Friday 31 August 2007

Wholecloth Quilt

Those of you who read my 'old' blog might remember this quilt in the design stage. Click on any of the photos to see the stitch.
For those of you who didn't, don't scroll down, just think about it's size.......
I can see now in the photo, I haven't removed all the water soluble thread, so it will need a soak in warmer water as it's the Superior Threads one which needs warm/hot to dissolve it.
Scroll down, if I have been successful, you will be surprised.

I drew the design directly onto the fabric (cotton batiste). I got a dirty burnt starch mark on it but was confident it would rinse out.

This was the back after I stitched the feathers.

And I can't resist playing with wetting it and watching the ink run. If you're wondering about the pens I use to mark, go back through the archives.

Now to do some 'googling' to find out how to bind it less than 1/8th of an inch.

Wednesday 29 August 2007

Flowering things and quilt book/fabric sale

These are amongst my favourite garden flowers, Godetia, you just sprinkle the seeds and up they come. The petals are papery like poppies.Some late sown cosmos is coming up behind.

I really shouldn't let this clematis grow into this standard rose but I love the colours mixed together. They were planted next to each other to get this effect but normally the clematis comes out earlier than it's supposed to and the rose later.

Love fuschias, they remind me of ballet dancers

This is supposed to be an ornamental vine but each year it produces tons of inedible fruit. The foliage doesn't know what to do with itself this year, it's producing new growth and autumn colour at the same time.

A friend who has given up quilting gave her stash of fabric and books to a local quilt group. They had a sale this morning and raised £500 ($1,000) for the local hospice and of course I did my 'bit' by buying loads of books and magazines. 5 bags full to be precise. I have a bit of space on my bookshelves as I donated some myself, but now another cull is in order........

Tuesday 28 August 2007

Non flowering garden things

It seems a lot of people don't know what horseradish looks like so I thought I'd post a picture of my patch. It can be quite difficult to distinguish it from docks so just pull up a bit break the root and have a sniff. If it cleans out you sinuses, it's horseradish!
When you use a bit, cut off the root to use it and just put the end with the leaves and a bit of root back in. It's worth having it in a controlled environment otherwise it can take over.
The blanket weed in the pond is doing well but the frogs like it to hang on to.

And this is a lovely bird feeder I got about ten years back. Only one thing wrong with it, however delicious the bird food I put out in it, the birds will not go near it (grin).

Monday 27 August 2007


You Are 90% Creative

You are an incredibly creative person. For you, there are no bounds or limits to your creativity.
Your next creation could be something very great... Or at least very cool!
How Creative Are You?
Why can I not resist doing these silly things? I don't believe in any of them but still keep doing them.


I've finally got round to seeing the Edrica Huws video. Great stuff.
It made me remember making collage back in the early 70's. I also remember it being very very difficult to get fabrics to be the right colour and scale to produce them. And then once having found the right colour/scale to actually stitch them together keeping the original concept. I wonder if my sister still has one of them?
This has made me also remember I have a piece of work by Danish artist Lilly Kristensen . She works with hand woven wool which presents it's own technical problems, but her work is wondrous. Sorry, the only link I could find was of cards of her work. My piece of hers has been under the bed for years as the frame and glass broke and I just haven't got round to replacing it, which I must before it is eaten away by moths.
I can't get through on the phone to my sister who lives in Greece to ask abut Lilly and what she is doing now.
This might be a good thing, the tragedy of the fires in Greece keeps making me cry. My sister and her family are safe on Mykonos. The image of the woman found embracing her four children is the stuff of nightmares. I read yesterday that 15,000 are now homeless.

Sunday 26 August 2007

Machine binding

Having tried Ricky Tims method with the piping which I love but which isn't always suitable in a quilt and Sharon Schamber's where she stitches it down on the front and then stitches in the ditch to hold it down on the back, I thought I'd try and find a third way. If this doesn't make sense go to her website and all will become clear.

I cut my binding at 2¼" on the bias, starched it then folded it in half. I then stitched it to the back of the quilt , bought it to the front and used invisible machine appliqué to stitch it down. I pinned it to cover the original line of stitch. I use stitch 45 on my Bernina Aurora. It's the stitch which goes one stitch forward and one to the side. I have to mirror image it on my machine and had to do the same on my old 1260. I can't work out what the use would be without the mirroring.

Using this stitch, I have the one stitch forward in the ditch, and the one to the right just catches the binding. I have the stitch length quite long and the stitch width just less than half of one. (If you are using this for the first time, practice with a wider stitch and then go as narrow as you can whilst still managing to catch the binding.)
I love this stitch for IVA as it looks like it's hand done. There is another stitch which is the same but with a double pass, this one is great if you widen it up and lengthen even more. It is almost indistinguishable from hand sewn blanket stitch.

Saturday 25 August 2007

Judges feedback from the Festival of Quilts-Quilt 3

And lastly what they thought about 'When Heide met Sally'. Click to read the comments.And a photo of the back.

Friday 24 August 2007

Judges feedback from the Festival of Quilts-Quilt 2

This one makes more sense as this was the quilt which won the ribbons (or what would be ribbons if the Festival of Quilts organizers didn't feel ribbons were demeaning, we get certificates instead)
Last one tomorrow

Thursday 23 August 2007

Judges feedback from the Festival of Quilts-Quilt 1

My quilts came home yesterday with their judging sheets (though weirdly although the three quilts I sent up were crossed to be marked in the overlay category for machine quilting, no judging sheets came back for this this year.
I'm putting them up mainly for the benefit of those who have not entered a show where they get feedback and also to show how varied the judging is. You will probably need to click on the photos so you can read them.
I have covered up the initials of the judges, I don't know who they are anyway.
Quilt 1, Fliss's Quilt

Wednesday 22 August 2007

Fabrics bought at the FOQ

Heide Stoll Weber kindly gave me some scraps so here is a little quilt I'm making for my sister. I finished it this morning, washed out the black marking and now I just need to do the binding.
This is the first piece of Heide's fabric. Like when Heide met Sally it also refuses to be photographed in it's full glory. It has bronzes, greens, iridescent blues, magenta and reds.

These are glorious , a full on Magenta and a Teal. I have a plan.....And a much paler one.

These are to go in DD's bedroom to go with her quilt on her wall and the Cath Kidston stuff on her bed.

This is a fabulous piece of reproduction Dutch fabric which goes with the Tree of Life in a previous post. Also expensive stuff. I was very disappointed when I got it home and found it's glaze felt like a plastic coating. Glazes were applied to fabrics to help them not getting dusty. Luckily the glaze was not a modern one and most has come out with just a warm rinse.

Monday 20 August 2007

New threads and playing

My new thread acquisitions. Loads of Masterpiece, 3 spools of a silver grey polyester from Empress mills, 5 little spools of silk and 5 spools of knitted jersey thread for couching.

I tried out all but the couching thread on the 1st sample for my wholecloth. And I played with a with a few of the Irena Bluhm backgrounds and Sharon Schamber's
feather method (it's the one on the extreme right). I love the silk very very much, but the Masterpiece is nearly as good. I didn't worry about getting the tension right on the back but fiddled a bit with the upper tension to get the top one right. I found it much harder than expected to go form different weights of thread. Each one demands a proportionate stitch length, don't ask me what it is but there is a length which is 'right' for each thread.

And the back shows up the lines far more.

Sunday 19 August 2007

Back home

Thank you everyone who sent such lovely comments! I do read them and get a real kick out of it. I'm not sure of the blog way to respond to such lovely comments, but I'm truly over the moon when you like my work.

I ended up leaving the FOQ a little early as I was completely exhausted. Insomnia and Quilt Shows combined with hard hotel beds is not a good combination. After 3 more hours at the show on yesterday, I went back to my room, had a snooze and drove home in driving rain. The trip was mostly all on the motorway but still I only averaged just under 60mph for the journey (we would never have known things like this a few years ago without cars having their on board computers)
Thank you to Donna in NH who took these photos of Nostalgia for me at the World Quilt Show in New Hampshire. It's good to see it didn't arrive creased. A big thank you to Christine Porter who coordinated the UK entries and looked after our quilts so well.
And Donna sent me this photo of my very first American ribbon! You notice how I said first, like I imagine there will ever be another one (grin)?

Heide Stoll Weber very kindly allowed me to have our photo taken in front of 'When Heide met Sally' but the photo was cruel to both of us, so you'll never see it (grin) but it's very nice to have it for my memory album. Do look at the gallery of her work, there's a little button at the bottom of the homepage for the site to be in English.

I added to my thread stash at the FOQ but determined not to as I was, I still managed to add to my fabric stash. And more about that tomorrow.....

Saturday 18 August 2007

FOQ 2007 "When Heide Met Sally"

This quilt resolutely refuses to photograph well. Heide Stoll Weber's fabric positively glows. It's hard to believe it's cotton and not silk. Do click on it to see the stitch.
I bought these fabrics at the FOQ last year. I pondered them for several months before deciding how to use them. I considered incorporating Ricky Tims handyes and calling the quilt when Heide met Ricky but the unhappy experiences with the colours running on Ricky's fabrics and not feeling able to cut into Heide's left me in a quandry.
So I knew it had to be a wholecloth, but how to make it mine? So the idea of continuous feathers evolved. I drew the spines using all sorts of round things like embroidery hoops in different sizes taking each curve gently into the next. Then all I had to do was to draw the feathers. I did this directly onto the fabric. Occsionally inelegant feathers appeared and I over worked them which made for confusion when it became time to stitch. And then sometimes whilst stitching, the needle overroad what I'd drawn and 'told' me where to go.......
I'm very pleased with this piece and plan more the same style.

Friday 17 August 2007

More on the FOQ 2007

This is Peace #3 which go the Amateur and the 3rd place in category awards.

My winnings were quickly spent on Heide Stoll Weber's stand.

Phillippa Naylor had the most stunning quilt of the show in my eyes. It's number 259 named 'Star Sign' if you use your viewer's vote do it on this quilt as it was only awarded a judges choice. It will go on to do well in the rest of the world, but for it not to gain more recognition here in her own country is unbeleivable. If I see her here I shall ask her permission to put a photo up for you to see.

Ferret's Wholecloth

This isn't a brilliant photo, I'll get a btter one today of Ferrret's Wholecloth. The colours are in the stitching. A link to Ferret's blog is on the right of this page. I'm using an old laptop and my skills at cutting and a link on this keyboard are limited to say the least. I think it's great!

On a roll

Some days are good, some are very very good.
I've just seen it's half past midnight so I have to say yesterday was very very good.
DD got her exams!! Yeah
I won 3rd place in Small Traditional at the FOQ and the Amateur award for the same quilt Peace 3#. I can't find a photo of it on my laptop so I'll take one tomorrow.
And it gets better, much better.
I've had an email from someone at the World Quilt Show letting me know Nostalgia has won 2nd in country!
You could say I'm a very happy quilter. (grin).

Thursday 16 August 2007

Fliss's Quilt

There are sone fabulous quilts here, but I cannot post photos without the makers consent so tonight you'll have to make do with the quilt I made for my DD (who got her A level grades today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) so she'll get to have this one on her wall until she leaves for university in a few weeks.
It's my 2006 Ostrich quilt made for the challenge on BQL.
Off to the Gala dinner now.

Quilting and embroidery

When does a quilt become an embroidery and does it matter?

It matters because in this country at least we the Quilters Guild had to fight to get Patchwork and Quilting recognized as an independent subject from embroidery for City and Guilds. (Prior to this, quilting was just a small part of the embroidery course).

I know when I see works in an exhibition which is which but I've been trying to sort out in my mind which is which.
Three layers held together by stitch? (Lets not think coverlets, crazy quilts, tied quilts etc for the moment). This sound good until you see embroideries done on three layers.
I've been talking this over with friends, mulling it over, arguing different attitudes.

In my own mind, a quilt is quilted and the purpose of this stitch is to hold the three layers together and to add dimension to the fabric of the quilt. Whilst the aim should be to have good stitches, it's the 'puff' that matters. (This doesn't apply to the stitch used through just the quilt top)

In embroidery, it might have three layers (or more) but the three layers provide a foundation for the stitch. And it is the stitch which is paramount. (and there are cases where the three layers are just to comply with quilt show restrictions)

Is it important?

Yes, very. It's not happening so much in the USA or Australia but over here quilts are becoming embroideries. I don't know if it's because quilting has become such a big thing and embroiderers are getting the work in through the back door. Even the judges over here can be names in this other skill. They (embroiderers) can and do produce stunning work but should it be in our (quilter's) shows?

Please let me know what you think? And where your skills are coming from.

Now off to do the last bits of packing and then to the school for exam results, then hopefully off to the FOQ.
I will try to blog from my hotel if not you'll here from me again on Monday.

Wednesday 15 August 2007

Tension adjustments needed at Toad Hall

Not with the sewing machine, but A level results come out tomorrow morning and DD's placement at her university of choice depends on them. But onto quilting....

Here's glimpse of one of my FOQ entries, 'When Heide Met Sally' named because the gorgeous fabric dyed by Heide Stoll Weber (Large contemporary). Beau Bramald is the beautiful creature asleep on it. Sadly he was run over when he went hunting a lady friend. My fault entirely. I wanted to wait until her got a proper Tom Cat head before getting him castrated. I will never forgive myself for his needless end.

Tuesday 14 August 2007

Good news (sort of)

I made this quilt for a competition in Patchwork and Quilting magazine. The theme was 'Square within a Square' maximum size 24" X 24" and they were looking for machine quilting.
This competition seemed to have my name on it. In this photo, it's nearly finished. Just being blocked on a foam board and I've yet to go round checking I've buried every thread (I hadn't, how is it you can look 100 times and still find one or two?).
Click on it, I think it should come up just about full size so you can see each and every stitch.

I got a phone call last week from Patchwork and Quilting and was told, 'I'm sorry you haven't won the sewing machine'. (GRIN)
I did however get one of the three 2nd place (or runner up) prizes, a year's subscription to the magazine, so that was nice.
I trapuntoed the feathers. Each corner whilst similar (they each have the same spine) is designed separately. If I did it again (which I've only ever repeated the same quilt once) would I do anything different? Yes, I would use silk thread not the Soft Touch as it's finer and I could have gone even smaller with the background fillers and the central grid (it's a ¼" grid).
It will be hanging at the Festival of Quilts on either the Bernina or Patchwork and Quilting stands. I really am looking forward to seeing the winner, to see how I can do better.
I still like this little quilt though I have no use for it. My initial reaction was to try and sell it but I'm wondering if it is worth sending it over the pond to a US Show? And if so which one?

Monday 13 August 2007

Sharon Schamber's videos

Sharon Schamber has some free videos here. Whether you quilt longarm or on a domestic machine you must watch these.


Then I cut the pre-marked circle out.
And cut a lining the same size.

Then two pockets. I hemmed one of the longer edges by folding the fabric over twice and the other three sides just the once.

I stitched them in place on the lining. The scissors showing are just to show which side to leave open.

I stitched round the ouside about a scant ¼" to the back of the quilted circle.I added some double fold binding on the front

Pinned it folded over

making sure when it was folded over that it covered the stitching line

Then very carefully with the walking foot, I stitched it in the ditch.

Just so you can see where the stitching went . I then folded it in half so a feather was showing on each side.

I used a shiny cord but other things would work. I sewed about 6" either side towards the fold and inserted the cord at each end right into the fold. If you ever wondered what those little plastic bits were you got with your machine, here they are in use. Because there is a big hump when you get to the bit with the cord, you just slide them behind the foot to level it off. These seams were stitched again in the ditch between the binding and the quilted fabric.

I then pinned the cord to where I had started the seam and by hand, caught the cord between the binding.

And there it is finished. An evening bag. (Or pocket book if you are American)

If you see someone with it at the Gala dinner at the Festival of Quilts at the Birmingham NEC, England on Thursday night, come and say hello to me.

I had to wedge it between cushions to show you the inside of the finished bag. The little pockets are for things like parking tokens, change for the cloakrooms etc.
I made the lining bright as I find it quite hard to find stuff in bags with black linings in low light.