Thursday, 12 April 2018

Easter Exhibition at Cowslip Workshops

I thought you might like to see a few of the quilts that I liked at the recent Easter exhibition at Cowslip Workshops.

I love applique on pieced backgrounds and these two wall quilts are by Teresa Dunn:
Biscuit Tin Birds

and View from a Window

I thought this king-size blue and white bed quilt was very unusual - it looks very difficult to piece.
White Cliffs by Janet Beck

I really like the combination of shapes overlaid with stitching in this wall quilt by Sabi Westoby
Layers of Lily 

Finally this Star Quilt made by Parkhouse Quilters will raise money for the Merlin MS Centre in St Austell. 

The raffle will be drawn at their exhibition which is on from Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th June 2018 at the Parkhouse Centre in Bude.

Exhibition season is well underway - it's so inspiring to see other quilter's work - a photo can never do them justice.

Happy Sewing - Anita x

Friday, 30 March 2018

Stitched lino prints - Birds

I always like to have some hand sewing to do in the evenings - it stops me falling asleep in front of the TV! When I was lino printing these birds on cards for Christmas, I also did some on fabric for stitching at a later date. They are so relaxing and stress-free to do and yet never boring.

This small hanging is just 6 ½" x 13".

I sewed one of the lino prints to the back of the quilt.

After sewing on the binding I remembered a tip about sewing triangles into the corners for a hanging rod. Of course these should have been sewn in with the binding and hopefully I'll get it right next time. Nevertheless I went ahead and sewed them on anyway.

I cut two 2" squares and folded them into triangles. I would have cut larger squares for a larger quilt.

I placed them in the top corners, tacked them down and sewed the binding over the raw edges making sure that the stitches went through the triangles and  caught the backing. 

I'm chuffed with that - it makes a really neat finish. I would have used the same fabric as my backing, but I wanted you to be able to see my triangles. Triangles can also be sewn into the bottom corners for another rod to keep the bottom of a wall quilt nice and straight.

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

Happy Stitching
Anita x

Friday, 23 March 2018

Curves and Circles

Sometimes when you're thinking about your next quilt project you have two new design possibilities and it seems a good idea to combine them in the one quilt. That's the way it's been with my Curvy Circles Quilt. (18" x 23")

The two thoughts were:

  1. Wouldn't it look good if I did a strippy quilt of circles and floating rectangles where the circles were placed randomly along the strips
  2. Instead of straight strips I could make them curvy.
That's when things started to get a little complicated as the circles couldn't be placed on the narrowest part of the curvy strips as they would be too small ........ there goes my very random idea!

So, as in life, my quilt is a compromise, which to my eyes doesn't quite work. Nevertheless I do like the curves and I do like the colours. The colours make me think that perhaps it's leaving certain ones out that makes for a better combination, rather than what we put in. I was going to say that I've left out two colours which are next to each other on the colour wheel - red and orange, but actually they are both there in very tiny amounts. Before I start a new scrappy quilt I hunt around in my small scraps, which are in a wicker waste paper bin .... and yes that does get a bit confusing at times :), and I lay them all out to see which to reject. Taking a photo sometimes helps.

This post explains how I do the circles and the floating rectangles - 6 minute circles - design 1, but this time I did the 6 minute circles by sewing with invisible thread and zigzag stitch and I used Steam-a-Seam-2 to attach raw edged small circles inside the larger ones, sewing them on with the same zigzag stitch.

I machine quilted around all the shapes and hand quilted with horizontal lines around the circles.

I've not sewn curves much except as in drunkard's path, so didn't anticipate the problems that I had with these serpentine curves - all the time thinking that there must be a better/easier way. In the end I unpicked my wobbly sewn seams and settled on the method below. This is an example using just two fabrics.

I drew my curves on cardboard using three evenly spaced straight lines to guide me. I drew some positioning marks across the curve. I cut carefully along the line as I wanted to use both halves of the cardboard as templates.

I put one of my pieces of fabric (pink) on some fine sandpaper to stop it moving about, and marked the curve. I used a Frixion pen and I copied each of the positioning marks onto the fabric.

I marked the other fabric (cream) using the other template.

I cut the curve of the pink fabric adding a seam allowance and I snipped into the seam allowance along the inside curve.I left the other fabric uncut.

Then I folded the seam allowance under being sure to have the pen mark along the folded edge and I tacked it down.

Finally I pinned the pink curve on top of the cream matching up the positioning marks.

The curve can be sewn by hand or by machine and the cream fabric in the seam trimmed once the seam is sewn.

Some of the seams that I sewed over were quite bulky and I remembered reading in Di Wells' blog about using a "Hump Jumper". It's so annoying when your sewing comes to a halt, the stitches mess up and you have to keep lifting the foot and adjusting the fabric. I made myself a hump jumper out of cardboard and it actually works!

Many thanks to Di for that tip!

To satisfy myself that both my ideas are good ones I'm now going to have to make two more small quilts:
  1. A random strippy quilt - no curves
  2. A precisely pieced circles and floating rectangles quilt where all the circles are evenly spaced and are placed at the widest part of my curves
This photo edited pic shows how a random strippy might look.

Mmmmmm - less circles methinks.

Well - back to the sewing machine then ............ goody - Anita x 

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

Friday, 16 March 2018

Jo Colwill at Flowerpatch

It was wonderful to have Jo Colwill of Cowslip Workshops come to Flowerpatch Quilters' March meeting. Jo is a member of Flowerpatch - a founder member no less, and regrets that she is so busy with her Cowslip Workshops teaching that she rarely makes it to our meetings. She came along this time especially to talk about applique which is by far her favourite patchwork sewing technique and at which she excels - I'm sure she will say that it's all down to practise.

We were each given a kit to make a daisy pin cushion similar to these below.

But first Jo talked us through some of the applique quilts and cushions that she has made.
Her most used and favourite way to do applique is needle-turned where you draw the design on the back of the foundation fabric.
This is a detail from her quilt 'Dancing with Daisies'

and here is the beautiful centre of another quilt - with a detail, which has really tiny applique pieces.

In contrast this is Jo's colourful quilt of large daisy flowers - I love the daisy quilting between the flowers.

Her fun cushion 'Run Rabbit Run' uses raw edge applique.

These flowers, which are on two other cushions, are also raw edge applied.

Finally Jo showed us a large quilt in very different colours and this is one of the blocks of freezer paper appliqued tulips. I love their vibrancy.

It was lovely to see such diversity and Jo was so helpful to all of us as we endeavoured to sew tiny stems and neatly turned leaves and petals for our pin cushions. I, for one, find this very difficult, but not so all of us as this is the pin cushion that Iris L. has since finished and she enjoyed the applique sewing so much that she put a daisy on each side!

Thank you Jo for a super evening.
Please do visit Jo's Cowslip Workshops website - it is a delightful venue.

Update a couple of week's later - I persevered and did finish my pin cushion - I love it!

More excitement on the evening was to see our "Over the Rainbow" charity quilt finished. 

This has been quilted by Sandy Chandler on her Gammill Longarm Quilter so even the back looks absolutely stunning. 

I was lucky to be able to visit Sandy at work so here you can see our quilt on the machine and work in progress. Sandy did a hand-guided design of daisies.

You can read a bit more about "Over the Rainbow" in a previous blog post.
The quilt is being raffled in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind - a most worthwhile cause.

Flowerpatch's next meeting is on 12th April when Lesley Coles will show us how to design patchwork blocks. Please bring along a pencil, ruler and coloured pencils. Lesley calls the evening " Making the most of your Scraps and Stash" - sounds like great fun.

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

Happy Stitching - Anita x

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