Friday 29 November 2013

Doll Quilt - A Bristol Terrace

This is the quilt that I sent to my October partner, Terry, for the Doll Quilters' Monthly swap.  The theme for the month was to show where you live, so I decided to base the quilt on the coloured houses seen in Bristol - we live just seven miles outside.

I shall cheerfully own up that I had a few tussles with this quilt, with the surprise pleat on the back and the skipped stitches on corners.

I was in a bit of a quandary over the free motion quilting, thinking the meander design on the front of the houses might look like cracked rendering.  In the end it doesn't look too bad, and I varied it with a pebbly design for the ground.

Also there was great frustration with right angles.  I chose the materials for the colours rather the weight.  They were a touch too lightweight, and I just don't do starch, so I had to live with the shifting angles.

But in real life many of these houses have slipped here and there.  Doors can be slightly out of line...

... or well and truly crooked...

...and as for chimneys, they can be all over the place.

My husband and I had a brief discussion about the windows.  He said I had put Georgian windows on Victorian houses.  I said they were early Victorian, so there is hardly any difference.

All told, I was pleased with how it turned out. Someone might look at the bright colours and off angles and think it is badly executed Toytown.  My answer to that would be that this quilt is the nearest I have got to photorealism.  People here who have seen the quilt instantly start debating which part of Bristol it is and which street it shows.  The photos on this Flickr group show the scenes we see every day...

The house my husband was born in - and still lived in when we met - is in this picture...

... fourth house on the right in the long terrace that goes right the way across the picture, and here is a picture actually taken on the street a few doors down from the house...

Up until about twenty years ago most of these houses were grey or very pale colours.  It is only recently that all these bold colours have appeared.  They took some getting used to, but now I rather like them.

Linking up again today with Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

International Tea Time Grand Prize Draw!

What a wonderful tea party it has been!  All your comments have been such great entertainment, so before announcing the winner of the tea cosy, thank you to everybody who took part, and it is time for a few special mentions:-

Esther for being so sporting.  Even though she opted out of the draw (it just wasn't going to fit her teapot) she left a comment in Dutch.  Thanks to Esther and Translate Google my daughter and I no longer say "on the settee" but "op de bank."

Leo in Germany for her little snippet of German followed by her unrestrained enthusiasm for tea.

Mystica from Ceylon (I'm far too old to say Sri Lanka), who gave the cosy a chance to go and live where tea is grown and cricket is played.

Reb Thack for telling me you can get PG Tips in San Francisco.

Pippirose for making me want to try Formosa Oolong.

Melissa for her rather esoteric taste - eggnog chai latte.

Tina A. likewise, for Read My Lips - black tea with vanilla, mint, chocolate, peppercorns and little red candy lips.  It will never catch on in transport caffs.

Anyway, no prizes for spotting that our regular everyday and all day tea is Yorkshire tea, blended by Taylor's of Harrogate.  Available in our local supermarkets, and occasionally it comes with a caddy with Yorkshire scenes on it.

I particularly love this side of the caddy - dry stone walls, sheep, cricket.  All very Yorkshire.

Now, on to the prize draw...

... and because we have a spare caddy, all 72 names went in, carefully folded and all mixed together.  Entrants near to home (Gloucester and Nottingham), from all corners of the USA and Canada, one each from Spain, Norway, Germany, Israel, Ceylon, the Philippines and Malaysia, and from as far away as Australia.  And some from I didn't know where. 

It was all too exciting for me.  I needed help from my totally detached coffee-drinking son.

So in the interests of cricket, tea and fair play, here is the video of the draw.  It's gripping stuff.

We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the tea cosy is Carla!

Update - Carla is in Holland!  I now have her address so I can post the tea cosy to her, and she sends everybody her greetings... see her comment at the end of the tea party.

Of course after the draw I was so exhausted I needed a big mug of tea.

Welcome to the latest followers, Prairie Stitcher and Nicole Sender - thank you for joining!

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Turning Corners

Have you ever turned a corner, hoping for a nice sharp turn,

but the machine misses a stitch on the turn so the corner is chopped off?

This is what was happening on my last but one project when I was doing a bit of quilting with the Singer 15K hand machine.  I knew there had to be a way of avoiding it, and I have finally worked out how...

When the needle goes into the fabric, before lifting the foot and turning the work, make sure that the needle is still on the way down.  Then once the work is turned and the foot is back down, let the needle complete its downward journey and form the stitch.  So far as I can fathom it out, if the needle is so far down that it is already in the process of forming the stitch when the work is turned, the threads can slip out of place underneath the bobbin plate and the stitch fail.

I won't tell you how long it has taken me to solve that problem.  Too embarrassing.

Welcome to new followers Pippirose, Anna McCurdy, Debbie, Hueisei Ong, Beth, and Alida P - thank you for joining!

Thanks again to everyone who has commented on the Tea Time Give Away.  Time is running out...  midnight tonight GMT... so if you live in the Western hemisphere, don't get caught out!

Sunday 24 November 2013

A Beautiful Picture for Sunday - The Monastery at Czestochowa

A beautiful rooftop at the monastery at Czestochowa, taken on 17th August.

Welcome to lots of new followers today - including those whose avatars have popped up... Luanne Pang, Debra Kay Neiman, Sowing Stitches, A. Shipley, Tami C, Lee, Catskill Quilter, Nanbon44, Og19quilt, Dorian, Ytsmom, Kathy H, Debbie Sauer, Gill Watson, Donna Besnahan... and all the followers who have left comments on the Tea Time Give Away.

Thank you to everyone who has left comments and for making it such an entertaining tea party! 

Thursday 21 November 2013

It's a Tea Time Give Away!

If you saw the post last week showing a free motion quilting practice piece, this little tea cosy will look familiar.  The sewing project I had in mind all went to plan, and I am pleased to be joining in the Quilting Gallery Quilters' Blog Hop Party by giving away this tea cosy, made entirely on two of my favourite machines.  All the free motion quilting was done on the 1945 Singer 15K treadle, and all the rest of the stitching, including the straight line quilting, was done on the 1949 Singer 15K hand machine.

The cosy fits a small teapot.  The photos show a one pint teapot.

Here it is with a large mug, strictly for serious tea drinkers, as it holds three quarters of a pint.

More genteel tea drinkers will prefer a cup and saucer.  In this photo the teapot is out of sight hiding under the tea cosy.

So, if you love tea and would like the chance to win this little cosy to brighten up your tea time, all you have to do is leave a comment before midnight GMT Tuesday 26th November. The winner's name will be announced on Wednesday 27th.  I will post to anywhere in the world...!  

If English isn't your first language, feel free to leave your comment in your own language. Let's make this truly an international tea party!

When you leave your comment, tell me how you like your tea, how many gallons a day, with biscuits or sandwiches... or, if you don't like tea, who you would give this tea cosy to as a present.

And there is a bonus...

... if you are already a follower of this blog, or if you join as a follower before leaving your comment, you qualify for an extra little present.  Although I recognise many followers' names straight away, just help me out please by mentioning that you are a follower.

These three scraps and two strips of bonus triangles will be yours to use in any project you want. So if you think the tea cosy needs a matching table mat, you have a head start.


Because this blog hop is called Giving Thanks something tells me it might have something to do with Thanksgiving.  Well, even though we don't have Thanksgiving here, it doesn't mean we don't say thank you, so here goes...

A big thank you everyone who visits, follows, and comments on this blog.  I am truly grateful to you all!

And another big thank you to Michele for hosting this blog hop.  I will have to hop around and enter a give away myself!

To give you even more blogs to visit, this post is being linked with:- 

Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday

Wednesday 20 November 2013

An Unplanned Pleat

Sometimes, when you finish a piece of free motion quilting and turn the work over, there is a little surprise to jump out at you from the back.  For instance, this little pleat in the border of a doll quilt. This is not quite so annoying as an unplanned fold - there is no unpicking involved if the pleat isn't too drastic.

On close inspection there was also another tiny little fold further away from the edge.

All it needed was a few stitches to make it lie flat.  Once the binding was on it was barely noticeable.  At least, that is what I told myself.  Whether my swap partner agrees is another matter. Now that this quilt has crossed the Atlantic and is with its new owner, she has my full permission to show it to her friends as an example of quilter's fudging.

Welcome to Capi, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Monday 18 November 2013

The Battle with Fluff

This is the state of my Singer 15K treadle after a free motion quilting session.  Every time I change a bobbin I check for fluff, and pull or blow out what I can see.  I also have a pair of pointed tweezers which I use for pulling out the miniature hearth rugs that form under the feed dog teeth.

These little clouds of fibres around the needlebar and hopping foot are easy to get rid of.

It is interesting how the fluff works its way upwards...

... and inside the machine.  The other day I took off the face plate, the first time for months, for a quick defluffing session.  I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't worse.

Welcome to Alessandra, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Sunday 17 November 2013

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Another Painted Lady on a Zinnia

I love all these shades of pink together, especially with the sun shining through the butterfly's wings.

Welcome to Val, the latest follower - thank you for joining!

Friday 15 November 2013

Getting Ready for a Free Motion Give Away...

This week's free motion quilting sample ended up looking slightly like hawthorn leaves.

I quite enjoyed working on the green fabric, it made a pleasant change.

The tiny bonus triangles add a bit of interest.  Hardly an exercise in perfect piecing, the points have disappeared, but the colours go just right.

And in this narrow strip I put in some really small scale quilting.

By this time next week I am hoping that this little panel will have been transformed into an item for the Quilting Gallery Blog Hop Party starting on 21st November...


Let's see how the sewing goes next week.  If I mess it up I have a book I can give away instead.

Linking up again today with Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Making a Dress for Dress-a-Girl - Stage 2

The straps are on...

... they are made from bias cut strips, each 36 inches long.  I could have used broad bias binding, but I hadn't got any, so I had to cut my own strips.  Each strip is 2 inches wide and folded in half, a double thickness binding.  I could have cut them a bit broader, to measure say an inch and a half when folded, but any narrower than an inch would have been too fiddly.

The middle point of the strip needs to be lined up with the side seam,  and I attached it to the inside of the dress on the underarm edge, with about a quarter of an inch seam allowance.

The side seam was pressed towards the back.

Then it was time to rethread the machine with thread to match the binding, and fold the binding over for the second line of stitching.  Where the binding extends beyond the seam to form the shoulder strap, it is best to iron the fold down the centre of the strap before doing the stitching.

The second line of stitching is worked on the outside of the dress...

...and continues on along the edge of the strap.

Because the strap is cut on the bias, it can have a tendency to twist if it only has one line of stitching.  For this reason I do a line of stitching along the folded edge also, and stitch across the end to prevent the raw edges fraying.

So all the dress needs now is a narrow hem around the bottom,

and it's finished.

Let's hope that somewhere in the world a little girl will be thrilled to wear it!

Monday 11 November 2013

Making a Dress for Dress-a-Girl - Stage 1

This time last year I had a great time at Cordial and Grace making dresses the charity Dress A Girl. This Friday it's all happening again.

Today I started a dress so I can post some instructions.  This is the pattern I have used, which I have adapted from the pattern that can be printed off at LBG Studio.  What I have done is added a bit of flare, and a curve to the hem, so the dress isn't so straight and a little girl can have more room for running.

Here are the dimensions for the top part of the pattern. 

And here is the lower part of the pattern, showing the curve at the bottom edge.

And here are the measurements of the two vertical lines.

The pattern is placed on the fold of the material, and two pieces need to be cut out.  The front and back of the dress are identical.

The first step was the two side seams.  These need to be French seams, totally enclosing the raw edges and giving a hard wearing seam.

The seams need to be sewn from the top, the underarm, to the hem.  If the pieces are not an exact match, then they can be cut and evened off at the hem edge.

The next bit to do is the top edges, which will have elastic inserted.  First fold over and iron down just under a quarter of an inch.

Then fold over again to give a turning of three quarters of an inch.

The turning is then stitched down by machine, and I like to add an extra line of machining about an eighth of an inch from the folded edge.

Next, cut two lengths of elastic, each six inches long, and put a small safety pin at one end.

Insert the elastic, feeding the safety pin through the turning, until the end of the elastic is level with the edge of the turning.  Machine stitch it in place.  I always do three lines of stitching to be sure - elastic can fray and pull itself off the stitches if there is only a single line close to the end.

Now the fun starts at the other end.  This is how to prevent the elastic pinging back and losing itself inside the turning.  Pull the safety pin until the end of the elastic is level with the end of the turning, and hold the elastic in place with a large pin.

Now secure the elastic again with a safety pin.  This means the first safety pin and the straight pin can be taken out, and the elastic stitched in place in the same way as the other end.

This is how the elasticated top edge looks when finished.

That's all for today!  Tomorrow the shoulder straps will go on...

Welcome to Barbara, the latest follower - thank you for joining!


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