Monday 30 August 2010

Velvet Jewel Blanket: LISA KEEP OUT

No proper pictures yet, (camera is out of action, so using phone instead) but I've been working on a velvet fleece for Lisa.

Years (and years) ago I made her this quilt. I have no idea what the wadding is, only that it is very heavy. the rectangles are not patchworked, they are stitched on by hand to look as if they are patchworked. It is much loved, but really is too heavy and too small - she can get her shoulders or her feet under it, but has to curl up to keep both warm!

As she is off to University in a few weeks, she has been sorting and packing. She has put the velvet quilt in a pile to go with her (the t-shirt quilt is also much loved, but doesn't drape well - another dodgy wadding I suspect!) but I thought I'd try and make a replacement before she goes.

As far as I know she doesn't read this blog, so hopefully I'm not spoiling anything by posting it here!

So I bought two Ikea fleece blankets and joined them together, and bought up all the jewel velvets in my local fabric shop, and started putting them all in place as a crazy patch.

The reason I am blogging straight away is to write (type) the things I have learned, and would do differently:

  • 1.7 x 2.6 metres is huge - I could have worked on each blanket separately and joined them and used more fabric to hide the join
  • 1.7 x 2.6 meters is too big to work on anywhere other than my bed - take a self healing board to avoid pinning to the bedclothes!
  • 1.7 x 2.6 meter is huge - I don't have enough pins to pin many fabrics in place, so work in sections
  • the velvet stretches one way. it's best to place the fabric so the straight line quilting goes along the non stretch direction
  • The fabric needs to be arranged so the first bit overlaps the second bit etc, (so I am always sewing down a bump, not up a bump)
  • The raw edges can be stitched with a fancy stitch, but do all the straight quilting first in case it drags fabric down with it - naff if I've already stitched down the end of the fabric.
  • If I pinned vertically I could have stitched between the pins, whereas pinning horizontally meant I had to remove them as I stitched
  • Fleece is really hot - try not to do this again in the summer (especially if I keep having tropical moments!)
  • Load up loads of bobbins - this uses a lot of thread
  • Mark the top and bottom at 4inch intervals and try and concentrate when sewing from top marker to bottom marker
  • Stitch at 4inch intervals and medium speed and then I can stitch the in between lines faster
Well that's all for now, I need to do a bit more stitching, but only to pretty it up, it's all held in place, thank goodness. Then I need to find somewhere to hang it to photograph it. maybe it should be called the velvet beast?

Friday 27 August 2010

A Blue Quilt, and a Christmas tree

Today I've been delivering a grant application and some PE kits, and done some work at school, but when I finally got home I NEEDED to sew!

So I've cut strips apart, sewn strips together, cut sewn strips into squares, sewn squares together to make bigger squares, and finally sewn those squares together to make a quilt top, and I feel very please with myself!

I have also mounted a little Christmas tree project which is for the crafts with fabric course that I am doing at Windsor library next month. Slightly limited in what we can make without sewing machines, but I was quite pleased with the end result of this one, so we'll aim for this idea in the first session and see what people want to do for the next session (hoping that there are 'people'!!!)

A short update

Not many photos today :-( but that's because I've been doing basically boring sewing: 3 more Hug Radio t-shirts, two more paw print headrests, and initials on another six PE kits - boring but all earning money so I shouldn't complain!

I also got started on Dales' bags: I've been following Spoonflower's website, where you can get your own designs printed onto fabric, and have finally taken the plunge and created a 'design' which gives care instructions for the Wombat Hats: I'm very excited!

Other than that it's been an exciting week: Niki got fab GCSE (O'level in old money) results, Lisa got her Uni accommodation sorted after a few problems, I got the grant of probate on Uncle Geoff's estate, and I got offered the job at the After School Club - what a week!!!

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Green Pink postcard swap

This is me being amazingly organised for a postcard swap in October!!!

I took these cards and the ribbons with me to NEC at the weekend, and worked on them on the train and while chatting in the evenings. As they were SO close to being finished I thought I might as well get them done so they can be taken off the to-do list! It also means I can join in QuiltStory's Fabric Tuesday, as I actually have a Fabric Finish that I can show :-)

Fresh Poppy Design

The swap theme is "Pink", and I've called them Greenly Pink, as all the ribbons are recycled from packaging or other projects :-)

Monday 23 August 2010

Festival of Quilt Treasures

I have a great two days at the Festival Of Quilts with Jackie. Really inspired by some quilts, and staggered by the complexity of others - and even found myself thinking "I could do that" on a few, so maybe I'll think about entering something somewhere next year!

I was fairly restrained in my shopping: just a few fat quarters and two jelly rolls (one for free when I signed up for Popular Patchwork magazine).

Mostly I bought treasures - that will go onto postcards, or onto Journal Quilts for Lisa. The felt is for handmade Christmas decorations, and one of the FQs was fab little cupcakes for Niki!

I also bought a bunch of treasures which I will use for something - no plans yet, but they were too cute not to have

Today Brian and I added some more shelves to the
bookcase in the sewing room, so I've got the fabrics arranged so I can see them, and plan my next project.

But I am going to try very hard to finish some of the to-do list BEFORE I put scissors to any of this scrummy fabric!

Friday 20 August 2010

Kate's SAH Robin

Last year at Festival Of Quilts I bought LOADS of whites with black, and blacks with white.

The mostly whites went with some pale greens into a quilt for Niki's friend Kay:

The mostly blacks went, with some pale blues, into a quilt for Niki's friend Becca

Both types, plus a bit of red, went into log cabins which became cushion covers for Niki herself:
and the remaining fabrics plus a few orphan log cabins went into a plastic bag awaiting inspiration.

One of the blogs I've been following is Kates's Quilting Blogspot where she is hosting a Stay At Home Round Robin. We'll I've finally plucked up the courage, and I've used an orphan and some scraps to catch up with the first two stages, and now I'm off to ask Kate, Pretty Please, can I be in your gang?

Thursday 19 August 2010

Slik and Quick Quilt as you go (Tutorial)

I was making patchwork quilts for many years before it occurred to me to get a book or attend a lesson. Instead I looked at quilts and thought about how it was probably made, and set off to do the same thing.It was only when I started to attend lessons that I discovered that my way wasn't the same as the taught way! However, I still use my way in a lot of cases - and my Quilt as I go is a case in point.

I have made all my blocks and have stitched them together in rows, and checked they are all still correct, and have numbered them. Now I can Quilt as I go. For this tutorial, I am working on a quilt with 6 panels. An odd number of panels is slightly different (*).

Prepare the other layers of the quilt. If this is backing fabric and wadding (batting) put the backing fabric face down on the table, smooth out any creases and put the wadding on top. (you can use spray adhesive to hold these together, pins, safety pins, tags, or trust) If you are using fleece, put the fleece on the table nice side down, and smooth the fabric.

Find and mark the middle of the backing. Place a pin at the middles of the edges. Take your two middle strips (numbered 3 and 4 in my example), and place the lower numbered one (ie 3 in my case) 1/4 inch past the middle.

Pin the next strip (number 4 here) to it, along the centre of the backing, matching the seams.

Open out the new strip and double check that the pattern is correct. Stitch, making sure you use locking stitches at either end

Press open, and now add strip 2 to strip 3 and strip 5 to strip 4 in the same way, finishing by adding strip 1 at the beginning and strip 6 at the end. Press open

The following photo shows the back. You can see the stitch lines running from left to right - well that is the first half of your in-the-ditch quilting done. All you now need to do is whizz along the other seams (perpendicular if we are being pedantic!) and the whole piece has been quilted in the ditch and you can now get on with adding your borders :-)

From mini jelly roll to this took me a morning - so quick and so satisfying

(* for an odd number of strips, position the middle one down the middle of the backing, and pin the strip immediately before it and immediately after in into place. Stitch and continue as above)

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Easy Zig Zag (tutorial)

I woke up this morning with an idea that I just HAD to try. I bought a small jelly roll last year and it's been sitting on the shelf, looking at me and I couldn't decide what to do with it, until today.I love zigzag quilts, but I think I'm allergic to triangles, so here is a lesson in a triangle free zigzag!

1. Assuming the mini jell roll has two of each colour, arrange the fabrics into two identical piles: light / dark / light / dark etc. (if there is just one of each fabric, cut each length into two shorter lengths.)2. Start to join the strips lengthwise: join fabric 1 to fabric 2, then from the other pile, join fabric 2 to fabric 3, then back to the first pile to join 3 to 4 etc, until you have the last fabric and the first one left: join these

3. Press all pairs towards the darker side. (I put the folded pair down, dark side up, seam away from me, and then lift the dark side like a page in a book, and use the tip of the iron to lift it further and press the seam)

4. Measure the height of your pressed two-colour strip. This is the measurement of your eventual square. Mine were 4.5 inches high, so I cut each strip into 4.5 inch squares

5. Lay out the squares so they start to build up the zigzag pattern. First I worked diagonally, which would give a straight zigzag,

but unless I wanted a zigzag edge to the quilt, I would have to trim off the triangles, and I didn't want to waste any fabric. Instead, I turned the squares so the zigzag runs diagonally, but the squares didn't need trimming (clear as mud? They say a picture is worth a thousand words)

6. Once you are happy with the arrangement, pin the squares in rows, each square to the one above and the one below. Put the strips back in the right order. Check and double check they are all correct (guess why I suggest this!)

7. Pin a number to each strip so you know its place for later

8. Stitch all the squares as pinned, and press to darker side

9. Pin all the strips together in the right order (unless you are using the Slik and Quick quilt as you go method)

10. Ta da - one pieced zigzag quilt, no triangles, and no fuss ;-)

Monday 16 August 2010

My Special Boy's Quilt

If there is anyone in blogland reading this, I want to tell you about my Special Boy. I am employed by the borough to provide some respite childminding for a young lad (8 years old) who is autistic. There are other problems in the family too: mum has mental health problems, and she and dad have split up and aren't talking. So R has been coming to us for 6 hours one day at weekends and school holidays. Anyway, he has now been moved away from mum, as she was really having problems coping with parenting, and is with a foster family, possibly being moved to dad at the end of next month.

We will all miss R and his funny ways, even his obsessions. We want him to remember us, so I am making him a very personal I Spy quilt. Some of the fabrics were chosen by him, and the embroideries will hopefully help him with 'spiral learning' - prompts and reminders, together with a nod to some of his obsessions! These include blue Boy (our budgie) and the washing machine (a favourite noise, and we 'read' the words waiting for "suh, puh, ih, nuh" which is the best noise of all)

We also have a pet hedgehog, called Twiglet.

A regular Saturday trip is to my mother-in-law's where there is an old, red trike that Niki taught R how to ride. If anyone mentions nanny Bette he will, without prompting, recite the road numbers (M25, A40 etc) to get to hers, and finish with, breathlessly, "And she's got my red bike hasn't she"

The last two squares for today show our main teaching project of LEFT and RIGHT, and one of the donkeys who live at the village farm: Ruth (who appears in the church Christingle service each year and has been in Eastenders!!!)

(methinks I could have ironed these before I photographed and posted, ooops!)

Sunday 15 August 2010

A bit of work

All I can show for today is two PE kits with initials on, (which has earned £30 spending money at NEC so no complaints) but that is all!!! However, I have spent hours tweaking the blogs and have discovered all sorts of things that I can change, so I had great fun, as I guess it is kind of creative!

Now I shall go and see if anyone is expecting to be fed, and if ... LOL as I typed that, Brian shouted upstairs - he got fed up waiting, and has cooked pizza! I'm a lucky girl!!!

Saturday 14 August 2010

Paw Prints

Another (almost) tick on the to-do list, and another £25 to spend at Festival of Quilts next weekend!!!

These car seats are for a friend of a friend who is a dog groomer. I've done t-shirts for her before, and now she wanted car seat covers done. The head rests were really fiddly. I've done the front seats, and delivered them, but she wants the back seats doing too, so the project will have to stay on the list for now.

At least I have delivered something to her. Oh and I did one of the school PE kits, so I can move that off the list

Blog Surfing (and drooling)

I spent a lazy hour in bed this morning Blog Surfing - bliss - almost as good as uninterrupted sewing (I vaguely remember being able to achieve that!)

Anyways, clicking from post to post landed me on Stash Manicure and I stopped, and gawped, and drooled, and had to add the info here!

To be this organised - and to have this much stash, (and there are more photos of more stuff too) must be heavenly.

So lets dream a little. Let's say I found oodles of money hidden in a drawer. I'm going to Birmingham on Friday to meet Jackie and have two days at NEC, I could spend said oodles of money on oodles and oodles of fabric. As I'm dreaming, I can buy (and struggle home with) all the stash that Jacquie (Tallgrass Prairie Studio) shows us here. But then Mrs Practical Sensible starts to whisper in my ear ... and I have to accept it would never be a good collection of fabrics, it would be a huge collection of UFOs. I'd still drool over someone else's stash, while tying to negotiate with USA over who had the bigger stash of UFOs and who therefore had the best claim to Area 57

Friday 13 August 2010

I can finish a baby blanket

"Baby Andrews'" quilt has been at the top of my to-do list for ages, even though the quilt was finished in time for the village fair Craft Show back mid June (it came second :-). But it couldn't be finished until the baby arrived. She finally arrived yesterday, and Lora and Neil have called her Sky, so I am now able to embroider her name and finish the blanket - yippee!!!

The quilt is an I Spy quilt - 24 different picture fabrics, backed with warm cosy fleece, and unusually for me, 100% hand stitched ... I took the squares away on holiday in June to join them, and carried on hand sewing the blanket stitch around and the quilting in the ditch

Added later: and I have a lovely Thank You message from mum: Benta, the quilt you made for Sky is gorgeous, I have to admit I had a little cry when Neil brought it home. I had no idea you made them proffesionally, and it's so lovely. Thank you so much. We're planning to go to the church garden party with her so hopefully we'll see you there, otherwise as soon as we're in the house please please come over and meet her x x x

Thursday 12 August 2010

Log Cabin Candles

I'm making these up as I go along, but thought I'd also have a go at writing a what-to-do (or what-not-to-do) blog as I go along, so if I put them to one side for a while I'll remember what I've learnt!

I started with (for each candle) a piece of yellow about 5cm square, and four smaller rectangles of dark green. Each green was placed (one at a time) in a corner of the yellow (right sides together) and stitched diagonally, so the bigger half could be flipped open. [start stitching from the centre of the shorter sides to give a better flame point, and remember to set the needle to central, so it stitches where I expect it to!!!]

This creates the flame
[Although the flames that started life as a rectangle have a better shape]

The candle is a piece of cream fabric about 4cm x 10cm (my Grandfather's Christmas tree always had real candles on it, and always white or cream) attached at one end of the candle (try auditioning to see which end looks best)

[all measurements here are very approximate - I haven't used a ruler or even a rotary blade for any cutting, just scissors by eye. But do trim excess after each addition]

I then started adding random strips of dark green.
In fact I think the design is more court house blocks [add to each side, then each end, then each side etc] rather than log cabin, but if there are such things as Quilt Police, this is a minor crime compared to many of my others!]

Sometimes it's easier to visualise something drawn out for paper piecing: Although I don't much like paper piecing, this should remind me roughly what I did!

These seams do need to be pressed, but I got away with finger pressing the flame seams, and then ironed all 4 open, ironed the candle in place, and then ironed each pair of logs (OK, steps if we're being correct!)

And here are the first 6 candles: You may need to squint to see the candle (or am I being overly critical?) but the quilt will hang from the top of the stairs so will be seen from a distance and I think it will look fine

Having a giddy moment

I sort of felt that this Blog was to keep my ideas focused and a record of what I've created, but now I have a follower (hence the giddy moment) and I feel under pressure to be more detailed, and more thorough in what I post - I am "well chuffed" though!!!

When I open up my computer each day I first check my list of followed blogs to see who has updated, and then check what they have been up to, even before I put the kettle on. (Does that make me a followee, or a person who needs to get a life??)

My daughters refer to it as stalking, but I think they are joking! Anyway, CC, this post is for you!

(or Quiltlets based loosely on Journal Quilts)

Oldest daughter is off to Uni in September, and although she doesn't sew much, she cannot imagine being in an environment where she doesn't need to watch for pins, where clothes don't come with added loose threads, and where irons are used for clothes ... so she is taking the old sewing machine with her. She doesn't want to make quilts, so we have been looking at journal quilts,

And I got a bit carried away making samples for her! These are all A4 size, stitched onto pelmet vilene

(L to R: 1cm squared, glued then FMQ / woven ribbons / hint of a rainbow / looking out to sea)

To now take it one stage further (I don't have enough on my to-do list evidently) I have joined the BQL PostCard swap, and will have to make 6 pink themed cards for the end of September, and Window themed for the end of October - hum, best get thinking :-)