May is for Makers

imageI’m sure most have heard of the initiative led by Lindsey of LRStitched  to encourage everyone in May to purchase something each week in this month from independent quilt designers.  Well I need no excuse to go shopping for quilty things so this was a task that I was more than happy to embrace. So what did I buy …

 

Firstly the very sweet Stitchy Pie needle holder. Here’s my version which also won me a $25 voucher under the Le Challenge link up for May. So can’t be bad!

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My next purchase was this beautiful quilt design by Freshly Pieced. I rather fancy having a go at the alternate version, the smaller layout on the front cover.

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And another two quilt designs equally beautiful one from Esch House and the other from Sew Wonderful for use with their Quick Curve Ruler.

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And finally Jen Kingwell’s book Quilt Lovely.

image.pngNow if only I could purchase more time to make them all…….

 

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Deja Vu – My One Month Goal

This quilt has undergone two incarnations. First off it appeared as Swoop in the Bluebird Sew Off run by Rachel over at Stitched in  Color

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I loved this fabric range so a competition using this fabric was just the excuse I needed. The downside was that to get the iconic bluebird fabric in the background below it had to be ordered from the US and so by the time the fabric arrived I only had four or five days to finish the quilt before the deadline.

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So it had to be quick and easy.  So I went with this reverse appliqué, a bit of improv curves and very simple quilting. It was a whole cloth piece and therefore ended up on the small side. But it got finished and although it didn’t win (this beauty won) it struck me that it would make a great practice piece for the FMQ class I’m attending. So time for reincarnation two! Looking Through the Window…

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I hugely enjoyed quilting it to death following the quilting lines.  Had great fun using a variety of fillers learnt in class and also from Pinterest.  Just a few shots of the back …

 

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I  then decided to make it larger as it wasn’t a really useful size. It could have been a cot quilt but the heavy quilting had stiffened it up and so enter a new to me technique of Quilt As You Go.

Well never again! It meant adding sizeable border pieces and wrestling with thin sashing…..seriously not fun. I know loads of quilters swear by it as a manageable way of quilting a large quilt but I won’t be racing to do it again. It didn’t help using a particularly thick batting. And it just shows everyone has their different ways and preferences.

This is both another item off my Q2 FAL list and my OMG for Heidi at Redletter Quilts.

Linking up with FAL Q2 link up #2016FAL

Vanilla Selection

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I fully accept these are not colours to set the modern quilter alight!  This is your classic vanilla collection in both colour range and lack of variety I’m afraid. But of course some projects call for more muted tones. In fact what I was really looking for at the Malvern Quilt Show this week were batiks…. Not my usual selection, indeed other than some Alison Glass fabrics, I don’t have any but I want to have a go at an animal portrait of our lilac cat and batiks give that colour variation that looks more natural.  But no joy, plenty of batiks there but none in neutral so fabrics from Moda Basic Gray, Black Tie Range and some Moda Grunge fitted the bill. The aim is  to have a go at some hopefully passing resemblance to our champagne coloured cat. Time will tell… Frankly I suspect that buying the fabric will be the easiest part of the task!

imageCouldn’t resist this stripe for binding my latest Siblings Together Quilt, at £6 per metre it was an absolute steal. And a couple of half metres of the green in Janet Clare’s  Nocturne range. Ultimately destined for My Small World quilt which really needs to come off the backburner.

Linking up to Mollies Sunday Stash link up.

Malvern Quilt Show

This was my first visit  to the Malvern show which is a medium size quilt show here in the middle of England. It’s in an absolutely gorgeous setting just in the shadow of the Malvern Hills. There aren’t many conference and exhibition centres where you can sit out and enjoy this type of view.

Of course this should post should all be about quilts but there were many censorious signs up saying no photographs to be taken without permission of the quilt show organisers other than for personal use and not for websites. I guess a blog is a website so I’m going to be good and compliant. But just for the record, should I ever have a quilt in a show, which for the reasons below seems very unlikely, I am more than happy for worldwide coverage on any social media platform of your choosing!

I did do lots of shopping though…… The fabric purchases I will leave to one side but my biggest investment was in another extension table for my Pfaff, Skye having broken it by landing on it from a great height above but more excitingly these….

 

image…Westalee quilt rulers.

Cotton Patch, my local quilt store, are now the UK distributors for these Australian rulers. I trust Cotton Patch in that I have bought both my machines there,  taken classes and I probably buy most of my quilting supplies from them. I have found them price competitive and the customer service exceptional. Now as I have spent for small fortune there I’m claiming Droit du Seigneur  and including a picture. Of course it is intentionally blurry to protect anonymity, not that I was rushing!

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These rulers were demonstrated by Angela, who you can in the orange,  who is on the six month FMQ course I’m attending. She is something of an expert when it comes to machine embroidery stitching and teaches in this area is but wanted to broaden out into FMQ. She was demonstrating how to use these rulers and her easy going and perpetual smile meant she was very popular and was always surrounded by people. I think they did excellent trade….I wasn’t alone in my purchases.

Compared to the UK’s major quilt show the Festival of Quilts this was a more relaxed experience but fewer quilts to enjoy. Typical of the UK most were traditional or contemporary art quilts. One local quilter who bucked the trend was Abigail at Cut and Alter who submitted 4 beautiful modern quilts and picked up a couple of ribbons. Well done.

All the quilts whatever their style were beautiful and exquisite in execution and precision. And that’s why my quilts aren’t going to be hanging up with them anytime soon, that degree of precision isn’t my bag. But I will keep practicing.

 

 

Le Challenge – Blossom

 

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Now this post  may seem like I’m trying to be teacher’s pet given that the pattern for this wonderful Stitchy Pie needle case is by one of the organisers of Le challenge, Lucy at Charm About You  but I assure it isn’t like that! This was a purchase to support May is for Makers an initiative by Lindsay Rhodes to recognise just how much free quilty stuff is out there by supporting those who make very hefty contributions to all that on tap inspiration by designing patterns and sewing products.

I loved the look of these needle cases once the design came out and my current needle cases, shall we say, need refreshing. I was inspired by this post by Kerry with a beautiful version of her own.  I used a very sweet pink Blossom material for the binding, a text print and some pinky flowers from a scrap piece of material fused on and then stitched round.

I am sure it’s not lost on you the  irony of machine embroidery on a needle case for handstitching needles!  I’m afraid handstitching is not my favourite thing but Kerry’s post also opened my eyes to the complexity of needle choice given that my go to needles in the past have generally been economy packs of multi sizes. It may just be the reason why I don’t enjoy hand stitching that I never have the right needle for the job. So armed with Kerry’s advice I splashed out and bought some proper fit-for-purpose needles. First job was to sew back on the blazer badge for one of the children. It certainly was a cinch to go through the very thick badge material but the eye of the needle will, trust me, not take even a microscopic camel!!

I am sure more of these stitchy pies are in  my future not least because the one above in fact isn’t full of needles yet but my home-made alphabet pins!

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Bee Blessed Blocks for May

Such a great design by Sarah of using just 2 1/2″ strips means no pfaffing around with different measurements. And all from scraps! And we all have plenty of those… The Bees Blessed ladies made the very valid point of just going with the flow as the scrappy look seems to works it’s magic and everything come together beautifully. Personally I suspect a fair degree of careful placement of donated blocks is required by those same ladies but the results are stunning. I especially love the quilt in this picture at the recipients home. Looks styled doesn’t it?

 

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First blog post

 

Well it looks as if I have created a blog! Who would’ve thought. I have always found quilting so much easier than grappling with the social media aspect of it. And yet it is those amazing and generous contributions on blogs and other social media platforms that have been such an amazing inspiration so I feel I want to do my part.  Not that I’m promising anything like as much as some but this will be about sharing what I have learnt along the way and also a useful record for me. Well I gather the first rule of blogging is plenty of eye candy with some of my favourite quilts….