Sunday, 29 January 2012

Half Way

Half way through the re-design of the Autumn Leaves quilt

and the second panel is made up, this one in Jo Morton prints, so you can see how the design looks made up in different types of fabric.

I was hoping to have all four panels made by now, but it was warm last week and quite pleasant outside so the very large, nearly dead, jasmine-infested hedge enticed me into the garden and, later, up to the tip with the resultant many bags of stems, roots and dead bits. Spring, once it gets going, moves fast, so I need to take advantage of any warm days now to get the clearing done before it re-grows into the hopelessly impenetrable and tangled mass it was last year. Looks far better and with luck the hedge will re-grow now it has light, air and some better soil around its roots. Going to be cold this week, so back to the sewing!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

All change!

Enough of the same colours, time for a change. Been doing dull, dull, dull paperwork today and enlivening it with a bit of playing with colour.One thing I'm sorting out is my Open Studio entry for this year and here is this year's publicity photo, a painting and some brooches. Back to the studio tomorrow...if I get through all this paperwork....

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Things look quite different after being away in the cupboard for a few months.

Is something I've never, even after all these years, got used to. Sometimes one has a nice surprise when a long-hidden project that one thought had gone horribly wrong turns out to be not so bad and easily salvaged, but sometimes it goes the other way.
I set out to challenge myself to be accurate and disciplined and started a project last year to make sixteen really carefully pieced traditional squares. I thought I was being really accurate.The first couple of squares were OK, I felt I was doing really well, then I started to get more pernickerty and began to fussy cut, so once I'd done that, I was no longer really happy with the first two squares, but the next two squares were fine...I did six squares, got hi-jacked by other work and put them away to work on 'later'. Got them out last week, looked at them, was shocked at how inaccurate even the accurate ones were: why on earth did I think they were good when I did them? I realised I needed to start again from scratch.

So, six squares have been put together to make a little 'cat' quilt. Team Tabby are not concerned with inaccuracy, they hurl themselves upon the imperfect quilt as soon as it hits my knees/the chair/the windowsill: they are blind to the un-matched corners, the slightly mis-matched edges and blunt points...and the fact that I should have allowed an extra quarter inch on all outside edge blocks for trimming the block square...sigh. Live and learn...and start again.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Busy January

This month is racing by...the last couple of days I have been working on a design based on this quilt.

It needs to be similar, but achievable in a day for a class. The original quilt design takes WAY more than a day- just the central leaf applique takes that long to do as it is hand stitched on, stuffed, then the background is quilted.

So, I've reduced the size to an 18" square, large enough for a cushion cover if you only want to make one, but if you make four you can have a knee quilt. I will design four different versions of the largest leaf so you can make four different blocks, sash them together and hey presto, your Autumn Leaves knee quilt. Here's a (very) rough version of how it might look.

Now making the design up in various fabrics so people can see how it will look made up, started with Batiks. Not a fabric range I usually consider, but I rather like the way it has worked out.

Tomorrow, Jo Morton fabrics and brushed cottons. I'm teaching the class at Lady Sew and Sew in April, so still some time to make adjustments and more 'show and tell' examples...back to the cutting board now....

Saturday, 14 January 2012

110 and counting

110 posts. Crumbs!
I started doing this blog to make myself do stuff: I thought if I made what I was making/painting public, I would be more likely to actually knuckle down and get on with it and I must admit it does spur me on to action ( and finishing things) when I know the blog is there waiting for something to go in it. So, what do I have for you today?

Well, the first bit of the "Swedish Garden" quilt is ready.

Applique shapes, outlined in perle thread blanket stitch, then hand quilted onto thin wadding.
This section of the the quilt will have two layers of wadding, so there will be more stitching to go on the background later, when the rest of the quilt is put together.

Did you notice the bees on the backing fabric? Couldn't believe my luck when I found this fabric, exactly what I was looking for.
And we have another leaf brooch design: I acquired some more felts this week, in lighter, more Spring-like colours, couldn't resist trying out a new design.

On chilly indoor winter days like today the internet is wonderful for finding things that are inspiring and alluring and here's a website you may well love, I know I do, Tula Pink- beautiful and witty fabric those frog princes and snails...why does hardly anyone seem to stock many Free Spirit fabrics here in the UK? They have some really exciting designers, but only their really established designers' fabrics seem to come into the shops over here. I do occasionally get fabrics from the USA, but it is nice to see and feel fabric 'for real' before purchasing - the Andover fabrics site is particularly good at showing the fabrics clearly so you know what you are getting- I very much like some of their Jo Morton fabrics- very different from Tula Pink, but wouldn't life be dull if we stuck to the same thing all the time?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Phew, some sewing for the evenings.

I've finished hand sewing the Bird quilt, my Christmas knitting and the Top Secret Project ( to be revealed in February) so I've had nothing to do with my hands of an evening for a few days, which pleased Rita no end as she does like a lap in the evening . Felt a bit odd, not having anything on the go. A trip to a fabric sale and a root through my stash cupboard and hey presto! Projects...

I made this quilt a few years back and now I'm going to make it again, adjusting and improving the design, it was all a bit haphazard the first time as I made it up as I went along. I've been asked to teach it as a class, so I need to get it spot on. It was made with soft brushed cottons and the first version was backed with fleece fabric, but the new one will be backed with a lovely plaid brushed cotton fabric I found at Country Threads in Bath earlier this year.

Brushed cottons aren't that easy to find, but I love working with them, the final quilt is delightfully snuggly and the softness of hand quilting the brushed cotton is a real treat.
As is sitting on a pile of it on a sunny windowsill when your owner is trying to take a photograph.

I've had a vague idea for a Scadinavian-inspired quilt bouncing around in my head for a while now, but I hadn't got the right selection of fabrics.

I picked up these two lovely blue fabrics and a nice red stripe at Lady Sew and Sew's sale last weekend which were exactly what I was after to go with a couple of fabrics I already had.

I found myself lying awake in the wee small hours thinking about what to do for the quilt. I came up with several ideas and probably have enough of the fabrics to do all of them, inspired by trips to Stockholm and the sketches I've made at the wonderful Open Air Museum Skansen and the nearby Nordiska Museet , which has a stupendous collection of traditional textiles.

Stockholm is one of my all-time favourite places and I am really looking forward to working this quilt as it will bring back happy memories...

This panel is appliqued with bondaweb and is awaiting embroidery and quilting...I'm not sure which I enjoy more, the anticipation of starting on a project, or the actual sewing.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

After the Festive Rush

Once the madness of many visitors over Christmas and New Year is over, one imagines a peaceful,relaxing week- the house to oneself, plenty of left-overs to eat, no pressure to do anything... but the first week of the year creeps up behind you, knocks you for six and is always a really bonkers time. Suddenly there is a MOUNTAIN of paperwork, the house is in chaos, low Winter sunshine just emphasises the thick layer of dust that accumulated over the previous fortnight, the decorations have to come down and goodness, but the spiders enjoyed living in them and all those bits of work that could wait until after Christmas when there would be LOADS of time suddenly have to be done RIGHT NOW. Most 'first week of the year' jobs are pretty tedious and I always get the urge to Spring Clean straight after Christmas is over, but this year, sewing has to take first place in the queue of things that need doing RIGHT NOW, so the duster can stay in the cupboard. I have serious sewing stuff to do. Instructions have to be completed for the Kimono Case, the final version has to be made up and photographed- some sunshine to do this in would be helpful- there are sketches to be turned into a 3 colour silk applique cushion cover design,
a cutting board carrier design to be prototyped and also a pincushion design to be experimented with...and that is just for starters...every year I look at my lovely empty diary and hope to keep it empty, looks like this month has been hi-jacked already. I wasn't planning to go out anyway- a fierce wind is howling around the house as I type this and the rain is hammering on the windows. Outside? I think not!