Saturday, 14 October 2017

Raindrops keep falling on my head!

And a MAJOR restock!!!


Can't reveal too much of Christopher's Rainbow until I have shown it to him. But suffice to say it is a BIG quilt for a little boy! The quilting was more challenging than I expected. I was going for a raindrop effect and my first attempt wasn't good enough. So I unpicked it and started again. It went better but, when I got to the end of the first row, I checked the back only to find that the tension was off, with terrible eye-lashing and I just couldn't live with it. 




Two hours unpicking!!



I've decided not to use the Empress Mills Egyptian Cotton for quilting anymore. Whilst it looks nice and crisp and clean white, it doesn't have a soft enough texture to show off quilting to its best and it is really unforgiving when you have to unpick!!


This week I re-established my account with Makower Fabrics and made a trip down to their new warehouse in Maidenhead. 





I am never asking SIRI for directions again!! I don't know where he was trying to take me, but it certainly wasn't Maidenhead! 


I have the worst sense of direction, but even I knew he was wrong! However, I found where I needed to be and was treated royally by the lovely George.

 I came home with a boot full of fabric (literally, 225 metres!) including 7 bolts from Edyta Sitar's GORGEOUS Blue Sky collection.


 I just LOVE her blues!!! 


And following my sale of the Bonnie Hunter quilt - the buyer has commissioned me to make a different quilt for his son.


When I showed him these prints - he was happy for me to make it with them. 




So I will really enjoy that!



Today I have had fun with my friends at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally. I told Susan to make sure I didn't buy any more fabric as I didn't quite trust myself! But I was a good girl in the end. Just a couple of new rulers, a machine foot, some fancy hangers, a blade and some needles (and maybe a few frivolous little buttons when no one was looking).

I have a lot of work lined up. I need to finish the binding on the Rainbow quilt, four quilts to finish for other people and the commissioned quilt. I also need to get a cushion done for the NSPCC Sale in November.  

Better get cracking! 

Happy Quilting Everyone!
Janet

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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Open Block Surgery!

Surfing the Web


Spot the deliberate mistake with this 'Snail's Trail' Block! I unpicked it just enough to turn the two patch around in the centre and then had to carefully piece it back together again to make it right. Better to spot it now, though, than after it was quilted!  



Now I am assembling Christopher's Rainbow quilt in sections and I am following one of Bonnie Hunter's techniques of 'webbing' the units together. This is where you lay out a block (or section in this case) and sew the pieces together in columns leaving the short thread in between to hold them in position until you finish it by sewing the rows together. In theory, you can do the whole quilt like this, but this will be a large  quilt and the layout is quite complicated and I knew I would get it wrong. I now have 20 sections to press and sew together and then it will be ready for quilting! 





I do love Storm at Sea - It is so versatile. It is coming along really well.











Bye Bye Bonnie!



Talking of Bonnie Hunter, I have to say farewell to my version of her 'En Provence' mystery quilt which I have just sold on Folksy! 
And ... 
I have just discovered that she is coming to Festival of Quilts 2018. Could be my first overnight stay if she is doing a workshop.






This is the latest masterpiece from Sue Mashmoor, which I have been up in the loft with for all the daylight hours this week. A much happier experience with the 'Fantastico' Trilobal polyester thread in variegated black/grey/silver that I ordered especially for this project. 













So much less aggravation than the metallic thread and I really love the way it has stitched out my 'passion flower' motif. No hours of unpicking this time, thankfully!













Happy Quilting Everyone!
Janet

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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Side by Side by Sold One Already!

And a Scrappy Quilt by Studio Quilters 


This week Susan F and I set out our stall at St Andrew's Parish Hall in Totteridge Village, for an Autumn Bazaar in Aid of NSPCC. We had all the group quilts out  (as well as mine) and had some interest, but didn't make any major sales. I had finished off these little nursery quilts from my UFO basket, in time for the sale. They were only small, so I had them set up side by side on my frame and quilted them at the same time, but with different designs.

We did sell a few of our odds and ends from Studio Quilters and Connecting Threads, so we managed to make a small contribution to the cause! We would do it again next year and will be better prepared next time. 








Later in the week, I Iisted all my quilts for sale in my shop and within 24 hours the turquoise one was sold!









I have another BIG quilt to do for Susan M and I am waiting for the special thread to arrive (NOT Metallic this time - a shiny polyester thread called Fantastico). 
In the meantime, I have cracked on and finished this 'scrappy quilt' put together from 'Itsy Bits and Wonky Strips' blocks, made by the ladies at Studio Quilters.  






There's a bit of my influence here - the scrappy border was pieced on to phone book paper and trimmed to an even width. Looks effective!









 Guess who made the pink block!


All the Snail's Trail blocks are finished now for Christopher's Rainbow. That's all the units prepared and now I am ready to start putting them all together. I'm going to have to concentrate if I am to get them all in the right place, but I am really looking forward to it.

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

Rainbow Rising!

Klingons on the Starboard Bow!





My progress on Christopher's Rainbow has been steady these last two weeks. I have taken it one colour at a time and I now have a very satisfying pile of Diamonds and Square in a Square units all carefully ticked off against my coloured layout diagram. I got it wrong a few times when I lost concentration -  but that's what you get for sewing in the early hours!









The next stage should move along more quickly and I'm really looking forward to assembling them all. Storm at Sea is such a versatile block and I am hoping my design will look stunning in these rainbow colours.



The week after next (Tuesday 19th Sept) I have been offered a stall at the Autumn Bazaar in aid of NSPCC to be held at St. Andrew's Church Parish Hall, Totteridge Lane, London N20 8PR. Studio Quilters like to support this cause so we will be offering some of our stock that we might otherwise sell at the Christmas Fair at Allum Hall in November, particularly some of our larger quilts as well of some of my own quilts. 

We don't want to leave ourselves with no stock for November so I've been trying to finish off a few little quilts I have on the go. 

So where are the KLINGONS?

Here - one of those little leader/ender four patches 'clinging on' at the end of a row! Just ready to be snipped off and added to my stash to start off another project.

 




Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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Friday, 25 August 2017

Lovely Lurex!!!!

More Misadventures with Metallic Thread!


It's been a whole week up on the frame with this extra large quilt top from Sue-  more metallic thread and lurex! It loaded up relatively easily; I had learned from experience, from the last oversized quilt I did for her, how to fit it on the frame with the minimum excess bulk. The metallic thread, however, was a nightmare from the start.  Same tension issues and skipped stitches as before. It must be something I'm doing wrong. To begin with, for every hour of productive stitching - I had to do 3 hours unpicking! 





But I tamed it in the end and finished it today. I liked the black and orange combination, but not sure that the lurex added much. 


















Meanwhile, down in the sewing room, I've worked out the design for Christopher's rainbow quilt. I thought I'd been so clever and found a set of rainbow coloured mechanical pencils for colouring in the design sheet.



When I started to use them, however, it turned out they all had grey lead inside!! DOH!!







This month at Studio Quilters, Viv started us off on this wonderful technique from Jenny Rayment's 'Tucks, Textures and Pleats' book. 




Great opportunity to try out some decorative stitches on the Brother machine - very effective on this folded calico background. I can feel a cushion coming on! 





And here is the result of another little experiment this week:



I was trying out the 'Simply Squares' block (from the book by Sarah Wellfair of Goose Chase Quilting) starting with a smaller square - 2 1/4" instead of 3 1/2".


But it took forever to grow, so I stopped and made them into these two little pincushions. I had intended to demonstrate the method to the U3A group this week, but we ran out of time. It will keep until next month.











So now it's back to that rainbow. I've done yellow and orange so far. 

This one is going to be fun!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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Monday, 14 August 2017

Rainbows and Blue Sky



And a Storm at Sea on the way!



What a wonderful day at Festival of Quilts on Saturday! 
It really is quite overwhelming, even though I have been so many times now. You just want to see everything at once and hardly know where to start. (Many thanks to our lovely Ann Kelner for organising the coach again.)

It was every woman for herself, as we all went our separate ways after agreeing to meet up for lunch. This year I decided to have a good look at the main quilt display first, before hitting the trade stands. It was all good - not all to my taste of course, I'm definitely not a modern girl! But there were some stunning entries in all categories. Most astonishing and inspiring was the display of miniature quilts by Japanese artist Kumiko Frydl. Now I like to work with small pieces, but hers were something else - just exquisite! Much as I'd like to try something like this, I have decided that if I don't start using bigger pieces up soon, I will never make a dent in my stash.


With this thought in mind, I started shopping, trying hard to resist all the lovely fabrics on display.  I didn't have as much of a 'list' this year, but have promised to make a 'rainbow' quilt for my friend's little lad, so I could fully justify buying these solid colours for that. I thought solid rather than print for a boy and I have several variations of Storm at Sea in mind. That will be a fun project. 


The rest of my shopping was mostly confined to essentials... some spare bobbins and needles for Auntie (my long arm machine)... and some interesting new rulers for the long arm, from Crafty-UK. I'm looking forward to trying these out as the choice of tools is so limited in this country. Look out for spirals and curves appearing on my quilts soon! I also bought an open toe quilting foot for the Brother as I'm determined to have another go at free motion on the domestic machine - I am embarrassingly bad it!

Looking at all the lovely fabrics and projects on the stalls made me think about the fabric I already have and how I could make something with it myself. So Instead of coming home with a full shopping bag, I came away with a mind full of inspiration and I can't wait to get started! Oh I did indulge myself with one little charm pack of Edyta Sitar's new collection for Andover Fabrics called Blue Sky. Oh come on! That was very restrained!



My 'Mystery Quilters' have been working well and some of them have finished already! Have a look at my Facebook Group, to see pictures of their progress. Don't forget to visit me at ENGLISHQUILTER for more details if you would like the full instructions and I will send you the PDF (for FREE until the end of August - NB: Don't try to buy it - just send me an email request via the contact page). 

Next up on the frame is another massive quilt top from Susan Mashmoor, with more metallic thread! So you might not hear from me for a couple of weeks!. 


Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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Friday, 4 August 2017

STAR-CROSSED CHAINS


Mystery Quilt Revealed!


Well here it is! I have called it 'Star-Crossed Chains'.
I liked the impact of these colours - not my usual palette - although I could have chosen a stronger yellow against the white. It was fun to fill in all that white space with dense quilting.





I had even more fun with this scrappy version! I even got to use up some leftover units from Bonnie Hunter's quilt, as well as making a dent in that stash of 'twosies'.

The variety in the background gives it more depth and warmth I think.













The quilting on this one is more relaxed.










Thank you all so much for joining in and for your feedback along the way. I can now finalise the complete instructions.
Don't worry if you haven't finished yet - Take as long as you like and enjoy it. And please send me pictures of your progress.





Visit me at ENGLISHQUILTER for more details if you would like the full instructions and I will send you the PDF (for FREE until the end of August - NB: Don't try to buy it - just send me an email request via the contact page). 

If you are a member of my Facebook Group, please feel free to share pictures of your progress.





Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

Thank you for visiting my blog and for leaving your comments. Please share on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ etc