Thursday, 30 April 2015

It's not EPP!

I recently finished hand piecing my "Jazz hands quilt" and before I start hand quilting it I need to finish hand quilting my Strip bees quilt. Although I enjoy hand quilting sometimes I fancy a change and like to have more than one hand work project on the go at once. I'm sure you know what I mean.

So here is what I've been up to so far.


The blocks are from the digital version of "Hexagons, Diamonds, Triangles, and More" by Kelly Ashton. I think the book intends for you to machine piece the blocks but I've used the book's templates and hand pieced them. For Christmas I received a gorgeous book called  "Wild Blooms and Colorful Creatures" by Wendy Williams which combines fabrics such as cotton, linen and wool to make beautiful quilts, cushions and bags, the main design feature being wool felt applique. I used this book as inspiration for the applique in the centre of two of the blocks.
I think I'll use the blocks in a new medallion quilt which I'm planning.

I've still been busy making quilts for Siblings Together. The latest top was made from fabrics donated by Mary, Julie, Catrin, Carol, Julie and Sonia along with some I had left over from a quilt I made for the charity a couple of years ago with fabrics donated by Moda. The design is Rail Fence.



As the quilt o metre in my side bar shows we're now up to 50 quilts with many more in the process of being made. If anyone would like to help in anyway do get in touch.

Bye for Now, Maria




Monday, 16 March 2015

In the Pink.


I started this quilt back in 2013 at a sewing retreat. The pattern is from a book by Pam and Nicky Lintott which I borrowed  from the library but I can't recall the title. Whilst I really like the pattern and individually I like most of the fabrics I'm not overly keen on how I positioned the fabrics together in the centre of the blocks. I also ran out of the light border fabrics and had to use a different one in some areas which I don't think looks great either.
I don't agree with giving dodgy quilts to charities but I decided to donate it to Siblings Together as I think the faults I see in the quilt probably don't bother other people and the overall look of the quilt is OK. 






 Believe it or not I bought the backing fabric especially for this quilt but didn't work out how much I needed and wildly under-estimated the quantity, consequently I had to piece quite a big panel to make it big enough.


The quilt o metre has now gone up to 19 finished quilts with lots of activity still going on with people making many more.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

More Sewing for Siblings Together 2015

Most of my sewing time in recent weeks has been taken up with sewing for Siblings Together.
I've had the machine in my sewing room set up for machine quilting this quilt whilst I've taken over the dining room piecing on my other machine.


I recently purchased the Machinger's quilting gloves and I'd highly recommend them, they grip the fabric making it easier to move when free motion quilting, I also find them comfortable to wear. I purchased them online from Eclectic Maker who provide a super quick service which for me comes high up the list when choosing which of the many online stores to buy from.

This is the project which has taken over the dining room. I had some fabrics, which were donated by Moda, left over from the quilt I put together for the Siblings Together Bee a couple of years ago. I asked the lovely quilters on Instagram if anyone had any fabrics that would go with them which they would like to donate so I could make another quilt for the charity. Unsurprisingly I was sent some fantastic fabrics and I've started to put together this rail fence quilt. 


Mary and Hannah are both putting together group quilts using Home Sweet Home blocks from a tutorial by Jenna from Quilting in the Rain. People from all over the UK and abroad are sending them both blocks for them to turn into wonderful quilts. These are the blocks I put together for them.

The quiltometer is now up to 16 completed quilts with loads more in the process of being made. If anyone would like to join in please have a look at my last post for how you can get involved.
Bye for now, Maria

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Siblings Together 2015

Anyone who may have stuck with me over the last couple of years may remember that I've been involved with making quilts for a charity called Siblings Together.

The charity works to keep children in England who have been separated by the care system in contact with their Siblings by arranging, amongst other things, residential camps where the siblings can meet up and spend precious time together.

"Sibling relationships are the longest lasting in most people’s lives. Allowing these to wither for children often already deprived of parental support is a real injustice to looked after children, and is likely to result in huge costs to society from the impact on life outcomes." 
 Quote taken from the Siblings Together web site

 Two years ago after a chance meeting with the charity's director, Delma Hughes, Lynne of Lily's Quilts put a call out on social media, primarily on Flickr, for donations of quilts to be given to the children attending the camps as a snuggly keepsake of their time spent with their siblings.
The charity even has a Siblings Together Quilting Group page on their web site.

This is a copy of a letter sent from Delma to some ladies who sent quilts to the charity.

The 2015 camps will be happening in the summer and Delma stated  above that 90 children were attending the camps last year and they are hoping to increase the numbers this year. A group of us have come up with the idea of trying to get 100 quilts donated this year. There are three quilting bees on Flickr making quilts and some people are also making extra quilts. I'm sure there are individuals beavering away making quilts too.

Would anyone reading this like to help? It would be fabulous if you could.
You could help by:
  •  Donating a quilt
  • Donating one or two blocks to a group quilt
  • Offering to put together a group quilt
  • Donating some unwanted fabric for someone else to make a quilt if you have fabric but not time
  • Offering to make a quilt with donated fabric
  • Donating fabric for backing or wadding.
  • Spreading the word on social media or to quilting friends or guilds.
  • Any other way you can think of.
The link to the Flickr group is here. This is where details of quilt sizes etc. can be found and people can chat about group quilts, fabric offers etc. and post pictures of quilts too. There may be a Facebook page in the near future too.
I've just finished this quilt for Siblings Together which I made with a lovely friend.


I finished this quilt top last year and plan to get it quilted in time for this years camps.


These are group quilts I put together. The one the right was made with fabrics donated by Moda.

I hope I may have inspired someone to get involved. The quiltometer in the side bar is the brainchild of Mary and will be updated regularly.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Still here.

I can't believe it's been five months since I last posted here so I thought it about time I gave anyone who might be interested an update about what I've been up to sewing wise. There isn't a large amount of stuff to show but I'll do it over a few posts. 
First off is a wall hanging I made for my parents for Christmas.
As inspiration I used a Craftsy Class called "Magical Blocks: Out of the Box" by Kimberly Einmo. The sampler quilt made in the class is a large bed size quilt but I made mine wall hanging size using my own layout with the original as inspiration.


I forgot to take photos before I gave it away and then forgot to take my camera when I visited at the weekend so these are rather poor phone photos.

The picture below shows more details of the quilting. I quilted different patterns in different areas of the quilt. It turned out fairly well but there's always room for improvement.


I have more to show when I get round to taking pictures of it. Here's hoping for some dry weather at the weekend and for a willing quilt holder to be available.
Bye for now, Maria.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Off to the State Fair.

It's time for a quick visit to the State Fair, although I do live in the wrong country.

I've been enjoying deciding which fabrics to use for the State Fair flowers. It's been fun doing some fussy cutting for them.


The fabrics used for the flowers above and for the top left flower in the first picture are by Nel Whatmore from her Secret Garden range.  
Here's how the flowers look with the chain blocks.

 I'm loving how different the quilt is looking to the original which you can see in my last post.

I think I've got ten more of each block to go. All good fun.

Maria.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Modernising tradition.

Recently I've been thinking about how we decide which quilts we make. For those quilters who read blogs and use Instagram and/or Flickr the choice is often swayed by what patterns/blocks are being promoted by pattern writers, magazines and book authors. It seems to me that many, and of course not all, of these designs which are hailed as being new and the "designer's" original work, are actually based on traditional designs which have been around for years.

Elizabeth from Occassionalpiece-Quilt has written a very interesting post about where quilters find their inspiration, she discusses the book "Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon who states that "Nothing is original".

I was given this book a few years ago, it features quilts made between 1825 and the 1940's and includes quilts made from log cabin, stars, triangles including  flying geese, English paper piecing and more, all of which are techniques that are being used in today's patterns.


This Double Flying Geese quilt from the book was made circa 1875 but looks like it could have been made yesterday. It reminds me of a Roman tile floor.


This Drunkards Path quilt was made between 1910-1920, to me it also has a very modern aesthetic.



 I bought this book, Down the Rotary Road by Judy Hopkins,when I first started quilting in the 1990's.



Some of the quilts in this book also look they could have been made today, some 20yrs after the book was published.


I  went back to the book thinking I would find patterns different to those around today, however I found that most of the quilts are based on traditional blocks, just as many of the designs around today.
 As Kleon says "nothing is new"! 
  Elizabeth states that Kleon encourages us to note where our influences come from but to me this rarely happens and as I mentioned earlier so many patterns in books, magazines and online which are proclaimed as being new are not.  It is however a positive that the craft is being kept alive and that the old traditional blocks are still being used.

I decided to go back to  Down the Rotary Road  for my next quilt and thought it would be fun to pick a design which doesn't immediately appeal to me, probably due to the fabrics not being to my 2014 taste. Many of the quilts in the book, perhaps unlike the two above, are made from fabrics which would not appeal to most quilters today. I thought it would be interesting to see how different the quilt would look in completely different "modern" fabrics.
The quilt I chose was this one called "State Fair"


It consists of State Fair blocks alternated with chain  blocks.
Here's how my 2014 version is going so far. In the book the centre of the flower is an applied circle but I decided to make life easier and use a pieced snow ball block instead.

I find it fascinating how a quilt design can look so different when made from different fabrics.

Edit: After a comment on this post saying how clever I was to eliminate the appliqued circle I should point out it wasn't my idea, I found the idea here when researching State Fair blocks. After accusing other people of proclaiming old traditional patterns as their own designs perhaps I should practice what I preach!!