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Monday, 1 April 2019

Hearts and babies

I mentioned in my last post, Here, that the craft group that I, along with a friend teach each week, had been making a bag and quilt for a little girl aged 4 who had open heart surgery.
The quilt my friend and I put together is now completed and will be popped into the bag this week and given to the little girl.
Here's how the quilt turned out:

We had fun piecing the coloured blocks to co-ordinate with the rainbow blocks. And also the 'fun' of doing the calculations to cut the set in triangles! Phew, lucky my friend has taught maths. Anyway, I left the quilt with my friend all pinned in rows ready to be joined up. After completing the appliqued hearts, she very promptly (within a couple of days) passed it back to me. It was then up to me to find a backing - a sheet I had picked up that is proving to be very useful and versatile because of its large circles. 

And here's just a close up of the stippling around the hearts and the spineless feathers. 

When I mentioned to my friend that I would likely quilt spineless feathers in the white border she said: "Oh, couldn't you do hearts?" I answered truthfully, "Well, spineless feathers are much easier and I think they look rather like hearts anyway". She hasn't seen it other than a photo yet but she seems fine with it (thank goodness).  Looking forward to seeing how the recipient and her Mum like what our lovely group has put together. 

Then I went on to complete a quilt begun a couple of months ago in anticipation of a friend's grandchild to be born in April. As things often do, it didn't work quite to plan in that I hadn't quite completed the quilt and the grandson made his appearance a little early! 
I had fun with this one which was one that Sarah made Here, that she called 'Place Your Bet'. I adapted to make the size a little smaller (50" by 43") and was very pleased to have all the fabric on hand in my stash. 
Its a simple quilt that comes together quite quickly:

Again you can see the spineless feathers in the border, but also in the body of the quilt this time too. I think I may have to find another 'go to' pattern for variety's sake, but this one is really so easy. I don't know how you learn new patterns, but I spend some time doodling on paper first of all before giving the pattern a go on some real fabric. Then I progress to a quilt. Mine is all done on a domestic machine, my Janome that I'm very happy with. 

The pattern on the green I think of as loop de loops but they also remind me of the start of a musical clef. The backing was also another sheet I had been given, this time very suitable for a new born, with cute teddy bears and balloons. 

So this one feels like a win on many fronts - using up some scraps, a U.F.O. now completed, a gift for a friend's new grandchild and I'm feeling freer to move on to a new project, unless I really should sandwich and quilt up the 3 tops I know are lurking in my sewing room.....Oh and the table runner I need to complete to give to a couple getting married next weekend. Oh well, its all sewing that's what counts. 

Until next time,
Lynn





Thursday, 28 March 2019

The clever women in the craft group that I, along with another friend teach each Tuesday, have been making some scrap blocks. We wanted bright colours as we are making a quilt and a bag (to put it in) for a four year old little girl who has recently needed to have open heart surgery. Isn't it lovely and bright?

A heart was appliqued on (which also helps to tell the front from the back) and it co-ordinates with the hearts on the pocket inside. 

You might also be able to see that the handles are made from the 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' fabric that was around a little while ago. 

So I'm still working on the quilt itself, so will show that a little later, but for now I think this is a very cute bag for a 4 year old!

I've also completed another quilt this month, hey I'm on a roll, this is my 5th item (4 quilts, one table runner) so far this year. You'll have to excuse the terrible background, no helper and I seem to have lost the crop ability on my photos (will explore that a little later). This has been mailed off to a friend who has been diagnosed with a rather horrible disease for which there's no current cure (motor neurone). I can't imagine what that journey is like, and it seems like such a small thing to send some care in the form of a quilty hug. 

Here is a close up of the squares and some of the quilting - spineless feathers, that I had fun with. 

This is a great pattern to use up scraps. The green I had only a metre of and the cream backgrounds are actually 2 different fabrics, but so similar the eye doesn't initially notice. And as for 2 and half inch squares, doesn't everyone have some of those? Hourglass blocks are great to bring out a secondary pattern to otherwise quite ordinary squares. I'm sure I'll be making another of these soon. 

I hope to be posting again soon, pictures of the finished quilt for the little girl.

Until next time,
Lynn 

Monday, 11 March 2019

2019 and labels

It seems remarkable to me just how long it has been since I posted a photo or wrote about any recent quilts I'm making. However, I have been doing a bit of an inventory of quilts - their photos and labels and so when I realised that last year (2018) I completed 24 quilts I felt a little better. While there were 2 or 3 that had been in progress for some time, most were begun last year. Also quite a few were baby quilts, so their size made them manageable in more ways than one.

I find baby quilts hold my attention for long enough, are a good size to work through my domestic machine and give me a great sense of achievement once they are completed.
This panel recently completed and now ready to be given away, is a case in point:
 

It was a panel that a friend gave me and so really the borders were the only parts to piece and then it became a question of how to quilt it. I did some lines on the rabbit body parts and then had fun with a leaf type shape after some tighter stipple around the characters themselves. My 'go to' clef type shape is so versatile in terms of the size it can be adjusted to, that I find it a really useful quilting shape to use - especially for borders.  

I also received some lovely background type fabric in January and paired it with some batik I had on hand to create this table runner:

Since I'm keeping this one, I'm pleased I like how it turned out. Starting with the churn dash blocks then put on point and adding the cream set in triangles, it came together quickly too. 

I was a little surprised to realise that from the 24 quilts I made last year, only 2 have stayed with me. This one that has so many small scrap pieces it serves as a lovely reminder of previous quilts made:

And the teddy bears which, who knows, may one day be a quilt for a future grandchild?

I don't know whether anyone else is a little tardy with their labels, but I know that if I need to gift a quilt then it has a label straight away. If a quilt is 'in waiting', that is I'm not quite sure who it's for as yet, but I anticipate giving it away sometime (as the quilt above), then its label doesn't seem to get made or sewn on straight away. 

As an ex-librarian who likes to keep a good and true record of all my quilts, numbering and photographing them, this can be a bit of a problem. While my record keeping of the numbers is quite good, and then often the photos, it seems the actual label making lags far behind. As a consequence, some quilts that are here at home may have a number recorded on paper, but no label to match - until this week. I now feel very satisfied that any quilt residing with me is now duly labelled and I have done the old fashioned print photos and file them in an album too. 

I know that electronic records are wonderful, but there's just something pleasant about being able to thumb through an album and recall quilts that I've made - for inspiration and satisfaction. 

So finally, the most recent quilt completed, labelled, ready for a friend's 60th birthday:

Some colourful strings, paired with a cream that allowed me to have fun with the quilting. Hope she likes it! And hope I stay on top of those labels for this year. 

Until next time,
Lynn

Friday, 14 September 2018

Baby patches

I'd made four baby quilts for people that I knew had recently had their baby boys. But it turned out that there were also 2 others in the group (unknown to me) who also had boys. It didn't seem very fair that four out of the six received quilts and 2 didn't. So I set about finding a reasonably quick and easy baby pattern. Disappearing four patches seemed to fit the bill quite well. Starting with six and half inch squares, two background and two colour and then once they were sewn together, just slicing 2" from the centre line and rearranging the now nine patch block that results from the slicing. There are plenty on Pintrest to check out.

Raiding the stash is so good when you can find fabrics that work together well and you also have the backing on hand. Here is quilt number one:

Once I had made the centre I was rather concerned as I didn't think I liked it any more, or something didn't seem to work. Once I auditioned the turquoise and found the trees in my stash (hurrah!) it seemed Ok again.
What else to put on the backing to stretch the trees - what else but leaves? So here's the backing.


And another friend asked, 'are they tomatoes?' Yes they are, what fun, here's a close up. And I'm getting the hang of those corners where I'm doing a kind of treble clef pattern in the border. Practise, practise, practise it really is the only thing that works.

So what about the second one you ask? Well, for that I began with a kind of check or tartan. It had a number of colours I could have pulled out, including red - but that is a strong bold colour best used sparingly I think. It also had brown, but in the end the green and yellow won out.



Again, once the centre was together I wasn't sure about it.
Thank goodness for quilty friends. I have one who is very good with colour and especially borders. She suggested the narrow tartan then the creamish background before yellow as a final border. I think it works just fine. And again, fun fabric from the stash for the backing. This time its cabbages!

So two more quilts on their way for babies. I have such fun doing these, they are quick projects and the satisfaction of completing them and using up some stash is just great.
They both finish up at 44" by 55", a good size for a cot, or on the floor, whatever.

Until next time,
Lynn


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Floppy feathers

Its always surprising to me how different patterns can look in different colour ways. Easy simple bricks is a very basic pattern that I did earlier here.  But I chose just one fabric, the turquoise giraffes to put into a different collection of fabrics. The collection had purples and oranges in it, like this:


Its a brighter look and I really enjoyed picking out those colours. I began with the white with circles that have orange, purple, turquoise in it and initially included a soft palette of those colours in one fabric too - but had to discard that as it didn't really fit once I had everything else. Again, strange how that can happen when you expect a fabric that has all the right colours in it, to complement others and yet it just doesn't fit. No matter, I'm sure its time to shine will come.

I really enjoyed doing the floppy feathers so tried that again with this baby quilt.


The purple fabric (given to me by a friend quite some time ago) seemed to be a good one to create the border with, but wouldn't you know it, wasn't quite enough. So I find that's where the creativity/ingenuity has to come in. I stretched it a little by putting some plain purple in as well. And the eye doesn't really notice it, seems we do focus on the whole. But here it is:

And the backing - also in my stash, just seems to work really well:

The orange binding seems to work too, I really like it when I have everything on hand and have fun putting it all together. And baby quilts seem to come together in no time, I think it's my favourite size to quilt. 

One final shot of the whole and then it goes along with the others made earlier, to new babies and their parents. That's the other wonderful thing about making quilts, getting to give them as gifts. Such fun. 

Until next time,
Lynn

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Colourful Birds

I don't know how you feel about panels, but at times they can be an inspiring way to form a quilt. A friend of mine bought a panel of birds - beautiful watercolour birds. And since her other half is a twitcher, and the illustrations were indistinct in terms of being a particular bird and perhaps not being rendered completely accurate - (which can frustrate bird watchers I guess) she thought this was a good option.


My friend, however, was not confident to quilt the panels, having put all the borders on. So I volunteered, since I really do enjoy free-motion quilting. So I set about stippling around the birds, not outlining them as we wanted them to stay kind of free-form. Aren't they cute?


The artist is Connie Hayley and I love her colours and style. Having done the stippling, I did a stitch in the ditch around the first small white border, but on the second white one I thought I'd give some leaves a bit of a try. I'd done them on a placemat previously, and thought they might fit in this border. 

They seemed to work well, so consulting my friend, asked whether she might also like some in the green border - she thought that might work too, so there they are. I think the binding will be a dark shade like the central framing of the birds, either that or a green, we'll see what works best. 

For the backing, a lovely beige/light brown grunge type fabric works well. 

You can also see I did a very large loose stipple around the border with birds in it - they wanted to fly freely! I really enjoyed doing this and my friend is delighted with it, which always helps!
One final photo of one of the birds, they really are lovely. 

So that's what I've been working on this week. 
Until next time,
Lynn

Friday, 3 August 2018

Harlequin finish

I wonder if anyone else can relate to the experience of gathering fabric, admiring it, seeing all the pretty colours and then also seeing a great pattern where you could use those pretty colours all together? Well, that was my joy when I first saw 'Postcards from Sweden'.

To me it had a harlequin flavour, you know the jester type people who dressed up in multi-coloured solids, wore a pointy hat with a bell on the end? Well, maybe my mind just works in weird ways!

But when I saw that Sandra from MMM quilts had a quilt along with the pattern back in April, I thought I could join in. I managed to cut things out, but the deadline for completing kind of came and went and I thought perhaps I was one of the last, OK the very last, to finish mine. But maybe not?

Here it is, just a small size:


I didn't adhere strictly to the pattern, but added some of the fabrics I had. This seems to be a very versatile pattern that doesn't seem to care what colours are put together, they seem to work. And yes, the very observant will notice, that the binding isn't quite completed, but that's tonight's task. And it makes me happy.

I saw that Louise from Quilt Odyssey had quilted hers in straight lines (I should have read more carefully I think hers were and inch apart, not the width of the quilting foot!) I thought that looked great.
So I set to with bright orange thread and it worked very merrily.
The backing fabric is lovely and bright too, but I really don't want to quilt another straight line for a while:


So to have a complete change, I thought I'd do a very simple pattern of bricks, but this is more so that I can practice some more free-motion spineless feathers, or perhaps floppy feathers sounds more complementary?:

Whichever way they go, I had great fun doing them over this small quilt and it seemed to unify the whole and bring an added dimension to it. 
I did them diagonally on the quilt, to direct the eye towards the diagonal rows created by the colour of the bricks. 
Again the backing fabric shows them off really well:

This will definitely be one of my 'go to' patterns now, a lovely variety to the stipple I often do, or a paisley type leaf pattern. 
So that's what I've been up to lately, what about you?
Until next time,
Lynn