Friday, 20 June 2014

Sewing bliss

Finally some sewing this past two weeks and some finishes - but computer problems (leading to purchase of new PC and further delay while it is set up) has meant this post has been delayed: my apologies.  I hate being so clueless about the technology but so dependent on it too.

I quilted my small Double Irish Chain (blogged about here) with a walking foot: a diagonal grid through the floral squares only, to emphasise the green plaid squares which make the chain, plus a stylised flower in the empty spaces.

It's a small quilt (45" square) so it didn't take too long.  I like to make class samples without free motion quilting, as so many ladies  aren't confident with FMQ.  I include myself in their number and am determined to get to grips finally with the subject (attending many classes in the past has not made me into an accomplished free motion quilter, probably because I just haven't practised enough).  I am following Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts current guide to FMQ and have picked up some useful tips in the latest post (here), particularly on the best way to tackle meandering/stippling.  Great machine quilting sampler in today's post too.

I also managed to finish the handquilting of my Giant Dahlia (last blogged here) and to get the binding on.  I am so happy to have finished this UFO, and I have quite enjoyed the hand quilting which followed the piecing lines, like a giant Spirograph (anyone remember that from their childhood?  I was obsessed for a while, drawing endless interlocking patterns with toothed plastic cogs and wheels).

I wanted to have quite a narrow binding and of course it had to be a  bias binding because of the curved outer edge of the quilt.  I never do bias bindings on my quilts so it was odd to have to think about a completely different approach.  How wide should I cut the strips and should I try a doublefold (so I could slipstitch the folded edge as I do with the usual straight cut binding) or would the doublefold pucker and twist?

In the end I cut the strips 2" wide, joined them on the diagonal and folded the binding in half exactly as for a straight binding.

It went on perfectly, though being so skinny it was a bit tight in places (maybe I'd cut 2 1/4" strips next time).  I am really pleased with the finish though as it doesn't take the eye away from the pieced middle.

No idea what I am going to do with the finished quilt: it is definitely a display quilt rather than a bed or sofa quilt but it is not something that would be easy to hang on a wall.  It could go on my dining room table but as that is where I sew ....

I'm glad to have finished it however and to have learned a few new skills along the way.  Plus it ended up being made entirely from stash fabric and a backing bought in a sale - another cause for celebration.

A little glow of pride too, as I have a quilt featured in the current issue of Fabrications:Quilting for You.
This is my Summer Medallion, renamed Tea for Two for the article.

The quilt is my own design and I have also made it in a reproduction red/blue/brown colourway which will be shown in more detail in Part Two of the pattern which is in the next issue of the magazine which comes out on 7th August.

A couple of other WIPs have been progressed this past week too, but I will save them for next week - just a glimpse of one for now.  Such bliss to be sewing again.  Hope you have managed to spend time with your fabric recently.

I am linking to Crazy Mom Quilts today.  Such a relief to have finishes to report amid the chaos.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Lucie's Quilts

No sewing at all for a couple of weeks: pre-camp prep, camp and post-camp clearing up have taken up all my time.  I hope to steal a day this weekend though and get some quilting done as the tops are starting to pile up...

So today I just want to share a couple of quilts that I made about two years ago which I have given to a very lovely young woman, the daughter of a friend of mine, who was married in our village church recently.  I have known Lucie since she was a toddler (how embarrassing is that?) and I know she loves fabric and will be a great sewer herself when she has a bit more time.

It is often hard to be sure that you are reading someone else's preferences correctly, so I invited Lucie and her mum to come and look through the pile of quilts I thought might be suitable.  As you can imagine, I have quite a pile, all unused, just waiting for the right person/occasion.

I was thrilled when Lucie chose this one,

and I wanted her to have this one too, as it is the twin and might have been lonely without the other.  As I said in a previous post, I often end up making two related quilts from the same fabric palette because of my shocking tendency to over-purchase - do you?

Neither is huge (sorry, haven't kept the measurements), but sometimes that makes quilts more versatile because they can be used in all sorts of different ways.  And I think the best thing one can wish for a quilt one gifts is that it will be used and used until it falls to bits.

The story behind the first-made quilt, which is the second photo above, is that I wanted to make a blended quilt, a modified Jacob's Ladder design, from the book Blended Quilts by Marsha McCloskey and Sharon Yenter.  

The blending was reasonably effective and they are both definitely low-contrast quilts which gives a nice shabby chic look.

The slightly smaller quilt came about because of the leftovers: it is a simple Sawtooth Star with double four-patch middles and corners adding interest.

I especially like the change of scale provided by the the the top and bottom borders.  As with all the best design decisions, this happened because I didn't have enough fabric left to put a border of stars all the way round...

I am quite pleased with the quilting which was all done with a walking foot.
I drew out the cable borders for the larger quilt on Golden Threads paper (like very fine greaseproof paper) so they would fit perfectly and then tore the paper guide away after quilting.

 It worked well as it saved marking on to the quilt top, though it is odd quilting something which crackles!

 Lucie especially loved the backing of this quilt - so great to have such a discerning recipient!

I washed both quilts before I wrapped them to check for colour fastness and to get the lovely soft crinkle that you get from shrinkage of the cotton wadding, and I included washing instructions.

Do you make your quilts with someone in mind, or choose to give them only after they are made, when you can see how they have turned out and who they would suit?