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

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

UFO Has Landed!

Now THIS is why I never throw anything away!





So, I am supposed to be going to a UFO day at Connecting Threads this weekend - better dig out those eight pointed star blocks I made from the leftovers of my Scrappy Star Quilt - Oh and those sample blocks I made from Tula Pink's 100 Modern Quilt Blocks at Sandy's group. That should be enough to keep me occupied for the day.

OOPS! I started playing with them and look what happened!


These were the 6 inch sample blocks. I duplicated a couple of the ones I liked and left out some where the colours didn't look quite right (UFO for another day)!






I had to set this one on point in the middle, because otherwise it looked asymmetrical and (for me) it didn't work anywhere else.





These eight pointed stars are part pieced and part solid. I had been practising those 'Y' seams. So confident am I now, that I unpicked the odd one out today and re-positioned the setting triangles and corner squares and got it right first time.



Most pleasing of all was the border. I had saved these left over 2 inch half square triangle units from one of my earliest quilts (Alison's Angels 2006).                            
 I just knew they would come in handy one day!!

I kept the size down so that I can back it with a single width of fabric - so it will be a nice lap quilt size.

On Monday, I quilted and bound my scrappy version of the Mystery Quilt ready for the 'Big Reveal' this weekend - WATCH THIS SPACE!



Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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Saturday, 29 July 2017

Almost There!

You Quilters Just Can't Wait...



Clue 4 of my 'just for fun' mystery quilt project seemed to really inspire you all last week. A few more ladies have joined in this week AND caught up already!

Clue 5 (which creates the inner border) is just out. I'm sure you can see where it's going by now.  Take care though - it's easy to go wrong when you can't see the final picture. So make sure you follow the placement diagrams really closely.

Don't forget that you can join my Facebook Group, to share pictures of your progress and see how everyone else is getting on. There are some lovely pictures on there already. The best part is seeing how they all turn out so differently with everyone's individual fabric choices.


It's not too late to get the instructions. Visit me at ENGLISHQUILTER for more details if you would like to join in and I will send you all the PDFs for FREE! (NB: Don't try to buy it - just send me an email request via the contact page). 





 Last Sunday was the Annual Garden Party, hosted by Ann and Norman Shuker at their lovely house in Elstree, in aid of the NSPCC. 

The weather was surprisingly kind in the end, although I think the mere threat of rain may have put some people off venturing out.

 We had a lovely display of quilts again and a table full of hand made goodies from Connecting Threads and Studio Quilters.



Look at this amazing zebra applique quilt made by Jean Smith - isn't it stunning?!






Next week I will issue the final clue and, in the meantime, I still have to get my scrappy version quilted.


Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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Saturday, 22 July 2017

Mystery Unfolding! Clue 4 Now Out

Centrepiece


Clue 4 of my 'just for fun' mystery quilt project has just been released and emailed to the 35 ladies who have signed up (including 2 overseas!). 

You can see how it is taking shape now - as the main section comes together. There are just two more clues to come, with the inner and outer bordersI 



Here's how my first version looks quilted. I'm not going to share the whole picture just yet (see above), but I can show you the back. I chose this fresh and pretty print 'Pedal Pushers' by Lauren and Jessi Jung for Moda. I went against all the advice I give about allowing 2 inches extra backing fabric all round and carefully loaded it on the frame so I could get away with just using one width of fabric.  


I got some practice in with the 'pebbling technique' and it is improving! I wanted dense quilting on the white background to lift up the coloured pieces so that the pattern stands out. If I get time this week I will get the scrappy version quilted! That one will be a looser edge to edge design, because the pattern came out clearer with those fabrics.
Visit me at ENGLISHQUILTER for more details if you would like to join in and I will send you all the PDFs for FREE! (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.

In between times, and in the cooler hours up in the loft, I have been working on this dramatic quilt top pieced by Michelle. Such a striking design in these strong colours on a black background. Michelle was clever enough to find a duvet cover to use as a backing, which not only picked up the colours so well, but also complemented the design of the fabrics on top perfectly. 






The piece had a modern feel so I didn't want the quilting to be too flowery, I went for a fairly simple curly-cue which turned out lovely (at least I think so).



















After all that I had some 'crumbs' to sweep up and I spent an evening of 'mindless piecing'  stitching little scraps onto strips of phone book paper. 



This weekend I am manning a stall at the NSPCC Garden Party at Schopwick House in Elstree, so I had better get on with baking my cake for the refreshment stall.

Coffee and Walnut ok?

Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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

Friday, 14 July 2017

Englishquilter's Mystery Quilt Clue 3.

Twosies!


Those of you who know me well, know that I never throw my little scraps away! Instead I save every little 11/2" square and have them stacked up by my machine to use as 'leaders and enders' to save thread and enable tangle-free chain piecing. I have accumulated a great stash of 'TWOSIES' and this week I've put a lot of them to good use, as I start on my scrappy version of my Mystery Quilt - 
SO SATISFYING!
I hope you've made good progress with Clue 2 this week, because now I am ready to release CLUE 3 and I will be emailing it to everyone who has signed up already (24 as of today!)
Last week's clue was a lot to do, but this week should be easier and you get to see the main block take shape. 
We are going to be making 'hour glass blocks' for Unit 2.

Here's how it looks. See if you can get your seams to spin at the back, by unpicking the three stitches inside the seam allowance and pressing the seams in a clockwise direction. It helps to make the unit lie flatter in the quilt.
Then you get to assemble the main blocks. This is where you will be glad that you labelled the Units so you make sure you use the right ones. 




If I get time this week I will get it quilted!
Visit me at ENGLISHQUILTER for more details if you would like to join in and I will send you all the PDFs for FREE! (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. I will try to release further instructions every week, in about 8 instalments. (But I will let you have it quicker, if you find yourself racing ahead - but you will have to keep it under wraps until the 'BIG REVEAL' !)






Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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

Friday, 7 July 2017

Mystery Quilt Clue 2 - Get Those Blades Sharpened!

It's time to start cutting!


I have just put my instructions to the test for CLUE 2 of my Mystery Quilt project and found I was two 1 1/2" strips light for Fabric A! So I've had to tweak the instructions a bit. Sorry about that - but you should have sufficient from the yardage I gave you. You might also find you have a whole strip of Fabric C spare as well. 


But Hey! - we can always use a 1/2" strip somewhere - can't we!?


So Clue 2 is now good to go and, in the morning, I will be emailing it to everyone who has signed up already (22 at the last count!)
We are going to prepare lots of strip sets and cut them into Sub Units which in turn make up Units 3-6 (top to bottom in the picture above). There's a lot of slicing with your rotary cutter so put a new blade in now!


You will see that I have steered away from my usual pastels and pretty prints for this demo.




 I have used the white cotton sheeting off-cuts from Empress Mills, because it looks so crisp. But I forgot how it tends to pucker up with too much steam and has a surprising tendency to distort when you cut it. So I needed to take extra care. 

My bold blue and yellow should really zing when it all goes together - but I also have a cunning plan to use up some scraps along the way! Look at all my little piles of cross-cut pieces. I love it at this stage, when you are getting set up for chain piecing. Don't forget to sort them out and label them before you start, so you don't lose the plot.



Visit me at ENGLISHQUILTER for more details if you would like to join in and I will send you all the PDFs for FREE! (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. I will try to release further instructions every week, in about 8 instalments. (But I will let you have it quicker, if you find yourself racing ahead if I can keep up- just ask!)






Happy Quilting Everyone!

Janet

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