Friday, 17 June 2016

Bargello Wedding Quilt

It's been so long since I had a finish to link to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.  As I said in my last post, I have hardly sewn at all recently, but I can now show you the quilt I made for the couple whose wedding I went to on 2nd April.  I previously posted about it here and here.

I don't like to reveal wedding quilts until after the big day when I know the bride and groom like what I have made, and what with honeymoon and returning to work and settling into their new life together, I hadn't heard from the happy couple for a while.  I totally understand, I can remember that newly wed time really vividly; I am just explaining the reason for keeping all of you hanging on waiting for the big reveal!

So I hope you think it worth the wait - I am pretty pleased with this one.  I adore the colours so it was an easy quilt to work on; as the bride has the same birthday as me, maybe we are aligned in our colour preferences - has anyone out there done any research on this phenomenon?!  The starting point for the colour palette was the burgundy in the centre of the quilt which was a close match to the bridesmaids' dresses.  There are ten fabrics in the top, and the binding is the same as the backing fabric.

I sort of made up the cutting plan for the Bargello effect.  I looked at lots of other Bargellos in books and on the internet, but I wanted a more contemporary look, not  curvy, more angular, crisp, dare I say modern?  The flow is all determined by the intervals and spacing of the steps.  I never have the patience to draw a design out on graph paper so I fiddled about and made up some strip sets based on 3" WOF strips.  

It was pretty much trial and error to get the right combination of steps: I couldn't risk cutting too soon as I only had a half metre of each of the peppered cottons and that determined the size of the quilt. Anyway I made my widest section 2" finished (cut 2 1/2") and the narrowest 1/2" (cut 1"). Increments were 1/4".  I think it is the very narrow sections which give the design its punch. Pressing in opposite directions helps to ensure neat intersections and the top went together surprisingly easily.

Every last piece of the fabric went into the cushion - even the sides and back were from the spare pieces of backing from the quilt.  Below you can see how the central panel of the cushion was made by chopping up and joining the remaining sections into 1" widths, finishing at 1/2".  The firm texture created by all the seam allowances pressed behind meant I did not have to quilt the panel.

All fabric was from stash apart from the backing, though the peppered cottons were relatively recent stash. The bride and groom are on the scientific side in their areas of work and I don't like to do anything too flowery for a wedding quilt so the chap doesn't feel excluded.  So I chose mostly plains and not any very definite florals for this quilt.  The patterned fabrics were needed to fill in the gaps in the run of colours but I think that they do enhance by contrasting with the plainness of the solids.

The quilt was professionally longarm quilted by my friend Chris at The Quilt Room - she did a great job and the flowing linear design was just what I was looking for to enhance the modern feel.  I chose a variegated pink/purple thread and I think it worked a treat.

I can't remember exactly what size the quilt measured, it's a large lap quilt so maybe 60" x 75", but I will have to get back to you on that one.  The cushion is about 16" square.

I really enjoyed making this quilt and would like to make another when I am not so busy.  I may even try and write a tutorial if anyone out there is interested, but I have to get the fete over first: three weeks' to go!

Hope you have a great weekend, whatever you have planned.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Apron strings and pretty things

Tried for a Friday finish last week, even took the photos, but just no time to write a post. So here is what I would have posted had there been more hours in the day: utility sewing, nothing fancy but still with that great sense of achievement that sewing, any sort of making really, gives.

I LOVE being able to make useful things and not having to buy everything ready made.  It is a power (OK maybe not a superpower, though I could make my own cape if it was a superpower) but it makes me feel powerful in a small, domestic way, to be able to make a few tablecloths and aprons for our Street Tea Party last Saturday.

So what was that all about?  Well, even those of you who live further afield may know that our Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, is 90 years old.  She has a real birthday, 21st April, but she also has an official birthday in June when she attends the Trooping of the Colour ceremony (that happens every year and it is the same for other monarchs, going back to 1748 according to Wikipedia).

This year, because she is ninety (and incidentally our longest reigning monarch at over 64 years and counting, beating Queen Victoria) there have been celebrations of various sorts organised in London and also at a local level throughout the country.  In our small village it was decided we would have a Street Tea Party (amongst other events) and guess who got asked to 'pour the tea' aka organise the teas side of the whole thing (which at a tea party is most of it...).

Anyway despite a bit of grumbling in the planning stages, mostly generated buy anxiety at not knowing exact numbers for the catering, it was a fantastic day: the weather was kind, everyone mucked in and lent a hand, lots of people came and ate heartily so there was enough food but not too much left over - such a relief! - the kids had fun on the bouncy castle, and it was a real community event with all ages and across all groups.

And the T-team wore matching pinnies in Cath Kidston style florals from IKEA (£5 a metre, get it before it's gone) made by yours truly.  I had the same fabric quite a few years ago and made three large tablecloths which I have used and used many times for all sorts of occasions.  These are at the bottom of the pile in the photo below.

I rushed to IKEA a couple of weeks ago to get whatever cheap fabric I could for aprons and to my delight, the florals have been reissued (though if I'm honest, not quite such good quality fabric) for a limited time.  I scooped up enough to make six simple aprons with contrast pockets and straps. I just copied the pattern from a favourite apron; very simple sewing, speedy but satisfying.

I also bough some grey/white gingham (much better fabric, a bit thicker but also brilliant value at £8 per metre, 150 cm wide) and made eight small tablecloths for card tables.

Now it is on with the remaining organisation for the fete in three weeks' time so I can't see myself doing any more sewing till August at this rate.  I will have another quilt to post about shortly though - remember the Bargello wedding quilt?  Stay tuned for photos soon.

Have a great weekend if you are celebrating anything at all - my daughter will be home for her birthday and her two brothers also, so I shall be very busy and happy catching up with all their news.