Tuesday, 28 March 2017

My Old Kaleidoscope Quilt

After seeing the lovely antique quilts at our last Flowerpatch Quilter's meeting I thought it might be fun to show you a quilt that I made some time ago... no, not an antique but it is over 20 years ago that I made it!

All the fabrics used are secondhand from jumble sales and were originally either skirts or blouses. Already they had that slightly washed out look and lent themselves perfectly to a quilt that I wanted to have a slightly aged appearance.

Only one design block is used for the whole quilt and it is a 9" kaleidoscope square. This is the one in the centre of the quilt.

It is simply the placement of the fabrics that makes the overall pattern. This is another square where the kaleidoscope is a bit more difficult to pick out.

I made up the quilt in 9 sections, each having 9 blocks. These are the 9 in the centre. There is just one of these sections.

These are the 9 in the corner. I made 4 of these - identical. I've drawn lines so that you can see the individual blocks more clearly.

These are the 9 blocks that make up the side sections. Again there are 4 of these all identical.

After making all 9 sections I sandwiched them individually with polyester wadding and some soft calico for backing so that I could hand quilt them easily in the evenings watching TV. I quilted in lines to compliment the overall pattern. These lines are only about ½ “ apart to emulate an old quilt where quilting had to be quite close to hold the wadding in place. The quilt is lovely and soft and cosy because of the softness of the fabrics and the hand quilting.

I particularly like the way the darker fabric makes an interesting border to the quilt.


This is one way to draw a kaleidoscope block.
Cut a piece of paper the size of the finished block (which in my quilt was 9" square) Fold the paper along the diagonals and also edge to edge. Then mark the centre of the square on the reverse.

Fold an edge to edge crease onto the adjacent diagonal crease from the centre point, and use a ruler to draw a line as in my pic. Just check that this is right by folding to the same diagonal from the edge to edge crease on the other side.

Repeat so that you have a line across each corner. Join up the places where these lines meet the edge of the paper, drawing through the centre...... Voila!

To check that your kaleidoscope is accurate, measure the length of a corner line. This should be the same as the triangle next to it as measured along the edge of the paper.

You can use your drawing to make cardboard templates for traditional piecing or use it to draw out a pattern for foundation piecing. For the latter you would make the block up in two halves and then sew them together.

Thank you for visiting - Anita x

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Quilt Collections at Flowerpatch

So many quilts to see at Flowerpatch Quilters March meeting when Sue M and Jo C brought along their collections of antique quilts for a fascinating show and tell. 

They told us about a resurgence in patchwork in the 1930's which means that there are quite a lot of quilts of this era to tempt the collector .... and they are definitely tempted!! Quite a few of their quilts had other older quilts inside as wadding and it was lovely to think of quilts being so used that they start to disintegrate and yet still have value to the quilter. Although many of the quilts were from this time, Sue and Jo also had much older quilts from the 1860's or thereabouts.

I'm a real fan of log cabin quilts and these two used tiny strips of fabric less than 1" wide. I had thought that the first one was courthouse steps pattern but it is simply the placement of the fabric that makes it appear that way. The second is more like the log cabin we see done today.

These two are made by the English Paper Piecing method, the diamonds having been made locally in Cornwall. One quilt top still had it's papers and this is a really exciting find.

I couldn't quite believe that one of the old quilts had a border of "cheater fabric" having always thought that this was a recent phenomenon. 

Sometimes the backs of quilts were pre-printed with crosshatching ready for the quilting and the quilting stitches would even cross the applique on the front. Close quilting was often necessary to keep the wadding in place as it had a tendency to migrate.

These are 3 applique quilts. The stitches on the centre quilt are tiny, tiny and the quilt design is exquisite.

Sue and Jo brought along many more quilts and also beautiful and precious sewing items for us to see.

Thank you to both Sue and Jo for an enthralling, enjoyable evening.

Our Flowerpatch charity quilt is proceeding well and the hand quilting is partly done. When completed I will show you the whole thing - this is just another taster!

The centre fruit wreath is cross-hatched, with arcs surrounding on the leafy fabric; each leaf and bud of the garland border is quilted around; and curved lines are quilted on the half square triangles border.

Another project that we have embarked upon is small (approx 6" x 8") pictures of our town of Launceston and this is yet another taster with the reveal to come in a later post.

Apologies that today's post has been ALL bits of quilts, but I hope that your appetite is whetted for a future visit.

At our next Flowerpatch Quilter's meeting on 13th April 2017 we will be stitching and flipping to make the sides of a zipper pouch, and learning how to put it all together. Please bring along lots of small scraps of fabric and your sewing kit.

Anita xx




Friday, 10 March 2017

Hexagon Horror Finale

Ta Da - a finish. My Hexagon Horror quilt measuring 41" x 37".

Since my last hexagon post I had filled in the sides with some almost half hexagons and I was ready to put on the borders. I cut the first one a bit longer than necessary and, with the papers still inside my hexagons, I laid the quilt edge on top of a border, on a flat surface. With the help of a little Sewline fabric glue and after pinning in place, it was quite simple to attach with the blind hem stitch on my machine - exactly as you would when doing machine applique. (See Freezer Paper Applique ). I repeated this with the other three sides.

I added two more outer borders; removed all the papers, cutting away the excess fabric of the first border, and I was ready for quilting.

2016 was supposed to have been my year for getting proficient at FMQ and I did lots of practice .... honest! I thought that this small quilt would be ideal as my first proper FMQ project, but after more play on a sample piece I chickened out and used my walking foot. I wanted to do a flower pattern in each large hexagon and worked out that I could sew from top to bottom in curves and then similarly diagonally across the quilt in both directions to achieve this. I marked out the lines with a cardboard template (this bowl seems to be just the right size for loads of my projects!!??) and a Frixion pen.

These photos show the back of the quilt so that you can see the quilting lines. The first is taken after sewing all the lines from top to bottom. The second is after adding the two diagonal lines at right angles to each other.

It worked quite well although I must admit to some puckering in the centres of the flowers and plenty of wobbly lines despite feed dogs up and an even feed foot. Rather less though than there would have been if I'd stuck to my FMQ idea!! :)

This pic shows the quilt and backing

and this is a corner of the quilt. I do hope that you are impressed with my mitred corners to the borders, so as to match up the pattern ........ I know I am!!

I used my own tutorial to bind the quilt - Step by Step Quilt Binding
And these are the links to my previous posts about this hexagon quilt:

Making Donuts              Hexagons Update            Hexagon Horror Story

This may be my first and last Hexagon quilt ...... but you never know.
Happy stitching - Anita x

I'm linking to crazy mom quilts - finish it up friday

Friday, 24 February 2017

Jug of Flowers - lino printing

My latest embellished lino printing project - a jug of flowers ......... or rather, 3 jugs as they look so good together.

Every print turned out a slightly different colour using system 3 acrylics mixed with the block printing medium. I've printed on to calico.

This is what one of the blue prints looked like after backing with thin wadding and machine quilting with grey cotton. I quilted just outside the blue of each petal to give them a cream border. Next to it is the finished picture after using Steam-a-Seam 2 to apply fabric to each petal, centre, leaf and a strip across the jug; and embellishing by hand.

The green jug is sprinkled with red lazy daisy flowers

And the flowers in the pink jug have red tips and centres which really makes them stand out.

I bordered each print with two similar colours and mitred corners, hoping that this would make them look slightly recessed, and finished with a wider border in a similar neutral colour.

Each print measures just 4" x 6" and the hanging measures 16" x 9".
I can't quite believe how enjoyable this is to do!

Happy Sewing - Anita x

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Quilt Show in Prague at Flowerpatch

We had a real treat at Flowerpatch Quilter's recent meeting with a slideshow of Melody and Dy's trip to Prague last Springtime. They stayed at a hotel in the beautiful old part of the city and enjoyed river trips and exploring. We loved their photos of the old houses built into the castle walls, many of which are now museums. But, of course, the highlight of their trip was a visit to the Quilt Show. This was a large exhibition of over 800 quilts and 6000 visitors. It is held each year.

These are just a couple of unusual quilts among the many quilts that they showed us:




The exhibition included art quilts, quilts based on antique quilts, traditional Czech quilts, some Cuban quilts, and other international quilts and challenges. A really diverse and interesting assortment.

They met the much-travelled Gillian Travis who was exhibiting at the show and who's work I saw in Bristol. This is a little taster of some of her wall hangings


More exploring followed their quilty day and I love this modern building that they showed us. It is called the "Dancing House" or "Fred and Ginger".

Many thanks to Dy and Melody for putting together this thoroughly enjoyable evening, ably assisted by their chaps Martin and Paddy.

Liz brought along her Little Harbour quilts which she has put together as a foursome in a wall hanging. They look brilliant. 

These are the two links if you'd like to see more and read a bit of a tutorial on making your own. Little Harbours at Flowerpatch Exhibition and Little Harbour Workshop at Flowerpatch

Next meeting is on 9th March when Sue and Jo will be showing us their collections of antique quilts. It would be lovely if any members who have old quilts would bring them along as well, to share with us all. - Anita x

Monday, 30 January 2017

Bramley's Seedling Apple

I have been really enjoying myself - playing with printing and stitching, after the workshop with Louise Nichols a few months ago.
This is my second attempt at embellished lino printing and what better subject to choose than the wonderful and versatile Bramley's Seedling apple. 



I used ordinary "system 3" acrylic paint mixed with Daler block printing medium so I had a wealth of choice colour-wise and each print tended to be a slightly different colour. These are examples of the lino prints in 3 colours.

and the resulting apples, which were printed in similar colours, after they had been embellished with fabric and stitch.



I put thin wadding on the back of each apple before I started stitching (by machine and hand) and then backed with more wadding after I had sewn them all together with the sashing and border. I actually included a little extra wadding behind the individual apples. 

I hope you can see some of the very simple stitches that I used - mostly straight stitch, french knots, cross stitch and couching.

I used Steam a Seam 2 to apply any fabric pieces. Each apple print measures approx 3½" x 5" and my finished wall hanging measures approx 9" x 18".

It is over 200 years since the original Bramley tree was grown from a pip, but sadly now it seems that the tree is dying. You can read all about the apple on the Bramley Apples website.

Happy stitching - Anita x


Friday, 20 January 2017

Hexagon Horror Story

I've been plodding on with my paper pieced hexagons most evenings and finally decided that I have enough to join them together. (or is it 'I have had enough!!') 

I still have the half-hexagon sides to fill in, but I will leave the top and bottom pointy. At present it measures 37" x 33" and I have plans to add some interesting fabric borders.
Here are four hexagons that I particularly like.

So where is the "Horror" of my hexagon story. Well, having sewn the big hexagons into rows and bemoaning the fact that it would take me many evenings to sew these together by hand, the man in my life (who knows absolutely nothing about sewing) said "I don't see why you can't sew these by machine!".......... I can't resist a challenge!
I decided to use this stitch on my machine as opposed to zigzag which I thought would make a very stiff and obvious line.

I used grey thread so it wouldn't show too much and a shortish stitch length and width. I sewed slowly, stopped frequently and turned the needle by hand at times - it was very stressful!! .... but quick nonetheless by comparison with the hand sewing. I don't think I would have attempted this if I had been making this for anyone other than myself! 

This pic compares the two different seams - hand and machine.


My two previous posts about this project are making donuts and hexagons update.

Happy Sewing - Anita x