Monday, 1 February 2016

Getting Back on the Horse

Well! That was a bit of a lull wasn't it?
I didn't set out to forget January, it has just slipped by so quickly.

The problem with posting less and less is that I can see how easy it would be to forget all about the blog, and having been gently nudged by a couple of my students recently, I am going to try and keep it going.

So, I missed doing a 2015 roundup, I didn't mention any Christmas presents, given or received, no New Year resolutions to publish and then break,, in short, I am leap frogging right into February - no pun intended in this, a Leap Year.

January was busy, and eventful - friends and family had accidents, all ok, but nasty occurrences at the time.
One friend lost the tip of her forefinger to a rotary cutter, so.......BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!

My classes all started back and quilted blocks for Siblings Together have come in, thick and fast.
You may recall from this post, that I launched a challenge that should result in us making 4, 60" square quilts, for Siblings together.
The first one is almost complete, with just a wee bit of binding to finish.

The blocks which finish at 20" came to me quilted - I joined them together using strips but my intersections weren't too accurate so I decided to applique the white hearts on - think I got away with it............

I see from my last post that I featured Madeline's quilt, from one of last term's classes - this was a quick two hour play about with jelly roll strips. Madeline made her little quilt bigger and started decided to applique little birds all around the borders. It's all done now and she free machine quilted all the birds, to secure them. It is a delightful quilt.

Last year, I subscribed to Today's Quilter and began the Block of the Month project, designed by Jen Kingwell, whose My Small World I so enjoyed making last year (still to be quilted). I am keeping up so far, and these were January's blocks - they might vary a little here and there because I am using scraps and orphans again........... I seem to have developed a real love for scrappy.

Bee a Brit Stingy 2015 has wrapped up and I recently received my rows from all my Bee pals.
Here they are, quickly laid out - I have some thinking to do about final layout and maybe adding in some further skinny rows.Meanwhile we are busy planning our 2016 project which should prove to be our most challenging yet.

And finally, I received my subscription copy of Today's Quilter on Saturday - I could hardly contain myself as I have my very first project published in it - my  Mega Pinnie!! I am so thrilled with the way my words and diagrams have been so professionally translated into the magazine - it even made the front cover. 

It's out on 4th - just saying.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

It's a Wrap

Not really, haven't wrapped a thing yet but I live in hope.
Today wrapped up my classes for the year and I have quite a lot to share..........

A couple of Sundays ago was my last workshop of the year, entitled Going Large, it was all about making one big block and hopefully inspiring those who came along , to make more such blocks, perhaps QAYG each one and once just 9 were made they would have enough for a double quilt!!

Here is a snapshot of some of the fab blocks made on the day - they were set to finish at 24" but one lady continued on with a further round of borders and decided it would make a super Linus quilt.

and last but definitely not least, this beauty....

In class last fortnight we were making fabric baskets, pattern courtesy of Ali's blog I chose this version of a basket as I suspected most of my ladies would not have seen boxed corners made by cutting out the corner rather than pinching and sewing. I didn't get around to blogging about this but quite pleased as lots of finished ones have turned up for last class Show & Tell.
Madeline brought in her Mini Jelly Roll project from Week 2 of this term - she has added big borders and loads of appliqued birdies, stitched on with free machine embroidery and for all of you brown haters out there - it was stunning!

One other show & tell was from Ann, last week. She had bought a Cora Dantini kit from Jo's stall at the SECC this year - she made two little quilts instead of one - perfect for her two grand daughters.

It's been a fun term with lots of small projects completed. This week we talked lots about our new project in January, Return to the Valley, and we ate cake!

Christmas is all about giving, and let's be honest, receiving too. So in our Stingy Brits Bee four of us decided to have a mini Secret Christmas swap - we were to make a small mat, perhaps for a candle. 

I was making for Nicky who has a Scandi Christmas thing going on so I made this for her. Ladies in my classes will recall this star from several years ago - this is a mini version and the pattern was originally in a popular Patchwork and was one of Anja Townrow's designs.

And in return, I got this lovely Mini from Di, plus a wee bonus decorative hoop.

I found some time to do last month's BOM from Today's Quilter, just in time for Issue 4 to land on my doormat. If you haven't yet tried this new magazine I really recommend it, it is choc full of some really good stuff.
These are 6" blocks and I am using up scraps, orphan patches and generally going off piste.

I made a stocking, on request, all from scraps.....I did buy that fab tartan bias, from eBay.

Not so much a scrap but a recycled project, this time helped by my embroidery machine, I made this zippy pouch for my wee nephew who loves Ninjago lego......

And finally, yesterday I got to work on my 2nd block for Collette in our Stingy Brits Row by Row quilt.
Collette has asked for sewing themed blocks and so far I have made one block - inspired by my Mega Pinnie.

Yesterday the block was Kerry's from her blog and it was tricky but very satisfying although my sizing wasn't perfect - I'll do a bit of cosmetic patchwork when joining to the other blocks.

And that folks, is definitely a wrap.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Class Sew A Long - project 5 & more...........

For the last two weeks the ladies in my classes have been working hard, making Decorative Storage Hoops. Here is my sample hoop which allowed me to use a precious piece of Charley Harper fabric that I had loitering in my stash.
And here is a selection of the fabulous hoops made by my ever creative ladies most of whom appear terribly camera shy.

Just one more small project to go before we get down to planning part 2 of our course, more of that later.
Meanwhile, some of you may recall that earlier this year, many of my students contributed blocks to Nicky's Siblings Together drive. Recently, Nicky asked me if I thought we could go one better for next year and perhaps come up with a quilt. So I put on my thinking cap and came up with a plan. I have asked for 20" quilted blocks -  just nine of these will join together into a pretty decent 60" quilt. I have planned four different colour options and have already had lots of blocks pledged (and some already made!!)
 My role will be to join the blocks using QAYG strip techniques and then bind them too.
 Here is the block I have come up with -

and how such a block will look in a quilt -

The ladies in my classes always rise to a worthy challenge and I have no doubts that together, we will pull this off too.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Class Sew A Long - Project 4

Nothing like a progressive sew a long to make Christmas loom even faster than usual.

So, the last two weeks was a real quickie - we made Microwaveable Bowls. I first spotted this gem on Judith's blog and searched further for info. I found a great tutorial here that indicated that this great wee project could not be attributed to any one person in particular.
I followed Kathy's advice and emphasised the need for 100% cotton, down to obtaining enough Quilter's Dream cotton wadding to go around all my classes. This has proved to be a bit of a bonus as I have been stuck in a Hobbs 80/20 rut for years now but having felt and used Quilter's Dream I am definitely going to give it a try in a quilt.

So our bowls were very achievable within our class time of 2 hours, several ladies had time to twiddle their thumbs too!!

I really recommend these bowls - great for porridge, of course, but also soups etc, anything hot that you scoff from a bowl.

Meanwhile, I got going on Block 2 of Jen Kingwell's BOM which is being featured each month in the new magazine, Today's Quilter. This month was a 6" block.

And I also got to work on my Secret Santa Sewing for Bee a Brit Stingy, the brilliant online Bee that I am part of. More later.

And finally, can't resist sharing this nugget.........indulge me.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Mini Jelly Race

I have never used a Jelly Roll! There, I've said it.

I think pre cuts are brilliant, don't get me wrong, but have just never splashed the cash for a Jelly Roll. Judging by the amount of books and patterns that are about I guess they are definitely here to stay.
So with that in mind I dug around to see what was involved in a Jelly Race, a popular day workshop it would seem.
But I wanted to give it a go with my weekday classes, make it part of the current sew a long, make it possible in 2 I studied the sums and came up with a mini jelly race.I know some of my students have used or at least purchased/acquired Jelly Rolls. But I didn't want to insist one had to be bought, so as an alternative I worked out how much would be needed should anyone like to cut into stash.

In class I cracked the whip!! We were on the clock after all.
It was a bit of a learning curve for everyone including me - results were interesting depending upon the length of strips and variety of fabrics used. I was intrigued at how those with less variety of different prints,produced quite interesting patterns. The wee quilt tops that were produced measured approximately 32" x 40", one or two returned to the next class with their little quilts all quilted and bound.

Here are some of the fun results -

Well done ladies, you all did brilliantly. We are currently in the middle of our 4th project, I'll be back soon to show our results.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Tumbling Around

Yesterday was my Tumbling Around workshop where we were hoping to make a baby sized quilt top with the help of my Accuquilt Go, Gordon.
Last year's Tumbler Cushion workshop was popular and utilised the 3" tumbler die - this time it was the big brother die at 6" or thereabouts, makes for quicker piecing.

With a smaller than usual gathering we had less congestion round the cutter and quite a few finished tops - great work ladies.

One even got to layering up stage, pretty good going.
Cutting with these machines can be quick, but sometimes a little wasteful - so I "encouraged" my ladies to retain their scrap and we even had time for a little improv.
Will be back again soon with updates on our class Sew A Long.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Today's Quilter

A few days before Stitch Gathering I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the brand new magazine, Today's Quilter, to review.

This new magazine comes from the same stable as Love Patchwork & Quilting and is described as "offering something NEW to traditional quilters".

Here in the UK we don't have dozens of different P & Q magazines like in the US, for example. When the two youngsters, LP&Q and Quilt Now  came onto our market, it was so refreshing, both sporting such a young, modern vibe.

In trying to think about the appeal of these different magazines I am playing around with the terms modern, traditional, young and older and I think all four can be interchangeable and I think maybe we shouldn't be putting people in boxes.
Maybe it's more about experience?

I would say in this first issue that the quilt projects might appeal to those who wish to stretch themselves a little.
The magazine has some fantastic contributers, none more so than Lynne Edward MBE. Over the years students have often asked me to recommend a book and I often found myself suggesting Lynne's Sampler Books - well written, informative  and totally non scary. It was in her book that I clearly remember learning that it's not the end of the world if a block comes up short - just add a narrow border & Bob's your uncle. It's not a question of encouraging sloppiness, I find this sort of attitude is likely to encourage more than put off.

There are several quilt projects to try and each one has a "Behind the Quilt" feature so the reader can learn a bit more about the history of the design.

There is going to be a regular Essential Guide series giving in depth tutorials on a specific technique and this month it is all about templates - these are being compiled by Linda Clements and will be a really useful go to tool.

In between all of this there is lots of info about fabrics, books, gadgets etc as well as info on events in your area.

Every issue there is to be a FREE collectible supplement or a gift, and in this first one we have a rather nice booklet celebrating 50years of Kaffe Fasset in Textiles - having heard Kaffe speak this year at Festival of Quilts, I am paying a bit more attention to his designs & fabric and so I was delighted with this booklet which includes 3 new previously unpublished projects, like this one.....

But for me, my heart skipped a beat just as I got to the end of the magazine where I found a new Block of the Month, by Jen Kingwell. As one of the participants in Jen's "My Small World" QAL, I have become converted to working with small pieces and lots of scraps so I just know making her blocks will be fun and it might just be enough to lure me into a subscription.

There is a subscription offer on at the moment - 3 issues for £5 (for UK direct debit customers)

So I'll leave you to make up your own mind, with this colourful image of Kaffe.


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