Thursday, 15 February 2018

Sandy Chandler at Flowerpatch

There was a wonderful display of beautiful quilts at Flowerpatch Quilters February meeting. The room was packed with members who knew that a real treat was in store. We were delighted to welcome local longarm quilter Sandy Chandler who brought along her own quilts and many that she has quilted for others.

I know that my photos can't possibly do her quilting justice, but hopefully you can get a taste of this talented lady's skills. Many photos are of the backs of quilts where you can really appreciate the quilting stitches and designs.

Sandy bought her longarm quilting machine in 2008 and practised on it daily for two years before she felt proficient enough to stitch a quilt belonging to someone else. Practise .... practise ..... practise was her motto and you will get better and better, and more and more confident in your abilities.

Sandy loves to do hand-guided quilting and rarely uses a pantograph pattern as she finds the designing challenging and fun, making the design suit the patchwork.Some of the quilts she showed us had taken as much as 100 hours to quilt and quite a few had won prizes at the Festival of Quilts.

Thank you, Sandy for such an inspiring and entertaining evening.

Flowerpatch's next meeting is on 8th March 2018. Jo Colwill of Cowslip Workshops will be there to do some sewing with us so please bring along your sewing kit.

Happy Quilting - Anita x

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Twinchie Art Class

There were quite a few Twinchie blanks left over after Flowerpatch Quilters Christmas Twinchie Party and there they sat on my side table looking at me and demanding to be stitched ...... not that I needed much encouragement - I love sewing Twinchies.

I decided that I'd like to do a set of themed Twinchies to display as a group and here they are - Twinchie Art Class.

I was inspired by hearing about Derwent Inktense pencils (I had some for Christmas) from some fellow quilters from UKQU, so what better subject than the paintings of famous artists.

These were made using the Inktense pencils and stitching

These were made with applique and stitching

This one is simply threads oversewn with a grid of invisible thread stitches

and even the background represents yet another artist

I hope that you can recognise some of the artists or my idea could be a complete failure ...... :) - they look pretty cute anyway and were great fun to do.

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

Friday, 2 February 2018

6 Minute Circles - Design 4 - Split Circles

My latest design with 6 minute circles is "Split Circles" and in some very cheery colours to brighten up those dark rainy days.

Split Circle Blocks 
I started this mini quilt by making up 5" squares of strips of fabric and this time I pressed all my seams open. I make them at 5" which is larger than the finished circle block of 4½" as mine inevitably turn out a bit wonky and I have to trim them!

I cut the squares in half and then sewed a wedge shaped piece of my background fabric between the two halves. I hope you can see the measurements written on my pic - it is 5½" long, ½" wide at the narrow end and 1¼" wide at the other end. After sewing the seams are pressed away from the wedge fabric.

My post here shows how to do the circular hole in the background fabric. My circle this time is a little over 3" and when I place it over the stripey fabric I simply make sure that the edges of the stripey square are covered by background fabric and that the two halves of circle look about the same size. This way I can get good variation in the angle of the wedge.

Wonky Blocks
To make the wonky blocks I cut four coloured squares of fabric each measuring 2¾" x 2¾" and two strips of background fabric 1" x 5½", one of which I cut in half.

I sew the shorter pieces of background fabric between two pairs of coloured squares, pressing the seams away from the background fabric.

I check that I have a nice straight edge to sew the long strip to, trimming if necessary,

and I fold the long strip in half and make a crease mark which I position in the centre of the shorter strip. This crease helps me to get a nice + of background fabric in the centre of the block.

After sewing I press the seams away from the background fabric - sorry, I know I keep repeating this but it makes all the difference.

Now I do the wonky bit using a plastic ruler and rotary cutter. Because I want the + of my block to be in the centre, and the size of the block once cut to be 4½" square, I find the mark that is 2¼" from two adjacent sides. I've marked it with a black dot in my pic. I make sure that this is in the centre of the + and that I haven't rotated the ruler too much, before I cut with the rotary cutter.

I don't want all the blocks to rotate the same way so have to change the placement of the ruler for every other one.

All Put Together
This is my mini quilt after sewing the nine blocks together.

I'm pleased with how it looks, but my original intention was to use those little circles that I cut from the background fabric. Dither....dither....dither......... In for a penny, in for a pound! So I sewed them to the centre of the wonky blocks ....... I like!

I quilted around the half circles and the coloured shapes using the walking foot on my sewing machine

And then I free motion quilted in unevenly spaced, and a bit wonky, lines to add lots of texture to the background. For the binding I used one of the darker fabrics in the quilt.

With a bit of photo editing this pic gives an indication of how the two blocks would look in a larger quilt.

I think that this will be my last 6 minute circle design in this particular format, although definitely not the last time I sew some lovely circles - I can't quite believe how easy they have proved to be.

Here are the 3 previous designs with links to their posts

See-Through Circles

Keyhole Circles

and Moon Circles

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts - Finish it up Friday

Thank you for visiting and happy stitching - Anita x

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Over the Rainbow at Flowerpatch

Don't you just love it when you've been making little blocks for months and it finally comes to the time to lay them all out and see how your quilt is going to look. That's what it is like at Flowerpatch Quilters January meeting when we start to sew our blocks together for this year's charity quilt. We have been sewing these 4" (+ seam allowance) blocks since our exhibition in August last year and each one is exactly the same pattern.

We sewed:
Red and Orange

Yellow and Green

Turquoise, Blue and Purple

You must have realised by now that this year we are sewing a Rainbow quilt.

Each small block is made up so that the large triangle is the lightest fabric and the small triangles are the darkest fabric.

There was much arranging, and rearranging, and finally the blocks were sewn into long strips at the meeting. The quilt top is not quite completed so here are a couple of pics to give you an idea of the design. 

Red, orange, yellow to green

Green,turquoise, blue to purple

Flowerpatch members and friends have done a great job to make up enough of these blocks for a quilt - almost 400 ....... aren't patchwork friends brilliant!

The next meeting is on Thursday 8th February when Sandy Chandler will be giving a talk about her longarm quilting experiences.

Happy Stitching - Anita x

Friday, 5 January 2018

Sewing Folio

I am feeling so pleased with myself today that I had to write this blog post and show you what I have been making!

I'm not usually very good at following other people's instructions, but this pattern is in the book Stitched Sewing Organizers by Aneela Hoey and was beautifully explained. I'm quite a novice at making things like this so am really pleased with the result and I'm sure I shall use my Sewing Folio a lot.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday - especially as Amanda Jean recommended the book a couple of weeks ago - for which I am most grateful.

Happy stitching - Anita x

Friday, 29 December 2017

6 Minute Circles - Design 3 - Moon Circles

After seeing the photo edited pics in my last circles post, (which looked decidedly weird), I thought that I would reverse the lights and darks of my latest design to see what it would really look like. So this time my background fabric is a dark red and all the other fabrics are very pale.

I have called this design "Moon Circles" as the applied small circle (I made it slightly larger this time at 1½") is placed right on the edge of the strippy circle creating a crescent. Another change is that I have used invisible thread to sew the background to the strippy square, still using the blind hem stitch on my machine. I was a bit apprehensive about using it after hearing a few horror stories, but it sewed perfectly.

You can read how to do the circles in my posts - Design 1 and Design 2.

My "floating rectangles" block consists of 8 rectangles this time and I have made the background strips that separate the rectangles narrower, cutting them at just ⅞" wide.
The rectangles are first sewn together in one group of two and two groups of three.

I used my scraps for the rectangles so that they ended up at many different sizes, but below is a suggestion of the sizes that each rectangle could be. Add  ½" to the width and length when cutting out to allow for two seam allowances.

There are two ways in which the groups of rectangles can be sewn together to make the block. Above I have put the two rectangle group through the centre and below I have put it along an edge.

or you could sew a block with just 7 rectangles as below, just to ring the changes.

This means that you get a bit more variation running through the quilt. 
I should have said before, and maybe I have, that all seams are pressed away from the background strips as shown below.

I machine quilted around all the shapes and then I FMQ with stippling on the background around the circles. I'm still not at all happy with stippling and having read Lori Kennedy's blog post on the subject I may now feel that it's just not for me!!

This time I also did some quilting on the circles to see what it would look like. After all with a larger circle in a larger square this would be necessary. I hand quilted arcs and I like the effect.

In this pic you can see my quilting ........... oh dear!

Here is a photo-edited idea of how moon circles would look in a larger version.

Each time I've tried out a new circles design I've also been experimenting with different colour combinations and I'm not so keen on this one. I'm looking forward to design 4 though as I'll be using some of my favourite warm colours.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday - I love those stripey socks!!

Happy sewing ..... or knitting - Anita

Friday, 15 December 2017

Twinchies at Flowerpatch

Each December at Flowerpatch Quilters we have a bit of a Christmas party with nibbles, refreshments and ......... sewing, of course. This year we sewed "Twinchies" which are simply 2" squares of loveliness.

These are some of the cute results after an evening of sewing, chatting, laughing, eating and drinking. As you might anticipate many are still WIPs.

Firstly a Christmas selection

Hearts for the romantics

and lovely others.

So what do you do with a Twinchie?

  • Sew or stick to a blank card for an instant birthday / thank you card.
  • Sew on to a garment or bag
  • Display as a group on a background fabric or in a frame - especially nice if they are themed.
  • Make them into a tiny book.
  • Tuck into presents or cards for friends and family as a little bit of loving extra. As I popped one or two into presents my man said "I hope you haven't made me a Twinchie!!" - Oops, maybe that wasn't such a good idea!

Before the evening I made up lots of Twinchie blanks for those who wanted to get straight on with embellishing without having to neaten the edges with blanket stitch or similar first. I think they look cute even before embellishing! :) ... and it made me want to get stitching immediately.

I thought you might be interested to read how I made these up because although it seems like a simple task I did chew up the edges of quite a few before I settled on this method.

To make 9 Twinchie blanks
Cut two squares of different coloured fabric 7" square and a piece of thin wadding the same size (I used curtain interlining).

Mark the lighter fabric (I used a Frixion pen which disappears after ironing) with squares of a smidging over 2". Start by drawing two outer lines a little way in from the edges of the fabric and at right angles.

Sew along each side of the middle lines with a short length, narrow width, zigzag stitch. Normally I would use a lighter thread on top and a darker thread in my bobbin. This top thread is a little too dark but I want you to be able to see the stitches.

Sew around the edge inside the marked line with the same zigzag stitch.

Cut along the marked lines and iron to remove the pen marks on the edges.

Below are the four twinchies that I made before our meeting

and two that I've sewn since. Launceston Castle was made as a gift for a friend who is off to live in the warmth of Spain.

Earlier this month it was the annual Tree Festival in St Marys in Launceston. Flowerpatch Quilters make decorations to hang on our tree and this year Dawn designed sweet quirky mice with long noses, and also bells.

The church looked beautiful.

Still on a Christmas theme (and as this may be my last post before the 25th) I found Rudolf wandering in our garden recently.

He looked so cold, poor "dear", that I brought him indoors to keep him warm until Christmas Eve.

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, although I think my Twinchies finish at even smaller than Amanda Jean's lovely tea-pouches! :)

Happy Christmas - Anita x

PS The next Flowerpatch meeting is on Thursday 11th January when we will be sewing the blocks together for our Rainbow Quilt - this year's charity quilt.