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, Jane Hopkins will be giving a talk titled "Quilts Through Colour".
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

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Zipper Pouches at Flowerpatch - part 1

At the last Flowerpatch Quilter's meeting we had a mini workshop on making zipper pouches. Firstly we started to make up two pieces of stitch and flip patchwork for the outer sides. We did this sewing by hand and the room was filled with friendly chat and laughter all evening. We weren't expecting to finish these in the evening, but after an hour or so of sewing we learnt how to put our patchwork sides together with a zipper and lining to make up a pouch.
This is the pouch that Annie made up the very next day after the meeting! I love her FMQ quilting.

This post is a tutorial on how to make up the pouch outers and my next post will be on putting the pouch pieces and zipper together to make a small zipper bag. I have sewn this pouch side by machine, but hand sewing is equally as good.

I began with a piece of cotton wadding just a little larger than I wanted the outers to be (6" x 8") and lots of scrap fabric cut into squares and rectangles.

I laid a small piece of fabric on the wadding away from the edge and then auditioned a different fabric with approximately the same length side, next to it.

Happy with my choice I laid the second fabric on top of the first with right sides together, matching the edges. Pinned in place and sewed a seam, then finger pressed open.

I auditioned another piece which crosses the seam of the first two, and repeated the process.

and then again.

Now my pieces of fabric would be getting a bit larger than I wanted if I put one fabric all the way across, so I have auditioned these three fabrics and sewn them together, cutting to length before sewing them to the wadding. They go right to the edge of the wadding and may still look a bit large but some fabric will be lost in the bottom seam of the pouch.

I continued adding lines of fabrics, avoiding lots of seams meeting in the same place

When my wadding was completely covered I trimmed  the edges to neaten.

These are two other outers which I have made into a pouch and which after "stitching and flipping" I machine quilted in spirals which isn't absolutely necessary, but does add texture and interest.

I do wish that I'd taken my own advice and used two or more pieces of fabric in place of that long pale blue strip at the top of the left picture!!

And this is the pouch that I made from these two sides. In the left pic the pouch is flat and in the right pic I have made a boxy bottom to the pouch.

I think I rather like the boxy bottom!

My next blog post will be a tutorial on making up a zipper pouch, but in the meantime have a look at Sveltana's blog S.O.T.A.K. Handmade where she has links to 33 zipper pouch tutorials.

Happy Stitching - or maybe, if you're like me, there's more gardening than sewing at present, with this lovely Spring weather........ Anita x

PS Flowerpatch Quilter's next meeting is on Thursday 11th May when there will be a talk by Pat Mallet.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Spring Quilt Festival, Exeter

A brilliant day with friends last Saturday at the Grovesnor Shows' Spring Quilt Festival at Westpoint, near Exeter. Always a good show with lots of inspiring quilts and many quilt stalls.

I have to start by showing you some quilts by Gilli Theokritoff as I liked so many of them. I think though that this one is my favourite. It is called "Klimt2"

and these pics show details of the areas that I like the very best - ovals within ovals (raw edged with dense quilting) and squares within squares.

Gilli's work is so varied - this is "Urban Folk Quilt"

and these are three of the nine squares that made up ""Little Kanthas". The Kantha stitching is really effective.

As usual the entries for the Journal Quilt (A4 size) challenge were interesting and thought provoking. This year the title was "Let's Dance". They were not easy to photograph and could have been displayed better.

This pair are by Jane Adamson and won first prize - Spirit Hare's and Earth Hare's Tea Dance. The Light brown squares are actually empty tea bags!

This pair are by Dawn Fenn and also won a rosette - Birds Do It / Bees Do It

The birds are a murmuration of starlings and just look at the detail in the tiny bees!!

These Dancing Shoes are by Shirley Matthews and immediately caught my eye. What a brilliant use of the stripey and dotty fabrics in the ladies shoes ...... I want some!!

I also really liked the section on sashiko quilts. They were made by ladies who attended workshops by Susan Briscoe in Scotland.

These two are by Pamela Lyall and Moira Gaw

and I particularly like the colouring of these two by Maureen Arnott and Ruth Higham.
Sashiko stitching is something I'm definitely going to have to try!

Finally another beautiful quilt by Annelize Littlefair who's "Journey" quilt I loved so much at the Bristol Show. This one is called "Sea Urchins".

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable day in good company.

Happy Stitching - Anita x