Friday 31 January 2014

Free Motion Rosehips on Red

For the free motion sampler quilt that I am making, I decided to have another go at the rosehips design, this time on red.  The colours on the photos are far from accurate - poor daylight, flash a bit harsh etc etc - and in real life the thread is not nearly so pale.  I have had to do some serious tinkering with the pictures editor on the computer so you can at least see what is there.

These rosehips are a delight to do, much easier than some of the designs that I have done that might look less complicated. and red seems the most appropriate colour for them.

I especially enjoy doing the thorns - they add a touch of realism - and also help fill in little gaps here and there.

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

Thursday 30 January 2014

An MP3 Cosy for my Great-Niece

The tiny scraps that I sorted out earlier this week have been transformed into a handy little cosy for my great-niece to put her MP3 in.  The mobile phone cosy with a button that I made last year I gave to my sister in law, and her granddaughter, aka my great-niece, loves it and wanted one for her MP3.  

So here it is, ready to be put in an envelope and posted off to Surrey.  I will have to write a grovelling note of apology because she particularly wanted me to include the teapots fabric used in her grandmother's cosy, and I clean forgot... something along the lines of "terribly sorry darling, I am a great aunt after all, more ancient and forgetful by the minute, especially when caught up in a creative whirl... "  should fit the bill.

Here is the back, and especially for Esther ipatchandquilt, who thought it was a bit of a lark having a post just featuring a picture of scraps, giving them the movie star treatment, I have stood the cosy on its own little red carpet.

And here it is opened out, so you can admire the naff brown striped lining in all its 1970s glory.

To compensate for me forgetting the teapots fabric, I hope my great niece enjoys a game of spot the fabric next time she visits her grandparents and sees this quilt.  In the quilt she will find the pinky purple flowers at the bottom of the second picture, and the green floral and brown floral on the third picture, which all belonged to her great grandmother, and which she bought in the USA.

A very satisfying little project, making something useful with tiny scraps.  In fact, the strip that I used for the button loop was already chucked into the rubbish box on my table, and I suddenly thought better of it and fished it out.  I am so glad I did.  With the blue button it clashes so fascinatingly horribly with the green.

Linking up today with Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

A Few Tiny Scraps

After last week's mega fast scrappy project I thought I would continue along scrappy lines, but on a much more modest scale.  I have received a small commission from my sister in law, who was phoning on behalf of my great niece, who has been inspecting one of my creations and wants one. Luckily for her, I have found another scrap jar that I overlooked last week, and which contains yet another little piece of the roses on navy background - just when I thought I had used it all up.  

So this photo might seem a bit boring, but for my great niece it is immensely fascinating.

This, I guarantee, is truly boring for everyone - a strip of wadding cut off from the edge of some free motion quilting, but a scrap nonetheless and essential to the project, so it gets its own photo.

I am quite looking forward to doing hardly any sewing this week

Sunday 26 January 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Reflections

I was enjoying this lovely sight last Sunday - the water was so still.  Then ten minutes of peace and tranquillity were followed by another ten minutes of riotous entertainment, because

this dog loved it too, and dived in time and time again to retrieve a stick for his owner.

Nothing like taking a flying leap into a dammed up stream in the middle of January.  Must try it.

Friday 24 January 2014

Started on Monday, Finished on Friday!

This is a record for me, so I'm immensely chuffed.  A scrappy cot quilt, 43 x 30 inches, free motion quilted yesterday on the 1945 Singer 15K treadle, and all the rest of the work done with the 1949 15K hand machine.

It is ages since I free motion quilted a pieced item, and I wanted to try it again and do a better job.  All the seams were pressed flat so they didn't give any bumps when quilting.

Lots of tiny scraps went into this quilt.  The tiniest piece, the red, measures an inch by three eighths of an inch (ridiculous - I'm not likely work on this scale too often).  It is part of a strip of four tiny bits trimmed from the edge of the Quilt within a Quilt Doll Quilt that I sent to Pattilou. Carla might recognise the polka dots, which is the left over binding from when I made her tea cosy.

This is the one diagonal seam, in the middle of the last remaining strip used on the back for joining the sections of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt I made in 2012.

These pretty roses on dark navy are the last tiny bit of an offcut I bought in Liverpool in about 1980.

The most economical fabrics in the quilt must be the bits from charity shop finds - the blue print, and the 1970s Laura Ashley to its right.

When I posted a picture of the completed top on Wednesday, Susan TBZ left a comment saying how much she loved purple.  I replied saying that in real life it was more dark maroony red.  What did I see when I pinned it up for a photo once I had finished it today?  Nothing but purple!  The blue on red of the printed plaid in the border just zings and makes you see all the other shades of purple in the quilt.  A colour spotter's badge to Susan!

Now the quilt is finished, and I can see how the colours work together, I can see that the fabrics that bring the whole mixture to life are the bright green floral...

...and its matching fabric.  The black background was really useful.  I put this piece near the centre to make sure the overall layout didn't look empty in the middle.

All told, this scrappy project was immense fun.  It used up lots of bits that were getting on my nerves sitting in the scrap jar and ended up as good practice in the use of colour.

Linking up today with Jessica's blog Quilty Habit for TGIFF
and Nina-Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art... Whatever for Off the Wall Friday
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday
and Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Barbara's blog  Cat Patches for the January NewFO Linky Party

Wednesday 22 January 2014

The Finished Scrappy Cot Top

This is something of a record for me - I only started this on Monday.  Here it is hanging from a clothes rack in the kitchen.  The daylight is not up to much today, so the colours on this picture aren't particularly accurate.

The colours are more accurate on this close up.

Making the quilt sandwich will have to wait.  It is lunchtime, and I need a sandwich more than the quilt does.

Linking up today (Thursday) to Lee's blog Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

A Scrappy Cot Quilt

Yesterday I started making a top for a cot quilt.   Here are the strips laid out, not in the final arrangement, but some sections are already joined together.

I had a jar full of left over ends of strips that I had used for binding, and lots of odd shaped remains of fat quarters.  Joining up all the tiny strips to make larger scrappy strips takes far longer than I would like it to - this isn't quite the ultra quick project I thought it might be - but I am enjoying it nevertheless.

Repeated cutting of strips means I have ended up with a miniscule rectangle of the bright red.

When I made the sewing machine cover I was incredibly lucky to have enough of the border to use as binding, and ended up with only about an inch and a half left over.  The left over scrap is now in this quilt top - it is next to the green flowers at the top right.

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

Linking up today with Connie's blog Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday - lots more projects to see there!

Sunday 19 January 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Winter Shadows

Taken earlier this week in Clifton, Bristol.  I loved the shadow of the chimney pots and the colour of the roof against the sky.

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

Friday 17 January 2014

A Finish, A Test Video, And A Show Coming Soon

Well in time for my daughter's birthday, the free motion quilted bedspread is finished at last! Here you can see approximately half of it.  I had to fling the quilt over two rickety wooden clothes racks which are standing on top of three dining chairs squeezed between the kitchen dresser and the fridge.  It measures 76 x 96 inches.  Taking pictures of a large quilt in a small house in poor light is a bit of a lark, so a picture of the whole quilt will have to wait until another day.

In the meantime, how about an artfully arranged shot of the folded quilt?  

Getting the binding on took most of the day, off and on, on Wednesday.

The binding is such a wonderful shade of pink, and the flowers and dots so pretty.

It was interesting seeing how the flowers on the binding would turn out at the corners - each corner has ended up looking slightly different.

Using so many different prints for the joining strips was fun too.  If I wasn't particularly keen on a print, or if I hadn't got enough to make a quilted panel, I used it for the joining strips.

All told, this has been an interesting quilt to make.  It is the first quilt I have made entirely with Singer 15Ks - the quilting all done on the 1945 treadle, and the joining and binding all done on the 1949 hand machine.  I have found out how much enjoyment can be had with lots of pretty girly prints, and what a lovely feel dress weight cotton poplins have once they are free motion quilted.  I have also found out that brushed cotton is an absolute pig to use for a backing - too much friction and not enough glide when quilting.

Another bit of fun was making a test video, to see if I can make some half decent quilting videos in the near future.  Here is the last bit of quilting I needed to do for this quilt, intentionally draining the camera batteries, which were about to go, and with my lovely patient husband squeezed in the corner of the sewing room to start the camera while I treadled.  Not a brilliant video, I know.  If you want to see a well made video, watch this one of Amy's, and give her a big cheer.  Ideally I want to balance the camera on my left shoulder, or strap it next to my ear.  It looks as though Amy has already perfected that rare skill, and can do the quilting at the same time.

Finally, great news about a show!

Midsomer Quilting are putting together an exhibition to be held at Radstock Museum, to run from Saturday 1st February to Saturday 31st May.  I visited their last exhibition in 2012, it was fabulous - so many gorgeous quilts!  This year I am really thrilled that my Queen's Diamond Jubilee Quilt will be given an airing there too.  

Yesterday I took a drive across a stretch of very wet Somerset to deliver the quilt for the show.  My friend Kate came with me, and we turned it into a proper trip, stopping off at a wonderful second hand book warehouse while we were out.  We took a route that I was fairly confident shouldn't be too wet, and on the way the roads were not too bad.  What a difference on the way home!  A localised downpour on already sodden ground can be pretty drastic.  Flood water was streaming off the fields across one section of road we had to drive down, and other roads were cut off... so all the pretty pictures I thought I would take on yesterday's jaunt just didn't happen.  I'm just grateful we made it home without too much drama.

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

Linking up again to Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Julie's blog That's Sew Julie for TGIFF
and Nina Marie's blog Creations... Quilts, Art... Whatever for Off The Wall Friday
and Leah Day's blog for FMQ Friday

Update 3rd April 
Linking up today with Katy's blog The Littlest Thistle for Finish Along 2014.  This is the only finish I have managed this quarter out of the three I planned.  I'm pacing myself.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Turning the First Corner

Almost too good to be true... the free motion quilted bedspread for my daughter is nearly finished! Joining the Finish Along has really made me put in the effort, and the fact that there is an exciting outing planned for tomorrow helps too...

So that's it for today, a fairly boring picture, with the prospect of something much more interesting tomorrow.

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

Sunday 12 January 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A Church by the Sea

St. Andrew's in Clevedon, dating back to the 12th century and snuggled into a little hollow just yards from the cliff at the edge of the Severn Estuary.  Somehow in the thin winter sunshine it looks like a ship sailing in a sea of green.

Friday 10 January 2014

Finish Along 2014

The sewing room is a tip, and part of tidying up is working out what I should work on in the next few weeks to try and get some projects finished.  I need encouragement, so I am joining in with the Finish Along 2014 at The Littlest Thistle

This quilt top is lap size.  I made it nearly three years ago, piecing it on my Frister and Rossmann transverse shuttle, using up lots of old Laura Ashley scraps that I had been saving for about thirty years.  I needed to use a few other cottons from the cupboard, and only needed to buy one extra piece of fabric to make the colour scheme work better.

The deep rose pink was a handy little oddment in the bargains box at a sale I went to.  Just the shade I wanted!

It is not a big quilt.  Why can't I organise myself and just finish it?

There are two other projects I need to finish:-

The Free Motion Quilted Bedspread, which I have hardly touched since July.  It is for my daughter, and it is her birthday in just over a fortnight...

and the Teapots Quilt, which is brewing so slowly it is embarrassing.

Back to tidying the sewing room...

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Inventing Free Motion Plants

This is a detail of the latest panel that I have made for the quilt I started before Christmas.  It is turning into a free motion sampler quilt.  Not only am I reworking designs I have done before, I am trying out some new ones.  The plant I did on the blue was fairly quick and easy.

When I did it I worked with the flowers (or are they buds or seed pods?) growing upwards. 

Then I turned it upside down and decided I preferred it that way because it reminded me of clematis. Of course it looks nothing like the real thing, but as I keep telling myself, this is quilting, not botany.

I know already that when it comes to putting all the pieces together I will have a bit of a bad time arranging them, taking both the colours and the quilting into account.  Serves me right for making work for myself.

Linking up with Lee's blog Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Leah Day's blog for Free Motion Friday

Monday 6 January 2014

We Have Seen His Star in the East

To celebrate the Twelfth Day of Christmas, here is a a photo I took last week of a beautiful window in a country church in Herefordshire.  If you can enlarge the photo on your screen, have a close look at the king kneeling at the front - his hair is flattened down and there is an impression left in it by the rim of his crown, which he has taken off to put on the floor.

Welcome to the latest followers, Paul Mangham and Jo Mb.  Thank you for joining!

Sunday 5 January 2014

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - A Field of Green Shoots

It is surprising how well this crop is sprouting out of such sodden ground.  This picture was taken on 2nd January.  Here is the same field last May.

Thursday 2 January 2014

A Doll Quilt Made With Lily

It is just over a year ago that I made a chequerboard quilt with Lily, so it was lovely having the opportunity to make a quilt with her for the Doll Quilters' Monthly swap.  The theme was to make a quilt with or for a child, so Sharyn made her quilt for Lily, and Lily did lots of the work on the quilt for Sharyn.

This was the first stage, and this is all Lily's work.  I went over to her house with the fabric, cutting board and cutter, and also a large piece of paper so I could do an actual size sketch. Once I had cut out all the pieces, Lily did all the sewing.  She has a 1945 Singer 99K hand machine.  She had never used a seam guide before, so her mum, Hannah, found some scrap material, and I showed Lily how to keep her seam straight.  By the time she had sewn about ten inches I could see she had got the idea already and didn't need any more practice.

Then Lily did all the piecing.  I passed her the pieces, she sewed them together, gave them to me to iron while she stitched the next seam... it went like clockwork, and Hannah was amazed at how quickly it was done.

Here is the back of the work.  Look at those neat seams!  

That was enough work for the day, so I then left it with Lily to do some hand sewing.  She had a rummage through her box of embroidery threads and chose the dark green for the flower stems and the yellow for the door number.

After that I didn't see Lily and Hannah for a while, so Hannah posted the work in progress to me - stage 1 of its travels, South Wales to Somerset.

The next stage was for me to add a border.  This pinky red floral print is really riotous.  It made me think of a cottage garden buzzing with bees, just right for this little quilt. 

Next I did the straight line quilting with the Singer 15K hand machine, then the free motion quilting with the 15K treadle.  For the wall, door and border I did a meandering infill.  For the path in front of the door I did a pebble design, and for the garden I did a grass design - I used completely the wrong colour threads because they don't show up against the brown fabric.

Once I had put on the binding, I stitched on buttons and beads for the little flowers.  I love the way Lily had made all the stems different heights on the flowers beneath the window...

... and the stems for this climber go right to the edge, so I put in a couple of flowers overlapping the border, blending in to the busy floral print.

Meanwhile, Sharyn had finished her quilt and it had already arrived at my house, so I went to visit Lily two days after her 11th birthday, delivered Sharyn's quilt, and got Lily to put in the very last stitches...

... sewing on the button for the door knob!

So now you know why the house had to be number 11, even though Lily was only 10 when she did all that hard work!

This quilt was great fun to make - sewn by two people, in two countries, England and Wales, with three different vintage machines, and sent all the way to Sharyn in Australia, where it arrived with the New Year!  What a great start to 2014!

Happy New Year Sharyn!

Happy New Year to all visitors and followers.  
Thank you for all the visits and comments in the past year.  Let's see what 2014 brings! 

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

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


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