Tuesday, 10 July 2018


Beat the Heat

Giggles is the name of the colour 'Fantastico' Thread I ordered 

for Jenny's two shocking pink and navy batik quilts.

I had to wait for the temperature to drop before I could venture up into the loft to resume work, but I have just pulled a 10 hour stint and finished this one today. 
The thread is a trilobal 40wt polyester from Superior Threads and is variegated from light pink to cerise with a beautiful sheen on it.
The batik top is quite busy, so the pattern doesn't show up so well in photos. I have used it in the bobbin as well and you can see it much better on the plain navy backing.  
The stitching went very smoothly on the whole, with only a couple of breaks. When I did need to unpick a little, the thread separated and it was tricky to remove, unlike the cottons I usually use. Good to know for future projects.

I am so pleased I waited for this thread though, having been let down by my usual supplier; it needed to be bold enough to go with these stunning batiks.
The all over quilting design was inspired by one of the floral prints - not a batik but the same weight cotton - which was just gorgeous!
I really got my 'Pink Fix' this time and I can't wait to start on the second one!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Under Cover

Too Hot to Trot!

Well too hot to go up in the loft anyway.
Having got the first of Jenny's three bold and bright quilts under my belt, I am now waiting on the special thread I have ordered for the other two to arrive. It's so frustrating - the next one is all loaded and ready to go. But then, as I say, I might have to wait for the temperature to drop a little before I can go back upstairs. This one was fun though!

In the meantime, I have turned my attention to my own interpretation of the Sew-a-Row quilt project we are making at Connecting Threads. I have been duplicating the rows I have made for the exchange, but in my own colours. We still have one more row to do, but this week I have jumped ahead to make the final beach inspired row.
I have been working on some of the appliqué pieces. Much as I like my new Brother machine, you can't beat the Bernina for this task. I've noticed a lot of people seem to prefer a zigzag to finish off fusible appliqué, but I like the simple blanket stitch for a nice clean edge. On the Bernina I have so much more control over the speed and I can do one stitch at a time around the intricate shapes. Today it has been transformed from a box of little units into a complete pieced top with just the border appliqué to be added. 

It has to be kept under cover until all the quilts are finished for 'show and tell' in September. But I am already loving it!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Pipe dreams.

3rd cushion this week!

Following on from the challenge cushion in my last blog, this week has seen me finish off another old project and speed through a new one. The subtle tones of this calico and woven pink stripe in this 'shabby chic' cushion truly appeal to my taste. Viv started us off on this method, last year, from Jenny Rayment's 'Tucks, Textures and Pleats'. The main panel is constructed from folded bias cut strips, opened out like 'cathedral window',  to reveal lines of machine embroidery underneath. Now I have added a slim inset mitred border and matching piping to make up this cushion.

The third cushion I made on a whim, as a surprise gift for a lady in our group who gave me the off cuts from her Japanese workbox at our last workshop. But I have yet to catch up with her to present it. I have gained such a reputation for frowning on those who throw away scraps, that my fellow patchworkers now give them to me before I can 'name and shame them!' When I saw these long right angled triangles of bright orange, pink and white floral fabric, I immediately thought of Storm at Sea - my favourite block.

Mixed with this plain deep pink, a crisp white background and bright bold pink floral backing it makes a fun cushion! 

All that and yet more piping! It seems to be my thing at the moment!

Next up - THREE bold batik tops to be quilted for Jenny. She has been busy!
Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Challenge accepted.

Connecting Friends!

Two projects completed this week -  
Challenges from Connecting Threads group and Studio Quilters.

This cushion was made from scraps of fabric donated by each member of Connecting Threads - the challenge being to use them all in a single project as a memento of our friendship. It started off with the intention of being a wallhanging for my loft studio.

I dabbled with the letter stitches, on my new Brother machine, to stitch out the sentiment: 'Connecting Friends'. It was good practice at least, if a little wonky! But they were a little small for what I'd envisaged. 
As the piecing evolved it looked more cushion shaped. So I changed tack and made it into one, especially to take with me to workshops, so that I can always think of my friends.

The other was the annual challenge from Studio Quilters. The brief was to make a small satchel bag using any method we liked. 

I had already pieced together this sort of 'bargello' panel from a handful of scraps that Bernice gave me a few months back.

This was a classic 'make it up as you go along design'! I pulled together all the bits I needed - the interlining, cord, button and black and gold lining fabric. 
And somehow it all seemed to work out perfectly. 

The 'Sew a Row' (vehicles) is completed for this month's exchange and I have done the same for my own version, but that all has to stay under wraps for now. 
So all in all I am feeling quite up to date! 

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Blue Medallion

Back on Track!

I have been watching this cool blue medallion quilt take shape for several months, as Janet J has been meticulously working on it at our Saturday meetings. She considered each stage carefully, auditioning the various fabrics, repositioning pieces and allowing us all to stick an oar in with our opinions and advice. The end result is this striking, perfectly balanced, original design.
And it looks great - she should be rightly proud!

A medallion layout lends itself much more to custom quilting than an edge to edge design. I was a little anxious about freemotion quilting after my recent difficulties with the Spring Halo Quilt, but 'Auntie' (my long arm machine) was on her best behaviour and it all went smoothly. At least this confirms my suspicion that the double wadding combination was the cause of the problem.

So I happily feathered and curled my way around the outer frames, but thought that the on point centre would look good against a simple cross hatched background.
I used a dense filler on the cream on cream section so that floral patches would stand out more. Then I added some precision curves in the dark blue borders for a crisper effect. And the texture showed up on the back even better than I thought it would once I got it off the frame. 

Good job Janet(s)!!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Spring Halo

50 Hours on the Frame!

It's been an intense fortnight up in the loft! This is my adaptation of Sue Garmin's Halo Quilt. I call it 'Spring Halo' because it features a lot of fabrics from the 'Printemps' collection by 3 Sisters for Moda (as well as several others from my Treasure basket). I made a much smaller quilt than the original design (with additions of my own) and finished it at the curved Flying Geese section, because I wanted to try them. So I thought it would be good to scallop the edge to really set them off.

The skipped stitches problem plagued me right up 'til the end. I think it was due to the combination of a polyester and a cotton wadding. I wanted to double it up like the professionals do, to get the added definition, but at least I've learned that these two don't work well together. Next time I will try something else.  

However, I used it as a learning opportunity and changed my intended quilting design from free-flowing feathers and curls to much more ruler work, so that I could control the direction and avoid the problem to some extent.

I love how the little inserts in my appliqued Dresden Blooms 'popped' right up!

My miniature Flying Geese were too small to quilt around, but there was enough fabric behind them to make them sit up. And I got in a lot of practice on tiny cross hatching! 

I did manage to squeeze in a workshop at Connecting Threads and made this pretty Etui Japanese workbox, again in some of my favourite 3 Sisters prints.
I thought it would be quick to finish on the day because some of it was glued. In the end it took me 2 days to finish, but it is so pretty - I love it! 

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Heaven is in Hampstead!


The other week I suggested to Viv, Susan and Karen that we visit the Antique Textiles company in Hampstead. Having seen pictures on Facebook, I had an inkling of what to expect. But to see it for real was something else!
We had arranged with the owner Christopher Wilson-Tate for him to open up specially for us.  He is often out and about on business buying and selling his amazing antique quilts, so the shop isn't open every day.
But don't think about organising a coach trip - the shop is barely the size of my dining room and is literally stacked floor to ceiling with some 1500 or more gorgeous examples of mostly English and Welsh quilts. We could only just squeeze in and were rubbing up against these lovely pieces which we were actually allowed to pet and stroke! So much so that Viv set off an avalanche! I was surprised at how clean and fresh everything seemed - not the musty smell you might imagine.
Christopher was so friendly and enthusiastic and chatted away with us for an hour and a half. Check out his Facebook page at Antique Textiles Company 

Of course I was so inspired by the visit that I went straight up in the loft when I got home and put in 5 hours on the Halo Quilt. Unfortunately, though, that project is not going as smoothly as I'd like. I am trying out double wadding, like the professionals do, but it is causing skipped stitches on an upward motion. So I can't do the free motion work I had planned and am reverting to more ruler work which takes a lot longer. Never mind - I won't be beaten.

Yesterday I handed over this lovely quilt that I finished for Jean Hipwell earlier this year and she was really pleased with it. Good job my free motion skills were working well that day !!!!

Happy Quilting Everyone!

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