Wednesday 29 January 2014

WIP Wednesday

I'm linking up with Lee today to share some more pictures of a current work in progress. All other WIPs have gone out of the window - is it just me that gets (slightly madly) smitten with something when it is going well, and hopelessly despondent when it isn't?

I'm a bit smitten with this one so apologies to those who get sick of seeing pictures of the same quilt!  Anyway...

If you have popped over from Lee's linky, I am in the process of handquilting this beast which I inadvertently made very large and couldn't manhandle too well through my sewing machine.

I am really happy with the crinkly effect my rustic (read novice) handquilting is giving it.  I quilted the triangles first, and am now just making my way round the sashed border.  It took an evening to get twice round and is very hard on the fingers!

While I decide how else to quilt the border I thought I would take a break to make the binding.  I've zizgagged and trimmed the edges, so they aren't going anywhere in the meantime.  I'd like to get some curves in the quilting but, because the triangles are not equilateral, I have to work out a way of doing it where the quilting works along the bottom and sides.

Could there be a quilt by Friday?!  If my fingers last up, maybe.

Saturday 25 January 2014

New to me in 2014 - hand quilting

I'm linking up to Fiona's New to Me today to share a glimpse of WIP.

Having accidentally created a monster of a quilt (you can see more in my previous post) my first attempts to machine quilt it were a disaster and resulted in much unpicking.  Maybe the problem was the huge number of seams, and the stretch from the bias edges but I kept generating a wave of excess fabric in front of the needle and puckers were inevitable.

I've turned to hand quilting - I've done a tiny amount before on Emerald, but it was in a quite relaxed way as I wanted to use it to symbolise rough stone.

Proper hand quilting on a big quilt is totally new to me so I read Jo's tutorial  and watched Sarah Fielke's tutorial and now this is the view of my lap today.   A bit of Spotify in the background and some meditative stitching punctuated with the occasional rude word as I stick myself with the needle.

I'm using proper hand quilting thread (Gutterman) - that's another new to me and I like the slight stiffness of the thread which stops it from kinking and knotting up.  My stitching is getting better as I go along, so please don't look at it too critically.   Even if it's not perfect I love the way it is bringing the quilt to life.

Thank you Fiona for continuing to inspire us to get stuck in!

Friday 17 January 2014


I have accidentally incompetently made an ENORMOUS quilt top.  I hope this counts as a finish, as it's now basted and ready to quilt. It must be the biggest I've made so far - it grew after I decided add sashing to contain the triangles a bit, but from the get go I hadn't given any thought to suitable measurements [edited to add that this quilt started in a class taught by Fiona who designed this quilt and I got carried away with triangles]  It's for a single bed and now has ample drop!  Anyway, I thought I would share a bit of the basting process in the spirit of keeping it real.

First all the furniture/cat food/recycling bags/sewing machine got shoved to the edge of the diningroom which has a laminate floor (highly recommended to quilters as it's ace for taping down backings).  Then I had to vacuum about fifty times because we are the crumb and fluffball family and they tend to make their way into the gap between backing and wadding where they show through and reproach me for ever.    Do you ever look at housework and think "but didn't I do that already once?"

I will have to investigate other ways (other than to use a basting service:-)) for big quilts, but I do it by taping the backing to the floor all round, then taping the batting at the top, kneeling on the backing and shuffling backwards, spraying a foot section at a time with spraybaste before unrolling the batting and smoothing down. Repeat, until knees are creaking.

I tried not to worry about the corner that I couldn't lay out flat where it met the wall.

The top taped down and ready to go.

By this point I anticipated having to drop everything and clear it all away to collect the children from school but it got done in the end.

Hope the crinkles disappear with quilting!  I have a plan but am not sure how implementable it's going to be, given the size.

Sorry for northern hemisphere winter indoor photos.  I'm linking up to Finish it up Friday (Hooray!) even if I can't get a decent photo without taking it outside and dragging it in the mud.

Wednesday 15 January 2014

I'm Catherine and I'm a Slow Blogger

During the holidays I had a bit of a think about the slow blog linky held here on the 15th of the month.  The thing about the slow blog linky is that slow bloggers really are, well, slow.  They don't have much time to connect and they would probably like not to be slow bloggers!

I'm a slow blogger because I have family commitments and a job, because I can't justify spending huge amounts of dosh on piles of fabric, and because I am a faffer with occasional mad bursts of activity.

I'd like to be different, but I really do think it's important to just plough on at your own speed, and not to put pressure on yourself by comparing yourself to people who for whatever reason are creatively more productive.  So I'm keeping the Linky up and running for a while even if it's just me and the tumbleweed!

If you'd like to connect with other slow bloggers do link up to share something creative you've done recently, or write a post about the obstacles to creativity - or indeed any other subject - and then come back to visit other blogs and show encouragement! You can find the button here

Monday 6 January 2014

Thank you, thank you

Just before Christmas I found out that I had been lucky enough to win a giveaway offered by Alison of Little Island Quilting, which is one of my favourite blogs.  Since I love everything she makes, and the prize was a specially made cushion cover, I was very happy!

My cushion cover arrived at the weekend.  It is absolutely gorgeous and I have been waiting for the opportunity to photograph it as the weather has been awful and I worried that a sad grey flash photograph would not do it justice.  Well it's still wet and grey here, but since you can see some nice photos of it on Alison's blog I thought I'd do my best, so here it is enjoying the lavender in my garden:

It has beautiful raw edge applique:

and awesome quilting:

Here is a detail showing the cornerstones, the petals round the edge, and the binding:

The back is beautiful too, with a concealed zip:

The colours are vibrant and cheerful and fit beautifully in the room where this cushion will have pride of place.  (Yes, there is a small child hiding under that quilt.)  I'm so lucky!

I have another thank you and an introduction to make.  You might know Deborah and her beautiful creations through Flickr.  She very kindly road tested my Komebukuro bag instructions (Parts 1 and 2) and sent really helpful suggestions to make the instructions clearer which I will incorporate into the posts.  She made a fantastic Komebukuro bag which you can see in her Flickr stream - and in her NEW BLOG!

Thursday 2 January 2014

Fabric Fast - or Fabric Diet?

I've been thinking about the Fabric Fast idea which is going around at the moment.  I really like it because it seems a bit of an antidote to so much conspicuous consumption and I think the ingenuity involved in using what you have can be very satisfying (and is obviously in keeping with the original purpose of patchwork).

I've decided not to stop buying fabric altogether but for the time being I am going to try to buy fabric for a specific project only, and not to get distracted by too many other projects before that one is finished.  

Before coming to that conclusion I did take advantage of having Christmas money to spend in the Oakshott sale and bought half yards of five fabrics!   I only need fat quarters so wondered if anyone in the UK would like to go "halfies"?!

I'm going to go back to the Fabric Trading page idea I had way back  - though I'll add to it fabric for sale.  So you can find details of the Oakshott on my page!

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Looking Forward to 2014

Note to self:

Get fit again
Eat more fruit
Try not to worry what people think
Do something creative every day

Happy New Year!


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