Sunday, 11 June 2017

Bonnie's Quilt

At Last!

Finally got far enough down the pile to finish quilting a couple of pieces of my own! The one in the picture is 'En Provence', designed by the amazing Bonnie Hunter as her mystery quilt for 2016. I still have to bind it, which I will do with the green backing fabric. I still can't seem to do justice to the colours in the photo, even on this sunny morning - it really is quite bright and fresh. 

Tried a slight variation on a feathered curl with this all-over quilting design in yellow thread. I have got the hang of the centre, which reminds me of 'yin and yang' when I get it just right, but I think it works better on a slightly smaller scale (as on the little quilt below).

This pretty little top was a UFO given to me by a friend who had started to piece the blocks by hand. 
 Needless to say, I finished it by machine! I had already begun quilting it several months back and had used it to experiment with my Westalee Rulers. Some of the designs worked well, but I had a problem with the rulers which pivot on a big 'drawing pin' fixed underneath the quilt whilst it is on the frame. The pin catches on the plate of the machine at a certain point and stops you from making a smooth line. Still not solved that one!

All that was needed was to do something in the border - the 'yin yangs' worked better here- and to fill in around the motifs. It was a good opportunity to practise my micro-quilting and pebbling technique. A little busy perhaps, but good fun!

Now I am working on instructions for my own mystery quilt project and will make up a sample version soon. Please leave me a comment if you would like to join in.

 Happy Quilting Everyone!


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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Riot of Colour!

And More on that Mystery Quilt...

With Janet's 'French General' quilt now completed, I took on 2 pretty girly quilt tops this week, both pieced by Laura for her grand-daughters. As so often happens, once I got up in the loft, I just couldn't stop until they were done!

The first one was made with bright, fresh modern prints (not sure of the range) and the backing was a sumptuous deep pink in the 'Dimples' range from Makower. I picked up on the flowers, swirls and hearts in the prints to create this edge to edge design which shows up so well on the back.

The second one was a lovely combination of fairy prints, with pinks and mauves on a crisp white background with a sprinkle of silver shimmer.

 This time the quilting design was inspired more by the backing fabric which was all swirls and curls. This curled ribbon with petals is fast becoming my favourite freehand motif. 
Ah PINK! It always puts me in a good mood!

The other day I turned on my laptop and it decided to install windows updates - infuriating! 
It took so long to load up that, by the time it was done, I had designed the Mystery Quilt I mentioned in my last blog! 
This was requested by the small U3A group of fairly new to quilting ladies in Mill Hill - so it will be a beginner level lap quilt.
But I have decided to share it with anyone who might like to have a go, via my Facebook page Englishquilter Patchwork Fabric . 
I will be finalising all the details and instructions over the next week or two and will make an announcement when it is good to go. Why not join in?

Happy Quilting Everyone!


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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

My Mystery!

And what about that bag?

When I started to make this bag with Sandy's group, I made the bold decision to cut fabric straight from the bolt, rather than using stash or scraps. This is not something I do lightly, but the sample bag which Pauline had made, was in lovely blues and creams and it really inspired me to use these 2 fabrics by Edyta Sitar. The neutral with the tiny blue and black crosses is from her 'Silver Linings' collection and the dark blue is from 'Blue Barn'. 

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had added a 'twist' to the pattern. The original was all neutral background and dark blue folded pinwheel inserts. As you can see I have used alternate light and dark squares. 

Why? I hear you ask? Well...
a) I thought if the background was so light it would get dirty too quickly
b) It wouldn't do if we all ended up with identical bags, and
c) I cut my neutral strips wrong !!!!!
I was using a different ruler which was half an inch wider than I usually use and I cut 5 inch strips instead of 4 1/2 inches. So rather than waste them and cut more (or slice off the extra half inch) I managed to use the pieces in a different layout. 
Measure twice - cut once!!!!

I also continued the pinwheel design onto the side/pocket, which worked out well.

There was a fair bit of hand sewing involved too, which was challenging for me, but I am really pleased with it.

Up in the loft this week I have been working on another beautiful French General red and neutral top pieced by (another) Janet. 

The fabrics and layout are just stunning and Janet has asked me to quilt fairly dense all over feathers. It's a big job, but it is coming along nicely.


So what was my 'Mystery'?

At the little U3A group in Mill Hill, this afternoon, I was telling the ladies about Bonnie Hunter's 'En Provence' mystery quilt  (which is still waiting to go on my long-arm!) 
Now they want me to design a mystery quilt for them - sounds like fun!

Happy Quilting Everyone!


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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Tree of Life

Can't keep them all!

Whilst I wait for the thread to arrive for the next piece I have been asked to quilt for a friend, I have been reviewing my pile of quilts! I think I need to make room for all the new things I plan to make, so I have decided to let this 'Tree of Life' quilt go. I love it, but have nowhere to display it and have just listed it on Folksy for £150.
The top I am preparing to quilt is another French General red and beige piece. Their palette is so distinctive and it is beautifully pieced by Janet who has asked me to quilt fairly dense feathers all over. It will be fun once I get started.

In the meantime, I attended my first workshop with well-known tutor, Angela Madden, at Connecting threads last Saturday.

 The technique was from her book 'Surprising Silhouettes' and appealed to me in the sense that, unlike many applique methods, you get to use all the left over bits. (You know how I hate to waste fabric!) The morning was spent experimenting with the design process with paper cut outs and I learned a lot. 

But when it came to cutting out I felt it was a bit too rushed to commit it to fabric. I would have preferred to work on a better design. I got as far as lightly pressing the fusible pieces in place on the background but not stitching them. I can probably still pull them off to start again another day when I feel the inspiration better. But I am pleased to have learned the technique, as I can see how effective it can be.

Another work in progress is the bag from Sandy's group. Hand sewing the tubes for the straps was challenging, as I had used a stiffer wadding and the whole thing is probably thicker than the original design. (Although it will make for a more substantial bag). I have the side pieces and handles to do yet - watch this space. Love these blues and creams and had to live with the fact that you use SO much fabric for the inserted folded pinwheels!

Happy Quilting Everyone!


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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Log Cabin and Y Seams

From The School of 'Make It Up As You Go Along'!

So, I finally took inspiration from all my previous dabbling and forced myself to use some of my most treasured fabrics - some of which go back to the earliest origins of my stash.

First I practised with the Dresden Star templates and made these 8 'Blooms' which will go into my 'Treasures Quilt', that is gradually evolving in my head.

Then I got side tracked and started cutting 1 inch wide neutral strips with a Log Cabin in mind. It was going to be mixed with dark scraps - but then I went for vintage pinks...... It was going to be squares - but then I went for diamonds.
Like I said - Make it up as you go along! Then I made squares to set in between the points. That's a lot of 'Y' SEAMS!! Even the back looks cool.

I could have made 8 more pairs of diamonds to insert between the squares, but I was eking out the dark pink centre fabric and didn't have enough. So I switched back to the Dresden templates and made appliqued diamonds. 
I really should write my method down as I had to work out how to cut and fit the circle segment. Creative but fiddly!

Now I have squared off the background (as in the top picture) and am planning what to do for the outer section. 

Happy Quilting Everyone!


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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Decisions, Decisions!

What AM I Going to Make Next?

Now that I've finished quilting these two lovely tops for Elaine, I am itching to delve into a big piecing project for myself.

I had fun with the detail on these!

You know what it's like when you've got so many ideas in your head that you can't choose what to do first?

So I have been dabbling with the little things while I think about it ...

I made this coaster from a little log cabin block I put together about 5 years ago, with inch wide strips leftover from my first Storm at Sea/Mariners Compass quilt. (I just loved this fabric range - Blueberry Crumb Cake by Blackbird Designs - and I saved every last Crumb!)

And here is small table centre I finished off while experimenting with some Dresden Bloom templates from Edyta Sitar.

Still, I can't decide what to do next. 
Both of these little projects have tempted me. I would really like to do a full log cabin - I've seen some interesting variations on Facebook lately. And those templates make lovely 'Blooms' if you make them in sections of four petals. I have some pretty summery colours I could use.

So I am still dabbling. I acquired a little plastic box the other day and, in typical Jan fashion, I spent an evening digging through my little triangle stash and started to fill it with 1.5 inch half square triangles, with several vague scrap projects in mind.

I'll just add it to the rest then!

[HINT: If you ever wish to give me chocolates - make it Ferrero Rocher!]

Happy Quilting Everyone!


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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Pinky and Perky

Think Pink!

Every so often ... as you know by now... I need a pink fix. This little brushed cotton piece of Mary's was so sweet and soft, the flowers just flowed out.

It was so cosy to hold that I just couldn't resist hand sewing the binding on for her as well!

That set me up nicely to start on the first of two quilts for Elaine. Another pleasing colour combination of soft dusty pink and green. The slightly geometric prints and the layout of the pinwheels made me want to do straight lines, rather than curls and flowers. The whole piece was done with rulers and I'm pleased with the swirling effect.

Next up is her version of Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, 'En Provence' and that one will be flowery, I think. (My 'En Provence' is still at the bottom of the pile!) 

Meanwhile, I have been whittling down my 'crumb drawer' and I have been string piecing on to phone book paper strips and squares. 

My box is bulging and I'm saving them up for a charity quilt (or two).

                   How satisfying is that? 

Happy Quilting Everyone!


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