Friday, 24 February 2017

Friday finishes - long overdue

Gosh, Friday again: where has the week (and most of February) gone? I have had a busy week but managed to fit in some sewing, so I can post a couple of finished quilts.

It is not as impressive as it might seem as one of these was quilted in November and has been waiting patiently for me to handstitch down the binding. For proof see this post.

And the other was being quilted when I posted here.

So basically I have stitched down two bindings this week - big deal! But great to have both finished at last.

First of all is the Madras Star and Lattice, a quilt top I pieced many years ago but which I still like, though I would probably use something other than plain old calico (muslin) for the background if I was making it now.

It's always interesting to revisit a quilt from one's past and see how fashions in quilting fabrics and designs have changed, as in so many other things. But given that we all still like to look at quilts from the 19th century, I am holding out for this one being considered quaint and homely - though our great grandmothers would probably have done a bit more quilting....

This is quite a large quilt, measuring 76" x 95".  The blocks are 9 1/2" finished, so the squares from which the blocks are constructed would have been cut 3".  

This makes a big quilt with relatively few blocks (set 7 x 9, there are 32 Star blocks and 31 Lattice blocks) but I think I would be inclined, if I were to make this design again, to scale it down and use 2 1/2" strips and squares for slightly daintier 8" finished blocks.

The second quilt is from a design/pattern by Jo Kramer posted on Moda Bakeshop back in 2011, and I guess I probably pieced the top around then. It is called Chain of Faith, and I made up my top using lots of different neutrals from my stash and a single beautiful Moda red floral. 

There is something about the Moda reds which is so attractive, I am always drawn to the reds in every Moda collection and it's easy on the eye - not so demanding as the Kaffe Fassett reds in my last couple of posts!

Here are some closeups to show the range of neutrals I chose to add interest (and use up some of my stash!).  The great thing about using a large floral for the 'solid' is that it reads the same at a distance but each cut square is subtly different as the large pattern is chopped up randomly.  Plenty to keep the eye travelling across the quilt.

This is another fairly large quilt at 88" square and I chose to quilt a simple cross hatch to keep the quilt soft and drapey and to get it finished. A good quilt for snuggling on the sofa on a grey day.

I am delighted to be able to link to Crazy Mom Quilts today for Finish it up Friday - do go and visit and admire Amanda Jean's latest finished quilt, it's gorgeous!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

KF reds - quilt

Here are pictures of the Kaffe Fassett red quilt  I mentioned in my last post.  I thought it wold be better to show them as a separate post as I ended up taking lots more photos than I intended!

I think it is the intensity and richness of the red prints and the subtle sheen of the Oakshott shot cotton 'plain' - seems so wrong to call it it a plain/solid when sot cottons have so much more depth and life - which make my heart sing.

This was such a simple quilt to make: as you can probably see from the close ups, each block is made from four smaller blocks put together in a sort of 'doughnut' shape.  

I think I started with a 4 1/2" square of KF print (this was made in the days before 5" charm squares became so popular and available) and added 2 1/2" shot cotton stitch and flip corners.

The block finishes at 8" anyway.  I hate waste and that, to me, is the only drawback of stitch and flip; so I stitched an extra parallel seam half an inch away from the diagonal before I cut, and saved the offcut HSTs which I made into the sawtooth border, grouping them in sets of four for a change, rather than randomly.  It's because I still had some of these bonus HSTs left over that I made the table runner featured in the previous post.

I really love the sawtooth border, I feel it adds such a lot of interest to the quilt in providing contrast between the rounded shape of the doughnuts, and it's more interesting than a single fabric border.  Of course, using up leftovers is always satisfying too.  

Generally I find I always have fabric left when I am coming towards the end of piecing a quilt (as I tend to buy far more than I need, just to be safe...) and I often try to see whether I can use this in a pieced border.  It can make a quilt more interesting and unique, so why not give it some thought next time you are working on something.

Quilts stats: Finished quilt 62" x 69", made up of 56 blocks set 7 x 8.  Main block finishes at 8" and HSTs finish at 1 1/2" so the borders are 3" wide.  Scrappy binding and luscious KF stripe on the back. Longarm quilted by Susie Green, and I have a note that it was completed in May 2011, so pieced probably a couple of years before that (gosh, I have been making quilts a long time - this still seems quite a recent one...). 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Friday finish - KF reds

Hello weekend!  More than halfway through February already, and today actually felt as though Spring might not be too far away.

It is definitely lighter now for longer in the late afternoon and there are snowdrops and primroses beginning to flower. The garden beckons, it needs a good tidy up, so that may be this weekend's task.

On the sewing front, I do have a finish to share, as promised, though I actually completed it a couple of weeks ago and have been very behind with posting. I feel it is especially worthy of Finish it up Friday to which I am linking, because it is a table runner made entirely from leftovers.

Many years ago I made a large quilt from Kaffe Fassett reds and an Oakshott plain shot cotton. I salivate just thinking about this quilt as the colours are intense, but stupidly I have forgotten to photograph it: I will do so tomorrow and edit it into this post. [Finally got the photos and you can see them in this post]

As the construction was very simple, with stitch and flip corners and I am mean about throwing away fabric, particularly such delicious fabric, I made bonus HSTs. I had so many of these I decided to incorporate a pieced border into the main quilt, which I love - but I still had a bag of HSTs and other scraps at the end which I could not bring myself to throw away.

One of my 2017 resolutions has been to deal with such odds and ends, so I decided to make something new from old: I pressed and trimmed and stitched, and made the centre panel. But I still had odd sized scraps left and, to be honest, the table runner wasn't much bigger than a table mat. I couldn't face making more HSTs and anyway the remaining scraps were a little too small.

Necessity being the mother of invention I decided to make a (subtly) contrasting border of nine-patches - who doesn't love a nine-patch?

So here is the finished piece: it measures a diminutive 18" x 29"; HSTs finish 1 1/2" and nine-patches are 3" finished. It is backed with a dusky purple peppered cotton and bound with a darker burgundy Oakshott, both from stash.

Quilted in a rusty red, top and bobbin, partly because I couldn't find a good purple to match the backing, and decided to embrace the problem: the gently contrasting thread shows off the geometric texture pleasingly - just ditch stitching with a bit of cross hatching in the borders.

Please don't be too critical of the accuracy of the construction: these HSTs were made a long time ago and I didn't trim in those days.  So the piecing, and hence the ditch quilting, isn't quite as spot on as I would hope to make it nowadays. Still, it's done and that annoying little plastic bag is no longer lurking:that's a result!

One other thing: I had an outing on Thursday with two young people I am teaching to quilt. We went to Worthing, to Eclectic Maker, for layer cakes to make their first quilts. More on this in a later post, but I thought a moody shot of them  with their shopping bags by the seaside would record the event. The weather did pick up shortly after this and we had fish and chips sitting in the sunshine.

Back to work - have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

WIP Wednesday

Nearly another month gone by: over the past few weeks I have managed to sew a little, but not to post.

Progress on a number of things but wet grey weather has made it difficult to get decent photos of finished quilts.
I hope to have some finishes to share on Friday, however.

Here are some of the things I have been working towards finishing soon-ish:

Above, a big heap of quilts, most of which I managed to quilt in November but I struggled to find time before or after Christmas to handstitch down the binding.

Quilting in progress on another old top.

Deliberations on how best to use leftovers from another quilt. 

Hope you are making progress on some of your WIPs too.