LIGHTHOUSE QUILT ALONG

When I saw that Faith from Fresh Lemon Quilts was having another quit along I knew I wanted to join in.  I’d admired her previous efforts, Solstice Stars, from afar and the upcoming lighthouse quilt looked just as appealing.  I’ve always been a fan of paper piecing, as well as bright, bold colours choices, and this quilt ticked both boxes.

The quilt along kicked off yesterday, with the first week being devoted to the design of the top; choosing your size and colours.  With so much on my quilting plate I’ve chosen the modest baby size, finishing at 40″ square.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep to the schedule but I’ll be posting updates whenever I can.

If you want to quilt along too, head over to Fresh Lemons now where there are printable colouring pages to help you decide on your top layout before making a test block next week.

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MY FIRST BLOGGER’S QUILT FESTIVAL

When I first became obsessed interested in patchwork and quilting, the creative world I found myself in was one inhabited solely.  The pleasures of piecing and pressing would take me away from my mundane job and afford me an escapism that, up until then, my life had been lacking.  Once I began reading and following quilting blogs, I realised how many more like me there were.  It was a revelation!  At first I took a back seat.  I read incessantly, bookmarking and pinning things I liked, but never really engaging fully.  All that changed when I started this blog.  Of course, the intimidation was there; other blogs, blogs that I admired, had hundreds of followers, their sidebars were overflowing with sponsors’ badges.  How could I match that?  I soon realised I didn’t have to.  This little piece of the internet was mine, and I was happy to share it with as many or as few people as wanted to.  I guess that, like many novice quilt bloggers, I’ve admired past festivals from afar, never really thinking that I’d enter.  Amy’s words on the main festival page, “This Festival is for everyone – young or old, beginning quilter or advanced, any style or genre, everyone is welcome, and encouraged to participate with us!” let all know that this festival is for you, for us, and I’m excited to be entering for the first time.

I’ve decided to enter my Dinosaur Quilt into the Scrappy Quilt category.  You can find out more about the making of this quilt by clicking on the tag in the side bar.  It was a labour of love, and the first I shared the construction of with an audience larger than my partner and our pug Samuel.  This quilt was born out of a combined obsession of dinosaurs and fabric.  Despite my supposedly mature age I’ve never really grown up and probably have more books about dinosaurs than I do quilting.  Being able mix these two worlds in such a way was thoroughly enjoyable, resulting in a special quilt that will stay with me.  I stepped up my free motion quilting on this quilt and embraced the idea of negative space; both equally important lessons learnt.

Dinosaur Quilt 38" x 50" Quilted by: Me

Dinosaur Quilt
38″ x 50″
Quilted by: Me

The whole experience of the Blogger’s Quilt Festival is something I’m enjoying immensely.  I hope you’ll jump in feet first and check out all the other amazing entries.  There are so many great things being made each and every day and this festival is an awesome way for those things to be shared and admired.  What a creative bunch we are!

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A GOSSIP QUILT – WIP II

I planned to update you on this yesterday.  Alas, my internet connection had other ideas and I spent more time than I would have liked leaning over the back of the TV, unplugging the router and counting to 10.  It’s pleasing to think that in our technology-filled lives, if all should overheat and blow a fuse, at least our trusty needle and thread will see us still sewing.

Despite the technical hitch, I’ve made steady progress on the Gossip Quilt, though I’m still a way off from completing the top.  I spent most of yesterday and this morning piecing blocks, of which there are 30, each finishing at 12.5″ square   I love the randomness and repetitiveness of this project – sew, press, trim, sew, press, trim…

When working on a block I start with a solid center (if you remember from this post, there are 4 solid colours as well as the text and monochromatic fabric) and then add the logs in rounds, squaring up after each set of 4.  The center squares are all different sizes, as are the logs.  I don’t procrastinate over which to use and tend to choose at random, though I do try and have mixture of prints and widths within each block.  So far, I’ve only made pink ones; I have the blue solid cut up ready and will purchase the yellow and orange next week.

STASHING #3

I was lucky enough to have these fat quarters gifted to me by a friend.  She knows how crazy I am about fabric, which takes the guess work out of giving gifts!

Clockwise from left:

Timeless Treasures – School Handwriting in white, Timeless Treasures – Newspaper, Timeless Treasures – How to Make a Pillowcase, Timeless Treasures – Keep Calm in black

The people at Timeless Treasures really know how to make a great text fabric!  The Keep Calm print could be used for so many blocks, left whole for a great quilt back or used to cover a pressing table.

These have already been cut into and will be sewn into blocks for the Gossip Quilt soon.

LOVE PATCHWORK AND QUILTING MAGAZINE

The first issue of this new publication actually arrived on the doorstep a week ago, but I only found the time sit down and read it on Wednesday.  The accompanying tea and biscuits were welcomed, but I would have enjoyed the magazine just as much without them.  The pages are packed with step-by-step projects (10 no less!) and pretty fabrics, and are a perfect mix of news, reviews, ideas and inspiration.  Being a fabric junkie, I particularly enjoyed the new fabrics feature and the behind-the-scenes look at Pink Chalk Fabrics.  It was really interesting to read about all the hard work that goes into running an online shop.  With a block of the month, a beginner’s guide to the tools and tricks of quilting and even a free gift, the magazine really does have something for every type of quilter, whatever your skill level.  I can’t wait for issue 2.

The magazine is available from all good news agents in the UK, or you can check out subscription options, including international, here.

A GOSSIP QUILT – WIP

Many things inspire me when I think about making a new quilt.  In the past I’ve found inspiration in photographs, wallpaper and the landscape around me.  However, more often than not, fabric sparks the first idea.  Most of the time I’m a quilter who takes fabric, be it a single fat quarter or an entire collection, and builds a quilt around it, rather than using a pattern or specific block.

So is the case with the next quilt on my to-do list, tentatively entitled ‘Gossip’.  Like the dinosaur quilt before, it was the backing fabric that dictated how the quilt should look.  I remember when I first saw it, in IKEA of all places, and knew that it would make a great quilt back.  They have some wonderful 100%  cotton fabrics there, almost all wider than your average bolt of quilting fabric, making them ideal for backing.  Half an hour later, 4 meters of it was riding shotgun home with me.  I choose the name ‘Gossip” as the women’s faces suggest that’s exactly what they’re doing; sharing secrets and scandal at an afternoon at the baths.  What do you think?

The picture doesn’t do the vibrancy of the colours any justice – pops of neon yellow, pink, orange and blue jump out from the monochrome outlines of the design.  My idea was to take these colours in matching solids and combine them with text, black, white and grey-scale prints in log cabin blocks to create a striking and graphic-looking quilt.  I wanted the monochromatic fabrics to dominate, with the colours appearing here and there, much like the backing fabric, and I liked the idea of using text prints to echo the talkative nature of the fabric’s figures.

When I read other quilting blogs, more than the finished quilts I look forward to reading about the process behind it.  When making my own I like to document everything and share it here.  I usually start with a rough sketch, using it to determine the finished quilt’s size and rough block layout.  I then use this to make a first, or practice, block.

Remember these fabrics?  Yesterday I cut into them, along with others from stash, and made a few blocks.  I’m still waiting for more text fabrics to arrive, and also need to pick up a yellow and orange solid when I visit the village haberdashery at the end of the month.  I want to buy them in person so I can make the closest match possible.  The Kona valentine in this first block came from this purchase and was the perfect choice.  Don’t you love it when the same fabric works for different projects!

Look out for more blocks soon.

A DINOSAUR QUILT

The dinosaur quilt is finished!  You can read more about this quilt here, here and here.  After much to-ing and fro-ing between different quilting designs, I finally sat down to tackle it last week, deciding upon a wiggly woven lines pattern that I found on The Free Motion Quilting Project blog.  My impatience got the better of me and, despite telling myself I wouldn’t, I quilted the entire thing in one day, taking about 8 hours in total.  Although not a huge quilt, measuring approximately 38″ x 50″, the design is quite close so my arms and shoulders really got a work out, although the texture of the finished quilting made it worth it.

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I’m so glad I get to keep this quilt.  It really is a showcase of the fabrics that I love, particularly my precious Heather Ross, whose colours seemed to compliment the dinosaur backing beautifully.  I also found the perfect thread to use.  This King Tut thread passed through my machine effortlessly and, when coupled with these needles, made even and stress-free stitches.  I recently switched needles after reading a lot of recommendations online and they’ll be my go-to needles for all future projects.

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The binding continues the dinosaur theme, though I didn’t have quite enough fabric.  I added some solid black sections which echo the sashing and the pops of black on the quilt top.

T-Rex seems pleased with the finished product, though I bet he’s just glad to have something warm to see him through the coming winter!

I’m ending this post on a cautionary note.  We all know that free motion quilting uses a lot of thread.  I was almost caught out this time.  I’d ordered the thread online and, rather than play it safe and buy 2, settled for one, 500 yard spool.  It quickly became obvious during the quilting of the last quarter that it was going to be close.  Thankfully, even after winding 5 bobbins, I had enough, though only just.  This is what was left; a paltry amount on the spool and a ball of trimmings.  I won’t be so daring next time!

STASHING #2

More fabric to share!

Clockwise from left:

Nevermore – Goth Bugs in white, Timeless Treasures – Barcode in white, Timeless Treasures – How to Iron a Shirt.

I’ve been collecting text fabrics for a while now.  I’m planning to use them on a log cabin style quilt, along with some bright Kona solids.  A lot of my other text prints have already been cut into, as well as a number of monochromatic, small-scale prints, in preparation for making the blocks.  I’ve already started piecing and will be sharing some details and pictures soon

A DINOSAUR QUILT, BASTED.

I thought I’d share this picture of the dinosaur quilt in all its basted glory.  Today has been the earliest I’ve had any time to work on this, so I’m happy to have it done.

When basting, I use spray rather than pins as I find it gives me better results, particularly with free-motion quilting.  I use the largest, flattest surface I can find and tape my pressed backing to it.  The wadding is put into position and affixed to the backing, working from the center outwards.  I repeat this for the pressed top, making sure not to distort or stretch the seams. Finally, I trim the excess backing and wadding to about 2 inches on each side of the top with pinking shears.  This method gives me a quilt sandwich which holds together well, with no puckering or bunching.

I’ve earmarked tomorrow for quilting and binding, so mint tea and biscuits breaks will be long and often.