September Block for Siblings Together Threadhouse Retreat Bee

Welcome to a new Bee quilting year. It’s my turn to set a block and I’ve gone for a gentle start to the year with fairly straightforward snowballed blocks.

The catch? Well not really a catch but I’m again hoping for a quilt suitable for an older boy so dark or mid blues, mid or dark greys ideally with little or no white in them so there is quite a sharp contrast with the neutral corners. And as to the neutral, again white or very light grey and it can be a print or a solid. But for the snowballed corners I’d like to have bright white so those hourglass blocks really stand out.

I’d like 4 blocks please as pictured above, 2 with a dark centre and 2 with a light centre.

Please note I’d be grateful if you could sew 2 blocks together but not all four just in case I need to mix it up with all the blocks together. See picture below

So as to instructions.

Please cut 4 x 8.5″ squares, 2 dark and 2 light.

And then cut 16 x 2.5″ squares, 8 from dark fabric and 8 from bright white.

Now snowball corners to the relevant 8.5″ square. I’m sure you will know this technique but you simply lay on top of one of the corners of the 8.5″ square the contrasting 2 1/2 square in fabric and sew diagonally. You can eyeball it or if you prefer draw a pencil line or iron the small square diagonally and then sew along that line. When you iron back the small square you will see that you now have one corner of the larger square in the contrasting fabric. You will need to cut away the excess fabric. Before you join up the blocks you may want to trim it back to 8 1/2 inches. That of course depends on whether you are an accurate sewer or not. I always have to trim!

Then simply sew two squares together one of each type.

Many thanks. Any problems, as always get in touch.

Festival of Quilts 2019 – at speed!

I spent the entire year thinking that I wouldn’t be going to this year’s Festival of Quilts as it clashed with our annual holiday. The Festival of Quilts is the quilt show in the UK and some say Europe so it’s a fixture in many quilter’s calendars. For a variety of reasons we always have to book our holiday well ahead and I knew from the outset our plans precluded going to the Festival. So for that reason I didn’t pay much attention to news of the Festival until I happened to read a few days before the event a blog post by Jo, The Crafty Nomad on tips for surviving a quilt show (a good read incidentally). She mentioned the dates and it suddenly hit me that I could go albeit only on the first day. I’d forgotten that just after we’d booked the holiday our travel agent had had to push it back a couple of days. So set was I in my thinking I hadn’t realised that meant it gave me one small day of opportunity! But it was an opportunity I was definitely going to take.

The only problem was it was one day before we actually travelled. Where we go in South Africa is in the middle of nowhere so we do have to be quite thorough in our packing as if we forget anything then really that’s it. But as we’ve gone for so many years now our packing lists are very well honed. Also one of the benefits of having older children is they pretty much do their own packing so I escaped for three hours. It helps hugely that I live 30 minutes from the National Exhibition Centre where the Festival is held so travel time was pretty minimal compared to some who come from all over the world.

Nevertheless I literally only had two hours at the Festival. Madness really as you can easily spend two days through a combination of seeing the quilts on display and shopping. And don’t forget concurrent with the quilt show there is a whole program of classes, lectures and workshops. You can make a weekend of it without any difficulty at all and many do. So I had to prioritise where I was going to spend my time.

In fact for me that was relatively straightforward. I’m really trying not to buy more fabric until at least there is a dent in my current stash. I do make exceptions for the colour green. For some reason I never buy green so I have been forcing myself to buy green. Such a sacrifice! So the shopping opportunities weren’t really top of my list. But what I really wanted to do was see the quilt shows in particular the competitive shows which are divided into a number of categories such as Traditional, Modern, Two person, Group etc. Of course for me the one I particularly wanted to see was the Modern category.

Here are a few quilts that hit the button for me, not all are from the Modern category.

Anyway here goes

The first couple are by Jo Avery. Jo loves vibrant colours and she has a really strong signature style albeit she reigned it in for the second one. The link to her name above takes you to a cracking post about the quilt below. How to turn round a potential disaster so brilliantly!

The one below is by Jo Westfoot of the Crafty Nomad. The quilting was exquisite. She would be the first to say that she has been developing this skill in the last year or so and boy has she excelled!

This is probably my favourite quilt. So clever and effective.

Another one from Jo Avery

This one I saw kicked off years ago in a sew along. Mine is still languishing…..

This quilt is made entirely from log cabins. Oh the patience ….

This is Nicky Eglinton the amazing women that masterminds all the quilts for the charity Siblings Together. In order to further promote the charity she came up with the idea of a group quilt (another category) made up of a block from each of us involved.

This quilt is by Chris English. A clever use of recycled fabrics it looks like there’s someone’s old curtain in there to make the point of reusing fabric.

A see through English Paper Pieced quilt….. you could see from the back the maker had left the papers in so it had some structure

This used very shiny metallic fabric

Tearing around most of the categories snapping wildly and after coffee with Jackie one of the Siblings Together Bee members I didn’t really have any time to see any of the specialist exhibitions. The exception was the Bloomfield quilt exhibition. This was run by the UK’S Quilters’ Guild who asked each quilt section eg modern, traditional etc of the Guild to submit quilts for display inspired by one of their antique quilts from their collection Bloomfield quilt. There is more in this post. I was pleased mine got selected although my bubble of pride was somewhat burst when the organiser said in fact only a few weren’t displayed.

You will see in the bottom left hand corner my offering. It was starkly different to anyone else’s. In fact it was fun to see quite how different they all were, not just across traditional, modern et cetera but their interpretation. This was definitely a victim of my lack of time as I would love to spend much longer looking at each one but needs must.

Well it was a fun whirlwind visit and I’d do it again but next year I don’t have to! Fortuitously our holiday is mid/late August and the Festival early August so I’ve got two days pencilled in and I’m going round in leisure next year. It might mean two blog posts though….