann Baxter's "Sunday House Weekends" she soon moved on to try many other patterns

This first is one of Pat's favourite patterns - square dance

and this is a small section of a quilt called Cobblestones. I love the simple but very effective machine quilting.

Other quilts followed including string quilts, disappearing nine patch, stack and whack, etc.

Gradually Pat has moved on from the more traditional patchwork and has joined the Contemporary Quilt Group of the Quilter's Guild, designing her own quilts and using many different techniques.

I love this unorthodox Bullseye Quilt with the raw edge applique and irregular curves. It shows Pat's love of fabric, and dyeing is now one of her many skills.

Pat takes part in many quilt challenges and these have included journal quilts, Chinese whispers and even a wall hanging inspired by a piece of music!!
This little hanging below was made in response to a challenge and is inspired by the rock formations at Sandymouth, near Bude.

I really like the layered background to these leaves on the left and the simple addition of the embroidered fence adds so much to the right hand landscape quilt

And finally another simple but effective land/seascape in layered piecing.

Thank you, Pat, for a lovely evening. Since your talk, I for one have been encouraged to complete the piecing of a lap quilt that has been languishing for months because I couldn't decide on the quilting. Now I know it will be straight lines of machine quilting and I need not face the daunting prospect of FMQ!!! After all I want to have "FUN" making my quilts.

Dy, Karen, Melody, Monica D, Annie and Lois showed us the progress they have made with our Flowerpatch entry for Cowslip's "Through the Window" exhibition in the summer. It's looking really lovely and almost ready to quilt.

Flowerpatch members have also made 32 small A5ish quilts on the theme "Charles Causley's Launceston". This year's Causley Festival is celebrating 100 years since his birth in Launceston and our quilts are hanging in the library.

Some members brought along the zipper pouches they had made following the April meeting. These were made by Liz and Pippa

And Mary's granddaughter Grace, with her first attempt at machine sewing, made this beautiful pouch and even added a strap, secured with heart-shaped buttons.

At the next meeting on 8th June, Diana Mullis will be giving a talk titled "Story Telling with Textiles". Also Cartwheels Craft Centre will be there with their shop.
This is also the meeting for handing in entry forms for our August exhibition.

Happy Stitching - Anita x

Friday, 5 May 2017

Zipper Pouch Part 3 - Boxy Bottoms

My final post about zipper pouches is just a mini tutorial on the simple way I do "Boxy Bottoms" for pouches and bags, so that they don't turn out all wonky.

These photos are the same pouch before and after doing a boxy bottom.

After making up the pouch, but before turning the right way out and sewing up the gap in the lining, I place my square in the corner. This could equally well be a square of cardboard cut to the right size. I draw a square in the corner at the bottom of the pouch. The size of this square is half the width that I want the pouch gusset to be, so as I want a 2" gusset I am drawing a 1" square inside the seam line.

I draw my little square on both sides of each bottom corner of both the pouch outer and of the lining.

Now when I make the little triangle in the corner I can match up the lines that I've drawn and we have .......... perfection! ....... OK .... "near perfection".

After sewing I cut off the points of the triangles for neatness and less bulk.

This is the last of my three-part zipper pouch tutorial. The links below will take you to the other two parts:

Part 1
Part 2

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts "Finish it Up Friday"

Happy Days - Anita x

Monday, 1 May 2017

Zipper Pouches - part 2

Following on from my last post where we made up the sides of a pouch, using stitch and flip foundation piecing, at the last Flowerpatch Quilters' meeting - this tutorial is about making a zipper pouch.

My sister sent me a postcard of doorways which she knew that I would like ... and she was right! Wouldn't they make a lovely "Welcome" wall hanging to put up in the porch or hallway? Another future project filed away!

In the meantime I have made her a zipper pouch with three doors on each side and these are the bag sides which I have used to do this tutorial.

So I started with these two outer sides, two linings the same size, a zipper and a small piece of fabric for a tab.

Adding tabs to the zipper (optional
The first task is to encase the end of the zip with a tab. You can miss this part out, but using tabs makes the side seams less bulky later on. It also means that you can use a smaller zip for a wider opening. Both ends of the zip can have tabs, but in this instance I have just sewn a tab to the closed end. When sewing a tab to the open end of the zip it's a good idea to sew the ends of the zip closed temporarily. 

I cut the tab approx 3” long and slightly wider than the zipper tape. Folded it in half, end to end with wrong sides together, and pressed to make a crease. Opened out and folded in the raw edges by approx ¼”. Pressed then folded in half again. 

I cut the end tails off the zipper tape leaving just ½”, enclosed this between the tab ends and sewed across the zipper tape being careful to avoid the end of the zip with my sewing machine needle.

After sewing I trimmed the tab to the same width as the zipper tape.

Sewing the zipper to the pouch sides and the lining 
I placed a quilted pouch side on a flat surface with the right side up. Laid the zipper along the top edge with the zip facing down, centering it on the patchwork. At this stage I like to sew this on with a tiny seam allowance, just to be sure that it doesn’t move. I laid the lining fabric right side down along the same zipper tape edge so that the tape was a filling in a fabric sandwich. Using the zipper foot on my sewing machine, I sewed these three layers together. 

You don’t have to sew really close to the zip as this can lead to the lining getting caught when the pouch is used, just try to sew a nice straight line. When you get near to the zipper pull, stop sewing with the needle down, lift the presser foot and wheedle the zipper pull past the needle before you drop the foot and start sewing again.

I repeated the above for the other side of the pouch making a sandwich of the other side of the zipper tape. In this picture below I have sewn the other side of the zipper tape to the other side of the pouch with my tiny seam allowance, ready to sew on the lining right side down. Don’t forget: patchwork right side up, zipper right side down and lining right side down and you can’t go wrong!!

So this is what the front and back looks like at this stage.

Sewing up the sides of the pouch 
I opened the zip halfway and placed the patchwork panels right sides together and the linings right sides together, matching up the raw edges. 

This is what it looks like where all the seams meet at the end of the zipper tab, marked A above. The seams are pressed towards the lining and the tab end is pressed between the pouch outers.

I sewed all the way around leaving a 4” opening in the bottom of the lining. Pressed the seams open and clipped the corners.

Final Step – and the most exciting!!
I turned the pouch right sides out through the opening carefully pushing out the corners. Sewed up the opening in the lining and pushed it inside the pouch. I added a cord to the zipper pull.

Next time - how to make a boxy bottom!

Happy Sewing - Anita x