Saturday 31 August 2013

It is time to call a halt.

I wanted a low contrast quilt but the more I work on this hand applique, the more I realise the contrast is not just low, it is nearly non existent. So................ I am going to start over.
I have some lovely lightweight linen but it is brilliant white. I also have some cotton linen mix which is a soft white. This is what I shall probably use but this is the one I have not prewashed yet to see what the shrinkage is and how it behaves...

I am gutted but know this is what must be done. I might be able to unstitch the 3 stars and use them in new work. Perhaps I shall make a cushion out of the centre .....

Wednesday 28 August 2013


This is the small progress on the machine applique quilt.. In my head I see it finished. In reality not even half of the first side of the first border is done...
Someone with my level of patience isn't designed to wait this long to finish a project.

Monday 26 August 2013

One of my old quilts (very photo heavy), Sarah Fox dated 1826

Enjoy the fabrics. I bought this on Ebay from a lady in Reading Berkshire. It was in her Grandmothers house. Her uncle had researched their family and there was no one named Fox at this time. The Grandmother spent time buying up all sorts of things all over the place so we have no idea where Sarah came from.

Stitching on the back to hold the papers in place. They have been removed as although not backed, this coverlet is finished.
And this is the reason why my antique quilts and my own show quilts live under the bed. I am sure George just hears me getting them out and he is on them!

Thursday 22 August 2013

Just to prove I haven't been on my backside doing nothing.

I have been on my backside at the sewing machine and the iron. (grin)

It doesn't look like much does it?
A closer view. It took a whole three days to do this much. Each one of those flowers has nine pieces and then there are another three borders to go before I even start the outer borders... I am toying with the idea of making the large centre flower in blues.... perhaps not. I think it will be one more day to do the leaves and stems on the left.

You might have to send out a search party.

We had an incredibly heavy but short lived downpour at 4am. It woke us both up. I dreaded finding out if the poppies had survived. Thankfully the damage isn't too bad.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Getting on with both hand and machine applique projects.

First I lay the leaves in place. I find it so much easier to mark the background rather than use an overlay. To find your own pen to do this, just put 'perfect pen' in the little search box at the top left.
I am not happy with the stem on this. I used a Clover 6mm (or quarter inch) bias binding maker. On the machine applique I have used bias bars and got a better result. I have also found whilst stitching, that leaving the three layers of freezer paper in place makes it difficult to hand applique where one piece overlaps another. So when I design the next round, I shall prepare the pieces with starch and not glue and remove the paper prior to placing on the background.

And now to the next round of machine applique.
I am actually a little further along on this but the camera is upstairs. I have appliqued these down (only on the first of four borders) and have started stitching the stems and the leaves.

And great joy. I was sure I had another 7 metres of the background fabric for this quilt but despite turning the studio upside down, it just wasn't there.... I trailed round the Festival of Quilts asking if anyone had some... no luck there. So I decided that I would just stop at this border. Decision made. And of course once that decision was made and I made my prayers to St Jude, it turned up under the pile of fabrics for the hand appliqued quilt . Yay!!!

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Stash enhancing

I haven't got room but..... my haul from the Festival of Quilts this year. It's different from my normal buys almost all reproduction stuff.
But firstly I have to share one of my antique quilts.
This is the Chinoiserie  middle.
And here you can see where the seams are and how the original maker put together her central panel.
You can see how she made the borders go all the way round?
And this is what I found on Ebay!
So I can make a similar panel for the centre of a repro quilt. I am so excited about this. It was printed in 1988 in England by Charles Hammond Ltd. It is curtain weight cotton but I sure that a smallish piece of this sort of weight in the centre of a quilt won't matter too much.... well not with lots of quilting to support it.

And my haul from the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham.

As you can see, quite a haul of reproductions! I was delighted to find the Wintarthur fabric (and at £4/metre it was a bargain....)

Monday 12 August 2013

Poppies, love them so much.

These are in my garden, they are called Angel Wings. I found a packet of seeds which were supposed to be planted before 2005 and I thought I would sprinkle them anyway. I love how every flower is different and all of them are wonderful. I have added just a few and finished with a rose but the poppies take my heart. Enjoy.

Sunday 11 August 2013

One woman went to the Festival of Quilts.

I have a problem or two with the Festival of Quilts, one major thing is how much the traditional quilts have been downgraded. Far fewer people are entering this category these days though judging by what the traders sell, more people are making traditional quilts than anything else with Contemporary quilting coming a close second. I didn't bother to look at the ART quilts and as far as I could see neither did an awful lot of the people attending (or if they did, the commonly heard cry was 'why'). This isn't against art on my part, just the fact that so many of the entries are neither art nor quilts.

The winning quilts in the 'normal' quilt show categories were at the end of an aisle with about eight foot between them and a wall and this was also the passageway to get in and out from this part of the show...... The maximum prize awarded for a contemporary or traditional quilt is £2,000 which is brilliant for a European show until you hear the maximum prize for an art quilt is £5,000. (and the judges of this included a woman who has a degree in marketing and another who writes fiction..... I didn't bother to find out who the others were, I lost the will). So there were fewer quilts to see which interested me (sometimes I feel I would need to go to Australia ).

 Having said that there were about half a dozen or a little more or international quality. And those I loved. Andrea Stracke's wholecloth was lovely. The first time I walked past the winning quilt in the traditional category I thought it had been stenciled, but no it was beautifully appliqued roses on a giant doily. Each petal of the rose had carefully selected fabrics to give the impression on stenciling and the doily background had fine embroidery round each piece to give it dimension and made it seem like it was floating slightly above the background. 

One particular quilt caught my eye and it was this one by Jean Ball. Each tiny star had been fussy cut. Heaven knows how long it took to piece this.

There was a lovely quilt in the European Gallery but no photos were permitted. The good news is there is a 'legal' copy here on Babara Brackman's blog. I feel it a shame when the no photography rule is implemented unnecessarily. When I have seen a photo online, it makes me want to see the real thing even more.

Annabel Rainbow's work was to be seen to be believed.  The quilts are much larger than I had thought. Go see at The funniest thing were a group of women, looked at her quilts, then back at me. It took a few minutes for me to realise they thought I had been the model! I think she is a very cool woman so was delighted.

I took my rollator. It makes me feel embarrassed because I can walk without it but I would never have managed the whole day without it so on balance it wins.

Thursday 8 August 2013

One day designing, one day tracing four copies and one day transfering to background fabric.

My sewing table top is glass and I just push the sewing machine back and place a low energy lamp 23w lamp on the floor underneath.  I iron the freezer paper to the back of the background fabric and trace through. This way my placement is easy and the freezer paper template matches the background markings exactly.  I'll peel the freezer paper off the fabric, then iron it to one or more sheets of freezer paper to make it stiffer. I cut out the shapes, press the template to the wrong side of the applique fabric, turn over the seam allowance, glue it down, then glue the applique piece in position for sewing on the back ground fabric.

But is all takes time......

And tomorrow I hit the festival of quilts, plastic at the ready to go.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

I have been doing things, really I have.

Someone came over for a little teaching and she bought this wonderful thread with her. She said it is Isacord but I didn't know it came in metallics. Whatever it is, it behaved itself better than any other metallic I have used and I didn't slow down for it, nor did I use a metallica needle.

I designed the next bit of the hand worked quilt. I shall have to remove the blue bias stem. I thought I could get away with the preprepared stuff but the baby blue is just too bright.

I have blown this close up as large as I can so you can see how wonderful it is to applique and English piece over papers with Invisifil by Wonderfil. The edge of this diamond is two inches long and the thread is barely visible. Like the YLI silk it is very slippery on the needle but because both are so fine, you can tie a knot just behind the eye of your needle and it doesn't get stuck going through your fabric.

Today I have been designing the next border on the machine applique piece. This isn't going to be a speedy job! I so wish I had started with simple elongated ovals for the leaves.